Handmade Wardrobe
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Back To Basics With a Purple Laurel

I still have about 10 items that I’ve made this year that need to be blogged about but I wanted to skip ahead and show you the first thing I made with my NEW sewing machine. Read all about my new machine here!

I went to Gather Here last Saturday and bought lots of fabric and patterns, including this purple Robert Kaufman interweave chambray and the Laurel pattern! I set right to work. This fabric is perfect for the warmer weather and the color is perfect for fall so I can see myself pairing this dress with mustard tights and a cardigan come October.

One of my plans for my new sewing machine is to kind of go back to basics and Laurel really fits the bill. It’s a simple shift dress with only three pattern pieces. The sleeves and neck are finished with bias tape, but I just folded and top stitched the sleeves so I could use the rest of my bias tape for the hem. I adore a hem that is finished with bias tape. It just looks so polished and I use it often. The only change I made was to add 6 inches at the add/remove length line. I’ve found I need to do this with all of the Colette patterns I have used except Mabel, so I guess it’s actually more accurate to say it’s an adjustment I make to all of the Colette dress patterns.

photo (35)

Next time I will lower the bust darts by about an inch and I will make the back darts a little bigger so they provide a little extra shaping. My waist and hip measurements lined up exactly with the size 14 and my bust was half an inch bigger. Based on the finished measurements I went with the straight 14 and tapered the seam allowance slightly once I got to the bust dart and I have no complaints about the fit. I can actually put this dress on over my head with just a tiny bit of wiggling around. There’s a little bit of excess fabric at my neck in the back so I might add itty bitty darts for next time, but I’m just being finicky, this is a great dress that is really easy to wear. For work I added a brown belt and matching shoes but I can imagine throwing this on for a day at the beach or after a day of swimming to go to the grocery store.

Me-Made-May taught me that I need more separates and more casual wear and Laurel is the perfect casual piece. I think my next one will be made in the shirt form which fits my need for separates, I have some lace in my stash that I think would work really well with a voile underlining.

Since I’m not as used to the Bernina as I am with my Pfaff or even with my Nana’s singer, I thought working on a few simple projects but paying really close attention would be a good place to start. I tend to ignore notches and don’t really follow directions to a T anymore. Sometimes I just don’t see the need but I think starting fresh and taking things slow for my first few items will really help me to understand my new tool.

On Laurel I carefully snipped all of the notches and lined them up so when I left the dress hanging before hemming I knew that the fabric had dropped and I hadn’t just sewed the pieces together unevenly. I’ve never seen a woven fabric drop so much! It was a nice feeling to know without a shadow of a doubt that it was the fabric and not me.

I’ve been tackling a lot of new sewing skills this year and it’s refreshing to just sit down for a few hours and walk away with an easy to wear dress. Do you ever find it helpful to go back to basics?

photo (36)


  1. Pingback: Monday Motivation | Sweet Carolanne

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