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Strawberry Faire
by April Henry

I was recently asked by my online sewing friend, Dawn, to sample her recent Olabelhe debut, the Kirstin Skirt.

I didn't quite know what fabric I was going to use, but another friend of mine surprised me with this pretty Kaufman strawberry print and it coordinated perfectly with the Urban Chicks Red Picnic Swell gingham I had on hand.


Unfortunately, SweetPea didn't have a top that matched (or should I say that fit properly and wasn't stained from last season) so that provided me the opportunity to try yet another pattern, which incorporated two new things that I had not yet tried.

The Kirstin Skirt pattern is a very simple tutorial with instructions and a formula for making almost any size! The femininity and little girly-frillyness is over-the-top darling! I ended up using my Ruffler Attachment to do all the plaiting. In order for the fullness to come out correct, I tested first on some scrap fabric strips to make sure that I had the right stitch length on the machine and plait depth on the ruffler to reduce the swatch by half from its original size (because that is approximately how much I needed to reduce the skirt fullness by) . When I finally had the right formulation with my sample strips, I could begin working on the skirt itself. It was amazing how much difference it made for perfect, even tucks in the gathering versus doing it by hand.

The top is an Ottobre pattern from their most recent 03/2009 issue. I had never used Fold-Over-Elastic (FOE) before, nor had I done shirring with elastic in my bobbin... both techniques I will definitely be using again and again!  FOE makes neck-binding so simple and clean - I strongly suggest using a walking foot. It probably wasn't a good idea to do shirring for the first time using a rib knit, but nonetheless, it still turned out satisfactory.