Corduroy Hollyburn

Last post of the year! Apologies in advance for the extra-terrible photos in this post, but I’m in the middle of packing (for a trip AND a move, hahaha kill me). I am hoping, however, that I will soon have a much better setup. Fingers crossed . . .
I admit–I bought this stretch corduroy just to make a skirt to go with this sweater while I was knitting it. And originally it was going to be an entirely different skirt. But I could not make it work with that pattern (things were ripped out and put back together at least 2 . . . 3? . . . times), so another Hollyburn it is! I mean, you can’t go wrong with those great pockets, right?


This is View C, which is a little short for my preference, but I didn’t have much of a choice since I was cutting it from pieces I’d already cut out for the original skirt. In fact, both back panels are pieced (though fortunately I managed to get them symmetrical so it looks deliberate).
The pockets and waistband are faced with a delightful orange/burgundy/gold quilting cotton to keep down bulk. (And once again I almost had a failure, trying to marry the stretch corduroy with a decidedly nonstretch fabric . . . but I think in the end it turned out fine.)
I did make one change to the pattern: I swapped out the waistband for a narrower contoured waistband (click here for contoured waistband instructions!). This does seem to work better with my very short waist (no more gaping at the top of the waistband), and I’m glad I now have a pattern piece for this since I have yet another Hollyburn variation coming up in my queue.

OAL 2017: Complete!

My outfit for the Outfit Along 2017 is complete! My knitted garment is an Evening Spencer Jacket in red cotton and the sewn garment is a self-drafted skirt. Details on the knitted jacket (including lots more photos of it) are up on Ravelry. The skirt is a linen/cotton blend and this is roughly the pattern I used:

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I call it a 1/4+ circle skirt for obvious reasons–it starts with a 1/4 circle, but has a couple of extra panels added on the back for a bit more width (the width of the back panels was determined by what I could eke out of 2 yards). The waistband is just bound in bias tape and it closes in center back with a zipper.

This isn’t exactly what I ended up with, though. It turns out that even with the extra panels and even with it sitting low on my waist, it wasn’t quite wide enough for my hips/butt (sigh). I lowered the waistband (trying to bring wider areas up higher) and took in the extra width at the waist in two pleats around the center back. (Darts would’ve been an elegant solution, but I couldn’t get them to look right.) It’s still not quite as wide as I’d like, but it works. Next time I’ll just go with a half circle!


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Of course I added pockets. Patch pockets this time since there aren’t any side seams–with fun embroidery! These are hand-embroidered; on the skull pocket I used Skully Stitcher from Urban Threads (in white and red to match the jacket) and for the other pocket I just picked up some elements from that design.

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Anyway, have some more photos, including a kitty photobomb:

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Spooky Branches Skirt

This skirt was not in my plans, but when I came across this amazing fabric (Wicked Eve – Dark Tree Branches from Timeless Treasures) I knew I had to do something with it! (This is the one with that skull selvage I posted to Instagram.) I didn’t use a pattern–just drafted a front and two back pieces with a total waist size about twice my waist measurement, flared it at the bottom as much as possible (not much with 45-in fabric, haha), and gathered it to a narrow waistband.


Of course, it has pockets!


(Isn’t Bailey so helpful in these pics??)

It closes with an invisible zip in the center back and the bottom is trimmed with some black eyelet trim from my stash. Fun thing I learned for this project: thread belt loops to hold my grosgrain ribbon belt in place (I followed this tutorial–super easy!).


(Of course, my hand is covering the belt loop in this photo…sorry! It’s really dark in here and the belt loop probably wouldn’t have shown up anyway.)

Initially, I wanted to make this skirt shorter with a ruffle at the bottom, but I decided to stick to simplicity to showcase the print (plus, I was a bit worried about the stiffness of the fabric). Now that it’s made up, I think it would’ve worked perfectly well as a Hollyburn, too (though I would redraft it without the center front seam–the print is busy enough that I don’t think there’s any need for matching, but I just don’t like a center front seam if I can avoid it).


(Cats: again, so helpful.)

I’d also originally planned to line the skirt with some poly lining material and decided not to since it’ll be more comfortable without it in the summer/spring (and I can still wear it with tights and a slip in the fall/winter). I felt very summer-goth for our unseasonably warm weather in my new skirt and cotton gauze peasant blouse. Plus, now I can use that lining fabric I bought for the tweed wool skirt that IS in my sewing plans….

