Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dancing Skirts ... and Post Christmas Wrap Up


Happy Christmas!

Table of Contents:

I have been quite busy the last week, or so, cooking, baking, cleaning... preparing for the holiday. Though, to be honest, very little decorating. This year we placed our gifts under the Christmas Poinsettia, and I drew a stocking shape on two grocery bags. That, plus a wreath, and I was done. I've been working a lot and just couldn't get into the decorating, especially as the kids weren't around much to help/inspire/motivate.

Lazy? I like to think "efficient." :) You see, my week of vacation, and sewing, begins tomorrow and I'm ready to go! My house is all tidied and ready for some serious creative work.

I hope. :)

Dancing Skirts

I may have mentioned that younger daughter is now into Swing dancing. She had many dancing activities recently, so this week I whipped up three dancing skirts for her. For all three I hit the stash. I drafted up a gored trumpet skirt pattern. I was going to post a tutorial, then I googled and discovered there are many such tutorials, so why create another? In particular, I recommend this one and this one. It really is easy. :)

I first made an 8-gore skirt in red. The fabric for this one is a red sweater knit from Fabrix. This sweater knit is very "sticky" and wanted to grab onto itself. It was highly annoying to sew. I should have lined it, but couldn't be bothered. To help force it to behave, I took a couple dryer sheets and rubbed them all over the skirt, inside and out. That helped quite a bit. It's hard to pin down DD2 for pics, as she has a very active social life, but here is the hangar shot. It's a little bumpy at the waistline where I topstitched it, but that disappears on her body. I hemmed this skirt by hand.

Next up, I made her a 10-gore skirt using a slinky green fabric, also from Fabrix. This one has no hem, and is 3" shorter than the red skirt.

Finally, I made her a black skirt, also using a slinky fabric from Fabrix. This is a 12-gore skirt, with an asymmetric (raw edged) hem. Unfortunately, I have no shots of it on her, but here are a couple hangar shots.

The technique for creating the pointy hem is quite easy. Once you create the gore pattern piece, just draw in the asymmetric hem. I made the hem shorter on one side by 4" and then drew a curve to connect it to the other side. It would have been interesting to make it even shorter on one edge and to use a straight line to connect the points - to create a more dramatic effect.

Drawing the 12-gore asymmetric pattern. The original 10-gore skirt pattern is on the left.

The resulting 12-gore skirt pattern. I photographed the back side because it continued to curl up when laying on the right side.

Note: If you do try this, make sure that you cut all 12 gores with the same orientation. Unless your fabric is the same on both sides, you need to cut them all the same - do not fold the fabric in half and cut them out and expect it to work out. You have been warned. ;)

Photo Shoot

Several weeks ago my kids and their two cousins asked me to do a photo shoot for the grandparents for Christmas. I am not a professional photographer, by any means, but I enjoy taking pictures so I enthusiastically agreed. We had to wait for finals to be over, but we finally had an hour last week where all the schedules aligned and I was able to corral the cousins at the Palace of Fine Arts in the late afternoon. It was so much fun! Besides the jumping photo at the beginning of this post, here are a few more pics, out of the more than 500 that I took.






I think you can see that these cousins are more like siblings.

Christmas Booty

My two girls gave me some fun gifts this year. Nothing sewing related, but it's not like I need much in that area. ;)

Fun felted slippers!

I love this whimsical reindeer so much, she's staying out all year!

I saw a profile about Vienna Teng on PBS recently. I was waxing rhapsodic to one of the girls about her music and was gifted with one of her DVDs.

Here is one of her songs. She is classically trained and amazing. Prepare to be enchanted!

I also received a pair of knitted gloves that had not yet arrived, so no pictures, though DD wrapped up a printout. They have polka dots!

I expect to be sewing more than blogging this coming week. We'll see how it goes. :)


  1. Table of Contents! Impressive. Great photos--looks like a fun outing. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks, KC! Well, it's a long, photo-heavy post. ;)

  3. Oh, what great pix...not only the lovely cousin ones, but the skirts! The skirts-in-action, particularlyf what a lucky girl Younger Daughter is! Here's to a great sewing week for you!

  4. What a great photoshoot, I can feel the love & joy!!

  5. Enjoy your well deserved sewing time. Your swing skirts are adorable and I really like the asymmetrical hem.

  6. Great pictures, the grandparents are going to love them. Such creative use of the building’s architectural features and the sunlight to showcase the happy cousins. Those skirts look wonderfully swingy and fun to wear. I love those slippers, they look comfortable and cute. I live in shearling fleece lined slippers on weekends. I love warm and toasty tootsies. But they aren’t near as cute as your slippers.

  7. I WANT that reindeer! So, so cute! and those slippers can come along too when you send the reindeer :)

  8. Thank you for sharing your family's Christmas with us! You got some kewl gifts. About that sewing thing...peek your head out every now and then so those of us who have to work this week can experience your sewing vicariously!

  9. Great images and I'm definitely impressed by this post. Mostly impressed by see the first image as well. Thanks mate.

  10. love that photo with the hands making a star, clever!

  11. Love ALL the group pics of the kids! And the twirling skirt pics. You know, you ARE becoming quite the photographer, imho :)

    Enjoy the holiday break :)

  12. Cute skirts and pics of the kids! Have fun sewing this week..

  13. Enjoyed all your pictures. The skirts are lovely.
    What great slippers!
    Glad that you had wonderful Christmas!

  14. Shams, it looks like your kids are as creative as you are! Have you started the Shams Family Creative Dynasty? What fun you shared with us -- thank you.

    And, by the way, you did more decorating than I did. My only decoration is the fresh evergreen wreath I buy each year so as to have that luscious aroma whenever opening the door.

  15. Thanks for the comments!

    @Carol, that does make me feel better! I have to say, it's so nice not to have lots of decorating to "undo." :D

  16. They are great photos, what a lovely idea of the collective cousins to give their grandparents, and what a terrific job you did with the photos.
    The skirts look so swirly for dancing. Lucky daughter!
    I love your slippers.

  17. The family photos you took are fabulous, and your reindeer is too adorable! I'm so glad you had a nice, and a fabulously clutter-free, day!

  18. What fun, flippy skirts, and great photos -- but I *really* love those slippers!

  19. This year our decorating consisted of one string of lights. Our Christmas dinner was some tangerines, some left over chicken, and some raspberry sorbet. Oh, and hot chocolate! It was all easy and fun!!!

    But. . . if I had that reindeer in my possession, I would be in the decoration mood all year long. That is some reindeer!

    Happy Sewing Week and Happy New Year!!

  20. What a great bunch of young 'uns in your family! I like the finger-star pic and the general/genial fun-ness of the pictures. They also have great taste gifts--the footwear and the reindeer great.

    Rose in SV

  21. The swing skirts are wonderful - I especially like the black one with the scalloped edges! And your reindeer is so ADORABLE! It surely should stay out all year!

  22. Loved this post! I love your slippers, and the really kewl reindeer. I'm listening to the music you shared as I type this. I love this. Reminds me a bit of Janis Ian (but I'm old enough to remember her) the skirts you created are marvelous. I bet your daughters count themselves as blessed. I'm half through with Steve Jobs bio. I remember your post about working for neXt. My admiration for you, already great, now has tripled with your ability to put up with this kind of personality. Happy New Year, Shams!