Floral Laurel

colette patterns floral laurel

The intro of this post was going to be different. It was going to be about how this is dress is not a timely make. It’s midsummer where I live and floral dresses—especially ones with sleeves—belong in early spring. It’d go on to talk about how I’ve struggled with managing my sewing queue and keeping up a good pace the past few months—why, I’m not sure yet. An active summer social life? Watching more movies and cooking more dinners and doing more YouTube yoga? Maybe.

But instead of delving into possibly existential topics, I’m going to talk about how I only just realized that Fabric.com shipped me the wrong fabric for this Colette Laurel dress. And I made the thing without even realizing it. I’ve never been the most observant person, but I don’t think I’m completely oblivious. (I hope.) Here, you be the judge:

kaffe fasset floral fabric

Months ago, after going back and forth about which Kaffe Fasset floral to buy, I finally settled on this one. What I got was this one. I mean, a floral’s a floral, right? They all look alike?! She says with a crazed look in her eye. Luckily, I really love the mistake fabric. Just like my parents love my little brother. (Just kidding, mom. We know you wanted three kids all along. Wink wink.)

Fabric-confusion aside, this dress was really fun to sew.

colette patterns laurel dress

The size 8 muslin I sewed was pretty roomy, so I sewed a straight 6 this time around. I could get the muslin on and off easily without unzipping it, so I decided to omit the zipper on this dress. I also ended up interlining the fashion fabric with cotton batiste to eliminate any transparency. This was my first time interlining, and it went relatively smoothly save for a little bit of fabric pooling in the front.

colette patterns floral laurel dress

Here’s the laundry list of changes I made to the pattern and during construction:

  • Slashed the pattern at the neck to fix a slightly gaping neckline using a Fashion Sewing Blog tutorial (Colleen G. Lea you are a goddess)
  • Lowered the bust darts by 1/2″
  • Lowered the back darts by 1″
  • Added 2″ at the lengthen/shorten lines
  • Widened the seam allowance a bit at the natural waist for more definition
  • Sewed a 1.5″ hem instead of 2″
  • Eliminated the back zipper
  • Sewed a keyhole back using a tutorial from the free Laurel extras PDF download

colette patterns floral laurel

The pattern calls for more hand sewing than I’m used to, with slipstitches to secure the bias tape at the sleeves and a catch-stitched hem. I’m slowly but surely coming around to appreciate hand stitching. It’ll be a slow burn, I’m sure. My favorite detail on the whole shebang is the keyhole back, which serves the dual purpose of looking cute and making it slightly easier to get in and out of the dress since I made it sans zipper. Form and function wins out!

I love my little mistake dress, but I know I should’ve gotten around to making it earlier. Has anyone else been sewing seasonally inappropriate stuff? Tell me all your dirty sewing secrets.

P.S. I’m still going to wear the hell out of this dress on summer days below 80º F. B-)

The Octopus Negroni Shirt

Colette Negroni shirt

This shirt makes me happy for so many reasons. No other piece of clothing has given me the chance to say the word octopi or the phrase yes, its a very octopussy shirt so many times. I’m also ecstatic to get this out of my queue, since I’d been staring at 3 beautiful yards of cotton lawn octopi for far too long.

Ever since I successfully made an Archer for myself, Marc’s been asking for a short-sleeve shirt of his own. I settled on Negroni by Colette Patterns after seeing Lladybird’s version, so next came the fun/tricky part: finding the ideal fabric. I’ve had decent luck with Fabric.com, whose selection led both Marc and me to the octopi fabric, surprising since—while I loved it—I thought it might be a little too loud for his taste. I guess you don’t really know someone until you go virtual fabric shopping with them.

colette patterns men's negroni shirt

When it came to sewing, I added 2″ to the lengthen/shorten lines, and then made a muslin to test the fit. Marc’s 6’2″ and slim, and the medium fit him great in the body. It turns out I didn’t need to add the length after all, so technically the medium fit him right out of the package. Oh, men. Your lack of hip curves and boobs makes fitting so much easier.

Colette Negroni shirt

Here are the few changes I made to the final product:

  • Used self fabric for the facing, since the “lightweight” fusible interfacing I used on the muslin seemed miiiighty bulky. The Negroni has a pretty wide facing, but this cotton lawn is lightweight enough to feel comfortable while still providing some stability for the buttonholes and buttons. I fused the collar per the instructions, since a little extra stiffness there is fine.
  • Omitted one pocket and sewed it without the flap.
  • Omitted the collar loop. I think it would’ve made the Octopi look smug, or something.

