August 19, 2016

Shirred skirt tutorial

Firstly I have to say, I am no seamstress, so the tutorial might not be by the book. I read something on the internet, books, watched some videos and came up with my own way which I would like to share with you.

I sew mostly patchwork, I am scared of the clothes, because they mostly don’t turn out well. However, I read, that this skirt fits every figure, it is easy to sew, especially for beginners, so I tried it, it was easy and it fits nicely. I have apple shaped figure, I wear size 44-46 so I thought, well this might turn out to be a disaster, all this shirring in waist area…but in the end, it looks nice, because the skirt fits my bodyshape like a glove in the shirred area and the fabric falls nicely from the below belly part where I am not that big.

So here we go.The meassurements are for my size 44-46, but the skirt would fit 42-48

You will need:

Fabric: if 150cm wide, you’ll need the lenght of your skirt+5cm for seam allowance, plus count with some shrinkage. I am 165 cm tall, I wanted my skirt to end just below the knees (I heard, the skirt should end at place, where your legs are thinnest or nicest, my nice area is just below knees, it doesn’t look like I have bigger tights). So my skirt would be 60cm long, I bought 80 cm of the fabric.

If the fabric width is 110cm, you will need double of the above, meaning 80×2 – 160cm

Scissors and/or rotary cutter
Small safety pin
Fabric pen to make markings- I used the one which disappers with water
Matching thread
Thin elastic band, the lenght approx. your waist lenght
Elastic thread for shirring. Be careful, it is the thicker thread, there is another elastic thread, which is thin, for sewing elastic fabrics. I bought the one from Gutermann- 10m were just so so for the skirt, maybe buy two just to be sure.
Sewing machine

1/If you bought fabric, which shrinks, like cotton, prewash it. The lighter is the fabric, the more effective is the shirring. I worked with 100% cotton fabric, 110cm wide.

2/Cut the fabric to the desired lenght of skirt +5cm, in my case 65cm. So I cut two pieces 65x 80 cm and I sew it on one shorter side, so I ended up with single piece 65*approx.155 cm. If you work with 150cm wide fabric, you save yourself the step, you just cut a strip 65cm wide, you have it already 150cm long.

Shirred skirt01

3/ I decided to make on the top of the skirt a tunnel where I put a firmer elastic band, so that I feel more secure, that the skirt doesn’t fall from my waist. So I marked 3cm from the top and marked a line.Shirred skirt02

4/Approx 0.5 cm from top I sew a small button hole through wich I at the end insert the elastic band.Shirred skirt03

5/ Fold the fabric like you see below and sew along the edge. However not completelyto the ends of fabric, leave there so 5 cm at each end.Shirred skirt04

Here you can see that I left the ends unsewn. The reason is, that when you sew the tunnel till the end and then at the end sew together the ends od the fabrics to finish the skirt, you sew through the tunnel and close it with the stitches. So I finish the tunnel at the end.Shirred skirt05

6/ On the right side of the fabric I drew 7 lines 1.5cm apart. I actually sew 8 lines of the shirring, but I sew the first one just milimeters beow the first stitch of the tunnel. So the stitch is first line and from that each 1,5cm another 7 lines. I used pen, which dissappears with water.Shirred skirt07

7/ Thread your machine. Top hread is the matching one and the bootom the elastic thread. You mus wind the thread on bobin manually, slightly pulling on the thread. It cannot be completely loose, but neither stretched. You enter it in the machine like usually any other thread. I read on some blogs, that there is a problem with shirring on Brother machines, you need to check it out on the internet. On my Janome it worked just fine. You need to set the lenght of the stitch to longer. My usual stitch is 2,2 I changes it to 3,5

Pull the thread to the top and you can start sewing.Shirred skirt08

As you sew along the lines, pull the already shirred fabric straight piece by piece. It is possible to sew it without drawing the lines, but I didn’t do it that nicely straight without them.

At end and beginning of each line I left few cm of the thred and made two knots to secure the elastic and top thread. Just to be sure.

If you run out of the elastic thread in the middle, don’t worry. Pull the top thread to the wrong side of fabric and make a knot. Start sewing on the same place and make the same process, pull the beginning of the thread to the wrong side of fabric and make knot.

When you finish all 8 lines, change the stitch lenght to  short, I changed to 1,4 and sew along the edges of fabric to secure the threds even more, then cut them shorter.Shirred skirt10

8/ Sew the skirt together along the one edge.

