Oatmeal cookies

Foto van een vroege versie.

Veel winkels en bakkers hebben wel een variatie op haverkoeken, vaak knapperig aan de buitenkant en zachter aan de binnenkant met een vulling van noten en rozijnen. De lekkerste kreeg ik van een collega, van de markt in Assen. Wekelijks ging ik even naar Assen om lekkere dingen voor het weekend en koeken te scoren. Maar ja, toen kwam er een wereldwijde pandemie tussen mij en mijn koeken. Daarom zelf maar aan het sleutelen geweest. Dit is het recept dat ik tegenwoordig gebruik:

150gr Grove havermout (met fijne havermout worden ze wat papperig)

100gr meel, ik gebruik speltmeel

Zakje baking soda (tenzij je zelfrijzend meel gebruikt)

60 gr donkere basterdsuiker

80gr Zachte ongezouten boter

2el appelstroop

1 ei

beetje zout

speculaaskruiden naar smaak (ik gebruik een eetlepel met een kopje)

Handje noten geplet in kleinere stukjes (ik doe dat tussen twee snijplanken).

Handje rozijnen

Handje cranberries

Voorbereiding

Oven op 180 voorverwarmen

Bereidingswijze

1.Alle droge ingr. zonder de noten, rozijnen en cranberries, mengen

2.Dan 1 voor 1 de natte ingr. erdoor mengen

3.Tot 1 geheel kneden

4.De noten, cranberries er als laatste erdoor kneden

5.Verdeel in 9-12 balletjes

6.Leg bakpapier op bakplaat en verdeel de balletjes erover, laat een paar cm tussen de balletjes vrij

7.Druk de balletjes beetje plat met vork

8.Plaats in t midden van de oven voor 15-20min. tot de randjes goudbruin zijn.

9.Laat koelen op rek.

How I stopped myself from buying more fabric and started to appreciate and use what I have

I stopped buying fabric after Christmas 2020. I had just received a package of beautiful fabrics and needed to make space for them in my fabric cupboard. I had to rearrange my collection of tea cups so I could use the last shelf in the cupboard that wasn’t used for fabric. I put my tea cups into a box under my sewing table and swore to myself that by the end of the next year I would be able to put them back on display again. I knew I had to stop buying fabric and find a way to sew what fabric I had in a way that would work for me and my already pretty full wardrobe. 

As I write this I haven’t bought fabric in 335 days. I received a gift of fabric from my husband (cotton fleece for a blanket for our daughter) and a gift of fabric from my sister-in-law (Van Gogh fabric for me) but that’s it. I stopped accepting free fabric and free patterns and have been increasingly happily using what I already have. 

Today I’m going to write down some of my thoughts and parts of my process that might be helpful to others. A lot of things that come into play when you’re looking at your shopping habits are highly personal and so your mileage may vary on all of these things, but maybe it will help someone else create a process for themselves. 

  1. Identify if you actually have a problem with the size of your fabric collection. 

We often think we need to feel a certain way about something because everyone seems to feel that way. That doesn’t mean that you actually experience your fabric as too much, but that you think others would see it as too much and as people pleasing as we humans are build to be, that’s the thing that makes us feel ashamed. So coolly reflect on the amount of fabric you have and what that does to you and you alone. Are there practical objections to the size of your collection? Does it fit in your space? Does it fit your life and values? Try to think longterm. Will it bother you in ten years if certain fabrics are still there? Will it bother you if you have the same amount of fabric in ten years? Will it bother you if you have more fabric in ten years? If it doesn’t, there’s no problem. If the sight of your fabric makes you happy, there’s no problem. If it makes you feel overwhelmed or anxious, you’ll want to take control. Write down why it bothers you and what emotions you experience when thinking about the size of your fabric collection. 

My initial problem was that I simply ran out of space and that the fabric was taking over shelves that were meant for other things. I needed to stop buying and start to think of a way of using what I had to regain my space. 

