The prevailing stereotype about women being obsessed with clothes shopping has always confused me, mainly because I, as with many of my female friends, hate clothes shopping. I hate it mostly because of a long and depressing track record of never being able to find a single ready-to-wear garment that fits me properly. If I enter a change room with ten garments that I like the look of on the hanger, I am almost guaranteed to leave the fitting room empty handed, even if everything actually “fits”. This, of course, is because the modern understanding of fit has become relative, wherein the ability to get something on your body, regardless of how it conforms to your shape, is considered good enough for most, especially since the alternative is often to go without. I have to admit that I used to shop this way, too; I would frequently come home with pants that fit through the leg but were much too large around the waist, or t-shirts that fit over my large bust at the expense of the rest of my shape, because I needed these clothing rather than liking the way they looked on me. Staying on-trend is an even bigger challenge for me, as trends consistently favour the tall, willowy, angular bodies of runway models, whereas I am short of stature and all curves. But sewing has opened up a whole new world, one where I make the decisions about what looks good on me, and where the end goal is not just to have a new garment, but to have a new garment that I love. The Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt fits this bill perfectly.
This is my first version of the Hollyburn and, because I wanted to guarantee myself the best chance of success, I did everything very carefully and deliberately. I was unsure at first how such a wide skirt would look on my body type (Sewaholic Patterns are designed for the pear shaped woman, and my large hips are more than balanced by a large bust), so, taking a cue from Karen and her many gorgeous Hollyburns, I decided that my first version would be made from a wool crepe fabric with gorgeous drape. I cut view A, the longest version, after looking at the finished measurements and noticing that it was a little slimmer over the hip than the other two variations. Then, I shortened it by about 6 inches.
One of my favorite details about this skirt is the pockets, which were easy to construct and they sit flat against my hip without any additional bulk. The pattern also came with the option of added belt loops, which I decided to forgo. I have some regret about this decision, because I almost always wear a belt with these skirts now.
Okay, now to the less good part: the zipper.
I’m not gonna lie: I don’t love the zipper. First of all, it doesn’t quite match the fabric. Secondly, it was extraordinarily hard to insert, which was mostly my own fault. Because I made this out of wool fabric, I decided to line it with rayon bemberg so that it would last longer as well as eliminating the potential for itchiness against my legs. Unfortunately, Tasia’s excellent instructions do not include a description of how to insert the zipper into a lined version of the skirt, so I had to wing it–and reinsert the zip several times over, much to my chagrin. For the record, I have no memory of how I managed to get the zipper in after attaching the lining and sewing in the waistband, but I’m very grateful that I eventually managed to figure it out. And I have to admit that it really doesn’t look that bad… it definitely could have been a lot worse.
If you’re thinking about dipping a toe into sewing, I could not recommend this pattern more highly. The Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt is very well drafted (as in, the pieces all fit together as they’re supposed to, for you non-sewers out there), the instructions are easy to follow, and the end result is beautiful. This skirt is a total winner, and the fact that I’ve already made three and have plans to make several more definitely seals its position as my first ever wardrobe staple. I love the way I feel when I wear this skirt: sexy, confident, beautiful, and no longer hostage to wasteful shopping habits or fashion trends.
Fellow makers: What are some of your tried-and-true sewing and knitting patterns?