making skirts and going to parties

Once upon a time you couldn’t keep me away from my sewing machine and my sewing room. I was a regular down at Spotlight and I made time for doing something I loved. More little people have come along and finding that sewing time is hard and it’s been easier to knit on the couch. But a birthday party invite and a costume that didn’t arrive in time meant that I was on pinterest and looking for something that could be made quickly and easily with an under sea theme. I kind of did things in reverse too heading down to the shops to buy supplies and still not quite sure what I was going to make but just hoping for the best. Kind of like a project runway task or something like that.

I said to retro daddy on Friday night, don’t let me fall asleep before I make the costume……….and of course I did. I then woke up Saturday in a panic that I had no costume or skirt. Fed the baby thinking and sipped my coffee all the while thinking about how I could whip something up. Popped baby in his little swing at the door of my sewing room, and with a mixture of ideas and I had something finished. It won’t win any awards and the edges are left raw but I made something.

I will share some detailed instructions but basically I took 12 inch strips of fabric (by the width of the fabric), gathered the tops with a long running stitch, pulled them to make gathers, joined the strips end to end, folded them back on each other by a width bigger than her waist measurement (I basically did about 19 inches), stitched them together at the top with a zig zag stitch. At this point I realised I’m not cut out for costumes and fine materials. Then I drew on my quilting skills and did a bias binding strip to enclose the top of the skirt and all of those stitches, the ends of the binding tie up the skirt in a bow at the back and I stitched on a little ribbon at the front. Phew. I’ll share some pics and steps as my other girls want a skirt each now.

And then I decided since I also had some mermaid fabric to make a little cotton skirt to go underneath because costumes never last long on her so better to have something to wear. Honestly I think this was 15 minutes from start to finish. Super easy to make just take the width of the fabric (112cm for this one), measure a nice skirt you have or on the kneed of your model, add an inch for the hem and an inch or so for waistband, cut your fabric, sew up the sides, hem the bottom, fold over the top a little and press the whole way around.

Fold over the top again over the width of your elastic. Now sew around the top of the skirt where you have the folded down edge to create the waistband opening and leave about 2 inches at the seam for you to thread elastic through. I measured elastic to one of her favourite skirts, pin on one end and safety pin on the other, thread in the elastic, sew the ends together, sew up the waistband where you left space to thread elastic in and you are done. Done.

We had a white ruffle tee in our wardrobe. And picked up a mermaid little costume pack at Spotlight which had a wand, slippers, jewellery, purse and head piece and teamed up a few of the things with a pretty gymboree hair clip that she got for her birthday. And ta da now the outfit had really come together.

So with the outfit sorted we headed to the party. Parties can be hard work work for kids at the best of times and especially my little miss – new surroundings, new faces, lots of noise, not quite sure what the fuss is all about and just a lot of overload. And we were so excited before the party and then we arrive at the house and she doesn’t want to go in and starts walking back to the car. At these times you need to keep your sense of humour and a smile on your face and look like you have your act together (while juggling the baby and nappy bag and any other little ones you have with you).  And once she’s settled she has a great time, we didn’t join in any games this time but had found other things to play with, she sat and ate with the other little party guests and waved to me across the room, and after she had been in the face painting queue and had her little hands painted,  she pointed to the front door and said go and it was time to leave.

I treasure every invite we get to a party for this little girl. She has a helper with her at preschool just to do things that the other kids do on their own, she doesn’t have a lot of words but I do know that she always has friends to play with who tell their parents how much they love playing with her. And that melts my heart like you wouldn’t believe. So we lasted 2 hours of the 3 hour party and had a great time and it was a fabulous excuse to get back into my sewing

I’ll share a few pictures and step by step instructions of how I made both of the skirts once we’ve had little man’s baptism next weekend…… I was making it I was thinking I should take some photos but then I wasn’t sure how (or if!)  it was going to turn out but I wish I had…………………..this week is all about preparing for the baptism and getting the house presentable. Wish me luck……


  1. Corrie, It is true that necessity is the Mother of invention! You are definitely the Mother!!! Well done on giving your little girl this beautiful experience.

  2. the skirt is lovely Corrie and Elodie looks gorgeous. I’m so glad she enjoyed the party

  3. She is so beautiful, well done on the quick costume!

  4. Judith Hogan says:

    What a lovely picture of Elodie. She is so pretty, just like her mother and her sisters. Hope you get some good pictures of the baptism, and hope that Lawson makes it through in a pleasant frame of mind.

  5. Oh Corrie! She is beautiful. I have missed seeing her sweet face. The costume will allow for many hours of mermaid fun.
    Good mommy, beautiful daughter.

  6. Corrie,
    What a gorgeous skirt – both of them. They are wonderful and the type of thing that my girls loved. Dress up was magic and seemed to be something that lasted for years. One other place we went for costumes was to thrift stores where we bought ex-bridesmaids dresses. The kind that people would wear and discard because they had too much bling. Well a few alterations and my girls were in heaven. For many years they celebrated New Years dressing up and having snackies while Ian and I went out to a party.

    I also want to say what a wonderful mother you are to Elodie – you read her cues so well and help her achieve so many milestones – everything is a bit more of stretch for her but you are helping her move forward at a pace she can handle. She looked like a princess in that outfit.

  7. You don’t need luck Corrie you are doing a fabulous job raising your family. Best Wishes Wendy

  8. Heather Miller says:

    What a lovely costume that u ‘whipped up ‘ !! Your sweet little girl has grown so tall. U continue to amaze me.. what a great mum u are.
    Best wishes

  9. Beautiful girl! x

  10. Susan Leach says:

    What a lovely post, love hearing about Elodie and how she is going. The outfit is gorgeous. Looking forward to seeing your details when you make for the older girls.

  11. dianne nunn says:

    What a gorgeous costume. I think Elodie did very well to last 2 hours – I am not good in those situations either. Your attitude is so good. Make the most of each opportunity but do not push the little girl. It is lovely to see how beautiful she looks in her costume and I think she makes a great model.

  12. Absolutely gorgeous!! How beautiful is Elodie in her outfit!! Fabulous job Corrie xx

  13. super mum,lol well done

  14. She’s gorgeous Corrie. Well done to her and well done to you! Cute skirt too!!

  15. The skirts both turned out great. So lovely to hear that the party went well too. Hope all goes smoothly for the baptism.

  16. Beautiful Corrie absolutely beautiful. I always like to turn to handmade for my daughter while she’s little, these little moments I’ll treasure. This fabric catches my eye every time I’m in Spotlight, which for me is a lot. A dress up skirt maybe.

    Your an inspiration to mums out there Corrie, Well done. We like to think we’re just been the best Mum’s we can be.

  17. Great job Mum….. Elodie looks super gorgeous and I love the colour of the skirt..
    Good luck with the prep for the baptism….

  18. Beautiful and so are the skirts :))))

  19. What an inspiration you are Corrie. Elodie looks beautiful so happy she enjoyed the party!

  20. Looks great!

  21. Great job Corrrie. The girls seem to love skirts and they are so easy to make. Love those colours and she looks pretty in it. Thanks for sharing. Some days may seem overwhelming but you do a great job thanks be to God.

  22. Hi, what fabric is the mermaid fabric please. Thanks in advance.

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