  1. Identify why and under what circumstances you buy fabric. 

Giving up buying fabric was extremely easy during the first two months. But that was because I cheated. I stopped buying fabric and started buying all sorts of other things, books, stationary, supplies for painting, supplies for knitting, stuff for my dollshouse, knick knacks for the house, plants etc. I replaced the habit of buying fabric with the habit of buying everything else. Financially this wasn’t a problem, but I stopped buying fabric to reclaim space and now I was still filling up space, different space, but space nonetheless. Also, I just wanted to figure out why I kept feeling the need to buy things. 

To work on my shopping habit I started reading on shopping addiction, but also on mindfulness, hoarding, the psychology behind panic buying and how financial decision making is hampered when you grow up in poverty like I did. So a lot of different topics and approaches. I definitely do not qualify as a shopping addict. I buy within my means and space (dwindling as it is, the space is still there) and I do use the things I buy, but it is always more than I actually need, like I’ll buy three instead of one in case I run out. I was interested in the mechanisms behind the urge to buy. 

Apparently there’s a couple of main reasons people have a hard time to stop buying:

  1. Avoiding the actual problem you have. Emotional triggers can send us searching for that shoppers high for a short term fix. 
  2. Peer pressure on social media. Seeing friends and family shop makes you want to join. 
  3. Trying to buy your way to being someone else. 
  4. Being unaware of the costs and the amount you’re spending. 

Mine wasn’t among those, but maybe yours is. The way to deal with almost all of these is to delay your purchase and to try and sit with your feelings for a while. I did use this tactic and started to delay my other purchases to the 30th of every month. This was pretty helpful as I noticed I bought a lot less stuff  in March than in January and February. I even managed to not buy anything in April and May because I kept asking myself whether I needed something enough to put it on my shopping list. Gradually I got to a place where I stopped browsing online shops or closed certain pages when I realized I was browsing mindlessly. My advice would be to be gentle on yourself with this. When you do buy something just start running the clock again and don’t beat yourself up over it. You don’t need to be perfect in this, just mindful so that the things you do buy are things that are truly needed and wanted. Sometimes I slipped, skincare is one of my Achilles heels, but when I shopped, I shopped things that I actually use. I now can go longer periods without buying, though I do notice it gets harder when times are more stressful. It’s nice to have the delay tactic for times like those.

My reason for shopping too much

What I ended up recognizing myself most in was the psychology behind panic buying. I grew up extremely poor. To quantify that: I grew up with food insecurity, not always having at least one meal a day, there were prolonged periods without utilities and I knew how to handle money collectors, bargain at the grocery store for more credit from a very young age. My mom did her best, but my father was an alcoholic and did not care about feeding us or keeping our utilities on and my mom was therefor severely hampered in her attempts to take care of those things if my dad beat her to the bank. This created a permanent feeling of crisis in me. 

This article examines why people bought so much toilet paper during the first Covid lockdown:

‘In survival psychology, it is widely acknowledged that individuals may undergo behavioural changes following major events such as natural disasters and disease outbreaks that potentially disrupt social lives or even threaten individuals’ health [1]. One of such behavioural changes is panic buying, which occurs when consumers buy unusually large amounts of products in anticipation of, during or after a disaster or perceived disaster, or in anticipation of a large price increase or shortage.’ 

You can read more about the survival theory behind this here.

I think this is what has happened in a lesser way to me as a result of growing up poor and feeling like I was constantly in a crisis. Whenever I really like something, I tend to stock up. Stock up a lot so I can never run out. An empty refridgerator used to bring me to the verge of panic attacks. I haven’t had an empty fridge for years now, but I am pretty scared of running out of things. 

3. Mindfulness and appreciating what is already there

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present- in the here and now- aware of our surroundings, noises around us and current activities, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. This is what ended up helping me a lot with stopping the urge to buy. To get back into the here and now, you can start with a grounding exercise. Try out a couple to find what works best for you. What worked for me was and is to be very aware of what is already there. Whenever I feel the urge to buy, I go look at what I already own and envision myself using it and being content whilst using it. I also try to think about how fast I will actually use it. So with paint supplies I think about how often I paint and how much I actually use. That way I calm down and help myself realize I am not in danger of running out. With fabric I count the fabric I have, take it out of the cupboard and refold it. Maybe make a list of plans for it. Then I think about how long it will take me to run out of fabric until my mind realizes I really don’t need more fabric.

