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.
Pattern: Laurel by Colette
Fabric: Undyed Organic Cotton (maybe muslin? not sure) and Organic Cotton Voile lining in white from Organic Cotton Plus
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.
Tab belt with shell buttons
side pockets with decorative stitching
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
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.
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
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
Practical side pockets
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 🙂
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!