the laurel dress by colette patterns is one of those that took a while for me to fall in love with. i suppose, like many, my reaction was a bit meh initially. however i kept loving everyone’s versions of the pattern, and eventually i decided to buy it. i knew i had to do a proper muslin first because to be honest, i wasn’t sure if this shape would work for me. woof. my first try was not good. i graded from a 6 on top (with a SBA) to an 8 on bottom. it was all sorts of wrong and i tossed it in the corner for a time out.
after a couple days of thinking, i decided to come down to a size 2 up top and grade out to a 6 for the waist/hip. i did a 3/8″ FSA, and removed some width at the top of the zip at CB instead of making a neck dark. ahhh! so much closer! i didn’t even bother with an SBA, and the top portion was basically perfect aside from the neck gape. i still had an issue with the hips area, so i shaved off the top of the hip curve (maybe i have low hips? actually that would explain a lot…) and called it good.
since my fabric is mostly sheer, i underlined the front and back with muslin. my fabric has this really cool woven stripe, and the underlining makes the fabric design stand out something fierce. i sewed it up, and when i tried it on i was still left with some weird upper hip flanges. i ended up taking out the curve of the hip area, and marking nearly a straight line from the top of the curve to the lower notch.
it’s weird. i struggled with fitting CP designs so much in the past—cutting, taping, butchering… as it turns out, a lot of my troubles could have been fixed by starting with a much smaller size.
this is a pretty straightforward make. i certainly didn’t rush through the sewing here, and i only needed two days. many people have omitted the zip on this dress, and i don’t know what kind of contortionists those people are, but there is no way i could get this on and off without a zip! i went with an invisible zip, stabilized with tricot fusible from sunni’s shop. this stuff is the best, and makes inserting zips a breeze! it’s been a while since i did an invisible zip, and it went in perfectly the first time. i do STRONGLY suggest that you put the zip in before attaching the front of the dress to the back pieces. it is a thousand times easier that way.
i did the bias binding at the neckline per the instructions, but the sleeves i simply turned a hem and topstitched. the sleeves are also supposed to be bias bound, but this fabric was already pretty prone to fraying due to the loose weave. i was good and stitched the hem by hand. since i had underlined the fabric, it was super easy to do this invisibly.
fit-wise, the armholes are a tad snug, so that’s something to watch out for. also, it never occurred to me to check the width of the lower edge of the sleeve—also tighter than i would have liked. next time i’ll most likely go up a size for the sleeve and armhole. then, i do have a tiny bit of gaping at the neckline. i had taken out some room at the top of the zip, but i think i could adjust the angle of the shoulder seam to help it sit a little nicer. but all in all i am very happy with how the dress came out.
and that’s about it folks! i suspect i’ll be returning to this pattern a few times since it’s so quick to make, and, let’s face it, shift dresses are everywhere these days!