The Epiphany of the Perfect Knit (Pencil) Skirt

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For months I’ve been pinning pictures of fitted knit pencil skirts and oversized sweaters. I really wanted that as my go to outfit for fall and winter, even to go to work. (One of the perks of being a teacher – wear a scarf and tights and you can pretty much get away with anything)
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But finding the perfect skirt deemed to be harder than expected. I couldn’t find the perfect skirt or perfect pattern. I tried on a few skirts in stores to see what I liked, but they were either too long, too short or too flimsy (or pricey). Buying a pattern seemed silly as well since this is basically the easiest piece of clothing on the planet to make and I wasn’t looking forward to spending money and then taping the PDF and then altering the entire thing (since I always have to)
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Why was it so hard?
My demands, that’s why it was hard!

  • I wanted my skirt to come all the way up the slimmest part of my waist, not any higher since I have a very short waist and I didn’t want a waistband getting stuck underneath my boobs.
  • I wanted it to be mid thigh length so it was covering the larger part of my legs, but not restrict any walking.
  • I wanted it to be very very stretchy with great stretch recovery.
  • I didn’t want it to show underneath my clothes.
  • Most skirts where either barely covering my behind or the right length but with a waistband that would creep up while wearing ending in a skirt that was too short.

This morning I was planning my sewing for the next three days (we’ve got a week off of school and the first three days baby is still going to daycare) and it hit me!

I’ve got tubular ribbing in my stash! (You see where I’m going with this…)

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Take a piece of tubular ribbing twice the length you need/want.
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Fold it in two length-wise. The fold will be the hem.
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I used the wrong side out because I prefer the texture.

I decided not to finish it with a waistband or elastic or even serge the layers at the top since
1. Knit doesn’t fray
2. Waistband or elastic would show under my clothes
3. The serging might affect the stretch.

UPDATE: On day 2 I decided to finish the skirt with a waistband after all. Not because it would be more comfy but because I kept thinking ‘What if I get into an accident and people see that I’m just wearing an unfinished piece of fabric.’ I tried, wearing unfinished pieces… not for me. I simply serged a 1″ elastic sandwiched between the two layers, I then folded the top so that the serged edge was under the elastic. I then stitched down the serged edge 1″ from the top, creating a ‘waistband’. It doesn’t show underneath my regular clothes so it looks the same and no stretch was affected 😉

For those of you that think this is totally stupid, you are entitled to your opinion. For those who think this is genius but are worried about finding tubular ribbing in your size, good news, it comes in different widths and it’s all very stretchy since I used the narrowest size in my stash (14″x2) and my 42 inch hips fit into it perfectly!

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The green is the same width as the blue one I’m wearing.

Waist to mid-thigh, fitted, stretchy, great recovery and the double layer makes it completely opaque and the lack of waistband makes it sit smoothly under my clothes. I’m happy! Let’s order some more ribbing!

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Cuddly cat bomb!
Cuddly cat bomb!

Have you ever wanted to smack yourself for coming up with something so easy you don’t understand how you didn’t think of it sooner?

Outfit: Sweater – Megan Nielsen Briar sweater with owl applique (unblogged) // Skirt – No sew knit (pencil) skirt

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The One with The Thread Holder

My sewing space is limited. So I have to carefully plan every bit of space I have. Because the container I used to store my thread spools was getting kind of full, I was looking for another way to store them. A way to store them off my sewing table, since that space is limited itself.

I came along various thread spool holders online , found some great ideas but neither of them was exactly as I envisioned it in my head.

I wanted a thread spool holder that was practical AND beautiful at the same time. I had the idea of building it myself but I’ve always been great at designing stuff not great at the actual building stuff. My Dad and I were kind of a team when it comes to that. I design and he builds. Most of the time the building involves me holding stuff so he can attach it 🙂

So I called him and asked him if he wanted to help me. He immediately said ‘yes’ and we went to work yesterday. Because I’m so happy with the way it turned out, I’m sharing it with you, so you can build it yourself if you want.

(All measurements are for Gutermann thread and a holder carrying 99 spools)

Here goes:

construction 1

Step 1: Assemble your stuff. You will need.

  • a piece of wood that measures 50 x 60 cm (20 x 24 inches) and is 12 mm (1/2 inch) thick
  • a decorative trim to put around the edges. It should be at least 220 cm (88 inches) long
  • wood glue
  • spray paint
  • 99 wooden pegs. 8 cm long (3.2 inches) and 6mm in diameter (0.2 inches)
  • a pencil
  • a ruler
  • a drill
  • some very small nails

Step 2:

To space the pegs evenly you have to draw a grid. There should be 4,5 cm (1.7 inches) between each line. This is the slightly larger than the largest Gutermann spool. A good tip is to start in the middle so your last hole to the side is spaced evenly throughout.

You should have 9 x 11 rows (or 11 x 9)

Step 3:

Check your grid and correct any mistakes you may have made.

Step 4:

To make it easier to see where you have to drill a hole, draw a small circle around each intersection of lines>

Step 5:

Make sure your wood is placed on a firm underground.

Step 6 – 7: 

Drill your holes, first with a drill slightly smaller than the actual pegs. This will make correcting mistakes easier and it will make drilling the correct sized hole a lot smoother.

Step 8 – 9:

Check your beautiful holes 🙂

construction 2

Step 10:

Once you’ve checked everything is spaced evenly, you can drill through your holes again using a 6mm (0,2 inches) drill. Insert a wooden peg once in a while to check if the holes are big enough.

Step 11:

Take your decorative trim and saw it into 4 pieces using a 45′ angle. You should have two 50cm pieces and two 60cm pieces (2 x 20 inches and 2 x 24 inches. Nail those trims on top of your piece of wood to form a frame.

Step 12: 

You can put your drill and nails away because the major part is done. Admire your framed holes 🙂

Step 13 – 14:

Use a damp cloth to remove all sawdust and leave it to dry for a few minutes. Use a can of spray paint to paint the entire piece in your desired color. Keep adding coats until you are satisfied (I gave mine 5 coats). Be sure to read the instructions on your can carefully. Do this in a well ventilated area or (preferably) outdoors and put some plastic underneath to protect your table.

Step 15 – 16:

Once it’s dry (mine was touch dry after 20 minutes) put a small drop of glue inside each hole and put a wooden peg on top. You can use a hammer to set it firmly.

Step 17:

Attach two hooks so you can hang your frame.

Step 18:

Fill it with your thread spools and admire your work.

final

Isn’t it pretty? It’s exactly as I wanted it to be and I don’t think I’ve ever made anything nicer in my life!

The good thing is (added bonus) that the pegs are long enough to put my bobbins in front of my spools so the thread matches!

Yay, for unforseen bonusses! The whole thing probably wasn’t cheaper than buying a thread holder but this one is PERFECT!

Would you like to make something like this yourself. Would you like someone else to make it for you?