Hot! The “(using) UP (my scraps)” Skirt

The Facts

Fabric: all scraps from my stash and leftovers from previous projects (mostly cotton, some silk pieces)
Patterns: Butterick 4686 (2nd time using)
Year: Contemporary
Notions: Value pack of Steam-A-Seam 2 $4.99 (but only 4 sheets used), a sheet of HP Iron On transfers (had a pack from a few years back), white baby rikrak from previous project, old Boy Scout badges found in a thrift store for $2
Time to complete: 5 hours
First worn: 20th February 2012
Wear again? Yes, but not together.

Total price: About $6

Film inspiration provided by: Up

The challenge: “In anticipation for next Sunday’s Academy Award ceremony, we’re using past Oscar winners and nominees as inspiration for our creations”.

This week was, as my eldest puts it a “meh” week. I’d like to feel a little excited about my Up skirt (which I’m sure is going to make some people who google “up skirt photo” very disappointed when they see me wearing a skirt inspired by a Pixar movie not anything anymore exciting). I don’t. I feel a bit “meh”.

Last week I finally got up the courage to sign up with a dentist here in the USA. It’s not that I don’t like dentists, I just have extreme social anxiety and hate going to new places and meeting new people. Great for someone who upped sticks and left the life she knew behind her in the UK to move to America. But as they say in Up – adventure is out there!

So I booked an appointment as a new patient at the dentist and went along expecting everything to be routine. It wasn’t. Here in America they take about 20 x-rays of the whole of your mouth for any new patient (in the UK we use x-rays more sparingly, only using them when they are needed for some treatment). The x-rays showed that a root canal I’d had years ago had failed and I now had the “largest tooth infection” they’d ever seen in their practice.

So long story short, I was told to book an emergency appointment to have the molar removed, the infection scraped out and dealt with. It was extraordinarily painful and I had to take the super-strength vicodin to deal with the large hole for a few days afterwards….and am still on advil now…..I don’t like vicodin, it makes me feel spaced out, out of control and my sewing is appalling when using it. Yes, I know now that I probably shouldn’t have been using a sewing machine under its influence but I wasn’t thinking straight and was trying to make a skirt for which I’d started the week with such high hopes for.

Anyway, that’s why I feel “meh” about the week and unfortunately the skirt.

But you don’t want to know all that do you? You want to know the details about the skirt.

OK, my inspiration was the Pixar/Disney movie Up. It won 2 Oscars in 2010 (Best Original Score and Best Animated Feature) but was nominated for 5 in all (the others being Best Motion Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Sound Editing).

Up means a lot to our family. It was one of the movies that was showing on the airplane when we flew to the USA to move here. I firmly hold with Ellie’s beliefs that life in itself is an adventure and should be lived to the full. You don’t need to go to Paradise Falls to find it….it can be right on your doorstep if you just keep your eyes open. But your mouth tightly closed for this week.

I found a pic of the Up house on the internet that I liked and printed it on HP Iron On Transfer paper. Using these instructions I ironed this onto some spare white cotton and put the house to one side for a bit.

I drew a template shape of a balloon and cut out multiple balloon shapes out of lots of scraps of fabric in my stash. I then placed these on one of the tacky sides of the Steam-a-Seam 2 sheets.

As you can see, some of the shapes I just used crescents instead of the complete balloon shape as I wanted to minimise the weight on the skirt. I then peeled off the paper backings of the balloons/crescents and placed them on the skirt and moved them about (they are tacky but don’t stick until you iron them) until I was happy with the shape.

I ironed them onto the skirt in rows, and before adding the final few balloons, cut lengths of white baby rikrak to be secured underneath them. I also put a rogue, floating away balloon and ‘string’ on the front and back of the skirt for added ‘whimsy’.

Pinning the other end of the ‘balloon strings’ under the chimney of the Up house transfer, I used a zigzag stitch that was very thin and very short with blue thread to match the skirt to sew the top half of the house onto the skirt. I wanted some of the house to dangle off the edge of the skirt’s hem.

For the purposes of the photoshoot, but probably not to wear out in public…..unless perhaps for Halloween…..I made an orange neckscarf out of fabric from my stash and a brown sash from an old pillowcase. On one of my regular thrift store treasure hunting expeditions I’d spotted some old Boy Scout patches and badges, a job lot for just $2 and these couldn’t be more perfect to sew onto the sash. Where I didn’t quite have enough I made extras out of felt.

And so there’s my Oscar inspired (using) Up (my scraps) skirt. Made in between trips to the dentist, oral & maxillofacial surgeon, under the influence of vicodin, and having to entertain the kids on Presidents Day. Here’s Melchett teaching me how to climb up a ladder whilst Goth Child took the photos. Haha.

Hey, do you want to know one of my favourite lines from Up?

Dug: “Hey, I know a joke! A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, “I forgot to store acorns for the winter and now I am dead.” Ha! It is funny because the squirrel gets dead”.

Yep, that about sums up my week. Roll on next week and probably more madness.



Tempest Devyne is a Brit who loves rain. She was therefore exiled to the deserts of Arizona. She started tentatively sewing about 3 years ago to make her own burlesque costumes. She'd now like to make pretty clothes for herself that don't rely on velcro and poppers to stay on. She's self-taught with help from the internet and lots of books from the library.


