A-Line Skirts: 5 Tips for a Flattering Fit

A-Line Skirts: 5 Tips for a Flattering Fit | The Zen of Making

After spending the summer living in my perfect summer skirt, I decided that it was time to tackle a go-to pattern for a fitted a-line skirt with a zipper closure. Because, elastic waistbands are great and all, but some fabrics and occasions call for a cleaner silhouette and a bit more structure. So, not happy with any of the patterns that I’d tried, I decided to draft a simple a-line skirt pattern that I could use as my winter uniform, and I was determined to get the fit just right. And, while I was working on my skirt, I put together this 5-step fitting guide to help you sew the fabulous a-line skirt of your dreams too! So, grab an a-line skirt pattern in your size—or draft your own, if you’re so inclined—and let’s make some fit magic happen!

A-Line Skirts: 5 Tips for a Flattering Fit | The Zen of Making

A-Line Skirts: 5 Tips for a Flattering Fit | The Zen of Making

Note: This is by no means a comprehensive skirt fitting guide, but these 5 simple tips can help you give your a-line skirts a more flattering fit with minimal futzing.

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Clothes Moths: How to Save Your Yarn Stash, Fabric, Wardrobe, and Sanity During an Infestation

Clothes Moths: How to Save Your Yarn Stash, Fabric, Wardrobe, and Sanity During an Infestation | The Zen of Making

If you follow me elsewhere on the internet, then you already know my heartbreaking tale of woe and destruction. But, for those of you not on the Twitter and the Instagram: In late summer, I lost a third of my wardrobe, a third of my yarn stash, and a sizable portion of both my fabric and felt collections to the dreaded clothes moth. Around my craft studio, this horrifying incident is referred to, in appropriately hushed and reverent tones, as either Moth Hell or The Mothing. And, in sharing my story (spoiler: I defeat the moths and emerge victorious), it is my hope that I can help save other crafters from the same terrible fate.

Clothes Moths: How to Save Your Yarn Stash, Fabric, Wardrobe, and Sanity During an Infestation | The Zen of Making

OMG, MOTHS!
At first, I was deeply embarrassed. And I must not be alone in that initial reaction, because, bouncing around the crafty/home-related internet, there’s tons of information about how to protect your fiber and fabric from an infestation, and even what to do after you’ve seen your first moth, but there’s precious little reliable information about how to actually save your stuff when a full-blow infestation is already underway. This lack of visible online guidance and commiseration made me feel alone and ashamed. But, then I looked around at my clean apartment and organized workspace (that was still, nonetheless, infested with clothes moths), talked to fellow crafty friends who whispered about their own past infestations, and I got the hell over it. Because, you know what? Moths don’t care if your apartment is clean. If they get in, they’re still going to eat your yarn, your wool sweaters, your silky underthings, and anything else that might have ever come into contact with sweat, your skin, or pet hair. And they’re probably going to be pretty stealthy at first—they’ll hide away in your yarn bins, coat closet, or in the back of your drawers where you keep the stuff that you never wear—and it won’t matter that you vacuum twice a week and put away clutter, because you won’t even know that they’re there. The fact is, if you’re not specifically looking for signs of clothes moths on a regular basis, you can easily have an infestation on your hands before you even see that first moth fly out of your craft room. And it doesn’t matter how those stupid moths got there in the first place—perhaps you brought home an infested skein of yarn, or picked up the wrong wool coat at the thrift store, or maybe one of those little buggers just happened to flitter in through an open window—all that matters is dealing with it quickly and thoroughly and the FIRST time around.

After successfully dealing with my own moth problems, I decided to put together a guide to help other crafters who find themselves in the same situation. I live and work out of my Brooklyn apartment, and I have two very curious cats, so I did not use unnecessary pesticides or chemicals. Instead, I used common sense, good old fashioned white vinegar, and a whole lot of cleaning. These aren’t preventative measures. This is the unvarnished truth about what to do when a clothes moth infestation is definitely already happening, and now you have to fix it.

If you’ve got moths, this is how to save your stuff:

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Tutorial: Simple Fabric Armrest Covers

Tutorial: Simple Fabric Armrest Covers | The Zen of Making

Fabric armrest covers: the dirty little secret of confirmed cat ladies everywhere!

Okay, okay. They’re not really just for cat ladies. Whether it’s pets, kids, thrift store scores, stains, or just extra-comfy seats that have seen better days, it’s amazing how quickly a simple fabric armrest cover can transform a ratty looking couch or chair into a piece of furniture that’s pretty and presentable. So, after my darling Pixel-the-Cat simply couldn’t resist sinking his claws into my poor living room couch like a vicious tiny tiger (oh, would that we had discovered Soft Paws claw caps earlier), I decided that something had to be done to disguise the damage. And, having zero interest in, say, reupholstering my entire loveseat, I whipped up a set of quick and easy DIY fabric armrest covers to hide the offending holes and scratches.

Tutorial: Simple Fabric Armrest Covers | The Zen of Making

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Want to spiff up your most welcoming rooms before the start of the holiday season? Here’s how to make your own set of custom fabric armrest covers:

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Tutorial: Resin Sewing Thread and Embroidery Floss Pendants

Tutorial: Resin Sewing Thread and Embroidery Floss Pendants | The Zen of Making

I am a deeply practical woman in most areas of my life, but sewing thread just isn’t one of them. When it comes to beautiful thread ends and bits of leftover embroidery floss, I simply can’t bring myself to throw them away. Instead, into the giant glass jar they go, destined to look pretty while uselessly cluttering up my craft studio until the collapse of all space and time as we know it. Because, those colors!

Sound familiar, stitchers? Well, put down those thimbles and hoops, set aside your needles and spools, and get ready to turn those lovely leftovers into super-cute resin sewing thread and embroidery floss pendants! Make them for your friends! For your sewing circle or quilt guild! For the gal who cuts the yardage at your favorite fabric shop! Heck, if you’ve got as many floss and thread-filled jars on your shelves as I do, you might want to make one to match every conceivable outfit in your closet! ;)

Tutorial: Resin Sewing Thread and Embroidery Floss Pendants | The Zen of Making

Tutorial: Resin Sewing Thread and Embroidery Floss Pendants | The Zen of Making

Tutorial: Resin Sewing Thread and Embroidery Floss Pendants | The Zen of Making

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