A Pair of Laurels (just in time!)

I had every intention of finishing my Laurels with plenty of time to spare before the end of the contest, but here we are on deadline day, and I just finished them both yesterday. Oh well, it looks like I’m not the only one – there are a ton of pictures being posted last-minute to the flickr pool! I remember seeing a quote posted on some advertising sign many years ago that said something to the effect of “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done”. So true!

When the contest was first announced, I was so excited to be able to take part in a sewing related event, but I wasn’t too crazy about the silhouette. I normally go for more fit and flare type styles, so I decided to take in the waist for more shaping and add a bit to the length so I feel more comfortable. I’m happy with the result, and I think it still pushes me outside of my comfort zone.

The Practice Laurel

I made my first Laurel out of some undyed organic cotton (maybe muslin? I’m not sure) that I’ve had for years. I played around with the fit for ages trying to get it right. After a while, I realized I could just add front darts from another dress that fit, so I added darts from the Cambie (post coming soon – I finished this one before the Laurels, but I haven’t had time to post about it because of the contest). I lined up the waistline and the center front and it worked perfectly! I experimented with drafting facings, but in the end decided to just line the whole thing with cotton voile since I didn’t want any stitching lines to show on my final version.

Organic Cotton Laurel

Pattern: Laurel by Colette
Fabric: Undyed Organic Cotton (maybe muslin? not sure) and Organic Cotton Voile lining in white from Organic Cotton Plus
Size: 0
Modifications: Added front darts, took in back darts by 0.5″ each, took in side seams by 0.5 “, chopped 0.5″ off around armholes, added 0.75″ in bodice length above bust, added 1.5″ in length at waist, added 1” to skirt length

I added a tab belt to add some interest around the waist and I left all of the darts open below the waist.

Laurel Tab Belt

Tab belt with shell buttons

side pockets with decorative stitching

side pockets with decorative stitching

laurel back view

It was all looking good until I decided to add some decorative top stitching to my practice version. It stretched out the keyhole at the back so now it looks kind of wonky.

Then I decided to add some keyhole cutouts to the skirt. I thought it would look neat to have the sheer white voile in the cutouts to show a little bit of texture and add interest to the plain colour. I stitched around the edges to hold the layers together and keep them from fraying, and used tissue paper on the bottom to stabilize everything while stitching, but it ended up looking really messy. I just couldn’t go around the curves smoothly. Maybe it’s something that just takes practice.

wonky decorative details

wonky decorative details

I still like the idea, but I think next time I’ll do the top stitching and cutouts all by hand with white embroidery floss for extra impact. And maybe it would look better with two colours that contrast more.

Laurel 2:

When the contest was first announced, and I saw that there was a category for self-designed fabrics, I thought that was perfect. I’d been meaning to design some fabric and have it printed on spoonflower (I even had their $1 colour sampler swatch already), so this was the perfect opportunity! There wasn’t enough time to order a proof and still enter the contest, so I had to guess on the darkest colour. I was aiming for a deep sapphire or navy, but it came out purple. I think it still works, but I will definitely be investing in a full colour sampler for future spoonflower projects – and there will definitely be more!

I decided to do an ombre design since the straight lines of this pattern allow for a large pattern repeat. So I did an ombre ikat design that reminds me of raindrops. You can find the design on spoonflower here. I had it printed on their Organic Cotton Sateen.

Ombre Ikat Raindrop fabric

Ombre Ikat Raindrop fabric

Laurel Ombre Ikat

Laurel Ombre Ikat
Fabric: My own design printed on spoonflower’s Organic Cotton Sateen, and Organic Cotton Voile lining in white from Organic Cotton Plus
Pattern/Size/Modifications: Same as practice Laurel, but I took out the side seams and back darts slightly since the first one was a bit tight.

The keyhole turned out better on this version without the top stitching.

back keyhole detail

back keyhole detail

Practical side pockets

Practical side pockets

tab belt

tab belt

I think I’ll redo the tab belt. It’s a bit too small so it’s pulling the dress a bit at the waist. Plus I think it would look better a bit wider and with better top stitching 🙂

hand-stitched hem

hand-stitched hem

Ombre Ikat Laurel

The full-length pictures don’t really show the pattern very well – the close-up shots are much more accurate. But, in the end, I’m happy with this one!

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19 thoughts on “A Pair of Laurels (just in time!)

  1. Inge

    I really like it! I love that you designed your own fabric and that you used organic fabrics. Reading through your posts I see you got some organic fabrics from a store in Vancouver. I like that, because my local fabric shops don’t have organic fabric and I’ll be near Vancouver (in Victoria) from June. I’ll definitely swing by that store!

    Reply
    1. Chantal Post author

      Thanks! Dressew has a small selection of organic cotton jersey and Fabricana has a small selection of hemp and organic cotton. Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area.

      Reply
  2. Pingback: A Garden Party Cambie | A Handmade Wardrobe

  3. Lady ID

    I echo your sentiments about the silhouette. Nonetheless it was a fun challenge. Your fabric is very pretty – great colours and I really like the belt tab detail – a fun way to add definition

    Reply
  4. Carolyn

    These are adorable!! I really like your creative additions to the pattern and hand-sewn details. The tab belts are so classy! Good luck in the contest. : )

    Reply
  5. Magali

    I love how the dresses fit you. I agree with you on the shape of the Laurel. When I saw it, I didn’t think I would want it, since I generally like something more fitted. With your modifications, I can really see it. Your teardrop fabric is beautiful. Thanks.

    Reply
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  7. Sandra

    Oh I really love your Laurel’s and the waist feature you have created, because I agree I didn’t take much to the silhouette of the pattern either. The self-designed fabric is just adorable and matches the dress style perfect. From what I’ve seen so far you are the winner of the content in my books – good luck.

    Reply
  8. Karen Chatters

    I LOVE your dress! I’m working on my muslin now and would love it if it were a bit more fitted. But your tabs and keyhole in the back – swoon! Now I’m at a loss of what to do to my dress….

    Reply
    1. Chantal Post author

      Thank you! Adding front darts from another pattern was an easy way to make the dress more fitted. Feel free to copy any details you like – I don’t mind at all!

      Reply
  9. Pingback: My Raindrop Laurel is a finalist for Readers’ Choice! | A Handmade Wardrobe

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