Elma Finished Handmade Handmade for Elma Handmade for Kitty Kitty Sewing

Matching but not matching


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

I can only take half the credit for having made the girls a new skirt each.  Because it was the girls themselves who chose the pattern, and the fabric, I just did the cutting and sewing bit.  It was Kitty, reading over my shoulder, who saw Amanda’s daughter in a lovely new skirt with nice big pockets and exclaimed “Oh Mama! I like that!!!”  She’s savvy enough about these things to have connected lots of pictures of a skirt to it being handmade and the implication in her imploring eyes was obvious.

“Would you like a skirt like that?” I asked

“Yes please!!! And [Elma] too!!”

And that’s how I found myself spending a Sunday afternoon unpacking my fabric boxes with the able assistance of my girls.  It was really interesting to see which fabrics they were drawn to and it’s definitely given me some ideas for the next few sewing projects.  And when we saw drawn to, at least in Elma’s case we mean love, adore, can’t put down, and later found to have been snaffling her favourites away and tucking them into her own little handbag.  I knew the boxes had been too easy to repack afterwards.

The winners were two lengths of quilting cotton that I found in the John Lewis sale a while ago.  I’m not sure exactly how much of each I had, but I had double the paisley to the chevrons and so it was decided; two skirts with contrast pockets; Kitty would have a paisley skirt with chevron pockets and Elma the opposite.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

They’re both from Dena Fishbein’s Happi line for Free Spirit, called imaginatively enough, “chevron” and “paisley” and I love the colours; they’re so very fresh and sunny and perfect for summer skirts, and there’s still enough left to go in a quilt one day.  With Kitty’s the pattern is nice and busy so I didn’t try to match the pattern, with Elma’s I thought about trying to match the chevron all the way around but it would have used up too much fabric so it matches around the sides on the front,

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

but not so much on the back!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

I suspect it’s a galloping horse moment though; no one is really likely to be staring that hard at a high speed two year old!

The pattern is from The Purl Bee, the Gathered Skirt for All Ages it’s free and very straightforward, with a little video to help with folding the side panels to make the pocket which is the only complicated bit.    I am far from an expert sewer but it was easy enough that having made Elma’s there was only one point at which I needed to read the pattern while I put Kitty’s together.

And the end result is adorable, and I’m reliable informed, perfect for running around in, picking buttercups and climbing trees.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

I made the 2-3 for Elma which is the perfect size on her and the 6-7 for Kitty which I think I’d say is long enough right now, especially as she likes to wear her skirts low, but one more growth spurt and it might be going into the waiting for Elma pile.  She is a very tall 4 year old and generally wears age 7 at the moment but I think if I were to make it again I’d add another couple of inches in length to the short side of the main panels and the long side of the side panels to lengthen the whole thing.  It is definitely wearable though, she’s only not in the pictures because she didn’t want her picture taken which is fair enough.

I think it’s the pockets that really make it; I know it looks like it goes all the way down to the hem but in fact you sew the contrast pocket to the side panel and then it concertinas up to make a nice pocket sized pocket in the side. It’s about half the depth of the contrast panel on each skirt and just the right size for jigsaw puzzle pieces apparently.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

And I love the matching but not matching; they’re clearly skirts that are meant to be a pair but it’s nice to have the difference, both for me sewing them up, and for Elma.  My love of dressing the girls (or all three) in matching outfits is well documented around these parts, mostly because I know that I need to enjoy it while they still think it’s fun, but I rather suspect that in a few years time she might be glad to be inheriting a skirt that isn’t exactly the same.

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  • Caroline 19/06/2015 at 9:50 am

    Beautiful skirts girls! I used the chevron fabric to make Grier a dolly changing bag and love it, so cheery. I can’t get over how tall Kitty is!! Brodie is still in 4-5 trousers at 6!

  • Mandycharlie 19/06/2015 at 10:00 am

    I love them, aren’t they the most perfect skirts for beach combing, gardening, baking, housework! I’m going to have to make one. Your fabric combination is adorable.

  • LauraCYMFT 19/06/2015 at 11:02 am

    I love these skirts. They are so cute! I also love matching but not matching and think that’s what I would do if I had 2 girls.

  • Preeta Samarasan 19/06/2015 at 12:47 pm

    I’ve got 2 girls and I’m afraid I haven’t been able to resist the matching dresses on many occasions, but you make a good point about the younger one inheriting the exact same dress a few years down the line, oh dear! Unfortunately I don’t sew, but I do think it’s so sweet when older sisters want their little sisters to get the same gift/treat they’re getting — I recognised the “For Elma too!” from my own two 🙂 .

  • Brandi 19/06/2015 at 1:45 pm

    Adorable! I love the colors! How fun to let them choose!

    • Carie 19/06/2015 at 9:29 pm

      It was great to see what they each claimed!

  • erica 19/06/2015 at 1:54 pm

    you are so talented… those skirts are adorable!!!

    • Carie 19/06/2015 at 9:28 pm

      aww thank you 🙂

  • Linda 19/06/2015 at 5:48 pm

    You are right, the skirts are ADORABLE!

    • Carie 19/06/2015 at 9:20 pm

      thank you – they really are!

  • Liz 19/06/2015 at 6:11 pm

    Oh, those are so great! I know all about the matching-but-not thing. I have twins (plus a third) and I do that sort of thing with quilts. I want them to be *connected* but I don’t want them to be super-matchy-matchy.

    • Carie 19/06/2015 at 9:20 pm

      I’ve done that with knitted blankets and the girls’ quilts too – they’re all similar but different; it’s definitely the way to go 🙂

  • Julie Bagamary 19/06/2015 at 8:14 pm

    So sweet!

    • Carie 19/06/2015 at 9:19 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • sally 21/06/2015 at 10:56 pm

    Interesting point about inheriting the same things, we don’t really do matching often here, but I hadn’t thought of that. And those skirts are adorable, I think I may have to give them a go some time.

  • Carlin 22/06/2015 at 4:25 am

    Love these, they turned out so cute! I love matching, but not matching – just our style around here.