Handmade Wardrobe
Comments 8

Arum Dress and Top

I have a new found respect for those who have taught the sewing classes I have taken. I recently took on the role of teacher to my mom and it was an adventure! I’m mostly kidding, it was more of a fun afternoon than an adventure.

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When the new Deer and Doe fall collection was released I knew I needed the arum dress! When it arrived and I prepped it my mom really liked the design and the fabric I picked so I used the rest to cut out a top for her. I told her I would prep it if she sewed it because she always wants me to make her things, but I just don’t have the time. I’ve heard a lot that sewing skipped a few generations, my moms being one of those, but she did take sewing in school. She has all of the skills necessary to make garments, she just lacks practice and confidence. Based on what she has told me it sounds like my grandmother lacked the patience back in the 70s to teach her more than what she learned at school.

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I made things very easy for her. I measured her and got the paper pieces ready, I cut out the chambray and I serged all of the edges on both before we started to put them together to ensure a clean finish. This also made it easier for my mom to follow the seam allowance. I set everything up so the presser foot was at the perfect place to line up with the serged thread for a 5/8 seam allowance. My mom was taught to stay as close to the edge of the fabric was possible and if the garment ends up too big you can go back and take it in. I explained that garments are created with a specific seam allowance for a reason and we need to follow them.

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My mom and I have the same bust measurement, but we have very different bodies. I have a bigger belly and fuller bust and her shoulders and bust are wider than mine. We both measured out as size 42 so we made these up in that size straight up! After we had put the front together with the back and tried them on we each had issues with deal with.
Carolanne’s Arum Dress:

Even though previous Deer and Doe patterns I have used have been fine for me bust wise, the girls are little squished here. I unpicked from the waist to the arms and went down to a 3/8 seam allowance. I just followed right up at the serge thread line. This helped with the feeling of tightness, but not the look of it. I’ve still been wearing this dress but will need to do an FBA for next time. I also added 4 inches in length. I also started off with two pockets, but didn’t like the look in the end and took one off.

Roberta’s Arum Top:

My moms top fit pretty much perfectly. She would have liked it to be slightly longer but we had a limited supply of fabric so she just did a baby hem. The arms were a little too tight for her at the end so she cut the sleeves down by about an inch and a half and then hemmed. After wearing my dress a few times I noticed the arms do squeeze a little so next time we will both need a FAA (full arm adjustment hehe). My mom also felt like her top was a little too blousey so she made a self fabric tie belt.

Not counting the time I spent prepping the paper pieces, cutting the fabric and serging the seams, these garments only took us about 2 hours to construct! I wish I could combine the Colette Laurel and the Arum because together they would make the perfect shift dress for me. You know, now that I’ve typed that out I might just give it a try. If I could somehow use the darted top of the Laurel, but add the kimono sleeves to it and use the Arum back pieces, hmm, that would be quite a nice fit I think. Stay tuned!


  1. I’ve been thinking about a Laurel with kimono sleeves too! I think there’s a tutorial on how to do kimono sleeves in the Colette Pattern Hack Pack… I just signed up so going to have to look tonight!

  2. sewingbeefabric says

    I particularly love the dress. Really flattering and I’d never have guessed it only took 2 hours!

    • Thanks so much Linda! I was really surprised how quickly the pattern came together as well. I guess I’ll just have to make a bunch more since it will be a great use of my limited sewing time 🙂

      • sewingbeefabric says

        Sounds like a good enough reason for new fabric to me!!

  3. Pingback: 2015 Review & Looking Ahead | Sweet Carolanne

  4. Love this! I’m also a massive fan of the Colette Laurel – and decided to convert the sleeves to kimono sleeves using the Pattern Hack Pack… it was surprisingly easy 🙂 although I found I had to rotate out the bust dart, as I couldn’t work out how to do it otherwise. I’m hoping to finish it this week, and will blog it when it’s done 🙂 It does look a lot like the D&D Arum!

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