To the Maxi {Kerry's Monthly DIY Challenge}

My sister, niece, and I decided to tackle making maxi skirts this month. I had repinned a tutorial from a friend a few months back and was eager to try it out. I had read it over a few times, talked about it with my friend after she made her skirt, and thought I was familiar enough with it that when I discovered that the tutorial link was broken due to what appeared to be the blog going private, I still felt confident in moving forward. We found some awesome jersey and jersey-like fabrics at Joann, and we were so excited to bust out the sewing machine! We decided to hold a weekly "Crafty Thursdays" session, and maxi skirts were on tap to be our very first project.

But before you get excited about my reveal, I'm going to start this post with giving away the end; at least it's the end result upon publication of this post:

Yep. It was failure. I'll show you how...

Everything started out really well. We used the longest stitch on the machine and sewed across what would be the tops of our skirts. We did this so that we could create a pleat.

This was my niece Lilia's first time to sew, and she did really well. Her mom {my sister} stepped in to help from time to time to keep things on track. The end result was one that she was definitely pleased with. Yay Lilia!

Then my sister sewed her skirt's stitch that would be used to create a pleat. Don't you love her cute fabric? Isabel and I spotted it {pun intended} when we took our sewing class at Joann a month or so ago. I was so excited when I saw it there again, and this time for a steal. We were able to score my sister's fabric for $5! Awesome!

We then helped one another create the pleating by pulling the piece of thread that was looser. It could be your top or bottom thread, as it was different on each of our skirts. My fun fabric was also only $5. Holla!

I tried on my skirt and we adjusted the pleating to make it as flattering as possible. We also wrapped the elastic around me to make sure we liked the placement of the pleats. So far so good. 

Here's where we started going wrong in our process. We then cut off the excess fabric. I'm not sure if this was the right thing to do or not. I then sewed up my skirt with a back seam. This was a BIG MISTAKE because, as I learned later, this is not the correct order. I tried it on again so that we could get proper elastic placement and it just looked awful. My hip bones protruded in a very unflattering way and I just looked super hippy, for lack of a better term. We decided to put my skirt to the side, thinking that perhaps my body shape just wasn't right for such a skirt.

We then got started on Lilia's skirt. We did the same things as I mentioned above, but actually made it to the part of pinning her elastic waistband on her skirt. This is where another mistake occurred. Since we had sewed up her skirt with a back seam, it was super tricky to attach the elastic and make it look just right. Pinning it took forever, not to mention getting it on and off her, but we thought that once we had the elastic sewn on, it would all be worth it.

Baby O spent time with his Gretta {my mom} while we sewed. His somewhat distant expression should have been our warning of what was about to occur to his sister's skirt.

Feast your eyes on...

This was supposed to be a zig zag stitch. Something is super wrong with the machine's tension. We had noticed this before in other mini-projects, but were able to work around it easily. Not this time, y'all. We were so frustrated at this point, that we ripped out the horrible seam and put this project to rest. We also got to calling "Crafty Thursdays" "Crafty Crappy Thursdays" - what great attitudes we have!

Then about a week and a half later I was browsing my DIY Pinboard for some inspiration, and saw the pin for the maxi skirt. I clicked on it thinking, "What the heck, maybe it'll be active again." Sure enough, it was! I was so excited that I instantly notified my sister and niece and copied and pasted it over to them. I'm so grateful to have been able to read through the tutorial again and see the error of my ways. We were on the right track in some respects, but we definitely made some errors and then the machine made even more.

And because I'm super worried that my pin to the original blog may malfunction again, here is the step-by-step breakdown of her maxi skirt tutorial so that it's never lost to my sewing needs ever again.

I think we'll bust out our seam rippers and give it another go! I feel knowledgable, confident, and most importantly, patient again! I'll be sure to update you on how our skirts turn out! Here's to turning "Crafty Crappy Thursdays" back to just good old "Crafty Thursdays!"

Have you ever totally bombed when it comes to sewing or any other DIY project? 
Please tell me I'm not alone.

UPDATE: Success found here.


KLee at: July 24, 2012 at 2:56 PM said...

New machine coming our way. I think we have a chance next time ;)

Maigen at: July 24, 2012 at 7:06 PM said...

Awww, sad! I hope you try again, love your fabrics! :)

Isabel at: July 24, 2012 at 9:16 PM said...

Awww bummer! I love that you guys added pleats - they looked amazing! You will succeed!

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