Back in the beginning of Fall I decided that I desperately needed a sleeved shift dress. My idea for the dress was that I wanted it to be a go-to dress that can be easily worn for work or dressed up or down for any occasion. I’ve been eyeing Colette Patterns for a while and decided that it finally was a perfect opportunity to give their classic Laurel dress a try. The technical drawing of the dress was everything that I was looking for – clean lines, bust darts and shaping darts in the back, zipper in the center back seam, as well as elbow length sleeve with an option to add ruffle. This dress is perfect for modifications too! It is easy to add a collar, full length sleeves, short sleeves, go sleeveless, add pockets, change the neckline… the opportunities to play with this pattern are endless!
I’ve never used Colette patterns before so my first step was to put together a muslin to see how the final dress would fit. Boy, am I ever glad I didn’t cut into my fashion fabric right away! The muslin came out so off. It seems that Colette patterns are targeting a different body type from mine. I ended up having to move the darts to my proper bust height, increase the shoulder width, re-draft the armcycle and sleeve cap, take out most of the ease out of the sleeve cap and fit the dress along the side seams. It sounds like it was a lot of work, but in reality I am not complaining. It wasn’t too difficult and since everything was done on cheap white muslin fabric I could easily draw on it and make all the markings that I needed and then transfer them to the pattern.
Because the dress has a very 60’s vibe and is intended to be looser fitting I hemmed it a bit shorter that I would normally prefer. I think this length fits the style of the dress quite well. I do have to wear it with thick tights tough as I feel a little too exposed otherwise. I suppose one can even try wearing fun colored tights with this dress, but it is a little bit outside of my comfort zone.
I finished the neckline with a bias binding made out of the same fabric and hemmed the sleeves and the dress using my hemming foot and invisible stitch. The dress is not lined and was very easy and fast to put together. I used a fabric from my stash. I don’t remember what exactly it was, but it felt like a soft suiting blend. It definitely is a bit thicker for fall/winter wear. It washes nicely and hopefully will last me a while (unless I eat too many cookies). How could I not mention the absolutely fantastic animal print? This could hardly get any better.
The effort I put into fitting the dress was definitely worth it. I ended up with a pattern that fit me exactly like I wanted it to. This particular dress was made for a black and white themed birthday party we were invited to. I wanted a dress that would be a bit different yet easy to wear every day. I think I hit the nail on the head with this one. I’ve been wearing this dress all the time after the party. As a matter of fact, I loved the dress so much I ended up making 2 more and I have a fourth one cut out and ready to be put together!
P.S. I finally put my new tri-pod to good use and spent a good portion of my Sunday afternoon snapping pictures. It’s hard to be a model… my hair is in a weird in-between stage right now and ended up falling out, my arms got tired of putting things on, I forgot to put lipstick on… Sigh. But at least now I have enough material to blog about for a while! Yay!
This dress is gorgeous, good for you for sticking to it and getting the fit right. I love that fabric!
Thank you, Helen! 🙂