Fairfield Shirt

Well, I’ve done it.  Completed my absolute proudest sew to date. If you, as I was so recently, did not realize how detail heavy a man’s button up shirt is, then come along with me. I’ve got something to show you.

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I sewed the Fairfield Shirt by Thread Theory. It’s a beautifully written and drafted pattern, if only evidenced by the fact that I was successful. It is certainly not simple. I made this up in some cotton shirting from Joann’s for my brother, Judge. I cut a straight XS and added an inch of length to the sleeves and the body.

The details really make this special. I found the perfect shade of blue buttons. I cut the stripes horizontally for the pockets, cuffs, collar, and yoke. It’s hard to see, but I even managed to get the little stitch detail right on the pocket!

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The real stunner for me is the sleeve placket. It’s a traditional tower placket which was very intimidating. But I watched a bunch of youtube videos and went really slowly. I think they came out nicely.

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I’ll be honest, this was both very stressful and very enjoyable. It took me about 3 hours to cut the fabric and around 10 hours to sew the shirt. I made the whole thing in a weekend. Nearly all of the techniques were new to me, so there was a lot of research and video watching. The tag from Kylie and the Machine is no joke, there were definitely some choice words on that stand collar.

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Judge tried it on and liked it, but we agreed that he could use a bit more ease in the chest and a bit more length in the sleeve. So, minor adjustments for his next one, but this go was certainly wearable. I’ve got some great fabrics lined up – I definitely plan to make more. This project was just so satisfying.


Happy {shirt} making!

Ambition.

Sometimes I like to set myself some arbitrary goals. Most of the time, rather ambitious ones. Saturday night, I was laying in bed thinking about the coming day. I thought about making a bit of a ridiculous to-do list and seeing if I could do it. I came up with a somewhat realistic, but really quite ambitious list:

  • Repot plants
  • Hem skirt
  • Start sauerkraut
  • Bike shopping
  • Finish sleeve
  • Procure groceries

Not on the list were call my mom, spend a bit of time with the kids, and catch Game of Thrones with Kevin. Cosi and I were up pretty early to have some coffee.

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I got started with a bit of knitting and my mom called. We wished each other a mutual happy mother’s day and chit chatted about gardening and life and motherhood.

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This picture was from last summer when I visited her, but I just had to share. After we got off the phone I managed to finish the second sleeve of my Populuxe 2:

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Looking at my list, 2 of them required leaving the house with Joshua in tow. This was at about 8 in the morning, so I knew I had several hours before I’d see the whites of his eyes. The plants needed some rocks to arrive so that left the skirt and the kraut. Well, the skirt was daunting so kraut came up first.

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I made a batch of Ava’s Hot Pink Kraut from the book Ferment Your Vegetables. It’s my very favorite and I think I’m just going to have to start a batch once a month for the rest of my life. I need it always.

Finally, I braved the teenager’s room to wake him for his early birthday shopping. At 5’10” he has fully outgrown his old bike. We had been poking around on the web and really just needed to go in and give the thing a test but he loved it and now we’re the pround owners of a bike with 28″ tires. This should be the last bike I purchase for him while he lives at home. Fingers crossed. We hit the grocery store on the way home and bam! my rocks had arrived. I had three succulents to repot:

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Clockwise from top: Jenna the Jade (Crassula ovata), a brand new unnamed baby (Haworthiopsis attenuata), and George (Echeveria, maybe Perle von Numberg). I purchased George 2 years ago when I first moved to a window cubicle at work. Jenna was gifted to me shortly after as just a wee leaf poking out of some dirt. I purchased the haworthiopsis on Friday. After some very careful work, we’re looking a wee bit happier. img_20190512_150125

Everybody is now back at work, awaiting watering day tomorrow. The plants safely tucked away out of cat’s reach, I finally dragged myself down to the sewing room to hem the circle skirt. I marked it and serged the raw edge to trim off excess. I had hung it to allow any bias stretching to occur and it had certainly stretched out! There was 2-3″ of excess in places! After what seemed like forever – as a full circle, that hem is about 164″ – I finished the hem and my to-do list.

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I even managed to sit down to eat with the family and watch GoT with Kevin. All in all it was a pretty productive Sunday. It felt good to get all of that done. Mostly they were just lingering projects that I never seemed to want to start. Sometimes being a little ridiculous with your to-do list can pay off.

The motivation wave has been riding high. I haven’t had much time, but I’m almost finished with the second button band. A neckband is all that’s left and I’ll have a shiny new pink sweater!