Dance Practice Tank & Skirt

I’ll be going to Pinewoods for the first time this year, and I recently glanced at last year’s schedule and realized that I’d need clothes for FIVE evening dances PLUS four days of classes!

Now, I’d known I needed more bras, specifically some sports bras, and had come across the Brazi Ladies’ Bra and Dress pattern. After confirming that I could make it entirely on my serger (no stretch/zigzag stitching necessary), I grabbed it and made a test bra out of leftover red roses fabric. Well, turns out that particular fabric is too soft and stretchy to make a bra on its own (yes, I researched sports bra and activewear fabric AFTER I sewed this up), but it was so comfortable and fit well over my regular cross-back bras that I added a black panel to the bottom and voila! A tank top!


The skirt is a basic half-circle skirt, with a high-low hem for some additional interest. The waistband is just some 2-inch-wide black elastic. This was super fast and easy, requiring only one vertical seam, joining the elastic into a circle, then serging the elastic to the waist of the skirt. I didn’t finish the hem and…I’ve pretty much decided to just leave it that way. The fabric is a silky and drapey rayon/nylon/spandex ponte knit.



Now that I’ve done more research into activewear fabrics, I’m ready to try making that Brazi bra out of the right materials. I wonder if I can actually manage a tank top that’s supportive enough to not require a separate bra so I can pack less….

And I’ve really got to finish my ball/party dress, but I’m on the zipper insert stage and ugh. 😛

(In other news, I moved a couple of weeks ago, hence the new photo location!)


White Petticoat Skirt

Another project done! I actually had a white petticoat skirt I made a couple of years ago, but there were some issues with it so it was axed in the great purge. This is the replacement!


As with most of my (non-historical) petticoat skirts, this is a half circle skirt with a ruffle. I had a lot of extra fabric, so I added a second ruffle above the bottom one. Waistband is just elastic. Fabric is white cotton lawn.


The neat thing on this one is that I hemmed the ruffles with a narrow hem on my serger. Takes forever, but it looks so good! I almost didn’t add lace to the bottom because I liked how clean it looked. But of course in the end I couldn’t resist.


Check out my awesome “vintage” 1980s Gunne Sax dress, haha.

Spring/Summer Capsule Wardrobe


  1. Gray floral Lady Skater
  2. Green dress (purchased)
  3. Cream floral Lady Skater
  4. Calico Giselle
  5. Calico Simplicity 1080 View A (I’m not 100% sure this pattern will work for me, but…I’m just dying to try it!)


  1. Jersey maxi skirt (McCall’s 6608 View D) in black
  2. Gauze maxi skirt with ruffle (rework gauze circle skirt for this)
  3. White petticoat skirt
  4. Brown midi petticoat skirt
  5. Jean Hollyburn
  6. Nevermore skirt


  1. Wrap top (Butterick 6285)
  2. Cropped black T-shirt
  3. Gray rose peasant top
  4. Black Weekender tunic


  1. Jean jacket (Simplicity 8020 View A)
  2. Army green jacket (purchased)
  3. Green spencer
  4. Gray jersey cardigan (purchased)
  5. Aurelia cardigan?

Plaid Flannel Petticoat

This may be my new favorite skirt! I didn’t use a pattern, but it’s very similar to the lightweight brown petticoat skirt I wore all summer. I should probably stop trying new skirt patterns and just make this one in different fabrics.

Anyway! It’s a 20-inch-long half-circle skirt with a 7-inch ruffle. This particular one has in-seam pockets.

It has a flat waistband on the front and sides with two elastic areas in the back, and closes with an invisible zip in the center back.


(Enjoy this rare opportunity to see my hair not in a bun.) Oh, I’d meant to gather the skirt to the waistband all around, but it wasn’t quite full enough in front. So rather than cutting it wider (and therefore shorter), I made two small box pleats in the front to ensure the side seams and pockets were actually on the sides.

Outer fabric is a supercozy gray plaid flannel (so soft! I kind of wish I’d bought more to make pajamas or something). I’d always planned to line it with rayon bemberg so that I don’t have to wear a slip underneath. Remembering how annoying it was to work with when I made my drawers, though, I decided to underline it rather than line it . . . then I changed my mind and underlined the main skirt body but kept the ruffle separate for fullness.


(Yeah, I AM going to post this photo, even though it’s incredibly blurry!) I used a different bemberg than for the drawers and I must say this one was much easier to work with. I found it a bit stiffer–more like taffeta, and it does have a lovely taffeta rustle. Plus, the color is GORGEOUS.


