7/10: Striped Maxi Skirt

This project was pretty fun to make. And it still is fun, to wear! Also, lo and behold, it taught me several things – as these DIY projects are wont to do. I buzzed through this skirt, making my fair share of mistakes, getting justifiably annoyed (cutting fabric is a ridiculous endeavour) and fixing as I went along. I was left with a skirt! That fits me! It doesn’t fall off or anything!

Here’s what worked: it fits. It’s cute, comfortable, not too fussy to put on. I like to wear it around the house mostly, but I have worn it a couple times on the street. Mostly, my goal with this skirt was just to practice sewing techniques, so I’m happy even just to wear it for mucking around in the kitchen.

But there were a few things that didn’t work. First, I messed up my thread tension, so the side seam is a little bumpier than I might have liked, but it’s not too noticeable when it’s on. Also, it’s a little tricky to walk in, which might explain why I don’t wear it out much! It’s long, and not very flared, so I have to take small geisha-esque steps, unless I hike it up a bit. Next time, I would flare it quite a bit more (like this tutorial shows) so that it’s easier to walk in. And I ended up having to cut off a few inches because it was much too long at first.

I used this tutorial. For the most part, I liked it and it wasn’t too complicated. Then again, I had my fair share of frustration in making this skirt, so use at your own risk. (Although likely that was only due to my inexperience.) I used a simple jersey-like fabric that I found at the store, I have absolutely no specs on it whatsoever. It’s comfy and soft.

(I’m a goof. Did you know this about me?)

It was a terrific second sewing project. I should probably give you a disclaimer: sewing experts would probably shudder at my sewing. Objectively, I suck. But this is probably the easiest it gets (3 seams, that’s it), which means that if I can do it, so can you! Perhaps the process wasn’t that fun (at times – at others, it was!), but getting a finished product certainly was.

And with that, I’m finished 7/10 DIY projects this year! See the rest of them here.

6/10: Zippered Bag

This a perfectly imperfect project, but it’s one of my favourites so far. Although, when I think about all the things I’ve made this year, I’m thrilled. I now have sweet little handmade things all over my apartment and it really makes it a lot more homey. But I think the reason I love this funny little bag so much is because it’s my first ever complete sewing project, and it was both easier and more adorable than I thought it would be.

Granted, the “handiwork” on my bag might be pretty shoddy – the lining isn’t quite lined up, the stitches might be a little uneven… it’s probably enough to make seasoned seamstresses cringe. In fact, I was lucky enough to hang out in a really cool boutique today and was awed to discover that the owner sews all the clothes herself; it was all so beautifully made! Even though I doubt I’ll ever have her level of skill, it was still very inspiring for me, and it made me want to improve as much as I can. I am considering making this very simple skirt/dress next, as a foray into garment sewing. We shall see.

I’ve been hoping to make this bag for a few months now. In fact, when I was home over reading week, I cut the fabric (probably one reason this project came together so quickly at the end) and found a zipper, just in time to discover that my mom’s old sewing machine was broken. The bag project was shelved, until my mom gave me my own sewing machine for my birthday! I toted the cut fabric pieces and zipper home with me after my birthday weekend, and on a study break last week, I created this end product.

All told, it probably took me about forty-five minutes of sewing, because I was very green about it, and wanted to follow the steps very carefully. I used this tutorial, omitting the iron-on or painted aspects that she discusses. I just followed along as best I could with the actual sewing/cutting instructions. And you know what? Despite the slight wonkiness of my fabric and the very limited reach of my skills, it still worked out! Like I said, I was completely surprised. I went into it thinking that if it completely flopped, it didn’t matter because it was only a few scraps of old fabric and some wasted time. I think that not trying to be perfectionistic takes some of the pressure off, and makes it easier to go with the flow and try your best. That being said, I think this is an amazing beginner’s project – it is apparently quite tricky to mess up.

I haven’t quite decided what I’ll use it for yet. Pencil case? Toiletries bag? Don’t know. I also don’t know how long it’ll hold up – I’ve read blog posts already about how these little pouches like to break down pretty fast. But hey! This was a project to learn from, and learn I did. All it means is that there’s more to come in the future! You can check out some of the fun sewing projects I’m considering here on Pinterest.

And with this, I’m at 6 DIY projects for the year! I’m loving it so much though, I may end up with more than 10 by the end of 2012. I wouldn’t complain about it! See the rest of the DIY projects here.

Ps. Turning it inside-out to reveal the “final product” is totally the best part.