Yesterday, with deadlines looming and work to be done, I spent the morning sewing a new skirt for Beany’s beloved Bunny, the doll whose been the favorite naptime, bedtime, all-time companion for more than a year but whose received affection — and countless trips through the washing machine — was beginning to take its toll on her delicate pink attire.
The skirt itself is nothing too fancy: just a small scrap of fabric, hemmed at the bottom and gathered at the waist with a thin piece of elastic. It’s simple, but Beany was instantly pleased and has since taken to dressing and undressing Bunny again and again and saying, “Uh oh” every time the skirt comes off. Throughout the process though, while sewing a skirt for a stuffed ballerina, I kept thinking about how funny it would be for my younger self to see me now.
If I could speak to my 17-year-old self and tell her how things were going nearly 10 years later, I suspect that teenage Katrina would be a bit surprised to find how things turned out. She’d be surprised to find she was married already, even more shocked to hear she was a mom and probably stunned to learn that, though she does, as she always planned, spend nearly every day writing and editing for career and for hobby, she does so in chunks of time that come wedged between playing princesses, building block towers and rereading the same Dr. Seuss book until its pages begin to wear.
My 17-year-old self couldn’t fathom working from a desk in the living room, with toys and dolls running rampant around her, rather than at a fancy office in a big city. She couldn’t imagine scheduling interviews around naptime, and she definitely couldn’t imagine singing the Cat and the Hat theme song a record six times back to back just so she could finish proofing the last two pages of a magazine before she and her leg-clinging co-worker could break for lunch. More than anything, she couldn’t imagine that this work-from-home lifestyle, though stressful and busy and seemingly constant, would be worth every ounce of tough that came along with it.
My teenage self wouldn’t understand breaking from business to sew a doll skirt or working well past midnight because you spent the morning picking clovers. She probably wouldn’t understand any of it — and that’s completely OK. In fact, if I could talk to my 17-year-old self, I might not tell her much at all. I’d say that great things happen, that she should keep dreaming big and working hard and following her bliss because some of the best things in my life have turned up when I didn’t know for sure what I was reaching for.
So yesterday, I sewed a doll skirt. Today will be another adventure. Fortunately, I have a pretty awesome girl to keep me company.
Easy DIY Doll Skirt
Or: How to dazzle your daughter with new a skirt for her BFF
What you’ll need:
• small piece of fabric (for Bunny, who is about 8 inches tall, I used a 4-by-20-inch rectangle)
• thin piece of elastic, long enough to fit around the doll’s waist
• matching thread, scissors, pins and all that handy sewing paraphernalia
How you do it:
1. Start by cutting your fabric into a rectangle. To determine the size, measure how long you want the skirt to be (keep in mind that the fuller the skirt, the higher it will bounce up), then add 1 ½ inches to allow for seams. For Bunny’s 2 ½-inch skirt length, I cut the fabric 4 inches long.
Measuring for the width is a lot more forgiving because you’ll be bunching the skirt around the elastic. I recommended going anywhere from three to five times the width of the doll. Bunny’s waist is about 4 inches, so I cut my rectangle 20 inches wide.
2. Sew a ½-inch hem on one of the longer sides of the fabric piece; that will be the bottom of the skirt. Then sew a 1-inch hem on the other long side of the fabric, making sure to leave enough of a gap between the fold and the stitch so the elastic can go inside.
3. Loop the fabric into a circle so the two short ends meet, and, with the rough sides of the fabric facing outward, sew the two short sides together without closing up the 1-inch gaps on top where the elastic will be fed through.
4. Cut your elastic to whatever width you need, adding ½ inch for a small seam. Hook a safety pin to one end of the elastic, and, while holding the other end, feed the safety pin through the 1-inch gap at the top of the skirt until it comes out the other side. Sew the two ends of the elastic together so they hold tightly (I did two separate stitches for extra hold).
5. Close up the gaps at the top of the skirt now that the elastic is in, flip the skirt right side out, scrunch and shift the fabric so it’s even around the waist and you’re done!
Have you done any sewing lately? Any impromptu projects that turned into big hits? What’s the day to day like in your neck of the woods? I’d love to hear about it!