Sunday, February 1, 2015

Colette Pattern: Laurel

It isn't often (something like once or twice a year) that I decide to sew clothing.  I started sewing as a garment sewer and have since moved on to primarily quilts.  I try to sew every day.  I don't think I could wear that many clothes but I can use or gift that many quilts.  I decided it was time to make a simple tunic.

I poked around the internet once I made that decision and found all these great sewers had made one (some as long as a year or more ago) and I knew it would be the best way to break my garment sewing fast.


I've had this pattern from Colette for a while.  I finally broke it out.  Laurel is a great pattern if you want to try your hand at garment sewing but aren't comfortable with some of the details (like facings) that often entails.  All the edges have bias tape finishes except for the bottom hem.  This dress has so many great things you can do with it.  Colette even has a free booklet of extras that show you just a few of the ways you can change this to make it your own.
Step one was to trace the pattern onto my super graph paper.  (You can find similar paper at some of the office supply stores.  This pad is from Staples but we've had it in the house for years and years.  You can also get a more durable product for making pattern copies or modifications to existing patterns from Pellon Tru-Grid.)
Step two was to make a muslin.  Did I mention it's been a while since I did any garment sewing?  I'm certain my size has changed in the last year or so.  My pants have told me so.  I'm not entirely sure how I feel about those front darts.  They seem low to me.  (I suppose I shouldn't complain about that.)  This muslin (a test or fitting garment) is made out of the last of the 120" wide unbleached muslin (cotton fabric of plain weave) I purchased years ago.  I'm sure I purchased it to back quilts (I don't do that any more, I like a sturdier product for quilt backings) and to make fitting garments.
The sewing on this is really super simple.  I decided to leave out the back darts and make the back one piece.  I didn't want to have to deal with a zipper.  This is where I tested the fit to make sure I could get it on over my head.  I can sew a zipper.  I've just come to associate a zipper in a dress with fancy.  I don't want a fancy dress.  I just want something comfortable to wear around.
Sleeves attached and another test fit.  This is where I left the muslin.  I decided it fit well enough and I was comfortable with the fit and technique to cut some fabric and get stitching.  The biggest change will be going from a regular straight stitch (easier to rip when making a muslin) to the over-lock machine for the real thing.  Oh, and the bias binding for the sleeves and the collar.  more about that on Tuesday.  I feel the hem might be too short, but I think I'll have to finish the real one to get a better idea about that.  I can easily add a band to the bottom if I have to.  So far I think it is going great!

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