Colette Laurel & Mad Men Challenge #2

I am so excited to be a part of this year's Mad Men Challenge! I really want to make every dress on the show, but I decided to turn, once again, to my favorite outfit photo featuring Cynthia, Megan, and Trudy:

Last time you saw my take on Cynthia's notched hemline shift, this time, I was inspired to use some fabric from my stash (a gift from my mother) and Colette's new Laurel pattern to recreate(-ish) Megan's psychedelic swirly print dress. (I'll have to make Trudy's some time so I can have the complete set.) This was a great stash buster, pattern tester, and Mad Men challenge fulfiller all at once!   Megan often wears these slightly insane prints, which were coming into style.The one in my photo above is more paisley. Here's another sceenshot of it:

This one is more "tribal"-looking:

"oui maman, et madame francis est au lit car elle est si gros" excuse my poor high school french its been awhile

Here's one that is very Laurel-y:

with a bias bound neckline, half sleeves, and everything!

 And here is my version:

featuring vaguely retro hairdo and eye makeup
Look how cute! You know how I'm searching for my ideal shift pattern? Well, after sewing both the dress and the top from this pattern, I may have found it. I love the Laurel.

its pretty short! perfect for zou bisou-ing? :)


The only thing I will change next time is to face or bias face the neckline--I think the exterior bias binding is a little distracting. Also, it will have to be longer to be workplace appropriate :)

The sleeve ruffle variation sort of gets lost in the busy print, but its there! I'd like to make this sleeve variation again, but in a contrast fabric, maybe?If I do, I'll make the ruffle bigger and the sleeve cap ease smaller--it is definitely a puffed sleeve and I'm not sure if that is intended in the pattern or not :(

Next up: another Mad Men dress! No surprise there. I ordered some fabric to make Betty's famous "meeting with Mr Francis" dress, and while it didn't arrive in time for the challenge, I'm really excited to cut into it!

Many thanks to Julia for organizing!


p.s. Sorry this is a somewhat boring post, it's finals week...

Me Made May is coming.


I've just realized that Me Made May 2013 is practically here! I don't know about you, but I'm really looking forward to pushing myself to wear as much Me Made clothing as possible. Right now, though, that is looking extremely challenging--I have enough Me Made clothing to wear for a week, easily, but not for a month, unless I want to emulate the Brown Dress Project (which I can't find the original site for?). I'd like to do some preparatory sewing

I'm not aiming for me-made superstardom like our host, Zoe (who even makes her own "pants" which is amazing) but I would like to wear 1 me-made item every day, and that will be enough of a challenge. This blog post mayyyyy (get it?) be boring for those of you who aren't rabid planners like me, but anyone who is embarking on their first Me Made May with me might find this planning post of use? Maybe?

I currently have some spring-appropriate items that are wearable and complete:
3 skirts: floral, harlequin, grey Cynthia Rowley
3 shifts: green, pink, Megan Draper Laurel
3 full-skirted dresses: forthcoming green sprouts, pink linen floral, gothic toile
4 tops: forthcoming swiss dot bow, swiss dot sorbetto, eyelet laurel shell, black and white
and maybe some other things I've forgotten.

Things that need some help, but are mostly complete:
Blue seersucker peplum: re-work zipper/gaping
Sorbetto: Ironing Dread
Floral linen shift: I don't even know what to do about the zipper.

6 dresses will get me pretty far--a dress is, basically, a whole outfit. I could focus on separates, because that is what I currently wear on typical days (full disclosure: jeans and a tee), but I'm also going to use this month of me mades to boost my style a little bit. I want to wear dresses, and conveniently, I also want to make them. Good idea, yeah? So...

Things I want to make  before/during Me Made May:
2 Laurels(?!) from stash fabric: one in eyelet, one in Lilly print?
2 full skirted dresses (likely 2444) one in a pretty blue floral (stash), one in...??
2 Laurel shells.
Perhaps a Betty Draper dress for the Mad Men Challenge, to go with my Mad Men Laurel (wait and see! edit: here it is!).
When is the Great Gatsby coming out? I'm maybe making a dress for that?
and maybe, if I get my stuff together, a pair of trousers from Gertie's separates pattern, to go with all those Laurel shells.

That is a LOT of sewing, so I doubt it will all be done in the next two months. If I did finish everything on the list, I'd have almost the 31 items I'd need if I wanted to wear a different me made item every day of the month!

In conclusion:
11 dresses is a lot of dresses. I like that.
Stash-busting will be happening.
UFOs beware! Me Made May is coming.


A Lacy Laurel

While I think the reaction in the sewing blog world has been less than enthusiastic about Colette's new pattern, the Laurel shift, I was thrilled. In hindsight, I probably should have been less excited about this pattern, given my many issues with the Sorbetto, but I jumped on the Laurel as another try at perfecting my essential shift pattern while supporting an indie designer. And, somewhat surprisingly... it fits!

I'm saving my dress reveal for Julia Bobbin's second Mad Men Challenge (I'm In! and making Several Items! by the way), but today I have a lacy version of V. 4, the top. Version 4 is a blouse (basically just the dress lopped off at top length) with elbow-ish length sleeves and no zip, which is great. It has two pattern pieces along with darts front and back, so it was really easy to whip this up in a little over an hour. My dress is made in a slightly stretchy fabric (cotton sateen-y?) so I was concerned this top would be a little snug, but it fit perfectly. This is a size zero, by the way.

Taken at Videri Chocolate Factory!


I made mine a breezy summer shell in a 100% cotton eyelet picked up for 30% off at Joann's. It is unlined--in the photos I'm wearing a tan tank top underneath. I left the sleeves off, since I'll almost always be wearing this with a cardigan, as I do with all of my clothing, and sleeves seemed like more trouble that they're worth, especially since I couldn't get them to ease nicely in my dress--and then couldn't determine whether or not they are actually intended to have a slight puff!

interior finish--ignore those threads and look and my nice french seams!

Laurel lace top
rolled neck hem!
I french seamed the sides. Instead of finishing the neckline with double fold bias tape, I did a quick rolled hem. I treated the sleeves the same way. It was easier than I thought it would be and cut down on time. It looks nice inside and out!

dramatic angle brought to you by a tall boyfriend
I lengthened it by 2 inches, since my first sorbetto looked like a crop top, and I had to add about a million inches to my second. It seems like it would have been a reasonable length left alone, though, and I'm 5'7". I cut on average an inch off in my trimming of the bottom lace. I'm not convinced I like my lace "edging," and I have a little wiggle room, so I still may go back and hem it straight. What do you think?

One issue I had with the pattern is that for the top version, they omit the zipper, but neglected to eliminate the back seam. I did this myself in approximately 1 minute, but it seems like an oversight. Another is that it would be really simple to give instructions on leaving it sleeveless. I understand a lot of people don't need instructions for that, but it would have been nice to include for beginners, especially since this is a super easy pattern labeled right for them!

Overall, this is an expensive pattern for what it is, but I'm finding it well worth the purchase price: it seems to fit me very well right out of the packet, and I think I will make it many times over!

Fabric: slightly less than 1 yard cotton eyelet
Pattern: Laurel from Colette
Year: 2013
Notions: none
Time to complete: 1.5 hours
First worn:
Wear again?
Make again?
Cost: fabric for $13 and pattern for $18 but I've already made it twice, so... $23?

I have three more yards of this eyelet left--you'll be seeing it again :)


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