Pleating With or Without Interfacing – That is the question.

Recently we read a discussion on Facebook about pleating with or without a fabric stabilizer. The person writing the post was using one of our recent “Flash Sale” –  Gorgeous Swiss wool-polyester blend challis fabrics!  This drapey fabric seems perfect for many projects. . . warm or cold weather, children’s or adult clothing, dresses, tops, shawls … but what happens when you want to pleat this type of fabric?  The hand of this beautiful fabric is soft, and it drapes beautifully. One would think that because it runs through a smocking pleater like a dream, that surely it wouldn’t become a nightmare after removing it from the pleater needles!
9518 blog 9The drapey hand of this fabric can make pleating seem like a sinister game! haha!   The fabric would not return to its original, crisp, even pleats.  There was too much “bounciness” in the challis.

There were several excellent responses on Facebook to the original post about the struggle to pleat and have a good result.  We were curious about which would work best for us, so gave it a little test! Several folks suggested using a lightweight fusible interfacing on the back of the challis prior to pleating.
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But which interfacing would be the best for the job? We offer several different weights of interfacing that are appropriate for fabrics just like this poly-wool challis.  Baby Interfacing & German Interfacing were our first choices.  They lend themselves to lighter weight fabrics & they adhere to fabrics in a way that helps leave the fabric in it’s original form, not changing the weight or hand drastically.


Ironing on the Baby & German Interfacing: 
When preparing your fabric before attaching interfacing, we want to make sure that the grain of our 2 fabrics is going in the same direction.  This helps to make the fabric & interfacing act as one, moving & stretching in the same direction.  An easy way to do this is line up your selvage edge for both fabrics before ironing!

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The steps we follow for ironing on interfacing
1. Iron the project fabric first so that there are no wrinkles before attaching the interfacing
2. Cut interfacing to the project’s desired size
3. Lay project fabric face down on the ironing board, then place interfacing fabric with fusible side down (this will be on the back side of the project fabric).  The glue/fusible side of the interfacing has a slightly textured feel.
4. Place pressing cloth on top of interfacing fabric & press on a medium heat setting. (We use either a fat quarter of silk organza or a fat quarter of Swiss cotton organdy for a pressing cloth)
5. Make sure that the entire section of interfacing has completely adhered to the fabric before moving on to the next step! This will be important when pleating the two fabrics as one piece. If the interfacing has places that have not completely adhered, the interfacing will wrinkle when it is rolled onto the dowel rod.

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A few pointers that we just learned about our baby interfacing came from Joy Welsh of ‘Applique for Kids’ during her recent trip to Farmhouse Fabrics!
1. To cut on a straight line, a thread can be pulled on Baby Interfacing!!!  And it usually pulls beautifully from one side of the fabric to the other! (Make a small clip into the selvage edge of the interfacing. Find a horizontal thread, and pull across the fabric. The “pulled thread” line will indicate the straight of the grain. Cut, following that line.)
2.  Using a pressing cloth, place your iron on one section of the fabric/interfacing combo and let it rest for 10 seconds before moving to another section.

So, all in all, use an interfacing with a drapey fabric to help make pretty pleats!  But, it depends on what you’re wanting from your project as to which interfacing to use.  Baby Interfacing is a little lighter weight than German Interfacing.  The Baby Interfacing changed the fabric the least, but German Interfacing made the pleats the most straight.  If you are wanting a very defined pleat, use German.  If you are most concerned about the softness of the hand in the pleated area, Baby Interfacing is the stabilizer to use!

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Farmhouse Fabrics had a very fortunate “FIND” with this group of elegant Swiss fabrics!! They are so ideal for our mild winters, and they will make cozy garments for our Northern friends, as well! We love the Swiss poly-wool blends, because they are machine washable, and our little ones can wear them without anyone worrying about the fabric care!!  We have many gorgeous colors – keep watching for more on our website!

Please send us photos of your sewing projects!  We would like to share them to inspire others.

