Sewing with Laura

On a fabric foraging trip to Goodwill last month, I was lucky enough to stumble upon this fabulously frumpy frock, and it was love at first sight. With its boxy cut, criminally puffed sleeves, and  (most importantly) sheer acres of fabric, this Laura Ashley number was no doubt the pride of someone's 90s wardrobe. Then, somewhere around the turn of the century, it got pushed a little farther back into the closet... and maybe a little farther back at the dawn of the next decade... until finally it landed in the Goodwill box. But if there's one thing you can say for Laura Ashley, girlfriend knows her fabric. This corduroy was soft with lovely saturated colors and beautiful fine wales. And as a special wink from Laura to me, there were two covered buttons on the cuff of each sleeve and two replacement covered buttons sewn into the hem.

I knew it had to stay a dress. So after digging around for the perfect pattern, I settled on the Ileana dress by Compagnie M. and by the next day I had this:

I was attracted to the Ileana for its vintage vibe and host of options, but for this version I went super simple with a couple of modifications. I added a ruffle underneath the placket and opted for a facing instead of a collar so it wouldn't look too fussy. I also substituted long sleeves to make it more of a winter dress, though now I'm wondering if I shouldn't have opted for three-quarter length.

 The size 5 fit my daughter really well, though I wound up dropping the waist to about a size 8 to accommodate her long torso. I also had to make the skirt a smidge shorter due to some unfortunately placed seams in the original Laura Ashley dress. 

Per the pattern instructions, I used bias tape for the hem for the first time, and when it comes to circle skirts, I may never do it any other way again! And of course, circle skirts are always a huge hit around here for their twirlability factor. All in all, I was really happy with how the pattern came together and am looking forward to trying more of its variations.

As for Laura, I like to think she would be pleased.