Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Colette Laurel

I love this dress, one of my favourites, I just wish the photos did it justice!  This is my first time making the Colette Laurel.  I've been wanting to make a well fitting shift dress and I think I'm almost there!    This is a perfect transition dress, here worn with tights and boots, but also cool enough for shoes and sandals.

I cut a size  10 at the bust grading to an 8 at the waist  but had to take in about an inch at the back.     I made some of my usual changes, narrowing the neckline and the shoulders (I'm only 15 1/2 inches across) and cutting the lowest possible neckline.  I thought a dress like this really needed a neck facing rather than just a bias, so I drafted and interfaced neck facings, which I think work well.    Because others had commented on the need to lower the darts I lowered them about 1/2".  That has ended up a touch too much and I would lower by around 3/5" next time.

Laurel does have a slightly gathered sleeve, but I thought this wasn't quite enough and I drafted my own which are 7" x 23" oblongs gathered and hemmed with a narrow hem.  What makes me really love the dress is the fabric .... it is fabulous.  I love black florals and this reminds me a bit of D olce and Gabana last season (it was advertised as Italian designer so who knows).  It is Clara Viscose crepe from the Fabric Godmother, unfortunately now sold out and no wonder.  It wasn't cheap at £16.00 per metre, but for me worth every penny.    If it so soft and comfortable whilst retaining some body,  perfect.  If you find any anywhere let me know .... I would have some more.    I think the dress also looks good with a belt.

The back has two darts that give some nice shaping and prevent too much bagginess.   Another major change was to leave out the zip, it just wasn't needed as the dress easily goes on over the head.  It might, then, be better to cut the back in one piece.    The only change I think I still need to make is to move the shoulder seam forward a little.  I haven't done this before but the seams seem to want to slip back a little, which then also raises the neckline.  I will make this dress again, though doubt I will find such perfect material. 

 Isn't it great when you make something you are really happy with ..... and love wearing?  I've worn it twice this week already and it is still comfortable at the end of the day ... and just to prove it, this is in the evening after the third day of wear. 


  1. Great fabric, fit and sleeves. Love!

  2. Thanks Manju its definitely one of my favourites.

  3. Beautiful Laurel! I have this pattern and it just didn't turn out for me which was hugely disappointing since it is a style I like a lot. You've inspired me to revisit it again. It was the fit that was off but I made it when I had just returned to sewing (after a LONG hiatus!) and I wasn't as savvy at fitting myself as I am now so I should be able to fix it better. Love your fabric too! This is the sort of dress you can wear anywhere and to any function.

    1. Have a go Kathleen, the fit was probably the best shift dress fit I've found but of course it is still not very fitted. If I can be of any help just let me know.

  4. I love everything about this! The fabric choice, the fit, perfect! I too drafted my own facings for the Laurel as I didn't like the idea of the bias. I was about to say your cuffs turned out much better than mine when I tried it and then read that you'd drafted your own! Great job! I felt like the one's that came with the pattern are a little small

  5. Hi Fiona, welcome. I've been enjoying your blog for ages and love your style, so thanks for your kind words. Yes, I agree the pattern needs a facing, bias wouldn't feel strong enough, and the pattern cuffs are a bit nondescript. I suppose in fairness they were drafted well before the current trend. Loved your cocktail outfit, I'm just about to start mine.

  6. Gorgeous dress! I love the fabric you used, and the sleeves are wonderful.

  7. Thanks so much, I've worn it probably too much already!