Sunday, 5 January 2014

Spotty dotty Laurel dress

I recently took a(nother) sewing class, this time at Bobbin + Ink in Newtown. This is a great little store run by two sisters. Juliet runs the sewing studio + teaches sewing and Laura runs a screen printing workshop where you can take lessons or come in to use the equipment.  I love that Sydney has a few of these more independent crafting stores popping up.

During the class at Bobbin + Ink we were making (or tying to make) the ever-popular Laurel dress by Collette Patterns. I'd been eyeing of this pattern for a while and I liked what Collette had to offer in terms of patterns to fit me. This class was just the motivation I needed to get going with my first non-stretch dress project.

And the result? I have a finished dress - hooray! I made this up in a size 18 and was SO worried that it was going to be too small. Ironically it's actually too big, quite a bit too big actually. When I went back to the pattern packet and read the "finished measurements" I see now that this dress has quite a lot of "ease" in it so I could have made a smaller size...but I guess in the back of my mind I'm scared not to make the biggest option available in case it's too small.

There's a few things wrong with this dress in terms of fit and fitting in with my own personal style.
  • the dress is too big. I'm not too sad about this as it means that Collette Patterns will fit me. Yay!
  • I'm finding the fabric (from Lincraft) to be kinda hot and heavy, not cooling at all like a cotton should be. 
  • The fabric is also quite "stiff". I feel like I'm wearing cardboard...a cardboard sack. I'm thinking perhaps that my issues with the fabric are exacerbated by the fact that the dress is too big.
  • Although it doesn't look it, the neckline feels too high for me...I feel a bit like I'm being strangled. 
  • I also have issues with "high necks" as they are not flattering on bustier people, like moi.
  • The sleeves, for me, are an awkward length and quite restrictive. If I made this dress again I'd shorten them to above the elbow.

It's not all doom and gloom though. Although the dress is too big I'm pretty happy with the outcome. I learnt A LOT in this class and I'm chuffed to have finished an entire garment ON MY OWN!

This class has taught me:
  • How to transfer dart markings from a pattern to the fabric (I had NO idea how to do this and it was a major roadblock to me starting to sew on my own).
  • How to sew darts (they always seemed so scary to me).
  • How to make a little pocket and reinforce the sides to make it stronger.
  • How to insert an invisible zipper (I found this HARD, so hopefully I won't struggle with it too much in the future).
  • How to finish neck/armholes with bias binding.
  • How to (badly) hem a dress - I found this REALLY hard and couldn't get the hem an even width the whole way around. How do people do this?
  • When you start stabbing yourself with a pin whilst sewing take your foot OFF the foot peddle thingy, otherwise blood.

I'm thinking I may remake this dress at some stage in a size 16, or possibly a 14. I've been looking around for the "perfect" fabric but so far I've not found anything that leaps at out me. We're off to Japan in February and I'm hoping I'll pick up something wonderful there. Wish me luck!


  1. That looks very cute (despite being too big)! The style really suits you. And I am very jealous of Japan-fabric-shopping…. very jealous indeed!

  2. Thank you Rachel. I'm still trying to figure out my thoughts about this dress. I think a size smaller will make me fall in love with it...and some Japanese fabric can't hurt that process surely?