And, urm, well … another Laurel

Since I really don’t have anything more to say about the pattern, I’ll just leave you with a  photo of the double-knit version of the Laurel dress.

Enjoy.

Laurel. Yes, again.
Laurel. Yes, again.
Advertisements

Tumbleweeds …

It is well and truely summer here now. Which is great and sunny and warm and sunny and … well, you get it 😀

Which means I’ve not been home a lot, and not been too keen on being stuck in the sewing room. Despite the fact that I really could use more summery clothes … the irony of the situation isn’t lost on me.

Anyways, there was loads of fun had two weekends ago when I went sailing. I’ll spare you the endless “look – water!” and “more water!” photos (and we didn’t get a single shot of the school of 30 or so dolphins we saw), but this one I want to share as it’s a bit special to me.

Holding the wheel
Holding the wheel

Yup, that’s me steering the sail boat we were on! Quite exciting, that … and a good experience on more than one level. Life here has had it’s ups and downs, and despite having gone through the experience of moving to a new country before, this time it’s a lot more challenging. While a lot of things are great, my general mood hasn’t really been. I guess I feel a little lost, and a tad lonely, and just find it harder than expected to settle down. I’m sure all will be well in time, but right now, I’m struggling a little bit.

And quite literally taking the steering wheel has brought back into focus what I knew before, but sometimes seem to forget: it is what I make of it. So … moving on.

ordirnary day at the office
Ordinary day at the office

That’s me at work, wearing the “broken build” hat. For those of you not familiar with software development methods, it’s a way of letting people know that you’re fixing something rather fundamentally important (which, in all honesty, I wasn’t, but … ah, well, long story).

laurel in action
Laurel in action

That’s the promised better photo of the second Laurel dress I made … I really love it. Sadly, there was some sort of weird fabric accident, and one little bit of it looks a tad roughed up – not sure if it was the messenger bag or the washing machine 😦 I think it’s still wearable, but sad nonetheless.

To console myself, of course I made another one … no photos yet, but I’ll get some soon.

And of course, the garden is still growing. After all went so swimmingly with the tomatoes, I should probably have expected some little setbacks. Well, I didn’t.

One day, I noticed the first tomato starting to turn red. It looked amazing:

Loogking good ...
Loogking good …

Then I inspected it’s underside:

Meh
Meh

I don’t know what this is – if anybody does, I’d love to hear! Also, tips on how to prevent this would be greatly appreciated.

There are, however, many more tomatoes on the bushes, so I won’t fret. Okay, I’m lying. It’s the first one, and I had plans for it, dammit!

Plans ...
Plans …

Let’s hope these beauties will turn out better!

San Marzanos
San Marzanos

And the first chilies, too:

Some chilies
Some chilies

Speak soon!

More of the same …

Are you getting bored with my Laurels yet? Clearly, I’m not – I made two more over the weekend.

This time as dress versions. For the dresses, I went up a size, because after some consideration I realized I found the blouses a tad too tight over the bust. Maybe that was a mistake – I made the black linen one first, and ended up taking ~ 2 inches off each side.

Black Linen Laurel
Black Linen Laurel

I know, yet another horrific photo … I’ll try to get shots with me in it, but my camera clearly is a poor weather baby and has huge trouble with the sun here.

Anyways, after I’d made this one, I transferred my changes to the pattern, moved the darts a little bit more (again), and made another sleeveless version.

Sleeveless Laurel
Sleeveless Laurel

Last week, my parents came down all the way from Germany to visit me, and parents being parents, they asked what they could bring me from home. Now, I have all sorts of weird food issues – the most prominent being a rather pesky gluten intolerance. My mother, bless her, tries really hard, but invariably ends up bringing me food I can’t eat without making myself miserable. So this year, I thought we try something else, and asked her to bring me some fabric.

It was a huge success – my mother had weeks of fun bartering with the merchants on her hometown’s market, and I got 8m of nice fabric – mostly solid knits, but this fabric is a light woven cotton-something mix. To be fair, it’s a tad too blue for me, but for some reason I really love it.

