I had the horrible realization last week that all the skirts in my closet are the wrong length! I’ve apparently just left behind a ten year phase of wearing skirts that hover close to or below the knee. Right now I’m loving the idea of a mini-ish skirt with tights and flats.
I’ve had Jenny Gordy’s Tulip Skirt pattern from Stitch magazine on my list for months so this was the logical place to start building a new skirt wardrobe from. I’m a huge fan of her lovely line, “Wiksten“. I would happily wear anything she designed. Luckily, Jenny just posted her errata from the pattern which helped to sort out some things that confused me when tracing the pattern sheet.
The sewing is simple for this skirt, the most confusing thing were the directions and lack of diagrams to help clarify. I’m still not sure if I did the facing correctly, I ended up just using the regular waistband pieces to create a matching facing. It seemed like there were other pieces I was supposed to trace on the pattern sheet, but they didn’t make sense to me. The one thing I modified was the tie. I wanted something a bit bigger, longer, perhaps evoking some Blair Waldorf.
As I was cutting out the fabric (which is a Daiwabo print) and eating some blackberries Andrew bought me, I realized that they were both the same colour. I’m loving this dark purple-y colour so much right now. I was pretty sure I’d find a good quote mentioning blackberries in ‘Peter Rabbit’ by Beatrix Potter for my typewritten label. I have the entire set of her charming books.
As for the buttons of the skirt, I’ve been holding on to a set of typewriter keys for a very long time with the intention of using them as buttons on a skirt. Let me first say that these came from a typewriter that I found banged up on the streets of New York. I took it home to see if it could be saved, but really it was beyond repair. I would never harm a working typewriter and neither should you! I carefully removed all the buttons and have kept them all these years. Of course, then there was the dilemma of what to spell with my five buttons. Keeping in mind I couldn’t repeat any of the letters. In the end, the perfect word seemed to be, ‘SKIRT’.
I thought about just letting all the photographs of all the snap coin purses that I made speak for themselves. There were fifteen, a few got away before being photographed. Thing is, of course, that there are some things I’d like to share with you about the process.
I set up an assembly line to make these and tasked myself one step of the project each day. This made the project seem totally manageable and much less stress-y. Things were going really well, except for the fact that the purse frames had sold out in the shop and the new order got stuck in customs for almost 2 weeks. That really threw my short schedule out the window. The frames finally arrived on December 24 and thus I finally finished these yesterday.
I tried using cotton batting instead of interfacing and I really like how they turned out. For this style, I just cut batting to match the top piece of purse and basted it to the lining. I trimmed all the batting down in the seam allowance, once everything was sewn together. The batting adds nice body and helps fill in the metal frame more, which I quite like. One of my little typewritten labels were sewn into the lining of each of the purses.
All the fabrics were from my stash, plus scraps from various projects, skirts and dresses. I had so much fun pairing up the outside fabric with the lining fabric. After so many years of making holiday gifts, I’ve found that the best thing is to pick one thing and make many of them. Over the years, I have made stained glass night lights, hot water bottle covers, lavender & flax filled patchwork eye pillows and zippered pouches. There was no doubt that this year it had to be snap coin purses. They are the perfect gift, pretty and useful at the same time. Oh, yes, and they are fun to make!
One last thing – I learned that these types of purses are called “gamaguchi” in Japan, which means ‘frog’s mouth’. That name adds a whole other dimension to these guys.
I’ve been toying with the idea of having labels made for years, but haven’t gotten around to doing it. Adding a personal label to some of my holiday gifts was something that I thought of in the last days before Christmas. There was no time to order printable fabric sheets (that I now plan on ordering for the shop) or even iron-on transfer paper.
I pulled out my beloved Underwood Portable typewriter and some large scraps of cotton muslin and typed right onto the fabric! If I had planned more carefully, I could have done sweet individual messages to each gift recipient. Alas, this year it will be the same heartfelt message to all.
In order to feed the muslin fabric into the typewriter, I folded it around a piece of copy paper. Ironing freezer paper onto the back of the fabric would have been another way to accomplish making the fabric stiffer, but I didn’t have any at home that night. Once the fabric is fed into the roller, then you just type away! I really love the feeling of typing on a typewriter and especially the ‘clacking’ sound.
To heat set the ink on labels, I ironed them for a few minutes. The labels went on items that are never going to be washed, but I still wanted to do my best to make them as permanent as possible. I had some leftover labels that I threw in the wash out of curiosity. The ink faded slightly from the washing, but is still visible. The idea that the label may fade over time, is actually appealing to me.
Sewing the labels was simple, I used a small zigzag stitch around the outside edge of the label to secure it in place. I really adore them! I’ve decided to add a label or message to as many of my makings as possible from now on. Tiny details can add so much delight to a handmade item.