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What are we on here? Numero 7? Yup, you guessed it. This is another Hollyburn skirt. (And for those of you just joining me, the Hollyburn is a most beloved skirt sewing pattern put out by Sewaholic).

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I’ll not sport too much with your intelligence about this make. It’s wool crepe – one of our lovely springy colors, which have been marked down in the sale section and of which there is only a bit more left! Who knew the bright aqua would be so exciting? Yowza. This one is shorter and as per, fully lined.

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I had to do a polka dot top again. Who knew that my rapidly growing button-up collection looked so cute tied at the waist with this skirt? Loving this look, which I’ll have you know, I’ve never sported before.

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Now for some meat and potatoes. I had plans to make this skirt in this wool crepe anyway, but after a fairly harrowing button-up shirt for Mr. AFS, this got pushed directly to the top. It’s one of my TNT’s (tried and true pattern) and it’s a definite sew-jo inducer. I cut this out one day and sewed it up the next – well, all except the hem. I let that hang for a few days. From there I jumped right back on the sew-jo wagon and got to work on another button-up for myself and then cut out a tweed dress, which has been reduced to a pencil skirt, but more on that another time.

I decided a few things after this make. First, all projects must be finished – I am no longer going to do UFOs. Second, when a pretty hard sewjo killing project is over, it’s time to whip out a sewjo inducing TNT. At first I thought, well, that’s not going to be very fun, I don’t have that many TNTs. When I started looking around, surprisingly, I have MANY TNTs. I have 3 skirt patterns, a button-up shirt, a pair of slacks, jeans, a jacket, a sheath dress and a t-shirt. That’s a wardrobe right there, if I’m not mistaken. Third, after every sewing project is completed, my personal sewing room must be cleaned up and made ready for another project. I don’t know about you, but when I sew in a really, really messy room, I tend to get nothing done because I keep looking forlornly at the mess and wondering what to do!

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Last, but not least on my efforts to keep my sew-jo alive, I’ve decided to start creating lists of projects to complete and get ready for. I love the scheming part of sewing, but more often than not, the scheming is where it ends because I forget. So I’ve decided to employ a list of inspirations and also a list of my next sewing project plans. This helps me plan better and from there, I create more outfits instead of white elephants.

What do you do to keep your sew-jo around? Tips and tricks?

  • Crimson Needle - I also force myself to finish my project or else I get stuck at the “oh I just need to do the hem” stage. As long as something isn’t 100% finish, I’m not allowed to take out anything else.. so my stitch itch kicks in and tells me to just finish it.

    I don’t have TNTs yet (except maybe a shirt pattern) but since I’ve sewn so little so far, and have a good variety of patterns, I get back into it pretty quick since everything feels like a completely new experience. I clean off my table between each project, but unfortunately not the fourniture I keep all my stuff… I am oh so very due.ReplyCancel

    • sarah - Oh, that “just need to do the hem” phase gets me every time!ReplyCancel

    • Annette - I have to agree with you, you have to forge ahead to the finish line on one project before picking up the next. Or else, my room indeed my house, would be filled with UFO’SReplyCancel

  • Lesley - Just received a luvverley parcel of wool crepe from you yesterday – thank you – the colours are very yummy. At the end of every project I mend something. I figure it takes less time to mend a detail than to cut a whole new garment and that means things are returned to our wardrobes quick smart. Sometimes the mending is to fix a detail in something I’ve made that is sub par – if you know what I mean! I always clean up my sewing room after the cyclone of sewing strikes. I have never been able to work in a messy room. I’m sewing mundane things for others at the moment, but after this I reckon I’ve done the unselfish sewing for this year – then it’s back to clothes for meeeeee!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - I love your skirt and completely agree with your sew-jo principles. I’ve been following those same “rules” for a while now, and it definitely keeps me on track. Best wishes!ReplyCancel

  • Stillsewing - Am I the only person in the world that doesn’t know what “sew-jo” means?ReplyCancel

  • lisa g. - I’m just the same way! I find it so hard to accomplish anything when my sewing room is a mess. Love the skirt, what a great color!ReplyCancel

  • Lori - I just keep sewing and sewing. If I stop, it is hard to start again. Also, I try to do an easy project after a hard one. Love the skirt and blouse.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - Ooh, that aqua hollyburn is gorgeous! I’ve been using Trello to keep my sew-jo alive. It’s great! I can add pics of inspiration garments AND keep my to-do list at hand (so I don’t get too distracted by shiny new patterns). :-)ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - How stinking cute are you?! I love it!!ReplyCancel

  • Carole - Love your skirt,great colour on you. Just wanted to thank you for your recent tutorial on curved wristbands. It was like one of those lightbulb moments for me. I could never quite understand why skirts (me made or RTW) were never fit quite right around the waist. I have used it to make myself a Hollyburn and adapt a trouser pattern. Love your blog and your makes. Thanks againReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - I love the color! You look great!ReplyCancel

  • Judi Short - Love it! Have to make a hollyburn. I have the Lonsdale dress, probably that is in the TNT category? (Pattern sitting around, nothing made from it?) No idea what you mean by TNT but it is in the realm of a dream, with fabric and a pattern but not cut out, sewn, or finished? Tri Nitro Toluene?

