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!

 

 

Brushstrokes Scuba Ebony Dress

This might be a record – I finished my first Make Nine pattern in January! And I love it. As you will have seen from my makes for January post you’ll know I’ve actually already made 2 Ebony dresses, both from amazing scubas.

The scuba fabric was from Fabric Godmother and it is possibly the most expensive fabric I’ve bought, but I had to have it! I think the design was available in cotton or another fabric and I thought about getting it. wondering what I would make – then it was available as a scuba and I snapped some up on pay day a couple of months ago. Since Heather Lou made her Ebony in scuba, I couldn’t get the idea of a copy-cat out of my head. And I’m so pleased with the result!

The pattern is the Ebony tee and dress by Closet Case Patterns and is designed really for drapey knits, probably in a lighter weight, but I Think it works in scuba too, as you get more of an idea of the swingy shape.

I made the size 2 because I figured basing the size on my bust measurement would be fine, as it gets wider as it goes down the body. But I know from other patterns that generally my waist and hip measurements (27″ and 37″ respectively) are a size or two bigger than my bust size (32″) so I maybe should have gone more on the waist and hips size as the sleeves were waaaay too tight and pulled a bit across the shoulders.

Luckily I had sewn the dress on my sewing machine, and then neatened the seams with my overlocker, rather than sewing (and trimming) the whole thing on my overlocker. I generally do this anyway, but particularly when I haven’t made a pattern before. Having tried to unpick overlocked seams I like to stitch with my normal sewing machine – and a zig-zag stitch – first so when I inevitably make a mistake, it’s not such a ball-ache (or such a waste of thread) to fix it. This is a very long way of saying I reduced the seam allowance on the sleeves and under the arms (the sleeve seam and side seam are sewn in one go so making adjustments is comparatively easy) to 0.5cm instead of the 1cm included in the pattern. I think probably if I had used a drapey, stretchy knit as the pattern demands, I wouldn’t have had to make this adjustment, but since scuba isn’t as stretchy (kind of like a ponte) it did feel really restrictive.

I would definitely recommend this pattern if you like swingy dresses and it’s a great pattern to show of a fairly large-scale print as the pieces are so big and there aren’t any darts or anything to break it up.

Handily the thread I used for the twin needle top-stitching was the left over thread from the 2 mini chestnuts I made for my friend’s daughter. I got the fear about making 2 so bought 2 spools of thread and barely used one. But luckily it meant I had 2 spools ready to go for the twin needling!

There isn’t a huge amount more for me to say about this dress, except I love it. And I love the pattern. I might give the other versions a go – once I finally get around to making some high-waisted Ginger jeans, the cropped version might be a perfect pairing for them.

Have you sewn with scuba? I was a little scared but it’s really easy to work with as it’s like any other stable knit. Do you love Heather Lou and Closet Case patterns as much as I (and the Love To Sew Podcast!) do?

 

 

New Craft House Summer Party Outfit

Last Saturday I went down to London for the New Craft House Summer Party and it was ace!  I knew it was going to be good when I spotted this on my way to the venue:

And of course I basically forgot to take any photos all evening – I think that’s the mark of a good party, though! I saw some people I’ve met before and lots of new people too, and it was so lovely to hang out with fellow sewing people. Sewing people really are the best.

It was great to catch up with Nina of Nina Lee Patterns – and her patterns are now in paper form! I don’t mind a PDF, but I would much rather have a printed pattern – I like having a nice object that I can handle, especially when they’re this beautiful. I’d had my eye on the Portobello Trousers and Carnaby Dress for a while so I’m really pleased to have them now in my collection. Now I just need some fabric……

You should definitely check out the hashtag on Instagram – some people did remember to take some photos! And speaking of Instagram, if you follow me there you will already know this, but I won best handmade outfit! Here I am flanked by the 2 honourable mentions – Girlswear and ZoeSews. They both looked brilliant!

I have literally never won anything in my life before, so I was pretty chuffed! I think part of what swung it was the number of items I made! I decided to go for separates instead of a dress as – though I like a good party dress – I’ve made a few in the last year or so for specific parties and then I don’t really wear them again. Though I’m not sure how much wear I’ll get out of a shiny silver top! With black skinny jeans, though, it could look cool.

Although it was August, it was pretty cold last weekend so I wore my trusty Victoria Blazer, made a few years ago from some mystery black fabric. One of the really nice things about the party was that I had a quite long chats with Elisalex and Charlotte from By Hand London, as well as Zeena, after whom the Zeena Dress is named.

