FO: Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt

Hooray for a sewalong!  Rachel at Mymessings is hosting a fabulous hollyburn sewalong, and as I need more work skirts, why not join in?
beginner sewing pattern sewaholic
Some fabulous pale blue eyelet was sitting at the op shop for a mere $4, and was just crying out to be a pretty new skirt. And then the ghosts of poor seamstresses threw all my plans into disarray. While untangling the eyelet to pre-wash it, it turns out someone had already cut this eyelet into strips, with the cuts going across the grain and each piece only 25″ narrow.  So narrow.  Too narrow for a hollyburn.  WHO WOULD DO THIS?

Woefully I dried it and packed it away into the stash.  There was no other hollyburn fabric in my stash (at least for a work skirt), so most tragically, I had to go fabric shopping.

Nipping into GJ’s fabrics in Brunswick yielded fantastic results, with two “wool blends” on the remnant table seeking a good home.  With kindness in my heart I adopted these blends for $27 for 4.5 metres.  Someone had to do it.

You know the really awesome thing?  Out of the 2.5m drapey soft wool blend fabric, I’ve managed to cut one hollyburn and two jenny skirts.  Ace right?
Hollyburn skirt front close up view


This skirt is easy to fit due to the style, and only the waistband is fitted.  It’s firm around the waist, and then skims over the hips.  I should have followed Rachel’s advice and maybe measured after a big meal, this is going to be a little tight if a pasta comes my way!

The pockets are the same style as the Cambie dress, so if you liked those, the hollyburn is a great skirt.  For this version I’ve gone for a unlined option, but I would consider next time make a fully lined hollyburn.

I cut view B, which was the mid-length option, which was a little long.  I realise there is a shorter length, but that had to much ‘flounce’ for my work (and gust of wind risk) for my purposes.  I’m close to the height sewaholic patterns are designed for, but I have a long torso and short legs.  Don’t be too jealous now.  All the skirts I’ve had to knock about 2″ off the hem, so this is going to become my standard sewaholic pattern adjustment.

hollyburn skirt back view


I have no idea what is blended with this wool, but it’s lovely and soft and likes to disintegrate when you sew it.  I finished the seams with a line of stitching and then pinked the seam allowances, but you already can’t tell that I used pinking shears.  This skirt may fall apart while I wear it, but we’ll worry about that later right?  Perhaps some fraycheck might solve this problem.

As one hollyburn and two jenny skirts were cut from 2.5m, a few concessions had to be made.  Like the lining of the pocket.

Hollyburn skirt pocket details

I did commit to making my clothes with whimsy!  The pocket linings are from a fat quarter of fabric, which was $2 also from GJ’s discount fabrics.  The pale pink spots that no-one can see, are my way of resistance  like this skirt isn’t totally corporate and the man can’t keep me down.  Yeah, I’ll look professional, but BAM.  I HAVE CRAZY POCKETS.


This is the perfect beginners skirt.  Four panels and a waistband, and between Tasia’s very straightforward instructions and Rachel’s comprehensive sewalong posts you really couldn’t go wrong.  If you’re considering learning to sew, although this has a zip in it, you can totally nail it.

Future lessons

This skirt really reinforced something for me, it’s faster to hand baste than sew and then rip out a seam.  I hand basted the waistband and then stitched in the ditch along the waist band, as this skirt is to be thrown in the washing machine in a rough fashion.

I don’t love this skirt just because it’s a tad boring, however boring is the go-to for work clothes,  After wearing this skirt all day, it drapes and moves in a very flattering way, and there really isn’t much to be done for that.   The details make it more fun for me, but I’d like to have another go at the hollyburn and use colour blocking.
Hollyburn skirt hanging

Does anyone have suggestions of how to make boring clothes more interesting?  I’m thinking solid colours but crazy design details.  Or will I be veering away from ‘classic’ pieces and into the territory of disposable fashion?


31 thoughts on “FO: Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt

  1. This looks rock and roll, Sarah! Love it! I’m all about pimping work clothes up the best way I can so now that includes cray-cray lining, super rad pockets, natthy Hong Kong finishes, piping (my new BFF) and sassy top stitching. I say, business on the outside, party on the inside.
    This looks absolutely smashing on you!

      • I’ve found Alma great for work, there are no buttons or fussiness and the mid-sleeves are perfect. Easy to iron too!!
        I never wore accessories and then I worked with someone that rocked them. So I started to experiement and now I have oodles of necklaces, hats, belts etc they are the sorts of things you pick up for a song more often than not. And they are fun!

      • I need to pair things when I hang them up perhaps, in the morning it’s always such a rush out the door…that way if I put necklaces in my pockets…bam, dressed and ready to go

      • Great idea! I’ve got a mirror/accessories cupboard at my bedroom door. I didn’t have a mirror for 5 years and finally spoilt myself with an Aldi special last year. It’s awesome! I just get dressed. Open the cupboard and bam! Rings, watch and necklace on! Out the door!

