It is such a bright sunny day here in North Wales that I had to photograph the view from my back garden this morning. We have had days on end of grey drizzle and so to see the sun again is a balm to the soul. Having said it is sunny, don’t be fooled. That is snow on the mountains and it is bitterly cold – as I found out when I came outside to get these photos taken in nothing more than a thin top!
I had many plans in place this weekend, I was going to spring clean the house, clear out all of the accumulated junk from cupboards and drawers and then treat the family to a home cooked Sunday lunch with all of the trimmings. But, none of that has happened – oops. I genuinely did have the best of intentions but yesterday morning I sat reading blog posts whilst drinking my coffee. I came across the Greenstyle Laurel tunic on one such post and then started looking at photos of other versions and then next thing I knew I had purchased the pdf, downloaded and then printed it out. Second coffee in hand and I’m cutting out the pieces and putting them together. Before I knew it the day had gone, my cupboards were still messy but I was in possession of a brand new Laurel tunic – so in my book, not a bad day really.
The pattern I used was the Laurel tunic / dress by Green Style Creations.
The very first thing that attracted my attention to this pattern was the great size range they offer going right up to a 47” bust measurement. I also liked the large number of options available to customise the pattern to your own design. This is from the pattern description:
“There are four different sleeves lengths, three different skirt lengths, and three different torso lengths. “
Something there for everyone.
The pattern is available as a pdf download from here:
The pdf has 32 pages and if I can only give you one piece of advice during this post it would be to print out page 10 first, the one with the test square. I’ve printed a number of pdf patterns before and the test squares have always been spot on. But somehow the settings on my printer screen must have changed and the test square came up very slightly under the 1” measurement. If I had just assumed the printing was fine and gone with it I would have ended up with a much smaller finished garment. There are clear instructions in the pdf about the settings you should use for your printer and once I copied them my next test square was the perfect size.
The pattern pages went together very easily, all of the lines matched up and it was extremely easy to see which page needed to attach to with other page.
I purchased this cotton jersey knit from Girl Charlee in their Black Friday sale last year. It is 150cm wide and was reduced from £5.95 per meter down to £4.45 per meter, I bought 2 meters.
I’ve had some lovely fabric in the past from Girl Charlee but I’m sorry to say that I was disappointed with the quality of this jersey. It is very thin, you can see my bra very clearly through it – not the kind of look I generally go for! It was difficult to cut out and work with as the fabric edges rolled significantly and the fabric constantly stuck to itself making it impossible to cut anything on the fold.
Having said that, the colour is gorgeous, it is the prettiest of pretty blues. And also, at such a great price, I was happy to use it to make a wearable muslin for a new pattern
The sizing on the Laurel tunic /dress goes by bust measurement, there are no options to size by your waist or hip measurements. With a full bust measurement (today) of 45 ½ I decided to use the 2XL size.
I used the regular bodice option as I wasn’t sure how short the short option would be and figured that I could always remove some length later if needs be
I decided to make the tunic length rather than the dress length as I want to wear this pattern mainly with leggings. I also chose to go with the full sleeve length option as it is cold outside and I can’t think far enough ahead to warmer days.
As I haven’t made a pattern by Green Style Creations before I wasn’t sure how their sizing would work out for me so I decided to use this garment as a test muslin. For this version I pretty much stuck to the original pattern design and sizes.
The only alteration I made was to reduce the full sleeve length by 2 inches as I could see from the outset that they were very long, especially as I have short arms to start with.
I used a 70/12 ballpoint needle due to the jersey being so lightweight.
All seams were sewn on my sewing machine using a zig zag stitch set to 2.5 length, 1.4 width. I then overlocked the raw edges to neaten and strengthen them.
Seams were sewn at 3/8” as per the pattern instructions
The pattern tells you to sew the shoulders, side seams and then set the sleeves in the round. I much prefer to set mine in flat, I find it so much easier, so I went renegade and did my own thing. It worked, they went in fine.
Things that didn’t go well or things I would change next time
Overall I’m pleased with the fit but there are a number of small tweaks that I would make on my next version. These are:
- A narrow shoulder adjustment of ½ “
- Even setting the sleeves in flat they took quite a bit of easing into the armsyce. As I had plenty of room in the sleeves then next time I make this I will use the next size down for the sleeves (an XL) and keep the armsyce on the bodice the same size. Hopefully this will reduce the amount of extra fabric from the sleeve head.
- Even after removing 2” from the sleeve length they were still very long on me. Next time I will remove an extra 1 ½” – which will be 3 ½” overall.
- There is some excess fabric at either side of my bust which has led to diagonal lines. This is also repeated on the back. I’m going to have a go at removing ½” from that area on the armsyce and see if it solves the problem. This is another reason for me to go down a sleeve size in order to reduce the height of the sleeve cap.
- The bottom edge of the bodice at the centre back seems to hang lower than it should. I normally need a sway back adjustment but there doesn’t seem to be significant pooling of fabric in this top (probably because it is a loose fit anyway). In order to try to straighten the lower bodice edge at the back I’m going to raise that section up by ½” and grade back out to the side seams. Fingers crossed that this results in a visually straight line.
The finished top
Considering that this was made as a muslin with almost no alterations to the original pattern I’m really pleased with the fit. Yes, I have listed a number of alterations (above) which I plan to make next time but they are minor tweaks which will hopefully further improve the fit.
I really love the pleats in the front and back, they make a nice change to gathers and they give me plenty of extra room around the tummy/hip area without adding too much fabric bulk. I also like how they create a design feature without being overly fussy. I think this shape works so much better for my body type than a closer fitting top.
I think the cowl neck is fabulous, it attached very easily to the bodice neck and it sits beautifully without being bulky. I also like that it takes the focus away from the chest area. Because I’m not as young and pert as I perhaps once was, anything that moves the eye line upwards is a winner in my books.
This is definitely going to be one of my staple wardrobe patterns, in fact, I’m off to cut out my next version right now.
Cost to make
2 meters of cotton jersey at £4.45 per meter – £8.90
1 reel of Gutterman thread – £1.70
Total cost to make: £10.60