Precious Patterns for Pleating!
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Other wool fabrics that you might want to try!
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For great step-by-step video tutorials like using a pleater or construction of some of the above patterns, visit Sarah Classic Sewing YouTube page at!!!

For more products like these, visit Farmhouse Fabrics at

‘Day at the Park’

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We adore vintage style garments and their sweet styles & nostalgic allure!  Our recent inspiration came from ‘Lila’s Sundress’, the included pattern from the Summer 2018 Classic Sewing Magazine. Sometimes when you grab a pattern, fabrics and laces are an easy choice.





This collection came together easily with this precious pattern.  Preppy Plaid, gorgeous Swiss embroidered edging for the ruffle & pink matching buttons for the back of the dress.
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With the spring garment that was quickly coming together, we decided to take a trip to the Redcliffe Plantation in Beech Island, SC!  This has such a beautiful background for a spring/summer look & is often used for special occasion pictures, such as weddings and graduations.  Really, anything can be captured on its diverse landscapes, 150 year old oak & magnolia trees, & historic buildings!


So the dresses were finished and the fun began with sweet sisters having a ‘Day at the Park’!




After making up the pattern we had a little fun changing the way the ruffle was finished on the bottom of the strap. We can never leave anything the same, but are always experimenting!

So, we can’t wait to see YOUR version of this adorable sundress!  Send us pictures of your sweet girls in this summer sundress!  Pattern is available in the Summer 2018 “Classic Sewing Magazine”, in stores now!
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Simple & Sweet ~ Coordinates

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Contrasting collars make for such a wonderful pop of color. When you find a beautiful coordinate, it can really make an outfit!  Here we have used the Violette Field Threads PDF pattern ‘Pepper’ with a rich ‘flamingo’ sheen sateen and a perfectly paired Liberty of London linen floral for a contrasting collar.

A neat sewing trick I learned from #1 sewing teacher, Cindy Foose, is to mark the center front of the bodice fabric with a temporary basting stitch.  This provides a guideline for centering the collar, centering the skirt gathers, and a perfectly straight line to add tiny buttons as front embellishment.

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“Pepper” is shown on the pattern with 3/4 sleeves, and is adorable in that version, but Liberty Linen and Flamingo Sheen Sateen will be worn in the hot South Carolina summer, so I made this a sleeveless version.  The bodice is fully lined, which made it easy to finish the armholes!

Only a small amount of the contrasting floral linen is required to make the collar for “Pepper”.  It is fun to use the more expensive fabrics as a pop of color on a garment! Here, the print is used for the collar, and a tiny piece used to cover the center of a little fabric bow for the front of the dress. Every scrap of Liberty fabric is precious, and a perfect way to use tiny pieces is to cover buttons! Since the metal from the cover buttons has a tendency to show through a more open weave fabric, I fused our French baby interfacing to the back of the fabric used to cover the buttons. (The same interfacing was used in the collar and under the back buttonhole and button area.

I have rarely been known to “go with the flow” – and have often used shank buttons on the backs of little girls’ dresses, if I think they are pretty.  I know it is frowned upon in some circles, so imagine my pleasure to see this magazine cover in the grocery store last night!!!!
Shank (covered) Buttons on the Back!!! (Photo Props: Google Search :)) If it’s good enough for a princess, it’s good enough for me!


The Vintage Swoon ~ Christmas Addition

Classic patterns are everywhere.  Yet, a modern twist brings them alive again for a new generation. I find myself drawn towards vintage patterns, always circling back to them when I am looking for inspirations. This is a recent one that caught my eye! McCall’s #2664.  I liked the “Princess” lines & deep pleats in the front, and with the back being A-line, the pattern went together very quickly!  Normally, I use buttons for closures on the children’s clothing, but a back zipper made this dress really speedy!
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It was time for Christmas pictures, and I knew just where to turn.  The setting for family photos was intended to depict the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree.  Mommy asked for coordinating dresses for 2-year and 4-year old sisters. For outdoor pictures in winter, velveteen was a natural selection, and the rich colors of Liberty of London were a perfect coordinate. 12-3-blog 3 fabrics and lace

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Although these little rascals were as children should be… not thoroughly excited to pose for pictures, we snagged a few that will make for beautiful memories!

