A Hollyburn skirt…and another Renfrew tee!

Have you heard the news?

Tasia, the creator of Sewaholic Patterns, recently (ok, semi-recently) passed the Sewaholic torch on to new owners. And I just happened to whip up a new Hollyburn skirt and Renfrew tee, so I thought I’d share them here as a way of showing my Sewaholic love and saying thank you to Tasia for her great patterns and tutorials.

Hollyburn in Indigo Chambray

I was inspired by a denim version of Megan Nielson’s Brumby skirt to make this chambray Hollyburn. I made the shortest version of the Hollyburn skirt using some indigo chambray in an attempt to make a summery denim(-like) skirt!

chambray Hollyburn skirt
pictured here with my latest Seamwork Akita

To play up the denim look I used golden brown top-stitching on all the seams, jeans buttons on the button tabs, and a jeans zip for the back.
I should note that my skirt really looks nothing like the denim Brumby, but that’s why I say ‘inspired by’.

chambray Hollyburn closeup
chambray Hollyburn button tabs
chambray Hollyburn backview

This was a fun make! I love playing with all those little details…and I only destroyed one button during installation…

chambray Hollyburn sideview

My biggest disappointment with this skirt is the fabric choice – I should have taken a bit more time to find a nice high quality chambray or light-weight denim. This one bleeds dye, wrinkles like the devil, washes poorly (I see pilling in the near future!), and has a bit too much sheen for my taste. Oh well, live and learn. Luckily it wasn’t a huge time investment – even with all that top-stitching, but still, I want the stuff I make to last!

Organic Cotton Renfrew

I’ve been on a tee-shirt making roll lately….I used my adjusted pattern from before, but added a smidge more ease all around because this fabric is pure cotton and has significantly less stretch than the cotton-spandex blend I used last time. I also lengthened it a bit more (extra 1″). My original plan was to hem the sleeves and bottom instead of adding the bands, but when I tried it on (pre-hemming), I decided that I didn’t want it to be any shorter. So instead I made narrow bands and sewed them on.

Hollyburn skirt and Renfrew tee

Renfrew selfie

I used one of my machines faux-overlock stitches to sew on the sleeve and hem bands. That worked out really well because it simultaneously attached the bands and finished the raw edges – I just used a smaller (1/4″) seam allowance. Though I may have (ahem) bought myself a serger shortly after finishing this shirt (ahem).

I have to admit that I had a moment when I wondered why I was bothering to make a tee shirt. After sewing on the neck band (and top-stitching it too!), I tried on the shirt and noticed that the neck band didn’t lay flat. It had either gotten stretched out when I attached it (very possible) or I didn’t have enough of a ‘vee’ in the band. This is hard to explain in words, but basically the shape of the neck band pattern piece is NOT a rectangle – it’s got a vee shape on each short end, like this:

neckband pattern piece

When you fold it in half and sew the ends together, this makes the folded side (the inner circle) slightly smaller than the raw edge side (outer circle), which helps it lay flat. (By the way, I learned that from the Colette Guide to Sewing Knits – it’s a nice little book, not super in depth, but has enough content and informative tidbits like this to make it worthwhile for someone new to knits).

So I tried it on, saw the gaping neckband, and also saw that, yep, it was a tee shirt all right. Nothing extraordinary here. Why am I making tee shirts when I can just buy them? But I was so close to finishing it that I just finished what I started. I am glad I did. Yeah, the neckline is a little floppy. Yeah, it’s just a tee shirt. But I learned a few things. And I think that I got the fit almost perfect on this one. And it’s good practice for making other, “fancier” knit garments (I’ve got the Moneta dress pattern waiting for me!). And I made it! Isn’t that the most important part? I practically live in jeans and tee shirts, so why not make my own tee shirts? (But no, I’m NOT ready to make my own jeans. Why would I do that when I can just buy them?).

What about you? Do you make practical garments like tee shirts? Or do you prefer making more special garments with your precious sewing time? What sewing projects give you the most satisfaction?

I’ve made three Renfrews so far – each in very different fabrics. I’m realizing how much the fit of a knit garment can vary based on the fabric type and fiber content. The same pattern pieces can yield wildly different fits! The first was a cotton blend baby ribbed knit (super stretchy and soft, not very stable). The second was a cotton-spandex jersey (stretchy, but stable with good recovery). This was a 100% cotton jersey (less stretch, not much recovery). The difference in fit is really striking!



Pattern: Sewaholic Hollyburn, view C with button tabs
Size: 16, no adjustments
Fabric: chambray from Fabric Outlet in SF


Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew
Size: 14, adjusted to fit (details here), plus 1/4-1/2″ extra ease
Fabric: organic cotton light jersey in ‘hot sauce‘ from Organic Cotton Plus

4 thoughts on “A Hollyburn skirt…and another Renfrew tee!

  1. Well you are getting to be quite the pro! I remember having a serger at one time. Love the skirt…too bad the fabric isn’t your favorite. It looks lovely and hangs nicely in the photos.


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