Sewaholic Hollyburn – nice but not ‘me’

The Sewaholic Hollyburn was of those patterns I had always been curious to see what all the fuss was about. So when I received a copy from Stitch 56 it seemed the perfect choice for a navy linen midi skirt I had in my head.

Sewaholic Hollyburn

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a red striped Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee (free pattern, unblogged) and a blue glass beads from Arthouse Industries (mine)

Then I lost the pattern in my sewing room for months… when it eventually resurfaced I made it up.

The pattern is lovely, easy to sew and you get a nice result. It’s got pockets – which some people seem to go barmy about. I’m a bit weird about a few things… and one is that I don’t put things in pockets if it distorts the line of the garment – that’s what a handbag is for. These sorts of pockets are just for hands in my life.

I decided to line the skirt as linen is notorious for creasing and lining does help alleviate that to a degree. I would share a picture of the immaculate insides… however I just can’t find the skirt. It’s as if the Hollyburn doesn’t want to be part of my life!

I cut a size 0 with the longest possible length.

It’s a well made skirt and I’m pleased with the finish.

Unfortunately I don’t think the midi length is for me. The skirt is lovely but like a few other 2014 makes just don’t feel like me. As you can see I tried a number of tops and accessories – and still struggle with how to wear it and feel like myself. I guess the upside of sewing things that don’t feel quite right is that you learn now about what you do like!

The photos were taken late in the afternoon so the light was bad – with the exception of the first one below, which was taken several weeks earlier – then I spent a while trying to figure out how I might wear it. I think most simply it’s just not me, I feel like I should be drinking cups of tea and eating scones, I’m convinced my mother would love it. It doesn’t fit into my work or casual wardrobe.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a floral shirt

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a floral shirt

Sewaholic Hollyburn

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a red striped Tessuti Mandy Boat tee and an Arthouse Industries necklace. Probably prefer this look the most. It’s timeless.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a white tank and a scarf

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a RTW white tank and a scarf (Just Jeans). The ill-fitting RTW tank top has been ditched. Quite like this combo – the scarf works well.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with Maria Denmark day-to-night tank

Sewaholic Hollyburn with Maria Denmark day-to-night tank

Sewaholic Holllyburn with RTW white shirt.

Sewaholic Holllyburn with RTW white shirt.

I made this months ago – all the way back in September. I just didn’t feel particularly inspired about it. So other makes overtook it in the blogging queue. My workload in the final months of the year is always excessive and ‘life’ stuff has been less than great, so the urge to write all but disappears some days. Anyway all things, good and bad, come to an end eventually.

If I seem quiet here, you can usually find me on instagram – where I’m posting WIPs, project ideas, what I’m wearing some days and other ‘stuff’.

This pattern has been very popular – you only need to google it to see just how many times it has been made. It has had rave reviews. It reminds me of my McCalls shirtdress experience. It’s a perfectly nice pattern, it’s been made over and over again, all over the internet. It’s just not my style. I think I prefer pencil skirts or long floaty maxi skirts – I also like yokes over waistbands. However just because it’s not for me – doesn’t mean it’s not for you.

I really struggle with skirts and dresses that are flared and have a centre seam. Is it just me or does that make the skirt move awkwardly when you walk? I find it’s more inclined to tangle between your legs – and I hate fiddling with my clothes when I’m wearing them.

Pattern: Sewaholic Hollyburn, provided by Stitch 56
Fabric: Metro linen shell, lawn lining from Spotlight.

I’ve made five tops recently. Four knit tshirts and one woven top. The weather has been horrid lately so there has been little or no opportunity to get outside and take some pictures. Hopefully the rain eases soon.

I got some lovely Christmas presents this year, including tickets to see Lior, an independent Australian musician… enjoy…

73 thoughts on “Sewaholic Hollyburn – nice but not ‘me’

  1. It’s a beautiful make, but I think I agree! I am a massive fan of this skirt and it works great with my figure – which I suspect may be the rub. You have a gorgeous, willowy figure that works brilliantly in maxis and pencil skirts and you really know your style. I love this skirt because it’s kind to my curves – which is a compliment your figure just doesn’t need. Hey, you tried it!

    • It is a nice skirt and I can see my mother thinking it is very ‘appropriate’ – probably because it’s the sort of thing she would have got me to wear to church when I was at boarding school. I seem to be good at sewing things that aren’t hitting the mark lately!

  2. I like this skirt on you, but I understand that it doesn’t feel like you. I think it’s a classic color. I’m learning what I like and making more things that are me. I love that sewing let’s you experiment.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels that about center seams in skirts. It’s annoying!

    • The centre seam on the Lonsdale dress (also by Sewaholic) doesn’t bother me so much – however I made that in a light voile so the seam is lighter and tends not to get tangled in my legs.

  3. You pretty much summed it up – you know your own style and there isn’t much point making or wearing things you are uncomfortable in. I think we are pretty good at matching our style to what suits our bodies. To echo Karen’s sentiments, the drapey, chic look which you are comfortable in suits your body type so well.

