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You Can't Buy Style But Maybe You Can Make It


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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You Can't Buy Style But Maybe You Can Make It

You might remember Lily, I shot her in September wearing the white and black dot dress at Bryant Park. I ran into her yesterday wearing this cool skirt that she made herself (she says in about an hour).

I think a great item skirt is about the easiest and most impactful piece of clothing that most young women could easily make for themselves. Especially if you style it after those raw edge Prada skirts that have been in the shops the last couple of seasons.
When I took this picture of Tracy Taylor of Marie Claire last Spring it inspired me to make a skirt for my older girl(below).

I bought the fabric at downtown at Pearl River for around $13 a yard .
The big trick of making the skirt quickly is to use the selvage as the hem so you don't have to spend forever sewing up the hem. I also did a very small zipper opening and actually used hook & eyes instead of a zipper (another time consuming pain). I kept the top edge raw like the Prada skirt but placed a very tight stitch at the edge so the fabric would not keep unraveling. The pleats I just kinda draped by eye before I cut the fabric.

For a fun quick skirt,$13-ish is a hard to beat price and a dramatic print can hide a ton of wobbly stitching.

Comments on "You Can't Buy Style But Maybe You Can Make It"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:48 AM) : 

love these skirts! and i've never seen a kid wearing a scarf so stylishly. that plus the sunglasses, rolled up sleeves, leggings, and the skirt that daddy made. looks great on her :-)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:58 AM) : 

your daughter is the most adorable one out of the group!


Blogger SEVERINO said ... (9:04 AM) : 

She looks so stylish!
The fabric of that skirt is gorgeous, like a "satin brocart".


Blogger Barbara said ... (9:11 AM) : 

Your daughter already has great style. Love the first girl's homemade skirt. Wish I had the resources and skills to create things myself. Too bad I dropped out of sewing lessons. Great work!


Blogger Nancy (nanflan) said ... (9:12 AM) : 

I love your little daughter's ensemble but I'm going to take exception to a couple of comments re: the sewing. Using the selvedge is a good idea for a hem, but really, hems don't take long to put in especially if machine sewn. Same thing with installing a zipper vs. handsewing hooks and eyes.


Blogger zsofia said ... (9:14 AM) : 

I wish you were my father, Scott :)


Blogger cd said ... (9:17 AM) : 

Awww, she is such a stylish kid! A real cutie! And very lucky to have a dad who sews skirts for her!


Blogger paris style said ... (9:24 AM) : 

I just love that look with the girl in the top that made her own skirt. LOoks great! Ppl should design their own clothes and sew them up, gives more originality to the clothing.


Blogger daniqueconijn said ... (9:24 AM) : 

all good skirts!
especially the first one i really like..
it's nice to see a little girl grow up in style but the sunglasses are a little too much


Blogger paris style said ... (9:24 AM) : 

I just love that look with the girl in the top that made her own skirt. LOoks great! Ppl should design their own clothes and sew them up, gives more originality to the clothing.


Anonymous jaci k said ... (9:26 AM) : 

I am glad you found someone who makes some of her own things.I think there is a whole other realm of fashion with us renegades just doing sewing our own things for fun. it's cheaper, more unique and a whole lot better than watching an hour of TV!
PS-I would have to agree with the other comment that zippers are easier than hook and eyes!


Blogger BeckyW said ... (9:29 AM) : 

Love this post...Love the photo of your DD wearing the skirt you made...Love the other photos and skirts also.

I sewing skirts is my favorite. I just bought some fabulous Chinese brocade yesterday to make my DD a skirt and I come to this blog today and see these. Handmade can be fabulous!


Blogger Carolina Lange said ... (9:44 AM) : 

Beautiful skirts! And Lily's shoes are amazing!
Your daughter is adorable! She looks so cute with her skirt!


Blogger Alice Olive said ... (9:49 AM) : 

The fabric is wonderful on all three. Your daughter looks very cute too. Glad to see it wasn't just me who felt "all grown-up" when she wore sunglasses.... Somehow it's understood that they make you more fab-u-lous.