I can see this continuing to be a struggle for me. Some months probably will be easier than others, but I am committed to buying less. It fits better with the more ecological friendly person I’m trying to become. It also fits better with the minimalist in me. I’m not that minimalistic, but I do enjoy actually using the things I own and having too much to use doesn’t sit well with me. So I’ll go on trying to be mindful about it all, making sure to enjoy myself and the things I have.

Week 3 of Design your own Wardrobe and the real garments

This week was all about sketching and planning your looks and making your list of plans.

Remember, this was my moodboard:

These were the items I wanted to incorporate from my wardrobe:

I had a pretty well formed plan early in the process. Through a lot of editing I had whittled down my list to four items that I then sketched out, cut out and combined using the Stylebook app:

I’m still not very good at drawing, but by keeping close to the line drawings I managed to get to this point.

I had started knitting the green sweater as soon as I knew I wanted to make something like that. It’s my own made up pattern, based on rough measurements and then just counting rows and stitches. I knitted it in the round and it was a very fast project:

For the dress I used the Seamwork Veronica pattern. Another really fast project though it has French seams all over and some handstitching. Here it is with the cardigan I altered for #alteritaugust.

After I made the dress I was pretty sure I had my favourite outfit of the bunch, but over the weekend I made these two and I love them together:

It’s the Seamwork Neenah with the bonus cowl variation and the Seamwork Osaka skirt. The Osaka in pleather had been on my moodboard last year, but I didn’t get round to it. It’s a simple, but fun project and took me a lot less time then I had expected. The top part is a crepe. I’m wearing it with a skirt pin, because I’m not sure at what size I’m going to end up and I didn’t want to commit to a buttonhole just yet. The Neenah was even faster to make. I cut it out and sewed it on my serger in an hour to my surprise when I had just planned to cut it out and make it over the course of this week.

I love all the combinations you can make with just these four garments:

And when you bring in some of my other clothes:

I think the Neenah and the knitted sweater will work really well with my dresses and the Osaka skirt will play well with all the tops I made last year and some of my shorter dresses.

This year I had very clear ideas about where I wanted to go from the start. It helps to go through the process a couple of times as I was able to edit my ideas really quickly. Last year I made a lot more garments and I knew I didn’t have time nor wardrobe space for that this time around. I was also very aware of the very few wardrobe holes I had left and I limited myself to working from my stash in both fabric, wool and patterns.

Design Your Wardrobe week 2

This is the moodboard I ended the first week of design your wardrobe with. This week is all about colour and fabric!

The first prompt had us shopping our fabric stash and for me that’s going to be the only shopping I’m doing and then the second prompt was about getting swatches from fabric stores, which I didn’t.

I have so many beautiful fabric at home! I have definitely been a fabric collector from the start of my sewing journey and I have zero regrets over that. Two years ago we went through a financial transition where we had a little less to spend for a while and I just could keep sewing from my stash. I have been pretty careful with what I bought and usually took some time to mull over if I really wanted something. Looking at my fabrics still makes me really happy and content. I do try to buy very little now and a fabric has to be really wow to enter the stash these days.

I had to use my moodboard and check my fabrics to see if the fabric matched the mood of the board. As I had already used the fabrics that inspired me on the moodboard I just checked if I still was happy with those and if they fit the WWWW criterium (what would Winona wear?). Here’s three of them, two of the black fabrics I want to use didn’t photograph very well, but they will be used.

