Gray Floral Laurel

I’ve talked about the Laurel pattern from Colette Patterns before, a couple of times, so I won’t go on and on talking about it. I am completely pleased with this dress, except that I didn’t finish it in time to wear for my sister’s wedding rehearsal dinner and haven’t had anywhere to wear it yet. I got up early the morning we needed to leave for the wedding and sewed as quickly as I could, but it just didn’t happen. This fabric was pricey, so I didn’t want to risk making a mistake I couldn’t fix. Now that I am done with this project, I can say that was a wise decision.


Let me talk a little bit about how this dress is different than my first Laurel and how I would do things differently for a third version. First of all, since the blouse doesn’t have a closure and the dress has a zipper, I decided to go down a size. The extra ease wasn’t necessary because I don’t have to pull it on over my head. I made the version with front patch pockets, and I really like how they look, but they aren’t really functional. Next time, if I wanted functional pockets I would add them to the side seams.


Design/Pattern: Colette Patterns, Laurel, version 2

Materials: Amy Butler cotton sateen, Alchemy Studio Collection, zinc, Victoriana, 22″ invisible zipper, bias tape



  • matched “stripes” along side seams, sleeves and pockets
  • stitched & serged seams
  • darts
  • set in sleeves
  • patch pockets
  • invisible zipper
  • hems & neckline finished with bias tape & hand stitching

Alterations/Changes: I didn’t make any alterations.


Even though I haven’t had a chance to wear this dress yet, I’m sure I will use it frequently. It’s not too fancy to wear to work (I’m on summer break right now so I’m not working), but it’s also nice enough to wear for more special occasions. I hope I have a reason to wear it soon!


Sewing Plans: Laurel Shift Dress

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.

Christmas Dress

One thing I always looked forward to as a child was picking out a new dress for Christmas. When I was very little, my grandma would make me and my sisters coordinating dresses. When we were a little older, my mom would take us shopping for holiday dresses. That tradition stopped around the time I started high school because we just weren’t as interested in getting a fancy dress just for Christmas (we wanted a dress for the school semi-formal instead). This new dress is a somewhat more casual, useful for every day version of a Christmas dress. I am really pleased with how it turned out and it was pretty easy as well.

Design/Pattern: I hacked up the shift dress pattern from the Built By Wendy Dresses book. This is the first time I have wanted the exact dress I saw in a picture or store and had to replicate it. This inspiration dress was from Boden, but it seems that it’s no longer available. I wish I could show you the picture because I think I got pretty close.

Fabric/Materials: I found this double-sided sweater knit and my local Hancock’s. It is solid black on one side and black and gray striped on the other. It was great to find one fabric that worked for the color-blocking on this dress. This fabric is heavy and warm. And even though it’s 100% polyester, it’s still a bit scratchy like wool. That’s the only thing I would change about it. Besides the fabric, I only needed thread to complete this dress.


  • Used a longer stitch length and stretched the fabric a bit as I sewed so that the seams would stretch
  • Finished the seams with a zig-zag stitch
  • Edge-stitched around the pockets and yoke
  • Under-stitched the yoke around the neckline to help it lay flatter


  • Lengthened the sleeves from 3/4 length to full length
  • Shortened the dress by about 4 inches to make it slightly above the knee (I thought the dress needed to be fairly short to work with the proportions of the long sleeves and boat neckline)This is probably my favorite winter dress I own and I’ve only worn it once! It’s comfortable, warm, stylish, looks great with tights, and can be worn dressed up or down. I want to make ten more! That probably won’t happen, knowing how I like tackling new projects more than repeating, but it’s possible that I’ll do another long-sleeved winter dress since I like this one so much. This dress earns an easy A, I think.