The Sewaholic Hollyburn pattern is a Tried and True (TNT) pattern for me. I made my first one pre-blog, and have worn it almost constantly ever since. You’ve seen it here several times with other things (for example, here and here and here). It fits, it’s black, it’s comfy and it has really large and useful pockets. I have loved it, repaired it when the zip failed, taken it in when I lost a bit of weight, and have worn it hundreds and hundreds of times. Perhaps close to a thousand. I kid you not.
So when I decided I needed another black skirt, I started with this pattern. This time, I was looking for a shorter skirt with a reduced silhouette – more of a casual mid-60s vibe. I used the same fabric (which I still have some of), because it’s fantastic to wear.
Man, did I get my money’s worth with that fabric purchase. Thank you, thank you, thank you Catwalk Fabrics.
The fabric is a black ponte – the same fabric as this one in the blue colour. It has a good amount of body and weight, and wears well. I’ve found that over time it does pill, but the pilling is easily removed with a lint shaver and it comes out looking like new again. I do that every few months. If it was in a more normal rotation (instead of being worn several times each week) I would probably do it once a year – no biggie.
I originally bought 4 or 5 metres, thinking I’d make the skirt and a jacket. But I never got around to making the jacket.I did use some to make heat bags for a friend of mine, but there was still heaps left over.
So a few weeks ago I pulled this fabric out again to make this skirt. There’s still just enough left over for a simple pencil skirt, and I think I will do that shortly. After that, it will all be gone. I was very careful cutting out to make that final skirt possible – part of the pocket in this skirt (the bit you can’t see) was cut from another fabric to avoid making the rest of my remnant unusable.
I reduced the Hollyburn silhouette by very simply folding the pattern pieces to reduce the width of the hem to the shape I wanted, without impacting the waist at all. Easy!
I love the exposed zipper detail at the back. It adds a subtle update which also helps define this skirt as a little different to the other one.
There’s not much more to say about this skirt really, except that just like the original one it seems this will be in very rapid rotation. I wore it all week, washed it yesterday and plan to wear it again today. There’s something about this pattern and fabric combination that JUST WORKS for me. Tried and true – on both counts.
The top – well (sigh) it is the product of my previous silk chiffon sewing fail.
I posted about the original dress here, at a time when I was still kidding myself that the dress would be wearable. I wore it exactly once, and knew it wasn’t right the whole time. So I chopped the skirt off to make a top, and ruined that as well by adding fray stoppa to the hem (think: cardboard). So I finally chopped up the skirt, to make a top. At last, smooth seams and a flat neckline!
So it’s gone from a (disastrous) dress, to a nice cropped blouse in a Fred Flintstone print which I actually quite like wearing. The dress was… well let’s just call it a valuable learning experience and a phase I had to go through if I were ever to learn how to deal with silk chiffon. You gotta start somewhere, right?
Look Mum – smooth seams!
This is the product that made the difference for me. I bought it from Punch with Judy – which is THE best Australian source for sewing notions.
It’s brilliant stuff. You spray your fabric until it’s quite damp/wet, let it dry a little and iron it to finish off the drying process. Once ironed, the texture is more paper-like. You still need to use ball–point needles and use a scrap of paper as stabiliser underneath the fabric at the beginning of seams etc (see my previous post here for other chiffon tips).
Using this spray made the whole thing come together smoothly and happily. It easily rinses off the finished garment and voila – back to whisper-light chiffon loveliness. What a relief!!!
So, in the end I used a lot of chiffon and ended up with a very small top. The hem still looks a bit wavy in this pic, but in real life I don’t notice it.
I wasted most of this fabric in the end, but did learn a lot. It wasn’t expensive and I deliberately picked the fabric that wouldn’t break my heart if I ruined it.
I can now move on to my next chiffon with more confidence. But I think I’ll give myself a chiffon-break first.