Tuesday, 21 May 2013

One more Laurel


I actually started writing this post yesterday, but didn't get a chance to finish it and overnight I've discovered that one of my Laurels (below) that I entered into the Colette Patterns Laurel contest has won second prize in the 'Added Detail or Embellishment' category! I'm so flattered to see my top alongside such amazing dressmaking talent - do go and check out the other winners. If you quilt you'll especially love the dress which won first place in this category as it combines precision piecing with dressmaking.


So, topically, this post is about one last Laurel (no, I don't actually believe that either, but I feel the need to at least attempt to offer up the illusion of there being some diversity to my dressmaking). I actually made it a few weeks ago, but I've been crazily busy and I haven't had time to blog about it until now. This one is interlined, as the cotton was very sheer.


For those questioning the difference between lining and interlining: if you line something, essentially you create an identical garment and then sew the two garments so that seam allowances are sandwiched, unseen, in the middle of the two. If you interline something, at the outset you simply sew two pieces of fabric together and then treat them as one - this way doesn't hide any of the seam allowances, but that wasn't necessary here as I was using french seams.

I used an incredibly fine voile for the interlining that had the exact weight and drape of the large spotted dobby fabric (is it dobby when the tufted spots are this large?). Out of the three Laurels I've made, I attached one collar with a bias binding finish, another as a traditionally-installed Peter Pan collar covering the join with a strip of bias inside the blouse, and for this final Laurel, I went off piste entirely.

I didn't sew the interlining fabric to the outer fabric at the outset as you normally would, but instead sewed the interlining back and front pieces together at the shoulder seams and then did the same for the outer fabric. I was then able to temporarily treat the interlining fabric as a facing, and sew the Peter Pan collar inside this sandwich to give the simplest of installations from all the collar insertion techniques I've experimented with. I then sewed the interlining fabrics to the outer fabrics in the conventional way and from that point on treated the fabrics as one.


I left the sleeves unlined as I quite like being able to see the fabric as it really is here.

It's actually my least favourite of the three Laurels I've made, as no matter how fine the fabrics are, two layers of fabric won't replicate the flowing drape of silk. Silk tends to fall over your curves, and has a slight static that makes it follow the exact line of your figure, but without being clingy. An interlined cotton, no matter how light both the fabrics are, tends to fall over your curves, but then stands proud from the body. Everyone tends to have an issue that they are mindful of when dressmaking and mine is a big-bottom-in-relation-to-the-rest-of-me, which is exacerbated by having a very, very short body (because how much back can you realistically squeeze into 5ft1" without losing room for legs, neck and a head?). If the drape isn't just right it can make things look even more out of proportion; if the fabric doesn't fall back in at the the waist and stands proud of my body from bust to bottom (yes, I know they're on different sides of my body & that's what makes for a double-width tube!) it can make me look slightly shapeless. The photo you see below is the 'flattering photo'. I'm having to delete the 'unflattering truth' photo from my memory or I may not be able to actually wear this top. It's an interesting experiment to make so many versions of the same top and to observe how it can morph from flattering to unflattering purely because of the drape of the fabric. I like how it looks from the front though, so it may get some heavy with-cardigan usage.


Hence why I think I may make another Laurel as I'd still really like a practical cotton version, but perhaps in a cotton that isn't so sheer that it requires interlining, which would hopefully make the drape less of an issue.

I usually make my own bias binding in self fabric or a contrasting fabric, but for this top I used pre-made bias. I actually love working with the pre-made version - the bias strip is so heavily starched that it's easy to manipulate and the pre-formed creases are satisfyingly crisp. It seems to knock so many minutes off construction time!


The inspiration for this top and the fabric use actually comes from something I pinned on Pinterest over a year ago. My version seems rather demure next to the original foxy inspiration top, but I'm not sure I would wear something quite that see-through....or with such puffy sleeves. Interestingly, it's only since making up my book of croquis that I've been able to see why, despite my absolute love of puffed sleeves (who couldn't watch Anne of Green Gables as a child and not develop a life-long love of them?), they will never suit me. If you look at the photo above, you can see it's really only the top on the left that actually flatters my frame. The rest give a very curious effect indeed.

If you'd like more Laurel inspiration, you can find plenty in the Colette Patterns Flickr pool. My prize for coming second was £50 worth of Colette Patterns! I'm more than a little excited by that proposition - my quick trawl of the Flickr pool has made me think that a Hazel and a Peony dress pattern seem to give a good fit and look consistently lovely in the photos in the pool - do you have any recommendations of your own? I'm also pondering the Sencha blouse, but I'm not sure if there's too much going on around the waist that may overwhelm my petite frame. I don't actually dislike being small at all, but I do look at my super-tall mannequin and think that it must be so much easier to carry off any piece of clothing if you have more height. Although I'm sure that comes with challenges that wouldn't even have crossed my mind.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned the freakish thing that happened when I was pregnant for the first time - I grew! When I returned to wearing some of my old clothing, once my daughter was here, I realised that most of my clothes seemed a little shorter. At first I thought this might be because I was a tiny bit bigger and so perhaps I was wearing them in a different way, but eventually I got my husband to measure me and we were both alarmed to find that I'd gained a whole inch in height! That pregnancy had been hideously uncomfortable and it seems it stretched my vertebrae out somehow - who knew that could happen? And just in case you're wondering, my second pregnancy passed without any height adjustments, despite my husband anticipating that if we were to carry on having children I would eventually tower over his 6ft2" frame.