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Happy {ambitious} making!

Confidence.

I’ve been thinking about my style, wardrobe, and making for quite a while now. I think back to the Wardrobe Architect project I did a few years ago.  It is hard to believe that was a few years ago but like with so many things, here we are. I’d like to revisit that project, evaluate and update to where I am now. At the core of all of this, has been a drive to move toward a new style.

I have been working, this year in particular, towards the beginnings of a new wardrobe. I have a few makes under my belt and I’m starting to feel more comfortable with knitting fitted sweaters and making skirts and dresses. My biggest hurdle now is wearing them.

You wouldn’t think that it would be so difficult, but I make excuses to myself and fall back to my old standard uniform nearly every day. Some of that is understandable, I don’t have enough me-made clothes to support wearing them all the time, but really it’s a comfort blanket. I’m used to seeing myself a certain way and while I have goals for how I want to look – that doesn’t mean I’m used to it by a long stretch.

Enter Me Made May. This is a personal challenge started by Zoe of the sewing blog “So Zo, What do you know?” – that is about encouraging sewists to wear their makes. Bam! That’s exactly what I need. I thought and thought and thought and came up with my pledge for Me Made May 2019:

I, Cortney, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2019. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made garment each week during May 2019. Sweaters don’t count!

My hope is that by wearing a garment I’ve sewn at least once a week, it will help to normalize this new style to me. At the very least I hope it starts the process. Don’t get me wrong – I love my makes and really feel pretty incredible in them. It’s having the confidence to show that new and different side of me to the rest of the world. We’re starting out with baby steps. Once a week.

Last week, we traveled down to Tennessee for a wedding – more on that later – and after we arrived went out to dinner with Kevin’s parents and two best friends. I opted for my chambray Hollyburn and one of my Ritas:

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Sorry as these will likely all be awkward selfies. I actually loved this outfit. It was my first time wearing the Rita without a sweater over it and I was a little nervous as it’s quite fitted, but I really liked this look. Today, it was a bit nippier than the last few days here in Maryland so I took advantage of the oppprotunity to rock my Populuxe Cardigan again, paired with my navy Hollyburn:

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Oh and since it’s freezing in my office, I topped everything off with my Color Field Shawl. I do love this outfit. The navy skirt is proving pretty darn versatile, which is just perfect! Once I got home I took a proper outfit photo, which is nice since I never took real FO pictures of my Populuxe on my person.

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After hiding for years in business casual black slacks and cardigans, it feels like such a departure to wear such a figure hugging sweater. But I feel good in it, so the confidence may be starting to grow.


Happy making!

Work in progress.

I have posted mostly about finished objects recently. Looking back, I believe all of my posts this year have included some finish of some sort. Well, not today! With all of those finishes, it stands to reason that I had to start a few things.

After I finished the knitting on my Crumb, I got to swatching my next sweater. I’m knitting up another Populuxe in a dreamy soft pink. The yarn is Lavendar Lune Yarn Co. MCN DK in the Grannies Panties colorway.

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I am almost down to the ribbing now and I think the fit will be spot on! I can’t wait to add this to my cropped sweater collection.

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I’ve been pretty monogamous with the sweater, so not much else to report on the knitting front. I have done a little bit of sewing lately. I’ve sewed up two projects but neither have been finished. The first is my very first circle skirt. It’s been complete save for the hem for almost two weeks. This is first up on my sewing queue. It’s too stinking pretty not to finish.

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I used the Full Circle Skirt Pattern from Sew Over It with some gorgeous Rifle Paper Co. rayon challis. Very easy to put together, actually. Hemming is just intimidating on that long full circle circumference.

The next item on my sewing to-do list is fix and finish my Swirl Dress. The pattern is from Gertie Sews Jiffy Dresses, Gertie’s latest book. I found this cotton shirting at Joann’s a few weeks ago.

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The problem is that the bodice just doesn’t fit me. I didn’t make a muslin and I finished all the insides before trying it on, both epic rookie mistakes. Take a look at the back!

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I tried pinning darts into the back bodice to do an afterthought swayback adjustment but it just isn’t enough. I’m kind of thinking that I should have gone down a whole size in the bodice and graded out the waist. Don’t worry, I’ll be making a muslin to check this time!

My last work in progress for today is a bit on the longer term investment side. I got up early Saturday morning this past weekend and got my garden planted!

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I planted nine sweet basil plants all in a row on the railing:

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We’ve got a bunch more tomato plants this year. I’m trying out planting some early lettuces in the same planters, so we’ll see how that shakes out.

