Chambray Hollyburn Skirt and Spotty Scout Tee

Do you have a favourite item of clothing that you pull out year after year? Every summer I reached for my Top Shop Chambray Skirt, it was older than my Son (he’s going on eleven) and had been worn to death. It went with everything and had just the right amount of flare, the perfect summer staple. This year I realised it was not only starting to look a little past it but was also getting too small for me (or rather I was getting too big for it!)

The great thing about sewing your own clothes is that you can wish something into being, and so I set out on a quest to replace my treasured skirt.

The fabric wasn’t a problem as I had two metres of Chambray that had originally been destined to be a Colette Laurel. However, when I looked closely there was a fault running through it, so although I wouldn’t get a dress out of it, with a bit of creative cutting it would be perfect for my skirt.


Next I needed to find the perfect pattern, it needed front pockets, fitted around the waist, flaring out over the hips and ending around the knees. The Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt pattern ticked all the boxes. Here’s the description:

‘Especially for beginners, this is the perfect flared skirt! A wardrobe essential, the Hollyburn Skirt has just the right amount of flare. It sits right at the waist for maximum figure flattery, and features super practical pockets!

Based on the popular Lonsdale Dress pattern, this skirt pattern includes three different lengths with three different amounts of flare. The shorter the skirt, the more flared the silhouette! Additional details add emphasis to the waistline, with optional button tabs to feature pretty buttons, or belt loops to show off your favourite belts.’

I made view B, which on someone of average height would fall just below the knee, I cut a size 14 but shortened the length to a size 0. I didn’t bother with the belt loops or tabs as I knew I wouldn’t be wearing anything tucked in.  It was really easy to put together, but I hit a stumbling block when I came to attaching the waistband. My skirt pieces were a good couple of inches bigger than the waistband. Now normally I would just chop the extra off the side seams and go from there but this time I actually looked at the instructions. Tasia suggests easing the extra fabric in, something I never would have thought of myself but thinking about it makes perfect sense! I basted the skirt to the waistband, easing in as I went, after a while unpicking a few tucks I finally got it to fit and stitched it down proper. The whole make was really straightforward, only taking about three hours (including half an hour easing in the skirt) and I had an almost perfect replica of my old faithful skirt!

Hollyburn skirt

I can’t believe it took me so long to try the Hollyburn, it could be made up in a load of different fabrics, the drape or body of which would achieve very different looks.   I’ve already got a few versions of the skirt in my sewing queue.

I decided to have a root around and see if I could rustle up a top to go with my new skirt. I found this length of cream and black polka dots in my stash. I turned to the tried and true Grainline Scout woven tee, of which I have four. I don’t know what size I cut but each time I have ended up taking them in quite a bit at the side seams (I should really recut the pattern). I did get a little carried away with my overlocker though and came perilously close to disaster. When I tried it on it was a little too snug around the hips! I managed to salvage it by shortening it by a couple of inches and I actually prefer it at this length. (I have learned my lesson and since stitched side seams on my regular machine and actually tried things on before loping off the excess with the overlocker!)

Anyway, so pictures,  excuse the crumples, I had been wearing it all day!:

Chambray Hollyburn skirt and spotty scout tee   Chambray Hollyburn skirt and spotty scout tee

Chambray Hollyburn skirt and spotty scout tee.    Chambray Hollyburn skirt and spotty scout tee


 I now not only have a replacement for my well-loved skirt but a fab spotty top to go with it! I Have also managed to sew another three and a half metres from my stash making my summer stashbust tally at five and a half metres!

This has started me thinking about other much loved clothes from the past that I can recreate, top of the list is a pale blue gingham shirt that I lived in while at University, but that would mean buying more fabric so I guess that will have to wait until the end of the stashbust!

Have you got any loved clothes from your past that you’d like to recreate?