No winter season is complete without a picture with Santa, and every girl needs a new dress for that event!  The McCall’s #2664 was such a fast a simple make, but I wanted it to look completely different from the green velvet.  I liked the weight of the velveteen with the pattern and thought that a red ponte knit would be a similar weight and be as flattering as the green velveteen.  To match Santa, I threw in a fun white boa, and the ‘Mrs. Santa Claus Dress’, as this fiery little red likes to say, was complete!


Be watching for more vintage fun!  Vintage patterns + fabric + trims + buttons + lots of cute little girls to dress = “Vintage Fun!”

‘Cissy’ by a Wink & a Nod!

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“Cissy”, a sweet, versatile pattern that lends itself to all seasons and a wide range of fabrics from Liberty lawn to velveteen!  The princess line is a flattering style for various sizes and shapes, as well!!

We have had so much fun with our vintage-inspired patterns through the ‘a Wink & a Nod’ pattern line!  Sparked by many conversations and our favorite vintage patterns – designs our mothers and grandmothers may have used when we were children. “40’s & 50’s styled patterns updated to modern construction & today’s swell sewing machines.”



‘Cissy’ is our princess line, inaugural pattern that has been so fun to transform.

Cissy as a blouse…  To make this blouse, we shortened the skirt and cut the front neck straight across instead of  using the sweetheart neckline shape.


Cissy for Spring!


‘The Classics of Yesterday back in full swing’!
Corduroy floral (variation – front buttoning); Velveteen (variation – Beautiful Maline lace gathered at the sleeve);  Pretty floral; Seersucker (variation – pockets with cute trim); Printed pique (variation – gathered Swiss edging at the sleeve edge).



We would love to see YOUR variations of “Cissy”.
Email your photos of “Cissy Creations & Variations” to:

The Secret Garden-BBD

Inspired by our beautiful new printed vine corduroy in pink and green, we looked to Bonnie Blue Designs patterns for Autumn ideas, finding Charlotte #158 & Laurel #157!  Having two complimenting colorways of this cute fabric made “sister dresses” come to mind immediately!

‘The Secret Garden’ started to come alive with beautiful gingham coordinates from Spechler Vogle & Fabrics Finders, Inc.

The pink vine corduroy looked great with SV peppermint microcheck.  Using Bonnie Blue Designs, “Charlotte”, we made a couple of quick variations:  1. Added a self-ruffle at the bottom of the sleeve, lined in microcheck to show a little “peek-a-boo” of gingham contrast.  2.  Made a gingham spaghetti tie for the center front.  3.  Added two sweet little oval pockets on the front. (Every child loves to hide treasures in pockets!)  The pockets are lined in the microcheck, so when the top is folded down, the contrast shows. The flap has the little ribbon garland sewn around the edge & was decorated with a corduroy covered button.

So, when you are in a hurry, have an idea, but no pattern….HOW do you find a good “oval shape”??  Looking all around the room, we found the perfect oval…the bottom of a tiny trashcan!  It made the ideal sized pocket for this dress!  Pattern shapes are everywhere, we just have to look with a “creative eye”. Ha!

Green Vine corduroy was a great match to Fabric Finders Celery gingham.
Using Bonnie Blue Designs’ dropped waist dress pattern, “Laurel”, we added celery gingham piping to the off-set collar, the bottom of the lined sleeves, and the bottom of the bodice.  Also, using the gingham, we made a fabric bow to sew at the lower left side of the bodice at the skirt seam.  A cute little button was added to the collar for embellishment.

Now for the shoes… We looked to to help us prepare for their photo shoot.  The pink corduroy need a softer touch and smaller shoe as to not overpower the little one. The Doll Maker Flat Bootie’ looked like a great fit. For the green vine corduroy Hanna Andersson Viktoria Girl’s Riding Boot’ was a great color match.

Girls will be girls with twist & twirls in their new ‘Secret Garden’ dresses!

“Jane”, “Charlotte” or “Kwik Sew Kutie”?

