Monday, January 7, 2013

Hollyburn Sew-Along - Sizing

Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt Sew-Along

Hello all, and welcome to the next post in the Hollyburn Sew-Along!

Incase you've missed them, here are the posts so far:
Inspiration (Part 1)
Inspiration (Part 2)
Choosing a view

Today we're going to talk about sizing. Picking a size for your Hollyburn skirt is pretty easy because of how simple the design is. All you have to worry about is the size of the waistband. As the Hollyburn skirt is designed to sit at your natural waist, you'll just need to know your waist measurement.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I'm going to refer you to the fabulous post that Tasia wrote for measuring yourself as part of the Pendrell sew-along. You can ignore the bust and hip sections for now, and just take a look at what she says about measuring your waist:

[ Source - ]

Quick Tip: Be careful not to underestimate your waist measurement, as trust me, you won't enjoy wearing your skirt after a big meal if you make it too tight!!

Now you've got your waist measurement you can consult the size chart on the back of the pattern envelope (also available online here):

Find your nearest size on the chart and that's the size you'll be making!

Quick Tip: If your size is between sizes I'd recommend choosing the next size up, as you can take it in slightly when inserting the zip if you need to.

Should you make a muslin?

I would normally recommend making a muslin (also known as toile) whenever you make a new pattern, to check the fit on your body. However, this is one of the few garments where I do not think a muslin is necessary. As the only thing that you really need to get right is the waist measurement, just make sure that you are very careful with that when you make it and you should be fine.

What's coming up? 

So that's it for today! A nice short post to ease us into the week! Hopefully you'll now know vaguely what you want your skirt to look like, which view you'll be making and which size! Tomorrow I'll be back with a post about choosing and buying your fabric.

But quickly before I finish up for today, I wanted to take a moment to give you all a heads up of what else I have planned to talk about during the sew-along. If there's anything else you'd like me to cover or discuss please let me know!
  • Pattern adjustments, including:
    • Removing pockets
    • Making a lining pattern piece
    • Changing the length
    • 'big bottom' adjustment
    • Changing the pockets or adding a different pocket
    • Pattern adjustments to add piping to the top of the waistband
  • Other Preparations before you start sewing, including cutting
  • Sewing - all of the steps in the instructions, for both a lined and unlined skirt
  • "Hollyburn party" where I'll show off your finished skirts - as a heads up, I was thinking the 11th Feb for this. That's 10 days (and two weekends) after I finish going through the sewing steps - how does that sound? too soon? too long?.
As always, if you have any questions please let me know. I've been replying to comments as soon as possible on the posts themselves in case anybody else has the same question, and if it's an answer to a question emailing you back if an email address was provided when you left a comment. So if you have commented, please check back as I should have answered :)

Missed any of the sew-along posts, or just want to re-read them? You can find the full list here.


  1. this morning my waist was 28in, now after dinner it is 30. hmm, I think size 10 will be it and in the 'thinner' times it can just sit below the waist. alternativly, I suppose, I could look into making the waist band out of belt elastic :-)

    1. Size 10 sounds like a good choice if you're not sure. I made a size 10 too, as my waist is 30" before eating, and I've regretted it when I've had a big meal as the skirt gets a bit snug!

      There'll be a stage in construction where you can try it on and double check the fit before sewing the zip in, if you do that before and after a meal you can make a final decision.

      I'm not sure I'd go with making an elastic waistband, as that would add a certain amount of gathers to the waistline, which would change the look of the skirt, and could possibly even add some unwanted bulk at the waistline.

  2. My waist is currently 37in (oh the joy of having too much naughty food over Christmas LOL). If I haven't got it back down a little by the time it comes to cutting out my pattern I'll simply make the necessary adjustments and it looks like this pattern will be easy enough to grade up a little. Looks like you've planned some great posts for the sewalong... really looking forward to working along with them :)

  3. Yaay. I can't wait. I have my material and I am ready to go!

  4. My pattern arrived in the mail today - yay!!

  5. I'm waiting for my pattern to arrive but I'm hoping to sew along too. I have a question ... you mentioned that you will be including a "'big bottom' adjustment". Is there such a thing as a 'big belly' adjustment? And can you consider including that too? Sorry - embarrassing question, so I'm posting as anonymous!!

    1. I'm not sure I understand what you mean...

      The "big bottom" adjustment that I'm including is a trick that I've recently learnt to fix the hemlines on my skirts - if i hem my skirts as drafted they're nearly always shorter in the back because of my 'protruding behind'. Until now I have fixed this problem by hemming the skirts 'unevenly' so that the hem sits an equal up distance from the ground when I have the skirts on (and thus the back hem is longer). However I have recently learnt an alteration that you do to the pattern level with your behind, that adds the extra length and preserves the shape of the skirt a bit better.

      As this skirt sits on the waist and flares out from there I don't know if there are any alterations needed for a "big belly"...

      Please let me know if i have misunderstood, as I'd like to try and help if I can. Feel free to email me if you want to discuss it in a more private way.

    2. I've got a bit of a belly as well and I think the flare on this skirt is going to work quite well as it's not going to tuck in under our bellies. If we get our waist and hip measurements right it should work out quite well. If it was a straight skirt it would be a little different and in that case if it had front darts one option is to eliminate the darts and ease the extra fabric into the waistband as this give a little extra room for our bellies and doesn't over emphasise either. You and also add a little extra length to the top of the pattern usually you would do this via a muslin fitting and moving the waist stitch line until the muslin hem length lines up straight (hope this makes sense). Also sometimes adding a little extra ease to the seam allowance helps. For example if the ease allowance around the belly area is say 3" you can add an extra inch or more to give some extra room for our bellies. This is usually helpful for more fitted garments. This is the sort of things I tend to do and there are lots of others as well but these ones are quite easy to do without going to too much effort to accommodate our bellies.

      Rachel I'm really looking forward to reading about your alteration for a big bottom adjustment... we can also do with learning more little tips and tricks of the trade :)

  6. I found this blog by accident and glad I did! I don't have my pattern but ordering it now. I maybe a little behind y'all but your Sew Along articles are so well written and easy to understand, I will have no problem catching up! Oh yeah I am a beginner in evry since, so I can't wait to learn from you!


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