Colette Negroni shirt

The sleeves came out pretty long when hemmed per the instructions, but Marc rolls most of his sleeves so the extra length isn’t a big deal. I cannot stress enough how much I love this Cotton and Steel Tokyo Train Ride fabric (also available in a few other colorways). It sewed like a dream, and the shirt is super soft yet crisp enough to hold its shape. Plus OCTOPI FOR DAYS! They’re so cute that I don’t even care that the yoke is horribly pattern matched. (I was running out of fabric, so certain octopi look like mutants with a bajillion tentacles.) I’ve already seen this material popping up all over Instagram, and I can’t wait to see what other folks are making with it!

And now, back to sewing myself a few things. My half-finished floral Laurel is currently crying out for attention on my ironing board, so that’ll be next. How about you? Sewn anything for a friend or S.O. lately?

Chambray Colette Sorbetto Top

Colette Sorbetto top

For the July installment in the Summer of PDF Sewing Patterns, I went with a pattern that cost $0. That’s right—the Sorbetto top from Colette Patterns is a FREE download! If you sew, this is probably super old news. I admit that I’ve seen images of this shirt (and hacks of this shirt) floating around the blogosphere for awhile now, but I’d never actually taken the plunge myself. Am I glad I finally did? I…. think so.

After reading what felt like 10,000 reviews of Sorbetto, I decided to make a few adjustments to the pattern before cutting out my fabric. For the record, I’m 6’0, wear a size 6/8 in dresses, and have a broad back and a long torso. Using Colette’s sizing chart as a guide, I cut a 6.

Colette Sorbetto pattern

Some reviewers mentioned that the top cut into their armpit, so I cut the armhole down to where it is for the size 12. I also cut the neckline down about 1″, because I get a little sweaty/panicky with high-cut necklines. My clavicle needs to breathe, y’alls. For length, I added 2″ to the waist area and about 1/2″ to the hem.

One of the most common complaints I’d seen was that the bust darts were waaaay too high. Since my whole upper half—from shoulder to hipbone—is long, I figured I’d need to lower the bust dart. Full disclosure: For some reason, I hate tracing bust darts onto fabric. That said, I tried to trace equal darts onto both side of the bodice, at roughly where the size 12 darts lie north/south and where the size 6 darts lie east/west.

On to the actual sewing!

Colette Sorbetto top

Pros

  • The pattern was super easy to follow. The directions are spot on, and thanks to their in-house continuous bias binding tutorial, I now know how to make tons of bias tape from a measly 10″x10″ fabric leftover.
continuous bias binding
Scrap of fabric destined for the trash becomes…
bias binding
…nearly 100″ of binding. Magic!
  • The pleat! I’ve never made anything with a pleat before, and I love it. It was super easy with the help of a nice steamy iron. (Sidenote: my old starter Rowenta has a broken handle and leaks water everywhere—any tips on good irons?)
  • It requires very little fabric. I bought 1.5 yards of this Robert Kaufman lightweight chambray, and I probably have enough leftover to make another shirt.
  • Comfort. It feels like I’m wearing pajamas. (Hell, maybe it looks like I’m wearing pajamas, too.)

Colette Sorbetto top

Cons

  • It’s short. Even after adding length in the torso and the hem, it felt a little cropped. Maybe that’s just the style of the shirt. Either way, I prefer my tops a little longer, especially if they’re woven.
  • The darts are too high. Surprise! My half-assed attempt to place these darts didn’t work. In fact, one was almost a full inch higher than the other (it was barely grazing boob at this point), so I had to seam rip that sucker and re-sew it. This was after I’d already sewn the side seams. Needless to say, I’m very happy my lightweight fabric stood up the the challenge of exasperated me + a seam ripper.
  • The bottom is slightly flared. It doesn’t necessarily look bad, it’s just not my style.
  • It’s a little tight in the upper back. It’s not uncomfortable, but since the rest of the shirt is so breezy, I’d like a little more breathing room for my oversize ribcage.

Fourth of July outfit

Overall, I’d say the pattern itself is well-drafted and includes amazing directions. (Colette really lives up to it’s motto, “Patterns that teach.”) Because a lot of Colette’s patterns are vintage-inspired, I think they might run a little short for me. I like the Sorbetto I made, but it’s a little swingy at the bottom for me. With it tucked into my red-white-and-blue shorts, I might just have a Fourth of July outfit on my hands. Now all I need is a Budweiser and a ketchup stain running down my chest.

Colette Sorbetto top

Anywho, I’m excited to take another stab at Sorbetto with a different fabric, maybe trying one of the fun modifications I’ve seen (like this scalloped edge) or trying a crop top version. Has anyone tried a crop? I’m curious to know before I go wasting fabric and end up crying in a heap of leftover thread and crumpled pattern pieces. (This has never happened.)

Happy Fourth!