My only woe with this make is that I cut sleeves before realizing that it would be much better sleeveless in this drapey fabric … maybe I can squeeze another blouse out of the remnants to avoid the sleeves going to waste.

Manteo growing
Manteo growing

In related news, I think this cardi will go great with the dress, non? Just need to finish it … and hope it blocks out, as it’s looking awfully small at this stage.

And last but not least, my plants. They seem to like it here 😀 When I started the seedlings back in February, I passed a few plants on to friends, since I had far too many. Out of the whole bunch, mine have outgrown all their siblings in the most impressive manner. I don’t know what it is, but I love it!

San Marzano tomatoes:

San Marzano tomatoes
San Marzano tomatoes

Rambling red (stripey tomatoes!):

Stripey!
Stripey!

And the herbs – parsley, coriander, 2 sorts of thai basil, italian basil and pink wonder tomatoes:

The wild growth
The wild growth

There are a few more things on the needles, but I’ll save them for another post.

Oh, and the rain? Nothing but a distant memory. I might even be a teensy bit sun burnt. Maybe. 😉

Another Laurel, what else?

Last week, I received a fabric order I had kinda forgotten about. How that’s possible, with me being so desperate for some  stash additions, I’m no sure.

It was, however, a shipment of three different double-knits. And the stripey one was just sceaming “Laurel!”. So I made one … after I finally made the Moss skirt.

There will be no photos of it in this post, as it’s not quite finished yet – all that’s missing is a hook and eye, though. The other reason there are no photos is that I’m not entirely sure I love it – which, in all fairness is more my failure than anything to do with the pattern.

I chose to make a size 8, since the hip measurements were very close to mine, and it turned out just a tad tight. I’m not even sure it’s really too tight – it’s just … well, very fitted over my backside. You might or might not get to see it – there’s always the option I loose some weight, of course.

The pool finally opened last Friday, and after putting the finishing touches (well, except for the closure) on the Moss skirt, I went for a swim! Man, am I out of shape – nonetheless, it was glorious. Really need to do that more often now.

K, back to Laurel – I had wanted to try it in a stable knit anyways, and so redraftet the front piece to move the darts down a bit. My first two version have very high darts; in fact, after the first one, I spent a considerably amount of time peering at the photos on Colette’s website to determine where they should sit. Since the model in the stripey dress has them above her apex as well, I didn’t make any changes to my 2nd make, but have hence come to think they’d be more flattering if they were more traditionally placed.

I might have gone a bit overboard (note to self – remember to activate anti-gravity attachments before taking measurements next time), but I like the fit still a lot better now.

Sadly, even though this time I waited until the sun had disappeared behind the houses, and activated the flash, the pics were even worse overexposed than last time. Seems I’ve got to put my thinking cap on how to get passable photos during the glaring summer months …

Anyway, that’s why I only have this one rubbish shot:

Stripey Laurel
Stripey Laurel

I didn’t even really try to match stripes in the sleeves, and clearly fate wasn’t really on my side – also I’m not certain the fact that one side is kinda matched, the other not doesn’t make things worse?

After finishing the Laurel, I repurposed some of the minuscule remnants:

Repurposed tee remnants
Repurposed tee remnants

Yus, not only have my tomatoes now a height at which they need support, the first buds have opened!

1st tomato flower
1st tomato flower

And because I also epically scored against the weed (edgetrimmer FTW!), some celebratory BBQ was called for:

BBQ dinner
BBQ dinner

All in all, a wonderful Sunday. How did you spend yours? What did you make and/or do?

Resting on my laurels

After finishing the first version of Colette’s Laurel, I knew I’d be making more.

The pattern is well drafted, easy to put together and I think really versatile. Which didn’t stop me from basically making the same version again, just in a very lightweight cotton plaid this time.