Then it was on to colour. I actually had my colours done the first time I had my hair professionally coloured to determine the colour that would best suit my complexion. My hairdresser did a lot of things with pieces of fabric against my face and determined that I was a true winter. I think he’s right because the colour he selected for my hair never fails to make my face come alive (I really should keep it up, but I’m lazy and don’t go that often). And I love wearing the colours that came with this colour type. But for the outfit I’m designing I wanted to use a fabric that has a lot of colours not in my spectrum. I think it won’t matter because there’s not a dominant colour.

The third exercise I did was to check my existing wardrobe for items that I wanted to use for my outfits and that would fit my moodboard. I picked these for some strong colour and chic blacks.

Next week is going to be about planning and sketching my looks and then sewing and knitting the garments needed!

Week 1 of Design your wardrobe 2020

Winona Ryder: my style inspiration for this round

So I’m going to keep a sort of diary here of this year’s process so you can see what it’s all about. Seamwork has a forum where we can discuss all the prompts too, but this way I’ll be able to look back next year and see what worked for me.

What’s in store?

Before you start you’re supposed to gather all your inspiration in one place, like Pinterest. During the course you will whittle this down and maybe add to it until you have a workable mood board. Week 1 is all about setting your goal and creating a mood board. In week 2 I will shop my stash, refine my palette and use my existing wardrobe. Then in week 3 it’s on to defining my criteria, planning my looks and making my plans.

Week 1: goal and mood board

The whole course is set up as a pyramid in which you first build a broad base of inspiration which you refine in the weeks after. So this week is all about going big. But to keep things focused you get daily questions, prompts and worksheets. The first question of the week revolved around what my goal was for this collection. There’s reading materials on how designers do this and how you can use the same process for your own collection. Setting the goal rests on why you want to do this. So why do I want to do this? To me it’s another way to engage in my hobby. It allows me to be creative, playful and explore things I might not try otherwise.

My goal for this round of Design Your Wardrobe is to create a tiny collection that will fit into my existing wardrobe and at the same time will allow me to explore another facet of my style.

Day 2: what’s your story?

The second question revolved all around the story of my collection. Reader, I’m not a fashionista. I like making clothes and I want to make clothes that are beautiful to me, but I don’t really have language for talking about fashion, nor the inclination to follow fashion. I’m always really happy when the type of clothes I like come round again. Before I learned to sew that meant that I could buy things I liked and now that I sew it means that there are more patterns available in styles that I like. I suspect it’s the same for many of you. Seamwork uses some examples like romantic minimalism and vibrant playfulness. Looking through the Pinterest board I created before hand I’m thinking ‘Winona Ryder goes to college’. Though honestly, I couldn’t actually find a lot of photos of Winona Ryder wearing the things I thought she was wearing! Still, I have a certain image in my head of her and so:

With every choice I will make I will ask myself: would Winona Ryder have worn this twenty years ago?

Day 3: thinking about your contexts

Day 3 was about editing my inspiration for my goal, story and context. The context I chose was work and play. I don’t really wear different clothes to work. I’m not showing up in my lounge wear at work, but I am pretty dressy at home. You won’t often find me in sweatpants. I choose comfort for my work clothes and so I can easily wear them at home too. Weather wise I’m designing for three seasons: fall, winter and spring. So in short: layers.

My contexts: work, play, fall, winter, spring.

Day 4: Build a mood board

The preference here is to create a physical moodboard and I was sorely tempted to try and make that happen, but I don’t own a printer and so printing is always a bit of a hassle and because of the heatwave I didn’t feel like drawing this week. This is where you go back to your first inspiration board and whittle it down to the things that fit your goal, contexts and story. You can use pattern flats that inspire you, style photos, and photos of fabrics like I did, but your inspiration can also come from trims, notions, buildings, colours etc. I kept my mood board very much to the point as I don’t want to design a large collection. I used fabrics that inspired me when I took a look through my stash, some photos from Pinterest of the kind of style I’m going for and some patterns I have had on my mind for a while. Day 5 was all about reflecting, talking about your mood board over on the Seamwork board with others and admiring the work of others.

