Sew a Mid-Length Maxi Skirt

I’ve been wanting to do another sewing post for a while now and the time was finally right for this project. We had a horrible winter here and now that it’s warm, I’ve been finding myself wearing skirts every single day. They’re staples in my wardrobe and they need to be in yours too! (Sorry, not telling you what to do) Today I’m going to show you just how easy it is to add them to your closet in no time. I’m going to walk you through how to sew a mid-length maxi skirt.

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Sew a Mid-Length Maxi Skirt

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 yard of jersey fabric (you probably won’t use the entire yard, but the extra leftover material can be used for so many other small, great projects)
  • Matching thread
  • Jersey needle (it’s not critical but it is gentler on your material)
  • Basic sewing supplies

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Before you cut anything, be sure that you take into account the stretch of the fabric. You want it to stretch best in the direction that’ll sit across your hips. You don’t want a skirt that doesn’t flex with the contour of your body but stretches from your hips to the floor. That’s not good!

Here’s where some math skills come into play. Measure your waist, subtract 4″, then divide that new number by 4.

For example: Waist circumference is 36″- 4″ = 32″/4 = 8″.

This is the width of your material at your skirt top.  Since I’m only 5’4″, I measured my finished length at 23″, and nearly doubled the width at the bottom of the skirt to 15″. I cut the total length of my skirt to 24″ to account for my bottom hem.

Now here’s where personal preference comes into play regarding the bottom of the skirt. You may want to curve it up at the bottom (the 15″ wide quarter) so that it sits evenly just below your knees. Or you can cut it straight across and have it point down ever so slightly at your side hems, giving it gentle points at the sides of your knees. Both looks work, so it’s just whatever you like better.

Cut your skirt body fabric. Next, you need to cut another section of fabric that’s your skirt waist width and 8″-12″ tall.  This will be the waist band of the skirt that’ll sit ever so comfortably across your waist & hips.

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First grab the waist band you just cut and stitch down the sides using a zig-zag stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance. The zig-zag stitch lets the fabric stretch the best. We’ll be using this stitch quite a bit in this project. Set the waist band aside for a minute or two.

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Next zig-zag the sides of your skirt body. Again, use a 1/4″ seam allowance. Be sure to unfold the front and back panels, pin the sides together and sew. There’s nothing worse than trying to make a skirt and finding out that you’ve successfully sewn two leg pieces and not a skirt….not that I’ve ever done that ;)

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Now you’re going to put the skirt waist band, folded in half so that it’s 4″/6″ tall by whatever your waist width is, raw sides up into the top of the skirt body. Make all three raw edges lay on top of each other. You’ll see in the picture below that my scissors are separating two pieces of fabric. The fabric under the scissors that’s folded back is the top of the skirt body. The other two layers of fabric, closer to the nut holding the scissor blades together, are the raw edges of the waist band that’s tucked into the top of the skirt.

Feel free to use plenty of pins if you want. Zig-zag these three pieces together using 1/4″ seam allowance.

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When you sew the three raw edges together and turn the skirt right side out, it should look like this.

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Lastly, turn up the bottom edge of your skirt about 1″. Here’s the step where I accounted for the bottom finished hem length. Use a straight stitch and plenty of pins to finish off your skirt. You can either use a single row of stitches or a double row. If you want a double stitch look, consider using a double needle. For today’s project, I simply finished my skirt with a single row and am happy with it.

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Try on your skirt and check the fit. If it feels good, go out and show it off. You’ve just added a great staple to your wardrobe!

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3 Steps to a Cleaner Home That Won’t Leave You Feeling Overwhelmed

Since I became a stay-at-home-mom I noticed one thing and it stood out to me very early on. My house used to be a lot cleaner when I worked full time and my older kids were in daycare. Now I’m not complaining, I wouldn’t go back to how things were. But it took me a while to come to grips with the need for a strategy for my home which was now my full time nest. When I was in sales, my car was my nest and it was nicely organized to work for me during the workday. Then I’d come home and because I didn’t see the interior of my home between 8:00AM and 5:30PM, any sort of mess didn’t stand out to me.

In the time I’ve stayed home with the kids and brought a new child into this world, I’ve quickly developed a strategy to keep my home in working order. Because we’re usually on the go and have to plan things around nap time, I’ve had to segment my day. There’s a reason why there are so many blogs out there dedicated to things you can accomplish “in a nap time”, like it’s an official time reference now. Well, today I’d like to introduce you to my plan of attack in only 3 steps to a cleaner home that won’t leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Create a List of Household Must-Do’s for Your Plan

Have you ever seen the face of wildlife in front of your car right before you try to swerve and not hit it? Ya, I’m talking about that “deer in the headlights” look (pun intended). I found myself with that same look on my face when having to deal with all of my household chores or as I like to call them….the “must-do” list. Now, I want to be clear, I’m talking about weekly must-do chores, not once a year things like cleaning the chimney or re-sealing the driveway.

Here’s my list of weekly must-do chores:

  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Mopping
  • Linens
  • Clean Bathrooms
  • Clean Kitchen Appliances
  • Meal Plan & Grocery Shopping

Now what you don’t see in there are my daily must-do chores like wiping down the counters, kitchen table and laundry. I tend to do laundry as it accumulates and with a family of 5, that’s about every other day. And since we don’t have a lot of carpet in the main areas of my home nor do we have pets or allergy problems, I don’t vacuum every single day. No thank you!

Break Down Your Day into Phases

The next thing I had to do was step back and cut apart my day into phases. Break down your daily routine, whether you’re home during the day or at a job that takes you away from your nest. What easy task can you add to the first phase of your day? Notice I only referred to one task to add. And by first phase, I mean that precious part of the morning when you’re still home preparing for your day. For me it was adding the emptying of the dishwasher to the morning after all breakfasts have been served to the “big kids” in the house (eh-hem, that includes my husband).

Here’s how I broke down my day:

  • Morning Routine
  • Chore of the Day
  • Evening Round-Up

My morning routine includes those things that should get done but you just don’t want to have to write them down because you do them every….single….day…..and it would just get exhausting to even acknowledge them every single day. The morning routine, after my oldest is on the bus and off to school, includes:

  1. Make the beds
  2. Empty the dishwasher
  3. Put hand washed dishes away

The evening routine is pretty similar. Although it doesn’t include any of the same tasks, it’s composed of those mind numbing chores that you could probably do in your sleep. Our routine includes:

  1. Clean off counter tops & table
  2. Load dishwasher
  3. Take garbage out
  4. Set up Rumba {who I’ve affectionately nicknamed Jeeves} to vacuum kitchen

Assign One Revolving Daily Cleaning Chore Per Day

You see where it says “Chore of the Day” in the middle of that list? That’s where I try to accomplish my daily “weekly must-do chore”. {Notice I used the word try} I used to do that daily chore during my daughter’s nap time but now I use her nap time to get billable work done and squeeze that daily chore in somewhere after the morning routine and before we all pass out at the end of the day.

Here’s how I assigned my weekly must-do’s throughout the day and found that I wasn’t overwhelmed anymore:

  • Monday - Meal Plan & Grocery Shopping
  • Tuesday – Clean Bathrooms
  • Wednesday – Dusting
  • Thursday – Mopping
  • Friday – Kitchen Appliances
  • Saturday – Linens
  • Sunday - Vacuum

In Conclusion

What I learned very early on about myself is that I’m a human who thrives on routine. Listing out what needed I needed to accomplish and putting it into a timeframe that I could live with (one week) that would get me to my goal was paramount. Was it do or die? No, not by any means. But I have noticed that when I don’t stick to my morning, chore-of-the-day, evening roundup routine, I lose a good chunk of my weekend time with my kids and husband and that makes me just plain grumpy.

So let’s talk about what you’ve implemented in your household to keep the nest in working order and remain sane. What’s worked for you? What hasn’t?

 

 

My Hard Learned Lesson – If This, Then That

 

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You know the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”? I totally had a “shame on me moment” yesterday. But I’m here today to not only humble myself to you, my lovely readers, but to share a cool lesson I taught myself that’s totally saving my tush from here on in. Today I’m talking about using technology to avoid life’s dumb moments.

When the warm weather finally shows its face up here in the North Country, I relish every moment. With that, comes an open sunroof in my van whenever I drive around town. I love the fresh
air, the warmth, the sunshine on my melon. This is the first vehicle I’ve ever had with a sunroof. I think, for us living so far north of the equator, they should be mandatory in all vehicles. They just bring smiles to so many peoples’ faces around here.

When It Rains, It Pours

Two days ago we had some serious storms come through the area. My kids loved watching it rain outside. We were having fun playing indoors while the outdoors was getting a good soaking. And that same outdoor soaking ended up in the inside of my van! That’s right….I completely forgot to close the lovely sunroof that I heart so much. I didn’t realize it at the time and was happy just minding my own business indoors while the storms went through.

Well yesterday morning as I was getting my two younger ones into the van to take one child to pre-school, I realized there was about 2″ of water sitting in my center console. Inside the console sat some items that were never intended to be swimming in any sort of puddle as well. I grabbed the wet/dry vacuum and sucked up the water. All was well again within the van.

My Dirty Little Secret

Here’s my dirty little secret: The most embarrassing part of this story is that this isn’t the first time I’ve left the sunroof open in a rain storm. Ooopsy! So last night as my 4 year old proclaimed to my husband that “Mommy had to suck up the water out of the van today”, I not only admitted my knucklehead move, but I also came up with my own lifesaver. I call it my “dumb-saver”.

The dumb-saver to my dirty little secret…..a cool web tool called IFTTT. It stands for If This Then That and it runs like a big “if” statement, kinda like how Excel formulas work. I started using IFTTT back in the winter. Every morning, when the first day’s weather forecast is broadcasted for my zip code, I have the program send me a text with the day’s expected high/low temps and current conditions.

When we got home from the pre-school drop off, I quickly ran to my trusty computer and brought up IFTTT. I put in a recipe that now sends my phone a text whenever my weather forecast changes to include impending rain for my zip code.

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Take a look at the text I received this morning telling me that not only does the recipe work, but it helps me remember to close the sunroof. You can personalize any recipe to note a particular trigger (the THIS), and act on that trigger to do something else for you (the THAT).  You see how I personalized the THAT to send me my own personalized message with my nickname in there so it triggers my eyeballs to really look at it? Pretty sweet eh?!

You don’t have to create your own recipes. That’s another cool part. There are lots of established recipes that you can activate for your device. Here are some of my favorites:

  • If I star an email in Gmail, create a reminder to take care of it (for this recipe, click here)
  • Post your Instagram photos as native Twitter pictures (click here)
  • Thanks a new follower with a tweet (click here)
  • Nearly home? Send a direct message to the person who should know (click here)

Lesson Learned

Perhaps I could do a better job of closing that sunroof but chances are with all that I have to remember on any given day, probably not. I’ll be using my trusty IFTTT recipe as a backup method to help avoid encountering another swimming pool inside my van. I’ll be creating a recipe for my husband’s phone to let me know when he leaves his office so that I can make sure dinner is piping hot when he gets home, cuz I’m good like that ;)

Now it’s your turn: Have you used IFTTT? If so, for what are you using it currently? If not, will you be checking it out pretty soon?

Controlling Take-Out Menu Clutter

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Who doesn’t love when someone else cooks a delicious meal for you and your entire family? Top that off with the option to eat said deliciousness within the confines of your own home? Break out the comfy t-shirt & yoga pants! I’m certainly a fan of take-out night. But what I’m not a fan of is the unsightly piles those paper menus can quickly create. That’s why I’m here today to highlight a super easy and inexpensive way of controlling take-out menu clutter. (more…)

29 Minute Saffron Chorizo & Shrimp

If you’re like most people, when the end of the day comes, you don’t have a heck of a lot of time to put together a healthy dinner.

I have heard that sentence so many times since becoming a mother and having to cook for different palates. My goal is to bring you easy recipes that are healthy, use fresh ingredients, and don’t take a boat load of time. I have yet to tackle a dinner on a weeknight that took me super long to make. I have screwed up dinners, don’t get me wrong, but a few PB&J sandwich dinners never hurt anyone in this house ;) This 29 Minute Saffron Chorizo & Shrimp plate is under 30 minutes (hence the “29″ in its name, ha!) and breaks up the monotony of the regular weeknight dinners we’re all used to.

So grab your pots & pans, and possibly an apron, and let’s make us some delish 29 Minute Saffron Chorizo & Shrimp. (more…)

Busy Night Salmon Cakes

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This recipe is not only super easy, it’s also very good for you! Who doesn’t love a dinner like that? I promise you will! Today’s main meal centerpiece is my Busy Night Salmon Cakes. It comes together very quickly, uses ingredients you have on hand (remember, easy is a key word in my house) and it’ll make your doctor happy because it uses salmon. Come on along for some good Busy Night Salmon Cakes. (more…)