The seminal Seminole experience

What do you do when someone gives you an entire shoebox (and they had large feet) full of bias binding in all the colours of the rainbow? This was my dilemma (yeah, first world problems) a few months ago when the grandmother of someone I know moved house and got rid of all her haberdashery from her seamstressing career by offloading it into the impatiently waiting arms of my sister, who then, as she had no room either, offloaded it to me (yes, I can hear your wails of envy and gnashing of teeth as it’s something akin to every DIYers fantasy, I know).
Having recently drooled over The Folkwear Book of Ethnic Clothing, I was not short of ideas for how to use all this trimming – in fact it was like I’d sent a wish out to the universe and, for a change, it had delivered, as I had fallen in love with the skirts worn by Florida’s Seminole Indians (like in the pic below) and the book gives instructions for how to create similar patterns using – such a coincidence – bias binding! (This pic is not from the book, I found it here while trawling the internet)

One of my many freelance jobs is as regular columnist Miss Sew & Sew at Peppermint magazine, and quite a while ago I created a circle skirt out of a bedsheet for that column (let me know if you want me to put up a scan of the article, I didn’t get round to it for this post). Being plain navy and mid-calf length, it wasn’t the kind of thing I would normally wear, so it ended up sitting in my wardrobe until I realised that it would be the perfect base for a Seminole-inspired skirt. I won’t tell you how long it took to stitch all the bias binding on, as I didn’t time myself, but let’s say I had three weeks of summer holidays and watched quite a few crappy DVDs while pinning metres (kilometres?) of the stuff to the skirt, which now looks like this.

If you would like to make your own version of the skirt, it’s not hard – you really just need to cut a huge circle with a hole in the middle for your waist, but as I’d cut the hole too big, I needed to gather the skirt material to fit me and attach a waistband and a zip. But if you’re starting from scratch it would be much easier just to cut the hole big enough to slide over your hips and then stitch elastic to the waistline (directly on to the fabric using zig zag stitch, or slid through a casing).

If you are going to do that, make sure you put the elastic in the waistline last, because you want the skirt as flat as possible while you are attaching all the bias binding.

I love how swingy it is! I have never worn this kind of thing before but all the colours make me very happy – as does the knowledge that this project is completed!! But now what do I do to give me an excuse to watch crappy DVDs? Oh, that’s right, muck around with iPhoto to make my pictures look vintage, just like this!

And there’s always another project in store – the cherry-adorned headband I’m wearing in these shots belongs to Lisa at and we used it for a Mexican-inspired shoot the other day (more on that another time).

Pretty cute, don’t you think? Hmm, I have a few plain hairbands just lying around…and stacks of beads and decorative stuff that would look cute on hairbands… and some crappy DVDs to watch…