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Last but not least, my herb garden. With the expanded tomato garden this year, I pared down the herbs. Clockwise from top left: Parsley, rosemary, oregano, and thyme.

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It was so nice to get outside and work on my garden. The plants just feel like they hold so much promise in the spring. The thought of fresh green herbs and juicy tomatoes is such a happy one. Kevin has even been grilling quite a bit on our happy little porch.

Sometimes I get bogged down in wanting to have finish every project quickly. It’s nice to to take a minute to reflect on what is in progress.


Happy making!

Perhaps a clean slate is in order.

Every once in a while, I am looking for a clean slate. Not necessarily because I’m tired of my projects or don’t like them, but just ready to start something fresh. I’m in one of those moods today. I’ve got a bunch of things on the needles, but I’m trying to focus on a three at a time, a sweater, shawl, and something small.

I finished up the something small a few days ago and it inspired me. That something small was the first pair of socks I’ve knit this year!

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This is quite a departure for me, I believe I was up to 6 or 7 pairs by this time last year. But I’m focusing on other things this year, so I’m just not cranking out socks like that, which is just fine. These were pure pleasure to knit, the stripes were just mesmerizing. That gold is gorgeous! The main yarn is Tiny Human Knits in the Cumberbund colorway. I debated for a while over the contrast heel, but finally settled on Peepaloo Fields in the Tide colorway – leftovers from my Sunset Highway. I love them.

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This got me thinking. I leave for a work trip on Friday, and when I come back it will be spring break. Spring break means a fair bit of quiet crafting time around here, so I’d really like to be cracking into something fresh and new. With that, I took stock. Of the projects I’m focusing on, I’ve got a sweater, a shawl, and a sew that need finishing off.

The sweater:

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My Crumb, which only lacks sleeves at this point. Worsted weight sleeves can go pretty fast, so I’m hopeful here. This could even go on the plane and get finished up on the trip.

The shawl:

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This monstrosity is a) beautiful b) my Audra Wrap and c) taller than me. I am on the final stripe section, so it’s all garter from here on out. I am starting to get excited that this giant thing will be bound off on only 144 stitches. That’s pretty sick.

And last, but not least, the sew:

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This terrible night shot of an in progress make is my Rita Blouse. I’ve got nothing left but to finish off the elastic and hem it. It’s a bit tight in the bust and arms though, so I am going to try adding some length to the neckline elastic to see if that helps. If not, I’ll probably need to go up a size either in bust or all-over size for the next one.

I do feel like this is a bit of a tall order for a short week in which I have to get every member of my household ready for a trip, but hey, sometimes arbitrary goals are a fun motivator.


Happy making!

Dressmaking 101

For quite a while,  I’ve been itching to try my hand at dressmaking. I made myself a knit dress a few years ago, but that just didn’t click for me.

Enter B5748. This is a reprinted vintage dress pattern from the 1960s. I have loved it ever since I realized that most of Andi Satterlund’s dresses were a version of this pattern. I purchased the pattern on a sale and have had it looking at me since last summer. For some reason I recently decided to give it a go. I had fabric and yarn that were meant to go together and the sweater was cast on, so the dress had to follow soon. I started by making a muslin of the bodice:

 

I noticed some gaping in the back shoulders and a fair bit of extra fabric above my bust. After some thought and tinkering, I decided to lower the bust darts a smidge and take out a bit of the top back shoulder strap. I’m not sure if that was the best method for taking care of the gappy shoulders, but that’s what I did. The re-worked muslin fit much better.

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Not perfect, but definitely workable. With that, I got rolling. Now, as this was my very first fitted (very little ease in the bust) and one of only a handful of garments I’ve sewn, I was a little nervous about the brief instructions in the pattern. They really don’t go over the top with helping you out. That’s probably ok for some people, but I wanted someone to hold my hand.

Enter Gertie. In my pattern stash, I have a copy of the Night and Day Dress by Charm Patterns. One of the versions is a fairly similar style, so I tried out a muslin of that bodice as well.

 

Much worse! I think I straight up cut the wrong size. Certainly the bust is way too large, but the back is so tight! There is work to be done there. With all of that, I decided to go ahead with b5748 but use the pattern instructions from the Gertie pattern. That worked like a charm!

I wound up making a few modifications to the dress in the end. I switched from a side zip to a lapped zipper in the center back. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this one. The lapped zipper turned out fine, though I could use some practice. But the top of the zipper pulls a bit, and I wonder if that would just work better at the side.

