Monday, February 21, 2011

Sewing: Couture Skirt (Tutorial for a Time...Pattern Always)


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.

55 comments:

Jenny said...

It is just beautiful, and you're so kind to have spent so much time creating the detailed tutorial.

Rachelle said...

This tutorial must have taken you hours! It is amazing, the skirt is amazing, you are amazing! I can't wait to try this for my daughter. I'm inspired to make this her Easter skirt. Thank you, thank you, for sharing this with us!

Lizzy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anneliese said...

@Lizzy, I do think this would work for a woman's skirt! I was thinking of making one for myself too. Though I haven't tried it, I don't know why the same principles wouldn't work...You have to let me know if you give it a go! Navy wool sounds really fabulous!

Lizzy said...

Thank you for answering my question about making it for an adult. I think I am going to try it this week. I've never done lining before, so this will be a great challenge.

Also, I couldn't help but notice your wedding rings are very similar to mine. Do you have a story behind your rings? My husband and I have only been married a year. After years of being single we finally found each other at the age of 34 and 37. It is wonderful!

Jayna Rae said...

I love everything about this post. Audrey's hair cut is sooo cute. I love the classic look that she has. it makes her a phenomenal little model.

Constellation said...

This is so gorgeous (the clothing and then children- also the photography)! I'm so inspired to become a better seamstress so I can make classic clothes for my children too.

Teri said...

2 sweet little girls - adorable

Rachel said...

I am always excited to see a new post from you. I am really excited to try out this skirt.

Amy Kirchhoff said...

What beautiful little ladies you have there. :)

william said...

What a wonderful tutorial...it must have taken you hours, but thank-you so much!! I can't wait to try making this skirt. I always look forward to your posts:).

~Julia

Laura @ ON{thelaundry}LINE said...

just beautiful! I've been trying to remind myself lately that it's more important to sew up a few high-quality unique pieces than to have my daughters totally outfitted in handmade garments. The second option is not a realistic one for me and I'm less likely to sew because I feel like I'll never meet my own goals. The important thing though is to have a few beautiful things made just for them! Now THAT I can handle!

lera said...

LOVE this! Thank you for posting it. I was just thinking on Sunday that my daughter (the only girl of six) needs more church dresses/outfits as she is outgrowing most of hers. This will make the perfect addition. (It also reminds me of a wool skirt an old college boyfriend gave me many years ago. I can still fit into mine. In fact, I wore it a week ago to church.)

Kari said...

Absolutely Beautiful!!

Leydhen said...

(First of all... Excuse me for my horrible English. I'm Spaniard and English class in college were long long time ago).

I don't sew (pity me, because for years my mother used her sewing machine till exhaustion and I never bothered to learn with her), I don't crochet or knit (only scarves). But, since I arreved to your blog thanks to a friend... I can't help reading all the entries.

You have a gift. Nor only you can visualize wonderful and pretty things in your mind. You can make them real.

Like we say in Spain: "You have golden hands".

Thank you.

Kara said...

Darlingness overload! The outfits are perfection.

Emily said...

So lovely! I want to make one for me and another for my daughter!!

French Press Knits said...

Love the skirt, love the sweaters, love th cute little models!

the jilted ballerina said...

My very first thought was to make this in an adult size for my teenage daughter. Just glancing at the tutorial, it seems very do-able. Then all sorts of ideas started racing through my head.....

Thank you for the inspiration!

Anneliese said...

Thanks everyone for such a warm reaction. I think teen and adult sized skirts would be so cute! I would love one in seersucker for myself--maybe I'll try it. I wonder about the hip to waist ratio but it seems it should work....Adjust the height of the waistband and size of the pockets...

@ Laura: Such a good point! A few years ago I realized how much more fun it was to sew my daughters' dresses, rather than buy them, and I set out to sew every single one. With three girls now it just isn't possible to sew for all, and I have a pile of handmedowns that should work for the younger, and do... I've realized I get a lot more satisfaction from the higher quality things so I'm trying to do the same! Also, sewing fewer better makes it more possible to sew new things for the younger instead of relegating them to 100% handmedowns!

@Leydhen: Your English is fantastic! And "Golden Hands" is about the nices thing anyone has every said to me. Thank you so much.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to comment.

-Anneliese

Pam said...

Beautiful skirt, sweaters and little girls. You a very talented.

tasha said...

their outfits are darling.....your girls are beautiful!! you are so talented. (i think i've said that before.) ;)

Mo Nasir said...

I don't sew... yet, but the quality of your work is so inspirational to learn and start.

L and H Pedersen said...

Wow to the skirt and the talent. Wow to the work that went into the tutorial and thank you for sharing.

Penelope said...

What beautiful, careful precision you have made Audrey's skirt with. It looks very classic and together with your home knit even more time less xox Such lovely colours in all your photo's of your beautiful girls, thanks for sharing x

Thendral said...

Hi, such a detailed tutorial. I love to make one for my daughter. thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous children, and beautiful clothes that are worthy of them. Thanks for the tutorial.

