shirred skirt with pockets, or how I got back into sewing

Several years ago, my mom and I went on a mother-daughter trip to Amish country in Ohio. We stayed at an inn that used to be a barn where the owner made us delicious breakfasts and showed us the quilts and quilt patterns she was working on. I’d picked out a pattern from one of my mom’s quilting books before we left, and with that in hand we drove around in the snow to all these little quilt shops to find coordinating fabrics.

I cut the blocks on a later trip home (I was still in college) and in the summer of 2008 I started sewing the blocks together by borrowing my mom’s nice new sewing machine for the summer while I was working as an intern. Then I studied abroad for a semester, had another internship, and got a full-time job. My mom bought me my own sewing machine for my birthday, but it went sadly unused for some time until I decided I should get my quilting stuff out of her craft room and start working on it again.

Then there was a fire at my apartment and I lost basically everything. As a crafter, my losses included that quilt top I’d pieced together; a wallhanging I’d been nearly done hand-quilting; a crocheted sweater coat I’d nearly completed; and some crocheted pillow covers I was making for my brother to go with his queen-sized bed afghan. I was very thankful that I’d already given him the afghan and that these quilts were at my parents’ house.

I hand-quilted every inch of this. It currently lives on my parents’ bed.

After my quilt top was lost, I wasn’t so big on sewing anymore. My mom bought me the same sewing machine again and I made simple curtains for the 14 windows in the rental house I’m living in now and that was pretty much it. Then last summer I found this blog, Running with Scissors. I don’t remember how I found out about the blog, but one of the first projects I saw was a tutorial for a shirred skirt with pockets where Jessica suggested using a thrifted sheet as fabric.

I’d already been thrifting clothes and things for the house, but had never thought about using a sheet as fabric. It was like a lightbulb went off. I found a brightly colored sheet (similar in color to Jessica’s first skirt) in good condition at the thrift store and got my mom to send me elastic thread since our local store didn’t have any. I was nervous about working out the measurements and shirring, but I took a deep breath and went forward anyway. Before long I had a completed wearable garment.

This was the first article of clothing I’d sewn for myself since high school. After making this skirt, I went on a sewing tear last summer until I was halted by my months-long issue of getting my sewing machine repaired. I replaced sewing with crochet during that time and as soon as I got my machine back in January it’s been full-speed ahead. My growing pile of completed projects lead to me start this blog in March.

I used the hemmed side of the sheet for the hem, and this pink sheet has been seen in many other items I’ve made (here, here and here). I took a little time a few weeks ago to fix the “guts” of my skirt from last summer and the pockets I’d screwed up when I printed the pattern out.

So here it is: the skirt that got me back into sewing.

You can see a peek of the shirring in this photo.

I didn’t wear skirts much previously, but this summer I’ve embraced them. I especially like the orange and pink “sunset colors” combo. The shirt (J.Crew, $1) and shoes (Steve Madden, $1) both came from yard sales.

I’m so glad that this skirt clicked with me for whatever reason and I rediscovered my love of sewing. It’s been a fun year of craftiness so far and I’m looking forward to the projects ahead.

Many mosquitos bites were suffered for these photos. Thanks to Laura for taking them!


3 thoughts on “shirred skirt with pockets, or how I got back into sewing

  1. what a cool story! How devastating to have all your projects lost in the fire. Our area recently had a fire that destroyed 66 homes and I also thought how tragic handmade quilts would be to lose.
    What a great thrifted outfit top to bottom! Thanks for sharing your story and I can’t wait to browse around your blog to check out your other projects.

  2. handmadebymrsh says:

    Oh Sarah, I had no idea about this fire. Poor you 😦 I’m so glad you got your craft back on, very glad!

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