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  1. Are you kidding me?! If this is what you make during a “meh” week on vicodin, I don’t want to see you at your best. You’ll rule the world, baby.

    (I bet if you wear the skirt in public you’ll get so many people asking where you bought it – I know I want one!)

    • I know, I think my head is all a bit messed up this week – I should be looking at this and feeling up instead of feeling down (did you see what I did there?) It’s bright colours, which I love, it’s a OOAK…but I can’t move my drugged up head out of mehdom. Although looking at me dressed as Russell is beginning to make me laugh, I look silly, so there’s hope.

  2. It’s fantastic! I bet you feel differently about it when you’re well again – take care of yourself!

  3. You know, I think after the drugs wear off you’ll feel better about the whole thing. Might just put it in the back of the closet for a week or 2 and then give it another chance. You look too cute, and I love Dug’s joke– he is by far my favorite character, though all of them are easy to love. Just imagine how much fun that skirt would be on a trip to Disneyland!

  4. Aaaahhh I love that there are two UP influenced outfits this week (so far)! Pixar holds a special place in our house too. Great job on all the detail. I’m sure you’ll appreciate it once you’re back to your normal chirpy self ;D

  5. I love your Up skirt! It’s so cute! It’s such a wonderful movie and Doug is my favorite. I hope you’re feeling better after all the dentist trauma!

  6. This skirt is so super cool. I love “UP” and that skirt is just so lovely.

  7. Okay, so now I really have to see Up! The skirt is so fun!!! And the fact that you were totally messed up while making… well, it’s not funny. I feel your dentist pain. But it really does add to the story ;)

  8. This just completely made me smile – the colours are glorious!

  9. This is awesome! And so very creative! Kudos, madam, kudos. And so very sorry about the tooth–hope it feels better soon!

  10. Doug…you rock! Maybe it was really Vicodin instead of chocolate that lured Kevin down the trail.

  11. I’m sorry to hear about your dental issues. Root canals and any troubles with them SUCK! Your skirt however, is super fun. I love the big bunch of balloons. Glad you made lemons outta lemonade :D

  12. Love the creative interpretation of the balloons and house. Looks like fun to wear. Hope your feeling better soon.

  13. So fun! Sorry about all the dental drama-I’ve been through it myself.

  14. I would totally wear this skirt it rocks! So sorry about your teeth, best reason to get regular care – root canal avoidance! – Yucky, poor thing. Thanks for sharing about your anxiety – I woulden’t have picked it from your outfits!! Appriciate your vulnrability – the US must be rubbing off on you!!

  15. wow this is so cool. this is one of the few beautiful and totally wearable things i’ve seen someone do from scraps. bravo!

  16. Ah! It’s soooooo cute! I’m like a dog seeing a squirrel with this skirt – it has chased every sensible sewing thought out of my head and now I WANT ONE FOR ME! It’s so, so cute!

    Sorry about your teeth though :-(

  17. You are so clever! I love this and I am green with envy! So clever!

  18. This is just too cute! I love it.

  19. Wow. This would have taken me a month or more to finish, let alone in between horrid dental appointments! I can’t believe you had so many brilliant colors in your stash! I just love it and hurrahs to you for coming up with it!

  20. OH!! This skirt is AMAZING. I’m sorry to hear about your tooth, though – that is a sad ordeal. I hate the Dentist. Anyway, back to the awesomeness you are sporting – this skirt says adventure, whimsy, laughter, and days full of joy. You could wear a top in any color! It’s just too too fantastic, and if you find yourself struggling to wear it, know that it is a conversation piece – think of all the new friends you will make!

  21. Thank you for all the lovely and kind comments. I think I might wear it into school (I volunteer helping kids learn to read and the kids always love the slightly mad things I wear). I think the skirt could be a winner. Just got to find my mojo again.

  22. oh Tempest Devyne, I just LOVE this skirt! It’s absolutely brilliant! Take care of yourself and hope you feel better soon! xoxoxoxo

  23. Oh, Tempest…I’m sorry about your dental woes….but, you’re such a trooper for seeing this skirt through. It’s so creative and adorable. Your story inspires me to persevere when life tries to interrupt sewing. Hang in there!

  24. Aaaaaaah this is the best skirt ever! And to think you even did it while you were in the ouchies. It’s incredible. I’m in awe, and I want one.

  25. First of all, wow! You are a total trouper! Well done with your horrible trips to the dentist.

    Secondly, I ADORE THIS SKIRT AND THINK IT’S ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I’VE EVER SEEN! (sorry for yelling, but this skirt is amazing!) What an amazing creation!! Well done!

  26. This is fantastic!!! Everyone needs an UP skirt, I know I do now! I hope you feel better soon.

  27. YES!!! This rules. Totally. Hope you feel better soon. Try juicing (carrots, beets, greens, bit of ginger) and seriously, it’ll help you detox the drugs and give you energy. I love the bright colors. I can’t wait to check out your blog!

  28. Wow, wow, wow. What a skirt! Can’t say much without repeating all the good stuff that people have already said here but wow, what a fabulous idea (and very well executed, too).
    Hope you don’t feel meh anymore.