I am ashamed to say that after all my best stash busting intentions at the beginning of the year I now have much more fabric now than I did when I made those pledges.
So what went wrong? Mostly the London Sewing Meet Up. I took quite a bit of fabric to swap and got rid of all but one piece. I also brought loads more back. From the swap, plus my freebie from Abakhan, plus the stuff I bought. The look on Mr T’s face when I wheeled my over flowing shopping trolley through the door was enough to make me realise that I had some serious stash busting to do this week.
Of course I already had the perfect pattern. Colette’s Laurel, with the added incentive of a competition. Having seen all the wonderful versions already out there I don’t for one second think I will win anything. Check out the pictures on Flickr. I love Rachel’s, and Scruffy Badger’s, and Kim has made four! It did however help me make the decision to use that pattern and make whatever fabric I had work, rather than dithering for ages about which pattern, which fabric, etc etc etc…
So first up- I pulled out a scrap left over from our hall curtains. Beach huts! I live by the sea, we have beach huts. And yes, I am that cliche – a Londoner who moves to the coast and decorates their house with seaside stuff. Remembering Marie’s gorgeous beach hut skirt, I decided that it was something I could use. Probably less than a metre though, so I’d need something else to match it with. My blue sparkly denim from the meet up caught my eye. It’s a very subtle sparkle, not in your face glitzy. Sparkly like the sea (sort of?) And the red twill from the same place. Yep, I had a plan.
It came together amazingly easily. I cut a size 4 at the shoulders, 6 everywhere else, and ended taking a bit more off the shoulders to narrow them. I would like to say I was scientific about my customising but actually I just printed out the pattern, stuck it together then chopped it up making sure I lined up the different sections on the front and back and remembered to add a seam allowance. I made the sleeves shorter and wider and the skirt a little more A-line for no better reason than I wanted to. I found that I needed to take in a couple of inches all the way down the centre back seam and was still able to get away with no zip. So here it is, Laurel no. 1:
For Laurel no.2 I used a metre long piece of Michael Miller Goldfish cotton I got ages ago from SewBox when inspired by this corset on Burdastyle. It has been sitting in my stash for over a year and needed to be used. I decided to pair it with some black cotton left over from my Macaron dress. Again I just printed the pattern then cut it up and added seam allowances. Then I sewed it all together. Again no zip needed. This time I decided to get a bit fancy. First I added the ric rac, again from the stash. Doesn’t it remind you a little bit of fish scales? (Get her, trying to make like she thought it all through 🙂 ) It still needed a little something so I cut a couple of fish from the remaining scraps, interfaced the backs and stitched them on the back shoulder, just above the hem and then on the front. A while back I found this amazing clear thread, I think it was in a box of stuff from my grandmother, an obsessive quilter. It looks a bit like fishing line,( how appropriate!) and meant I could sew them on invisibly. I did the same thing to try and hide where I’d blatantly failed to pattern match on the back seam. Why didn’t I just cut it from one piece of fabric? Duh- I already knew I wouldn’t need a zip. Finally my daughter decided it needed sequins so we destroyed a belt of hers that no longer fitted and after sticking them on with wonder tape to get the right positions I stitched them on with the same invisible thread to look like bubbles. This is what we ended up with:
A little OTT compared with my usual stuff but we had fun and I will definitely wear it. It was nice coming out of my comfort zone and trying techniques like applique and sequins and it has definitely encouraged me to make more effort with embellishments .
I love this pattern. It’s so easy to chuck together and I have plans for more including at least two tops. I may even get another dress finished before the competition deadline tonight. The most difficult bit of these projects was getting photos. My camera is still out of action so apologies for the crappy iphone pics. The pattern itself is a breeze, and now I’ve figured out the basic adjustments I needed to make it fit me the possibilities are infinite.
As I was sorting out my pictures for this post I remembered a really interesting post by Debi of My Happy Sewing Place on sewalongs and contests that made me think about my own motivation. I don’t seriously expect to win, I have only been taking my sewing seriously for a short while and there are loads more deserving sewists out there who have made fabulous interpretations of this pattern. I’m still going to post my pics though, in the spirit of sharing ideas. (And you never know 🙂 ) However without the contest it would undoubtedly have taken me a lot longer to discover this fabulous pattern. Actually I don’t know if I would have bothered at all as it’s not a style I normally go for. Now though I can see myself making loads. It has also motivated me to just get on with sewing instead of faffing about making endless plans, and encouraged me to start seriously attacking my ever growing stash. And best of all is seeing what everyone else comes up with and discovering fabulous new and inspiring sewists.