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What I Made: Holly

holly-low-res-5By now, you probably think that I don’t wear clothing, that I prance around in my skivvies all day long. Grocery shop wearing Allegra, attend work meeting wearing Sierra. Well, I’m here today to break that assumption, if that was your assumption. I do wear clothes! Multi-colored trumpet skirts! Sequins.every.damn.day…hollyholly-low-res-3

INSPIRATION

This skirt is inspired by a J.Crew skirt that has been on my roster of things-to-make-but-probably-will-never-get-to list. You have one of those too? For the last three years, I have worn this handmade dress, and I figured it was time for an update. Also, the theme for this year’s holiday party at work is Burning Man, and the color scheme is neon. The party isn’t until the middle of December, but I wanted to wear it for Thanksgiving. Of course, I started drafting the pattern the Sunday before and didn’t get to sewing until Wednesday. Excuse my French, but I hauled ass to my studio after work to finish the Wednesday before and I got through most of it that evening. The only thing I had left to do the following morning was to hem. Once complete, I laid it on the bed to go take and a shower, and when I got back, Sage was taking a nap on it. Cat approved!

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FABRIC + TRIMS

The main fabric is a multi-colored, stretch sequin mesh from Spandex House in NYC and is underlined with with black lycra from Fleishman’s Fabrics. The lining is the same black lycra. The waistband is a 2” wide black elastic from Bra Makers Supply.

PATTERN + CONSTRUCTION

For this project, I flew by the seat of my pants in every sense of the word. I didn’t use a commercial pattern, I drafted one using a five measurements – waist, hip, length from waist to knee, length from waist to floor (with heels) and bottom sweep. I curved the pattern in ½” at the knee and then slashed and opened from knee to bottom opening. The fabric is 60” wide, and I opened the pattern as much as I could – to 30” including seam allowances. I added ½” seam allowance to the pattern, but sewed with ¾”. Because the fabric is stretchy, I knew I could have negative ease, but didn’t want to do the math when I was drafting. See, flying by the seat of my pants! Living life on the edge yo!. This was my solution and it worked.

If I had to do it again, I would open the pattern at the center front. I only opened at the SS and because of it, there are folds at the side, but the front is flat. Wish the skirt would flair throughout, but oh well. Live. Learn. Make more make more skirts.

holly-pattern-notesGod bless the sewist who takes the time to remove sequins from seam allowance because I didn’t. I learned Mallori Lane that you can sew over sequins so long as you have the right needle – a leather or a jean size 16 or 18. Neither is ballpoint, which should be used for stretch fabrics, but I didn’t experience any skipped stitches.

Some other construction notes:

  • For obvious reasons, I could not press this fabric, so I hand sewed the seam allowance open using a wide catch stitch. I considered skipping this step, but glad I didn’t. It made a big difference.
  • The lining is clean finished to the self fabric at the waist, and sandwiched in between a wide, 2” elastic. I undercut the elastic 15%, which helps hold up the weight of the skirt. It’s heavy! (the skirt looks too long in the photos, like it’s dragging, but IRL, it is the right length).
  • The bottom hem of the lining is finished with a ½” cover stitch.
  • The bottom hem of the self, which is underlined with the same lycra as the lining, is finished with a cover stitch 1/2″ away from the edge. There is a stretch lace trim on the wrong side too. Because the fabrics don’t fray, I could have left raw, but the cover stitch will hold the sequins in place/prevent sequins from falling off.
  • There is an invisible zipper at the center back.

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WEARABILITY

Although this skirt is an occasion piece, I think I’ll be able to wear it for many holidays/seasons to come. Sequins and sparkles are timeless – just my two cents. This isn’t my finest work either, I whipped it together basically in one night, and I’m okay with that. I’d consider it a wearable muslin. Also, because of the color, I can wear it year round. Maybe a spring wedding?

And a trumpet skirt ain’t a trumpet skirt unless you can bust a move in it. I’ll be cuttin’ some rug y’all this New Year’s Eve.

26 Comments

  1. Reply

    Hannah

    Oh my god this fabric is all out insane and I LOVE IT!

  2. Reply

    Catia

    It’s sooo gorgeous! I want to make something shinny as well. Maybe it will go to that list…

  3. Reply

    Tamara @ Zoona Nova

    What a perfect easy-to-dance-in holiday skirt! Love it! And I’m happy to learn that one can sew over sequins. (Sounds fun and dangerous at the same time..)

  4. Reply

    Becky

    any tips on how to get started drafting? I know nothing about it, but would like to! Websites, books, anything you can suggest would be much appreciated. thanks!

    • Reply

      maddie

      Happy to provide tips! Do you want tips for drafting this particular skirt or drafting in general?

      • Reply

        Becky

        Drafting in general. I can sew from a pattern but, as far as drafting goes, I’m starting from ZERO 🙂

        • Reply

          maddie

          Helen Joseph Armstrong’s books are awesome. I still use them! If you can find an older version on EBay, even better. A lot of information has been edited out over the years, so the earlier versions have more in them.

          • Becky

            thanks! If anyone else is interested, I found a number of used first editions for sale on Amazon for as little as $10.

  5. Reply

    Dalila

    I love it. I might need something sparkly for this holidays… And with need I mean ‘I saw it and now I want it’ : )

  6. Reply

    oonaballoona

    WHAT. YES.

    i’m sorry i gotta go cut some flares into a pattern now…..

  7. Reply

    StinaP

    Love the skirt and love your moves!

  8. Reply

    katrynarae

    Oh my gosh this is stunning. I want to make one now too!

  9. Reply

    Julie

    May I just say WOW! I’m not much of a “commenter”, but you are such a talented and creative young lady!

    • Reply

      maddie

      You are too sweet 😉

  10. Reply

    Clarinda Kaleidoscope

    I’ve recently made a top with sequins – I think they are addictive. Your skirt is wonderful – enjoy the Do.

  11. Reply

    Erica

    I love this! This looks fantastic. I love how you styled it with a solid, black top. Amazing!

  12. Reply

    Ina

    What a fun skirt, you look great in it!

  13. Reply

    Cristal

    Awesome skirt! And all of your photos are always breathtaking!!

  14. Reply

    Deepika

    I just had to come over here and leave a comment. Your sequin skirt is totally awesome. You’ve inspired me to make one too!

  15. Reply

    Carlee McTavish

    I am SO in love with this it hurts!

  16. Reply

    Gail

    I made my daughter a very similar skirt and top for her school formal in December 2013 so I know now much work this gem needed. I’ll have to show her the pic with denim shirt because it’s never been worn since!

  17. Reply

    Paige LoPinto

    Question: I would like to have a “small train”… how would I do that? What did you mean by, “I would open the pattern at the center front.”??

    Wonderful job!!!

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