Friday, April 26, 2013

Let the Hollyburns begin!

I finally cracked open my Sewaholic Hollyburn pattern, and it is another winner.  I think it has kind of a 40s-meets-70s vibe, while being a classic shape that can be transformed by fabric choice and the little details you choose to add.

For my first version, I used the fullest, shortest style, but lengthened it by several inches to something closer to the middle-length style.  The fabric's cotton sateen from JoAnn's.  I was stuck for something to wear with it, but then schmeebot coincidentally thrifted me a lovely cardigan that works nicely.  Isn't it great when things work out?    It's amazing that I did not already have a matching cardigan given just how many cardigans I have ... but let's not go there!

The skirt is drafted to sit at the waist, but that fit bugs me: I find it more comfortable to have the waistband sit a few inches lower.  I realized this after having already cut out everything, so I just re-cut the waistband two inches longer (it's just a straight strip).  And somehow, miraculously, the skirt fit the new band just fine.

Now the second Hollyburn is the one I really love, because I used a very special fabric my aunt sent me.   It's vintage -- not sure how old, but only 35 inches wide.  Unfortunately there is a permanent fade line where it was folded in half, but I made sure to match up the marks so that they make an upside down 'V' on the front and back of the skirt, and I really don't think it's that noticeable.  I love the bird print (of course ... my love for bird prints is well documented) and the color palette as well.  It's cotton, but somehow does not wrinkle.  It's practically magic fabric, I'm telling you.

I went with the original width of the middle-length Hollyburn version from the package, and narrowed my lengthened waistband for a better fit.  Both skirts are lined with cotton/poly lawn.

I'm working on yet another Hollyburn now ... should have it finished up and photographed before the end of Q2 with any luck.  :)   I really love wearing skirts in the summer, and though they may not make for the most exciting blog fodder, they see more wear than the other types of stuff I sew.  Thus, I plan to eke out a few more before moving on to the next thing.   After the Hollyburn-in-progress, I have some lovely plaid silk dupioni queued ... no pattern chosen yet, but perhaps a trapezoid dirndl would work best.   I never really liked silk dupioni until I threw some in the washing machine and ran it through the dryer.  The resulting fabric is far less precious-looking and thus more useful in my non-fussy everyday wardrobe.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

San Francisco

Last month I traveled to San Francisco, and had a chance to do some shopping.   Happily, our hotel was quite close to Britex, and it did not disappoint!  It is a big narrow store, spread over four or five stories connected by a narrow staircase, and I was up and down quite a bit as I thought of things I wanted to see.  Cut fabrics are sent to the first floor to await you at the register, so that you don't have to lug them about, which makes it easier to navigate the many narrow spaces in the store.

I have been thinking about dolling up some of my plain cardigans a bit, so I found Britex's trims department a delight.  They had lots of paired beaded appliques, nicely displayed in the sort of moveable frames I've seen used for posters or artwork.   Happily, trims are easy to cart home on a plane, so I scooped up a bunch -- four sets of beaded appliques, plus a simpler pair, and some vintage deadstock lace.  Have I done anything with them yet?  Nope, but I will, I swear.

I had heard that Britex was pricy, and it was -- due to the quality of their merchandise.   I wasn't sure if I'd buy fabric, but I did end up with a two-yard remnant of green cotton with pink and yellow woven through it, and could not resist some divine green floral Italian lawn (think Liberty sort of quality, as well as price!) that I will probably be afraid to ever cut into. But hey, I can pull it out and pet it from time to time.

I don't have much sewing time these days, and that will continue in the coming months.   I have (part of) one day a week at most, so I'm continuing to focus on separates because they're usually shorter projects.  (I will have to make some dresses come summer, though!)  I've made a few more short-sleeve Renfrews that I'm quite happy with, and am working on my third Hollyburn skirt now.  I finally got pictures of my first two Hollyburns and I'll post those soon.