Saturday, May 18, 2013

Margaritas and a Maxi Skirt: I'm finally back!

Hiya, everyone!

I really don't know where to begin... maybe with stating the obvious: it's been over a month since I last posted. Here's another nugget of truth: I hated being away from C.C., but I took a break to deal with some serious stuff in my non-blogging life. I never intended this to be a forum to vent or complain about my life unless it's the occasional ridiculous story that I just can't keep to myself and Mr. J doesn't find it as funny as I do.

So, I am not going to rehash the things that have occupied my energy elsewhere, mostly because they're shitty and frankly not worth another iota of my brain power.

Instead, I'll let you know that I am okay. I'm dealing with it all one moment at a time, and I am striving to find positivity and balance again. I took a mental health day yesterday and invited a truly excellent friend to spend the afternoon with me.

We made these bad boys: frozen strawberry margaritas.

Isn't this a baller glass? My bff bought it for me on my 21st bday :)
Sippin' on this delightful little fella while sitting in the sunshine, catching up and bullshitting with such an awesome person was a PERFECT way to spend a Friday. Just to up the ante, we also crafted. Say what?!

I decided I would bust out Edith, the amazing little sewing machine my grandmother is lending me to learn how to sew. Seeing as I hadn't tackled a sewing project since Christmas, I was a bit nervous, especially since this was only my second sewing project ever. Then I said, "What the hell?" and decided to consider it a grand experiment! Worst case scenario: I'd still have a yard of fabric to use in another project. Win-win!

Recycled Maxi Skirt

dress to upcycle
rotary cutter/cutting mat or scissors
1/2 inch elastic

From the depths of my closet, I dug out a gorgeous neutral-colored maxi dress that I bought on sale years ago and never wore. I feel like many women have at least one of those items in their wardrobe, right? I've had the desire to make my own maxi skirt for awhile, and utilizing a dress eliminated a lot of work. Here's what the dress looked like before:

Sorry this one's a bit blurry. There's my friend, B, crafting away!
I had to set aside the top of this dress to recycle another way. How pretty is that beading?!
Let me be honest: most of the time, I can't be bothered to measure. I used a rotary cutter and cutting mat to cut the dress straight across a couple inches below the bust. I was left with the skirt portion of the dress. I turned the skirt inside out.

Next, I wrapped elastic around my hips where I like my skirts to rest. I added half an inch, and cut the elastic to that length. I then hand sewed the ends of the elastic together to create a loop for the waistband.

The next step was tricky-- I needed another pair of hands. My friend stretched the elastic loop so it was the same width as the fabric. I then pinned the elastic about an inch from the cut end of the skirt, making sure only to pin through one layer.

I had read in a couple of elastic-related tutorials that if you held the elastic taut as you sewed it to fabric, the fabric would gather. However, the tutorials called for a zigzag stitch. I foresaw this being a problem. My little Edith only sewing in a straight line--no snazzy extra features there. But, I reassured myself that whether it turned out well or not, this was great experience. 

So, I proceeded to sew the elastic to the skirt by holding the fabric behind the foot with my left hand and guiding the fabric to the needle with my right hand. I went slowly, trying to stretch the elastic as I went. I had to stop to remove a couple rouge pins along the way.

Well. let's just say it didn't go perfectly. I think sewing the elastic with a standard stitch didn't hold the fabric tight enough to let the fabric gather. As you can see below,  the fabric only gathered in a couple places. I was a bit disappointed, but when I tried it on, I realized it was actually staying on my body! Woohoo! It could still be salvaged!

I figured I would make the waistband look acceptable and dart the side of the skirt if I had to make it smaller. Turning the skirt inside out again, I folded the leftover fabric along to top over the elastic and ironed it in place. After ironing around the circumference once, I folded the top over again and ironed it down. I used a couple pins to keep this new hemline in place. This took the most time of the entire project, but it was worth how it looked in the end.

I sewed along the bottom of the new waistband to keep it all in place. As you can see, it was a huge improvement from how it looked after the initial sewing of the elastic.

I turned the skirt right side out and ironed the whole thing. Viola!

I admit, it's far from perfect, and I made quite a few visible mistakes while hemming the waistband. The advantage is that I never intend for anyone but me to see the waistband. If I were to do another elastic project without a machine that can zigzag stitch, I could either use less elastic to make a smaller circumference, or invest in some elastic thread. I learned so much from this project, and it only took a couple of hours.

Here's my new maxi skirt! I love it! Hopefully you find my adventure helpful, inspiring, or funny.

Best wishes! xo