Note from Liz: Doña is back with another post inspired by Pinterest. Love this honest insight she's given into her experience and the suggestions for what to do when tackling a sewing tutorial found on Pinterest.
Have you ever used Pinterest as a search engine? Like Google, but with pictures for every hit?
It is one of my favorite ways to use it. When I decided recently that I wanted to make my own maxi skirt, I skipped Google and went straight to Pinterest. With their new search tools, it is even easier to hone in on what you are looking for. You can even search in your own pin boards if you use the “just my pins” filter.
Searching with the words “maxi skirt” mostly returned fashion boards with styling suggestions and skirts for sale, but “maxi skirt pattern” hit the jackpot. There are many many free patterns, but most of the ones I looked at were poorly written and confusing. Here’s one good one. Eventually I found this pin and followed links to this post and this pattern for sale on Etsy.
I downloaded and printed out the pattern, bought some stripey bamboo jersey fabric, and got to work.
But all did not go as planned.
This was supposed to be an easy project! There are only four seams, what could go wrong? Well, a lot, it turns out.
It all turned out well in the end, but I learned some lessons. So that you may have an easier sewing experience with this project (or any other), I’ll share them with you here:
- Check your measurements carefully. Like two or three times. Because most of this pattern is based on your waist measurement, be very sure that you measured it correctly! Ahem.
- Read through the directions to make sure you understand them before you begin. I’m a pretty experienced sewist, so I may have skipped this step. As a result, I missed an important detail which made all of my pattern pieces twice as wide as they needed to be. Whoops.
- It is generally not a good idea to cut out fabric late at night after having a beer with dinner. Luckily, I figured out all of my errors before actually cutting anything out so no fabric was wasted. This could easily have been a disaster.
- Also not recommended is cutting out a large piece of fabric on the floor with three frisky cats in the house.
- Unpicking mis-sewn seams is not the end of the world. But if you need to do it, and you are sewing black fabric with black thread, make sure you have good lighting.
- Sometimes it is easier to cut off a seam than unpick it. Only use this shortcut if you have a little extra fabric to spare (my waistband is 1/2” shorter than originally intended).
- Taking the time to line up the stripes for the skirt’s side seams is worth the few extra minutes. It really makes your work look professional.
- Using a sewing machine needle intended for stretch fabric really does make a difference. I forgot to change out my needle until just before the last seam. That last seam is beautiful. The rest are a little messy.
If you follow all the directions correctly, this is a really straightforward and rewarding project. It is also pretty fast. Even with all of my mistakes, it only took me a couple of hours. It would not be unreasonable to finish this in an hour.
I love my new skirt and I will be making another one soon. Maybe not after a beer, though.
Doña Bumgarner is a writer, artist, mama and a craft project-collector from way back. She loves Pinterest and uses it to help solve a household dilemma at least once a week (see her “pinned and done” board here). She lives in Santa Cruz with her partner, their little one and his almost grown one, and a collection of cats and chickens. If you are needing extra support to ease into summer with the kids at home, find her Welcome To Summer resources and printables pack here.