    • Yes, I think sewing outside my comfort zone early this year was the best thing I’ve ever done clothing and sewing wise – I discovered a whole new world. A little bit different, quirky and skimming rather than clinging (in most cases!) much more me!

  4. I think midis are a hard style to wear except on specific body types. I’m struggling with that length for my culottes WIP. I think on someone petite like you it can swamp you and make you appear smaller by chopping off your leg length at an awkward spot. But it’s so great once you get a handle on what feels “you”, and your other makes certainly suggest you’ve got that right! X

    • That’s so true – I don’t think I’m tall enough to carry off the midi length… although it worked for the Lonsdale. Perhaps the fact it was a dress and not a skirt chopping me off half way is the key. I just can’t even begin to imagine me in culottes – other than the short floaty Tania culottes that I made last year – and love!

  5. I have a similar body type, and I know that skirt would not suit me, at that length anyway. Maybe try it shorter?
    It’s very nicely made, and I love that you tried so hard to make it work 🙂

  6. I feel the same way about flowy skirts — theyre nice but just not me. Vastly prefer a pencil! Same thing with midi skirts. I love the *idea* of a midi skirt, but on other people. I never feel comfortable in them. I really like how you’ve styled your Hollyburn — every one of those outfits works. Still, no mattet how great the styling, the skirt won’t get work if you dont feel right in it!

  7. Hi Lizzy, I think the skirt looks perfectly fine on, I see sneakers with it more than heels, but I don’t believe it is you either. That is probably good for me but I don’t like that style skirt.. it reminds me of high school days for some reason… this is the skirt portion of the Lonsdale dress and I like it (and have the pattern from a swap) and will try it soon now I remember. I think midi is a difficult length for short people (like me).

    • I think if I paired it with sneakers I might feel like an escapee from the movie Grease. It would look super cute but still not me. Every time I look at it I think about boarding school – so I’m glad it’s not just me! I’m not particularly tall either – all of 5 foot 4 – which makes me disappointingly average!

  8. I”m inspired by you to start cranking out t-shirts to get to “know” my coverstitch machine! Yippee!!!! But this skirt – really not you! Can you think of someone to give it to?

  9. I have to agree that if you don’t feel it, even if you keep it, it tends to collect dust. Sometimes I’ve saved something that doesn’t feel like me with a new hem and some trim or reworked it into a child’s clothing item for my son or nieces. I think it looks really amazing with the white top/scarf and white button up. I’d rock that at work. mmm…I wonder if I have a pattern similar to that in my stash…

  10. Chalk it up to a learning experience, I guess! Like you said, now you know that you don’t enjoy wearing this style of skirt, and you can move forward with that knowledge. Can you give the skirt to a friend or cut it up for another project?

    Glad to hear you’ve been sewing so much lately! I’ve been doing the same – I have time off from work and have been giving my sewing machine some love. Looking forward to seeing your shirts!

  11. I think it looks absolutely lovely on you. But it’s still no good if you don’t feel like you when you’re wearing it. I notice you have heels on in all the photos – which look great by the way. Do you usually wear heels or are you are more of a casual sneaker-y type IRL. Midi skirts can be a bit tricky to feel comfy in sometimes because they can drown smaller frames. I wonder if you could chop off some of the length to turn it into a cute flared mini or a more casual knee length version…

    • As I work 5 days a week, I tend to wear heels weekdays and often when going out, even casually. I think it’s the hazard of being average height and being married to someone 14 inches taller than me. I feel weird in flats as I don’t even come up to his shoulder! I love sneakers with jeans when I am ‘casual’ or travelling. Otherwise I’m in heels, barefoot or in thongs/flip-flops.
      You are right, I’m drowning in fabric here. The only solution is to find someone to wear it or hack it off.

  12. This is a fair review: the skirt is perfect, but you don’t like to wear it. As far as I’m concerned, this style reminds me of Audrey Hepburn in the movie Roman Vacations. She was so cute on a scooter with this kind of midi skirt with a little white shirt! But that’s a movie and that was in the 1950s…

  13. Completely understandable if you are on the fence about this or any other make – it’s hard to resist popular and pretty patterns when everyone online looks fantastic in them even if you are pretty sure you won’t wear it in the end. On to the next sewing project!

    • I’ve been much better lately but not sewing fads – every now and then curiosity gets the better of me! I do like to see what the fuss is about – and I think if this shape works on you it is a lovely pattern. It’s just not for me – or at least not at this length.

  14. Girl pulleaze,

    And just like your McCalls 6696 experience you look great in this skirt. You why I think you’re not feeling it . . . .? Because your legs don’t show. You have gorgeous gams and they aren’t shining in this skirt.

    Still, I like it on you, but when I saw the pattern it did not float my boat, LOL.

    Oh, have a great end of the year and an even better 2015. Keep the excellent articles and photography coming. I want to blog similar to you when I grow up.


