Category Archives: Challenges

Nothing is ever simple

I made my garment for Thea’s challenge!  It was not as simple to execute as it was to think of it.  ;0   But I am really happy with it and will wear it a lot this summer, I can already tell.  The most time was spent figuring out how wide to cut the rectangles for the front and back of the skirt.  It was hard for me to know how much fabric would hang around my thighs/legs after the shirring on the waist was done.  In the end I just guesstimated at 26 inches (my hips are 39 and shirring decreases the width by half), so that meant that my finished skirt circumference ended up being 52 inches.  And I loved the fullness of the skirt or the lack of it actually; the extra 13 inches do not add bulk to my figure, especially in this swishy knit fabric. 

The second time suck was testing the rolled hem stitch of my serger on my fabric.  It took F.O.R.E.V.E.R.  And then testing the shirring.  The actual construction of the skirt took only about an hour.  But all the prep increased that time by about 3.5 hours for a total of 4.5.  I guess the point of the challenge was about sewing creatively and not how fast you can churn something out, but I was still annoyed at how long it took and that I went to bed way past my already late bedtime.  *sigh*

But I have a new skirt to wear!  The only negative about this skirt is that the shirring is not a taut as I thought it would be. So one hard yank from a toddler running berserk my darling son asking for my attention and you will be able to London AND France.  *wink wink*

Anyhoo, without too much further ado, the reveal (for some reason I can’t take decent pictures of myself anymore.  Can’t figure it out)…

shirred waist with rolled hem edge

rolled hem courtesy of my serger

slightly blurry and unflattering picture of me wearing my skirt

Please let me know in the comments if any of you have finished your challenge sewing yet and I will set up the shutterfly page.

This weekend is the long July 4th weekend here in the states.  Jack and I have been invited to a friends house in the “country” (aka the suburbs).  I am very excited to have the distraction for him and me during a long weekend especially since my sister is out of town.  But this means I will probably get no sewing done this weekend because of it.  But I’m ok with that.  I am a mother first and sewist after that.  Not vice versa.  My friend even went so far as to mention she didn’t have a sewing machine!!!  So funny.

I hope you all have great weekends and that some of you get to sew!  Can’t wait to see what you’re all up to.


Did I scare you off?

Whoa! I think I might have scared some of you off with my last post detailing Thea’s Challenge. Thea had some great ideas as jumping off points for a patternless project and included them in the comment section of that post, but let me paste them here as well:

“I gave Elizabeth this challenge to free her from the confines of what we think sewing should be. To be silly, have fun and throw caution to the wind.
Be creative. No rules, be as free as you like.”

  • Give a garment a back closing instead of the front closing it’s supposed to have.
  • Sew big buttons all over a garment.
  • Look at obscure patterns and see how they’ve drafted the pattern pieces. A good one to look at is Issey Miyake’s Vogue pattern – V2952.
  • Gather up fabric here, there and everywhere, on a garment.
  • Turn a skirt pattern into a top — or a top pattern into a skirt.
  • Have uneven hems.
  • Put frills in places you wouldn’t expect to see them.
  • Cut the fabric on the garment in many places and then sew the slashes up in different colored threads — on the outside.
  • Take two garments — that you don’t especially like — and combine them into one.


Here’s the idea I had for my project.

image from

I saw a shirred knit skirt last weekend and can’t get it out of my mind. The one I have posted above is cotton voile, but I would make mine in a knit. I think that’s the perfect weekend skirt for running after possessed 3 yr olds traipsing after wayward toddlers. I have tons of knits in my stash that I could use. I just have to pick one out that will go with a bunch of my solid t-shirts. As I recall, using elastic thread shirrs the fabric about 1/2 its original width, so I just need to figure out my measurements for this skirt and decide how wide (vertically speaking) the shirred section will be. I think I will do a serged rolled hem on the hem. Super easy. It’s not as creative or out of the box as Thea was suggesting, but it is patternless.

If I hadn’t already had this skirt in mind, I would make a skirt using Thea’s fourth suggestion of gathering up fabric here and there. I think that would look really cool. Who knows, maybe that’s next. One can never have too many toddler chasing skirts.

So I ask you again, who’s with me? 😉

Thea’s Challenge


image from


After Thea helped me “draft” Haley’s birthday dress and I posted the pictures of Haley wearing it, Thea emailed me with an idea.  She suggested that we should all do a small project without using a drafted pattern. 

Thea said, ” Just see a design in your mind, take the fabric, cut, sew, try on and tweak.  No sewing rules.  No perfect finishing.  A project where only the outward appearance matters — and it only has to please you.  It can look as wild as you like, with mixed fabrics if you like.  Something that you would wear if there were no rules, regulations and nothing mattered.  Total playtime!”

So what do you think?  Do you want to join me in taking on Thea’s challenge?  If so, I will set up a shutterfly album so that we can all post our pictures.  I already have an idea for my pattern-less design.  I think the point of this challenge is to be spontaneous with our sewing and to not overthink it.  There’s a lot of inherent self-doubt in sewing.   Well, at least there is for me.  And I think this challenge will prove to us that we can trust our instincts.

So who’s with me?