Ginger Made: Geometric Laurel(ish)!

Hello! Hope your weeks are all off to a great start! I’m so excited to show you my (literally) shiny, new dress!

For my April Mood Sewing Network project, I picked out this sassy Marc Jacobs cotton/silk blend at Mood Fabrics NYC.  It has a lovely satin finish so it feels extra fancy.  As soon as I saw it, it looked me in the eye and spoke to me: “I’m a shift dress!”  Who am I to disagree?

Ginger Makes | Laurel shift dress

The fabric sewed up easily, more like a cotton than a silk.  I armed myself with a sharp needle and a press cloth, which worked well. I wanted to avoid getting pin holes in the fabric, so I used silk pins inside the seam allowances. The fabric is too special for machine-stitched hems, so I took my time blind-hemming everything by hand.  No other special treatment needed!

Ginger Makes | Laurel shift dress

I used the Colette Laurel dress pattern, which I’ve made once before. I had a great deal of trouble sorting out the fit through the armhole the first go-round, so I grabbed the Gather Mortmain dress pattern, traced off the armhole and sleeve, and just made a frankenpattern.  I haven’t had a chance to sew up that dress yet (although I’m looking forward to it!), but I made a quick muslin and it worked!

Ginger Makes | Laurel shift dress

I can just wriggle into the dress without a zipper, so I cut the back on the fold to avoid disrupting the print any more than was necessary. The Laurel dress calls for a 5/8″ hem allowance, but I like more weight in the hem of a shift dress, so I added extra length to allow for a 2.5″ hem. I lengthened the sleeves by 1.5″. I also drafted neck facings instead of the bias binding that the pattern called for. Call me crazy, but I think I’ve been converted to a facing fan! They lend a nice stability to the neckline that I’ve really come to appreciate.  There’s only one problem with this dress- it wrinkles a bit, and the satin finish makes the wrinkles really stand out. It’s not the end of the world, though.

Ginger Makes | Laurel shift dress

I really like the mod style of this print combined with the shift style. I have to admit, I’m tempted to stitch up a whole fleet of shift dresses this summer!  I’ll be keeping an eye out for more bold prints!

Ooh, one quick item of business! Just wanted to make sure you’ve all seen the fun new Nettie bodysuit pattern released by my friend Heather of Closet Case Files and inspired by another friend, Wanett of Sown Brooklyn! This is what’s on my sewing table right now- I didn’t know I needed a bodysuit until I saw this pattern, but I’m really psyched to try it out!

EDITED TO ADD: I just found a free downloadable shift dress pattern, Simple Sew‘s Brigitte dress! So if you like this style, and a new pattern’s not in the budget, this might be a good option! I haven’t tried the pattern, but let me know if you do- I’d love to know how it turns out!

How about you guys? Do you like the shift dress style? Do you like large-scale prints? Anyone else making a bodysuit?  Do you agree that I definitely need a pair of blue heels to wear with my new dress?  What’s new with you?

Colette Laurel, Or the Jurassic Park Twinsies Geeky Awesomeness Dress!

Hold onto your butts!  OK.  I really, really, REALLY like this dress.  I’m just going to say that right now.  I know that it’s ridiculous, but I still really like it.

A little backstory: like many people my age, I’m a huge, huge, HUGE fan of Jurassic Park.  So when I spotted a set of JP sheets on eBay a while back, I snapped them up for a song.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them, so they hung out in my stash for a year or so.  Fast forward to this spring when I did a massive stash cleanout and decided I didn’t really need two whole sheets.  I brought one to our meetup/swap with Lauren, and Devra suggested that we send it to Cindy (genius suggestion!), a fellow dinosaur enthusiast.  Cindy, also a genius, emailed me recently, suggesting that we make projects at the same time and reveal them on the same day (remember how much fun it was to see Andrea‘s S.O.S. Challenge?).  Great idea, huh?

I decided to use the Colette Laurel dress pattern for this, and it really worked out well!  It’s the perfect pattern for a large-scale print, since there aren’t many seams to break up the print.  I squeezed two WHOLE brachiosaurs onto the dress!  TWO!  Major accomplishment, people!

Brachiosaur! His head is comically undersized!

The pattern is a straightforward, quick make.  I made two muslins for it because I had the weird armhole pulling issue thing that a few other people mentioned.  I filled in the armscye (as described in this Flickr photo), narrowed the shoulders a bit, and lowered the bust darts about 1/2″.  I also added 2″ to the length, and I omitted the zipper, cutting the back on the fold, as I can *just* wriggle into it without a zip.  I decided to leave this version sleeveless for some reason– it just feels like a happy summer dress to me.  I lined it with white cotton batiste from my stash and used packaged bias tape from my stash to finish the neck and armholes, so the whole shebang is a pretty giant stash-bust for me!

Look at all my patient little hand stitches!

I love this style!  It’s so sassy and youthful!  Unfortunately, Man Friend is not a fan, as he offered his usual critique of anything not terribly fitted (“Needs a belt”), and he doesn’t want to go out in public with me in this dress.  I guess I will just go have amazing adventures by myself in this dress, then I’ll just photoshop Cindy into all my pictures so we can have tons of fun together in our matching dresses, thousands of miles apart!

Also.  It says “Danger!” on my dress.  Like fifty times.  Win!

I’m a mighty T-Rex! Fear me!

Who else is working on a Laurel dress?  Anyone else have a thing for a younger Jeff Goldblum?  A friend of mine wants to know…

Alright, guys, now go check out Cindy’s dress here!