    Sew Lyrically Vintage [blog]

    • Thank you so much – I don’t mind it on me. I just feel ‘like a fish out of water’ or perhaps dressing up as a Yummy Mummy which isn’t really my look. I’ve got lots of sewing I want to do in 2015 – I’m just hoping that 2015 provides me with some time, peace and quiet.

  15. I like it best with the white tank, but maybe flip flops and your beach. Either way, I am not much of a fan skirts like this one. makes me feel school marmish…

  16. Midi length is a win and this looks smashing! But totally get it not vein your bag- I love this look but would feel weird in it myself!

    • Thanks Manda! I feel like I’m in fancy dress & must stick my pinkie out as I sip tea – I do like to try new looks, after all that’s how I discovered the Drape Drape tank dress that’s become a TNT. This however missed the mark in my wardrobe.

  17. I like the skirt paired with the tied button down, and the white tank top. Maybe the skirt just needs more casual flats or sandals? You could always cut it shorter, but take the length from the waist and gather it to a waistband or yoke. Or give it away. It’s always disappointing when a make just isn’t “you” but hopefully someone else can get some use out of it!

    • Maybe shorter but I’ve never been a huge fan of flared shorter skirts. I only own a couple of pairs of flats. My ‘nice’ shoes tend to be work shoes – and high heels! I generally wear heels most places (other than the beach – where I spend time every weekend!) – my husband is 14 inches taller so I feel like a garden gnome standing flat foot next to him!

  18. Maybe wrong hemisphere at this point, but a pair of boots would rock this skirt with a moto-inspired jacket. Love your exquisite work!

  19. This fab post just goes to show how subjective clothing can be. Maybe that’s the reason I pull out certain things in my closet repeatedly and not others.
    Having said that, I personally think the skirt looks great on you, and you’ve done a great styling job.

    • Clothing can be such a reflection of our personality – and sewing provides a great opportunity to explore those elements. This feels like it is for a different time in my life, either one gone or one to come. It’s just not me right now.
      I love trying new makes with existing things in my wardrobe, it’s interesting to see how things change with different items of clothing and accessories.

  20. It’s beautifully made but… I agree with you. It overwhelms your frame. I don’t know if you are tall or short but you seem small boned. The best look is with the sleeveless top as it scale it all down. I feel it would work in a drapey and thin material like rayon or silk crepe de chine that would drape and have zero body; i have a midi in silk crepe and it works (not that you would want to give it a second go but think about it, I love how the silk flares about my ankles when I move its very pretty, you could try a muslin in a drapey fabric just to check it out). Thanks for posting as I learn so much from you posts! 🙂

    • I’m ‘average’ height. 5 foot 4. However you are right, my frame is slight, my wrists are skinny, my fingers thin, my feet narrow, my rib cage small.
      There is too much structure in this fabric and I think how it flares out from the waist is also not good on me. I think the Sewaholic gabriola is much better on me.

  21. I do like this skirt, however you do seem very demure in it and (sorry) that’s just not you 😀
    I agree with Karen that it is a great skirt for those of us wanting to skim a few extra curves, but you should be showing off legs of yours!

    • bahahahahaha – burst out laughing when I read your comment. No I’m not demure, I have become much quieter and introspective this year but my style does not ever come close to verging on demure.
      I think I’m more of a Gabriola Sewaholic skirt girl, the yoke and seaming on that suits me. I also think the linen increases the flare – which just increases the ‘demure’ look of this. In my next life when I cook scones in my spare time – this look will be perfect.

  22. I love the pattern, and have plans to make it up, but I agree – it’s not you. I think if it was in an awesome print/lighter fabric/shorter length, it might be more you. Too used you seeing you in lovely floaty drapey things, and this just looks a little…I hesitate to say boring or normal or standard…just not you! But at least now you know, and you can go back to making things you love 🙂 I often look at your makes, that look fabulous, but I know they just wouldn’t work for me or my lifestyle (no beaches to wander along!) – sometimes it’s nice to just admire things on other people 🙂

  23. I think you would look great in anything! You certainly tried to make it work but if it doesn’t suit you….move on!! You know what looks best on you and what makes you feel like your best self!

  24. I haven’t been sewing for ages, but the question I always asked myself when trying on a “finished garment was “If I tried this on in a shop, would I buy it?” The three possible answers were “Absolutely”, “Maybe in a sale”, or “No”. Made my life easier when deciding whether or not to keep things I’d made.

  25. I agree with the other comments that the length isn’t quite right for you. It’s a lovely shape, but I think, especially as a skirt (as opposed to a dress), the proportions are a bit funny. Would you consider hemming it to knee-length to try that out? But I can definitely see how you might want to just move on from this skirt without fussing about… sometimes it’s nice just to donate something that you’re not crazy about rather than expending more time and energy on something you’ll only feel “meh” about.

  26. Pingback: A little too ladylike… Sewaholic Nicola | Sew Busy Lizzy

  27. Pingback: A polka dot midi skirt: Vogue 9090 | Sew Busy Lizzy

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