9/ Now sew the botton edge. I used again 2.5 cm  or 1 inch line, to help me with the fold, you can use your own method. In this step you can try on the skirt and check if the lenght is OK, if you want it shorter, then cut.Shirred skirt11

10/ Then sew the bottom hem.Shirred skirt12

11/Now it is the time to finish the tunnel. Just fold the fabric in the same way like before and sew it together.Shirred skirt13

12/Now the important part. You might have a feeling that the skirt doesn’t stretch that much. But it is OK.Shirred skirt14

From 150cm full lenght, also 75 (half – one side of the skirt), we got with the shirring to 44 cm.Shirred skirt15

Now take the iron, set it on full steam, and press and steam it. Don’t go withthe iron forwards and backwards like when ironing, just press and steam. You will see the shirring tightening in front of your eyes. It is now much tighter and stretchier and we are at 37-38 cm. Remember, the skirt can still stretch quite much, that’s why it is suitable for bigger sizes too.

And because I used water dissolable pen all the time, the lines disappear with the steaming.

If you sew it for someone slimmer, I would start with shorter fabric at the beginning (not 150cm like me)Shirred skirt17

13/ And as I mentioned at the beginning, I fel more secure, when I have a stronger elastic band on top. So I cut a piece so that it sits nice around my waist, but not too tight, and with help of the safety pin I pulled it through the tunnel and sewed the edges together with zig zag stitch.Shirred skirt18

And voila, skirt is finished.

Shirred skirt19

And I made another two, for my friends and I think many others will get them for Christmas 🙂

And this is how it looks on me… the picture is not very artistic, but just to get an idea:

shirred skirt

So good luck sewing, I believe you can do a lot with this technique, dresses and cute skirts for little girls…



April 3, 2016

Hexagon template

This weekend is in Prague a Prague Patchwork Meeting. Patchwork exhobition and a trade fare with patchwork supplies like sewing machines, threads and lots and lots of fabrics. Of course I spent there a lot of money and bought many fabrics. But not just that.

I played with the tought that I will hand sew a hexagon quilt for some time already, but I was too lazy to cut all the paper templates. Here in Prague you can’t really get a pre- cut product. I found there these plastic re-usable templates from a Hungarian manufacturer and got one package. They are fantastic. You can also fold them in half and get different shape. I tried it right away and made few shapes like this, I will make them in more colors and applique on a quilt.



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January 2, 2016

X and Plus Quilt tutorial

Thank you Pinterest for the inspiration for my next project. Althoug I said I am not going to do nything big anymore, I just can’t resist the idea of a queen size colorful X an plus quilt. Yes, there are many tutorials on the internet already, I am adding mine anyway.

First the materials.

You will need:

4x           5,5″ squares of the colorful fabric you want for your X’s. I like the idea of crazy colorful one, when each corner is different color, however I can imagine also a quilt od more shades of the same color can be very nice.

8x           3,5″ squares of the background fabric. I chose white for all my blocks, but I saw some pictures where more whites with some print were used, or grey and they were also nice

1x           2,5 x 6,5 strip of the color you want your center plus be
2x           2,5″ squares of the same color, for the center plus

4x           2,5 x 3,5 strips for the loger arms of the cross. I chose grey and shades of grey. From the pictures on the internet I realized I like more the quilts which have this part in shades of the same color, it somehow completes it, especially, if you choose the X’s to be wildly colorful like me.

If you make perfect job at cutting and sew with 1/4 inch seam, all the points in the middle, where X and plus meet, will match perfectly.

x plus block


First you sew the background squares to the 5,5″ squares as drawn on the picture and then cut off the corners and press. I am was pressing towards the center, as it was darker.

X plus block 2

Then I sew the 2,5″ squares to the 3.5″ grey strips and I sew the strips also to the ends of the 6,5″ long leg of the plus.


I connected the pieces on boths sides of the block and then these two halves together by the long strip in the middle.

X plus block progress

The finished block measures 12″ and it took me cutting including sewing 35-40 minutes. I must however admit, I am lousy with pressing, some parts I just “pressed” with my nails, but I always recommend pressing.

X plus block 3

finished X and plus block

I guess if you have all the plusses of the same color for whole quilt, you can speed up the process for exampe cutting 3,5 inch wide and as you wish long strip of the grey fabric and sew on it 2,5″ wide strip and after pressing just cut these in 2,5″ wide strips. This was however not my case, therefore this lenghty process.

Well, I have 4 blocks so far, 52 to go, I hope I will be able to share the picture of the finished quilt this year…


January 1, 2016

New Year

In Slovakia, we have a saying. I am not sure, if it can exactly be translated to English, but it could be like: How on New Year’s day, so the whole year. Meaning that how you spend the first day of the year, signalize how will you be spending the rest of it.

So I decided to write this post, because I would like to blog more next year. I started in 2012 and I must admit, I thougt I will be publishing posts more often, especially tutorials. So I hope, I will do so this year.