    I love the turquoise! And the polka dotted tights to match the shirt, wow!

    And great blurb about you in the recent Vogue Magazine. Time for you to do another Craftsy Class.ReplyCancel

    • Crystal - TNT is short for Tried N True. Something you turn to over and over. So if you have a pattern that you know you can just pull out and make up successfully because all the pattern alterations are done and you know it will fit just right, you have a TNT pattern. For me, I’d call my Hudson Pants a TNT. I’ve made 5 of them. I also have a princess seamed sheath dress that I think I can call TNT.ReplyCancel

  • Kaitlyn - This skirt is such a brilliant colour. I am about to start sewing again after a few months hiatus, thinking of which TNT dress pattern to use first before diving into the new patterns I want to sew. And yes about tidying up. Just moved to a much smaller place, will not be able to take over entire room with sewing anymoreReplyCancel

  • Liza Jane - The color is so, so pretty. I’ve never made a sewaholic pattern but I’ve always admired this one. Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Chris Griffin - I’m also a big fan of no UFOs, clean the mess and do an easy project when I’m tired!! Even just a quick set of pjs helps me get back into the mood!

    I hang my skirt parts once they are cut, then I sew from the top of the skirt down on all seams. Since I rarely have time to cut and sew in a day, most of the hem hangs out wonky *before* it’s sewn. Lazy bum that I am, I just even out the skirt to my normal 1+1/2+ to the back vs. front and call it good. Just makes it easier!ReplyCancel

  • Alison Esther - Finishing a garment for a specific event is the trick to finishing UFOs, I’ve learned. I had a dress three quarters of the way done for a whole year. I finally finished it so I could wear it to my engagement party. I finally finished a shift dress that had been sitting around for two years so I could wear to my bridal shower.ReplyCancel

    • Alison Esther - Ok, so I look like I was just going on a whole bragging spree about getting married. What I mean is that, “Hey, I could totally wear this dress to that event next month” = motivation to finish. I’m telling ya, it works.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - I love this skirt and your button up! Your TNT list sounds perfect to me. I find button up shirts and jeans to boost my sewjo – I don’t know why, but they are both super satisfying to me. TNTs always help too.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - Great skirt design, but what I really love is the quirky styling. Bright blue, leopard print and polka dots – sound insane but it works!ReplyCancel

  • eimear - love the sew-jo title, (and your boots look so well with that skirt). i am currently doing a ‘pet project’ where i am making an item a week, I got a bit overwhelmed last december as I could not keep up with all i wanted to make, so i listed what i wanted to do, and divided into colour and now working in 4 week blocks to keep my focus. i also make myself finish an item or get to near finished if its a lost cause and i will still try to rescue or fix it later (fully tacked hem and waistband is near-finished btw ) as its far too easy to get into a habit of moving onto the next thingReplyCancel

  • Janey D - I am so glad to read that other people have to have a tidy sewing room. I hate having to spend time looking for things I need. Sewing is a new hobby so as yet I don’t have any TNT patterns, I am hoping making simple things for the sewing room will restore any lost sewjo. I’m sure i’ll need it after binding the whole of my wrap around dress in satin bias tape. I completely agree with Alison’s comments that an occaision gives you motivation. I have been putting off making the bias tape (all 7 yards of it) but after signing up for an Australian Sewing Guild industry day where everyone wears their own creations I had the extra incentive to get on with it.ReplyCancel

  • Kriston - love your whole outfit! And I think I need to follow some of your sew Jo boosting activities!ReplyCancel

  • Crystal - Usually, I can leave my current project on my dress form next to my desk and feel motivated to complete it, but lately I’ve been moving on to something else before things get done. I’m trying to correct that this week and knock out two “current” items before moving on.

    Blog reading helps kick start the sew-jo, but you have to be careful, or like you say, you never get past the planning (and often purchasing) stage.

    Much of my stash fabric is in my office closet. As it has no doors, I can sit at my desk while working during the day gazing at all the pretties and daydreaming. After joining the Stashbusting group in January, I logged all my fabric and patterns into Evernote Notebooks so that I can browse them like my very own personal FREE online shop. It’s working because…well, see my first paragraph for proof!ReplyCancel

  • Alice - Thanks for sharing! Since My husband and I downsized, I no longer have a sewing room. Now I sew in a guest bedroom and all my sewing “stuff” (pattern, instructions, sewing machine booklet, fabric, etc) end up on the bed and on my sewing table (loose pins, measuring tape, scissors, pin cushions, thread). So I walk in and tell myself to put away 10 things. I do and it relieves some of the unneeded stress I feel when I walk into a messy room. I enjoy reading everybody’s ideas and thoughts.ReplyCancel

  • Petite Josette - I love this outfit, so colorful!
    I can’t afford to make a mess, I sew on my dining room table, so whatever comes out must be put away when the seing is done – that’s another kind of sew-jo kill as sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to get everything out again.
    I’m a total list nerd. I have no less than 4 lis apps on my phone. One is for sewing. I have categories like “next projects” “next season”, “shopping list” (an important one!!), “mending”… I use Trello for this, it’s great cause you can add images, etc…kind of like a private pinterest…
    When I don’t have time to sew, I look at my lists and dream about what I could be sewing… like I said, list nerd, but it certainly does keep the sew-jo going!ReplyCancel

