Colette Laurel: Wool Gabardine Version

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Finally, proof of sewing! And it’s not even black.

I finished my wool gabardine Laurel late December last year, and only shamefully had a chance to document it today. I haven’t worn it out yet, but it’s only because it is much too cold to wear dresses right now.

In full disclosure, I made two (!!) muslins of this before I was satisfied with it. I also cut it incorrectly the first time and had to sew it twice. I serged the seams, hand-basted the sleeves in, and hand-sewed the hem. All in all a lot more work than I’m used to and with much struggling, especially since I’ve turned to knits and never look back, but definitely well worth it.

Pattern review below.

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Project Details:

Pattern: Colette Laurel.

Pattern Sizing: 0-18.

Description: Jacket with skirt and peplum.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Wool gabardine, with an invisible zipper.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, had I chosen to read them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This is the second time I’ve made this pattern. I really like it, simple, yet versatile.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Yes, many. Lowered bust dart by 2 inches, shortened hem by 1 inch, lowered the neckline by 5/8 inch, removed 1 inch from the center back, made a narrow upper back adjustment, adjusted the sleeve cap and removed all the extraneous ease from it, and lengthened the sleeve to try to hide my sleeve (somewhat unsuccessfully.)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Definitely. I see many more Laurels in the future.

Sewing 2013: Year in Review

1. No 13 Loose Drape Tank Top, 2. Secret Sewing, 3. Simplicity 1819, 4. McCalls 6559, 5. Simplicity 1819, 6. McCalls 6559, 7. DIY Side Tie Top, Side #1, 8. No 1 Loose Drape Top, 9. DIY Side Tie Top, Side #2, 10. Colette Laurel, Gatsby Version, 11. McCalls 5808, 12. Colette Laurel, Gatsby Style, 13. Fabric Bag, 14. Fabric Bag #2, 15. No 13 Loose Drape Tank Top, 16. Bridesmaid Dress

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Sewing has been very sporadic this year. There’s been loads of Drape Drape knits and a few woven projects here and there. I plan to finish sewing my way through Drape Drape 1.

I still have a lot of projects on hand that I’ve finished and haven’t photographed yet, as well. Hopefully I’ll get to the backlog of project documentation that hasn’t happened yet, including:

1. Bridesmaid Dress, finished sometime around August 2013
2. Drape Drape No 3 Drop-Waist Gather Drape Dress, finished around Oct 2013
3. Red knit drape dress, finished around May 2013
4. Colette Laurel, finished around Dec 2013
5. Velvet skirt, finished around Dec 2013

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Favorite Project: Drape Drape No 13 Loose Drape Tank Top

I haven’t worn this out yet since I started it almost two seasons too late and it’s been freezing cold outside, but I really liked this project. It’s versatile and will make a good layering piece.

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Most Worn Project: No 1 Loose Draped Dress, Version 2

I wore this out many, many times over the summer. It’s comfortable, can be dressed up or down, soft, and was a quick and easy make.

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Most Interesting Project: Simplicity 1819, Steampunk Dress

This is still in its muslin stage, but already I know it’s very different from anything I’ve made before. It’s not exactly the most practical of projects, but it’s one of the most fun to make.

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I received a lot of Japanese sewing books for Christmas, a draping book, and another Drape Drape book, so this year hopefully include a lot more sewing.

Drape Drape No 13 Loose Drape Tank Top


Side view.

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Front view.

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Side view, #2.

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Back view.

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I like this project. Quick, easy, a good layering piece. I layered it with a lace top here, but for going to work I’d probably wear a solid-colored top underneath it, and a sweater over it. It was very cold outside when I took these, and it started snowing shortly after.

I think I’m addicted to sewing Drape Drape projects: no finishing the seams, no muslins, fast, easy, soft, comfortable and wearable projects, but I really do miss sewing with wovens sometimes. Pattern information as follows.

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Project Details:

Pattern: Drape Drape No 13 Loose Drape Tank Top

Pattern Sizing: I made a size medium.

Description: Draped tank top.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Black tissue knit.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn’t read the directions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really like this pattern. It’s a good layering piece, and it looks unique.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, but I wear mostly black and grey, so it’s unlikely that I’ll be sewing it again.

Halloween 2013: Homemade Black Swan

The Black Swan-stagram.

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For those of you that haven’t seen the film, the Black Swan is the ballet counterpart of the White Swan — graceful, measured, sensual but not overtly so, bold, violent, passionate and dominant.

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Natalie Portman reference photo.

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The only part of this costume that I made was the skirt. The skirt is twelve layers of tulle, sewn in layers of three layers of tulle, and sandwiched together four times until I got twelve layers. I did not want a sad, not-very-poofy tutu, and I was also worried about making one that was a little see-through, but this one works well enough I think. Tulle is really, really hard to work with: slippery, hard to cut, moves around a lot, and the Esteemed Sewing Assistant loves to sit on it. This skirt is definitely not precise, but I think it works. If you have to make anything precise with tulle, cut very carefully and work very slowly. Tulle has a mind of its own.