Blogger Zaydoun said ... (9:50 AM) : 

Look at her in her Aviators... so cute!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:52 AM) : 

that skirt is lovely but would be much better eith black stockings underneith.....


Blogger tintin said ... (10:46 AM) : 

The Aviators and the head band...A true TRAD in the making.


Anonymous lintmag said ... (10:51 AM) : 

I see the style gene has been passed on! Very cute daughter, Sart, and of course she has got the scarf just right. The other skirts are great too - it's fun to make things like that. You could also flip it and have the rough edge be the hem or add a piece of lace or trim there for your next project.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:51 AM) : 

Your little girl is adorable. Did she fix her sleeves and tie her scarf? I have two tween daughters and while they like fashion, they hate me trying to adjust their clothes. I was just wondering if your daughter was patient if you did the sleeve-adjusting and scarf-tying or is she can do it all on her own.


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (10:52 AM) : 

My little girl is wearing sunglasses specifically because I was trying to show how I drew inspiration from Tracy's outfit and how I could make a similar look for a child.

Actually i did this project for Cookie magazine but it fell thru. I didn't find the right time to put it on my blog until I saw Lily yesterday.


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (10:52 AM) : 

My little girl is wearing sunglasses specifically because I was trying to show how I drew inspiration from Tracy's outfit and how I could make a similar look for a child.

Actually i did this project for Cookie magazine but it fell thru. I didn't find the right time to put it on my blog until I saw Lily yesterday.


Anonymous IHeartNY said ... (10:58 AM) : 

Your daughter is adorable! Those skirts are inspiring!


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (11:03 AM) : 

for Anon 10:51am
my girl is very typical tween
it takes a lot of begging to get her to wear anything different from her friends.

That seems natural to me so i don't fight it. I hope someday she comes around and when she does I will be more than happy to help.


Anonymous Taryn said ... (11:17 AM) : 

So glad you included a little diy today! Thanks!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:33 AM) : 

very chic! she pulls it off and looks like she's having fun. . . love the whole look!


Blogger Lucy said ... (11:41 AM) : 

do it yourself is GREAT! In my younger days as a crazy club kid I used to make loads of my own stuff to wear out, and I still wear this one wool dress that I made 10 years ago. Ok it takes a bit of time, but when you're young and have more time than money, why not? Especially when it looks as good as these photos....


Blogger Iheartfashion said ... (11:42 AM) : 

Can we expect a children's line soon?
Brilliant! I envy your sewing skills, as even a simple skirt is beyond my capabilities...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:48 AM) : 

renaissance man! brilliant ideas and style. is design next on your to-do list? I think a how-to book with tips like the skirt would be a best seller, you have inspired me.


Anonymous lily said ... (11:53 AM) : 

Your daughter is absolutely adorable!



Blogger msciorti said ... (12:08 PM) : 

future editor of vogue, ladies and gentlemen. she's even got the 'large and in charge' hand bend going on. you've trained her well, scott.


Blogger Thomas said ... (12:08 PM) : 

Wait, you can also sew skirts? How long before we see the Sartorialist label on the catwalk?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:18 PM) : 

Regarding Lily's Photo-The problem with this blog is that I come here to look at the style, but then I end up falling in love.


Blogger bird said ... (12:23 PM) : 

now that's just delightful


Blogger tonpetiteoiseau said ... (12:50 PM) : 

This is just so great! Sart, I'm so impressed with your sewing abilities, how creative. She is adorable!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:54 PM) : 

It's so nice to see a young girl that pulls off such exceptional style. I agree that her look is the most inspiring. Love the rolled up sleeves and scarf, she looks so sweet Sart.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:04 PM) : 

Well, truthfully, you can only use the selvedge for the hem if your fabric doesn't have an obvious one-way pattern or a nap. You don't want to turn velvet or corduroy on it's side in a skirt--you end up with a saggy bottom as the fabric stretches.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:06 PM) : 

love to read your thought process on designing the are such a cool dad!



