Laurel with a twist

Hi everyone!

Today I’ve got the first bit of what I think is going to be an ongoing project: hacking the Colette Laurel. Although I didn’t immediately see it as something I would wear a lot, itΒ  seems to have become a pattern that I want to make a million more versions of! This is the third time I’ve made this pattern (see here and here), but the first I’ve really started playing around with it. I’ve got a serious obsession with Kimono sleeves right now, and decided that the Laurel would be the perfect pattern to play around with altering standard sleeves to kimono sleeves, as it’s otherwise so simple!

Not the best shot of me, but it is the best shot of the blouse…

Here’s what I changed from the main pattern (aside from fitting adjustments):

  • Rotated out bust dart
  • drafted short kimono sleeves
  • scooped out the neck by 1″
  • Shortened the length of the dress to blouse length (this was mainly due to laziness. I didn’t want to print and tape together another pattern if I was just going to change it anyway. I’ve also heard that the blouse fits slightly differently, and I love the fit of the dress, so why bother changing!?)

I used the pattern expansion pack from the Colette blog to draft the kimono sleeves – the details are given for the Oslo cardigan, but work for any pattern. I’d just got down to looking at how all the pattern pieces would work to make the kimono sleeve when I realised that the bust dart would get in the way of the new sleeve – or rather, I couldn’t work out how I would make the dart once I had altered the sleeve. So, I took a deep breath, and removed the bust dart! I used this tutorial, which is brilliant. (pic: the amended pattern piece, and a good view of that kimono sleeve!)

I then sewed the blouse as per the pattern instructions, leaving a little keyhole opening at the back. I do have a pretty button to sew on at the top, but I have put it somewhere “very safe” so can no longer find it.

Back view – the opening at the neckline is the bit that is gaping a little

This is my first time doing any alterations of this kind and size – and I’m really pleased with the result! As I wasn’t sure if the alterations to the pattern would work, I used leftover fabric from a dress I made last year. The back looks quite loose, but I actually need all that ease for reaching forward. There is some sunlight damage on the back, as I couldn’t cut around it, but I can’t see behind me, can I! πŸ˜‰

It also looks nice tucked in πŸ™‚

I’m definitely increasing in confidence with pattern adjustments and hacking – and have some quite ambitious projects ahead building on these skills. I’ve realised that they’re not hugely difficult, but in order to do them properly, I need to take time to really focus, as well as a fair bit of space. I haven’t had much of either recently, but hopefully should be able to do a bit more over the next few weeks. Just in time for some spring sewing!





A very sensible Cambie


Hi all!

Whew I can’t believe it’s already mid-March!

Things have been pretty hectic around here, as I started a new job in mid-Feb and have also been on holiday – anyone following me on Instagram (@cinderellissews) will have seen some pics of my travels.

I went to Malaga and Granada at the end of February, and as the weather that time of year is usually pretty warm, I did hope to get some wear out of a new Wren I made (as yet unblogged), and was also busy on another McCall’s Shirtdress. Unfortunately, as the holiday got nearer, the forecast got worse, and my trip was over the coldest weekend of the winter. I still had a lovely time, but I decided against rushing to finish the shirtdress on time, seeing as I didn’t think I would have the chance to wear it. It’s still in the state I left it in:

As we’re still having some distinctly chilly weather (completely normal for England. Sigh), I decided that I should focus on ‘weather appropriate’ sewing when I got back. This is proving to be a bit of a sew-jo killer, as I keep on starting new projects, then losing my drive halfway through. However, I did rescue one March-approved dress from the UFO pile recently – a winter Cambie!

This dress was around… 3 years in the making (!).


I bought the fabric (a dark grey polyester/ wool combo) around 3 years ago to make myself a nice neutral dress. It’s got lovely drape and is really soft, but we all know how I feel about making neutrals. It eventually got cut out and made into Simplicity 2215, after I saw Andrea’s lovely version. Unfortunately, I was still fairly new to sewing, and didn’t quite realise how horrid it would be – the dark grey combined with the high neckline of the bodice was really not a good look (think maybe Amish?). So I decided to make the skirt part into a skirt… which of course also looked hideous. The pleats didn’t work with the thick, drapey fabric.

So, knowing I had enough fabric surviving to make something else, I stowed it away for a year, until the next winter. After the success of remodelling my first Cambie (view B), I decided it would make a lovely version of View A, with an A-line skirt, perfect for work πŸ™‚

The original Cambie in all it’s floral glory. Much more my usual style!

So, in the winter of 2014-15, I sewed this up – I shortened the bodice by around an inch, and otherwise this was a straight size 8, as the 10 I had made for my floral version was far too big. However, what with a bit of extra winter weight around my middle *ahem*, I got all the way to putting the zip in, when I discovered that my dress was just an eeency-weeency bit too tight. I could do the zip up, but then, that pesky thing of breathing got in the way and I worried that my dress would rip at the seams. By that point it was getting on for Spring, and I just didn’t want to re-do the zip. Into the corner it went, for another year.

Bright orange lining – hey, practical doesn’t have to mean boring! It’s not normally so crumpled but I couldn’t be bothered to iron it.

In February, just before starting my new job, I decided I wanted a new, smart, office appropriate dress… and I remembered this! Even better, I tried it on, and clearly I hadn’t eaten so many pies this year as it fits perfectly! All I had to do was insert the armholes into the front of the bodice, and hem it.

Back view

I love it! It may be the most boring dress I’ve ever made (in terms of fabric choice!), but it’s perfect for work – I feel smart, but also chic, and that gorgeous sweetheart neckline just tips the balance so that it’s not boring! I’m also really happy with the fit. The pattern is a real treasure – it’s just so well designed with sweet details, while still being practical (hello, pockets!).

I think I have one more cool-weather make ahead of me, and then it’s all about sewing for Spring! What have you been sewing?