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“Caribbean Breeze” – Pattern “Charlotte” by Bonnie Blue Designs

“Jane, Charlotte, or Kwik Sew Kutie 3169” – Decisions, decisions, decisions…..

Do I really have to choose just one?  These three peasant top patterns for children DO have their differences!  I actually like to use all three of them – depending on the purpose of the garment.  “Jane” by Children’s Corner Patterns and “Charlotte” by Bonnie Blue have been frequently the “go-to” patterns when making simple dresses, tops and nightgowns for the granddaughters.  However, this week, I wanted to use a new Italian cotton with lycra – and because of the stretch in the fabric, I felt like it should be a little more fitted.  So, taking a fresh look at the Kwik Sew 3169, I decided to give it a whirl.  I liked using this pattern – lower front neckline, little puff sleeves, more fitted body – so made it 3 times in 3 days!

Here is a little more info comparing finished garment measurements of the three patterns, top/blouse in a size 6:

                                                       Jane:                              Charlotte:                 Kwik Sew Kutie:
1. Chest:                                   37″                                    36″                               30 1/2″
2. Circumference of Hem:   44 1/2″                              40″                               29 1/2″
3. Width of Short Sleeve:    14″                                     15 1/2″                         11 1/2″
4. Back Neck to Hem:          16 1/4″                               14″                               15 1/4″
5. Front Neck to Hem:        15 3/4″                                13 1/2″                        12 3/4″

This style pattern has unlimited possibilities, and each of these patterns offers something unique and special!

Jane“, by Children’s Corner Patterns, includes both a dress and top as well as cute pull-on slim, unlined pants with elastic back and front waistband. Seam allowances are 1/4”, and pattern is printed on tissue paper with each pattern piece printed separately.  This comes in 2 size ranges: 1-3  or 4-6.

“Charlotte”, by Bonnie Blue Designs, includes several versions for dresses and tops.  Sleeve patterns included for flutter sleeve, short sleeve, and long sleeve.  Pattern included for knit leggings in 3 lengths: Ankle, capri and shorts length with optional ruffles.  Seam allowances are 3/8″. Pattern is printed on heavy paper, and it will be necessary to trace the pattern pieces.  However, size ranges include 12 months through 8 years.

“Kwik Sew Kutie #3169” includes two blouse versions and pattern for a patchwork pull-on A-line skirt. Seam allowances are 1/4″.  Pattern is printed on heavy paper, and it will be necessary to trace the pattern pieces.  Size range includes sizes 4-14 (XS, S, M, L, XL).

White blouse (above left) is Italian cotton with lycra and is ideal for the Kwik Sew #3169 because the fabric has stretch and can have a comfortable closer fit.  This is a very cute fabric with rows of pintucks!

Green & white striped seersucker (above right) is also a cotton/lycra – and makes a very comfy little top and shorts.

Love having these three patterns in my “sewing library” – quick, cute, easy, versatile!!  Good for all shapes and sizes, too!

Fabric Bundle Love

What is a fabric bundle anyway? We have a few fabric suppliers that can somehow convince us that the limited space on our shelves should not be reflective of the amount of fabric that we should purchase… This puts us in the position to have to move a lot of fabrics quickly!  Fabric Bundles are pre-cut fabrics, typically 3 yard quantities,  that are pre-packaged and priced to move quickly.  I think these fabrics are frequently “misunderstood”!  Their quality equals or exceeds some of the finest fabrics that we carry. Their styles vary and if I were shopping at Farmhouse, I’d look there first.

Here is our most recent seersucker fabric bundle: FB#19-SummerGreenSeersucker.
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This is a beautiful summer green and white stripe seersucker (cotton with a touch of lycra) that is perfect for all sorts of projects.  It arrived with about 100 other fabrics, and despite its beauty and the fact that I really like to see fabrics like this on the shelves of our store a little longer, it has to move.  Because I really liked this piece, I started thinking of ways to use it.
My little “ginger” looks really cute in this color & she and her sister look so precious in matching outfits!
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I really wanted to challenge myself with a fabric bundle and see what I could make from this pre-cut 2 yard piece. So I started with the “Janie Belle Jumper” by A Wink and a Nod Patterns.  I added a beautiful  white bias ruffle & sewed a sweet Swiss daisy trim on the attached bias to accent each ruffle.