Blogger Minn said ... (1:44 PM) : 

Wow, Sarto, what perfect timing! I went through loads of reconstructed/handmade sites yesterday, now you have really inspired me! I think maybe I could create something like that Prada skirt. Should be perfect for a novice sewer like me. :D Am very excited! Will go and scour the markets for the MOST dramatic print I can find!

I actually came across your photos for Cookie recently and absolutely loved them, especially all the fantastically dressed parents out there, looking happy with their kids. I showed some of the photos to two little girls, who thought they were 'weird' but let's see them deny the stylishness of that last photo!


Blogger Jayce B. said ... (1:50 PM) : 

I wish I were your daughter.


Blogger Sherry said ... (2:09 PM) : 

Your daughter is so lovely, and just as stylish as I would expect the daughter of the Sartorialist to be!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:22 PM) : 

I'm glad to see some people are sewing in this fashion parade called The Sartoralist.

I recall a post where Scott showed us some of his sewing from his college still got it baby!

For me, as a seamstress....almost all by's the fabrics that really stand out. The brocade at the top was an inspired choice. What fabric did you choose for your daughter Sart? It looks like a medium weight charmeuse.

Selvages are good for hems only when sewing on the straight, just FYI. I put in zippers and other closures by hand....far easier than by machine, IMHO and quite fast.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:26 PM) : 

Scott, you must lecture your kids when they dress unstylishly. You must!


Blogger LaLa said ... (2:33 PM) : 

your daughter looks absolutely adorable !! i love the skirt ! and stiching your own things is soo cool! it is time consuming but in the end its a piece that could last you a while, thanx for sharing this with us.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:51 PM) : 

Is this really your daughter Sart? Surely she is very fashionable,but I think kids should dress in kidswear.


Blogger Annelise said ... (2:55 PM) : 

I have to agree about not using the selvage as hem - this puts the entire garment against the grain and it affects fit, drape, and stretching of the fabric with wear.

But very cute outfit for your girl!


Anonymous lis said ... (2:56 PM) : 

Love it! I've seen skirts like Lily's, but they're tres cher! I guess it's time to dust off the ol' Singer.

And that budding fashionista/daughter of yours is adorable! Good job, Dad!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:02 PM) : 

I love this post. It's a nice counterpoint to the fashionistas on your blog--it all has its place. I really enjoy sewing, but am not so good, so your tips are greatly appreciated. Your daughter is lucky! And I love the first picture --she looks so confident and as if she's having fun.


Blogger Virginia said ... (3:06 PM) : 

your daughter is fabulous! i love her stance, walk, and the way she carries herself. great moment captured. she's young but she has already developed a sophistication and class of her own.


Blogger L'Henri said ... (3:12 PM) : 

I love how the pink pops!


Anonymous sg said ... (3:22 PM) : 

Cute skirt!!! My cousin always made skirts for me when I used to stay at her house in the summertime. They were always a cute, quick fix.


Blogger vintagent said ... (3:28 PM) : 

Greetings to the Sartorialette! Modelling your daughter on the woman in the photo is adorable -isn't it fun what you can do with your children, until they decide they know better than you...and in my daughter's case, she might just.

And now that fall is here, Scott the 'Scarftorialist' has returned. Hooray!


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (3:29 PM) : 

I am not saying that you should always use the selvage but if you want to make a skirt fast and the print or pattern works in that direction then I think it is ok

My girl was very involved in this project and trying to teach her very complicated methods too young would just turn her off


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:03 PM) : 

Love Lily's look but it's incomplete!
I want to lend her my black openweave tights w/the zigzag pattern...


Anonymous Patricia said ... (4:11 PM) : 

Sart, you must be such a great father. They will love you even more when they get older and will be able to talk about fashion with you. I think I am not the only one who would like to see more pictures of your kids on this blog. At least from time to time, please.