Connie said...

Both sweaters and skirt are beautifully done!

Bonnie Anderson said...

Absolutely gorgeous!!! I love box pleats. Thanks for posting and sharing your talent.

Ashley said...

A-mazing! I adore this skirt and I want one for Anna and a few for myself in fact! So classic and lovely. Oh how I wish I could sew. Or at least find one like this in a store. :)

Anonymous said...

Those shoes are lovely too. Where did you get them???

Anneliese said...

Aren't they darling shoes? They are Two Scoops and the style is Vanilla Swiss Almond...it's an ice cream thing evidently.

Caroline said...

Gorgeous! and an amazing tutorial, too...thanks!

Stephanie Smith said...

Thanks for the amazing tutorial. I may have to try this for my daughter.

Amanda said...

What type of paper do you use to make your patterns?

Anneliese said...

@Amanda: Great question! I should have mentioned that. I bought a big roll of that paper they put on exam tables in doctors' offices from a local medical supply store. It is great for pattern making!

Moms In Need Of Mercy said...

Hi Anneliese!
Just found your blog while searching baby crochet hat patterns for our 4th baby (possibly a girl after 3 boys!).

Just wondering if you knit the darker rose sweater on your younger daughter. If so, do you have a pattern for it you would be willing to share?

Thanks so much!

cheryl@momsinneedofmercy.com

Little Gumnut said...

what adorable girls you have! love that skirt and your photo styling! Just popping by from MADE, I'll be following! We're just heading into autumn downunder so I think i'll be back to check out your scarflettes! Great to meet you!

Alicja said...

I'm glad I discovered your site, what a beautiful skirt. I've just purchased your pattern for my granddaughters and myself, do I have to line the skirt?? I'm also from Australia, we are in Autumn heading quickly for the dreaded winter!

Anneliese said...

@Alicja: I'm so happy you like this pattern. Perfect for back-to-school! You don't have to line the skirk--just be sure to cut both pocket pattern pieces out of your primary fabric. It should work just fine. Good luck!

Elegantpaws said...

Your girls are so beautiful! They're like gorgeous little dolls. That skirt is amazing. xx

luvinthemommyhood said...

Wow! Anneliese...you amaze me! This is stunning!!!! Absolutely gorgeous!

Sandy said...

Wow Anneliese,
This is beautiful. I came upon your blog by visiting www.thebackcountrydrive.blogspot.com I needed to find more sewing inspirational blogs. And more preferably bloggers that our also in the Lord. Anyway. I love the couture skirt. You are so talented. I was born and raised in the Netherlands. And seeing these beautiful knits with the skirt and dresses brought me right back to Holland. Yes, we buy less clothes and have better quality clothing there. So it makes it easier to mix and match. I still have t-shirts and skirts and such that I bought more than 10 years ago when I was still living there.

Love your blog...
I will be coming back often.
Thanks for sharing!

clutterhome said...

Wow, just beautiful! I love how classic the girls look!

Robin said...

very cute!...and the crocheted sweaters are lovely

Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness said...

So gorgeous! I may have to figure out how to make one in grownup size :)

Mellisa Rock said...

Stopping by for your SITS day - your girls and the skirt are gorgeous! I love all the photos and just wish that I had an ounce of your craftiness!

Jenn Erickson said...

Such a gorgeous skirt -- elegant, classic and very sweet! Beautifully done! So glad I saw your feature on SITS! Off to enjoy some more posts.

Best, Jenn/Rook No. 17

Stacy@thealmostwholepackage said...

Happy Sits Day!
Love the skirt and your girls are soooo photogenic!

Blue Velvet Chair said...

Hopped over from SITS. WOW! love the skirt! I'm just learning to sew and my style is kamikaze - but I did create a vintage souvenir scarf dress for my little Divine Miss M - and I'm really happy with the results. Hope you'll stop by to have a look and follow along if you like what you see. I'm definitely going to be watching here!
Michael

The Lucky Wife @ The Saturday Evening Pot said...

Precious! Hope you've had a wonderful SITS day! :)

I love the really beautiful, nice children's clothing, too, but I agree about them wanting to just be comfy most of the time. And my feeling is... let kids be kids! It is nice, though, to have one day of the week where you can indulge in the dressier stuff!

Michelle G said...

What a precious skirt :) I really love the cute pink shirt too!

misssrobin said...

Beautiful work and great photos. I love the Little Bear book in the photos; he was one of our favorites when my children were little.

Michelle said...

I just found your blog via the cottage mama. Love you blog and your style. This skirt immediately caught my attention on the sidebar. Is it because I live in Europe? Lol....can't say it's because European seeing how I'm American. While I do love me some Target, it doesn't exist here and clothing, especially shoes are pricey here compared to the US. So in general, we buy less and better quality or we stick with H&M!

Or we go to an amazing fabric shop and buy super Italian designer fabric at rock bottom prices and make it ourselves...:-)

Anthea said...

The whole ensemble and photo styling is fabulous, inspires me to keep going with my knitting skills.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...