I think the main ‘party’ elements to my outfit were the shiny, shiny Inari Tee I made from some (I think) viscose foil from Ray Stitch. I’m pretty sure this is the fabric as I know it was from Ray Stitch and the photos on their website look about right.  I was given it for Christmas and immediately thought of making a boxy tee out of it. After mentioning I might make some changes to the Inari after making my first sort-of-practice one, in the end the only thing I did was to use only a tiny hem instead of the 2cm one the pattern suggests – I overlocked the lining and the shell together then turned both layers up together by 0.5cm. Oh yeah, I lined it with some white polycotton in my stash as I thought this fabric may not be that nice right next to the skin! This also gave it a bit more structure as it really is drapey – it almost looks liquid. BE WARNED if you buy this fabric, though, that you cannot put pins in it or unpick stitching without leaving marks. It’s like leather, once it’s marked, that’s it. I used paperclips instead of pins to hold the seams together while I sewed each bit.

Oh and I also used the fabric to make shoes! I’ve seen these espadrille kits popping up online and I thought what could be better than a crazy shiny silver pair of shoes!? I’m hoping to do a separate post on the shoes, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Suffice it to say I think the shoes swung the win for me!

The culottes are Butterick B6178 that came free with Love Sewing magazine a month or two ago. It seemed there was definitely a time when everyone was making them on Instagram and I liked the pattern more and more, the more versions I saw. I feel like I’m often a bit behind with trends and like them a year after everyone else, but I think culottes are still on trend! Yay! I made the size 12 and although they are a tiny bit big on my waist, I’m impressed that for a big 4 there wasn’t inches and inches of ease built in! I chose the size based on my waist measurement, so that would be my tip if you’re going to make these.

The fabric is this gorgeous viscose challis (called Dillie) from Fabric Godmother. It took me ages to find a fabric I thought would sort of go with the silver and this was the best I came across. I was definitely inspired by Sarah from Like Sew Amazing’s gorgeous jumpsuit which she made from the same fabric. The only change I made to the culottes was to use an invisible zip instead of the dress one the pattern suggested. It made more sense to me to use an invisible one so it would be….well……invisible! I also found a hook and eye from the stash I found inside the vintage sewing box I bought a while ago.

The final thing I made was this necklace. (If you’re counting, I made 5 things if you count the shoes as one – crazy? Probably). I used the tutorial Helen from Stitch My Style did a little while ago, though the fabric I used was probably too thick as it doesn’t look as chic as hers does. The fabric is some seriously old stuff I had left in my stash from one of my earliest makes – a bright yellow skirt which I never wore. I thought about making it in the viscose, but I thought that would be just too matchy-matchy, though I ended up with a pretty matchy-matchy outfit anyway! I used marbles in the necklace as I didn’t have any beads and there aren’t any local shops that sell beads. I used the large marble that came in my bag in the middle, then smaller ones up the sides. I also had to piece the fabric as I didn’t have enough, but the seams are covered by the knots. I really like this method of making necklaces from leftover fabric, so I might try it again – but with thinner fabric I think!

(Wow, you can really see my grey hairs here!)

I’m quite pleased with this as an outfit, if I do say so myself! The culottes also look good with a normal grey t-shirt, which feels a bit more every day than the shiny one! I’m hoping it will be warm this bank holiday weekend so they will get some wear!

There has, however, been a slight tragedy with the silver top since I wore it to the party. I had a sticker on my top, and sort of at the time thought ‘should I stick this on my top?’ and then I thought it would be fine. I then forgot the sticker was on there for a couple of days, when I noticed when I put the top on to take photos. I took the sticker off and it took some of the silver with it. I’ve circled it below so you can see – it’s a bit more obvious in real life than in the photo 😦 I have an idea, though. I bought some silver shiny embroidery thread to do the hems, so they would match the fabric, so I’m going to maybe try a yoke of embroidery to see if I can cover the mark. I don’t want to not be able to wear it again – that was the whole point of making separates! If anyone has any other ideas/any embroidery design ides, I’m all ears! Maybe I’ll end up wearing it to the New Craft House Christmas Party (as they’re mentioned they might organise) in its new form!?

I’ll leave you with this, to make you laugh hopefully! I think this is my favourite outtake so far – lol! I have literally no idea what is going on here, I mean wtf?!

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