#sewingdisabled

Earlier this week Samantha from @purplesewingcloud started the hashtag #sewingdisabled and for the first time I felt compelled to use a hashtag to communicate something about my health and state of my body. Usually I try to ignore all the labels that could be used to label my various health conditions, illnesses and disabilities. Sometimes it’s just enough to exist in this body and I don’t want the world to show up to the party. Often I don’t feel like I want to be someone else’s inspirational story. Often I don’t want to be the shining example of how much people can overcome if they just don’t give up. I don’t mind not showing all my labels to the world. I don’t want the pity, unsolicited advice, being monitored that comes with people knowing.

One of my labels originates from a car accident I was involved in when I was 13. We crashed into a tree while on holiday in France. I sustained damage to my spine, nerves and brain. I’m often in pain due to this. The damage to my brain means that I can’t make my hands do two different things, have little spatial awareness and process information differently. I need to rest often and make sure I don’t overload my brain. Sometimes my right hand doesn’t function, sometimes my feet get mixed signals, sometimes I have a hard time using the right words and use weird words that start with the same letter, but have no connection otherwise. I walk into doors, I often can’t get keys into keyholes, I miss when I try to grab my coffee cup.

When I was getting diagnosed my neurologist told me I would never be able to work. I did my best to prove him wrong. I lead a very balanced life. There are a lot of things other people can do that I can’t, but since I had my accident before I had a settled life I never learned to miss those things. I learned to say no and choose my health over most anything after I overdid it when I was 18 and since then I’ve only gotten better at navigating life with my limitations. I have a full time job teaching teenagers so I balance this out with peace and quiet, rest and relaxation and I manage very well. I manage to do without painkillers which made me feel foggy and numb. I would consider my life a thriving and fulfilling one in which I can do and achieve the things I want. But Covid harshly reminded me that it’s always there. When the lockdown started my workload got a lot heavier. I’m the digital learning person at school. People, colleagues, students, parents, were messaging me 24/7. I tried to help everyone as fast as I could, while also teaching, parenting and homeschooling my kid. I didn’t switch off, I didn’t rest, I didn’t make sure there was silence in my life. I walked into doors more often. I dropped things because my fingers wouldn’t do what I wanted them to do, I stumbled because my feet didn’t cooperate, I had a harder time expressing myself coherently. The pain was getting unbearable again. I felt like I was 14 again and right back at the beginning of having to learn everything. When I saw that hashtag I knew that it included me.

These are some of the ways I sew around my disabilities:

  1. I use the slowest speed. This gives me time to catch up and adjust to what is happening.
  2. I work methodical and always do the same things in the same order.
  3. I keep my workplace tidy. I put away things I don’t use.
  4. I don’t batch sew. This doesn’t work for my brain. One thing at a time.
  5. I try not to multitask. If I do, things will go wrong.
  6. I don’t listen or watch new things whilst sewing.
  7. I don’t have long sewing sessions. Three hours is the most I can manage on a good day in which nothing else needs to be done. I usually do shorter sessions.
  8. I listen to my body (the Covid situation was an unusual hiccup). There are a lot of ways to engage in sewing even if I can’t physically sew. There are projects to research, fabrics to browse, other people’s work to admire.

Design your wardrobe: a year later

This August I’m going to participate for the second time in Seamwork’s Design your wardrobe. Last year was a big success for me and I ended up with some really versatile garments that have been worn throughout the year. This year my aim is to create a smaller capsule wardrobe (smaller than the one I made last year) that can stand on its own and fill in the last few remaining holes in my wardrobe.

Design Your Wardrobe is a creative course in which you identify your style, the gaps in your wardrobe and learn how to design a collection of garments within the parameters you have discovered for yourself. You get daily prompts for discussion, share your moodboard and plans and new this year: learn how to sketch clothes. I’m really looking forward to that last part, my sketching is so stuck at kindergarten level.

This was my final board for last year. I’m not very big on fashion magazines so my inspiration comes from the sewing world, but you can use whatever you want for your board.