Blogger Jessica Joan said ... (4:12 PM) : 

I like that people are sewing again, but she's got to be joking about taking only an hour for that skirt unless it was a total bang up job. Even a basic dirndl takes me at least 2-3 hours and I'm a pretty experienced sewer.


Blogger whyioughtta said ... (4:23 PM) : 

OMG those babyators (baby aviators...) are adorable! Great skirt, and great tip re: selvage hem.

Love the Marie Claire woman's look...she looks very herself, very comfortable in her skin.


Anonymous fashionholic said ... (4:44 PM) : 

is that your daughter! soo cute! and so stylish haha, lovley ;)


Blogger Meg said ... (4:49 PM) : 

What I love most about your daughter's skirt is that it successfully walks the line of fashionable and age-appropriate. Maybe I should learn to sew so that when my daughter hits her tweens (and teens), we can find a balance, too. And clearly, I'm not the only person who thinks so, but it's incredibly cool that you made the skirt for her.


Blogger elizabeth said ... (4:50 PM) : 

I love it! The homemade skirts are lovely and best of all, unique and personal. Can you start a sewing blog, Sart?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:19 PM) : 

Three cheers for handmade! I started sewing in high school - I'm entirely self-taught, and persuaded my parents to buy me a sewing machine when I was 15. I costumed shows in university, and don't sew as much as I'd like to now, but some of my favorite garments are things I've purchased second-hand and altered to fit. I have a gorgeous cashmere coat that was unwearable because it needed a new lining, and I fully relined it. I just wish I had more time to construct complicated garments, because I don't have the budget for high fashion, and am rarely satisfied with the construction or quality of materials of most "fashionable" mass-produced clothing.


Anonymous urbnstyle said ... (5:39 PM) : 

your daughter is adorable, very chic look +the attitude! :)

love those skirts
nice work on your daughter's verssion, great idea


Blogger Elizabeth said ... (5:55 PM) : 

oh my god that is the cutest thing! haha i think my favorite part is THE SCARF, of course your daughter walks around with a perfectly tied scarf. lol i also like the nonchalant arm i can tell she'll have a purse there in a few years.


Blogger Candid Cool said ... (6:17 PM) : 

rayban makes shades for kids?!

i think style definitely runs in the family!


Anonymous aklily said ... (6:40 PM) : 

oh! She looks great, so stylish ye still so darling!


Anonymous fawn said ... (7:14 PM) : 

omg, your kid is a little fashionista! that is so adorable. I hope she goes with you on photoshoots!


Blogger applevenusian said ... (7:15 PM) : 

Sart, the photo of your daughter is the coolest one to date. I love it! Was it going to be for Cookie Magazine's parting shot on the last page of the magazine?


Blogger Blaise said ... (7:56 PM) : 

Your "old girl" look fabulous.. ;P

What a great idea, Sart. I have quite a number of fabric at home that I have been planning to bring to the seamstress but for some reason or another, wasn't able to.. Now you gave me an idea.. ;P


Anonymous chrissy said ... (8:08 PM) : 

super trendy and cute!


Blogger Shaz said ... (8:19 PM) : 

your daughter is so adorable and with a daddy like you shes definetely going to be a fashionista, love the sunnies!!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:30 PM) : 

i'm green with envy...


Anonymous Alxmyself said ... (10:00 PM) : 

ppl are so funny sometimes.
i too love to bang-up a garmet, especially if I can take one that is mass produced and whip it into shape....i wish i was stillb rave, viva youth...
sewing by hand is truly a joy.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:02 PM) : 

Brilliant post -- thanks, this is very inspiring -- like so many other post in your blog. The reference to the Prada skirts reminded me of the Prada "Waist-down" exhibition, where skirts looked like disc-shaped art objects. I will definitely have my go at making a skirt.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:37 PM) : 

Anyone know the provenance of that bag Tracy Taylor is carrying? I need it.

And, Sart, cute kid.