I cobbled together this costume from last minute purchases from Amazon (white tights, shoes, tiara) and things that I owned in my closet (black leather bustier, loads of eyeliner). To deal with the see-through factor (since I didn’t have a leotard bustier) I’m wearing a black high-waisted undies over my tights, just in case anything shows in the back, which it somewhat does. My outfit looks nothing like the official Black Swan costume from the waist up, since I failed at putting feathers on my original bustier, but I’m ok with taking artistic liberties.

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Of course, I’m not the only one who dressed up. Esteemed Sewing Assistant absolutely hates his costume.

No 1 Loose Draped Dress, Version 2





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Finally, now with pictures.

This is the second version of the No 1 Loose Draped Dress, from the Japanese book Drape Drape. This is the third version I’ve made now, since it’s quick to make, wearable and comfortable. I’ve already worn this to work a few times. This is the last version of this pattern that I’m making.

I really likes sewing with knits, but I don’t feel like my sewing skills are getting any better. Nevertheless, more Drape Drape to come.

No 1 Loose Draped Tunic Top

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This is the No 1 Loose Draped Tunic from the Drape Drape series, Book 1.

I really like this top. It’s comfy, easy to sew, drape-y (ha!), can be finished in two hours, made of only two pattern pieces. It’s a little low cut (more on the back than the front) and it does move around, so wear something gorgeous underneath it and have good posture.

This is the second time I’ve made this pattern, first as a dress, now as is as a top. I have a third one in the works, another dress version of this.

What I’ve Been Working on This Week: Blue Zippered Pouch

This present is a little late, the last batch of presents made for a proliferation of Leos in my life. I used quilting cotton in a vintage pin-up print, Hawaiian looking with girls in bathing suits all over it, and lined it in blue cotton broadcloth. I finished with a metal zipper.

Like a true insomniac procrastinator, I finished this last night at around 2 am, starting with the cutting and stitching together. I gave the present to one of my friends today, and I think she liked it.

This is the third pouch I’ve made this month. I have one more to go.

I really want one of these now!

The Deconstructed T-Shirt

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I made this shirt at 3 am a few weeks ago when I couldn’t sleep. I’ve been steadily working on my bridesmaid dress, but I don’t like working on more than one sewing project at a time. I was still in the fitting stages of my dress, so I decided to work on this non-sewing project.

I was also going to the punk exhibit at the Met the next day, so I wanted something homemade.

This shirt started it’s life a few months ago. I got it at a listening party over the winter. I liked the design but the last size left was a large. Since then it’s been relegated to a gym shirt. I cut the top open, but it was a still a poor gym shirt — it didn’t breathe easily, and since it was so baggy it got in the way of everything.

I’ve worn it out only once, but since then it’s survived going to the garment district, going to the Met, walking around, going on the subway, going to Central Park, getting dinner, staying up late — all without wardrobe dysfunction. No knots became untied, nothing rides up, and it’s surprisingly breezy in 90 degree weather, since the sides are mostly open.

Construction notes: I cut the top off and cut the side seams open, forming a large rectangle. I cut ties on the side, and fitted it on my dress form, knotting it in three places on the side, and knotting it in two places to form shoulder straps. Since t-shirt jersey doesn’t fray, I didn’t treat the ends. This is something you should only do with heavy, good quality t-shirts: anything lighter and I don’t think the knots would hold up well.

Laurel, The Gatsby-Hacked Version

It took way longer than it should have, but I finally finished my version of Laurel. I finished reading The Great Gatsby on my commute the other week, and I wanted something that would capture the decadent, opulent, lush feel of the novel.

Btw, I didn’t realize how sheer this dress was. I’m lucky there’s a brown fence behind most of me.

Edit: Thanks for reminding me guys, I am entering this in the Colette Patterns contest.

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Pattern Description: Loosely fitted basic sheath dress or top.

Pattern Sizing: 0-18. I cut a 4 on top and tapered to a 6 on the bottom.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, sort of.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I have on idea, I didn’t read the directions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like how versatile and simple this pattern is.

Fabric Used: Sheer crushed velvet.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I changed this pattern a lot. I dropped the neckline, took out the front and back darts, and raised the hem. I wanted a 60s-inspired does 20s-inspired version. I serged the side seams and hem and used seam binding to finish the neckline and armholes. I removed the darts since I didn’t think the crushed velvet could handle it, and I wanted to keep it simple.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes. I’d really like to sew this so it would actually look like Laurel version, and not severely modified.

Conclusion: I’d definitely make this again.