Earlier this year I picked up the Laurel dress from Colette Patterns. I had been in a sewing slump and figured that this simple dress with only 4 pattern pieces would be a quick fix to pull me out.
Six months and one non-related skirt later and I finally started and finished it. I started with a different fabric choice but ended up going with something a little lighter and more summery. I picked up this fabric from Fabric Mart. Its currently my favorite place to buy fabric online, I like how they drape the fabric to give you a sense of what you're buying. My fabric knowledge isn't good enough to buy things on name alone. I think this is a Marc Jacobs fabric that I found on sale. It's really thin and drapes well and my attempt to make it out of one layer was quickly shot down by my common sense. And I'm glad I listened, this fabric is SUPER thin for a non silky. Ripping out stitches left holes that had to be coaxed out. I underlined the dress in another Fabric Mart find and left the sleeves without the lining to lighten it up.
Pattern-wise, it was indeed simple. The things that took the most time were the hand stitching and making my own bias tape. Woo hoo for my first time making bias tape. I found this really great tutorial that I previously pinned on Pinterest on creating appx 5 yards from a fat quarter and i immediately jumped to it. It was pretty simple expect I got some of the measurements wrong which made it so that I couldn't pull it through my bias tape folder thing. Which meant I had the pleasure of hand folding and ironing the entire strip (yay me). Thank goodness for TV, Netflix and the first season of 24.
I enclosed all my seams with store-bought bias tape and overlooked the arm sleeves. One thing to mention was the way the sleeves were built. The pattern indicated to make 3 rows of basting stitches along the top which we then pulled on to ease the sleeve into its arm hole. I had never seen that before and I enjoyed the finished look with tiny gathers across the top.
|Bias Tape binding: The black is the center back seam, the orange is single fold tape along the hem.|
|Bias Tape binding: Purple Double Fold Bias tape binding along the side seams.|
The only alteration I made to the dress was to add darts on the front. I'm not used to super look fitting dresses, especially if they're not cotton. I was prepared to make this a simple shift dress but after pinning the front, I liked it so much and couldn't NOT add the darts. I left them open to create a sort of pleat, which was inspired by A Handmade Wardrobe. I haven't yet decoded if I'm going to iron the pleats in or just let them fall where they may but I would like to add some sort of visual interest in order "seal" the end of the dart.
All in all, I really enjoyed sewing this dress and I've already worn it once and I'll be sure to wear it again. I hope you enjoyed my selfies! The light wasn't what I wanted it and I don't know my camera well enough to compensate for it yet, but I'm working on it. Continuous improvement!