A Colette Laurel Top .. Which taught me a thing or two.

A Colette Laurel Top .. Which taught me a thing or two.

If you read my post on my stashbusting plans for this year then you might remember this little beauty:

.. which I wanted to use for either a basic cami or a boxy top for layering for work. Well, I decided to make the Colette Patterns Laurel top out of it and I’m really glad I did!


I didn’t want the top to be too roomy so I cut a size 2 without grading even though technically my measurements went out to a 6 at the waist. It fits just fine though as a less ‘loose’ top than some of the ones I’ve seen in the blogosphere.


I had to shorten the pattern slightly because I managed to forget about pattern matching when I first cut out my fabric and had to lower one of my back pieces to salvage the fabric, and shorten the front hemline to match. I’m happy with how my pattern-matching turned out although one side is definitely much better matched than the other. All in all I think this is about 1.5″ shorter than the original pattern.

I also found, when I made up the bodice, that I had some gaping at the back due to my round back/forward shoulders. I just added a couple of darts to the back neckline and it sits much better now. 


I must confess, I’ve never been a fan of contrasting bias binding at the neckline. However for this print, I felt like it needed a bit of black to really make it ‘pop’. Somehow I convinced myself that I needed to use a faux leather binding, because hey, who doesn’t love the look of a bit of leather on a garment, and wouldn’t it make it look edgy rather than sickly sweet which is what I usually think of a contrasting bias neckline?! And this is where my trouble began..

It was really hard to control the faux leather binding. First I tried changing the needle to a leather needle. This helped a lot with the problem of skipped stitches. Then I switched to a walking foot, because this binding was determined to either get stuck under the presser foot or to fly all over the place. Again this marginally improved matters, but let’s just say by the time I finished the sleeves and neckline bindings I was utterly frustrated. The stitching was a hot mess and I was starting to worry about how the whole thing would stand up to laundering. I was starting to think thoughts like “at least I can wear it once before it falls apart” and “why on earth did I think this was a good idea” and “well hopefully no-one will notice the stitching and it won’t fall apart”. I felt really irritated but I kept going until it was all stitched up. But when I tried it on I realised why this was even more of a mistake: the faux leather was too heavy for the rayon and basically pulled the neckline into a weird, rigid, gaping, shape. At this point I was tempted to only wear this underneath jackets etc and never be caught out taking off the jacket, ever.

I looked at it and thought to myself, “the whole point of sewing for yourself is to get things exactly as you want them.. The carefully curated wardrobe of clothes that fit you and that you LOVE! So stop flogging the dead horse – suck it up,  admit this is a fail, and fix it.” 

At this point I remembered that I had some satin bias binding, and thought that the sheen of the satin would be close enough to the sheen of the leather to still look nice:

Fifteen minutes and a few choice words later, and I’d seam-ripped the binding off. I was worried that the neckline would have been totally distorted but it was actually fine when I folded it and checked it against the pattern. It didn’t take long to bind the neckline and sleeves again with the satin, to hem the top, and then I was done! And much, much, happier – I love it again! I feel like it was well worth the time and effort to redo it as I just know I wouldn’t have worn it as it was. I’ve already worn the finished top to work now, and taken some pics for your viewing pleasure:

Here’s the gape-free rounded back:

I love how some bloggers have awesome-looking “live action” shots of them in front of cool colourful wall murals or walking in picturesque countryside.. Sadly I’m sewing mostly for an office wardrobe so my pics are either at home or in dodgy conference rooms 🙂

Anyways, I would definitely recommend the Laurel top. It has a lovely silhouette and if you don’t make silly material choices or mistakes like I did, it’s a quick and easy sew. I’ll do the dress version at some point, hopefully soon.

Until next time, guys.. Happy sewing!

– Michelle –

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