happy friday dear ones!  today i have a very special guest post for you from sharon of farm and fru fru!  when i saw her circle skirt i knew i wanted have her share the tutorial with you. farm and fru fru is where sharon attempts to mix the craziness of farm life with the simple beauty of fabric, ribbon, fibers, paper and whatever else she can find to live creatively…with cows. enjoy!

farm and fru fru

My circle skirt began with a thrifted 100% cotton skirt which I cut the sewn hem from, leaving the edge raw because I like the look and knit doesn’t ravel.

farm and fru fru

The circle details were added using a reverse appliqué technique. This simply means you will have two layers of knit, the top layer (the skirt itself) stenciled or drawn with the circles then stitched to the bottom layer which is sewn to the reverse side of the skirt. The interior of each circle is then cut away revealing the bottom layer on contrasting color. I used three colors for my circles…gray, white and khaki.

farm and fru fru

To begin the reverse appliqué, stencil or draw the circles onto the outside of your skirt. I did a wide border of circles that went up about 8” from the hem. Since my skirt was black, I used chalk to free-hand draw circles all over in varying sizes. You could use a disappearing pencil if your skirt is light. When you have drawn all the circles you want, cut circles of colored knit (in my case, gray, white and khaki) at least 1” larger than your drawn circles. Pin your colored circles onto the BACKSIDE of your skirt…you can do all of them at once or pin a few, stitch, then pin some more. I just scattered the colors randomly along the border. When the colored circles are pinned to the back of the skirt, stitch on the FRONT SIDE around the outline of each drawn circle using a simple running stitch in the thread color of your choice. I used white thread on all my circles because I liked the contrast. You make a knot at the beginning and end of each circle…do not try to join all the circles…stitch each separately. I like for the ends of my thread to show on the outside of the skirt so I leave a little ½” tail of thread at the beginning knot and at the ending knot, but if you prefer you can start on the back side, and your knots won’t show.

farm and fru fru

When you’ve stitched around each circle, you will cut out the inside of each little circle on the front of the skirt about 1/8” from the outline stitching to reveal the backing color! I use very sharp tiny scissors and clip a little hole in the center of each circle to give myself a place to start…be very careful not to cut the backing fabric.

farm and fru fru

When you have revealed all your colors, your skirt is basically done. I did add a contrasting 1” gray border around the bottom of my skirt using a running stitch, then a 11/2” black border under that. I cut that border wide enough to cover all my little colored circles on the reverse side of the skirt and tacked it in place just to give it a neater more finished look on the inside. That’s it! Of course, if you prefer, you can use other shapes like leaves or squares instead of circles.

farm and fru fru

If this project interests you, I highly recommend Natalie Chanin’s beautiful book Alabama Stitch which teaches lots of hand stitching techniques and includes a ton of projects, each beautifully photographed. I use this book all the time and am amazed and inspired each time I open the cover.

{photography by laura gordon}

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