Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A Tale of two Laurels - Colette Laurel Dress

So, eh, hi :) I'm sorry for the silence, last week kind of came and went without me noticing.  I handed in my CAD coursework (a week early, go me!) and then was a bit sick for a couple of days (new meds didn't agree with me but that's not a story for the blog) and then the weekend passed and suddenly it's Wednesday?!  Which means it's only 4 days til my (one and only) exam and the start of my Summer holidays!  CANNOT WAIT PEOPLE!

Anyway onto the real post.  I made another Laurel and then another for my Mum.

My second version is totally different to my first.  I got the idea when I was watching that Hilary Duvey show The Intern.  It was set at the HQ of  and one of the staff was wearing an awesome dress that had a raised elastic waistband thing going on and I though, oh I like that, maybe I can make something similar.  This is what I came up with:
The fabric is a stretch polyester satin I bought when we were in Malaga on our cruise last summer.  The shop was a random find and it was awesome and reasonably priced.  I think I bought about 2m but I can't remember so all in it cost maybe 15euros (roughly £14 at the time).  The colour is really vibrant (although you would never tell from these photos, scroll down for a truer interpretation) but not too in your face, if that makes sense?  And the pockets are made from left over leather I had in my stash.

After my last version, I knew the zip wasn't essential so I omitted it in this version (nothing do with the fact it was an impulse made and I didn't have a suitable one to hand).  For the waistband, I cut a strip of the fabric a couple of centimeters wider than the elastic I had, sewed this in the inside, leaving the ends open and fed my elastic through.  Simple as that, but we'll ignore that the back doesn't quite match up, ssssh!!

Now onto my Mum's version.  Her's is the straight forward Laurel, with only one difference.  I had cut out the pattern in my size, which was a bit tight for her.  So I pivoted the pattern at the centre front neckline out about 2 inches at the bottom.  Now I know that's not allowed cause of the grainline and all that, but it shaped out nicely on her and added a little flare to the lower front.  The back pieces were cut about a 1.5cm away from the pattern edge to allow a little extra room there.

And I think she looks awesome in this dress!  It fits her well and is flattering to her shape.  The fabric we used for it was one we picked up at Abakhan at Hobbycraft & Stitches back in March.  It was only £4.99m so this was a relatively cheap dress.  I put in the perfect concealed zip in this that I'm soo proud of.  Seriously it's almost undetectable!

The only difference was that I actually took my time, sewed in near the edge to secure it, before using my narrow zipper foot to get right underneath the teeth.  Will be totally using this technique again!

Another new technique I tried on my mum's dress was inserting the sleeve flat (or at least I think that's what it's called).  Doing this, I sewed the front and back together at the shoulder (after inserting the zip), then pinned the sleeve in place, easing in using gathering stitches, and finally sewed up each side from the bottom of the sleeve along the whole underarm to the hem of the dress.  It is much easier to control the sleeve this way and I don't think the gathers are as noticeable.

As with my last version, I'm going to enter this in Sarai's competition.  I've been loving checking out the flickr feed every other day and seeing all the amazing versions!  There's some tough competition I tell ya!  I'm not even sure I have a favourite!

I hope to be back to regular posts after Monday, if I'm brave I may squeeze a post in on Friday night and will aim to get a weekly round-up done for Sunday.


  1. I love this - your fabric is gorgeous and the bottom two photos really show the lovely pattern as well. Selfishly this post is perfect timing for me as I'm planning a Banksia dress and wanted to do a waistband exactly like yours so now I know how - thank you!
    The one you made your mum is lovely too - I've yet to make anything for anyone else but I can imagine it feels great to be able to gift someone close to you something you've made yourself - not to mention how happy it must have made your mum to receive it!

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment Kathryn, I read this in my email on my lunch at work today and it totally brightened it up! :) Glad I was able to help you out with altering your Banksia pattern, it's soo simple to do and really changes the look.
      This dress was great to make for someone else as it's pretty straight forward and doesn't require too much fitting, she looks awesome in it and will get loads of wear out of it over the summer!

  2. What?! There's a zipper in there?! Talk about perfect! These are both super cute-- well done!

    1. Haha thanks! Always awesome when a zipper works out better than you thought it could!

  3. I have an Abakhan on the bus route into town - so much fabric for so little cash - and so little time!! I like your work. You're a lot braver than me and I've been sewing since 1958!


Hi thanks for reading, I always love hearing from my readers so leave me a comment and I'll reply as soon as I can! :)