Very bright metallic silver! I’m tempted to use it as the main fabric for a ball gown. Hmm . . .

So for my Fall/Winter 2015 Capsule Wardrobe, I’m down to two skirts that need fixes (maybe one), a dress that I might postpone until spring, and a sweater situation that I haven’t decided what to do about.

I can’t believe that soon it will be time to think about 2016 spring/summer. The Wardrobe Architect exercise over the past year has been really helpful. I have a much better idea of what silhouettes and colors I’ll wear all the time because I like the way they feel and look. And I made a bunch of wardrobe staples that I’m really pleased with. My plan is to continue to add to the staples for 2016 between formal dresses and costumes.

(I just remembered that I never blogged about my November ball gown. Honestly, I wasn’t happy with it at all! I have to stop trying to make strapless dresses; they’ve never turned out quite right. I have other ideas for the formal events I have coming up in 2016, though.)

Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe


  1. Gray floral Lady Skater (short sleeve)
  2. Black Weekender dress (short sleeve)
  3. Green purchased dress (short sleeve)
  4. Cream floral Lady Skater (elbow-length sleeve) (might be moved to spring)
  5. Black knit dress (long sleeve)
  6. Red purchased dress (long sleeve)
  7. Plaid Lady Skater (long sleeve)


  1. Black wool Walking Skirt (need to fix waistband)
  2. Corduroy Ginger
  3. Jean Hollyburn
  4. Nevermore skirt
  5. Green plaid wool skirt (need to add lining–eh…maybe, maybe not)
  6. Jeans
  7. Flannel petticoat


  1. Plain black T-shirt (short sleeve)
  2. White sweetheart T-shirt (short sleeve)
  3. Gray cropped V-neck (elbow-length)
  4. Black wrap top (elbow-length)
  5. Cream turtleneck (long sleeve)
  6. Black cameo Bronte (long sleeve)
  7. Black Weekender tunic (long sleeve)


  1. Black corduroy blazer
  2. Pumpkin corduroy blazer
  3. Black fleece zip-up hoodie
  4. Bottle green wool sweater
  5. Black or gray wool sweater? (Still debating what to do with the one I bought, which is too big.)
  6. Heavy black wool coat


  1. Slips
  2. Tights & socks
  3. Black boots
  4. Brown snow boots
  5. Brown oxfords
  6. Scarves
  7. Brown satchel
  8. Black She Who Sews Dottie bag
  9. Black leather gloves
  10. Brown leather gloves

Made Up Initiative: Handkerchief (Sorta) Hem Skirt

Here’s my completed project for the Made Up Initiative: a handkerchief-hem skirt! It’s made of supercomfy black cotton gauze with two rows of elastic for the waistband. I was originally planning to make just a big square, but that ended up limp and uninteresting. So I rounded it off to a big circle skirt. Then, uh, that was still kinda limp and uninteresting! So I added six pick-ups and topped them with little purple ribbon bows. (That is, I pinched up some fabric from lower down on the skirt and tacked it to higher spots. These are sewn down, which makes me a little nervous about whether they might get ripped out if I accidentally step on the hem . . . we shall see, I suppose!)

IMG_3087This gave me more of the fullness I wanted, but now I know to go the tiers/ruffles route when sewing gauze. Maybe I will layer it over a ruffled underskirt.

And check out the cute hem!

IMG_3028This is a three-thread narrow overlock stitch (still learning new things to do with my serger).

Overall, the skirt is light and airy (despite being pitch black and therefore difficult to photograph), very comfortable on a hot day. Crinkle gauze is kind of a pain to work with since you can’t press it flat and therefore it’s impossible to get it very precise (or so I’ve found, at any rate). The key, I suppose, is making something like this–loose fitting with a deliberately uneven hem.

IMG_3118I kept trying and failing to get some good action shots, since it’s nice and flowy! I’m planning to wear this to a Ren fair in November, so will try to get some better photos then.

Gray Linen Half-Circle Skirt

So, um, this wasn’t on any of my plans–not just the Wardrobe Architect plans, but even my random other-stuff-to-sew plans. I was just craving a maxi skirt in linen and put their Asphalt linen on sale and, well, my impulse control was lacking that day. 

But, wait! you might say. That’s not a maxi skirt. Yeah, uh, I miscalculated how much I’d need. Oops? So I just made it as long as possible.


