Striped Linen Laurel

I finished this top one month ago exactly and I’m just getting around to talking about it. That may tell you a little bit about how this past month has been. The good news is that I’ve worn this top at least four or five times since I made it, which means it’s a keeper! It coordinates well with my existing wardrobe and is something different than a generic solid colored crew neck knit tee shirt. I needed a little variety in that department.


As I mentioned, I was very excited by Colette Patterns’ new Laurel blouse and dress pattern and planned to make two versions immediately. Based on my measurements I was between a size 2 and a size 4. Since this shirt version was my wearable muslin I decided to make a straight size 4 and go from there. I am pleased with how it fits in this fabric. I think that this linen fabric calls for a more relaxed fit and I also wanted to be sure it was easy to pull on since it doesn’t have any closures. 


Design/Pattern: Colette Patterns Laurel, version 4 (blouse)

Materials: striped linen (This fabric has a great story, if I may share. I bought it for about $4 a yard from a table at my local fabric store that had a wide variety of fabrics for summer clothing. Just today I was back in the fabric store and I noticed this fabric in a new location, with the other linen fabrics, and the price had been changed to $14.99 a yard. I am certain I wouldn’t have chosen this fabric at that price, so I’m really glad I got it when I did!)



  • seam allowances were folded under and stitched down (It was my first time trying this and I don’t think it was worth it. If I were to use this fabric again, I would just use a zig-zag or overcast stitch.)
  • darts
  • self-fabric bias tape finish on the neckline
  • under/edgestitched the self-fabric bias tape to strengthen it (I am not sure what to call it, but this is what I did: Stitched bias tape to neckline, pressed seam allowances towards bias tape, stitched through bias tape and seam allowances close to seamline. Since the bias tape is turned to the outside of the shirt, this stitching is visible along the top edge of the shirt.)
  • selvedges used as the bottom edge of the shirt and sleeves

Alterations/Changes: The only change I made was to the cutting layout. The fabric was vertically striped, but I wanted my shirt to be horizontally striped. To achieve this, I simply cut my pieces with the lower edges along the selvedge. I then used the attractive selvedge as the “hem” of the shirt and sleeves. This also made the process of matching the stripes hassle-free.


I already know that this shirt works with my wardrobe, so I am pleased with how this project turned out. I don’t have many woven tops, but I may have to change that since I like this shirt so much. The only thing I am not entirely pleased with is how the seams are finished. I may go back and re-do these at some point because the fabric still wants to fray, and since there isn’t a proper hem I sometimes get visible strings hanging down. It’s not a big deal, but it might bug me over time. For now though, I am just happy to report that Laurel may be my newest tried-and-true pattern. I’ll let you know how the dress version turned out 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.