Monday, 22 April 2013

Colette Laurel: Part 1


At the end of last week I found some time for some dressmaking, having suddenly been inspired by the warmer weather. While I've always loved Colette Patterns for skirts and trousers, I've been wary of using their patterns on my top half as their smallest bust measurement is nearly 2" bigger than my own. I've either tended to draft my own patterns or use those from Japanese pattern books where they're cut for a smaller frame. However, I've now realised that I've been depriving myself from a huge amount of fun as making a SBA (small bust adjustment) to the pattern was actually a very simple process. I referred to The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting and made my adjustment to the paper pattern out the outset. If you don't have this book (which, having now use it, I can say is brilliant), then I'm told by Kerry that this tutorial by Megan Nielsen is excellent too and it looks very similar to the one in my book.


My main concern in changing the pattern was that my small bust measurement comes from having a very small ribcage rather than a barely-there bust so I was unsure if an SBA would work in the way I hoped. But my worries were unfounded as the newly drafted darts give a perfect fit.


Nina commented that she was in the midst of making a Laurel herself and found that there was a lot of ease at the back of the sleeve head - I found exactly the same, although happily this was fairly easily rectified by shaving half an inch from the pattern in this area.

If this all sounds like a lot of changes and fitting issues, it's actually not at all and I'm so delighted with the finished top that spending twenty minutes altering the pattern seems irrelevant. It is a beautifully cut pattern and once I was happy with my toile, I knew that it was going to be worth risking cutting into two of my most treasured fabrics which I've had stashed away for a year now: a beautiful silk crepe de chine Liberty print and a plain, sand-washed steely blue silk.


I drafted a Peter Pan collar to go on my Laurel top and you can see it above before it's sewn into place.

I think that covers my construction issues, so tomorrow I'll hopefully show you the finished garment - I'm already planning my next Laurel as I love this pattern so much. I'm also contemplating a Violet blouse. Every time I use a Colette Pattern I'm reminded anew of just how good they are.

Have you been tempted into some dressmaking now that Spring has almost sprung from the gloomy dark box its been hiding itself in?

Florence x

21 comments:

  1. This may not be the place to say, but I don't know where else to leave the comment. Having just had parents evening, several parents commented on how good Squeebles is and how much it has benefited their children. Just thought I'd pass that on. Sorry if in the wrong area.

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  2. That's so lovely to hear - thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment to let me know. I'm delighted (as is my husband). Florence x

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  3. This fabric is beautiful, can't wait to see the finished garment! Makes me wish I could sew even more x

    simplechroniclesofme.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Definitely worth learning and Colette Patterns are a good place to start as the instructions are fantastic.

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  4. Lovely fabric. I agree that it can be difficult cutting into treasured material! Your collar looks great though. x

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    1. It is - the times when I've left something for years I've found I've fallen out of love with the fabric, which seems a real shame.

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  5. The piping on that collar is so careful. I have been inspired to make a dress but on my larger frame!! See here

    http://joeveryday19.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/hooray-party-dress.html

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    1. I've commented on your post - your dress is beautiful!

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  6. those 2 fabrics together look fabulous together and I love the piped collar detail.

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  7. This is going to be perfection! I made some minor changes to my Laurel and it is fantastic. It's a shape I never thought my body type could wear, and I was proven wrong by Sarai and her smart ways. I've made many so far and have fabric washed and ready to make more! Cannot wait to see yours and now that I know that Liberty has silk, I am even more excited to visit the mothership this spring!

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    1. Hurrah! Although silk at Liberty is prohibitively expensive - I'll let you know where you can find it in London at a more affordable price when it's nearer the time. Although the mothership is totally worth visiting, of course.

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    2. I'm pretty much expecting that everything at the mothership will be insanely expensive, plus the dollar to pound exchange does not favor my side of the deal! But that's okay, something awesome is going home with me no matter what! All fabric suggestions welcome :)

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  8. I am so looking forward to seeing the finished top; your fabric choices are exquisite! My middle daughter wants me to make dresses for her, but I am SO intimidated. She needs an LBA and I have no idea how to begin. She has a very small ribcage and very, um, generous girls. I suppose I should just jump in soon as we love dresses in summer!

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    1. If you google it, you'll need to search for an FBA (full bust adjustment) rather than an LBA. Colette patterns would be a good place to start for dresses as my feeling is that they are cut for girls with curvy figures (if that makes sense) in the bust and bottom areas. I think also it's probably easier to do a FBA as it's an adjustment more widely covered online and often you can find photos of an FBA for the exact pattern you're about to use.

      I tend to start any dressmaking adventure that's using a pattern by searching around to see what others have said about it and what fitting issues they've encountered - if you find someone with a similar figure to your daughters it may give you an idea of the changes to the paper pattern that you'll need to make before you even cut into any fabric. x

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  9. I've got this pattern, but you have beaten me in getting started on it. I have a blouse cut out ready to sew, another Colette pattern, although it says it is for a beginner I thorough enjoyed making it which is why I have another one ready to go. I'm loving your fabric for this Laurel dress, can't wait to see it finished x

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    1. Mine's actually a top too, not the dress - I do have some Nani Iro I'm considering for a dress though! I hope yours goes well. x

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  10. Gorgeous fabric and I live the piping on the collar! Are you entering the Laurel competition? You should.

    I've made the Violet blouse, which I love. I didn't alter it, as that was before I knew about fitting, but mine I probably too big. It is definitely too short, so something for you to bear in mind. It's also quite loose fitting, you may have to do quite a bit of adjusting in the busy area.

    Have plans for the Laurel, but haven't yet found a fabric that I like enough! My never ending problem!

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  11. What gorgeous fabrics, Florence. I am bad at taking the time to alter patterns, I just plunge straight in! I want to make another Violet, the last one is a tad too big but I think I need to make a quilt first... Oh there aren't enough hours in the day! Look forward to seeing your finished article.
    Hen x

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    1. Mmm, that's the second comment I've had about the Violet being on the big side - I'll be careful to fit around that. No, never enough hours in the day - I think if there were that may take some of the fun out of it though! Good luck with your second Violet, Hen. x

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  12. I think I will do, yes - it's an amazing competition!

    Thank you so much for leaving some pattern notes on the Violet - being too short works for me as I'm only 5ft 1, but as the Laurel blouse is the perfect length for me I can imagine these may come up short on a taller person.

    Yes, finding the right fabric is a tricky one, isn't it.

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  13. I'm so glad to hear that the back-of-sleeve-head thing wasn't just me being daft... because after sorting that issue out (by rotating the large dot marking to my actual shoulder point which was some way forward of the seam) I proceeded to set my sleeves in with a 1/2" seam allowance. Then I was appalled and couldn't understand why nobody else's Laurels had puff sleeves. All fixed now!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x