Another Laurel!

IMG_0904My first Laurel Dress was actually a wearable muslin for my second version. This is another dress that was inspired by something I’d seen in the shops! I fell in love, and was just about willing to pay the high price when I tried it on… and instantly remembered why I sew my own clothes! Although the quality of this dress was beautiful, it did not fit me at all – it was far too large across the chest, while also being far too tight across the hips – I could barely move in it!

The droolworthy inspiration dress
The droolworthy inspiration dress

So, I did what any sewist would do, and decided to look out for a similar striped fabric to the original. Luckily, I found it fairly quickly at Cloth House on a daytrip to London with Claire and Leire. This lovely piece was a really good find – in the remnants bin I found what seemed to be the last 1m, and one of the shop girls managed to find the bolt and so I could buy another meter. YAY!

As this fabric was rather loosely woven, I decided to underline it all with black lawn.  I decided that black made the print show up better than white underlining. As the Laurel’s such a simple pattern, this was a pretty straightforward job! I then basted in the centre of the darts with a contrasting thread. (the basting was slightly uneven – my darts weren’t though!)IMG_0701

The loose weave also meant that the fabric frayed A LOT. To make it easier to work with, I overlocked all the edges after underlining. I’d almost finished when:

Noooooooo!
Noooooooo!

My overlocker ate my armhole!!! It’s ok though, as I managed to fix it pretty quickly using a zig-zag stitch:

Spot the fix!
Spot the fix!

The rest of the dress came together very quickly. I kept the length as much as possible to keep the lovely border in-tact. I also made cuffs for the armholes. Rather than making bias binding out of this tricky fabric, I decided to draft a small facing for the neck. I’d make this a little larger next time as it was a little bit of a faff!

Enjoying my new dress
Enjoying my new dress

Otherwise my adjustments were exactly the same as last time – adding small darts in the back neckline to reduce gaping. I love this dress, and having the underlining adds a really lovely weight which makes it feel really good quality!

COST:
1m remnant fabric + 1m bolt fabric: £21
1.5m black lawn: £10
pattern: free (used previously)TOTAL: £31

Arty shot
Arty shot
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Mesa Mark I

IMG_0889Like pretty much everyone else in the sewing world, I was excited when Sarai at Colette Patterns announced Seamwork Magazine back in January. I’ve really enjoyed reading the magazine this year, but hadn’t bought any of the patterns until the Mesa dress suddenly came onto my radar last month, probably through the gorgeous versions by RED and Bianca.

I’ve got quite a stash of short lengths of jersey, and I thought that this would be a great stashbuster for those. They are mainly lengths that I bought intending to make t-shirts… until I realised I don’t really wear t-shirts that often. Dresses however, I wear almost every day!

I decided to start with this lovely jersey that I bought last year from Goldhawk Road – I think it’s a viscose jersey, and the printed flowers are flocked. In tune with the weather recently, I decided it would make a great work dress to start the autumn!

Not enough for the sleeves - urgh
Not enough fabric for the sleeves – urgh

After reading that the dress comes up quite short, I decided to cut the pattern to the 3XL. According to my measurements, I needed a medium in the bust / waist and a large in the hips – I didn’t want anything too clingy! I didn’t quite have enough fabric to cut the sleeves unfortunately, so I decided to leave it sleeveless! I actually ended up chopping off around 3 inches from the hem – so would have had enough fabric for sleeves had I done this from the start. Oh well!

Before I took the sides in a little
Before I took the sides in a little

Mesa is advertised as only taking an hour to sew – perhaps that’s the case if you’ve got a proper sewing area and everything ready to sew. This definitely isn’t possible if you’ve got a teeny sewing space and have to keep switching which machine you’ve got on your table! However, even with switching around and fitting changes, I would guess that the whole thing took me about 3 hours.

I sewed up the sides and shoulders on my overlocker, and finished all the edges with my Bernina. I actually used the twin needle for the first time and I was really pleased with the result!

Twin needle goodness!
Twin needle goodness!

All in all, I’m really happy with this pattern – in fact I’ve already got another one lined up on my sewing table! This time, it’s going to be even shorter… and have sleeves!

Comedy shot of the back!
Comedy shot of the back!

Have you made any of the Seamwork patterns?

Unselfish Sewing

Today I’ve got a little bit of unselfish sewing to show you! I made a jacket for my lovely Mum. Anyone who follows me on Instagram will have already seen a few snapshots of this in the making, but I’ve got the full details here!

Getting the bits together!
Getting the bits together!

I actually planned to make this jacket for my Mum’s birthday last July – I bought 2m of the fabric in advance and told her she could choose what she would like me to make. She chose New Look 6028, a princess seamed jacket. It’s in the easy to sew range, and I have to say it came together very quickly and easily! I made view D with the mid-length sleeves.

