In my drive to clear all clutter out of my room in preparation for my move to Wisconsin, I’ve been going through all of the fabric I have laying around from old projects. This particular floral fabric was actually cut from a dust ruffle that my neighbor gave me a long time ago. While I was originally perplexed as to what I could do with such little fabric (it was about four feet long and a foot and a half wide), I realized that it was the perfect amount for a gathered – or dirndl – skirt.
What’s really useful about making this skirt out of a dust ruffle is that the dust ruffle will come pre-hemmed on the bottom (yay!) and will possibly already have a way to attach to itself. I was very lucky and found that my fabric had cute yellow buttons and buttonholes already in place, which made this project ten times easier. If your fabric doesn’t have buttons like mine, you’ll have to either sew your own buttonholes (here’s a relatively easy tutorial on how to machine sew buttonholes) or add a zipper.
- Skirt fabric – the longer this is, the fuller your skirt will be. You want the width to be the length from your waist to your ideal skirt length, plus a couple of inches for hemming. If you’re working with a dust ruffle, disregard the hemming part. You can use many types of fabric for this – I used a cotton but special occasion fabrics would also give this skirt a little oomph.
- Waistband fabric – get fabric in a matching or complementary color. You won’t need much, just long enough to go around your waist and about 6-8 inches wide depending on how thick you want the waistband to be.
- Matching thread
- Optional – interfacing for the waistband (to make it stiffer – I didn’t do this but you could), buttons, and zippers are all optional.
- Gather the skirt fabric – Baste (loosely stitch – I set my stitch width at 4) two lines across the top of your fabric. Pull one thread from each line on each side, scrunching up the fabric as you go. The fabric should slide pretty easily over the thread. Make sure that the skirt is distributed evenly over the thread with the gathering pretty even overall.
- Sew the fabric to the waistband – With the right sides of the fabric together, pin the skirt to the waistband. Sew the two together (back on a normal stitch – I use 2), making sure that you are sewing lower than the two gather threads (so they end up inside the waistband, not visible to the outside world).
- Slipstitch the waistband closed – Iron the free edge of the waistband over about 3/8 in. Fold the waistband in half, and slipstitch the ironed edge to the other half of the waistband. If you’re using interfacing, apply (iron or sew) the interfacing to one half of the waistband before you sew it shut.
- Optional: Hemming the skirt and sewing it closed While I didn’t have to do this, if you don’t start with a dust ruffle, you’ll have to hem the skirt. Fold 3/8 in. of the bottom of the skirt under and sew it. Then, fold it under again until the skirt is your desired length. Pin it in place, and slip stitch the hem. To close the skirt, fold over and hem the two edges, sewing buttons and buttonholes down the skirt’s length. If you’re using a zipper, figure out how long you need the zipper to be (probably 7-9 in., but it needs to be able to open up to fit over the widest part of your hips). Sew the skirt closed up to that point. Next sew in the zipper, following the above tutorial.
I absolutely love my new skirt, and I’m so glad I’ve finally found a use for such charming fabric. Depending on how you style the skirt and what fabric you use, a gathered skirt can be used for almost any occasion – work, leisure, special occasions. I would recommend wearing it with a tucked in shirt, however, since the gathers might look awkward if the flattering waist is hidden. If you use enough fabric (more than I did), you can also wear a petticoat underneath it, and wear it like a classic vintage skirt – there are so many possibilities.
For a post-Fourth of July date, Lucas and I visited Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ. If you haven’t been there before, it’s a great outdoor 43 acre sculpture park filled with all sorts of statues and definitely worth a visit. The date gave me an opportunity to take out my new safari clothes I picked up from Banana Republic.
I’ve developed a recent obsession with tropical prints (I’ve got a couple dresses currently in the works on my sewing table). I love how summery they feel, and how playful they are while still being stylish. I’ve also started loving excessively matching prints. When I saw this shirt and pants combo at Banana Republic, I knew I couldn’t leave it behind.
Grounds for Sculpture is filled with kooky realistic sculptures of people, including recreations of famous paintings. Some of the statues are really startling – you have to look twice before you realize what they are. Peacocks also roam the grounds, amping up the surreal nature of it all.
If you are ever in the area, you should definitely visit Grounds for Sculpture.
Happy Independence Day everyone! Hopefully everyone enjoyed the holiday. We had a relaxing party on my back porch with a hodge-podge of red, white, and blue decor. I used a lace table cloth and a red and blue star printed burlap cloth as a table runner, along with some blue plates and red chargers to get into the holiday spirit. I’m loving the idea of using burlap as a table runner for summer parties – Joann Fabrics has such cute patterns that add such spunk to the table.
For our main drink, I made a patriotic sangria. The recipe is fairly simple:
- 2 bottles dry white wine (I used Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck Chardonnay)
- 1/2 cup of vodka (I used whipped vodka, which gave the sangria a lightly vanilla flavor)
- 1/2 cup of limoncello (you could also replace this with triple sec or maybe peach schnapps)
- 1 package of blueberries
- 1 package of strawberries, sliced
- 1 pineapple, cut into chunks
Combine all of the ingredients into a pitcher and let them soak together for a couple of hours, then, enjoy!
We also used a couple sparklers I found in my desk drawer that have been languishing there since I don’t know when. They were so much fun that I think I might track down more for my birthday.
I hope everyone’s been having a good week,
It’s been a relaxing few weeks for me, and I’m loving soaking in all of the goodness that summer has to offer. Hydrangeas are blooming all over my neighborhood and putting me in such a good mood. I think they’re such gorgeous flowers.
We’ve been having a couple cookouts, and while I love burgers and ribs, I can’t get enough of grilled veggies (these ones were prepared by Lucas’ mom) – they’re so bright and delicious.
