Tag Archives: Colette Laurel

Blundering bunnies …

Oh dear, I’ve had two consecutive sewing disasters in the last week. It’s always nice to know that you are not alone when you have a bad patch, so I thought I’d share them with you, just in case you too are ‘going through a phase’ …

First up, my ‘gorgeous’ vintage blouse. The pattern was from Oxfam and the fabric is a remnant piece of  crepe, mixed together, what do you get? A way too big, creased rag bag obviously!

photo 2Ooh, it could have been so good. This is how it should look …

photo 5It’s Style 4866 (I can’t find it on the internet!) and I was ‘hoping’ to create view 4. I’ve used a vintage Style pattern before and a 34″ was just fine, but somehow this blouse is WAY too big just about everywhere so I’m kicking myself for not making a toile first. The only consolation is that despite the lovely colour, the fabric is rubbish and whatever I made with it I think I’d have been upset by its unwillingness to sew. I will give this another go but in a nice bit of cotton next time!

Now for disaster number 2 … who’d have thought you could go wrong with a Laurel!

photo 1aWell, you can if you don’t line up the stripes (P-L-O-N-K-E-R) and are rushing because Call the Midwife is on in half an hour and you’d quite like this ready for work in the morning. Oh dear. The sad and worrying thing is that I didn’t even notice that I’d gone sooooo wrong until I whizzed around the hem with the overlocker and realised that if I didn’t stop I was going to end up with one extremely long spiral (see above). After a bit of head scratching and investigation it occurred to me that this was an early error and one not to be tackled on a Sunday night …

photo 1

Possibly not one to be tackled ever. Now if it doesn’t make your eyes go funny (it’s inside out here) you can follow that stripe that runs under the armpit from the left to Timbukto  on the right. Bum boils! I also appear to have given myself a droopy boob and I’m very unhappy about that, I must have been drunk, surely? Not at all, and what’s worse is this has happened before, will I ever learn?! Oh it would have been such a good dress but there’s no disguising the mistakes especially in our graphic design office where my colleagues have an eye for such things. Humph.
Perhaps I should go and get myself some Coco, have you seen the lovely new pattern from Tilly?! No bust darts there to confuse those stripes and it really is just what I wanted in the first place (if only she’d released it two days earlier!).

BUT, I have made something that knocks the spots off both these blunders, a gem of knitting genius, my first ever knitted (cough) garment  … (please refrain from laughing), this could be the start of something beautiful!

photo 2a


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Double denim is good …

Oh my goodness, squeezing in a make let alone a blog seems quite hard these days! Blogging is not the pleasant pastime it once was as my laptop has decided to go into ‘extremely senior’ mode and groans from the moment I open him up. Each command is met with a 20 second (minimum) delay while he thinks about his next move and if I dare try and open another window to look at vintage fabric while I wait, he gets really annoyed and freezes my desktop or worse still, just crashes.

So, I’m economising on its usage and today you have one post for the price of two, or two makes for the price of one!


Oh my goodness that’s blooming short, why did know one tell me??!!

This is another Laurel, made about a month ago. I know, I know, another Laurel, I hear you, but, this is a cardboard denim version and I have worn it lots already. Ok, it’s a bit of a stiff denim (Walthamstow market last year £2 per metre) which I thought would soften with age. It might still, but four hot washes later and it’s colour and heaviness remain intact.


IMG_3707This is Laurel (dress) number 3 (see here and here for the other two if you like) and although it’s probably time I tried something new, it is a good pattern to go to when your sewing confidence is at low point or when you can do without any stress. A virtually guaranteed, satisfyingly pleasing make indeed!


For this version I cut it slightly A line (again), added pockets and some darts to the front just to relieve the cardboard toilet roll effect the denim gave, I think it worked out well! I do like this, it’s very easy to wear (goodness I’ll be in beige polyester slacks next), but if you try, make sure your denim is more forgiving, no one wants to look like a tube.


Next, a Simplicity 2451. I’ve seen so many lovely versions of this skirt in the blogosphere and this make of mine has to be the most boring of them all! But, it is a ‘wearable muslin’, that’s my excuse anyway. I’d read many times that the sizing of this pattern was questionable and so before I cut into my wool, lace and brocade (I have plans!) I wanted to try it out on something less precious. A scrap of soft denim from the depths of my cupboard.




Knowing this was a ‘play make’, I didn’t actually ‘finish’ it that well and lazily, machine hemmed it (don’t look closely at the photos). I was really just testing the pattern for size. I thought it was ok but an outing to the office last week ended in many back to front moments so it still needs tweaking. I do like this skirt and the way it came together so I’m quite happy to go forth and chop into my wool now, maybe even today!

Or there’s that laundered, folded blackwatch tartan that is screaming ‘Make A Christmas Dress’ at me! My day off is disappearing fast, best get on … 

My laptop is about to be banished to the naughty step, deep breathing and a burst of computer free sewing is in order I think. Better publish this quickly before it crashes again and sends me off to the gin cupboard!


