Two weeks in the making

Ah, the back garden. Check out the lavender to my left and the jasmine (which is unfortunately on its way out) on my right. Fragrant.

Ah, the back garden. Check out the lavender to my left and the jasmine (which is unfortunately on its way out) on my right. Fragrant.

WARNING: Those blindingly bright white things in these photos are my legs. They have not seen the light of day since August 2013. Please protect your eyes with sunglasses before proceeding.

Two weeks ago I started my Hollyburn skirt. I had a good run for about a week, cutting out my fabric and starting sewing in the evenings after work. And then the weather turned for the better and things ground to a halt as I had my first ice cream and BBQs of the season. And do you know what? It was damn good. Mojitos with mint you’ve just picked from your own garden can’t be beat! Anyway, it chucked it down on Saturday so it was time to finally get it finished.

Before I started on Saturday I had got up to the point of inserting the nine inch centred zip and till then things had been going pretty well. I’d French seamed the side seams and pockets, done bound seams on the centre front seam and tested out my new overcast foot on the centre back seam (I love this foot. Overcast stitches take up a lot of thread, but no more will my seam allowances pucker when I try to sew over the edge!). I popped the zip in thinking everything was ok despite having a bit of trouble pivoting at the bottom. It was not ok. When I came to finish the waistband I found that I was about half a centimetre off the top. I spent a while trying to think of a convenient work around, like a hook and eye or something, but to no avail. The little bugger had to come out, leading me to think that I should rename this blog Jo vs Zips or something. Anyway, I took my time over doing it again, and while it may not be perfect, it is a vast improvement. I’m especially pround of myself for managing to remain calm throughout – I think I can safely say that inserting zips has taught me something about anger management.

Check out my zip! Also please note just how far my feet have sunk into the gravel.

Check out my zip! Also please note just how far my feet have sunk into the gravel.

My next issue was finishing the waistband. All was going well until I came to doing the last bit of top stitching to attach the folded over waistband to the rest of the skirt. I could not manage to catch the skirt in my stitching for love nor money, so I did a bit of slip stitching by hand to sort it out – unpicking it and trying again being way too tedious. It seems to work, but time will tell. I really shouldn’t have had so many problems though perhaps my heart wasn’t quite in it at the time.

So is there anything I actually like about this skirt?! Well, yes, quite a lot actually. I used a cotton twill, which was really easy to work with – that stuff just will not budge, you practically don’t need pins. However, the fabric does produce a lot of bulk so I had to trim down my seam allowance for hemming and I didn’t bother interfacing the waistband or the tabs. Because it’s quite stiff, the skirt also hangs in a pleasing A-line, which is perfect for work. The waistband tabs are also pretty cool. I wasn’t convinced that they’d work because the straight ends were left open – turns out folding them over and top stitching them down like the pattern suggests is the way to go! Remember kids – always read the pattern first.

I will make this again – despite the issues with the zip and the waistband, it’s a pretty easy sew and in the right fabric it’s perfect for work. Next time though, I think I’ll make it with a drapier fabric so it’s a bit more casual, preferably with the belt loops instead of the tabs and View C, which is the shortest length. I know the midi length is in for the spring, but I think it just makes me look a bit dumpy – mine is supposed to be a midi, but I’ve turned up the hem by about an inch and a half to make it sit more on the knee.

You might notice that my top in these photos is the Afternoon Blouse I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. I made it up in a lovely Liberty cotton lawn – the first time I’ve worked with such a posh fabric. I’m generally not a fan of Liberty prints. They’re a little bit too densely flowery for my liking and they remind me of my Grandma’s crackly nylon housecoats she’d wear for doing the cleaning, but this one seems quite tasteful, plus it’s a dream to sew with. I would use it again, but only if a nice print catches my eye – it’s ridiculously expensive for what it is, so it would have to be pretty special.

I don't know what I'm trying to convey with this face.

I don’t know what I’m trying to convey with this face.

So what’s next?
In theory I am supposed to be off work this week (though an issue has arisen which means I’ve had to work today – not best pleased), so I am hoping to get some decent sewing time in. I have booked myself in to the two-part Tulip Skirt class at Sew Over It in Clapham North which begins tomorrow and finishes next week, there’s the Belcarra sewalong to be getting on with and I’ll be learning how to sew with knits and making the new Moneta dress from Colette Patterns at the Village Haberdashery next Saturday. I hope I’ll be able to squeeze in some other bits in between sleeping in and watching Neighbours early. I’m not promising anything apart from that it’s gonna be ace.


9 thoughts on “Two weeks in the making

    • jocala42 says:

      Thank you!! I like it cos depending on the fabric it can look really smart (so work appropriate), or nice and casual. Lladybird’s made some cool Hollyburns recently – check them out!

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