I've never really made a simple shift dress, although I own loads of store-bought ones, but when I saw the Laurel dress by Colette Patterns I knew I had to change my ways! And then Sarai announced the competition which got me thinking about the fabric I would use and how I'd go about making it my own. I was stumped, completely, and then we got a delivery of Italian Digital Print Satins in work and I fell in love with this one:
(stole this pic from Work's Facebook since I'm an idiot and forgot to take a pic before I cut into it!)
Can we talk about how amazing this print is! Obviously it's Times Square, New York, but there's also what looks like a watermark of London Bridge (you can make it out on the sky part of the print). It's a polyester satin but feels and drapes like a silk. It's also not as static as I expected it to be. I love the busy-ness of the print and the mirror effect. I knew it was perfect for my Laurel but it had one problem; it was a panel print and only 75cm in length - not enough for my dress. I was back to square one. And then I had an epiphany! Add a contrast yoke! And that's exactly what I done.
I used plain poly-cotton for the yoke and the print for the lower. I was intending to have the print sitting a little higher but the front bust darts were higher than I thought they would be. So I cut the yoke about 1cm (plus seam allowance) below the dart.
The back wasn't quite as straight forward. The back darts were quite long meaning that they would have to be extended across the yoke and the lower.
This gave me a small challenge in the construction, did I sew the yoke to the lower first on the separate pieces or did I make the full yoke and full lower first. I went with the latter. I sewed lower pieces together at the side seams, sewed the bust darts into the poly-cotton and then attached the yoke pieces together at the side seams. I then laid the dress flat and placed the back pieces on top matching at the neckline and side seams. I then traced the darts onto the constructed pieces and sewed the darts across the joined fabrics.
All that was left to do was insert the zip, sew up the shoulders and set the sleeves. Instead of easing the sleeves in, I gathered the sleeve head and inserted them as such.
After simply hemming all raw edges I was finished, all in about an hour and a half! That's what I'm looking for in a pattern! Super easy to sew up and looks really simple and polished. It's also a really comfortable dress that I can wear any time. I really like this pattern and I'm planning a good raid of my stash to see what other fabrics I have to make it up in! Oh and mum's even asked for one too!
Has anyone else tried Laurel? If so let me know what you thought of this awesome pattern.