I can’t believe this month has totally flown by! Behind the scenes I have been busy as a bee and one thing I’ve been working on is a 6th birthday party… And our next guest has also been party planning for a 6th birthday, but was still able to put together an adorable project for us! Irene is the blogger behind an adorable blog, Froo and Boo, where she sews fantastic clothes for her also adorable kids! You’ve got to check out her amazing wedding outfits she just made! And yes, you probably remember her from Project Run and Play as well! Super talented!
I’m excited to be here today! My project is based on a “game” that my kids, aka Froo & Boo, play all the time. Picnics. Tea parties. Picnic tea parties. Any combination or variation of the two. Anywhere, anytime. Just the other day, I found toy lettuce in my bed. While making this skirt, I overheard Froo say to Boo, “Ooh, look! Mommy is making us a new picnic blanket!”
I know it’s not really a game in the traditional sense–with an objective, a bit of friendly competition and an outcome, but it involves imaginative play, a sense of humour and fun. It can get pretty serious: Froo & Boo have a “clubhouse” where they meet on a picnic blanket and no grown-ups are allowed.
Anyhoo, I was inspired to make a patchwork skirt, while looking at the lovely quilts that Louise makes and posts on her blog. For a fresh and updated look, I decided on bright pink gingham, instead of the traditional red & white gingham used for picnic blankets.
Let’s begin the tutorial!
To get started, cut your patchwork squares using a rotary cutter. For Froo’s skirt, I cut 4×4″ squares (28 bright pink squares, 49 light pink squares and 21 white squares). I cut enough squares for 7 rows and 14 columns.
In the end, I only used 5 rows! The top photo shows 6 rows, but I hemmed one row up afterwards! Let’s just call it a miscalculation that would have made the skirt long enough for me to wear. You can always play around with the size of the square, the number of rows and columns, but the number of columns must always be an even number.
Piece your squares together. The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker, by Elizabeth Hartman, is an excellent resource for getting started with patchwork piecing. There is also a great tutorial on chain piecing on the Sew Mama Sew blog.
One thing I modified for everyday wear: increased seam allowance to 3/8″. I also used pinking shears to cut 1/8″ from the unfinished edges before pressing the seam allowance open. This is what your fabric should look like from the inside:
Measure your patchwork piece. Then cut a piece of white fabric using the same dimensions. This will become the backing of the skirt. Cut another piece for the waistband, the same length and 3.5″ wide. This will become the waistband.
Sew your patchwork piece into a tube using a 3/8″ seam allowance, trim with pinking shears and press open. Repeat with white piece.
With right sides together, sew the backing to the patchwork piece with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Flip the fabric so wrong sides are together and press. Then, baste the top of the skirt together using 1/4″ seam allowance.
Sew the waistband together at the short ends with a 3/8″ seam allowance, then press the waistband in half, with the wrong sides facing. You’ll notice that mine is just the 7th row pieced together, but you could cut one solid piece.
With right sides together, sew the waistband onto the top of the skirt with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Press seams upward.
Press the unfinished edge of the waistband so that it is just over the seam line.
From the right side, stitch in the ditch over the waistband seam, making sure the inside waistband edge is catching the thread. Leave a 2-3″ opening. Topstitch the top edge of the waistband together. Thread a piece of 1″ non-roll elastic through the waistband. The elastic should measure the circumference of the wearer’s waist minus 1″. Stitch the elastic together. Sew the opening of the waistband closed.
I have this silly decorative stitch of ants on my machine–which I sewed onto a piece of twill tape with a piece of tracing paper underneath as stabilizer, to make a small tag to indicate the center back.
That was a long one! It’s definitely not a quick project, especially when you make some crazy miscalculations, but I’m really happy with how it turned out!
Thanks, Louise, for inviting me to your Sew Ready to Play series!