  • Nathalie - My sew-jo is always high at the end of het winter. When it is still cold outside but it makes sense to sew clothes for spring. When the weather is nice enough to wear the clothes I have made it is nicer to spend time outside.ReplyCancel

  • Em - Mr. Bennet reference, hurrah!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - I would never have thought to pair navy and white polka dots with turquoise and leopard, but it looks awesome! You look great!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Cleaning up the sewing area is a must-do! I get so confused if everything is messy and I’m still in the middle of some project that I’m having a hard time finishing. When I am losing sew-jo I work on a pattern drafting project because drafting really stimulates me. Anyway, I love your Hollyburn skirts. It’s so great to find something that just works, ya know?ReplyCancel

  • Reana Louise - Oh man, that colour! All of it is just delicious!ReplyCancel

  • joen - Finishing a hard sewing project is tough to rebound after. I do usually try a craft project or a TNT pattern. I did organize my patterns by category during our last snow storm – and put all my TNT patterns together labeled. I do need to get a few more TNT’s – you have a great collection of TNTs! I need to get better at cleaning up before jumping into my next project too.ReplyCancel

  • Sewing Princess - love the skirt and pics! Did you line the skirt? Thanks for reminding me I should clean up;)ReplyCancel

  • denim jeans - I love your skirt and completely agree with your sew-jo principles.ReplyCancel

  • Judi Short - OK, I now have my Hollyburn pattern and am excited to try it. And I like the idea of the contoured waistband, but I notice on Sunni’s body, it looks like the waistband is about 1.5″ below what I would consider my “waist”. And, I am more round than Sunni, so while the hips will fit, the waist is too small. So, I might make my #1 Hollyburn like the pattern shows, with a regular waistline and straight band, just so I can get the waist/hip sizing figured out before I try to be creative with the curved band. Skirts are cooler in the summer, so I need to get sewing!

    How about a GLOSSARY on this blog? Sewjo? TNT? UFO (UnFinished Objects)

    And, it’s the weekend, a good time to sew!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I think this is a great idea! When I did the contoured waistband tutorial, it was meant as a solution for those who might find that the straight waistband didn’t flatter them as much as they would like. Sometimes it’s not for everyone, it’s just a trick if you find you could use a little contouring in that area.

      Awesome idea for the glossary! I will get right on that! Thanks for the tip Judi!ReplyCancel

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This is one of my first pattern hacks for my beloved McCall’s 6649 (sadly out of print now, boo hoo, but you could achieve the same look with the Sewaholic Granville!). Nothing really major here. I extended the back yoke into a front yoke and then took the bust dart and turned them into shoulder gathers. If you’re interested, I’m posting these pattern hacks and several other mini tutorials on my Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. I love tips and so I thought you might like some of my tips here and there for various things that I’m working on at the moment.

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Anyway, this shirt. For the next round, I’m thinking that I would increase the shoulder gathers a bit. There’s just not enough gathering for my taste, but outside of that, I love this shirt. It’s made from that new Cotton & Steel Bespoke double gauze. Sheesh, these guys are doing some really really really fun and exciting things.

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This fabric is fairly interesting. If you love linen for its soft wrinkles then you’ll love cotton double gauze for the very same reason. I happen to adore this feature in linen and so double gauze is a natural for me. When Cotton & Steel announced that they were going to do double gauze (and then later announced that they were going to do rayon challis!!!!) I was all sorts of excited. Quickly bought up a stitch and decided that this couldn’t sit in the stash for an age. Feels good to be using fabric – and wearing it! Ha ha!

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Long ago, I brought up this fun topic. What do you think of sewing clothing from quilting cotton? While this double gauze is technically not a typical quilting cotton, it is manufactured by a quilting cotton company. I have to admit that I feel that if you confine yourself to only using quilting cottons for garments you are seriously missing out on a whole world of fabric that’s available to you – even for quilting! Like seriously. Wools, silks, rayons, linens, different types of cotton – besides quilting – and then there’s a whole world of knits, not to mention all the different weaves and such from all of the different fabrics.

I’m really, really glad to see many of the quilting cotton manufacturers venturing beyond the plain weave quilting cotton, getting into voiles, lawns and even rayon challis. Very exciting. I’m hoping we see more exciting things come from them in the future. Wouldn’t you agree?

Well, if you’re already sick of seeing my McCall’s 6649, well, that’s just too bad. I’ve already made 2 more that I haven’t blogged and then I’m planning on more and more and more! Ha ha! I’ll try to keep it interesting by showing you all my future pattern hacks. I’ve got SOOOOOOOOO many for this pattern. Now, off to cut more button-ups. Hurrah for the button-up TNT (tried and true pattern).

