I am quite a fan of the shift dress, so I was excited to see the newest addition to the Colette Patterns line. Laurel is a very classic shift that is billed as being blank canvas for interpretation and embellishment. Over the last couple weeks since the pattern came out I’ve been gathering inspiration and supplies from the Colette Patterns website, flickr group and Laurel Extras e-booklet, and from fabric stores in two states. I’ve finally got a plan for my Laurel pattern and I’m ready to cut into some fabric today. Here’s what I’m thinking.
I have two Laurels planned in two quite different, yet quite similar fabrics. As Sarai, the owner of Colette patterns has said, this pattern is a great showcase for a special fabric. This first fabric I bought is this cotton sateen designed by Amy Butler for her Alchemy Studio Collection while I was visiting my sister. This fabric feels as smooth as silk and has a subtle sheen. It’s a lighter weight than many other cotton sateen fabrics I’ve bought in the past, but it is still substantial enough not to require a lining or underlining, I think. This fabric was a splurge, so I don’t want to cut into it until I know that Laurel is a good fit and match for me and for this gorgeous fabric. I’m planning to make Laurel version 1 (dress length without pockets) or version 2 (dress length with pockets) from this fabric if all goes as planned.
I bought a second fabric so that I could make a practice version or wearable muslin. (I’m not a big fan of sewing things I can’t use, like a plain white muslin garment, so if I need to sew a practice version of a pattern I’d rather use a fabric I still like but that I wouldn’t be devastated if I ruined.) I got a real bargain for such a nice fabric, so I know I won’t feel like the money was wasted if my practice version isn’t wearable, but I still want it to turn out well. It is a striped linen fabric that is a nice medium-light weight. What I haven’t decided yet is whether I want the stripes to run horizontally or vertically. At this moment, I’m leaning towards horizontally because I think it would look neat to use the selvedge (that white stripe is part of selvedge) as the bottom edge, which would also save me the step of hemming. I’m planning to make the shirt version of Laurel, version 4, from this fabric.
When I put these two fabrics in the washer together to pre-wash them, I was struck by how similar and how different they are from each other. Both fabrics have a gray background with a striped design in shades of pink, purple, blue and green. Yet, even though they share a color scheme and pattern, they are very different in “personality”. The cotton sateen is smooth, shiny and very feminine with a floral design making up the stripes. The linen has a slubbed textured, and is relaxed and natural looking. I plan on wearing the sateen dress to the rehearsal dinner for my sister’s wedding and the linen top with shorts or jeans for a casual day around town. If this pattern works well in both of these fabrics, I predict that this pattern becomes a tried-and-true favorite of mine.