Jungle Print Laurel Dress

I’ve made another Laurel Dress and I love, love, love it! This is also my second completed make from my Summer plans! I made this pattern twice before (1, 2), not long after I started sewing my own clothes but I made them too small.  I still wore them around the time I made them because I’d made them and I was proud, but once I discovered more comfortable patterns they soon got neglected and I gave them to a charity shop a few months ago. I made the mistake (I think) of choosing the size closest to my bust measurement, when I know my chest is small so I should choose based on my waist/hip measurement if I want a thing to actually fit, and do an sba if necessary. I previously made the size zero (bust 33, waist 25, hip 35) and this time I made the size 4 (bust 35, waist 27, hips 37) and it’s so comfortable, but still looks like it’s the right size across my shoulders – it was the sleeves and armholes that were particularly snug the last time. For reference my measurements are: bust 32, waist 27, hips 37.

The fabric is some gorgeous cotton lawn from Fabric Godmother, which is sadly now out of stock. I didn’t really realise that cotton lawns are thinner than cottons so this dress is quite thin, but I think layered with tights, a vest and a cardigan, it will work for the colder weather. But it’s also a good dress for this warm weather we’ve been having!

I added in-seam pockets because I was going to add the patch pockets but I couldn’t really face pattern matching the fabric, so I went for the hidden option! I also made no attempt to pattern match across the back – I figured it’s a large enough design to get away with no matching.

I made version 3, which has the ruffles on the sleeves. This pattern is pretty old so I’m amazed it has this option included, since ruffled sleeves have been a trend for a couple of years now! The ruffles are really easy to add, in case anyone is wanting to try it. You could also easily add ruffles to another pattern – it’s just a rectangle gathered into the end of the sleeve. For this pattern there are 2 rectangles for each ruffle which are stitched together to hide the wrong side of the fabric on the inside of the sleeve.

I will say this dress does come out quite short – though it doesn’t look like it in these photos because the camera is looking a little down on me. I’m 5’3″ and it’s above the knee on me so if you’re tall you might need to lengthen it a bit so you don’t end up with a tunic instead of a dress!

I think, as with the Inari becoming my go-to tee/tee dress pattern, I think the Laurel could become my go-to shift dress pattern now I’ve made it in a size that fits and is comfortable. Though I do have the Carnaby Dress cut out and ready to make, so maybe I’ll have 2 shift dress patterns!


I think I was running out of enthusiasm for posing at this point?!

Have you made the Laurel Dress? Or rediscovered a pattern that didn’t work when you made it before but now it’s a favourite? I feel like I might revisit some other patterns I’d written off because they were uncomfortable and see if I made the same mistake with the sizing as I did with the Laurel!

 

 

Bright Turquoise Inari Tee Dress

As I mentioned in my Summer sewing plans, one of the things on my list was an Inari tee dress made from some turquoise cotton twill I bought literally years ago and was cut out last year. Well this year I made it – it really is a quick sew so I don’t know why I didn’t get around to it last year!

I’ve made the cropped tee version of the Inari pattern twice before – once in stripey jersey (which I just added a hem band to to lengthen it a bit) and once in crazy silver fabric for the New Craft House Summer party last year where I won best outfit!!! Coincidentally (or not, I don’t know) I’m wearing the Tatty Devine necklace I won at the New Craft House in these photos! The dress felt a little ‘surgical gown’ so I decided I needed an accessory.

I made the dress in the same size as the tees, which is size 8, and it fits really nicely. I went through a phase with patterns where when making them to match my measurements, the sleeves and armholes were too tight, making the garment a little too uncomfortable to want to wear, but I’ve not had that problem with the Inari, thankfully. I think this might become my go-to tee and tee dress pattern.

I really love the cocoon-y shape of the dress and the split hem. It adds enough interest to make it not as simple, but it was still really simple to construct  and the instructions are perfect.

I also love that the sleeves have cuffs – I’m in favour of any design element that means I don’t have to measure and sew a hem. I think hemming is my least favourite part of sewing, though hems never take as long as I think they will!

I think my choice of white overlocking thread was adding to the ‘surgical gown’ vibes I was getting from this dress. I don’t know why I thought white would be the best colour – probably because it was already threaded with white! Anyone else do that? Slightly in my defence, the only colours I currently have are black, navy and white. Maybe navy would have been better? But either way it was never going to match completely. I think I need to invest in some other colours of overlocker thread! At least a mid blue as I do sew blue things fairly often.