Florence x

27 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Florence! And I really like this version, the spotty cotton is lovely. x

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  2. I've loved all the Laurels you've made so far, they really suit you. Completely envious you grew during pregnancy though, I seem to have been left with bigger feet; not longer, just wider Hobbit feet!

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    1. My feet grew too! I think it was the extra weight bearing down on them every time I took a step...I had to have a completely different wardrobe of shoes when I was pregnant!

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  3. Hi - I saw that you had won, well done you. I love your next Laurel, blimey i haven't even made one yet. Shame on me. Yours is gorgeous x

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    1. Thank you! Do crack on with it - you'll love having it for summer and because the sleeves are so fitted it will be perfect for wearing under cardigans if the weather continues in its current depressing vein!

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  4. Congratulations on your win! This pattern seems like it was made for you.

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    1. Thank you - it does feel like that! Oddly, I tried the Violet and that didn't seem the right shape or fit for me at all, so it really does vary from pattern to pattern.

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  5. They all look great, I really like the dots on this one but I know what you mean, drape is important to me too. I grew 1/2" with each of my two pregnancies, and gained a shoe size. All those growth hormones floating around I think :)

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    1. I am SO pleased to hear of someone else who grew in pregnancy as it seems to be so unheard of that people seem to think I'm delusional when I say that I grew!

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    1. Thank you - it was a lovely surprise :)

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    2. And I've just seen you were one of the judges! x

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  7. Congratulations Florence, you are sure to have fun with your winnings. I think this top looks very flattering. Perhaps a few washes will soften the fabric and improve the drape?

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    1. I think I will - I chose a Peony and a Hazel this morning! That is such a good idea about washing it - you're right - that may change things. Thank you.

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  8. I am 6 foot tall - believe me, it comes with problems you wouldn't have even thought of!!

    Loving the Laurel, and this version is gorgeous - but it would do NOTHING for my rugby-player shoulders. See what I mean....;0)

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    1. Oh dear, I knew there must be an equal amount of downsides.

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  9. Well, I must say most of those winners outfits are just awful (I know that's rude but its true). Mostly they are garish and ugly and unpleasant to look at. In all cases except the last one where I liked them equally (voted for by the reader), I preferred the second placed versions. They tended to be more classic, elegant and refined and really show off the actual sewing skills. No idea what the judges were thinking of as truly some of the winners were eye sores.

    Well done Flossy but you were robbed! As were a few others.

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    1. I didn't actually feel like that about any of them, but I understand it's a very subjective thing!

      However, I think that the nature of the divisions in the contest (favourite use of print/colour/embellishment/self-designed fabric etc) were actually calling on people to stretch themselves, go wild and have fun with it. I think because it was a contest people challenged themselves to be more creative and adventurous than they usually might. The winners, I think, were chosen for fulfilling this brief. Irrespective of whether I'd wear it myself or not, the craftsmanship on a dress like the one with the embroidered sewing machine was incredible - and those sleeves were amazing! - and I really think it deserved to win, so I think the judges did a great job.

      I actually felt that the judges had been kind in picking my top as despite the fact that it may be classic and very wearable, it's a rather timid take on fulfilling the brief for added detail and embellishment.

      And thank you - you're right - I loathe being called Flossie, so thank you so much for returning to call me Florence - that's really sweet of you.

      x

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  10. P.S Apologies Florence for not calling you by your name which I do know you prefer but not even getting the spelling of Flossie right.

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  11. Congratulations, your top is a lovely combination of colours, very sweet and wearable.

    Slightly alarmed that I may grow during pregnancy, I'm tall enough and my feet are big enough too - eep! :)

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  12. I know I said this already on your instagram photo, but seriously, this top is divine!!! I absolutely love it and the fabric!

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  13. This is so cute! I love it! I was so happy to see your other version in the winners' circle-- it's lovely!

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  14. I love this top too! It actually inspired me to purchase some similar fabric. Is there a zip in this version?

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  15. Now I love this one! And wouldn't that pattern with some added length make a wonderful dress? So much talent in the contest!

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  16. Oooh well done on the win, very well-deserved! Your Laurels are lovely (most amused that my 'classy' comment on your flickr stream reappeared in recent activity with a third would-be 'classy' commenter. I hadn't even noticed that it had already been said!! But classy it is!).
    And all those patterns you can buy, very exciting indeed! I have beignet sitting on my sewing table at the moment, which I really, really love, though I'm unsure whether it will suit my very ribcage-y torso. Look forward to seeing the new patterns being sewn up! xx

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x