Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hansel and Gretel School Skirt

DSCF1024a Every time the seasons change, I get a little bit amped up, as if now I’m going to get it together with a new wardrobe and exercise regimen and whatnot, and I’ll change my whole life and start writing self-help books and getting my own show on the Oprah Network.  Or maybe I’ll just make some school clothes, even though I haven’t been to school in a really, really long time.  It feels right, you know?   The leaves have begun to change and there’s that coolness in the evenings, and storybook skirts with cabled hand knit socks suddenly seem like the best idea in the world.  I can change my life, a little.  I can have a new skirt. 


I had this idea, at 11:00 at night, to start sewing some school clothes, so before I went to bed, I dug around in the stash and found this piece of denim, leftover from a failed pair of jeans (more on that later, jeepers, what a disaster…) a couple yards of brown and white checked gingham, a length of cotton lace (thrifted, please don’t hate me) and that incredible, gorgeous, fairytale piece of jacquard ribbon, bought at full price (feel better?) from a fabric shop two years ago, with no project idea in mind at all, but with the sure knowledge that it was meant to be mine. 


I already had the zipper, I already had the button (one of a whole bunch—thrifted—the card on which says, “Pewter Buttons from Norway” (don’t you just love that?  LOVE?)  Then I went to bed, feeling like I do on Christmas Eve and my mom is telling me she can hear sleigh bells and I should go to sleep right away.  Just so excited, you know?  I could not wait to sew this skirt. 


The pattern on the ribbon reminds me of “It’s a Small World.” 


There’s the lining, with hem facing and everything, and the hem, with bias binding I made myself, going all the way around.  The pattern is so simple, an A-line skirt, drafted to fit me (with help from this book) and customizable all kinds of ways—you can make a fitted-waist skirt like this one with a zipper and button closure, you can make a wrap skirt, both with or without linings, you can make your favorite jersey knit Alabama Chanin-style sweatpants fakeout skirt, and probably a few other things I’ve never tried yet, too.  There is only one pattern piece, and the rest comes from experience and (as in my case) haphazard guessing/getting lucky. 


I made the socks a long time ago (in KnitPicks Bare), and hardly ever get to wear them.  I think they have been begging me for a skirt like this ever since they came off the needles.  Clessidra socks, this is your big moment. 

I want to buy some new pencils and walk in the mornings, shushing leaves on the sidewalk, and draw maps and read Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and have milk and cookies and maybe naptime, too.  That’s cozy.    


  1. Your words captured this season so well...back to school in cozy style!
    I can see you wearing your It's a Small World skirt and beautiful knee socks with one of your Kristen blouses. You have one of your Kristen sweaters slung over one shoulder as you shuffle your leather shoes through the leaves on the way to learning how to creatively enjoy life even more.
    Bravo! :) xx from Gracie

  2. That jacquard ribbon is to die for! And I really like the combination of the skirt you made and the kable knit socks. :) lovely work!

  3. By far the best post I have ever read! Loved every word and second what Gracie said!xoxo,Shari!

  4. love to watch the particulars of the skirt hem....!!!
    xxx Alessandra

  5. What a lovely post! Thank you for that! The skirt is so pretty - it has sent my insipartion synaps crazy! xxx

  6. That sounds great ... The skirt is super fun :)

  7. It is beautiful, and practical, and not frilly and different, just how I like things. Clever you! Yes, definitely IASW style!! Drat, got the tune going in my head now!! Fiona

  8. Such a fun post!! Spring is here for me and I'm thinking along the same lines ... new wardrobe, new exercise regime etc. etc.!! Well anyway, enjoy your milk and cookies : -)

  9. You are so adorable I can't stand it. The skirt is perfect, just the right thing for Fall. Love the socks. You are going to be looking great with your new wardrobe.

  10. Very cute and the socks go perfectly with it..also I love yor peasant top...

  11. I get this! In September I always want to run out and buy boxes of #2 pencils and fresh crayons, sweaters and corduroy pants and new boots.
    Now let's talk about how that skirt has the best trim combo ever(oh that ribbon!), and how those socks just make the whole outfit(here I was reading along, wondering where you bought them, and then you said you made them!). I think a pair of clogs A La Dottie Angel would be cute as well!
    Great Post!! I am inspired to dig out my patterns : )

  12. Wow - that skirt is amazing! So pretty!

  13. Waaaayyy too precious! You are so very gifted, Madame! I was so happy for you, til I read that you MADE the socks too. Now I'm just jealous. Love it all! Don't know how you have time to make all these gorgies and tell us about it too, but so darn thankful you do. Highlights in my day, always. Good luck at school. ;)

  14. Wow, check out those awesome socks, I love them and the skirt too....what a great combination.

    Definitely time to do some cozy things and enjoy them....

    Claire :}

  15. Your enthusiasm and love of life makes me smile!
    I love this sweet little skirt you've made, I hope you enjoy wearing it and embracing the change in seasons - autumn always makes me think of the wonderful mice in the Brambly Hedge books I used to read my daughter, making jam and collecting food from the hedgerows for the foodstore, getting ready to batten down the hatches for winter. The illustrations are wonderful,and they made videos!!! Not sure if they made the US.
    Thanks for a great post Kristen!
    Gill xx

  16. I adore your description of those almost overwhelming back-to-school September feelings, they have hit hard in the Attic too. I bought a whole set of new pens, and am on the hunt for some lovely new black shoes. New regimes too, they are knocking on my mental door. Getting new windows put in this week, yaahhooo for new things!

  17. I love this skirt so much - the braid is perfect Hansel and Gretel and that book is just brilliant. Just got a copy and have tried it out this week with surprising success!