Until recently, I had never seen plastic flamingos, except maybe in The Sims. In France, people are more into garden gnomes, but since I’ve moved here I have seen a lot of their pink plastic cousins and I have taken quite a liking to their kitschiness. So it was only a matter of time until I got myself some flamingo clothing…
Back in June, I learned about Don Featherstone, the creator of the plastic pink flamingos, and the sad story of how he died just one day before this year’s Pink Flamingo day. I don’t know why, but this stuck with me, and from this moment I started seeing flamingos everywhere: in the windows of the hipster stores downtown, on the lawn of the hair salon, it was an invasion. I gave in and bought a couple for my balcony, then took out my neon H&M bag, but that wasn’t enough, I still needed more.
A few days later, I went to Jo-Ann and happened upon this flamingo-covered cotton:
On top of the coincidence, I fell for the watercolor aspect of the print, that reminded me of this old-school Disney short movie that I loved when I was a kid (watch the first two minutes, it’s worth it!):
There was very little left on the roll so I bought everything, around 1.5 yards maybe. The fabric was in the “tropical shirting” section (which never fails to amaze me that such a section exists here) but I felt that an hawaiian shirt might be a bit too much so I decided for a skirt instead.
Note that it had been a month between the two sets of pictures… and in the meantime my hair had faded drastically from navy blue to grey! I dyed it again the next day, it was about time…
With little yardage in a directionl print I didn’t have a lot of options for the pattern, so I opted for making a simple gathered skirt.
No need for a pattern for this, I simply cut a 4 inches high, (my waist measurement + 2 x 5/8) inches wide rectangle, interfaced it and folded in it two to make the waistband. I cut the rest of the fabric in two identical pieces to make the front and back of the skirt.
I cut the back piece in two in order to insert an invisible zipper at center back, gathered the pieces to match the waistband, and voilà! It would have taken me only a couple of hours if I had not decided for a unknown reason that I wanted to do the hem by hand with biais binding. The hem itself took twice as long as the rest of the skirt, but at least I’m happy with the insides.
Looking at past projects I realize that even if I spend a lot of time looking at fabric with figurative prints, I sew mostly with solids or simple geometrical patterns such as stripes or polka dots. I’m glad I got out of my comfort zone for this skirt, because it makes me smile every time I see it. If you too want to answer the call of flamingos, here is a small selection of my favorite prints:
Gathered skirt without a pattern
Cotton from Jo-Ann