Much as I wanted a full circle skirt, with the 44″  wide fabric and directional print it was not meant to be. I didn’t want flowers laying over on their sides! I wound up self-drafting a gathered skirt, more or less with success. I added pockets as well, because, well, pockets, damnit.

With all of that said, let’s take a look! I’m pretty stinking proud of this one.

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This fabric is by Anna Maria Horner – I was inspired to use this thanks to a remarkably similar the exact same dress on Andi Satterlund’s blog. It’s 100% cotton and sturdy and soft and lovely. This is one project where the inside is nearly as pretty as the outside:

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Gertie’s instructions really made a difference in how the finished product turned out.

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I love the neatness! I kind of can’t believe I made this. All-told this wasn’t too bad of a project. I think it was a good starter dress. It isn’t perfect, but that’s ok. I can’t wait to dive in and make another dress!

Pardon the nighttime photos and not-so-lovely set-up. I need to step up my outfit photography if I’m going to be making dresses!

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Truth be told, this dress makes me feel like a million bucks. I’m not sure if I’ll go straight for another b5748 or try to get a Night and Day bodice that works, but this style is hitting on all cylinders for me. Now to get cranking on a closet full!


Happy making!

 

 

 

 

In Which Lessons Are Learned.

Sometimes, a project doesn’t pan out. For me, that is always frustrating but I am trying to learn from my mistakes — especially in sewing, which is where this tale of woe occurs.

Yesterday, I sewed up the Mathilde Blouse by Tilly and the Buttons. I used a really lightweight white voile fabric, intending this to be a wearable muslin to see if I wanted to make more of these. Well, I wound up creating a very un-wearable muslin, but after many deep breaths I am here to tell you that it’s ok.

I have quite the long list of things that I learned. I know this was listed as an intermediate pattern and I’d say that’s right! I’m pretty proud of myself for (more-or-less) learning:

  1. Tucks
  2. French seams
  3. Buttonholes

Unfortuately, I also learned that not all tailor’s chalk washes out. And even on the wrong side, aforementioned tailor’s chalk will show through sheer fabric. So now, here you go, my Mathilde Blouse:

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Pretty cute, huh? I finished everything on it except attaching the buttons–because I was suspicious of the tailor’s chalk. I tried it on, clipping it shut in the back. It’s pretty cute, but really way too sheer for my taste.

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I also think I’d like it in a drapier fabric. My French seams turned out pretty nice, I think. That was a daunting step that turned out to be not too scary once you got going!

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But here’s the real kicker, the thing that makes this a definite unwearable…

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Those little blue dots, among other marks that can be seen on the outside of the top, sunk my little ship. (But my tucks look ok, right?) I think I will make this blouse again sometime in a drapier, more opaque fabric. The style of it is pretty cute. I will definitely be careful with the tailor’s chalk next time!

Happy making!

Learning curve.

One of the challenges that I set out for myself for this year was to sew a garment with a zipper. It seemed like a pretty easy challenge, to be honest. Low hanging fruit, one might say. As I mentioned last week, I was right on the cusp of inserting said zipper in my second try at the Hollyburn skirt.

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Well, I finally settled in to insert the zipper this weekend. It went very smoothly. Putting in that zipper was actually pretty simple. Looked nice all sewn in, and everything. I pulled it off the machine, zipped it up… and the waistband didn’t line up. At all. I’ll save you the pain of a long explanation of the 5 hours of insanity that ensued and boil it down to a simple list:

  1. I took out the zipper, re-sewed it. Still out of whack.
  2. I took out the zipper, ripped out the back seam, redid both. Still out of whack.
  3. I took out the zipper, pinned it in again, and noticed that the shape of the two back pieces seemed different. Turns out I had put one back piece in backward.
  4. I ripped out the back seem, part of the waistband, the back panel, and about three miles of serged finishing. Re-sewed it all.
  5. Inserted the zipper. Still out of whack, but not nearly as bad as before. The top of the waistband lines up, so I’m going with it.

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This is the finished top of the zipper/waistband. You can see how the top of the waistband lines up, but not the bottom. From the best I can tell, things got janky when I did the waistband in the first place. But it’s wearable and cute, and to be honest, I love it.

This is the Hollyburn Skirt by Sewaholic Patterns, in Kaufman Chambray Union Worn Indigo. I made view B with the belt loops from view A. I cut a straight size 10 and made no modifications. Although, let’s be honest, I don’t know enough about anything to make modifications in garment sewing yet. I do want to point out that all of my frustration has nothing to do with the pattern itself. It is clear and well written, nothing was confusing or over my head. Total user error.

