A Couple Of Laurels

A Couple Of Laurels

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It is because I have always wanted a shift dress that I decided to make my first Laurel. I chose the Colette Shift dress pattern and printed it PDF style and methodically cut off the strips and stuck all the bits together. In my rather extensive stash I had a lovely purple tartan in a fairly light and slightly stretchy fabric that I had purchased from Fabric Corner in Lincoln

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I found the pattern easy to follow but although I payed particular attention to the finished garment size, the end product was really roomy waist down. I took a little bit more off the seam (about 1/2″ each side) and that was enough. I also found the neckline rather high for my taste so I shaved 1/2″ off the front too.  I really enjoyed the fiddly bit of fitting the sleeves and the end result of the neat little sleeve was worth all the pinning. I wore my first attempt to a friends birthday bash and was so pleased, I went straight on to make my second.

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I wanted my next one to be more structured so I used a cotton poplin that I had bought from Coolcrafting. It is an exquisite shade of grey and reminded me a little bit of Liberty fabric!

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Cutting out was a breeze and because of the previous sizing issue,  I graded the pattern one size smaller below the waist. I have no idea why, but this time it really gaped at the back on the neckline. I was so frustrated because it hadn’t happened before !! A quick emergency text to my sister in law and it was decided that I should put a couple of ‘garment saving’ darts in the back. Hey presto, they worked thank goodness… panic over, or so I thought.

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Using the poplin which is quite stiff and doesn’t drape that well made it really quite shapeless and I began to wonder if I would ever wear it. Out popped the scissors and before you could say ‘shapeless shift dress’ it was a top and I’m much happier with the result. in fact…I wore it all day !!

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Will I make another Laurel ? I most certainly will but I will use fabrics with draping properties and I’m going to lower the neckline a bit more. I will also try to sort out the gaping neckline by adjusting the pattern.

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My First Pattern !

My First Pattern !

I first made some clothes when I was a hormonal teenager. One night I decided that I needed a new hoody, had a look at my sisters, rummaged in my mums rather extensive fabric stash and then I made it. It was navy blue and I wore it until it fell off me. When I look back, I’m really not sure how I did it but now as a grown up (pulls a face) I have always wanted to follow a pattern and quite like the idea of ‘me made every day’.

My twenties were a blur of babies and house renovating, I started seriously quilting in my early thirties and now here I am, gulp, in my forties. Its my sister-in-law who really inspired me to give it a go. She was already writing a very successful blog which I always avidly read and every time I see her she has the most fantastic collection of beautifully made clothes. Let just say that she is rocking ‘me made every day’.

So about 18 months ago, I bought my first pattern  The Colette Dahlia. Now I know what you’re thinking, probably not the easiest of patterns to start off with (which I now realise) but I have always been very optimistic!

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I had a beautiful Liberty fabric D’Anjo which I had purchased from Shaukat some time before. I cut it all out and painstakingly marked all the darts and notches, sewed the bodice together, read the instructions about the yoke and then… nothing… I stopped… I was scared. What if it didn’t fit me?  What if, gasp, it looked like I had made it?  I never thought these things when I was 16, sewing stretch fabric with no pattern. I’m ashamed to say that the result of these thought’s were the pattern pieces and partly made bodice being slung over the back of my chair, for over a year.

January 2016 something happened to me. I think it was a combination of Instagram and all the inspirational pictures, my sister-in-law came to visit and I tried on some of her new makes and finally I just really felt like I needed to get stuck into something new. I was ready.

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I used The Colette Dahlia Sewalong quite a bit because I don’t know about you, but sometimes I really struggle with reading instructions and actually seeing all the different stages helps it to make sense.  I actually really quite enjoyed making the yoke and managed to catch all of the inside with the topstitching (which you are supposed to).

My proudest moment was making my own bias binding. I used the Continuous Bias Binding method demonstrated here by Colette. It really seems to give the dress a good finish and I didn’t want to use a solid colour to detract from the beautiful liberty fabric.

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What Went Well

Considering its my first ‘proper’ make, I’m really pleased with the general fit and yoke sits really well. The tana lawn was a dream to cut out and to sew and you really can’t beat the feeling of wearing something that you have made from beginning to end.

Even Better If

My first attempt at a hidden zip leave a lot to be desired so lets just say I have been wearing a cardigan with it. I realise my error though and have bought a proper invisible zipper foot which will fix the problem . If I make it again I would also like to splice out some of the back pattern piece as the neckline is a little bit ‘roomy’.

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