After going through the Style Workshop (a bonus to the DYW series) I defined my staples, my beloved garments (these were the same fortunately), what I valued in clothes and from these things extrapolated my style words. These were: sleek, feminine, flared, high-waisted, stretch, layers. My starting point was my black jeans and the fabrics I wanted to use. That jeans was the first new jeans I had gotten since learning to sew and the first jeans I was really happy to wear and so it scored highly in the beloved category. Because sewing had turned me into a dresses person I didn’t have a lot of separates and I wanted to design a collection of separates. The first week had me define the story of my collection. In the second week I created a palette and shopped my stash. I didn’t buy additional fabrics as you can do, but made a couple of fabrics from my stash the heroes of my collection. In the final week I planned my looks and then it was time to get sewing and execute those looks.

Here’s my collection:

The Ogden cami was made with one of my top 10 fabrics: a Nani Iro double gauze in a perfect blue. I love this colour so much and it makes me so happy when I see it in my wardrobe. It works for hot days and colder days when layered. I’ve worn it often over the past year. I made a black Blackwood cardigan to go with all the tops. My Blackwood cardigans were my staples and favourites, but I didn’t have one in black that would go with everything. Same goes for the black Ginger skirt I made. Like the Blackwood it has sleek lines. It’s also highwaisted as is my preference.

Here’s another Ogden cami, with the same Blackwood cardigan, but now paired with the reversible Osaka skirt, a wrap skirt that you can use a total of four different fabrics in (you can make the upper part and bottom in different fabrics). I made mine in a quilted thick black jersey on one side and blue linen on the other side.

Here’s the black side of the Osaka skirt with the Freya sweater I also made for this collection. The Freya was inspired by the burgundy fabric I wanted to use and it’s a pattern with sleek lines. I wore this sweater so much that I have to make another one for my new collection. When it’s cold I want to be able to always wear one of these. The cowl neck is so cozy on cold days and burgundy was a new to me colour, but I think it’s a really great colour for me.

Another cozy sweater in my collection was the Astoria sweater that’s designed to go with high waisted skirt and pants. I think I’m also going to try it over a dress this year. I thought this mustard would be a fun accent colour in this collection. This is the black quilted side of the Osaka again.

The jeans that everything started with. I’m wearing an Ogden cami in one of my precious Nani Iro double gauzes and a knitted bolero.

A York blouse in that Nani Iro.

And the same blouse with the blue side of the Osaka skirt.

And a Seamwork Emmie with the dramatic sleeves bonus in the other really pretty Nani Iro.

And with the Ginger skirt again.

I’ve been able to wear the different elements throughout the year and combine them with things that were already in my wardrobe:

I think the garment I ended up wearing least was the Osaka skirt, but that had more to do with it not being highwaisted. My size beneath my belly button bounces up and down and the Osaka has a fixed closure and sits lower on my belly. It just doesn’t fit all the time. I’m planning on getting one of those pins that you can use as a closure so I can wear it more often.

The other garments have all been worn regularly. I’m pretty chuffed with my decision to not turn my Nani Iro fabrics into dresses as they got a lot more wear this way and I was able to wear them throughout all four seasons.

Sew Over It Maisie dress

As you might know, I’m part of the Sew Over It pattern insiders. This means that every month I get to take a look at the newest pattern and if I want to I make it before the release date. Then when the pattern is released all the pattern insiders show their versions and you get to see the pattern made up on different bodies and in different styles. This month’s PDF pattern is Maisie. It’s a fifties style dress with a crossover wrap front, a midi half circle skirt, a V-shaped neckline and short raglan sleeves. The bodice has a bit of pleating. Though the fifties are not particularly my style decade (forties-seventies-nineties are my thing especially the crossover of seventies does forties or nineties does seventies) I was in the mood for something else as I have been sewing for Wybe and wanted something fun for me.

Maisie is designed for stable fabrics with a bit of body to them. I had a spotty cotton in my fabric stash that I thought would fit the bill and that I had earmarked for a summer dress.