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This was quite the steep learning curve. This one turned out better than my first attempt, and I hope to solve the waistband issues with the next one. After struggling with the skirt half the weekend, I turned to my ultimate comfort make… socks.

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And, I finished them. These kind of happened without me noticing. I just needed to work on a project that wouldn’t be frustrating, something I know how to do. So I knit that second sock over the weekend and we have a pair.

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The yarn is Knitterly Things Sparkle Vesper Sock in Misty Mountain Rainbow, the August 2017 rainbow of the month colorway. I did 29 rows of 2×2 rib (one full stripe repeat) and cut in my afterthougth heel at 6.5″ down from cast on edge. For the heel and toe decreases, I used one of the options in the Smooth Operator Socks pattern.

This is pair 8 in my rainbow box of socks, and pair 16 overall for the year. Not too shabby. I really like these socks, the speckly stripes remind me of that hazy look things get in August when it’s just too hot and summer has gone one a bit too long.

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Whew. Two finished projects: one extradordinarily frustrating and one amazingly comforting. I love having both possibilities. I’m not planning to start any more socks until September 1, but I do have the replacement fabric from my first Hollyburn attempt. Maybe this one will go even better.

Happy making!

Back in the saddle.

When I was around 10 or 11, my cousins got a go-cart. Judge and I were eager to try it out and being the oldest and bossiest, I went first. I promptly slammed my foot on the peddle and ran the go-cart straight into a tree. With a busted chin and bruised ego, I swore I’d never ride another go-cart. My dad told me in no uncertain terms that I was, in fact, getting back on the go-cart. He told me that if you fall off of a horse, you get right back in the saddle and show yourself and the horse who’s boss.

Fast forward a decade and I had a major car accident. I was in various hospitals for a while and eventually came home and went to stay with my dad for a while. I had not driven a car for over a month, not since the accident. I was so afraid to drive again, but my dad once again told me, back in the saddle you go. I managed to live through the harrowing 3 mile drive to my aunts and I’m happy to tell you, I’m still driving to this day.

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Fast forward another decade plus and I am happily not wrecking any vehicles. But still, I’ve been balking at the idea of getting my serger back out. The last (and only) time I used it, it didn’t go very well. Well, I finally dredged up my dad’s advice and got the serger out this weekend. I’ve eased into things with some practice and have now been doing a bit of finishing. Finishing what, you may ask. Garments!

My first try at getting back into garment sewing and using a serger to finish raw edges:

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Not too bad! It was slow going, but I made it work, more or less. This is the Ogden Cami, by True Bias patterns. The fabric is some Art Gallery quilting cotton I had lying around. This fabric is far from ideal with very little drape–I wanted something stable and sturdy and easy to work with for this first try.

This is a great little pattern, pretty easy to do with some new techniques for me. After whipping this one up on Sunday morning, I thought I’d have a go at another Ogden in drapier fabric Sunday afternoon. And voila!

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This is some “silky chiffon” from Joanns that I found on sale. It’s definitely drapier, so it was good practice. I’m not completely convinced of the fit. I think you can see that it pulls across my back a bit and the front seems pretty voluminous.

I wore this one to work today. I’m still undecided about the fit. Maybe the fabric is still not drapey enough? I don’t know if I should try to adjust the pattern or look for something else. After making these two tops, I thought I’d step it up to a bigger project. Enter the Hollyburn Skirt, by Sewaholic. I had some navy poplin that I had purchased just to give this skirt a try. This pattern has a lot of finishing involved, so I kept going with serging seams to finish them. They were looking pretty snazzy, if I do say so.

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On the very last seam before installing the zipper, the worst happened. I caught a bit of the skirt fabric in the serger… and it serged.

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The kids find this hole in the seat of my skirt much funnier than I do. I was so frustrated. I had to take a step back from sewing. It’s scary to think of trying again and ruining something else. So I did the safe thing. I worked on a sock. With the serger safely in the craft room, I knit on. But in my mind I could hear my dad telling me to show it who’s in charge. And so, with trepidation, I cut out another skirt and got to work. I’m pleased to say that it’s going even better than the first skirt, serged seams and all.

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This will be hopefully by my first finished Hollyburn. I can’t wait to get it done!

I’m proud of myself for sticking with it.  I’ve got no issues with go-carts and cars these days and I’m happy to add sergers to the list.


Happy making!