 

Today’s outtake is brought to you by ‘what pose should I do next’ face. I took outfit pictures of several things at once and this was the last one so I – and the boyfriend – was getting a bit fed up and this is the result! Also you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve ironed this dress to get it not looking crumpled, to no avail!

Have you got a go-to tee/tee dress pattern? I’m slightly tempted by Tilly and the Buttons new Stevie pattern, but I’m trying to not buy so many patterns until I’ve sewn more of the ones I already have – and especially if I already have a pattern that serves the same function, then do I need another one?

But shiiiiiinnnyyyy……..

 

 

Style Crush: Kerry Washington

Last month I decided to start watching Scandal, which is all on Amazon Prime, to see what all the fuss was about, and because I love Joshua Malina on The West Wing Weekly podcast. I can’t decide if Scandal is good or not – it feels like a soap with a bigger budget, which is fine but not what I thought it was. Anyway I’ve decided I’m a bit in love with Kerry Washington. She is so so beautiful! And I love her style, so I thought I would share some of my favourite looks with you, in no particular order.

I really love the simplicity of the silhouette of this dress, coupled with the graduating colour of the sequins. If I had an exciting party to go to, I might make a copy of this!


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This dress looks like a pretty good idea for this hot Summer weather we’re having. It’s a bit Halston to me, and coupled with her more natural hair, it looks really effortless.

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This is another of my absolute favourite looks – I know she was styled for Elle magazine here, so they’re not necessarily her clothes, but I really want to copy this outfit. I love the proportions and the colour, and the tunic/dress could be worn on its own, which would give you a 60s vibe. I also really want to get a pair of those shoes!


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I like the silhouette of this outfit and the use of the reverse of the fabric on the top compared to the dress underneath.


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You know how much I like yellow. Nuff said!


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She seems to be so good at choosing simple but chic outfits for the red carpet, and this Lanvin (I think) dress is no different. The fit is so impeccable and I love the bow detail on the shoulder.


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I really love the bedazzled lips, matchsticks and jewels on this blush pink colour.


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This pink is perfect on her and I really love the panelling on the skirt. More inspiration to copy for next year’s Dressmaker’s Ball?


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This might be my absolute favourite look I’ve found.  It definitely has a 70s vibe, especially with the clogs and I love her hair here. Definitely inspiration for a cute denim Summer dress, and I love how the topstitching adds an extra layer of detail.


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More sequined dress inspiration! I love the neckline and shoulders on this. I reckon I could recreate it using the Tilly and the Buttons Martha Dress, which I have but haven’t made yet.


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Not sure about the 60s beehive but I love the dress – the fabric having the squares pattern on makes it more interesting.

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I love how she wears maybe more grown up looks and then younger looks like this dress, which is definitely made cooler with the booties and the loose up-do.


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And I couldn’t resist sharing this look – I love the sculptural style of the dress and how the white patches look almost like a lapel. And I love the blunt hair with the straight lines of the dress.


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Have you watched Scandal? Do you love Kerry Washington as much as I do?

 

 

I’m the last person to make a Cleo and I love it!

Well, them.

As I mentioned in my round-up of Me Made May 2018, I made a couple of Cleo dresses and I have worn them both loads – I don’t know why I waited so long to make this pattern, which the entire sewing community already loved.

I made both Cleos in the size 3, based on my measurements and I squeezed each out of around a metre of fabric, so this is a great stash buster/ #sewingleftovers pattern.

This mustard denim was from Sew Me Sunshine and she only had 1.5m left when I placed my order. I’ve already used the rest to make my mute bags. But she has it back in stock, so we can be Cleo twins if you like! I’m actually wearing this one while I type this.

I really like the topstitching, which makes the design details stand out. And it’s good practice for when I finally get around to making jeans!

Despite the fact that I made the 2 Cleos exactly the same, the mustard one ended up a few inches too long so I cut some off the hem to make them the same length, which contrary to what they look like in the photos, is just above the knee.

The buckle things are a little wide for the straps, but they were the only size my local sewing shop stocks. And I like them anyway, and they make the dresses look pretty professional, if I say so myself!

The little dimple you can see on the pocket is from wearing my pink coat club pins – I love them so I don’t care if they’ve made a permanent mark.