My life is work, exams and with it connected studying.I sew very often, but blog about it very little. Some may think, blogging is fast and easy (so did I) and doesn’t take much time. But these people are not writting a craft blog. Those who do, understand. You must make photos, download and upload them, write it all…And that really takes time. So let’s see and fingers crossed.

Today I also finished two baby blankets. Here are the pictures, both are made from scraps.


Squares in the circle


Scrap baby quilt

This one- also baby quilt, I finished in autumn, I like how colorful it is.


Squares in beige


June 27, 2015

Half circle skirt

I have been playing with the thought to try to sew a skirt for some time already. Finally I did it. I found this easy half circle skirt pattern. I have fuller figure so I found the full circle skirt too much for me, but this is ideal. Because my waist is 107 cm, and the width of the fabric I found was max.150 cm, I had to add some hem at the bottom, because it would be really mini. I am little sorry that it couldn’t be from one piece. I am thinking to add some embelishment on the bottom, to bring the dark purple from the top part also down. Maybe next time I figure it out. I also had some problems to figure out how to finish up the zipper at the top hem, but I managed it somehow.

half circle skirt

February 28, 2015

Baby quilts

Last month or two I had sewing fewer. In december I had after exams and although I have not passed one of them, I like the feeling of relieve, that now, at least for few months until next semester starts, I have a lot of free time and I can do whatever I want. Naturally I started sewing like crazy. Among other things I made two baby quilts.

One with colorful wonky stars for my friend who had a baby boy in autumn. I really like it, it is colorful and so happy. Perhaps I could have put there more of the stars, but I think it is charming abyway.

Wonky stars

Wonky stars

In the second one, Double X and O design, I used scraps I had from two fat quarters I ordered few months ago. Well, I am not sure, if you can call it scrap, if you have a third of the fabric left, but anyway, here is it:

Double X and O

Double X and O

I like the quilting on this one.

November 17, 2014

Christmas around the corner

There are so many Christmas themed patterns for cross stitch on the internet, hard to choose one. I love cross stitching but most of the time I don’t know what to do with the embriodery. Mostly I make it into a pillowcase or tablecloth, this time I was deciding between coasters and hanging decoration. In the end, I made this hanging decoration. I found on the internet beautiful black wire hanger and it was decided.

Christmas decoration Christmas decoration

If I change my mind, I can still use it like coasters, just by cutting the connecting strips.

Many thanks for the free pattern!

November 16, 2014

Penny my Russian Blue cat

This weekend it was two months since I brought home my kitten Penny. She is Russian Blue breed. She was 5 months at the beginning of November. And how is the life with a cat? Well, I think I take it worse than she, when I have to go to work and leave her. She is welcomming me when I am comming back and likes to be carried around on my shoulder. I try to be disciplined and don’t let her sleep with me in the bedroom, it is working well so far, just in the morning she is impatient and waking me up. My furniture is surviving, just sofa has some signs of her claws, but I expected worse, to be honest. Otherwise it is fun and nice to have a pet in the house. Of course, sometimes she upsets me, and is naughty beast, but mostly she is the cutest and sweetest thing. Here are few pictures. She has very soft fur, and when she becomes adult, her eyes will get completely green.

Why should she rest in her bed, when she can rest on my pillow from Dubai?

Russian Blue cat

Warm place to sleep.

Russian Blue cat

I am hiding here! Let’s play.

Russian Blue cat

October 14, 2014

This time, country style

Although I don’t have TV, I am still watching a lot of movies and series on the internet. I am kind of a series freak. I however don’t really like just to sit and watch, I need to do something with my hands. Usually I keep them busy with crochetting or cross stitching. When I do some cross stitch embroidery usually I have then problem what to do with it. A pillow, or some other decoration? Well, this time I had two ribbons with cross stitched flowers on it, so I decided to make simple country style pillows. I like how they turned out, I think they could be a nice decoration in a cottage.

Country style pillow SAM_2814SAM_2813

August 3, 2014

Circles everywhere you look

Hi eveyone reading my blog. I have not been here for some time- my new work and exams in June took all my energy. However, as soon as the exams were over, I sat at the machine and started sewing again. This time it was a quilt for my colleage. Final size 20x230cm. I must say, I will never ever sew someting so big and warm during the summer. Sometimes the temperature was over 30 degrees celsius and I thought I will start sweating blood. Finally today, I finished 🙂

I would like to thank Emily Herrick of Crazy Old Ladies for the inspiration. I think I will never achieve such perfection when doing my quilts, but the blog is always an ispiration for me.

Orange peel quilt

Orange peel quilt


And from the back:

Orange peels quilt


Well, and what’s next? I did some Christmas cross stitching, so I will probably make some decoration out of it.  Also, next month I am getting a cute kitten of Russian blue cat called Faith, so I can’t wait to share some pictures of her with you as soon as she is here!

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