Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Finished Project: Gathered Skirt (and a little road trip)

Over the long Memorial Day weekend, Tom and I made a quick trip to Charlottesville, VA. It's such a beautiful area and is a town we've been wanting to explore more. The night before we left, I whipped up this basic gathered skirt using Gertie's tutorial and some brown cottony fabric from the estate sale I went to last month. This make was quick and simple and I didn't do a single stitch of hand sewing - couldn't be bothered. It ended up being the perfect thing to wear in the hot, muggy weather we had.

top: Target; belt: thrifted; skirt: me-made, with Gertie's tutorial; shoes: Target.

Luckily for me, my measurements matched up with those Gertie used in her tutorial, so I didn't even have to do any math to whip this baby up. A quick project like this was just what I needed. I didn't need to be a slave to an instruction booklet and was able to just kind of wing it after glancing at Gertie's tutorial. As I said, I didn't do any hand sewing for this skirt, even though Gertie recommended it for attaching the inside of the waistband and sewing the hem. I didn't have the time or the energy for that, and on such a casual skirt, I don't think it really matters - at least not to me!

If you look closely in either of these pictures you can see that not only did I blatantly machine stitch the hem, but I even used black thread. I don't have any brown! Such a rebel.

machine-stitched hem

My main goals for this project were to:
1) have something cute/comfortable to wear on my trip, and
2) to practice making a full gathered skirt, which I was surprised to realize I'd never done before.
Mission accomplished, I'd say. I'm planning to use this same technique - recommended by Gertie - of using a zig-zag stitch over a strand of cord/thicker thread to make the gathering stitch, rather than the 3 rows of basting I've heard about before, for my spotted pink/black wedding guest dress. I've actually made a little bit of progress on that front, which I'll share soon.

While in C'ville, we got to act like tourists and walked all over the place checking out cute little shops and restaurants. I found one shop called Vintage Vixen (sound familiar? - how many sites/blogs/stores have a combination of those two words in their name!) and rushed inside...only to find expensive, designer clothes, largely from the 70s and 80s, though a few were from the 60s and a couple from the 50s. There were a couple of items to my taste, but not in my price range (I'm pretty cheap).

Much of our little visit in Charlottesville revolved around food. We made a mandatory stop at Cook-Out, Tom's favorite fast food restaurant of all time, and grabbed some cheddar style burgers and a peach cobbler shake. Later in the day we found ourselves at The Whiskey Jar at the outdoor downtown mall, which was a rather unique and delicious experience. I sipped some moonshine punch, munched on some complimentary fresh, homemade pickles(!), and debated ordering some fried chicken and collards (but ultimately passed - it was just too hot out to stuff my face with more food).

Sitting outside at The Whiskey Jar; moonshine punch; Cook-Out feast

For dinner we ended up driving out to the famous Crozet Pizza. The drive was scenic and we got to see lots of pretty farmland and some mountain views. The restaurant was essentially unchanged since being built 30ish years ago, and had a great atmosphere. There were brown-with-age business cards pinned to the walls by past customers and a well-worn patina on every surface in sight. AND the pizza was just as delicious as expected.

It was a quick, one-night trip, and on our drive back up to Northern Virginia the next day, we stopped at an antique mall where Tom sneakily bought this for me and hid it in my bag without me even noticing. 

The New Encyclopedia of Modern Sewing - 1949

I love all of the little illustrations

It's chock full of helpful advice and cute illustrations. There are also some outfit photos...which were difficult to capture via camera, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Chapter 2. Sew a Straight Seam
All in all, I'd say it was a pretty good weekend. I successfully whipped up a quick sewing project, ate some (meaning a LOT of) tasty food, and even managed to bring home a vintage sewing book. Hooray!

P.S. as you read this, I'll be at my first day of the new job, so send me some good-luck thoughts!


  1. I like your brown skirt! It's nice to have a quick and easy project sometimes! Though I get the feeling something like that would take me a week, I'm so slow :)
    Good luck for your new job! :D

  2. Nice brown skirt! I should give it a go, I'm in a CBF mode lately...

  3. Love the skirt, and... GOOD LUCK ON YOUR FIRST DAY!!!!! Let us know how it goes!

  4. Great skirt, a classic! Good luck at the new job!

  5. Happy first day!! Hope it goes swimmingly!! Glad you had such a nice weekend! The skirt is really cute! That's a beautiful area-- my sister used to live in Harrisonburg, and I really liked visiting her there.

  6. Ach what a good bookfind (and what a good sneakgift...well done Tom!)

  7. Good luck on the new job!

    Also if you add another line of black stitching parallel to the first, you can say it was a planned "design element."

    Also, now when I road trip to Charlottesville I'll know where to go, thanks!

  8. Love Charlottesville! Almost moved there once...long story. Sounds like you had a super time. What a great find that book is! What a sweet guy to get it for you!

  9. Yay, sounds like a great mini-vacation! Glad you had such a good time and how nice and thoughtful of your man to get the book for you!


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