I'm "nearly" finished my first Laurel, (the Colette kind, not SCA). I'm sorta glad I picked Beachy Mod to be my first one: glad because it was fabric that I didn't care as much about, but disappointed it's not finished yet because of the immense amount of hand sewing I needed to do. There are probably thousands of little handstitches, mostly slip, in this bugger. I have no photos as of yet, but it's light blue linen and white linen cotton from Fabricstore.com that I've had in my stash for 6 or more years.
Most of the internal seams are zig-zag finished, my least favorite finishing method, because I didn't want to french seam and then run into a fitting problem. Which I did--I screwed up the curve of the hip, so the dress looked like it had jodhpurs--something that did not show up on the muslin. I redid the seam and trimmed it when it looked right. I had basted the back darts in case I needed to move them, and it turns out I needed to take more than and inch off both of them. The invisible zipper isn't quite as invisible as I hoped, but I think I kind of hate them. I cut down the shoulder of the armhole so the dress looks more tank topped than sleeveless. I used white linen-cotton bias facings on the neck and armholes, machine stitched on the outside then folded and pressed inside and hand stitched. The hem was going to be too short if I followed directions, so I zig-zagged aqua flexi-lace a half inch in, pressed and hem stitched it to the inside. The hem is really stiff because of the light interfacing I used on the appliqued band. Another side effect of the interfacing: it buckles at the seams when worn. I'm not sure how to remedy this. I only intended this dress to be a casual summer thing, so I'm not sure it matters.
For the embroidery, I wanted to do outlines around the appliques accented with graduated dots at the points. Most of the colors in my perle cotton stash were either too dark or too vibrant on the pale blue/white. It came down to a sand color or a seafoam, and while both looked good and beachy, the seafoam had the "pop" I was looking for.I appliqued and embroidered two pockets that have yet to be attached: I was drinking wine when I started, and you can clearly tell when I had too much. I've already picked out the stitches, but it looked really funny the next morning. My 3 graduated satin stitch dots on one pocket were lovely, but the second were less graduated and diagonally stitched. I've also decided not to edge the appliques in outline stitch--I did a test run and it looked very Home Ec. Instead, I'll continue a satin stitch dot at regular intervals. The dress, aside from pockets, embroidery and a hook and eye, is done. And a good pressing. Can't forget that. Since most of these things can be done in front of the TV, I'll probably do it gradually over the next two weeks.
My original goal was to do 4 dresses for this contest, though now it might be only 3. We'll see. The next version I do will be a cold weather version in black and hot pink with long bell sleeves.