  • Alethia - Great top! I love your modifications to this pattern. and, that fabric is gorgeous, never would have thought it was a double gauze! As a matter of fact, I think this is the first time that I’ve heard of “double” gauze. You look great!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - Not a fan of quilting cotton for garments. I love double gaze though, so comfy to wear.ReplyCancel

  • Becky - I will admit to occasionally using a quilting-type cotton for a garment, as long as the style is right for it. They just have such fun colors and prints! So I for one am quite happy that the manufacturers are branching out into different types of fashion fabrics. I’m also looking forward to seeing what other ways you modify a button-down. I recently purchased the Granville, since I actually didn’t have a classic button-down shirt pattern on hand, and I have a feeling I’m going to be sewing that type of shirt for awhile since I’m going to need easy nursing access! So variations on a basic pattern are good. :)ReplyCancel

  • sallie - This is fantastic! I love the pattern hack – a forward yoke with shoulder gathers is one of my favorite details in shirts. And it works beautifully in this fun, feminine, and bright print. I love double gauze, it’s so comfy and soft! I can only imagine that this shirt is a delight to wear!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - It’s one of my favorite details too – alas, I’ve never actually had a shirt with these details! Here I come silk shirts! Ha ha! Finally!ReplyCancel

  • Juliana @ Urban Simplicity - That is really cute!

    As for quilting cotton, I use it and vintage feedsack almost exclusively, because every time I try a different type of cotton fabric, I have a massive sewing fail. I’ve found that premium quilting cotton has a decent drape and nice hand to it. My main complaint about nearly every other type of plain woven cotton I’ve tried is that it is just tissue thin or it has terrible drape. I wish the fabric companies would make something similar to percale (but I’ve not found it, at least not in a 100% cotton) or feedsack. I have some vintage percale from the 1950s that I’ve sewn with and it is quite nice. I like wools and have sewn a bit with corduroy (which did work out well) but the expense of wool is a little off-putting, given my budget for these sorts of things. I’m all for spending money on quality garments that will last, but I’m still learning a lot about fitting and so forth, and I can never be sure that a garment is going to come out properly even if I make a muslin. I feel less devastated by a $30 wadder than I would be by a $75 wadder.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Oh yes. When you start venturing away from quiliting cottons, the expense of fabric is astonishing. I completely understand! Cotton is so versatile too. It’s a classic!ReplyCancel

  • Joen - I just ordered the Sewaholic Granville and am hoping to sew up my first attempt this weekend. I really would love to have a TNT button-up. I am seeing some beautiful cotton lawn fabric’s out there that I would love to use once I perfect my TNT!! Button holes and button ups was on my 2015 list of things to conquer – so any tips on this subject is greatly appreciate (i.e. best interfacing to use when making buttonholes, etc)! Keep those button ups coming!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I’m really beginning to feel that the best interfacing for button-up shirts is David Coffin’s suggestion for bleached muslin. Really. It works beautifully with so many different fabrics and when you use the gluestick trick to baste it on, it doesn’t leave you with a big mess after the first wash.ReplyCancel

  • Tanya - I love you patter hack. My first encounter with sewing started with quilter cotton then into other fabrics. I am glad I did. Keep those shirts coming I learn so much thank you. To bad I don’t live near by to take a class. I would totally take the shirt one.ReplyCancel

  • Stephani - I’ve used some quilting cotton for simple dresses in the past. But that was when I was just getting back into sewing and didn’t want to spend a lot of money on things that might not work out. I LOOOOVE that some quilting cotton companies are branching out into different fibers and weights. Rayon challis is my all-time favorite fabric for summer, but sometimes the prints available are just too childish or plain or just blah. I love Amy Butler’s line. Can’t wait to see what Cotton + Steel release! And Art Gallery Fabrics’ quilting cottons are actually poplin, which makes them really great for some garments.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Really? I had no idea the Art Gallery quilting cottons were poplins. Now that I might just have to try!ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle New - I adore this shirt!! That print is fantastic and I love the modifications you made. Cotton&Steel can do no wrong in my eyes. The quilting industry is surprisingly versatile and has A TON of different substrates besides plain old quilting cotton. Linen, rayon, knits, voile, lawn, denims, stretch denim, corduroy, faux suede, flannel, double gauze, canvas, twill, silk blends, etc etc etc. For the type of sewing I like to do, and the types of prints I love, there’s no reason for me to look outside the quilt industry so I definitely don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything :)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - This is crazy! Several of the substrates you mention here I haven’t yet seen! Where are they? I agree that they are becoming more versatile and the quilting industry is doing some really fun things. It’s great to see! I’m sure we’ll be seeing more and more!ReplyCancel

  • Helen Peemoeller - I have made garments from quilting fabric, although I use all sorts of fibers. But I do understand that some people will never use quilting cotton. But why? Of course some people live far from any fabric store except one dedicated to quilting, so they may feel that they have little choice except to use quilting cotton. But the reverse seems odd to me; even if you have good garment fabric available, why not use quilting fabric for some garments?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - It’s a good question. I personally have found that quilting cotton eases very poorly – like in the case of setting in a sleeve. Just has so many puckers, akin to muslin. And then I’ve also found that while the prints can be amazingly awesome, I can get too carried away and pick the print that makes me look like a looney-toon. I usually tend to steer clear from the quilting cotton shops or sections because I know I’ll pick a bad print. But then again, sometimes that won’t even stop me. These lovely new Art Gallery and Cotton and Steel prints are so awesome! I just can’t resist!ReplyCancel

  • Lady ID - Double gauze sounds right up my alley. This is a very cute top – I need some button ups. And the shoulder gathers are a lovely detail.ReplyCancel

  • Lori - I love this blouse and the look of the gauze. I have some Art Gallery to try in a blouse and it feels great.ReplyCancel

