Monday 11 December 2017

Mild Experimentation Series: revisiting the fuller skirt

Back in my first few months of sewing, I made two versions of the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt. I was thrilled with both of them until I realised I'd made one way too heavy and one way too light, and they both went the way of the recycling bag some time ago. The pattern has sat untouched since then, as I decided I didn't actually like full skirts anyway.

In August I did a mini-project where I took a selfie in the mirror by the front door on my way out every day to get a sense of what I was actually wearing and what I felt good in, which was fairly successful (I'd like to do it again, but now there's a lime tree in front of the mirror because my boyfriend is obsessed with plants), and it included one day where I wore my cherry print circle skirt, the oldest handmade in my wardrobe and the one I choose to keep for sentimental value as it's much better constructed than my actual first skirt was. It's not so much my style these days, but I do make a point of wearing it at least once every summer. Looking back on the picture I took that day, I found myself thinking "OK, that actually looks great," and then everything I thought I knew was called into question. Yes, I'm being dramatic. It's allowed.

This thought combined with my desire to find a cute skater dress to wear to dance events made me reconsider my anti-full skirt stance, and I decided to experiment with my Hollyburn pattern again.

This burgundy cord is the final part of my Goldhawk Road corduroy spree. I had two metres, so I knew I'd be able to squeeze a miniskirt out of the remnants and therefore if I ended up not liking the skirt I'd still be able to have something wearable in this fabric.

Construction was incredibly simple. It's quite funny coming back to a pattern I'd only ever used as a rank beginner and had thought of as quite an involved project because it had proper pockets, and realising just how simple it is. Except for the hemming. I still hate that. I'm having a bit of an argument with myself at the moment because on the one hand I think this would be a great skirt to use for a party dress, but on the other hand that hem is a pain in the backside. One day I will find a hemming method that looks good and I don't hate, I'm sure. 

The top is another Papercut Coppelia, which I've been planning since about five minutes after I published my autumn plans post. I ordered this jersey online and wasn't sure about the colour at first, but it's actually great - it's muted enough that it looks more autumnal than Christmassy when worn with reds and greens, but I'm also pretty sure I can get mileage out of it as a festive top. It does feel slightly weird, though, and I don't think it photographs very well.

Overall, I think this was a successful experiment. I've been wearing this skirt - and this outfit - pretty regularly since I made it,and the fact that the skirt is fuller than I'm used to hasn't made me feel any less like myself. I don't expect this to start a revolution in my wardrobe, but I have been craving a few more frivolous dresses lately (ridiculous emerald maxi dress aside, my projects tend to be really quite sensible and practical, and I'm feeling in the mood for a bit of nonsense) and this would be a really great skirt to add to my favourite bodices. If nothing else, a dance dress where I could securely keep my phone with me all night wouldn't go amiss. 

What am I giving the side-eye to? I've no idea. But I'm sure one of you must have done something. 

This is going to be my last completed project post of the year. Starting this Thursday I'm going to be putting up my 2017 review posts, and once those are done I'm going on hiatus until the new year. Patrick and I are going to the Christmas markets in Bruges for a few days and then we'll be hosting Christmas here for the first time. It'll actually be the first time we've spent the 25th together because we've been putting off the "who gets who for Christmas" negotiations as long as possible. But no more! We are adults, and we can handle this shit.

Up on Thursday: my favourites from 2017!


  1. Have fun!!!

    I really like the skirt (and I like fuller skirts more than I realize until I wear one again!!). That wrap top is perfection. I love that color!!

    1. Thank you! It's so hard to get really good golds and yellows so I was very pleased to find this!

  2. I go back/forth with fuller/slimmer skirts myself. I'm a fickle woman. Hah. Love the color combo. Do you have a serger? If yes, you can use the differential feed turned up to serge the raw edge, which gathers it in just enough to easily press up and machine hem from the top. If not, time to buy one. :-)

    What are the Christmas markets in Bruges? Sounds exotic. Have a good holiday!

    1. Hah, I do an overlocker but it's so temperamental that I barely ever use it. One day I'll work out how to make it like me, I'm sure...

      A lot of the colder European cities set up street markets in November and December, little wooden huts and stalls covered in Christmas lights. They mostly sell food and Christmas paraphernalia, and it's festive and magical and atmospheric and wonderful. Also I'll take any excuse to go to Belgium!

  3. Have fun in Bruges! That place already looks like a fairytale any other day, so the Christmas markets must be really nice. And if you pass by Antwerp, feel free to say hi :)

    1. Thank you! I've only been to Bruges in the summer before, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what it's like at Christmas. We won't be making it to Antwerp this time, but it's on the list!