Friday, October 11, 2013

Hollyburn Skirt

When I was growing up, Mom always had a sewing machine set up in the dining room. She didn't have a sewing room since all 4 bedrooms and the basement were filled with her nine children! What she did have was a large dining room with an enormous cutting table (our dining table) and a sewing machine set up facing out the back window. I didn't realize it then, but now I think, "What a perfect spot for sewing!" She could put a roast in the oven and be steps away to start the mashed potatoes. Poor Mom, she spent 30 years cooking and cleaning. Her outlet was the same as mine... stealing away to create at the sewing machine.

In the 70's we took Stretch and Sew Classes. That was tres cool. I remember one of my favorite pieces was a white polyester skirt with pin tucks that gave the appearance of pleats. I felt thin and pretty in it.

We didn't go shopping much in those days, but she would buy me patterns and fabric. At age 15, I started working at the neighborhood drug store and I could buy my own fabric. Town and Country Shopping Center was a close enough bike ride. The JC Penney had an amazing fabric department in the basement. Remember button cards? Pennys had those huge metal frames with plastic covers that contained millions of button choices. Most everyone sewed in those days out of necessity. Today it seems that the sewing craze is back but the world of sewing has changed from the rigid perfectionistic, "Shhhh, I hope no one can tell I made this," to a warm, wonderful creative world of, "OMG, did you make that?" Seems everyone wants to learn to sew today because it is just fun and feels so good to create something, especially something wearable.

I am easing my way back to sewing clothing. I dislike shopping these days so I am working my way through garment sewing. I have recently made two Staple Dresses but I wanted to try some of the other fabulous independent pattern makers' work. I started with Tasia's Sewaholic line, the Hollyburn skirt. Let me just say, "I love it."

I wanted to get a good fit so I cut out the waist band in the size that I thought would fit. I tried it on to be sure. I decided to cut the pattern between the 8 and 10. This pattern sizing runs a bit smaller than ready-made. I wear a 4 or 6 in ready- made. But do note that the body measurements on the package are correct.

I chose Brussels Yarn Dyed Linen which is a rayon linen blend with a fabulous drape. Jim and I started some swing dance lessons and I wanted a skirt that twirled. My dancing moves are not too swift yet but I am going to look good regardless.

I started with a good fit on the waist and then cut out the rest of the skirt. It is four pieces cut on the bias which makes the fabric hang "sweetly." The problem with bias cut pieces is that the fabric grows and this linen blend grew to large proportions. So much so that I thought there was a mistake in the pattern. When I went to sew my skirt (4 panel pieces) to the waist band it was three inches larger (that's a bunch). I took out my ruler and  measured the top of the actual paper pattern pieces and the paper waist band. The math added up perfectly (nice job Tasia). The problem was the fabric stretching. Tasia has an option for adding ease to the top of the skirt before sewing it onto the the band. You put gathering stitches and pull it in to fit but I didn't want that look. I think it could be cute for a cotton skirt but I wanted this one to lay smooth so I cut off some of my skirt edge. I cut off an inch from each side of the front seam and then half an inch from the back and then the skirt fit the waist band perfectly.

I got brave and made my first attempt to cut out a pattern with a rotary tool. It works well but remember you need to have a large enough mat to spread your pattern out. I was impressed with how much control (and I do love control!)  I actually had with cutting this way.

The only real issue I had with this pattern is the zipper instructions. It is a centered zipper but could easily be an invisible zipper. I like the look of a centered zipper so that is what I put in. If this had been my first attempt to install a zip I would have been lost. Many of my customers are intimidated by zippers and I can see why. The instructions were very brief, way too brief. I always tell people to use the directions on the zipper packet, preferably Coats and Clark. The Coats zipper directions are very well written. Being a sewer most of my life, I still get a little nervous with zippers but this one went in well. It had just one tiny pucker that ironed out to almost invisible. You will have to stop in the shoppe and see what a great job I did on my zipper! I have been wearing the skirt but when I am not wearing it I hang it in the shoppe to show it off.

I couldn't resist adding a bit of color to the pocket. The pocket instructions on this skirt are very easy to follow and come together nicely. I used a green/gold Crossweave by Moda.

Jim took my picture in our garden. I haven't had a chance to go dancing in it yet but we signed up for a full Saturday of Lindy Hop lessons for next weekend. Check out "Swing Columbus" if you want to join us sometime.

I have fond memories of my Mom and Dad leaving the kids at home and going out dancing. Mom made most of her clothes for date nights. I remember this one maxi skirt she made from velveteen. She was so glamorous with her hair done up and her homemade dresses that looked ready-made. Neighbors marveled at what a talented seamstress she was. She even once made my dad a leisure suit, the Stretch and Sew method. It was a bit tacky, but he wore it proud.

I currently have this pattern on re-order for the shoppe. Tasia is in Canada and the pattern should be here in a few days. I am already dreaming about making another one. We have a few wools that I think would look amazing for this skirt. I made this one longer but I think I would cut the wool one at about the knee.

Oh, and a word about linen after Labor Day... I have thrown out that old saying, "No linen or white after Labor Day." Who cares!! I will be wearing this linen blend skirt all year round and especially on cold days with tights and boots. Linen is an beautiful, durable and versatile fabric that screams to be worn anytime!

I hope you will make yourself a Hollyburn Skirt and then come dance with me!!

Happy Sewing,


andrea creates said...

i bought this pattern in your shop recently and can't wait to get a chance to make it...i am wanting to do a wool version but your linen skirt looks great!love the pop of color pockets
: )

Lucinda Miller said...

Anita - I took Stretch & Sew with my mom and shopped at Town & Country. What memories you brought back!! Where did you go to high school? I went to Bishop Hartley. Your skirt looks really nice and I love the way you put fabrics together. Thanks for sharing this.

Anita said...

Andrea, Do make one or two!! It came together so easily. And would look great on you.

Lucinda, Wow!! I went to Whitehall Yearling and Eastland Vocational. I graduated in... uh hum... 1979. I bet we know some of the same peps.

Anita said...


Mary Gregory said...

So cute. I love that little pop of color at the pockets. It's perfect.

ellen said...

My mom sewed a lot of tops for me growing up and always reminded me that no one else would have the same one! I did a lot of clothes sewing in high school and after college (I made one Belle France dress 4 times!). I sew a lot now but mostly crafty things (cloth napkins, coin purses, stuffed animals, quilts). And just last week I (finally) set up a little sewing area in my condo.

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