  • ewa - Lovely top. The pattern’s great itself but done in this fabric looks really gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • Kate - Great pattern changes, and great timing, I have been thinking about making a shirt with gathers from the shoulder so thanks!ReplyCancel

  • True Bias - I love it. I am also a big fan of double gauze. i generally stay clear of quilting cottons for garment sewing, but like you said double gauze has the illusion of linen and has a decent drape. yay for tnt patterns too!ReplyCancel

  • eimear - stunning colour – it looks so well on you, and i totally get when a pattern works for you it works – i have just finished 2 versions of same skirt…………ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - What a beautiful shirt Sunni! I adore the color and shoulder gathers. I tend to shy away from button-up shirts because I get the gappies. I wear a full C-D cup and I’m fuller on the sides…to the point that bandeau swim tops are an absolute must because I fall out of every other style in the center or underneath. It seems that if I make a shirt big enough not to gap, then the sides or back of the shirt are like a tent. Heaven forbid the pattern has sleeves to alter an armseye as well. I really struggle with this fitting issue.

    Quilting cottons for clothing? Not so much. 1. They wrinkle HORRIBLY in the wash; and 2. They are dense and don’t breathe well in this humid southern heat I live in (most of the year but not lately!)ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - This is a beautiful shirt, and the color looks amazing on you! Double gauze is such a great fabric, but it’s been ages since I’ve used it. Itching to try it again!ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - This looks great on you! I love the color, too. I’ve used many a quilting cotton in the basic fit-and-flare vintage style dresses I love, as they’re quite well suited for that. But not so much for other things I want to sew, usually. This year I’m more interested in sewing separates, and trying to come up with fabrics I want to sew blouses in and will wear is frustrating. I’m finishing up a simple top on C+S lawn which is a lovely fabric. I’m really excited that some of these companies are trying out other fabrics. What I’ve always wished was that there was some magical equivalent of the weight of cotton used on the majority of my cotton vintage dresses/blouses/etc. A bit heavier than lawn (with no chances of being sheer), but nowhere near a quilting weight. Just perfect for garments. Sigh.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I hear you Tasha! I just picked up a vintage piece of gingham and am shocked that it’s soft, a little flowy and also the perfect weight for a shirt or dress.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - How could we be sick of seeing lovely fabric combinations? You’ve reminded me that I prefer a mandarin stand collar on blouses.ReplyCancel

  • Sue Parrott - I love everything about your top! Beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - This is super cute! I love the little detail with the floral fabric. I love when you get a pattern perfect and you can keep making new looks with it!
    I love your blog by the way. I have visited it for years and don’t ever leave a comment. I have learned a lot and enjoy seeing what you create. Felt like I should finally thank you for the time you take for this!ReplyCancel

Fabric-Friday-Banner

I don’t know about you, but I love tweed. Goodness gracious. I thought it would be a great week to highlight this fun fabric!

Whenever I think of tweed, I think of the British Isles. Harris Tweed, Linton Tweed. Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. So many of them are so unique too. Yum! There’s lots of tweed to choose from when you really start looking.

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Tweed is a textured fabric. Additionally it’s usually woven with at least two different color yarns which can give it a speckled look. This is great for hiding stitching irregularities which makes it a favorite for those beginning their journey into tailoring (as in making a jacket). From far away it looks like a softer version of the dominant color. This (above) is the kind of fabric that I usually associate with tweed, but don’t be fooled. It comes in a combination of textures, colors and weaves. Here’s another tweed that I have, direct from Linton Tweeds. Not your typical tweed, eh?

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Tweeds that carry a name, like Harris tweed originate a from a specific district from whence they are made. For example, Harris Tweed comes from Scotland. A few common tweed names are Harris, Linton, Donegal, Shetland and Bannockburn. If the tweed isn’t labelled with a district name it’s just a regular tweed and could have been manufactured/made anywhere (doesn’t mean it’s bad though!).

Most tweeds are usually firmly woven and easy to sew with. Wool tweed takes heat and moisture wonderfully and shapes into just about anything – great for making jackets! Some tweeds are woven with a combination of fibers like wool and silk or wool and cotton. They can even get really exciting and be woven with a metallic thread or cellophane (for a little sparkle!).

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These fabrics are great for jackets or coats, as I’ve already said above. They also make great pencil skirts and trousers because the hand has a nice structure to it.

Now, bragging rights time! Do you have any tweed? What about Harris Tweed or possibly Linton?

For more about Wools, visit the Working with Wool Section!