  2. This is such a gorgeous skirt! I am super envious! I am secretly making plans so see one v similar to this… In terms of making it a more interesting outfits guess you could always team it with a statement necklace or a plain too and lush silk scarf 🙂

  3. I like your spotty pockets! I also don’t think it is boring. I, like most home sewers, always say I need to make more classic clothes like this. I bet you wear it all the time.

  4. beautiful version! I like the contrast between the nice pocket lining and the less fun wool blend. I might be tempted to do this skirt too, but it will have to wait until after my pregnancy 🙂

  5. This has got to be one of my favourite Hollyburns that I’ve seen so far- the drape of the fabric is PERFECT and gives the skirt such a pretty shape.

    I also find it hard to resist the urge to embelish when I sew, but I think sometimes it’s best to exercise restraint! I find that the more I embelish (biiiiig sucker for piping) the more difficult it is to co-ordinate with other things, and also that when you go a bit overboard and add every possible detail known to man, that your FO can end up looking very homemade. I know making utilitarian things can lack excitement, but I’d say that they can often end up being more classic and versitile. When I sew something like this, I just try to make sure it’s finished as well as it can be and I know I’ll feel really proud wearing it 🙂

  6. Loving this skirt on you… The cut, drape of the fabric is very flattering. I wouldn’t even have thought of it as ‘boring’ until you mentioned it. I pockets are a nice touch. To add to your discussion with SewBusyLizzy, I recently brought a belt coat hanger (I didn’t know these existd either!) at Target for a song. I twisted the hook on the hanger, latched it over a door and used it to hand all my necklaces on. It works a treat!

  7. Oh, I love it. The piped pockets, the whimsical crazy pockets, the drape. Awesome. And since I went to the my messings site after replying to your note at my site, I realize you weren’t up at 5 dealing with your own deadline. Because that might be just a little crazy, right?

  8. Oooh, I love how drapey yours is! Maybe you could wear it with crazy/patterned tights? (or maybe they’re out of fashion again, and I never noticed). Otherwise, I’d agree with the accessories-recommenders. Nothing quite like a chunky/colourful necklace or earrings!
    I think I have the same problem as you with the long torso/short legs – my sister calls it being a ‘seated giant’ (you know when you’re sat at a table with people and you sit up straight and are about a head taller than everybody else?), which would explain why the skirts tend to come out long for me too, and the tops too short…

  9. It’s not boring, it’s classic. CLASSIC. But with attitude (BAM and, of course, his brother POW). The other things to tart it up are shoes and hair. I think your Hollyburn is gorgeous as it is tho!

  10. Sweet! I use contrast scraps for pocket bags too. This hollyburn looks to me like a regular half/ 3/4th circle skirt with diagonal front pockets. So you could get around the pasta-lunch thing by using a curved waistband because the ends of the curve go on the bias (or half-bias depending on size/ curve) which automatically gives the wearer more ‘breathing room’ in terms of extensibility. In this case though, you’d interface the outer side. There’s plenty of tutorials online for curved waistbands but most Simplicity skirt patterns tend to include them so if you have one just ‘franken’ it together the next time you make this.

    • Having a curved waistband might only work if you want the skirt to sit lower on the body, rather than on the natural waist. If you want it to stay on the waist a curved waistband won’t work. (In my patternmaking class the teacher discussed this, curved below the waist, straight on the waist)

      • hmm interesting theory I don’t know if I agree with it. This skirt for example sits on the waist and has a curved waistband. I sewed it up yonks ago and had to size up to make it sit lower (it’s about 4-5 cm away from my hips so not on them). I’d have to go two sizes up for it to sit on my hips.
        Burda and Knipmode also have plenty of examples of such patterns. I’m only using the Simplicity one as an example because there’s sh*tloads of reviews for it online (many of which whinge about the fact that it doesn’t get worn because the waist is so high that everything needs to be tucked in-I have the same problem with it).
        Re: waistbands sewn on the cross-kinda suck because there’s no give at all-the one circle skirt I’ve sewn was so effin’ uncomfortable for the hour or so I wore it that I ended up tearing out the crappy ‘on the cross’ waistband and putting in a curved one. XD

  11. Jane Allan says:

    Sarah you really have done a lovely job with the skirt. Piping in the seams is a nice way to add a bit if detail without losing the ‘professional’ look. A vintage brooch at the waist is another way of adding beautiful detail.

  12. Oh, beautiful skirt!! It looks really lovely on you, as well. I am currently taking a college sewing course, and we need to purchase a skirt pattern with: waistband, zipper, darts/pleats/tucks and side pockets. Sounds like this one may be a winner for that criteria! (And, I could essentially cheat with the sewalong…..shhhhhhh). Lol.

    • The only thing it’s missing is the darts/pleats.tucks, but this is a great beginner skirt. Otherwise, the sewaholic crescent skirt has gathering you might be able to turn into pleats?

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