Laurel by the Sea

I’ve been on a roll with Laurel by Colette Patterns, but I think I’ve come to the end of the run for now. It’s become a wardrobe staple: a simple shape, a quick and easy pattern and a perfect way to focus on the fabric.

 This fabric is a geometric print viscose from Spotlight. I only ever go in for a zip and usually come out with at least three different fabrics, plus patterns and notions. It makes for an expensive lunch break!  Looking at these pics, I’m glad I took my time over the pattern alignment. This is one print that would have looked dreadful had I not centred it. As with the tropical Viscose Laurel, I omitted the back zip and used bias binding to finish the neckline.


So here I am dazzling everyone with my Snow White complexion. Some people manage to look effortlessly golden on the beach. I just look hot and bothered!
Have you been reading Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow’s Better Pictures Project? I can’t be alone in not enjoying the photography sessions. I don’t think it’s the highlight of my husband’s week either! Yet I’m still compelled to record my handmade clothes. For this post I thought I’d take up Gillian’s October homework challenge to incorporate movement into photos.

So a small improvement I think. But with this scenery to look at, it was fairly easy to forget about being photographed. Gillian’s definitely inspired me to raise my game! #betterpicturesproject 

A Nautical Anna

So I’m back on my balcony. The pollution has been so bad of late that the schools have been closed on and off  and we have been staying indoors at the weekend. Funny how the decrease in air quality correlates with a spike in sewing!

I wonder whether I’m the last person to tackle the Anna dress by By Hand London. This was a slow-burner for me. I wasn’t a fan of the gored skirt. I thought it looked a bit dated. I was also not convinced that the gathered under-bust darts would create a flattering shape on a fuller bust. There was a danger, I thought, that the girls would look like saggy, forlorn dumplings.

But then the #internationalannaparty happened on Instagram… Without exception, every single Anna dress on ladies large and small, tall and short looked absolutely cracking. By golly, these BHL ladies have only gone and designed the perfect dress for the whole of womankind, I thought.


I’ve had a bit of fun with this pattern. I cut a size 10/14, graded to the next size up at the waist. I added 1″ across the chest with a FBA, which resulted in additional bust darts. I also added an inch to the length of the bodice as the muslin felt like it was riding high. I had the same issue with my Emery dresses. As much as I love them I get a mild feeling of discomfort, as though the skirt is beginning just under my bust. I did wonder if the bodice was a touch too long but these photos suggest that it’s about right. Maybe that odd feeling I was getting in the midriff region was a sign that I’d got the fit right for once!
So the tinkering didn’t end there. I decided to move the back zip to the right side seam. I think it gives a much cleaner look, and if it’s not as invisible as it might be, who can tell? I also added the Emery dress skirt instead of the original design. I have to credit Meg at Cookin’ and Craftin’ for that stroke of inspiration. After feeling ridiculously joyful and chic in my culottes I thought I might try out the midi length on this dress, so I added 5 inches to the length of the skirt, following the line of the pattern and continuing to grade it out to maintain the flare.

My other hesitation with this dress was the fabric. I was totally sold on the nautical print I found in Singapore. There was no doubt that I had been influenced by a certain Ms Clarinda Kaleidoscope and her divine nautical BHL Kim dress as seen on the high seas, well Norwegian fjords! But as I began to sew I started to envisage myself dressed in a giant toddlers’ dress in novelty print. Had I made a huge error in nicking Clarinda’s style and this was my punishment??!

I’m pleased to report that I am totally in love with Anna and her modifications. This really is a bodice to flatter all dimensions. The cherry on the cake was having my Instagram pic re-grammed by the BHL ladies. What a compliment! Next up will be a full length viscose version complete with thigh split. Once I’ve mastered it I might be bold enough to have a go with my precious Shanghai Tang silk, you never know!

Laurel in the Highlands

Chances are, you come here for the sewing. You might even drop by to see what the ‘daft cow’s up to now’, wondering why on earth I choose to put photos of myself on the internet. Either way I thought it was high time I threw in a bit of scenery for good measure.
We’ve just come back from a lovely break in the Cameron Highlands, the land of tea and strawberry plantations. We managed high tea with scones, cream and jam; a roast dinner; and a drinks in front of an open fire in the local pub. It was the perfect opportunity to get some outfits photographed against a backdrop that didn’t include my balcony wall.


So here I am amidst the tea bushes in my latest Laurel by Colette Patterns. I’ve been on a roll with this pattern as it’s a really good fit for me, and the perfect vehicle for interesting and striking fabric. I’ve made five of these babies so far, and can’t imagine there won’t be more. It’s a feminine shape with a gently flared skirt, although it’s a bit crumpled here after a long drive.

I bought this gorgeous Japanese cotton from Malin Textiles in People’s Park, Singapore. I was very taken with the bright bauble colours on a dark background. The lady who sold it to me said that it was a ‘famous’ style print. Knowing nothing about Japanese textiles, I wondered if anyone could shed any light? I’ve photographed the selvedge below for any Japanese speakers. Any information would be gratefully received.