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Time for a change …

If I’m honest, I’ve been feeling a little disappointed with my recent makes (and a little bored). It’s ok, don’t worry, I still love to sew, but I  think I need to escape from my comfort zone. Let’s face it, I have quite a few Simplicity 2444‘s, I could dress an entire office with my collection of Sorbettos and if there weren’t enough of those to go round, well I could throw in a few Laurels too. Yep, it’s time to take the leap and make something different, different for me anyway …

I have a feeling that the Simplicity 2451 will change my life (I know, I know, I’m the last to try this), dull looking maybe but there are some corkers out there and it looks so very useful (see here and here for a start)! For the fabric I have a charity shop find in mind …


Goodness, that’s bright! It’s not really that bright, honest. I found this wool for £5 along with the matching lining, in a plastic bag in a charity shop in Summertown. All washed and ready to go, it is sitting on my desk just waiting for me to have a day off.

Then like someone who’s overslept and missed the train to the pattern party, I’m the last to try Elisalex from By Hand London. I loved making my Anna and have had this on my to do list for ages. The fabric? Another charity shop find …

IMG_3440It’s in the bag and it’s a pair of crazy curtains. I’m actually at the train station here and so excited at my 1970s school curtains find (and bored while I waited for my delayed train) that I took a photo. It’s just a sneaky peak, more soon.

What else, ooh yes I have a yearning to make a blackwatch tartan dress, though I haven’t decided which pattern to use yet. Like the 2444 addict that I am, it’s calling me and I’m finding it hard to resist. But, what I’m thinking is, I could line it! That would be good, yes? A challenge, a stretch. Yes, that’s what I’ll do! Or should I do something new? Yes? No? Yes? No? Oh blooming Nora, let’s just put it back in the drawer and think about that another day!

These aren’t terribly taxing patterns I know, but they are new to me and learning to sew is a life time experience, not one to rush. I do know that I’d like to improve on my  skills and if I’m not careful, I’ll be wearing 2444s when I’m collecting my pension. Actually that would be nice! No, I need to keep pushing myself and hopefully, in time I’ll gain the confidence to push myself all the way and make something like a coat!

I’m now ready to swim without armbands, cycle without stabilisers, fly without wings! Watch this space …

Don’t tell anyone but I might just make one more Laurel first … in denim.


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My hardy Laurel …

Say hello to my Colette Laurel dress number 2 …


Squint and ignore those wrinkles, instead focus on the lovely colour and the usefulness of this little number. If I keep my arms down and perhaps forward a little, like I’m about to pick up a small child, those wrinkles aren’t quite so bad, honest. Oh bum boils, I hadn’t noticed them when Jimmy took the photo, but later that night when I was lying on the sofa watching Educating Yorkshire (bloody brilliant), my armpits started to die and it dawned on me that there was something not quite right! 


I think I know what happened. I cut the fabric (as before) in a slightly A line shape but once sewn up it felt a bit shapeless. I debated putting some darts at the front but in the end decided on the easier option (doh) of taking it in at the sides. I may have started too high up and hence have a little less room for my ample (excuse me while I laugh my head off) bosom. I shan’t do that again, that’s for sure.

The fabric is from last years trip to Walthamstow, a very cheap teal crepe and quite a weighty and tough one too (heaven knows what the composition is as it’s a tiny bit scratchy!). The only changes I made were to create that slight A line shape, lengthen the sleeves and add a little bib detail with black binding and a couple of buttons from my stash. I do love this dress despite the “issues”. The versatility of this pattern excites me and I’m tempted to make yet another in denim, patch pockets and all, as I’m sure I’d wear it lots.

Right, off to watch One Man and his Dog with a mug of chestnut soup. Batten down the hatches, there’s a storm brewing!




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The end of May … phew!

Me Made May draws to a close today and although I totally love the concept (thank you Zoe), I have to admit, I am a little more than relieved that it’s almost over …

Despite being very good at not photographing my efforts and the odd “didn’t you have that on yesterday?”, I’m very pleased to report that I managed to wear one home made item five days a week (I pledged that I would wear at least three, so that’s a positive!). I also attempted to make some trousers (another part of my pledge) and after a lengthy battle that threatened my relationship with my brain (such a puzzle), I gave up, so that’s a fail (… it’s fine, honestly and thank you so much for the encouraging comments on my last post!).

What did I learn? Don’t attempt trousers when you are busy and stressed for a start (the pattern and bits of fabric are now shoved in a carrier at the back of a cupboard). I also realised very quickly that I relied heavily on certain items to get me out of a MMM hole. I recorded everything I wore in my notebook but to be honest, I bored myself with the amount of times I wore a Sorbetto, so I shan’t inflict anymore of the list on you. In fact my outfits revolved around three dresses, five tops and this skirt that I forgot to take a picture of! A multitude of cardi’s helped with variety, but ooh, can you see why I struggled?


Losers? My denim Hollyburn is lovely but not with tights and so, frustratingly it hasn’t been worn yet (the English weather!), so a winner really, just not in May. The real losers in fact, were all the cheap fabric makes, my Mathilde being the biggest culprit, I tried to wear it at least once a week but took it off again straight away. I just can’t get comfy in this version (so clingy), I will have to make another in cotton to do the pattern justice.

