Meet Laurel!

Ah yes, I have caught the latest bug going around… Colette Laurel! I love this pattern, it is a roomy shift dress with endless possibilities. I like that it isn’t too fitted, it gives it more of a casual feel and of course comfort. Around where I live people don’t get too gussied up unless it is for a special occasion, so some of the dresses I have made are sadly sitting in my closet waiting to be taken out for a night on the town. This dress I can easily wear to work or dinner or drinks without the feeling of being super overdressed amongst the jeans and tees.

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The dress is an easy sew. It consists of just front and back panels, and sleeves if you desire. I cut a straight size 6 and still had quite a bit of ease to take in the back. I also lowered the neckline down an inch or two because it felt a little too restrictive and nun-like. Additionally, the sleeves were a little too long for my taste so I took those up a bit as well. I used bias tape around the neckline, and I was going to include it on the sleeve hem but I decided it was an overkill.

The fabric I used was a nice linen blend with a lime green, brown, and orangey-red ikat print. The linen is pretty dense, however it was still a little too sheer for my taste so I made the version with the underlining. I generally try to avoid lining with our hot summers, but it was necessary on this one.

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I am loving how it turned out. I have been seeing some really cute versions of the Laurel made with beautiful eyelet fabric and I really want to try it out. I have never worked with eyelet material, but since this dress is so simple it will make the perfect guinea pig piece.

Until then I think I’ll have fun taking Laurel out on the town!

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Tracy Reese (Vogue) 1224, a perfect summer dress!

I love this dress! It is so comfy and it is perfect for bright crazy patterns which I adore. I used this soft rayon knit from fabric.com. I almost thought it looked a little bohemian, my husband said he thought it looked like it had monkeys on it? Um ok… it is cute regardless!

This pattern is all over pattern review, and since I have had it on my list for a while I am really thankful I had so many reviews to refer to. I heeded everyone’s advice by adding about 4 inches of length to the bottom and an inch to the width so the skirt wouldn’t be so tight like in the photo of the model. I also added about an inch to the bodice, but I could have probably left it as it was since I have a short torso. The bodice ended up being a little billowy, but I didn’t mind the effect. I had to shorten the elastic in the ties also so that the neckline would stay put. I just tied the ends off instead of buying the metal end covers too.

It was a really easy dress to make, other than just making the alterations to the skirt I had no problems making this, it was a fun piece and I know it will get a lot of wear. I think this dress looks really cute with flats which makes it perfect for summer! Here I am at the St. Raphael picnic with my sister-in-law Olivia. We won a bunch of plants (we went for all the cactuses since it is hard to kill them!) and we are rocking out our matching chicken hats that we won at the Mardi Gras booth!


Vogue 8645, my giraffe print dress

I have had this really cute green giraffe print fabric that I bought super cheap for $4 a yard, but it is really sheer so I have been debating on what to do with it. I have seen good reviews on Vogue 8645 which is a fully lined dress with ties at the shoulders and a belt around the waist and figured it would be a good project!

Normally I avoid lining dresses if at all possible because for one, its such a pain in the ass. Second, I live in Louisville which has unbearably hot summers due to the city being nestled in the river valley, so any additional layers of clothing is one too many. However, since this fabric was so sheer I decided to suck it up and line the dress and wear this in the evening or to places inside. I found a light beige mesh from Joanns that matched the tan color in the giraffe print and used this for the lining.

This dress is one of those “very easy” Vogue editions, and they ain’t kidding- this dress was a cinch! It had no zippers, elastic, interfacing or nothing. It was just 4 panels, two front and two back pieces that were sewn together, ties, the belt and pockets. The pockets on the side were a breeze. I think pockets have become much easier to sew now that I have worked with them a lot. The lining was also extremely easy, it was pieced together the same as the dress, and sewn to the top with right sides together. The straps were sewn together afterwards. I love the ties on the straps, they give the dress some flare where it otherwise would have been a pretty plain dress. This dress absolutely needs the belt though, it looks like a potato sack otherwise. Depending on the fabric and pattern you use, a different waist belt would look cute with this dress too.

Personally I think this is a pretty dressy dress, especially with the added lining. (I do think that the lining could be omitted though with a thicker less sheer fabric, the arms would just need some bias tape for reinforcement.) It would be great for going to dinner, a play, or even a casual garden wedding would work. Its a great versatile piece and I would definitely sew it again.


New Look 6051- Project runway workroom tunic.. eh

Simplicity has a Project Runway line (LOVE that show!) and they rolled out this tunic. I thought it looked so cute- maybe I just really like the blue floral satic fabric they showcased it in. I couldn’t find any fabric that resembled this, but I did find this pretty black and turquiose charmeuse- the last bit on the bolt!

