Tuesday, 28 May 2013

It Happened at the World's Fair

I know I've been a little AWOL from my blog - but, I've still been sewing. I have a few things on the go at the moment, so I've been busy juggling the sewing plates and trying to finish them simultaneously one by one.

First finished is my version of the Colette Laurel dress now renamed as It Happened at the World's Fair dress. I just wanted a simple easy pattern so I could make a cute little dress to bag for the Road Trip. (Not long now peeps...think it's just under 9 weeks...and incase you don't know where I am going...I'M GOING TO GRACELAND!)

So, simple easy pattern? Yes, technically speaking it's VERY easy in its construction but AFTER you make a series of alterations to make it fit.

Regrets? I've had a few. I can draft patterns and I kind of wished I had just copied the thing -  whaaaa, me? shhhh - okay, I meant just draw up a basic shift dress pattern. Would have saved me a whole lot of time. Why didn't I? I don't know, patterns are fun to buy and receive. They make me feel like I am sewing before I even open them. Anyone else have that feeling?

I know others have made some lovely versions of this dress, and I am pleased with my finished result, but it's kind of a smile through slightly gritted teeth.

But it's done, I like it, and it's for my date with Elvis when we go to the fair.

Here's my date having to babysit while he waits for me to turn up. I like to keep him waiting. I hope the little girl gets lost when I turn up. The cool red dog can stay.

Sorry I'm late, Elvis, I was in the middle of a photo shoot.

Don't even think about it Joan O'Brien - he's mine. 

I would now tell you the sordid details of what actually did happen at the world's fair, but I don't kiss and tell about that particular shaking pelvis, so instead here's the details of my dress.

The fabric is from Mood Fabrics, NYC. I bought this last year when me and Mr S hit NY before going to Canada to see family. It's so pretty and dainty. It's quite a sheer cotton, so I underlined it with some plain cream lawn.

As per my little whine above, I made quite a few alterations. When I first made this up in a muslin I thought it looked pretty shapeless and I felt like a sack, but that could have been the calico or me just not being able to rock a sack. So I tapered in the front a fair bit and the back even more - as well as deepening the waist dart as well.

Most commercial patterns seem to love giving me a gaping back neck. I either have a head that sits too forward (according to some research...but, wait does that make me like one of those car bobble heads?) or it's my rounded shoulders. Whatever, another gaping neck fixed with neck darts. Luckily, my date is in 1963 and neck darts are IN!

I also think the shoulder seam sits too far back on this pattern. The internet tells me most commercial patterns are guilty of this. I found that in relation to this the back pattern was pulling the front up. Only slightly, and probably not obvious to most, but I could just see it. So, I slashed the back pattern from about midway of the armhole straight across and added 1/2". This really helped.

Related to this issue is the bust darts. For a tall girl, they sit up far too high. Even when adjusting the back I still had to lower my bust dart point 1/2".

For the sleeves I added a little band at the bottom with slits and a cute little button. I left the neckline as it was, as by the end of making this dress, I felt I had done enough with the fitting alterations and didn't have the desire to add a collar. I was done with this dress and the fair was just pulling into town.

On the inside I french seamed all the seams including armholes and hand sewed the hem.

And that's my version of the Laurel. I'm not sure I'll make it again. I do have a half done wearable muslin in a mock denim blue cotton, which can sleep in my WIP pile for a while, but for now it's back to finishing the Jungle Room pencil skirt. Only the waist band to go after a tricky fiddle lining a vent. Let's promise to never line vents again! ;)


  1. What is with that upper back gaping thing? I get that too... And I don't think I'm abnormally shaped back there! :P I't s a particular problem for me with Colette patterns. I'm working on a shift pattern too... but totally losing steam now that I realise I've got other shift dress patterns that I've already worked out the fitting issues for! Why put all that work into a new one?
    Regardless, I think your dress looks lovely! Your beehive is divine, too!

  2. What a crying shame that you had such fitting issues with Laurel...especially as it's a relatively simple pattern. I think Colette patterns are made for super wide shoulders/backs, as I've had gaping in that area before too. Anyway, your Laurel does look lovely though, so whatever magic you worked on it did the trick ;o)

  3. I'm sorry this project was a pain in the ass to fit but I love the final version. I know Elvis is gonna drop that little Asian girl like a hot potato when you saunter in. "Get lost kid, the dog's for the lady."

  4. Dang, Elvis would be more than happy to wait for you in that dress! I know it was a PitA to fit but the finished item looks great.

  5. Wow it looks great! I rarely like a Laurel, but this one is extremely cute and very you!

  6. it was worth the effort i think! i really like it on you! not worth making another since you've worked out the fit? i always have a gaping back neck (in most patterns) and i have wide shoulders. i think it's the rounded uppper back we get from using computers so much (us? on computers? never)

  7. You're looking kinda Priscilla in those photos! Looks great despite your fitting frustrations. Can't wait to see the jungle room skirt.

  8. Another great make! I love the fabric you chose, very pretty. Also I need you to teach me how to do a beehive, yours is awesome!

  9. Very cute! I love those style dresses. It was well worth the effort.