A Stashbusting Strawberry Staple Dress

I seem to buy far more fabric than I have time to sew.  The trunk containing my stash is now refusing to shut and when I toted up all the things I have on my ‘to sew’ list, which I already have the fabric and patterns for, it came out at a round twenty (this accounts for only a third of the fabric I have stashed away!)  Some have been on the list for well over a year but every month get bumped downwards after a successful haul at the fabric shop. So when Sally from A Quirky Peach announced a Summer Stashbust it seemed like the ideal opportunity to get some of those poor bumped projects brought to life.  From 21st June until 21st September I will not be buying ANY NEW FABRIC, sewing exclusively from my stash.  I don’t know how I’ll cope going cold turkey like this, my monthly payday fabric shop is something I look forward to (so much so I have trouble sleeping the night before, wondering what delights await me in the morning) But now my other half has found my secret stash of knits at the back of the bathroom cupboard (he doesn’t know about the one in the loft) and I must admit that I have more than a touch of fabric compulsive disorder.


My first make is the result of a particularly giddy impulsive ‘ooooh’ moment on last month’s fabric shop.  It was the first thing I saw when I walked through the door, bright purple and covered in strawberries:


My rational was that purple is my favourite colour and strawberries my favourite fruit, put together this was the perfect fabric! (I bought mine in Economy fabrics but you can get it on ebay here!)  It was only when I got home and proudly showed my other half the latest haul that his raised eyebrow cast a shadow of doubt in my mind.  In the trunk it went while I pondered what to do with it.

Inspiration came in the form of Wimbledon, the perfect excuse to wear a dress with Strawberries on!  I knew I had to keep it simple as the fabric was so busy, anything fussy would be too much.  I had just bought the perfect pattern parcel #3, primarily for the Bombshell Swimsuit pattern but it also included the April Rhodes Staple Dress.  There had been quite a few versions popping up on the blogesphere and it looked like the ideal canvas for my fabric.  It’s a very simple pattern, only two main pattern pieces, kimono sleeves, in seam pockets with elastic shirring at the waist, which gives it it’s shape.


I cut a size large and took 2 inches off the length of the bodice.  I then had a quick panic and added an inch back on to the length, figuring I could always take it off again later.  The dress came together like a dream.  The sleeves and neckline are finished with what is called a facing but is basically a strip cut on the bias. I didn’t follow the instructions, just folded it double, stitched it around the outside, raw edges together, then folded to the inside and topstitched it in place.

I was a little worried that it looked a bit tent like once I’d put it together but when I put a belt on to work out where my waistline fell I could see the potential.  The next bit was the fun part: shirring!  I absolutely love shirring!  I made a maxi sundress last year following By Hand London’s Shirred Top Tutorial and it was so much fun! (although I did have to do 30 rows of it to safely ensure the girls were well covered!)  I decided to do four rows on the waistline but very close together so that it had strength but didn’t look too ‘elasticated waisty’.  However, it was the first time I had done any shirring in the middle of a garment, I was getting so carried away that I managed to catch the skirt THREE TIMES!  After spending time carefully unpicking my enthusiasm I eventually got the four, relatively straight rows, at a total depth of about a centimetre.

Once I tried the dress on I was glad I’d added  the extra inch in length as it was knee baringly short!  I hemmed it with a tiny centimetre double fold hem and, although a little shorter than I usually wear (I try to hide my knobbly knees!) it turned out OK.





I’m actually really pleased with the result, I was a little concerned that it might be wearing me, but I think I’ve just managed to get away with it! I did try it with a variety of belts but it just didn’t look right so I decided to wear it without. It’s the perfect everyday dress for running around in and the fit is very forgiving of big lunches!  It’s also the perfect beach cover up and would look great in a Voile or Chiffon over a swimsuit.

It was a very quick and easy dress to make, taking about three hours including taping the pattern together, simple sewing with instant gratification, just what I needed!

Is your stash getting out of control?

Could you last three months without buying new fabric?!