  • Tasha - Ooh, I just cut into my first wool tweed ever yesterday! It’s an unnamed herringbone. Such an interesting texture, too. I’m crap at describing qualities of fabric but it’s kind of spongy and thick. It’s slightly ravel-y at the edges so I have to be careful transporting the pieces around, but I know it’s going to be worth it in the end!ReplyCancel

  • Louise - I love wool fabrics like these – they’re so cosy! I made a wool skirt just recently :) https://sewsensational.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/blogger-network-10-winter-wool-skirt/ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Ooh, I love love love tweed! It’s just so lovely and fun to sew!ReplyCancel

  • Maria Shell - I have some BEAUTIFUL tweed I purchased from you! Love it.ReplyCancel

  • Sam - loooove tweed! I am actually lucky enough to have a pair of leather brogues with panels of Harris tweed on the side. They’re pretty magnificent. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Tweed is so delicious – sort of tough to find here, too, so when I found an amazing rust coloured wool tweed with multi-coloured speckles in it recently, I nabbed it right up (even though my fiancé thinks it’s ugly haha) – it’s gonna become a stellar pair of trousers very soon! ^___^ReplyCancel

  • eimear - i love your articles on wool – as i think it is possibly the nicest fabric to work on as there are so many possibilities. i upcycle wool coats sometimes, and although cumbersome, they are easy in their own way. sometimes sewing with wool is like a give-take. i find if i steam it and brush it a lot first (after taking each coat apart), and then let it rest overnight then its the best start and the wool has settled back into itself.ReplyCancel

  • Catharine - I was wondering if you have ever found a tweed that has no wool of any kind. I am not able to wear it and have always loved the look of those wonderful winter coats. It really is no fun to be cold cause nobody has a coat to fit and not be made some amount of wool. Thanks for the help, CatharineReplyCancel

  • Suits Me - I’ve got several pieces of delicious Linton tweed that I’ve been hemming and haw-ing over unable to decide what to make with it. Some will definitely be make into a jacket or two, but I am wondering about skirts and dresses.
    My fear: how do you handle the lining/underlining so that it doesn’t bag out at the seat?ReplyCancel

Tutorial Thursday today! Yessss! Today, I thought I would share a quick tip for creating a contoured waistband. I’ve done this many times on many patterns. I thought I would show how to do this on the Hollyburn skirt waistband piece as it’s a perfect candidate for this type of thing. Just so everyone is up to date, Hollyburn is a sewing pattern put out by Sewaholic. You can view my latest versions here. Before we get to the tutorial, I thought I would share why you might want to do something like this. I find that on my particular figure and with a waistband piece that is anything more than 1 inch wide, I have to do this. Maybe I have a bit too fluffy of a tummy – Dr. Pepper is my vice after all. And chocolate and all that. I find that a little contouring at the waist helps it to sit better on my figure and quite frankly, it’s a little nip and tuck that looks good for me. Now, take it away Contoured Waistband tutorial!

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On the Hollyburn waistband piece, you’ll find that it’s a rectangular piece that is folded in half to create a waistband on the skirt section. To contour this waistband we’ll have to change this up a fair bit. We’re going to create two separate waistband pieces – a waistband and a waistband facing and both pieces will be cut on the fold at center front. Follow me? First, find the fold line on the waistband, mark it and then add on 5/8″ seam allowance to one side. I’ve marked my fold line in pink and the seam allowance in green. Cut away the excess.

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The Hollyburn waistband is one entire piece so you’ll need to find the center front of it and cut that away too. That center front will now be cut on the fold, no need to add seam allowance.

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Mark the seam line (in pink again) on the other side of the pattern and cut into the pattern at around the side seam area, to but not through the seamline. Cut on the other side of the seamline, to but not through the seamline which will create a paper hinge. Oh, paper hinges. The story of my life.

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From there you can nip in the waist however much you need by overlapping and taping the longer cut section together. The pictures do a much better job of explaining this, I think. Right about now, you’re probably wondering how you’ll know how much to nip in. When I do this adjustment, I measure how wide the waistband section is (this is the vertical measurement of the waistband). Then I take two pieces of elastic and tie them around my waist. The first I tie at my waist – or where I want the top of the skirt to hit – and then I tie the other piece around the section of my waist that is down the vertical width of the waistband. In the case of the Hollyburn, the waistband is 2 inches wide. So I would tie that second elastic 2 inches below the first. Make sense? Now take the measurements around both areas and compare. I’m usually about 1 inch off or so. You’ll divide that number by 2 since you’re working with half of the waistband piece (because we just chopped off at the center front and now we’re cutting the waistband on the fold). So I need to overlap 1/2 inch. WHEWWWW!

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Once you’ve figured all that out, then it’s time to smooth out those angles. Not only are those lines hard to sew, but it wouldn’t look all that great if we sewed this piece up as is at the moment. To smooth out the lines, you’ll need to use a curved ruler. Shimmy up your curved ruler along the angles and find a curve that connects and fills in (or takes away) in a nice looking curve. You’ll be adding to the valley and subtracting from the peak. I’ve added to the valley in red and then I subtracted approximately the same amount from the peak and cut that off.

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To make this whole thing a bit easier to see, I opted to retrace the waistband for you. See how you have a nice smooth curved waistband now? You’ll cut the center front on the fold, cut two pieces and voila! Contoured waistband!

If you have a major contouring that is needed in the waistband (like more than 1 inch in the round), I would say that it would be best to do the above in two places instead of one. So think of the waistband in thirds and nip and tuck at 1/3 and then 2/3 mark. Make sense? Sometimes when the waistband gets wider – like 5 inches, which would be more of a yoke – then it’s better to do this in more places than just at the side seam. Makes for a softer curve.

And that’s it for today’s tutorial. Enjoy friends!

