The Ray Bradbury Poncho Skirt.

I love sewing.  Sometimes I just sit at the machine and sew pieces together and see what happens.  I don’t have a lot of skills.  I’m learning things.  I took a three hour class once that was so totally worth it.  Mostly I just figure it out as I go.

I got inspired by this thing from the Dangerous Minds web site that floated across my Facebook newsfeed the other day. I have always liked Ray Bradbury. If you haven’t read anything by him it’s totally worth it.  Here’s a list pick one.  The quote that really got to me was:

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things”  


With that in mind, my newly made dress dummy (still haven’t named her) hanging in my closet begging to be used, and a pile of sweaters left from the pweater project I just did this:

But, Angie, it’s another stupid skirt what the hell did you need the dress dummy for? 

GOOD QUESTION!

I didn’t plan on it becoming a skirt but plans don’t always make the best results.  At least not mine.

I still really want a poncho.  Look at these.  Aren’t they fun? Sure I could follow someones tutorial like I usually (sort of) do but they look so simple, I think I should be able to just figure it out.  HAHAHA! remember this thing? 

Ok forget that thing…if you can

To get started I plopped an old sweater that I was never going to wear again on the dummy (Esmirelda?).  

I figured a poncho is mostly a sweater with no sleeves so I cut open the seam that runs up the side and down the sleeve.

Then I folded it it and just sort of started randomly cutting.  (Don’t think, just do)

Here is what it looks like back on the dummy (Loqueetia?)

And here it is all spread out.  

These are the sweater pieces left from the pweater project. They don’t exactly match but there is no thinking allowed here just doing!

I grabbed a piece and  pinned it to the back of the cut up sweater.  When I flipped it over, it looked like this. 

It has potential….but I like curves so I did a bit of clipping 

That looked pretty interesting so I grabbed another sweater piece…

Oops Holes!  Nothing a few random polka dots won’t fix.  

A couple of tips for working with sweaters:  Set your machine tension on 1.  I don’t know enough about sewing machines to know why this works it just does.  Do some experimenting, you will see. Also, if you want things to match up, pin the crap out of them.  There are times when I want randomness and when I do I don’t pin at all I just put things together and let it happen. For this I really wanted things to stay where I put them.  The feed dogs (yes they’re really called that) are the grabby things under the presser foot that move the material through the machine.  They have a tendency to pull at sweater material and stretch it in ways that are hard to predict.  If you use lots of pins (I’m talking like one per inch) your sweaters will stay better.  

With two pieces and some polka dots I figured I should probably start some stitching…mostly cause I ran out of pins.  

And my machine decided to throw a hissy fit.  Clunking noises every time I tried to sew and huge wads of thread stuck underneath that I had to excavate with scissors taking care not to put  (more) holes in my fabric.  With the fabric out of the way I opened her up and… you know all that fuzz that gets in the dryer lint collector when you wash sweaters that happens in the sewing machine too.  ACK! 

Time to pull out the manual and the cute little screw driver and brush that came with my machine, take the little bugger apart and give her a good cleaning.  Now that I’m thinking about it, it might be a good idea to try blowing it out with some canned air, wish I had some.

….20 minutes later…

Who was the sadist who invented this infernal machine? (Oh.  It was these guys.  I love the internet)

This thing has a Chinese puzzle box somewhere in it’s ancestry. I know it it’s only two pieces but if you don’t fit them in exactly right, they just don’t go.

I finally got it all back together and zig zagged all that  I had pinned.  I put it back on the dummy (Louise?) and it looks pretty good.

Well, it’s a work in progress.  At this point I sort of lost myself in the pinning and the sewing and the sewing and the pinning.  I forgot all about the pictures.  So skipping ahead a bit.  I had zig zagged sweater pieces all the way around and popped it back on the dummy (Loretta?) and just eyeballing it I cut around the bottom to make it all even.  (One bonus to working with sweaters, knits don’t unravel!)

Yeah….this thing is um….a little weird.  Better try it on.

Ah ha ha ha ha hahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This just screams skirt to me.  I had to pull it down and see what it looked like.

Guess I’m sewin’ up some arm holes.  While I was at it I added some elastic at the waist.  I didn’t do any cutting I just flipped down the neck hole and sewed over the lumps.

TADA!!!

Hmmmm.  I might actually try doing this again with my intent on it being a skirt but I will definitely be paying more attention to the colors and patterns that I put together.  As well as the weight and texture of the material.  The pink sweater was way lighter that the rest of the pieces so it sort of feels like I’m wearing a giant bell.  In spite of my willingness to post photos of myself wearing this in the internet (where horrifying things live on and on and on and on…) I will not be wearing this out of the house.  Poncho Fail.  So much for not thinking.  Thanks a lot Ray.

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