Blogger Christina said ... (12:08 AM) : 

I love the picture of your daughter right under Tracy- adorable in lifesize and miniature!


Anonymous marielle said ... (1:17 AM) : 

fab skirts. and your girl has a lot of style for someone so young.


Anonymous jeffrey schemmer said ... (2:05 AM) : 

oh my god what an adorable girl you have there. i wish i looked as comfortable and cool as her!


Blogger Paul Kierstead said ... (2:08 AM) : 

Lily is just ridiculously, wonderfully charming and appealing; she has oodles of a very 'accessible' sex appeal. The skirt and boots are just awesome together. Very nice to see fashion within the reach of the masses, in cost anyway (very few would have the charisma or skill to pull that off).


Anonymous Mans said ... (3:57 AM) : 

So cute!!!!!
Awesome sir Scott.
One day I want to learn how to sew my own stuff.




Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:36 AM) : 

All the three skirts are very shiny. I´d place them in the evening party compartment. The top one is a bit too short. Since the fabric is ok,why not show a bit more of it? Girl 2 has the dress I like most of these 3.


Anonymous cacey said ... (9:46 AM) : 

I didn't know you had a daughter! She sure has a lot of spunk. She's workin' that outfit! ;D


Blogger Lisa Laree said ... (10:49 AM) : 

Ok, I admit it...I reread that post about three times to make sure I was right in that it said that you made your daughter's skirt.

I always appreciate your work but that makes me want to stand up and cheer. Who cares if it's done 'by the book' or not? You made what you visioned and your daughter loves it (and totally rocks that look!); that's what personal sewing is all about. She's probably going to outgrow it before she has issues w/the grainline, and she'll have a wonderful memory to keep forever, as well as the inspiration that she can jolly well make her own things if she wants to! Priceless!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:02 PM) : 

I LOVE THIS PIX!...all the way around....I mean there is that certain quality of confidence and having fun at once. She is so living in the moment.. I bet it has a little to do with sunglasses ...I think we can all agree that hiding our eyes is always a form of camouflage.



Anonymous Sewer-Sewist said ... (12:03 PM) : 

Very cool! It's always great to see some gender diversity in sewing... My husband sews great, creative creations and people think it so weird. Thanks for sharing!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:18 PM) : 

skirt #1: Great fabric, but the proportion seems a little off - maybe if it were a little longer, but still above the knee, that would even it out.
skirt #2: This one is just perfect, and I like the layered look with the jacket/shirts/scarf. The bag is fabulous.
skirt #3: I love the dragonfly fabric. At first, when you said Pearl River, I thought of Guangzhou, but maybe Pearl River is a city or town? Anyway, you said your DD was involved in the process. Does that mean in the design and the sewing or in putting the look together? I think I'll try the experiment, and see if I can get my DD (a little younger) to work with me on a skirt (I'm a very beginning sewer, but I'm not going to let that stop me).


Blogger j said ... (12:19 PM) : 

this is a great idea: a simple, quick project with stunning results. my daughter wanted to try sewing and I did try a complicated project with her; now she's not as excited about sewing as she was. this could be the remedy.

your daughter looks like she's having a grand old time. she's a sweetie.


Blogger Asian Models Blogger said ... (12:56 PM) : 

I adore the skirt Lily made for herself but I wish she had worn it lower on the waist or on the hip to give it a rock & roll feel.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:21 PM) : 

I hated dressing nice up until I graduated high school. I used to wear ugly jeans and hoddies with holes... I don't know what I was thinking. I guess I was trying to prove I was too good for clothes or something. Anyway, I'm sure your daughter will thank you later for having such awesome taste.
It took me a while to graduate to that level too haha.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:43 PM) : 

Hello Sartorialist
I echo all the admiration already expressed for your insightful appreciation of Lily and the project for (with) your daughter. I too sew, and I once wanted to use a piece of silk dupioni sideways--bad idea, apparently the fibers don't bend the same way in that direction so the fabric drapes strangely. Simple weaves like linen or cotton are safe, though. Plus, selvedges are sometimes sooo pretty.