I had just a little fabric left to work with, so started on the “sassy little one’s” outfit!  This time I needed to measure my fabric and see if it was enough for Kari Mecca’s “Melody’s Mermaid” pattern, which is becoming a summer staple!  I laid out my fabric and it was a success –  just enough fabric left over for a cute summer romper.  To coordinate outfits for these sweet girls, I also used the white bias ruffle on the bottom of the romper and added the daisy Swiss trim for that “touch of sweetness”.


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This is a cotton seersucker with a touch of lycra, so I pre-washed & dried it before starting my project.  I can say it washes beautifully! It has such a soft, comfortable hand before AND after washing!  I wanted to try a couple more patterns with a scrap of this, so I  cut a top from Kwik Sew #3169, and made a cute little vintage shorts pattern with turned-up cuff.  (True confessions here:  I started with a 3-yard piece of the seersucker, as most of our bundles have 3 yards included….).  Since the last remaining piece was just a tad shorter than the top pattern, I pieced together a strip of the fabric from my scraps and added a ruffle.  Perfect!

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Try these beautiful fabric bundles to challenge yourself to a ‘pattern-off’ and see how many outfits you can get from a discounted, pre-cut bundle!


What?… This old thing?!

I love stashes, hoards, bundles & bulk!  You never know what you’re gonna get.  Sometimes things are an instant inspiration.  Others are safely stored and wait patiently for a new life!  As I was rummaging through my ‘seasoned’ goodies, I ran across a beautiful, but dated, Swiss collar.  The Venice lace is timeless, and instead of returning it to its safe keeping, I pondered over the different ways to use it.  The style is suited for a large, showy look that fits right in to catalogs from the late 80’s and early 90’s (bring on the big shoulder pads to go with it!!).  Although it is a child’s collar, the length and width allows a lot more options if we think outside of the box.  The lace is just too pretty NOT to use in some manner.

We recently received some gorgeous and uniquely styled 100% linen fabrics. The one that immediately matched the look of the white Swiss lace collar was a cornflower blue and white gingham linen.  The collar would work perfectly as straps on a sweet sundress pattern!  Bonnie Blue Designs #160″Kimberly” was just the look I was going for!  The picture of the blue and white gingham dress is shown at the top of the page.  Here is another view.

Since we loved this look, we wanted to try it again in another colorway. To recreate the dress, we went with a chambray ‘Petals of Pink’ linen. The chambray fabrics really come to life with this white Swiss Venice Collar!

So now, onto the fun part… Construction!
1. Using “Kimberly” by Bonnie Blue Designs, cut front and back bodice from pink linen, white lining, and lightweight fusible interfacing!
2.  Fully interface bodice front and back pattern pieces with German cotton batiste interfacing or French baby interfacing for stability.
3. Sew the lining to the front yoke, right sides together.  Stitch armhole and across the top of the bodice/yoke piece.  Trim seams, clip armhole curves.  Turn right side out & press.
4.  Sew lining to back yoke pieces, right sides together.  Stitch armhole curve, pivot at top of the yoke, stitch about 1/2″ or so, backstitch.  Leave opening approximately 1 1/2″ to insert back of collar/strap, begin stitching again across the top of the back yoke, pivot and stitch down center back seam.  Trim seams, clip curves, turn right side out and press.
5. First try for me was placing the top on a mannequin and pinning the collar/straps in place.  Luckily, I was able to fit this to a granddaughter before final sewing, but if you don’t have a handy-dandy child at your fingertips, just measure the length of the strap pattern piece provided in the pattern & start from there.

