Laurelfest: all the tops (so far)

Good news and bad news. First, the bad news: my sewing machine broke yesterday and the two closest repair places are (1) closing down, (2) on vacation as of today, and back in a week to work through their backlog. There are at least a couple of places left in the area, so I’ll keep calling.

I don’t know yet how serious the issue is. The machine suddenly seized up mid-seam and displayed an error code indicating that there was a thread tangle. I went in with a screwdriver and found no tangled threads. But the handwheel feels locked up and I can’t get in there myself to see what is actually the matter.

The good news: I got a tripod for my real camera and am ditching the phone. No more photos taken with a potato, at least if I can help it. So to take my mind off the sewing machine tragedy (cue sad violin), I decided to make the most of the three rays of sun that broke through the clouds today.

I give you another glimpse into my obsession with the Laurel pattern: all the tops I made from it so far.

By the way, I had a lot of fun cropping my head out of these photos — not showing your face ups photo usability. One less thing to worry about.

First up, the latest top:

I went up a size for this one. After wearing it a few times I really feel it was a good decision because this rayon from Cotton and Steel, while really lovely, is also kind of peculiar. The Scout tee I cut out in it feels smaller than one I made in a more loosely woven rayon, and both were cut out in the same size.

Once again, I went for a slit on the upper back, but this time with a fabric-covered button and a rouleau loop. The loop took me a hundred years — it was my very first one.


back closure detail: rouleau loop and a fabric-covered button

Now the “oldies” that I have sketched and posted about. Hey, after all, it’s a Thursday, so throwback time:

the black one with a Peter Pan collar, a blouse that doubles as a lint roller (fabric: Cambridge cotton lawn from Robert Kaufman)

the blue one with back ties (fabric: mystery thrift find, drapey)

the one with cutouts inspired by the Datura top from Deer and Doe (fabric: Robert Kaufman cotton lawn)

The skirt in the last four photos is based on the Meringue pattern from the Colette Sewing Handbook.  It’s been in heavy rotation since I made it last fall. No scallops for me, thanks, but I added a lining. The corduroy was a great thrift find, bought together with that blue fabric and whatever else I fit into a bag for $15. There wasn’t much of it so I was lucky that I was able to squeeze out the skirt and the little pocket.

More Laurels to come most likely — especially if I can figure out new details or hacks. I don’t know about you, but I really like the comfort of coming back to a pattern I’ve already fitted and sewing it up again. It’s the opposite of what I enjoy about knitting, where it’s novelty that keeps me going.

What are your go-to patterns? Or do you prefer the thrill of a new challenge?




12 thoughts on “Laurelfest: all the tops (so far)

    • Hello, Amanda! Isn’t it interesting how we come to discover what kind of sewing we enjoy? You see, I worry I wouldn’t have the patience and precision for quilting. There’s a lot of beautiful quilts out there, so I’m definitely not saying “never,” just “not yet.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is interesting. I started out making clothes (and still have a soft spot for sewing my kids’ Halloween costumes) but the frustration involved usually gets the best of me. Maybe I’ll make it a goal this year to overcome that. 😉


        • I motivate myself by finding “aspirational projects” — something that I want to make so much that I try to identify what I need to learn and what skills I need to keep honing, and then I try to dive into it. It’s important, I think, not to aim for perfection.

          Ponte de roma might be a good fabric to work with if you don’t want to spend a lot of time muslining to get the fit right. The stretch of that knit helps, but its stability makes it a nice alternative to a woven fabric.

          Now, do you have any tips for picking a good first quilting project?


          • Thanks for the inspiration and tips! I honestly knew nothing about quilting (other than how terrifying it seemed) but after researching, I decided straight-line quilts looked the easiest. And I was totally correct in my assumption. You can even buy pre-cut fabric strips (jelly rolls) which make the whole process that much easier. I actually just recently posted about my first quilting experience, which has a link to the tutorial I used if you’re interested. It got me hooked for sure! 😊

            Liked by 1 person

  1. All of the tops are lovely, but the Cotton+Steel and neckline cut-out versions are really eye-catching! I bought the Laurel when it was new and the center of a lot of internet hullabaloo, but still haven’t sewn it because I realized that I don’t really like dresses without waist definition. I think I need to revisit it!


    • Thanks, Melina 🙂 I really worried about the lack of waist definition when I made my first Laurel dress. And I did add tucks to the front to create more shaping. When I spent more time with the pattern, I realized that you can also create shaping by adjusting the back darts and side seams to the natural curves of your body. And it looks great with a belt, too.

      The Megan Dress from Love at First Stitch makes a lovely alternative to the Laurel, I think. It has a waist seam and a bit more shaping. I haven’t made it yet, but I would like to give it a try. Here’s a nice version.


  2. They look great! Love the Frock rayon – I have the pink and red version and fancy making it into a pussy bow collar blouse. Amongst the gazillion other things on my list. I honestly can’t wait until I have a few go-to patterns – I’m looking forward to making a few of the same thing that actually fits me perfectly 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks 🙂 I really like that fabric. I have to say, though, I have been disobeying the care instructions — I don’t dry clean it. I give it a gentle hand wash instead. The fabric gets weird in the water but ironing gets it back into shape. I also haven’t observed any additional shrinkage beyond its original snug-feeling fit (that’s why I cut this Laurel a size larger). I certainly hope I’m right and that my hand-washing approach proves sustainable. That will come out in the wash, I guess (ha!).

      I hope I expand my tried-and-tested list beyond the Laurel because it’s really great to have this pattern to return to. I’m also glad that reading about my repeated returns to it isn’t too boring.


    • I really appreciate it. I might have another look at it myself. I’ve found some advice online that suggests I might be missing a thread scrap stuck in another part of the machine. If I don’t find anything, I’ll have a professional look at it.


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