Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Much improved skirt

I spent the largest part of this week in N.C. since I had something to do down there every single morning — meetings, a doctor visit, you name it.

Since I was going to be there for a while and I had a lot of mending to do, I grabbed a bag and stuffed it with a tank-top, shorts and a couple of skirts that needed fixing.

Thanks to Mom, I was able to complete every single one of those projects! Mostly because she fixed the hole in the collar of the tank top, placed a dart in the shorts so they fit better and forbid me to touch one of the skirts because I managed to mess up the waist band.

The skirt is made from a stretchy knit and, over the course of a day, stretches out so much that I have to tug it up very few minutes. So I needed to take it in. Originally, Mom placed two darts in the back and that took care of that problem.

I also didn’t like the rolled hem, so I tried to hem it up. To get the material to lay flat, I knew the side seams needed to be tapered outward. So I did that. Then I wanted to cut off the excess side seam material. Doing that I some how cut off the bias tape binding around the waist, leaving a gaping hole.

Mom rescued the skirt. She took out the darts and sewed up the side. Then she set to work hemming the bottom … refusing to let me get near the “poor ol’ skirt.

While she did that, I got to work on some other projects. The second skirt didn’t fit all that well so I left it for my sister-in-law and the last skirt I worked on myself.

The skirt was long and beautiful, but I don’t look good in long skirts. It’s one Nannie gave to me a few winters ago and I’ve worn it mostly during the fall and winter with brown boots.

So I decided to cut it off and add lace to the bottom.

I went to put the skirt on last night to take a picture and the zipper broke. Mom got home and found me trying it get the zipper back together. “What did you do now?” she asked. “Why do you go to fix the hem and wind up messing up the waistband?” she teased me.

So we made a run to Hobby Lobby for a brown, 7-inch zipper and this is the result.

I love it!


Labor Day Weekend crafting

Since Chris and I aren’t heading to West Virginia for some camping, rafting and visiting a friend this weekend, I’m going to take the opportunity to finish up my last summer project — a skirt.

My grandma gave me a bunch of fabric from her stash lately, and besides the shorts I completed earlier this summer, I had plans to make a skirt.

I’m also in the process of teaching myself how to draft patterns. I’m excited to embark on this adventure and can’t wait to see how the ideas in my head translate onto paper.

I’m using Rene Bergh’s “How to make your own patterns: An easy step-by-step guide to making over 60 patterns.” You can buy a copy here, although I have a different edition.

I haven’t picked up a pencil and paper yet, but reading through the instructions gives me hope. I didn’t realize how easy patterns can be made, just using various measurements of your body. I figured it would be much more complicated.

Besides basic skirt, shirt and trouser patterns, the book also gives you instructions on how to make different bodice details, such as tucking, darts, gathers and cowl, boat and v-necks.

I’ll let you know how my new adventure goes into creating my own creations. The theme for my first designs is wild columbine . . . a beautiful wildflower you can find growing in rocks and crevices here in the mountains and elsewhere.

My favorite is the red columbine with a yellow center. Here’s a good photo that shows you the color. It’s so striking! I’m surprised such a color combination exists in real life.


Fixing the shrink

Preshrinking material is important, I tell ya. Most people try to skip this step and continue on with cutting out fabric and sewing. But what will you do when you first wash the material and it shrinks? You’re stuck with a beautiful garment that only a child could where.
But what do you do if the fabric shrinks and you don’t have enough material to cut out the all the pattern pieces?
As I was cutting out a skirt pattern in a recent sewing class, I found my material had shrunk from 45 inches to 39 inches wide. This left me with about 3 inches less than was needed to cut out the back section of the skirt. What to do, what to do?
Class instructor Margaret Christie came to the rescue. She attached more material at the end, as seen above. You can see the seam above my thumb where material was added on. The seam was used as the fold for the hemline. The skirt is now a little bit shorter than I wanted it, but it would have been 2 inches shorter if we hadn’t added on material!