Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Striped Linen Laurel Dress (and giveaway winner!)

Today I've got a garment to share with you that I'm actually not all that pleased with now it's done. It's been one of those projects that just doesn't quite turn out as you imagined it in your head. I had high hopes for this one too after the success of my Little Black Laurel Dress. I was convinced this gorgeous Theory Striped Linen from Mood Fabrics would be the perfect match for the pattern and I was excited about creating the perfect chic Parisian shift dress for throwing on on hot summer days! However, although I have had a lot of wear out of black version and was really pleased with it I've never quite nailed my perfect fit for this pattern. Despite the fabric being gorgeous and so easy to sew with it does have a crisper hand which seems to emphasise the fit issues. I think I'd have better success with a fabric with more drape or at least something softer.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Theory Striped Linen Laurel Dress from Colette Patterns

I cut the size 2 again and repeated the side seam alteration from my black version to slim it down a little. Luckily I had transferred the amount I removed from the side seams to my pattern pieces so this was easy! I can still just about get this on and off comfortably without a zip. I also lowered the bust point by 1/2" which seems to be a fairly common adjustment among the sewing community with patterns from Colette. I retained the pattern's original length, despite shortening it for my black version, as I wanted to feel comfortable wearing this one without tights.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Theory Striped Linen Laurel Dress from Colette Patterns

I'll admit this isn't a silhouette I wear a lot anyway but even after fiddling with the fit this still feels a little sack-like. The double ended darts in the back are lovely and I like the shape through the waist and hips from front on but it just doesn't sit right across the chest. I'd be tempted to go down a size and try a full bust adjustment if I made this again but to be honest I'm not sure I'm keen enough to make this again to put in the effort of making that adjustment and fiddling around with the sleeve heads (which I'll get onto in a minute!). Maybe I'd get better results if I used the pattern pieces for the blouse and lengthened them as I've been much happier with the tops I've made using this pattern. Colette patterns do seem to be the one's that I have the most trouble fitting and it's usually something to do with the armhole or bust. I must just have a very different body shape to what their blocks are drafted from.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Theory Striped Linen Laurel Dress from Colette Patterns

I've never really got on with the sleeves on the Laurel Dress and with this version I had real trouble setting them in as there is so much fullness in the sleeve head. When I had trouble with this on the blouse I thought it was because I had redrafted the armhole on the bodice piece slightly as it dipped inwards making the garment tight across the upper bust. However I noted last time that the armhole shape was different on the dress pattern pieces and I didn't need to do that. The fact that the same sleeve pattern piece is used for both versions might explain it not fitting particularly well into the armhole but I'm not sure. I unpicked and restitched my sleeves a number of times but in the end gave up and settled on this being the best I could do. It's definitely not my best sewing and the sleeve is hanging somewhat strangely with weird folds forming from the excess fabric. They're slightly gathered along the seam line too which is disappointing.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Theory Striped Linen Laurel Dress from Colette Patterns

One thing I am delighted with on this garment is my stripe matching! Despite risking cutting the pattern pieces on the fold instead of in a single layer (which I should really develop the patience for  when trying to match a print!) it turned out beautifully across both side seams and the centre back. I was careful to make sure everything looked like it line up when pinning but t didn't really require any extra effort at that stage.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Theory Striped Linen Laurel Dress from Colette Patterns

As with all my versions of the Laurel I used a facing I drafted off the main pattern pieces instead of finishing the neckline with bias binding. The under-stitched neckline sits MUCH better than on my previous versions because this lovely linen presses up so beautifully. I also simply turned the hem of the sleeves up twice and topstitched it instead of using bias tape as recommend in the pattern; partly because I like the length they then end up finishing at and partly through laziness!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Theory Striped Linen Laurel Dress from Colette Patterns

I finished all my seams on my overlocker using a mid grey thread. I treated myself to a new set of grey thread cones a little while ago as I felt like just having black and white wasn't covering all my bases. I'd heard a myth that a nice mid grey was great for blending in with pretty much any colour and print and after a couple of months of sewing with it I've found that to be nearly always true!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Theory Striped Linen Laurel Dress from Colette Patterns

It's a shame I'm not happy with the overall look and fit of this as I'm really pleased with my finishing! This might be getting sent straight to the charity shop... I have been sewing up a storm recently though and this appears to be the only real wadder I've made so stay tuned for some more successful stories!

And finally, selected from a whopping 95 entries by random number generator, the winner of the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress sewing pattern is Lara from Dreaming of Avonlea! Congratulations Lara, I really hope you enjoy sewing it up. I'll be sending you an email to get your postage details and then the ladies at Sew Over It will send out your prize!

23 comments:

  1. I think your frock looks great

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    1. Ah thanks! Now I'm looking at it in pictures I think I'm actually a bit more of a fan of it than I was initially...maybe I should give it a chance!

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  2. Ooo I can't believe I won! I never win anything! Yay! I think this dress looks fab, but it's so frustrating when you don't find the final fit satisfying. Would you consider making this sleeveless to deal with the sleeve head issue? Thanks again for the giveaway!