The tunic was relatively simple to make, it was a big rectangle with a hole for your head- kind of like a poncho. The sides sewed up to make it more fitted. The neckline had casing around it which I always seem to struggle with, I just can’t ever get it to line up and not pucker. The tunic also had a drawstring, there are two buttonholes which I always have fun making. To make the casing for the drawstring they called for bias tape to be sewn on the inside with a channel left open to pull the drawstring through.

I think my tunic resembles the pattern photo, however I don’t know if I am really crazy about the look. My husband thought I had made a kimono, and not that there is anything wrong with kimonos but that wasn’t really what I was going for with this piece. It was fun to make though, and it was cool working with a satic which I haven’t used too much up to now.


Bat wings?? No, its Mcalls “Laura Ashley” 6277

I have been eyeing this Mcalls pattern from the Laura Ashley line because the big drapey sleeves look so sleek in the drawn view (scoop neckline) on the pattern picture. After cutting the pieces and trying it on 20 times during the contruction, I felt like I could just take off and fly away with the gigantic bat wing sleeves for this dress! Needless to say I made quite a few alterations to this dress.

I found this bright fun printed rayon blend fabric that I wanted to use for this dress, and I decided to omit the lining for this dress all together. The material is pretty thick and not at all sheer, and it is very soft and drapey so it seemed unnecessary. Plus I’ll probably wear this in the summer and additional layers of fabric in the hot River valley summers = one sweaty gal! Not cute!

The contruction of the actual dress was very easy, it has three sections, a middle piece and the two sides. The problems came when I attached the sleeves and tried it on. The view for the V-neck dress had shorter sleeves and the view for this dress added about two extra inches on the length. I will go ahead and say that unless you have stretch armstrong arms these are way too big for the average woman and you should go ahead and cut the smaller ones. I couldn’t even get my belt around them, they got caught around my waist! I ended up spending way too much time hemming them shorter and sizing them down. The dress was also really long, I had to take it up about 2-3 inches as well. In the end I think my dress looks pretty cute, but it took way too long for something I thought would be a quick project piece.


Simplicity 2892- cute on top!

I love making dresses and there are many I have planned but sometimes you just want to throw on some jeans and a cute top. This top from the Simplicity pattern 2892 was so easy and I think its super cute especially in a pattern. I used the view D which was pictured on the front. You can also make a belt to go with this version but in my opinion the top would need to be made longer to accomodate a belt.

The top was very easy and relatively quick to make. The majority of the work went into the neckline. The yoke had a lot of gathering which was a minor challenge with this particular material. I had seen this blue flower printed cotton material at Joann’s and fell in love with it, but they only had 1.5 yards left so I snatched it up and decided it was just enough for a top. It is a thick rougher cotton material, definitely not a “laundered cotton” which they always put as a suggested material for these types of patterns. Why they put this I don’t know, its not like people have old sheets and yards of fabric laying around that they have run through the laundry 50 times just so that they can make them into tops and dresses and stuff. Sheesh.

Anyways, since the material was a little stiff, it didn’t quite gather and bunch too easily so I had to kind of scrunch it with my fingers as I sewed it up. It also had gathering for the top ruffle band, I had to use the same method when sewing this piece as well. The only real drawback that I had with this top is that the bias tape under the armpit seams was left exposed on the inside of the shirt, but since nobody sees the inside I suppose it didn’t really matter much.

I really enjoyed putting this top together and I have already worn it to work for casual Friday and I wore to get a sushi dinner last night with my husband to our favorite place Oishii on Bardstown road. I will definitely make this top again (in a softer cotton) and I definitely recommend it. Two thumbs up Simplicity 2892!


Paisley dress

I found this paisley print by Michael Miller, called Posh Paisley. It comes in many different colors but I loved this bright pink one. I’ve had this Simplicity pattern 2584 in my to do pile for a while and this fabric was perfect for it! Its a cute, casual dress that I can wear to work, hanging out on the weekends or for dinner and drinks.

It was an easy dress to make, the most challenging part was the yolk (neckline) but I had a lot of fun putting it together. After lining the yolk section, I mtched the notched sections and dot and sewed it onto the dress. After fusing the interfacing to the lining and sewing it to the outside, I sewed two straight lines down the center, and you cut all the way down between these to create the neck opening. The lining gets inverted to the inside, and then you just iron it out and it completes the collar. It was almost like a magic trick!

The sleeves were made by sewing in an inch wide channel and pulling through elastic. After trying it on, I fit the elastic to my arm so it wasn’t too tight or too loose. By itself, Chris thought this dress looked like a night gown. This was pretty annoying but I’ll admit (especially in this pic) that without a belt and some cute heels it does kind of look like something your granny would bust out.

I really like this dress, and I would definitely make it again. The pattern came with different variations so the next one I would try would probably be the version with the puff sleeves and tie waist.