And now onto the navy blue one! The corduroy was from my local sewing shop and I bought it quite a few months ago. It’s the only fabric I’ve bought from there because mainly they’ve got quilting cotton and novelty prints. They did have this corduroy last Winter, though.

I really like how they look from the back – I like the shape of the straps and the cocoon-y shape of the skirt part.

I think these will definitely be a staple of my Summer wardrobe – and will be great for layering with tights and jumpers in the Winter.

Here I am demonstrating the existence of the pocket and the fact that it is fully functional! Though if I put my phone in it, it’s a bit heavy and drags down the front of the dress.

And here’s another close-up of the straps, buckles, pocket and topstitching.

There were lots of outtakes from these photoshoots, so I thought I would share some of my favourites – enjoy!

I mean, wtf!?

This is the stoned version of my silly happy face!

So am I the last person to make a Cleo or is there anyone else who has yet to jump on the bandwagon? I thought it wasn’t really my style, but I’m so glad I made these. It’s particularly good because I don’t have to be as smart at my new job, so I can wear these to work as well as at weekends.

Summer 2018 Sewing Plans

Since I’ve been writing fewer posts, and sewing at a slower pace, it seemed silly to write monthly posts outlining my sewing plans, so I’ve decided to do it seasonally instead.

Apparently in the UK we are going to experience a 3-month long heat wave, which some people would call ‘Summer’ but that’s not a normal Summer for us – usually it’s warm for a week or two, then cold again for weeks. So since it’s going to be consistently warm for a couple of months, I need some clothes to keep me feeling cool.

My first plan is to make an Acton Dress, probably out of this turquoise viscose I bought online ages ago. I slightly went off is as soon as it arrived, but I’m digging the idea of a floaty Summer dress. I don’t know which view of the pattern to make either, yet.

My other option of fabric for the Acton is this blue cupro which I originally ordered as a lining for my coat, but which was too dull a shade of blue to work with the wool.

But I’ll probably use the curpro for a pair of Nina Lee Portobello trousers. I think it will be perfect for a Summer pair of trousers.

And speaking of Nina Lee, I’ve got plans for a Carnaby Dress made from this deco-ish style fabric from Sew Over It. I bought the fabric on a total whim, because it was almost sold out, and I’m so glad I did! I’ve already got this dress cut out, so hopefully I will actually get this one made. And I can probably wear it with tights and a cardigan in the Winter too.

And speaking of shift dresses, I’m giving the Colette Laurel another go, with the ruffled sleeves, which I now like, a year after they were in fashion! I made a couple of Laurels a few years ago but I got rid of them both as they were a bit snug and uncomfortable, so I’ve gone up either one or 2 sizes, I can’t remember which.

My final Summer dress plan is for this turquoise cotton drill (I think) Inari Tee dress. I actually cut this out last year and never got around to making it, so fingers crossed it happens this year. The fabric is years old – I bought it on one of my first trips to Goldhawk Road, when I knew very little about fabric.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t plan to make another shirt. I bought this peach skin from Fabric Godmother a couple of months ago and I think it would make a great Blaire Shirt by Style Arc. I might try to play with the direction of the pattern in the fabric, given that the seam lines are begging for it, though stripes would work better. Maybe the next one!

One thing I definitely want to make time to sew is a kimono from this Simplicity pattern I got free with a sewing magazine, I think Love Sewing. I have this lovely cotton lawn from Sew Me Sunshine, which I snapped up as soon as she got it in stock because I had tried to buy it last year but everyone was out of stock. I think this will be the perfect Summer cover up for when it does get a bit chillier.

Another buy from Sew Over It is this navy blue checked crepe, which I think will be the perfect fabric for a pair of Mercury trousers.

If you’re still reading at this point, you may be thinking that this is a lot of things to make for a Summer which has already started, and you’re probably right – I wouldn’t be surprised if this Salle Jumpsuit gets bumped again to next year. It’s already been sitting around, cut out, for a year, with the Inari Tee Dress.

I’m going to end this post with a plea – what can I do with this beautiful crepe (I think) from Sew Over It? It has a gorgeous drape, but I don’t want to make another dress as I already have probably too many planned as it is. I fear it is too jazzy for me to reasonably wear as trousers, so maybe some kind of top? I’ve got 2m. Suggestions very welcome!