Well, those folks over at Colette Patterns really know what they’re doing, don’t they? This Laurel contest has been quite the marketing success. Truthfully, I wasn’t overly ecstatic when the pattern first released until a couple of things: First, the competition, of course. Secondly, Sarai’s shift dress inspiration post. There was lots of beautiful images, as well as her mention of the desire to wear something not tight in the waist in the heat of summer. That really got me to thinking ahead about our summers here which have several days/weeks in triple digits. She was so right! We get to where we don’t want to wear anything but a swimsuit. Lastly, I thought about how much I truly do love a good shift dress. My favorite era of vintage patterns (and I’m sure some will cringe at this) is late 60s/early 70s. Most of the ones in my small collection are shifts. So, I clicked purchase! Well done, CP, well done.
I’ve peeked at the flickr page a couple of times, as well as seen plenty of Laurels pop up in my reader. Its been fun to see so many different interpretations. I think the contest has pushed sewists to be particularly creative with this pattern.
As usual, I had several ideas for this one pattern rolling around in my head. But with the call of parenting and life in general, I’ve only gotten to this one so far. I decided on a coral cotton with a slight crinkly texture from my recent stash – a purchase from Hancock Fabrics. My detail additions were sleeve ties and bow pockets. I had seen this tutorial and thought I would add them to my Laurel. I used the tutorial as a starting point, but used the pocket pattern from the Laurel and adjusted the bow measurements accordingly. Also, I sewed the pocket per the Laurel pattern instructions. Separately I had been considering Simplicity 3835 recently for a different fabric. But after deciding against it for a couple of reasons, the sleeve ties still sat swimming around in my thoughts and would not leave me alone so they joined in on the Laurel fun.
That was all the fun stuff. Now, I don’t know if its my body proportions not matching up with this company’s sloper, or being rather new to this women’s garment sewing thing, but this dress took a lot of work to fit! This deceptively simple pattern is my longest project to date. I wisely decided to make a muslin (my first ever!) after the first few reviews came in, and it took me three to get it right. That’s a lot of boring sewing before getting to actually cut into the pretty fabric. The first 1 1/2 I will admit was me trying to figure out what size to cut, and I even checked flat pattern measurements beforehand. I am a pretty slow and careful sewist, because I am really not ok with failed projects. I know I should feel differently and have that great attitude of, “you learn from your mistakes.” But I don’t. I can be a perfectionist and I want something to wear out of the process. I don’t even want to do the work of writing down every single adjustment for you because there were a lot and I don’t completely know what I am doing with all that yet. My substantial sewing library really got a work out, though. The main things were lowering the bust darts, taking in the back and side seams, widening and lengthening the back darts, and work on the armscye and sleeves. I am happy with my end result and this is something I will wear.
This is a fun color to accessorize and for the majority I wore neutral shoes and jewelry. But for a little fun at the end I threw on some mint green since it makes a trendy combination with coral right now. I have two more Laurels lined up, but they won’t be ready for the competition. That’s ok, I’ve made peace with it today ;) By the way, self portraiture is a lot of work! I am a pretty good hobby photographer, but getting in front of the camera definitely has a learning curve. I’ll be working on improving. This round is already looking better than the batch of projects I photographed last week. This guy photo-bombed me three times before I realized! We had a good laugh: