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, it 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!
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.
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! 😉
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!