As promised, here is A’s skirt that I completed for the Oliver +S Swingset Sew-Along. Recently, O+S reissued their Swingset Skirt pattern as separate from the tunic and added a wider range of sizes. It really is a staple for a little girl’s wardrobe, so I’m glad to hear I can count on it for many more years to come!
We started this photoshoot in a fall jacket, but the temperatures around these parts have dropped substantially overnight and we decided the wind alone warranted a winter coat and hood.
A was so patient and tolerant with me. I am not the best photographer. A lot of my photos end up dark because I haven’t thought about the direction of the sun or which way shadows are falling. Honestly, most of the time when I shoot for these posts I am too preoccupied thinking about how cute my kid is and what new curious thing she’s up to. I can mostly make up for my lack of skills with taking an abundance of candid photos. Eventually there’s at least one keeper in the bunch!
I hadn’t planned on sewing for this event per se, but came across it when I was checking the fabric requirements for another O+S pattern on their website. Lucky for me, I was looking for something to do with this falling leaves corduroy before Thanksgiving et voila! A match made in autumn.
I don’t think I’ve ever sewn with corduroy before, but it is perfectly heavy for fall and much less wrinkly than all the quilting cottons that I normally use. I think that this was a JoAnn’s purchase, but it’s been so long that I don’t know for sure.
The lining is a Kona cotton from JoAnn’s. I still really love the weight and opacity of Kona cotton. Many of the solid cottons in their selection are pretty transparent, but Kona never disappoints. I followed the pattern for the most part, except for the lining.
I cut the lining about an inch and a half longer than the pattern calls for, and I also hemmed it toward the inside instead of toward the main fabric. The corduroy was so heavy and saturated in color that I wanted the lining to be a light accent that brightened it up and outlined the flow of the skirt.
The selling point of this skirt to little girls is how the skirt is cut in such a shape that facilitates exuberant twirling. To this day, I have no idea how or when A developed an affinity for spinning , but the behavior is apparently coded somewhere on the second X chromosome and kicks in around the 2nd year of life.
I chose a muted yellow satin ribbon for the drawstring and had this idea after I finished the skirt to make some leaves for the ends of it. We were playing in the backyard oak leaves (Oh my how many leaves can one tree have?!) when I started noticing all these little perfectly domed encapsulations on the leaves and little trails from critters past. My leaves are cut from felt in speckled brown and magenta. I had some tiny gold discs in my stash from making doll bracelets that I sewed on with French knots. The little critter trails are made with some pink embroidery floss also from my stash.
I am planning to pair this skirt with the green top (above) and this knitted heartwarmer that I’ve been working on for A to wear on Thanksgiving. The pattern is the Bless Your Heartwarmer pattern from Sweet K.M.. I was a little bummed that I didn’t finish it (or even come close!) before having to take photos for the sew-along, but I did just teach myself how to knit this week, after all. This seems like a very good beginner pattern if you are interested in starting to knit. It’s very simple and repetitive. I am not usually a pink person, but this deep raspberry color is just warm and yummy, isn’t it? I can’t wait to see the whole thing!
The falling leaves skirt is actually the second time that I’ve made the Swingset pattern. This one was the first skirt and it has become a favorite of A’s. I loved the one Gail made a long time ago for Lila and decided to order some Arrows in Navy by Cotton + Steel to make my own. It is almost an exact replica of Gail’s so I’m not entering it in the sew-along. I followed the pattern to the letter for this first Swingset and (no surprise) it turned out perfect! Gail likes to add a contrasting waistband to hers, which looks very nice and adds another component to the skirt to break up the one-noted nature of the pattern or integrate another color into an outfit. You can see hers here.
Since the frigid conditions this morning didn’t really inspire much twirling, we shot the photos for the arrows skirt indoors and caught the magic of the Swingset Skirt in action.
In fact, even Ellie, our pup, joined in on the fun. “Spin” is (of course) A’s favorite command that Ellie knows and she was falling over with giggles as Ellie spun next to her. Now that it’s A’s job to feed Ellie breakfast and dinner, commands spoken by her are now on Ellie’s radar. And, of course, A is pretty thrilled to have a minion to give orders to.
Eventually minion had had enough and it was time for a break.
The work is hard but the benefits are pretty great.
And even while you break, your boss just keeps on moving along without you. This maneuver here is actually part of the “stretching” she does at the start of every gymnastics class. A few months ago her balancing muscles wouldn’t have had the stamina for all that twirling!
I can’t really say enough about the Oliver + S patterns. They are without a doubt what has taken my sewing to a higher level of professionalism, but what’s more, is that they’ve given me confidence. I’m now starting to feel comfortable straying from a pattern and going with my creativity. I’m starting to actually think about creating “looks” or “outfits” instead of just focusing on completing a project. I’m also starting to really fall in love with the rhythm of creating, doing and telling my story here. So in the coming months, you’ll hopefully be seeing some changes to the blog format and design as well as an increase in the frequency of posts.
Next in line are some Sleepover Pajamas because somebody is turning 3 in less than 2 weeks!! I’m starting to feel excited about 3. 2 was definitely a challenge, but 3 seems to be ushered in with a whole new level of wonder and magic. This little curly girl is quickly becoming a vast personality of beautiful attributes and cast iron integrity.
Oh and I just realized that my last post was lite on sewing details. The kitty pillow for A’s room is from a book called Storybook Toys by Jill Hamor of ByBido. I haven’t sewn any of the other patterns but this one was super easy, quick, and adorable.
The blue dots fabric is a quilting cotton from JoAnn’s. The eyes and nose are made from felt. Most patterns I’ve come across for little things seem to call for wool felt blend or 100% wool felt. Wool felt is awesome, but expensive. I haven’t had any problems using the cheap EcoFelt from JoAnn’s for this project or A’s penguin hat. The best part is that they wash in the machine and dryer and come out like new!
The kitty pillow is just a cover and you can take the round pillow insert out to wash the fabric cover. Convenient!
I will be making more (accessories, not kitties) for A’s room in the coming weeks. Painting over those pink walls from the previous tenant was quite the undertaking, but we are well on our way to a lovely little girls room!