Winners? The Sorbettos, Laurel top and Violet (thank you Colette) because they suited me and I could wear them with jeans and throw on a cardigan and really didn’t have to give much time or thought to my outfits (quite handy when I’m busy). My Laurel dress also had its share of wear on chilly days with tights and boots.

In conclusion? MMM ’13 was a bit of a struggle for me, but I’m really pleased I had a go. Yes, I am a bit bored  with the repeat appearances of certain tops. Yes, I could do with a few ‘basics’, the Renfrew is going to be a birthday request I think (you’ll see I’ve linked it just in case Jimmy is reading this). Yes, I have far too many polka dot items (is that possible?) and yes, I need to buy some lovely Liberty cotton (I’m shameless, hello Jimmy). But, and here’s the thing, it’s given me an appreciation of the things I’ve made that do work and most importantly …

… a desire to make lots more.

Have a nice weekend! x



Filed under ranting

Me Made May days 8 to 14

Days 8 – 14:
8th May: Cold enough to be able to wear my Laurel dress with some tights and boots.
9th May: No MMM today, hectic night before and so jeans and jumper for work.
10th May: Spotty Dotty Sorbetto (this is such a useful top) and jeans.
11th May: Sunny pink Sorbetto to brighten up an otherwise dull old day with a green cardigan and jeans.
12th May: No me mades today either but I’m still on target so don’t be too disappointed!
13th May: My London Dress gets another day out and some compliments too.
14th May: Laurel dress again, with charity shop cardi.

Me Made May is very clever. Like a wise parent of a child that thinks they know best, it gently nudges you in the right direction, allowing you to think you came to the correct outcome yourself without any help whatsoever.

For me, I know I have gaping holes in my wardrobe, but the little girl in me (very, very deep inside and refusing to go anywhere because who wants to grow up?) continues to make sweet dresses. Me Made May watches over me each morning and knowingly smiles as I stand in my undies at the open wardrobe and sigh, “Bugger, what the hell can I wear today?” I think it’s time to except MMM knows best and make myself some trousers …

and I will, just as soon as I finish this dress …




Filed under makes, ranting

What to wear …

Well, this could be a very boring post about Me Made May as I haven’t taken any photos of my outfits! I know, it’s very naughty but to be honest, I’ve just been having a nice old time and not worrying about capturing the fashion of the day and I’m afraid you’ll have to take my word for it that I have fulfilled my pledge for week one. So, here’s a run down of days 1–7 …

May 1st: Panic! Is it May 1st already?! I didn’t plan the night before plus I am late for work, so out with the Violet blouse teamed with shop bought (sorry) trousers.
May 2nd: My bright little Laurel and jeans (yes I know, jeans. Damn).
May 3rd and 4th: Erm, I spent these two days clearing out the loft and wore my ancient Levis with my daughter’s t-shirt. It’s Ok though, in my pledge I said I would wear me made clothes for three days a week (phew!)
May 5th: Are you still with me? My purple Sorbetto, spotty, dotty number (the one with sleeves) … and jeans of course.
May 6th: OOh, exciting it’s hot enough for a dress for a friends BBQ! My newly altered London dress today!
May 7th: And its hot again so on with my Swishy Swashy dress. Two Simplicity 2444s one day after the other!

So, what has the challenge done for me this week? Well, I swear my London Dress would still be sadly hanging in the wardrobe with its saggy neckline had it not been for MMM’13. So, I’m very happy that I had the kick up the backside on that one! I’m also looking forward to ‘re-stitching’ some of my early makes and that may expand my choice a little.

And then there’s the question of making some trousers (I haven’t forgotten the pledge), I just need some courage and I’ll get going on that. In the meantime, I can’t stop looking at this … exciting!



Filed under ranting

Another Laurel coming through …

Look, just in time for Me Made May ’13, I have run up another Colette Laurel!


This dress took no time at all to make and I think I’ve finally found a pattern that forgives the use of cheap, unidentifiable fabrics from Walthamstow!


By a stroke of luck I have just realised that I have shoes to match! Look, my favourite colour bias binding (as used on my Bright Little Laurel and sneaked into this make) actually matches my shoes …


The only change I made on this pattern was to make it slightly a-line, but I also jiggled a bit with the armscye and shoulder width and added a tiny bit to the hem.


Even the zip went in pretty well (hmm, though perhaps a hook and eye wouldn’t go amiss there!) .


Okay, so mine is a pretty simple version but the beauty of this pattern is that there is so much room to really personalise your dress and I will certainly make another (collars, short sleeves, ricrac ooh, endless possibilities). Just hop on over to the Flickr page for entries to the Colette contest, what a talented and imaginative bunch of sewists there are out there!

It’s good to see some familiar faces pop up, I love Scruffy’s impressively lovely and huge collection of luscious Laurels and  Taracat has amazed all with her off the planet (that’s an absolute compliment) imagination (fishes and bubbles on a Laurel? Genius)!

A brilliant contest, not only for making everyone get creative but also for giving me an incentive to make a new dress … I can see why everyone is filling their wardrobes with Laurels, it’s addictive!


Filed under makes