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    1. Congratulations! I really hope you enjoy sewing it. I did think about making a sleeveless version but I'm not sure than style without sleeves is really me...I might try drafting my own little cap sleeves for it.

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  3. I've had a few makes recently that didn't live up to my expectations. It can be such a sewjo killer! I hope you don't let this one get you down, the finishing looks absolutely lovely, as you say. By the way I also have had some weird fit issues using Colette patterns, including dart placement and armhole shape. I guess I don't fit their blocks either.

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    1. It's a real shame when things don't work out as you'd hoped isn't it, seems like such a waste of time when I don't get a lot of sewing time! Good to hear that you've also experienced issues, they seem to be similar to a lot of other people's!

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  4. I think this is really nice on you, Fiona. Colette draft for a C cup, before I put on some weight I used to have to do a SBA but now they're great. I do however find that I go down at least one or two sizes in the shoulder and also use a smaller back size - I think their drafting is for a broader back not just a C cup. I have read that quite a lot of bloggers found a wierd amount of pulling at the front armhole - I had changed that curve a bit and it helped a lot. Your print matching is amazing and the colours and fabric are gorgeous. Why don't you try putting fish eye darts in the front and turning it into a proper sheath?

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    1. It's really interesting to hear that you go down a size in the shoulder and back, I hadn't thought of isolating it in quiet such a way. The fish eye darts are a great idea, I might try pinning them in later and see what helps! I had heard that Colette draft for a C cup so technically they should be better for me than most other pattern companies but something's amiss!

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  5. I made the laurel blouse and had the same issue with the sleeve having excess fabric. It did look too full at the back. I ended up hacking at it to make it sit right.

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    1. It's so reassuring to hear that it's not just me! I wondered if other alterations I'd made had caused the problem but I think it's just the sleeve. I love the idea of this dress so much and the fabric is so lovely that I am tempted to take the sleeve back out and 'hack at it' like you say!

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  6. I actually really love how this dress looks on you.

    I started making a muslin of a Laurel dress and I thought the excess ease in the sleeve cap was outrageous - it seemed like it would be impossible to set the sleeve into the armscye without gathering the sleeve. I also thought it was weird that the blouse and dress had different armhole shapes but the sleeve was the same. I would like to know the reason behind the differences in the armholes.

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    1. Thanks Alison, I must admit that it's growing on me now I've seen it in photos.

      I feel exactly the same way as you about the sleeve issue! Amy from the Little Tailoress just put up a post in her fitting series about sleeves and I might use that as a guide for how to alter the Laurel sleeve head to fit better!

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  7. Oh no you don't like it?! I think it is lovely and it looks great on you.

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    1. Ah thanks Louise! I like it more in photos, and I do adore the fabric! But it's just one of those things that doesn't feel right on!

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  8. I am also just having a fight with sleeves. Someone pointed out this interesting article to me http://www.ikatbag.com/2014/03/subtelties-in-drafting-sleeves.html It helps understanding the background about a well set in sleeve.

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    1. O that's a fantastic article! Thanks so much, I think I like the style of the pattern enough to investigate a bit further into making these sleeves work!

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  9. It's actually super cute! But I know that how you feel in a garment and how others see you in a garment are two very different things. I have taught the Laurel in class before and found that the smaller sizes have a crazy amount of excess in the sleeve cap, so it's not just you. It's a hard sleeve to set, the smaller the size gets. The larger ones are easier and I'm sure that has something to do with the grading. But all in all, I think this is crazy cute and so wearable. Perhaps you should put it aside and not look at it for a little bit. I bet you'll like it after you've forgotten how challenging it was to sew :)

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    1. That is so reassuring coming from you Christine! I do love the style of this pattern so I think I might try looking at reducing the length of the sleeves cap so it goes in easier...

      I'm definitely going to give the dress another chance in a couple of weeks!

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  10. I also think the dress suits you but sometimes a dress looks fine and just feels wrong. But don't give your dress away yet. It might still grow on you. Anyway, thank you for sharing your trials and tribulations with us. I was going to try a Colette pattern but while I am a C-cup, the rest of me is rather petite so I'd probably have similar problems.
    Meike x

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    1. O don't let that put you off completely Meike! I think the problems I have had with fit are to do with my proportions compared to the block that Colette draft off, particularly in the upper chest and shoulder area. You may well be a closer fit so it might be worth trying a muslin!

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  11. I love this on you! I think it looks so cute! But I can understand just not feeling comfortable in something. I really never got the fit right on this dress despite making it a couple of times... there's just something weird through the armscyes and I had a similar distaste for the way the sleeves turned out.

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    1. It's so reassuring to hear that so many other people had the same thoughts that I did about the sleeves...I thought I done something terribly wrong - I even thought maybe I'd put the sleeves in back to front! It's growing on me every time I look at a photo of it so maybe it's got a chance yet...

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  12. It looks cute but I ended up giving up on the sleeve and upper body fitting on this pattern. I found new look 6808 to be pretty much perfect straight off. It's a top pattern, and I use from below the bust down from the laurel, and leave the front darts of the new look pattern off. I've made this combo so many times now both as top and dress, and love it!

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!