  • Angela - I’m right there with you – a little fluff in the tummy (too much Coke… and fries…and food over all….but it tastes so good!) I tried a contoured waistband once and it really did help the garment to fit better, but I’m certainly not a pro at them either.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Oh good! I’m so glad I’m not the only foodie, junk eater out there! Yay!ReplyCancel

  • Hester - I’ve replaced a straight waistband with a curved one before; it really does improve the fit a great deal! I just cheated, though, and used a waistband from a different pattern which I already had; good to know how to do it properly!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - This is a great way to do it too! I’m all about cheating. It’s the only way to sew.ReplyCancel

  • Stillsewing - Well done, you always manage to come up with bright tips even for people like myself who have been sewing for over 60 years!

    Hope your classes go well too.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Awww! Thank you! Classes are going wonderfully! It feels great to be teaching again and I am loving getting know new people and seeing all my old sewing friends again. It’s quite the life, I tell ya!ReplyCancel

  • Kerry - What a great tutorial, I find the same on the Hollyburn and on the Gabriola and I fudged a curved waistband but this would be such an improvement on that!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - So glad I could help! I’m all about trial and error – it seems one of the best ways to learn sewing, fitting and pattern drafting.ReplyCancel

  • Jo - Thank you so much for this, going to bookmark. I often find straight waistbands sit a bit funny on me because there’s such a big difference/curve between my waist and hip measurement. Contoured waistbands are so much more flattering for me :)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I feel the same. It’s a small thing, but it’s awesome. I read on a bumper sticker the other day that said, “It’s a thing, you wouldn’t understand.” Totally feel that way a little about this – but its really fun because all of you do understand. Ha ha!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy an - Wow, do you believe that JUST LAST WEEKEND I was making one of these. Being a sewing bear of little brain, I cut a nice bias piece. It worked out pretty well, all things considered, but this would’ve been much better!
    Thanks!
    Nancy NReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Oh this is a GREAT idea! Thanks for your input too – Bias waistbands can seriously be the bomb!ReplyCancel

  • Sabrina B. - Thanks for doing this!! I have a Hollyburn in my future and after reading that you made the modification I was hoping hoping that you’d do a tutorial. I love your tutorials.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Thank you – that made my day! So happy you love my tutorials!ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - Ok–so I’ve got tummy fluff, but still a beginner. What are the advantages of doing this? I would love to understand it a little bit more. :)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Hi Tiffany!
      I find that doing this makes me “feel” like my waistline is smaller. So VAIN! It’s comparable to cinching it all in with a belt, if you catch my meaning. Also, it allows my skirt to hit a little below my natural waistline – which can feel right up in my ribcage sometimes. Adding a little contour at the waist, justs adds a little polishing to the final garment – in my opinion only. Having the straight waistband is just fine too and that works really well for some. This is just a tip for those it doesn’t work for as well. I would say, test this out! You might find you really like it or you might find it makes no difference whatsoever.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara - Great tutorial. It’s so nice to have an updated reminder of these basic skills that I learned years ago. Thanks!!ReplyCancel

  • The Nerdy Seamstress - I just bought this Pattern the other day because of your version. This is a great tutorial! I’ll be doing this to My version!ReplyCancel

  • Julia at Home on 129 Acres - Great tutorial. I will definitely be using this to deal with the dreaded gaposis that I’m so often faced with.ReplyCancel

  • Jeannie Neely - Great and simple tutorial, thanks so much!
    Jeannie in SeattleReplyCancel

  • aslipperysloper - Thanks for the tutorial. I love the way the Hollyburn looks on me, but this may just make it sit even better.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - Your timing is impeccable! I am making my first Hollyburn this weekend and this will make it even better.

    ThanksReplyCancel

  • Lavinia - Thank you! so very helpful, i really don’t like the rectangle type bands. Question: how do hem these types of skirts? i kind of feel that the horsebraid makes them a little too costume-y…many thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Suzie - Thank you for this Sunni. I made the Holyburn for the first time last year, and while I loved the skirt I have always felt there is something not quite right about the waist – I believe this may be the fix that I need!!!
    Will definitely be trying this out (after baby arrives)!ReplyCancel

  • Tutorial: Create a contoured waistband – Sewing - […] How To: Create a Contoured Waistband, by A Fashionable Stitch […]ReplyCancel

  • Phoebe - thanks so much for putting this together, I will definitely be trying this out. Just curious, do you choose a waistband size a little larger than your actual waist? Because you are overlapping the pieces rather than spreading them, wouldn’t that make the top of the waistband too small?ReplyCancel

  • francesca - Oh wow, Sunni, I can’t believe you posted this – as you know I’ve bought your fabulous wool crepe, and am planning to make at least one hollyburn out of it – and when I saw your recent post, I really wished you’d post how to do a contour waistband, but didn’t want to ask – you are so busy! So thank you very very much! I can’t wear straight cut bands anything wider than an inch either. this is brilliant!ReplyCancel

  • FrougieFashionista - Thanks so much for this. I don’t know why I thought it would be much more complicated.ReplyCancel

I’ve been hard at work on a lot of things behind the scenes to, hopefully, make my life better and easier.  Today, I thought I would just pop in with a post and tell you all what I’ve been up to.

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In a moment of quiet desperation, I decided that my personal sewing space needed a new lease on life. I changed the entire set-up, reorganized fabrics and junked about 3 giant garbage bags of scraps and other funny, weird stuff I just didn’t need. We’ve still got several things to go through, but workflow is way better and my space feels more zen. yeah.