6. Once the front collar is placed and pinned, you will be able to make length adjustments in the back (this is a long collar).  Mark the placement with a wash-away marker. The front collar may be then stitched in place by stitching around the outer edge of the collar.  I used a Sewline Glue Pen to glue my front straps in place, so they wouldn’t shift while I sewed them.
7. Insert the back collar pieces into the openings in the top of the back bodice pieces.  Turn wrong side out and stitch along the seam allowance through the lining, linen and strap pieces.  (I did not remove the ends of the collar pieces in back – in case I needed to make length adjustments later.)

8.  Sew the front and back bodices at the side seams, press seams open.  Tada!! Just add the skirt, and you have a darling dress!!
9.  Here is the most amazing part.  WHO in their right mind makes linen dresses for kids? Well, we love linen around here, and it is so cool and comfy in these hot South Carolina summers.  The blue and white linen dress will be in our upcoming ad in Classic Sewing Magazine – and, following the photo shoot, we rewarded the kids with an Ice Cream Party!  That meant chocolate, strawberry and vanilla all over the clothes, of course.  I doused the stains with Shout, threw the clothes in the washer, shook them a little by hand, and hung them to dry.  ALMOST NO WRINKLES!

What fun these little ones had!  Here is an outtake from our upcoming Summer 2017 Classic Sewing Magazine photo shoot & Ice Cream Party!!  For all of our bloggers out there, use coupon code IceCream15 to receive a one time 15% OFF coupon code on your next order!


Don’t Stretch the Elastic – Decorative Elastic Waistbands!


Decorative Elastic is such a pretty way to finish the waist of a garment!  The quality is easy to see when it’s used as the waistband of your pants, shorts or skirts!  At Farmhouse Fabrics, we use it frequently – and it is such an easy finish!   There are a couple of “tricks” to apply it – we often have questions about the “hows”…because it is such a pain to attempt to stretch it to fit the garment!  This is a firm elastic & who wants to break needles by trying to stretch and sew the elastic at the same time?


But sewing doesn’t get much easier than when using a decorative elastic waistband!  With just 2 measurements, we have designed a skirt “pattern” that we call a “Decorative Elastic Skirt”!  We use a 1 1/2″ wide thick and sturdy elastic that comes in a wonderful range of colors.

  1. Measure your child’s waist and add 1″ – this is the length of your decorative elastic.
  2. Measure your child’s finished skirt length and add 1 1/2″ – this will account for a hem allowance.
  3. Cut the waistband decorative elastic to the determined waist measurement (plus 1″ for the back seam).
  4. Cut or tear one width of fabric the length of your skirt plus 1 1/2″.  Remove selvages. (There will be only one seam in the skirt, and the finished fullness of the skirt is based on personal preference.)
  5. Serge the top and bottom of the skirt fabric to finish the edges.
  6. Run two rows of gathering threads on one long end of your fabric (the top of the skirt).
  7. Quarter fabric and elastic – mark with washable pen.
  8. Match up your quarter marks between fabric & elastic and pin at marks.
  9. Pull up gathering threads and evenly distribute fabric between quartered marks on your elastic.  (You will be pinning the WRONG side of the elastic to the RIGHT side of the skirt fabric.)
  10. Attach your non-stretched elastic to your gathered, evenly distributed fabric with a wide zig-zag #5.  (Zigzag, using a rather wide zigzag stitch, along the lower edge of the decorative elastic, sewing through the elastic and the gathered skirt.)
  11. Now, you can remove the gathering threads, and the zig-zagged elastic will stretch with your child!  No broken threads!
  12. Center back seam – With right sides together, match the decorative elastic, carefully match the elastic and bottom of skirt, pin into place, and sew the back seam. This seam may be serged, if desired.
  13. Press up hem 1 1/4″ deep to your finished length – pin & hem!
    Voila!  A fast & easy skirt with not a single broken needle on stretched elastic!
    For pre-coordinated decorative elastic kits, visit our Kits, Skirts category!

    It is a lot of fun to make these little skirts using left-overs from other projects!  Honestly – sometimes a third of a yard of fabric will make a skirt.  Adding a row of trim, ribbon, rick-rack, etc. to the hem will jazz it up a little, too.    Have Fun!!