In any case I want to recommend the crafts section at Kinokuniya bookstore (now open opposite Bryant Park) for truly inspiring pattern books especially for women and children's clothes. The patterns are presented in books like fashion editorial--think "Vogue Patterns" circa 1968, but tuned to the present. The text is in Japanese but the illustrated instructions and patterns need no translation if you basically know how to sew; and there is incredible variety and an emphasis on quick patterns too. You may have to check a few times as their stock changes...


Anonymous Laura said ... (2:13 PM) : 

that little girl is AMAZING!!!


Blogger Cosima said ... (2:57 PM) : 

What a future!!


Blogger pearlescent said ... (5:31 PM) : 

This must be one of your best posts! First of all, your daughter is charming! She's a diva waiting to be, I hope she turns out to be a stylish diva of the next generation! :) I love the pleats you created in her skirt! Very elegantly placed.
I adore skirts! I agree with you a nice skirt is the most simple yet "most impactful" piece of clothing, as you said, nothing beats a well made skirt let alone a good skirt you made yourself!


Blogger laura said ... (6:48 PM) : 

you must be very proud, sart. she looks great and i love the skirt you made for her. i dont think you have to do an effort, she is already taking all the style that surrounds her.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:40 AM) : 

I like it that your daughter is dressed in a cute but age-appropriate way, it's playful and colourful but not lolita-esque. It's sad and tacky when even 10-year-old girls try to look sexy. I get the feeling that your approach to parenting is very healthy, your daughter looks happy and stylish, congrats!


Blogger Maguelone said ... (5:48 AM) : 

What a good idea!! i'm not a good sewer, but lookin at your daugter it makes me want to try for mine (seems easier for child...). Thanks!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:47 AM) : 

The outfit in the top is great, but needs to have the legs covered in black.


Blogger Lydia said ... (9:37 AM) : 

I need to learn some style tips from her! She looks so adorable.


Anonymous jo said ... (12:35 PM) : 

??? she is just 7 years! I love flowery dresses for little girls...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:16 PM) : 

All of them are soooo lovely!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:22 PM) : 

wow! i like these skirts!
i'm deffinitely going to make some skirts to my daghter in coming days.
very inspireng!



Blogger Lisa said ... (8:51 AM) : 

I absolutely LOVE Lily's skirt. The fabric is perfect..the colors, the weight, the brocade..oh, I would pay good money if I could have one just like it. Unfortunately, I'll just have to admire from afar because my sewing skills are....crap.

And your daughter is too cute. If only I had a daddy at that age (heck, even now) who was as stylish and crafty.


Anonymous cordelia said ... (2:43 PM) : 

She is feminine, beautiful and happy with her sartorialist skirt!
Such a model!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:35 PM) : 

She looks so stylisch cool!!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:27 PM) : 

i am with joe on this. i think you are a great dad but lose the glasses and/or the headband. looks too studied for any age let alone 7. lots of love.


Blogger Riley said ... (2:05 PM) : 

Your daughter is the cutest.....!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:46 PM) : 

You are too cool! drawstrings and elastic waists, as well as wrap skirts, are a great and easy way to do a skirt up fast. Heck, even a great pillow-case can make a great skirt. My mom used to say, if no one can see the inside and the outside looks good, who cares?

And your daughter looks like she's having a ball--reminds me of when we used to pretend to be fashionable laaahhhddies at that age.


Blogger Lee said ... (7:43 AM) : 

I am totally down with the sunglasses! Kids eyes need protection from the sun's UV rays as much as adults!


Blogger Lee said ... (7:45 AM) : 

Oh, an beathing the air in Beijing is the equivalent of smoking forty cigarettes a day.

Keep the kids in NYC! or buy masks.


Blogger mann said ... (12:10 PM) : 

this is adorable..its a bit late to comment on this..but going through is archives is much more fun than i imagined..oh and shes so confident..


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