Easter is a'comin', and though I have found and/or bought no less than three Easter dresses for Baby J, I have had some difficulty finding attire for Susan and Lucy.
Susan is a tall girl, taller than I. We searched Juniors departments, ick, Delia's, ick, Johnnie B (Boden's icky juniors line), regular Boden, Target, Old Navy, the Loft and finally struck gold in Penney's misses MNG by Mango department.
Now, she won't be wearing heels with this skirt and it hits her at "just above the knee." Short enough to be stylish and cute, long enough to be modest, as long as she remembers to sit like a lady and not cross her legs. It's also versatile. Too many times have I bought gorgeous Easter dresses that were worn once, maybe twice if there was a wedding to go to. I made her promise me that I will see this skirt on many Sunday mornings.
For Lucy, we've scoured children's departments and petite departments. I've ordered online and had to pay for return shipping because everything is too dang short. Just above the knee is our ideal length. Mid-thigh is the current trend though.
The way my girls grow, anything I buy now may very well be mid-thigh by August. We'll remedy that problem with knee-length or capri leggings. Leggings served us very well last summer and kept them warm in our 60 degree church. Father keeps it cold to encourage modesty.
Lucy and I hit a brick wall. We really liked Susan's skirt, but couldn't find one in a size 14 girls. That's when I had a brainstorm!
"I will teach you to sew, and we will make some skirts!"
I learned to sew in eighth grade just one year older than Lucy is now. My grandparents were taking me to Honduras on a mission trip, and we were told that all women and girls were skirts. In 1987, it was also quite difficult to find appropriate length skirts for tween girls. My mother taught me to sew, and we made a few Laura Ashley lookalikes in gorgeous huge floral fabrics. They went really well with my one pink Ralph Lauren polo.
Of course, I already owned the ubiquitous neon paint splattered skirt and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman knock off chambray skirt with white eyelet underneath skirt. (Thankfully, I never owned the granny boots to go with it.) But we supplemented my wardrobe and I gained a valuable life skill, which has saved me a tiny amount of money because I can sew Edmund's cub scout patches on myself instead of paying someone else. I can also make curtains, quilts, and kick a$$ Halloween costumes, if I begin them in early September.
Lucy and I had a whirlwind trip at the fabric store. In hindsight, I should have told her that we would only get patterns that said "Easy" or one of five French words, "Facile." But I didn't. So, we ended up with a pattern very much like Susan's skirt. I tried to talk her into the one with the elastic waist band, but she wanted the one with the set-in waist band, zipper and button. We bought enough fabric for two skirts.
I was supposed to take pictures in the fabric store, but Baby J was being a struggle pig. That's a family term that means she wouldn't sit in the cart and had to be wrestled, juggled, held by human strait-jacket the entire time.
On the way home, I broke it to her that step one was washing, drying and ironing the fabric. She was crestfallen, but I've never seen her do laundry so rapidly. While the fabric was in the laundry, she cut and pressed the pattern pieces.
I helped her with laying out the pattern pieces and she pinned them and cut them out herself.
I showed her how to work the sewing maching, how to "knot" the beginnings and ends of seams, and she stitched all the side seams herself.
I did the zipper and gathering of the skirt. She ironed interfacing the waistband which we worked on together. I started to make a buttonhole, and said, "Forget this. You can sew a hook and eye here instead."
I pinned the hem to my desired length, just below the knee. She moved it to her desired length, a good inch or two above the knee, and we split the difference. Not bad. Not bad at all.
I used these two blog posts to help me figure out how to hem such a full skirt. http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2010/01/hemming-circle-skirt-part-one.html
It wasn't cheap though. The fabric we chose was $14.99 a yard. I paid $70 for all the supplies to make two skirts for Lucy. The fabric is good and thick with a very Bodenish print and a sheen to it that makes it look expensive and hopefully not homemade.
We think it turned out quite well, and Lucy is thrilled with the result. That is an Easter miracle.