With my birthday approaching, I’ve been test driving some potential cocktails to serve. This one is super simple and tastes exactly like an orange creamsicle. Just mix one part whipped vodka (or vanilla – but I love exotic flavors) with two parts San Pellegrino aranciata. It’s light, sweet, and nostalgically delicious.
What’re you excited for this summer?
While at Trader Joe’s the other day, I ended up grabbing a few eggplants with the foggy notion of maybe making eggplant Parmesan for dinner. Then, when I remembered a recipe I found on Pinterest, Use Real Butter’s Eggplant Fries with Honey and Sea Salt, I decided I had to finally try it.
The fries were fairly simple to make, although mine were not as crisp as those shown with the recipe (I think it might be because my eggplants were pretty old by the time I remembered to use them.) My mom absolutely loved them – I think she might have eaten almost an entire eggplant’s worth of fries. I test drove them with a little honey and sea salt mixed together on the edge of my plate, which was pretty delicious.
Semi-soggy fries or not, I would definitely make this again. It’s a great (and healthier) update on the somewhat staid potato fries.
One of my major goals before I turned thirty (which is, admittedly, quite far off) was to go to a major, three day music festival. Then, last February, I learned about this fairly young festival (it started last year) located in nearby Delaware, Firefly Music Festival! I was already 75% sold on it just based on the distance from my house (it’s a little over a two hour drive), but when I saw the lineup, I was completely smitten. Even so, I didn’t actually decide to go and buy tickets until about a week before the festival. I wanted to find someone to go with, and while Lucas was the obvious choice to bring since the festival seemed a perfect blend of our music tastes, he had just gone to Ultra over spring break and unsure about splurging on another festival. Also, the three day passes were sold out by the time we resolved to go. Luckily, I later checked StubHub for three day passes and found two for even cheaper than the festival sold them at originally. We didn’t end up going camping, since the camping passes being resold on StubHub were exorbitantly expensive. Instead, we stayed at a small, cheap motel in South Jersey right on the Delaware border that was about an hour away from the festival.
We got there pretty late on the first day since the traffic was unbelievably horrible, but it was still a lot of fun. Highlights included Ellie Goulding, the Avett Brothers (hearing their “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” live was amazing), Calvin Harris, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (Lucas is huge fan). I wore a crop top that I had made a couple years ago and sewn a bunch of fabric flowers on to along with a floral crown. Lucas wore a tribal print tank from target along with the Toyota-sponsored official Firefly bandana. We spent a little time exploring the grounds, which were really cool. They had a “hammock hangout”/”forest cinema” grove filled with many hammocks and televisions playing old movies (that’s where the floral popcorn I’m posing with was situated). There was also a hot air balloon you could ride (we were too busy at the concerts to do that, but you can see it on the left of Calvin Harris’ performance).
The second day was even better. We started off with a late breakfast at Waffle House. Lucas had never been there before, and we treated ourselves to an unimaginably large feast of eggs, bacon, toast, waffles, and their famous hash browns – we needed to fuel up for the long day ahead of us. In honor of one of the best Tom Petty songs, Lucas and I decided to theme our outfits “America,” which seemed to be a pretty popular clothing choice at Firefly. I wore one of my favorite crop tops – a red, white, and blue plaid pseudo-bustier that I got off Ebay awhile ago, as well as these short overalls (shorteralls? jorteralls?) I picked up for cheapsies at Walmart. Lucas rocked a Pepsi shirt from Target and Nantucket-red shorts I made for him from a pair of pants that were too big on him. Highlights from the second day included Lord Huron, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (although it was not as amazing as at Lawnparties, because I didn’t feel like fighting to be at the front of the huge crowd), Youngblood Hawke, Azealia Banks (who was absolutely amazing – we skipped out on MGMT so that we could be at the front of her concert even though we only knew “212,” and it was totally worth it. She was so fun.), and, of course, Tom Petty, who rocked hard despite his advancing age. We also found the silent disco hidden in the backwoods. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a silent disco is when (usually) two DJs spin records at the same time and the partygoers wear headphones that can tune into either frequency. They’re ideal for unusual locations (like the middle of the forest) and can look pretty crazy from the outside (it’s just a bunch of people wildly dancing to music you can’t hear).
The third day was possibly the best of all three. We made sure to get there early so that I could see HAIM close up, an amazing and hilarious sister act from California. We also saw Matt and Kim from pretty close up, which was a party. We caught a bit of Passion Pit, but their lead singer was losing his voice so Lucas and I decided to split to wait for our respective next bands (he went to see Zedd, while I headed for Vampire Weekend) and get a good spot. Vampire Weekend was an amazing concert, reminding me how much of their music I really love. Lucas and I then met up again to watch the end of Foster the People, who put on a great show, but were kind of a strange choice for headliner. For the third day, we went with a sort-of pastel theme. I wore an old pastel and floral skirt from my mom and peach and lavender bras from Urban Outfitters. Lucas wore an old shirt that I gradient tie-dyed pink, purple, and blue and wore one of my old necklaces as a headband. I bought some hair chalk for the occasion and colored my hair basically every color of the rainbow. It actually worked really well, but also stressed me out when it started pouring, which it did off and on all of Sunday (all I could imagine was a stream of purplish-brown running down the back of my clothes).
All in all, Firefly was a great festival, and a perfect fit for what I wanted. Everyone there was pretty relaxed, the music was generally really good, and it had a lot of cool other features (the silent disco, the hammock hideaway, the pathway with umbrellas and lights suspended over it, the arcade, the water stations, the samples). It was also definitely the right time to go – it provided a break from this lull between college and work, the bands mostly catered to an early-twenties crowd, and I don’t know if I could do all the walking, standing, waiting, running, staying up late and waking up early later on in my life, but for now, it was perfect.