(Yes, I’m wearing knee highs in 90-degree weather. I don’t even own sandals.)

I didn’t use a pattern for this. It’s a half-circle skirt with a 1-inch waistband, in-seam pockets (of course) on the sides, and an invisible zip closure in back. I feel like I’m getting the hang of this invisible zipper business! It sits below the natural waist, which I debated for a while (since almost everything I have cinches in at the waist–but I’m happy with the finished shape. It’s comfy and flowy (there’s nothing better than linen in hot weather).


(What expression is that??)


Also, look at this fucking hem. I’m weirdly proud of how well it turned out (if you could see my horrendous first attempt at hemming a linen circle skirt, you would understand–trust me). This lovely finish is courtesy of a tip I learned at Workroom Social’s Weekend Dressmaking Intensive: serge the hem, then fold over twice. The serged edge is ¼ inch, so it’s a perfect guide for a narrow hem. And a narrow hem is an easy way to finish a curve like this.


Some might consider this below-the-knee length a bit “matronly” I think, but it does have one major advantage over knee-length (or shorter) skirts: when I sit down, it doesn’t ride up enough to expose my skin to the subway seats. Shorter skirts are okay when it’s cool enough to wear thick tights, but for warm weather my germaphobia appreciates the longer length.

I confess: this doesn’t really fill any hole in my wardrobe. I have to cut myself off from skirts! Well, after the next one–which IS for a costume and therefore totally okay. I have one other skirt to blog about, but it’s already finished and DOES fill a hole! It’s just so autumn-y that I’m having trouble gearing up to take photos in this heat. Soon.

Petticoat Maxi Skirt in Black

This is the base pattern; modifications were:

  • Middle tier is 10 inches
  • Bottom tier is 6 inches
  • Lining is 2 tiers for extra fullness
  • Waistband is flat in front with elastic only in the back and a back center zipper
  • Added pockets!

Photo May 10, 5 23 15 PM

This projects “oops!” moment: discovering that I’d accidentally used a navy zipper after I had already finished inserting it. Oh well! No one is likely to notice. 😉

Photo May 10, 5 24 42 PM

I’m not sure I’m totally in love with this cotton voile–it’s a little clingier than I expected. But it’s soft and for all I know voile is clingy.

Close-up ruffler action!


Photo shoot outtake! (Cats are so helpful.)

Photo May 10, 5 20 59 PM

Spring/Summer Capsule Wardrobe Sewing Queue


  1. MAKE: Knee-length Hollyburn in black cotton poplin; white lining with white eyelet ruffle (longer than overskirt); contour waistband; elastic in back of waistband
  2. DONE: Maxi petticoat skirt in black voile, gathered at waist with back elastic
  3. DONE: Brown midi petticoat skirt 
  4. IN PROCESS: Blue denim Hollyburn–need to take in waistband
  5. IN PROCESS: Black floral circle skirt with attached black eyelet petticoat–need to replace waistband
  6. DONE: White midi petticoat
  7. IN PROCESS: Brown maxi petticoat skirt–needs a new waistband and closure


  1. DONE: Sweetheart t-shirt in white interlock (from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual)
  2. MAKE: Sweetheart t-shirt in black jersey
  3. DONE: Peplum top from Lady Skater in cream jersey
  4. HAVE: Black & white polka dot Bronte top
  5. HAVE: Gray & black horses print Bronte top
  6. DONE: Black tunic top from Weekender Dress pattern
  7. IN PROCESS: Black gauze top–need to add shirring to waist


  1. HAVE: Gray floral Lady Skater
  2. HAVE: Black and gray Weekender Dress
  3. HAVE: Green and pink floral Lady Skater
  4. HAVE: Green knee-length dress with neck ties (purchased)
  5. MAKE: Green Lady Skater w/ collar and back zip
  6. MAKE: Dress in black interlock with Nevermore collar (Simplicity 1699 view B, however, may use the Lady Skater for this, too)


  1. MAKE: Long-sleeve bolero in gray (or black?) linen or laceweight sweater knit or lightweight sweatshirt fleece (Butterick 5232) (currently, I’m jonesing for a ballet cardigan instead, so may change this)
  2. HAVE: Olive military jacket (purchased, but need to fix closures)
  3. HAVE: Gray jersey elbow-length cardigan w/ ruffles (purchased)
  4. HAVE: Black and cream lightweight sweater knit cardigan (purchased)
  5. HAVE: Jean jacket (purchased)