Two Hollyburn Skirts

In my first month of sewing I’ve made two Hollyburn skirts. The sewalong at Lavender Lane helped enormously through the process.

I printed out the PDF pattern, and even just taping that together was a real learning curve for a newbie like me! Somehow I ended up with wonky grainline markings in the pattern – but I think I got away with it.

I made this green version first (my first ever garment!):

top-pop-hollyburn

I was pretty pleased with myself. Within a few days I had turned a length of fabric into a wearable item of clothing!

Just don’t look on the inside… The tension on the zig-zag seam finish is off so they’re all scrunched up. And the waistband interfacing is exposed in places! Some of the seams are wonky, too – I could not get that cheap polycotton to hold a pressed fold for more than a few minutes.

All in all though, this skirt is the end product of a serious learning experience. I had a lot of fun making it, even the frustrating bits along the way like redoing the zipper four times. (Now I understand why basting is always recommended.)

Then I made this version for my birthday, and all my feelings of pride about the green skirt were blown out of the water:

vintage-poplin-hollyburn

I’m really happy with this one! I took all my learnings from the first version, and applied them fastidiously and painstakingly. And isn’t that fabric gorgeous? I picked it up at Spotlight.

I didn’t match up the print on the seams, but other than that I was possibly a bit too perfectionist. This afternoon I read in Love At First Stitch that if you mess up a couple of stitches, you don’t actually have to redo the whole seam. I’ll get through my future projects a lot faster with that bit of knowledge!

I wore the floral skirt out on my birthday – my husband treated me to dinner at Lime House, which was great fun. I loved the jerk chicken carpaccio (bold but delicate) and the macaroni pie (wholesome and comforting). I ate a huge amount – by the end of the night I was grateful for the ease in the skirt’s waistband!

I see myself making many more Hollyburn skirts – they are exactly my style, and so easy to wear.

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My First Project! Pillowcases!

I started out on my sewing journey in the typical way: I made a pillowcase!

It actually happened at the perfect time – my husband and I wanted to get new bedding for the new year, but we couldn’t find pillowcases to match our king-size pillows anywhere in Singapore. When I realised I could make pillowcases easily with my new sewing machine, it was like it was fated to happen! My beginner’s project immediately turned into a mission – I had to make 2 sets of 4 king-size pillowcases to replace our old ones. 

So I trotted down to Spotlight to find some fabric. I knew it would be a learning curve picking out fabric for the first time – but goodness me, it took ages. I was probably in there for an hour, poring over all the different types of cotton and trying to find a good balance between the feel, the colour, the pattern and the price. I ended up choosing bright green cotton poplin in polkadots and stripes. Bright colours lift my spirits, and I’m on a real green kick right now!

I made my very first pillowcase following the envelope closure pillowcase tutorial over at Make It & Love It. I finished the seams and pressed it neatly, and then went to put it on my pillow feeling super proud of myself… then I realised I’d made the darn thing far too big! Turns out American king-size pillows are bigger than UK ones. First important lesson learned – double check your measurements!

(Well, maybe the first important lesson I learned the hard way was to lower the presser foot before sewing. I had quite a panic after getting about a foot of thread tangled up in the feed dogs.)

So. I ripped out all the seams from my oversized pillowcase, did some measuring and some maths, and started over. This time it fit perfectly! I made four:

green-pillowcases.jpg

I also modified the approach so that each pillow is made with two pieces of fabric rather than one. I found it hard to manipulate such huge pieces of fabric. 

The final numbers I ended up with to fit a UK king-size pillow are:

  • Front piece – 20.5″ x 34.5″
  • Back piece – 20.5″ x 42.5″

This gives finished dimensions of 19.5″ x 33″. I first hem one short edge on each piece by folding it up twice by 0.5″ and then use 0.5″ seam allowances.

A couple of weeks ago I made a second set. They’re in the wash right now so I’ll have to share the pictures later!