Monday, June 17, 2013

laurel + clover = happiness

Hello!  Me-made-May wore me out on the blogging front, and I caught a nasty cold that still isn't entirely gone, probably because I keep drinking and staying up too late reading a terrible book I can't stop reading.  Add to that multiple technical difficulties.  Time for a new computer, sadly.  Meanwhile I've been in Colette land slowly working on Laurel and Clover.  I'm not as lost as I used to be in fitting process, but it does take some stamina.

With Laurel, I strongly suspected the armsceye and bust darts would be too high, since that is the case with all (four?) the Sorbettos I've made.  Yes, that's right, I blindly continued to make them exactly the same way even though I knew they weren't right.  Me-made-May forced me to confront them all.  I did a rough tissue fitting, a muslin, and then the wearable muslin you see below, incorporating a number of little changes that made a big difference:
  • lowered armseye 1 inch
  • lowered bust darts about 1/2 inch
  • shortened bust darts 1/2 inch
  • narrow shoulder adjustment
  • added 1/2 inch to each side of the sleeve at the sleeve cap tapering to 3/8 inch at the sleeve hem (due to lowering the armsceye, I think)
  • took out 3/8 inch at the top of the back neck and 1/4 inch at the top of the front neck at the neckline tapering to nothing at the shoulder seam
  • took out about 3/8 inch at the top of the CB seam at the neckline tapering to nothing a couple of inches down the seam-- I know this isn't proper because it distorts the neckline, but I don't know a better solution.
I bought the fabric, a cotton voile by Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit called Pastry Line, to make Colette Violet when that pattern first came out.  Then I neglected, even shunned it.  I'm loving it made up as a Laurel.  I only needed 1 1/4 yards (45" wide), but I didn't make bias tape, used to finish the neckline and hem the sleeves.  I should have. The purchased light pink bias tape from the stash is too stiff and heavy for the voile.  My "invisible" stitches didn't stand a chance.  There is puckering.
The eyelet version is also entirely from stash fabric, the eyelet from JoAnn, with cotton batiste for underlining (the body but not the sleeves), and some lightweight cotton bias tape I made for another project.  I finished the neckline and sleeve hems by machine since I figured the stitches would blend into the busy eyelet embroidery. 

The Laurel blouse is flattering, versatile, and sews up quickly, much like the Sorbetto tank.  Why isn't it spreading rapidly throughout the blogosphere like Sorbetto did that one summer (2011?).  Do you think the Laurel dress is overshadowing the blouse?
I also revisited the Clover pattern.  Last spring I made a Version 1 pair for a Sew Weekly challenge.  I was pleased with myself at the time, but I think I got the crotch curves wrong, overfitted the sides (the zipper dug into me), and maybe even cut the pieces off grain because with wear the pants looked ruched.  This time I used my pants block from StephC, who offered the service as the Consulting Dressmaker last year, to change the crotch curves on Version 2, the cropped version. (My Version 1 pattern is kind of a mess because I didn't trace it.  Trying to break that habit.)

I changed the hip curve, which caused a minor revelation about my body.  From my waist to my high hip there is only the slightest outward curve.  Below that there actually a little dell and then a larger outward curve so that my widest point is the top of my thighs.  Of course I knew that already, vaguely, but mapping out the precise shape of that outward, inward, outward curve that looks nothing like the curved line of the Clovers was new information.  I like information.  The past couple days I've been studying the women in their skinnies on the subway, and this kind of lumpy hip line doesn't seem to be all that unusual.  It only looks lumpy if the skinnies are too tight, I think.
I didn't know how to alter the curved waistband to reflect the changes I made to the crotch curves, so I just made a straight 1 inch wide waistband, doubling the width and adding seam allowances.  I skipped interfacing, since the same StephC has given me permission lately with her Hummingbird pattern.     

The pants block is for non-stretch wovens, and Clover is for fabric with 2-3% stretch, so further changes were necessary.  I ended up having to take out a lot more (3" total) from the top of the CB seam.  As a result, the CB dips down a wee bit too close to butt crack territory, a problem I should have corrected with another muslin.  I also removed fabric at the inseam, especially in the back where it meets the crotch curve, using Steph's experience as a guide.  The fabric is a soft, sturdy cotton stretch twill from Mood that was labeled Nanette Lepore, who is from my hometown of Youngstown, by the way.  If all goes as planned, you'll see it again in soon as a Hummingbird skirt.  After a Clover break I'd like to return to more fun with Clovers via Sallioh (trouser details!).
I wore this outfit comfortably for a full and active day, including a block party and an outdoor concert at Prospect Park.  At the concert, I was accosted by a woman who was also wearing a Laurel!  I noticed her and admired her style on a bathroom trip with Fenna but didn't instantly recognize her top as a Laurel.  She recognized mine by the back seam.  We briefly checked out each other's work and sang Laurel praises together before I was dragged away by my impatient child.  So cool!


  1. What a great outfit! Both pieces are cute and fit great!

  2. WOW! What a fantastic job you did of fitting the Laurel. I need to attempt it again. It's so cute and so worth it. Your top and pants are very flattering.

  3. This is the perfect outfit!!!! You seem to be describing a very common hip situation, lol. I'm glad you worked it out! It totally paid off!

  4. Looks Great! Appreciate the detailed fitting descriptions - I'm still struggling, er...working on, trying to get a good fit...