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Laurel Woes

Added Jun 10, 2013

by martinalici

Portland, Oregon...






The Pattern is Colette Laurel. I couldn’t wait to try this pattern for myself after seeing it on sewing blogs everywhere. I was a bit cautious as I am not the body shape for a shift dress but all the fellow seamstresses that have tried it seemed to be pleasently surprise with how flattering it ends up being. This is not my story. First I made version 4, the shirt, as a kind of muslin. It came out pretty good and I decided that all I would have to do is move the bust dart down by 3/4inch.

On this dress I cut a 6 for the shoulders and bust, graded to an 8 at the waist and a 10 at the hips. Wow, when I tried it on it was horrible! After taking off fabric at the sides and the center back seam, it turns out that I could have probably cut a straight 6. I don’t know where I went wrong on the calculations but by removing all that fabric, the darts in the back look kind of wonky and squeezed in. Humm.

If I made it again I would probably make a 6 at shoulders and bust, grade to a 4 at the waste, then grade back to a 6 at the hips. I might do a small wide shoulder increase, a small sloping shoulder alteration, and a sway back alteration. Am I getting into over alteration territory? And though I think it turned out passible, I am not sure I am ready to give this pattern another go because with my pear shape, I don’t think a shift style dress is right for me.

As a side note I also lined this dress.

Material Notes

Outer: stiffer cotton
Lining: batiste
Lace Trim: cotton




Spring, Summer
Garment Type


Colette Laurel Pattern

1 Comment Sign in to add a post

  • 486043_10200326557759449_664517254_n_large

    Jun 10, 2013, 12.50 PMby heidilea

    I had the same issues! I cut out the largest size possible for me (8), and was still afraid of it being too small. Not so! It looked like I was wearing a pillowcase and took a good 6 inches out of the waist alone! And the neck was so high I felt like I was being strangled.

    I think most bought the pattern because of the contest associated with it and the reason it looked “good” on so many people was we all had to seriously alter the pattern. Though the shift is becoming a popular shape right now, I don’t think it is flattering on me either. I must admit, though I really like the blue and white version I made…the hot pink and black one came out badly. There seemed to be weirdness with the sleeve ease, amongst other things.


    1 Reply
    • My_face_large

      Jun 12, 2013, 08.38 PMby martinalici

      Wow, your blue and white one is lovely. I feel the same way. I like the fabric and styling of my laurel but I am not sure how much I will wear it. Humm. This project made me really start to think about when to just stop on a project when it is not going well. Ultimately, I kept going because I am pretty new at garment sewing and need all the practice I can get on finishing techniques and fitting but I knew after trying to get the fit right that a shift style dress is not the style for me. I was wondering when do you know if you are wasting time and money when you keep going rather than just money when you stop. Good to ponder? Also, a close friend reminded me that this will be a good piece to keep in my wardrobe for variety, and that seems true because I certainly don’t have anything like it.

      Thanks for the comment, it is good to know I am not alone. It didn’t seem like too many people had that much trouble with the pattern by looking at patternreview.

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