Monday, February 21, 2011
There is not much I enjoy more than dressing my girls in something I made for them. If the something includes some sewing and some knitting (or crochet) it is even more fun. These outfits are of course a rather long time coming so when they are finally worn I feel like singing! And if they fit (my girls aren't really great about trying things on for me midstream) and look at least as cute as I had planned, well then, I really want to take a lot of pictures! Which brings me to this post!
This was such a fun Sunday morning. Audrey and Scarlett played along with me so nicely. I was really setting out to take pictures of Audrey, since her Couture Skirt is the story of this post. But Scarlett wanted to play too and how could I exclude her? (She even put her shoes on herself, on the wrong feet...) Cute Scarlett. My darling middle child hasn’t been the object of many projects lately. Don’t worry Scarlett, your time is coming!
I love classic lines on children. Seems to me the Europeans do this the best. I often look at blogs and catalogs and stores from overseas and wish I had some of it hanging in my girls’ closets. Perhaps in Europe they buy better quality, but less clothing for their children? That’s why you see children with well-tailored clothing and matching coats walking the sidewalks, of say, Paris. It’s a great approach. I try and do it for myself (buy fewer, nicer things) but it’s hard when cute, inexpensive things are so plentiful! (I love Target!) And when my girls would rather wear stretchy, comfy most of the time. And when I don’t love the idea of dry cleaning or sending Audrey to preschool playground and art activities in something that requires pressing. So thank goodness for Sundays! The one day during the week when a little bit of dress up works. So if I’m putting quite a bit of effort into an outfit for one of my girls, it’s more often than not something for Sundays.
I thought of this skirt while knitting the Lacy Sweater for Audrey because I wanted the right skirt to complete the outfit. I had been looking at European children’s clothing, which, while gorgeous, is often simple and makes me think, “I could sew that,” assuming I could find the right fabric. So I gave it a try. It was difficult to find the right fabric. I had a solid color in mind and went looking and didn’t find it. But I did find a surprise: this gorgeous, herringbone, off-white wool at Joann.
I wanted to line the skirt to make it more comfortable for Audrey to wear, and to make it more finished. Then I started thinking about haute couture: that small group of fashion houses constructing amazing custom garments for I don’t know whom! Not me. While I won’t ever be one of their customers I thought I could mimic their approach for my own daughter. Audrey is my muse after all and she inspired this skirt, and I constructed it just for her using her measurements rather than an “off the rack” pattern. Nothing “ready to wear” about this skirt!
So here it is: Knee length, inverted box pleats and angled pockets on the front, a taller waistband, a decorative flower and four pleats in the back (the back may be even prettier than the front!). I was worried Audrey wouldn’t want to wear the flower as she often turns up her nose at the more girly things, but she liked it! Sewing the skirt wasn’t too difficult and definitely worth it when I saw Audrey wearing it. I honestly can’t wait to make more—I want one for her in linen for the summer and think a silk plaid version would be darling on Scarlett.
Lucky Scarlett. She can look forward to wearing this first Couture Skirt of Audrey’s in a couple years, just as she is now wearing the lace-yoked sweater and corduroy jumper I made for Audrey a couple years ago. Scarlett is oblivious to her hand-me-down position for now, which I think is lucky for me, because I love seeing the things I've made worn again.
If you are interested making a Couture Skirt of your own the pattern is available in my shop. I made the tutorial availabe here for a couple weeks after posting the skirt, thus "Tutorial for a Time..." but that time is now expired. The pattern is very detailed and requires a bit of measuring and basic math for fitting but it's worth it! It walks you through making your own custom pattern for the skirt and I provide a pattern for the flower and pockets (in three sizes: 18 mos-3, 4-6 and 7-10).
If you create a Couture Skirt I would really love to see photos! Please think about adding them to my Flickr group here.