I Sew Now – Colette Patterns ‘Laurel’ Shift Dress

comments 10
completed / dresses / Sewing

I love to make stuff, but I hate clutter and impracticality. I went through a phase of making and enjoying things such as miniature clay sweets and amigurumi, but I couldn’t find a use for any of it. I needed a craft that was physical and practical. Digital illustrating is fun but, at the risk of sounding lame, I can’t feel what i’m doing. This apparently bothers me.

I decided to return to sewing since there is little more practical in life than clothes. As it turns out, I really, really love sewing. Unfortunately I was also very rusty and tried to bite off more than I can chew with complicated patterns. They did not end well. Eventually I churned out a success story though – my Laurel dress by Colette Patterns.

140513yellowlaurel1I love Laurel – it only has two pattern pieces if you make it sleeveless and this appeals to my lazy sensibilities. If you’re an efficient sewer it would probably only take a few hours to cut up and sew. If you’re me, it’ll take two days.

140513yellowlaurel2I added a collar because I like to make my life difficult for myself. Unfortunately I did not line the two back pieces up correctly at the top, so I can only wear this dress with my hair down.

140513yellowlaurel3I omitted the sleeves to make the dress easier for myself and faced the armholes with bias tape. So easy. I slipstiched the tape in the left armhole, but for the right one I cheated and just stuck the facing down with fusible web. Handstitching is not for impatient me.

Next time I make a dress i’m going to make sure the top is lined up and even. Baby steps, huh?



  1. Love the look of this dress, it exudes such a gorgeous 60s vibe that I’m really finding myself into at the moment! I’ve been pretty lax with my sewing over the past couple of years, but seeing your blog has given me a boost to get back into it again!
    Amelia :) x

    • Thank you! The 60s were a pretty great year in fashion weren’t they! You should get back to it, I can’t imagine life without sewing. I’ll try my best to boost you back into sewing, that’s what i’m trying to do with my blog :)!

    • Thanks so much! My mum had the same sentiment – she said ‘clothes these days look so odd anyway no one will know you made a mistake!’.

  2. Love the dress and the fabric! You are funny (and I mean that in the nicest way!!) because you said you omitted the sleeves to make life easier for yourself but then went and made that ultra cute vintage style Peter Pan collar!! Not having done either yet in my sewing experience to date, I’d say they were both tricky to make?! Love it. Did you make up your own pattern/design for the collar and just see where it went?? Very pretty. Kate x

    • Thank you! Omitting the sleeves is super easy, you just leave the sleeves out completely, you don’t have to make any changes to the pattern at all, and you just finish the sleeves with bias tape. I learnt how to face the armholes with this tutorial: http://www.coletterie.com/tutorials-tips-tricks/facing-or-detail-bias-binding.

      As for the collar I made my own following all three of Gertie’s videos on drafting a collar: http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2010/02/drafting-peter-pan-collar-part-one.html. They are a little long but worth watching! I think attaching the collar was harder than drafting the collar though. I found drafting to be time consuming but not too bad, but attaching it was pretty weird. It definitely did not make life easier for me though, you’re right! I can’t leave patterns alone though, every time I see a pattern I feel like I have to change it in some way.

      Let me know if you have any more questions, i’ll be happy to help!

    • Sorry I forgot to link this as well: http://www.colettepatterns.com/shop/laurel-extras
      It’s a free Colette pdf on how to alter Laurel into different styles, and I thiiink (can’t remember!) there is a tutorial for how to make it sleeveless in there. Either way it’s worth looking at if you haven’t already because it’s very inspirational and informative.

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