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In keeping with my sewing space effieciency program, I decided to go through my ever growing UFO pile. It’s desolation is near! I junked a whole bunch of items that will never get finished and then I kept things that I thought would be good to finish and finishing them I am! This here is a pencil skirt that’s almost done. Pretty sure you’ll see it soon!

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Another McCall’s 6649. Another Liberty of London Lawn – this one I officially planned to never cut because I love it that much, but now I’m wearing it! Yay! Then I reverse engineered McCall’s 6649 into sloper form and. made. myself. an. official. sloper!!!!! More on this to come on this!

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I’m working on official Sewing Room curriculum that give you all my tips and tricks for specific workshops. Almost finished up with my Classic Shirt handout. Exciting times for the Sewing Room!

What’s going on with you? Do you have a sloper? What about a UFO pile? Did 2015 bring a much needed breath of fresh air to inspire you to rearrange your sewing space?

  • Eleanor - What a gorgeous shirt! Excellent choice for the fabric.
    And well done on going through your UFO pile and being honest about what is not ever going to get finished. I think I might need to do the same.ReplyCancel

  • Lesley - Oh Sunni, that fabric us gorgeous. I gave a one make, one fix policy that seems to work well. It means after every item I finish, I go to the mending pile and fix something. It’s pretty satisfying! I told myself that I go to a lot of trouble to start a project and finishing/fixing it is more instantly gratifying than starting again!
    Looking forward to your shirt handout. I’ve been making some tutorials as a way of putting my shirt techniques into words too – on my site if you’re interested?ReplyCancel

  • justine - I just finished a workout pant sloper today. Your organized fabrics are inspiring!ReplyCancel

  • Ana - I’m in the middle of working out a sloper from McCall’s 6649!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy N - Love the pencil skirt! What did you use for the waistband–it looked like a stretchy braid. My UFO pile is EMBARASSING, and a reorganization would only happen when I decide I no longer need a bed in my bedroom. But meanwhile, I DO have a pants sloper that I copied off an old pair and have made about 6 times.

    Love your blog. Very inspirational!
    Nancy NReplyCancel

  • Tanya A - Love the liberty Sunni! I had a sloper made for me as part of the process of sewing my wedding dress. It was the best sewing decision I could have made! I can attack any style with confidence, and actually enjoy all the mathsy dart triangulation etc…ReplyCancel

  • Judi - I love the Liberty blouse! Yesterday I thought about getting rid of all my UFO’s that I know I will never finish. AND a bunch of fabric that falls into the “what was I thinking” category. Today it’s a “go”!!!! :)ReplyCancel

  • SJ Kurtz - I do enjoy cleaning out the cupboards and finding treasures to finish (and duds to dump). In an ’emergency sew’, I finally cut into My Precious and made a dress I wore as often as was humanly possible last summer. It’s a jump to cut the beloved yardage (fear of failing the perfection is very high), but 9 times out of ten it means I can spend more time appreciating the beauty. And yes, that blouse is beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Laura S. - LOVE the fabrics of your projects! That icy violet skirt — lovely. And of course, the Liberty is stunning.

    I actually just revamped my sewing room, too. We have a spare room, and when we moved into our home we’d set up a queen-sized bed as a guest room. We haven’t hosted enough guests to make it a really worthwhile use of the space, though, so about two weeks ago I got a bee in my bonnet to do something different. I took out the bed, painted the room, and am working on organizing my sewing supplies in there. I have a vintage sewing desk and a bookshelf, plus closet space and various tubs. I put in a loveseat so my kiddos can watch DVDs in there (or *I* can, if I’m sewing by myself). It’s definitely a more functional room for our family now.ReplyCancel

  • Miss Crayola Creepy - Oh my gosh, that Liberty fabric is gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle New - I really need to get some basic slopers down for myself. I think reverse engineering one actually makes more sense for me! p.s. SERIOUSLY LOVING the minty star/floral combo you have going on in that last photo!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - I’ve been telling myself that I should get back to sewing again. I’ve been distracted by my quilting & knitting projects. This shirt makes me want to sew something nice for spring. In Liberty Lawn!ReplyCancel

  • Jo - Your new shirt looks gorgeous and a sloper sounds so exciting! I really want to get one done this year, but first I *need* to finish the panelled skirt which has been sitting on my floor in a sad, half finished state for over a week.ReplyCancel

  • Margo - Reorganizing my sewing space always helps me achieve more in there! Your shirt is great!ReplyCancel

  • charlotte - a good old tidy up just makes you feel bright and breezy ready to take on a new challenge. I too have had a tidy up, so liberating!
    I totally love the liberty, thats enough to brighten any day.ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - Would someone please tell me what a “sloper” is? I see it everywhere and I can’t find a definition. I even have a sloper pattern from Vogue and I still don’t get it. Is it a muslin of a garment?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Hi BeckyLee!
      A sloper is a basic pattern. In the most simplest terms it’s a sewing pattern without seam allowances and it’s used as a base to manipulate and create other sewing patterns from. This is a great topic of discussion so I’ll try to work up a post about it. Hopefully this helps clarify a bit!ReplyCancel