Monday, August 20, 2012

DIY: The 1970's Dorky Teacher Skirt

Dying for a Double DIY? Here's how to paint your own Pencil Shoes!
 This past weekend's to-do list looked like this:

1. Mow the yard...nope, didn't do it.
2. Clean the house...I danced around with the Swiffer, which counts as cleanin' in my book.
3. Go for a run...naw, no one was chasing me so, why bother?

That's all I had to do this weekend. And I didn't even manage to get 50% done. Which kinda makes me sound like a slack-tastic slug. Unless you take into consideration that I did something that wasn't even on my list: I made the World's Dorkiest Teacher Skirt. That's right. I just turned that Slack-tastic into Tacky-tastic. Because it's what I do.
Please try to ignore the dust bunnies that my Swiffer Samba didn't pick up.
It all started with this 1970's wrap skirt I picked up at Goodwill years ago. Yeah, I said years. I don't get rid of anything. In fact, when I start cleaning out, I make huge stacks of things to donate...and then refold them and place them back in my closet. Where they belong. Along with my cassette tapes, my VCR and Richard Simmons workout videos. I'd laugh with you if I wasn't crying.

How I usually go about bringing my goofy ideas to life: I start with a sketch and just dive in. I find that if I spend too much time thinking an idea through, Sane Cassie will usually come to her senses and drop it. However, if I just go at it, Crazy Cassie can sometimes make it happen. Am I really talking about myself in third person? Isn't that what Sybil used to do...?
This skirt was actually inspired by my vintage palette and rainbow wrap skirts that you can see here. I didn't make either of those but I have done my share of applique in the past (check out my Rock Star Apron). You can applique on any ole sewing machine. It's just like collage with the stitching acting as your glue.
For the pencils (because I know you are dying to get your tacky on):

1. Pin your pencil drawing to some yellow fabric (I used a mustard yellow linen) and some facing. Cut it out.
2. Cut out shapes of eraser, the pencil ferrule (what you didn't know that's what the metal thingie was called?), the wooden tip and the lead.
3. Tack shapes down with stitch witchery (non-sewers, that's this magical stuff that will adhere fabric with just the heat of an iron).
4. Set your sewing machine to the zigzag setting. Now each machine is different as far as setting go. So you may have to uproot that manual you never read and give it a peak under "applique stitching". Trust me, your machine can do this. The applique is simply a very tight zigzag stitch.
Oh, look it's The Notebook. By the way, am I the last female on the planet that hasn't seen that movie? Yeah yeah, I get it, they're wearing vintage, it's romantic and (gasp!) Ryan Gosling is in it. But I just can't handle that much sap {shivers}.
The notebook was a snap. I doubled up the white fabric and adding facing to the back. Before adding it to the skirt, I stitched on the lines for the page and the little doodled heart. Once appliqued to the skirt, I added the spiral bound rings and the lines for the sheets of paper.
Before teaching art, I thought all #2 pencils were all alike. Oh contraire mon ami. The Ticonderoga big pencils are my personal fave in the art room.
Once the notebook was attached, I appliqued on the pencils. This part took a pinch longer because I wanted to match the applique thread with the colors of the pencil. Because I'm only detail oriented when it comes to the important things. Like applique. Remembering to drop by the bank, the post office and the grocery? Um, not so much.
I know it looks like a drag, but it really was just a matter of changing the thread out. The key to a clean applique stitch is making sure that your needle zigzags from the edge of your fabric to the inside.
Does it get any dorkier? Me thinks not.
The only thing missing is a pencil hair clip. Or a pencil beret. Perhaps a pencil sombrero? Always an option.
Please tell me this isn't my fate...but if I do get an itch, it's nice to know you can still buy sweaters like this here.

Now when Crazed Cassie was in the midst of whipping up this little number, she (okay, this is weird, I'm switching to first person), ahem, I asked hubs for some advice. He's like the Tasteful to my Tacky. 

So I inquired: On the notebook, do you think I should use black thread or gray thread for the heart doodle?

Hubs: I don't think you should put a doodle on the notebook.

Moi: Well, that wasn't really the question. Black or gray was my question.

Hubs: I have an idea, how about you stitch the alphabet on it? You know, like a capital A and then a lower case a and then a B and a C?

Moi: What?! That would make it look totally tacky!

Hubs: (exasperated "I-think-you've-already-reached-that-level" look).

Really? I don't know, let's do the math:

Two pencils plus one notebook and a heart equals Pretty Stinkin' Dorky.

Add in some pencil shoes and, yep, he's right Totally Tacky.

Well, if anything, at least I'm consistent. Now! Off to make a Pencil Hat!


  1. Your comment about The Notebook cracked me up! People have been at me for years to watch it, but honestly I can never make it through very far... I'm just not a romantic movie gal, I guess... :/ (At least not modern-made romantic movies. Give me a 30s or 40s one and I'm happy. haha!) Pretty clothes or no pretty clothes!

    Love this skirt, btw! Don't listen to Sane Cassie. ;) lol.

    (And cleaning is overrated in my book right now! Along with folding laundry. It's all clean--you just have to dig for it in the baskets. haha!)

    1. Oh my goodness, you and I have the same laundry philosophy! And I'm so glad to know I'm not the only Non-Notebooker ;)

  2. I guess I must be tacky because I love the whole outfit! I've seen the Notebook and is it wrong that I prefer the old people to the Ryan Gosling part?

    1. I'm sure Ryan would just say, "Hey Girl, that's cool. Old people are awesome." But that's just a guess ;)

  3. That is the cutest damn pencil skirt I have ever seen! And your pencil shoes! Go straight to the head of the class.

    1. Aw, thanks! And you mentioned one of my fave games...double stars for you ;)

  4. Hi Cassie! I saw your poodle pattern at Feeling Stitchy and made my own version: Thanks for sharing this pattern! I love the vintage looking clothes you make! Liz

    1. Liz! Your poodle was adorable! And, man, did you bust that out or what? Love it and I'm the newest follower on your blog!

  5. Yep pretty cute for sure :)

  6. Anonymous8/22/2012

    The dress reminds me of Miss Frizzle. I loved her!

    1. Don't tell, but she's totally my inspiration. Thank for the compliment!

  7. You are my kind of tacky dorky! Love your creations and re-creations!

    1. Aw, shucks, thank you, Becky! Just what I need, tacky-encouragement ;)

  8. That is so cool - gotta have attitude to pull it off and you can soooo do it. love it. love the shoes too. I would like to see someone wearing that down the street, it would give me a big smile and that is always good.

  9. Beyond awesome. Love the whole outfit.

  10. Wonderful skirt! Your students must love you.


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