Stash busting fish and beach huts – Laurels 1and 2

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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:

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Beach hut Laurel 3

Beach hut Laurel 2

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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:

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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.

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64 thoughts on “Stash busting fish and beach huts – Laurels 1and 2

  1. Katy

    Oh my goodness, these are stunning! I totally love your beach huts one, it’s beautiful and looks perfect. Love, love, love it! I also think your fishy one is inspired! Such as different way of using the pattern. I think you’ve outdone yourself 🙂 I totally agree with you that it’s fun to enter competitions, it really makes you think outside the box, and if it means you get through the stash – then even better. I wish I had the time to do a laurel interpretation too, although I doubt it would be as innovative as yours 🙂

    Reply
    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Cheers! I’m sure yours would have been absolutely stunning and put mine to shame. Nothing to stop you sewing one up anyway, it’s the kind of pattern you can knock up in an evening. I’d love to see what you’d come up with.

      Reply
  2. Thimble & Cork

    These are fantastic! Your fishy dress is SO much fun!! I love that the printed fabric is shaped and dips down in the back. And those extra fish and sequin bubbles?! Awesome!!

    Reply
  3. sylkotwist

    Wow, I’m super impressed! What an amazing eye you have for putting these elements together. A brilliant interpretation of the competition brief, I love them!

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Another Laurel coming through … | sylkotwist

  5. Scruffybadger

    Awwww, they are both so cute!!! I love your interpretations and can’t decide which I like best, they are both so unique and creative takes on a single dress pattern inspired by the fabric you’ve chosen. Brilliant and best of luck, you deserve recognition for such works of art!!

    Reply
  6. Tempest Devyne

    They are RIDICULOUSLY gorgeous. I have to admit the Laurel doesn’t appeal to me at all (costs too much for something I’d have to put in work to grade up) but wow! you have vision – both of those dresses are incredible. Love that beach hut one, and would steal the fish one there wasn’t an annoying ocean in the way. Don’t mention cliche of moving somewhere and decorating/accessorising with beach decor….you should see how many union jacks (cushions, wall art, curtains) and beach things I’ve got in my Arizona home!

    Reply
  7. Shar

    Both dresses look fantastic! My favorite (I know you didn’t ask me to choose) is the goldfish dress. I love the combination of the fish, the sequins, and contrasting fabric – so gorgeous and playful. Best of luck in the contest – I think you have better chances than you think!

    Reply
    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Cheers! It was a joint effort with my daughter as much as anything, she came up with the idea of the sequins and helped with the fish placement. I think sometimes it helps to see things like an eight year old.

      Reply
  8. Kathryn

    These are both such amazing dresses! I loved how you’ve mixed fabrics together and made two such original designs. That goldfish fabric is fantastic! I need to bite the bullet and get a bit more confidence to do some fabric mixing like that – you’ve inspired me!

    Reply
    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thank you! The fabric mixing was less design, more necessity – I am on a fabric buying ban so I needed to use what was in my stash. I’m really pleased with how they turned out though, so I think I’ll try this approach more often. So I’d say go for it – I’d love to see what you come up with.

      Reply
    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thank you! I can’t take all the credit/blame though, my daughter helped with fish dress and donated her belt to cut up for sequins. So it’s a joint effort really.

      Reply
  9. Lynne

    Both your dresses are fantastic! I love the beach huts, but, my oh my, those goldfish are brilliant!! Especiallythe ones who are swimming off their fabric, and the bubbles are inspired. You have a great imagination to think of this.

    Reply
    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thank you! It really was a bit of a fluke – you know when you make something and you think – hmmm, it needs more? So you add more, then think hmm, maybe a bit of this too, and so on until you run out of time? Or is it just me who works like this?

      Reply
      1. alibobs

        As a curvy person I’m not convinced it would suit me/cover my lumps and bumps, but might have to try it as a top after seeing all the great variations.

  10. The Amazing Taracat Post author

    I know what you mean – that’s why I wasn’t immediately drawn to the pattern. I was worried that a dress that didn’t emphasise my waist would make me look like a barrel. I was pleasantly surprised though. And there are some fantastic interpretations of the dresses and tops on flickr on all shapes and sizes. I think you could totally carry it off.

    Reply
  11. Tamsin W-P

    These are amazing! I like them both, but I really love the fishes swimming onto the plainer fabric – inspired! Thanks for your lovely comment on my sister’s wedding dress.

    Reply
    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thanks! I do think that wedding dress is gorgeous, you are so clever, and brave to take on a project with so much riding on it. And it was great to meet you in London 🙂

      Reply
  12. Marie

    Oh my, your fish Laurel is particularly inspired and stunning! Absolutely love it and I hope you entered it into the Coletterie competition!?!

    Reply
    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thank you, you are very kind! I stuck it on the Flickr group with tags , so I think that counts? I’m a bit of a dunce when it comes to social media thingies, it’s a miracle I ever manage to post on this blog!

      Reply
  13. EmSewCrazy

    Love the fish dress! You did a wonderful job with your trims and appliques. The sequin bubbles are a wonderful touch! Good eye for your daughter!

    Reply
  14. Penny

    I LOVE the fish dress! Especially the bubbles! I just did my first project with any kind of embellishment and I am quite surprised at how fun it was! Congrats on the great stash busting!

    Reply
  15. missjoiedevivre

    I came here from Cation Designs and have to say that your fishy dress is incredible and clever and one of the nicest Laurel’s I’ve seen! I hope you gets lots of compliments on it because you totally deserve them.

    Reply
    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thank you, you are very kind. By the way I can’t remember if I commented on your gorgeous yellow skirt but it was such a happy colour it has inspired me to start work on a yellow dress.

      Reply
  16. Alessa

    I hopped over from Cation – congrats on winning the Vibrant Colour April challenge! The fish dress really looks amazing. If I ever find similar print, I may have to copy you? I love the extra fish and the sequin bubbles. How lucky that you found invisible thread!

    Reply
    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thank you! And do copy, they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I just really amazed to win all the other entrants were so amazing. I got the invisible thread from my Grandmother but I’ve managed to find the same stuff on Amazon, here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hemline-Invisible-Sewing-Thread-Clear/dp/B0089DYYJS/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1368256555&sr=8-7&keywords=invisible+thread if anyone else wants to try it. It really is virtually invisible when you use it.

      Reply
  17. rodolil

    LOVE your beach hut dress! It’s just fabulous. I’ve got some of that fabric in my stash… I hope you don’t mind if I copy some of your idea…? I’ve just found your blog & it’s great. Great to find another Whitstable fabric shop addict online!

    Reply
  18. Pingback: Thank you…… | The Amazing Adventures of Taracat

  19. Pingback: Animal Laurel on the beach | The Amazing Adventures of Taracat

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