Sunday, April 28, 2013

Colette Laurel Take Two

So, I made another Laurel:

Not too shabby, huh? I made a couple changes this time around. First, I changed the neckline. I used the neckline and tie from Butterick 5859:

Butterick 5859

Then, I added 1" of flare to the skirt to make it slightly more A-line.

Also, I added a split cuff to the sleeve (I picked this up from New Look 6180 sleeve).

At first, I had planned to move the zipper to the side but the neck was wide enough to slide over my head. I drafted a hem facing (I love them so much).

Other than that, no other changes were made. As before, I made used a size 14 for the bust and shoulders, grading down to a size 12 for the waist and hips. For the fabric, I bought some rayon/poly linen look fabric from Hancock Fabrics.

This came together rather quickly and I am quite pleased with it. Very pleased. I want to send out a very special thank you to my friend, The Amazing Q, for all of the photos.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Everybody's looking for something.

Have you ever come across a pattern that you just had to have only to discover that it's no longer in print? Have you ever searched in vain for the pattern which only fueled your need to own it? This is the pattern that I want and can't find for the life of me:

Vogue 8511
It's Vogue 8511 and I can't find it. Pissed off doesn't even begin to describe how I feel. I hate that cute patterns go out of print, but similar variations of the same crappy skirt seem to last forever (I'm looking at you Simplicity).


I'm looking for something similar (the Burda Marie skirt could work), but I have no real interest in drafting or franken-patterning. Right now, I'm in the mood for minimal effort. I almost made a third Laurel (I know I haven't posted about the second one, yet) because I could finish it in 4 hours without thinking about it.

If anyone could point me in the direction of this pattern (I fall in between sizes 18-20); I would be eternally grateful. My husband would also be grateful since I've whined about it for a week now.

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. My stash is chocked full of fun, spring-like fabrics and I have no idea what to sew. Indecisive, that's me. I purchase fabric with an idea in mind. By the time my fabric shows up, my mind has changed and I'm inundated with new ideas. Then I fear that my idea won't work and I'll end up wasting my fabric (this even applies to TNT patterns).


Aside from that, I have finished a second Laurel which I will post about this weekend (preview now via instagram). Two, I've just finished the buttons on another Simplicity 2215 shirt dress, this time with a collar. I will post about that one this weekend as well.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Finished! Colette Parfait Maxi dress

Last weekend, I finally finished my Colette Parfait Maxi dress:

It turned out beautifully. I am quite proud of this little experiment. I've made a maxi dress before, but it involved an elastic waistband. This dress wasn't necessarily complicated, but it wasn't really simple either. I probably won't make another one (long or short) as this pattern is fairly distinctive. Also, it is so low cut that I couldn't possibly wear it to work. I loathe the idea of jumpers, so don't even bother suggesting I wear a shirt under it. That's just a bit too cutesy for me.

Anyway, in my previous post, I mentioned the inspiration for this maxi dress came from the Colette Patterns flickr group. Thread Carefully posted her version and I had to have one. Seriously. Could not sleep, I was so excited. I also couldn't decide on fabric. I lucked up on some lovely voile from Hancock Fabrics. It's a part of their Nesa Fab Collection for $12.99 a yard. I had a 40% off coupon. Thank god as I needed 3 1/2 yards. I'm on a budget. $12.99 a yard is expensive for me.

I had attempted the Parfait pattern last year with disastrous results. I had the brilliant idea of adding piping but didn't bother to trim it from the seam allowance before adding the zipper. Fail. Multiple fails. It was promptly tossed into the UFO box. Other than the zipper snafu, the fit was fine. I cut a 12 for the bust, grading up to a 14 for the waist and hips. I needed to add a bit of wiggle room in the waist (about 1/2"), but otherwise, it was great. This eliminated the need for making a muslin. Awesome. I was already ahead.

Adding length to the skirt pieces posed another challenge. I had never lengthened a skirt so much. I was quite unsure how it would turn out or if the hem flare would be a bit too much for a skirt so long. In the end, it all worked out. I added 20 inches to the length of each skirt piece. I cut the skirt under the fullest part of the skirt (hip) and added the length from there.

The dress is fully lined with white cotton/poly batiste. Lining the dress actually saved me from using all of the dress fabric. Without the lining, you have to cut out facing pieces and double for the midriff pieces. In all, I only used about 2 3/4 yards of the dress fabric (it is 52" wide). I did screw up the midriff piece the first time around so it was good to have extra fabric.

I really like this dress as I like maxi dresses in general, however, walking around in it in Austin weather kind of knocked it down a bit. This dress and Central Texas humidity do not mix (the humidity is worse in Southeast Texas where I grew up, but let's not split hairs). I walked around South Congress in it for about an hour and my legs were sweating something fierce by the time I got back to the truck.

I could blame the poly content in the batiste, but I've lined just about every cotton lawn dress I've made with the same batiste and it was never an issue. My legs just need air. The temps were in the 80s I believe (or high 70s) so I doubt I'll actually wear this dress once the Hell Hot Summer starts up (75+ days of 100 degree heat. Screw you Central Texas). Boo hiss boo.

Oh well. I am still proud of my efforts. It is indeed a lovely dress and I enjoyed making it. Next up, is another Simplicity 2215 shirt dress and finishing my second Laurel. Busy, busy around here.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Progress Quickie: Colette Parfait Maxi dress

My current project: a maxi dress using the Parfait pattern by Colette Patterns.

It's just about finished except for the buttons and hem. I attempted to make the Parfait last year but gave up on it. Then I saw the maxi dress that Thread Carefully posted on the Colette Patterns flickr group. I

Maxi dresses are surely on trend, but most of them to tend to be a bit unflattering. Also, they are made with knits. I was dying for a woven maxi dress pattern that didn't look like a muumuu. The Parfait is perfect for a maxi dress.

I can't wait to finish it :)

Finished! Colette Laurel

I'm on a roll. I finished something else and took more pictures. I am quite proud of myself.

This is my version of the Colette Laurel pattern, an easy-fitting shift dress.

I like this dress, but I'm not in love with this dress. This marked my first time making a shift dress. I've always wanted to make one but could never decide on a pattern. When the Colette Laurel popped up, I figured I would give it a try.

Per the usual, the Colette pattern instructions were excellent and the pattern was well drafted. There is even a free booklet with ideas on modifying the pattern. The neckline and sleeves are finished with bias tape, which adds to the ease of construction. I have a love/hate relationship with bias tape. Sometimes it makes a garment look a bit homemade. Other times, not so much. I made my own bias tape for this dress.

As far as alterations go, mine were few. I made a size 14 for the bust and shoulders and a size 12 for the waist and hips. I used a hem facing, so my actual hem size was about 1/2". That was it. The fit was spot-on.

Next time around, however, I plan on lowering the neckline. Every time I sit down the neckline kind of choked me a bit. I would also shorten the sleeves.

For the fabric, I used a cotton-linen blend purchased from Joann. The website lists it as a cotton/rayon blend but on the bolt it was listed as cotton-linen. I'm inclined to agree with the latter as the fabric is missing rayon's trademark drape. Using linen was also a first for me. I hope to repeat this in the future. It was a bit sheer so I underlined it with white cotton/poly batiste.

I don't know if shift dresses are for me. It was flattering and all but I don't know. It's cute and easy to wear but it just doesn't do it for me. I think the neckline is too high. I will make it again with a lower neckline and see if that changes my mind.

It's a great pattern though and a great basic shift dress. Most of the ones I've come across are shapeless, this one is quite flattering. I like it but I want to love it. I'll tweak it some more and see what happens.
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