My measurements are 40-33-44 and I chose to cut between size 14 and 16. I usually cut a 16 for woven patterns from Sew Over It, but I wanted to make sure the bodice was filled out and I worried a bit about the sleeves dropping from my round shoulders. I usually don’t add length to the bodice despite being tall. My natural waist is pretty high and I can’t remember the last time I needed to lengthen a bodice. It’s worth to make a bodice toile/muslin for this as you really want to nail that shoulder/bust fit and it sews up really quickly so won’t be a big bother. I didn’t need as much fabric as suggested, this was creatively cut from 2 metres. The sleeves cover my bra straps and sit securely. I used seamtape to stabilize my neckline immediately after cutting the bodice parts.

(Pleats were hard to photograph with bright light!)

Other than cutting between sizes I made no other changes to the pattern as I was happy with the fit I got. It was a really quick and fun sew. I hadn’t expected that as it looks more complicated, but it was really straightforward sewing actually. The pleating was easy as it was the same pleating I have been doing for my facemasks. It took me about 3.5 hours to cut and sew. The most fiddly part was the binding for the neckline. I used white biastape for this as my fabric is on the thick side and would have added too much bulk. Because of the bulk I also used ‘regular’ seams finished by serging instead of the french seams that I’ve been doing lately.

Though the fifties are still not my main jam, I have been enjoying swishing about in this since I made it. The half circle is great for me, swish, but not a ton of fabric that pools around you when you sit down (I never know where to leave all that fabric when I’m seated).

Colette Laurel 2.0

When Seamwork put the call out for people to apply to become ambassadors for the brand I immediately responded. Which wasn’t all that logical as I have been very busy, too busy to sew, and have a full wardrobe etc. But I have a very soft spot for Colette/Seamwork as I learned to sew using their patterns and tutorials and the first garments that made me feel very happy about my new skill were made from their patterns. Whenever they do something I want to get involved. I’ve been a member from the start so I have a lot of Seamwork patterns and I also happened to have made a list of my sewing plans that included a lot of Seamwork/Colette patterns and so knew I would be sewing with their patterns anyway. Some of those projects are a bit more involved, like a colourblocked Audrey jacket and a Sashiko embroidered Sonya dress. Others are more of a quick project like this Laurel dress. In exchange for my ambassadorship I got a paid subscription for the coming year. But I’ll be mostly sewing with the patterns I already owned as I want to explore my pattern stash for a bit.

When you become a Seamwork member, you can use your credits to get the Colette patterns as well. Today I wanted to revisit one of those older patterns: the Laurel shift dress. This one had a update in sizing and drafting last year and I really liked the look of Wallis her version.

I had this beautiful rayon fabric designed by Alexia Marcella Abegg (called Moonrise rayon) in my stash and the border print just seemed perfect for a shift dress. I also felt I would be able to wear this dress throughout the year. As it is in summer and dressed up with a cardigan, tights and chunky boots in colder months.

On to the pattern itself: the dress is fitted in the bust and hips and semi-fitted in the waist. After checking the size chart and the fit chart I decided to grade between a 12 (perfect for my bust) and 14 (perfect for my hips) to get the same fit as the model. One of my struggles with the pattern before was addressed in the update: the sleeves. They fit really well now.

I did struggle again with the back. I had a bit too much fabric at the back neckline and added some darts to get rid of most of the excess fabric. It doesn’t sit completely right as my darts were an afterthought. I would add them properly to the pattern piece next time and true the whole thing. I’m team ‘If it’s in the back , not too noticeable and you’ll wear a cardigan often it’s not worth bothering with’, so I left it as is.

The pattern calls for biastape to finish the neckline with. I’ve never been a fan of finishing necklines with biasbinding. I prefer the invisibility of a facing and so I did an all-in-one facing for the dress (just used the top of the pattern pieces). I love understitching and the magic it brings of making a facing lie flat.

All in all, I’m very happy with this dress. I’ve been wearing it around the house and it’s comfortable and cool and I feel pretty chic in it.