I took a bit of a gamble in not making a toile (you know me!), but did take some detailed measurements from my mum, and then did a tissue fit on myself (we have a pretty similar build and measurements, so luckily this worked quite well!). I used a size 8 I think, which is what I would usually use in the Big 4. As it’s a loose fitting jacket, the most important bit was getting the shoulders to fit correctly, and once I had checked that, I knew it would be ok to go ahead with cutting out!

The fabric is a lovely linen/ cotton blend that I bought from Backstitch. It’s got a loose weave but is lovely and soft, and I knew that my Mum would love the colour J As it has such a loose weave, I knew that it would fray badly, so I overlocked all the edges before sewing them.

Close up of the lining fabric
Close up of the lining fabric

The jacket is lined in this divine Liberty silk satin. It seems extravagant, I know, but actually it only needed about 70cm, and I got this from Goldhawk Road for £12.50/m, so it’s a lovely bit of luxury. I think it really adds to the quality of the finished jacket, and didn’t end up being much more expensive than normal lining fabric.

With the sleeve linings
With the sleeve linings

Originally, I lined the sleeves in a plain white acetate lining, but actually I decided that for a summer jacket, lined sleeves would be too warm and could get sticky. Plus, as it would usually be worn over bare arms, it wouldn’t need the smooth lining as much as if it were worn over sleeves. So, after beautifully setting those sleeves in, I ripped them back out. To finish the armholes nicely, I just stitched the lining to the jacket outer seam allowance. I would have bound the edges but I didn’t have time (sorry Mum!). Again here, the seam allowances were all overlocked.

Aaaand without the lining in the sleeves
Aaaand without the lining in the sleeves

I topstitched the princess seams using my fab new 1/4“ foot, and I really like the effect this gives. I always find that this sort of detail really makes a garment stand out a bit more:

Mum in her Jacket!

The only change I made was to leave out the interfacing on the facing piece at the front of the jacket. The outer centre front is interfaced anyway, and I found a double layer of interfacing to be too bulky and it ruined the drape of the fabric.

All in all, this is a great pattern, which came together pretty quickly (maybe 5 or 6 hours in total). I’m really pleased with how this came out! And so is my Mum! Here’s a picture of her wearing it on holiday:

Have you done any unselfish sewing recently?

Flamingos!

Holding on to the wall...
Holding on to the wall…

This dress was planned last summer but I didn’t get to make it until June. The inspiration was this dress from Fever that I saw last summer – but at £65, I couldn’t justify buying it!

Rather rubbish pattern placement on bodice front, I think. Mine's much better!
Rather rubbish pattern placement on bodice front, I think. Mine’s much better!

So, I decided that my new mission in life was to find some flamingo fabric! I found the amazing fabric at the Fancy Silk Store in Birmingham for only £4/ m during the SewBrum meetup last October, and quickly snapped 2m up. I then decided to make it in time for my holiday in the south of France in July!

Supplies ready for sewing!
Supplies ready for sewing!

There’s not much to say about the construction of this dress – it’s New Look 6208, the same as my Anchors Away dress (I blogged this here)

Changes from last time:
I kept the side zip and took some width out of the top of the back bodice to cut on the fold, rather than taking it out at at a CB seam. I feel that actually, I over-fit the bodice a bit too much this time – it’s a little snug. Mind you, having Kickboxing as my other main hobby has also meant that I’ve bulked up a little in my upper back / chest over the last few months, so that might also be part of the problem! I’ve now got a few summer dresses that are too tight across the front of the chest/ armscye because of this – one of the very few disadvantages of regular exercise!

I lowered the front neckline by 1” and added in two small darts to reduce neckline gaping – around ½” in total.

I also shortened this a LOT from the original pattern pieces. Maybe 5 inches in total? I’m a shortie, so I often need to take some length off, especially if I want a shorter skirt 🙂

As it’s a very summery dress, I decided to keep it unlined and simple. The neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding.

Aaand a close up!
Aaand a close up!

Other notes: I had a MASSIVE panic halfway through making this that I’d broken my sewing machine. It was just not making stitches properly!! After several times of threading, re-threading, doing test stitches, I decided to take a break, sleep on it and try again the next day (rather than breaking down and crying at the thought of a possibly expensive repair to my machine!!) The next day I was having a chat with my mum and she suggested checking the needle was in the right place. And, indeed, the needle had slipped down a few millimetres and so was not in the right place! I put it in again more tightly and – phew- all was fixed! So the lesson learned is: always check the basics before panicking that you’ve broken your machine!

And, always take a lovely new dress or two on holiday 🙂

Wearing the dress on holiday :) Thanks to my cousin Amy for taking the photos :)
Wearing the dress on holiday 🙂 Thanks to my cousin Amy for taking the photos 🙂

What’s on your sewing table now?