The fabric has been in my stash for a while – it was purchased at Fabricland, which I miss sorely. Initially, I thought I’d be making a shirt from it, and there still is a shirt (Archer, if you must know) in my hopefully near future, it will just not be this fabric.

Because it’s so lightweight, and frays rather easily, I did something previously unheard of on this blog: french seams. Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming either.

Plaid Laurel french seams
Plaid Laurel french seams

There were two minor issues with the french seams – well, actually they’re the same issue 😀 Because I didn’t really think about it until I’d cut into my fashion fabric, I didn’t widen the seam allowances. Hence I didn’t dare to do french seams in the armscye, for fear it would be too small.

Instead, I sewed two seams very closely together and zigzagged over the seam allowance – I hope that will give the seams enough stability.

Becaues of that, and the fact that this fabric has literally no stretch, it’s a tad tighter than the first one I made, but it’s just okay – I’ve only got to remember to not put on any weight at all.

Plaid Laurel front
Plaid Laurel front

I also changed the method of bias binding the arms slightly, so that the bias band is visible on the outside – I rather like the effect of cutting plaid on the bias, so wanted to show of a teensy peak of it.

Plaid Laurel back
Plaid Laurel back

I also shaved off a scant 1/4 inch or so of the back armscye, and the wrinkles are gone. It stands to reason that this might also be furthered by the french seams, tho. Whatever it was, I’m pretty happy with the fit – it’s a little restrictive over the upper back, but not so much so that I’m unable to raise my arms.

And I have to agree with SewBusyLizzy – the neckline is pretty darn perfect.

Colette – Laurel

While the weather is still rather temperamental, it is a bit warmer now, and that means I can finally use the sewing room. Okay, to be honest I could have used it before, but I’d have to drag the electric heater in there, and for a spot of evening sewing that just doesn’t happen – by the time the rooms warmed up sufficiently, I’m ready for bed most times.

But with a four day weekend, I was intent on finally making use of it. I even found a second screw to secure my chair seat, so I wouldn’t fall off the chair and break my neck – win!

Last week, Colette Patterns released Laurel, and while I’ve admired a lot of their patterns, and even own a few, I’ve never made anything but a Sorbetto top – which didn’t fit me very well, and I’ve not gotten around to fix the pattern. I’m thinking I might do that soon, though …

Laurel is a cute little pattern that can be made into a dress or top, and with the fitting issues from Sorbetto in mind, I decided I’d make the top first.

I had this rather weird teal poly-cotton with textured stripes in my stash, and I’ve been looking for a pattern for it for quite a while. Laurel seemed to fit the bill, and indeed it does work rather well, I think.

Things were going fairly well with my first version – there was some gaping in the back neck line, but thanks to the back center seam, it was no problem to fix that by taking the seam in 1.5 inches.

Sadly, though, when I set about to press the seam open, I accidentally switched the temperature on my iron to highest, and promptly melted a hole in the fabric 😦 Go me.

There was just enough of the fabric left to make a second version, and that gave me the opportunity to fix a few minor fitting issues – the gaping back neckline by taking out 1.5 inches at the top of the back center seam, tapering to nothing roughly at waist height.

I also lowered the neck-side of the shoulder seams by a bit less than an inch, as they were standing up a little bit in the first version.

Colette - Laurel front
Colette – Laurel front

The back would probably benefit from a little bit more tampering with the shoulder seams and armscye, there’s a teensy bit of wrinkling there, but not enough to really bother me.

Colette - Laurel back
Colette – Laurel back

The only thing I’m not entirely sure about is the sleeve length, which hits just at my elbows. I kinda like it, though … maybe I get used to it.

And just for giggles, here’s one shot of my litte herb-garden-in-the-making. The birds have ripped out a couple of baby tomatoes and chilies, but it looks like it was more of an exploratory action and they decided they’re not appealing to eat. Phew. I’m sure there will be many other takers once the sun comes out for good …

Future herb garden
Future herb garden