The Laurel Dresses

So I tried to move on, and skip over the last of my summer sewing, but I just couldn't do it. I have all the photos done, and these are some of my favourite dresses, so it just doesn't seem right to not blog about them. You'll have to endure (or skip over) one more seasonally inappropriate blog post from me before I move onto the myriad of jeans posts I have planned.

 I may have gone a little crazy with this pattern this summer. The Colette Laurel dress is the first dress I ever made, and I've made a couple since then, and I quite like my last iteration. I think a shift dress is super easy to just throw on, and can be quite flattering if you can get the fit right. For me that means body skimming, but not to boxy.

Get ready for a picture heavy post!

This one is made from a nice lightweight cotton I picked up at Fabricland in Salmon Arm last summer. It's the perfect weight for a summer dress.

I shortened the dress by 1.5" and the sleeves by 4". This makes for a pretty short dress, so I have to crouch if I drop something. No bending over in this little number.

I think this one is John's favourite. It's made out of cotton that he picked out for me at Fabricville in Montreal. I really love the navy and green combo. I wasn't sure if it was summery, but I think it works.

Apparently I wasn't too worried about pattern matching, but I'm pretty chuffed with my invisible zip. Where is it? LOL

This dress is made from a beautiful linen I bought from Blackbird Fabrics. I'm sure you've seen it around, it also comes in a taupe colourway too. The linen is really soft and perfect for summer.

Unfortunately, I think I stretched it a bit while sewing and ironing, because my bust area/darts are looking a little wonky.

I think I did a pretty good job with my stripe matching, and I didn't have a matching 22" zip, so this one got a 9" zip and that worked out just fine. John doesn't love this fabric nearly as much as I do, and he affectionately refers to this dress as the dishtowel dress. Now that's all I see, anytime I see this fabric.  I wore it a lot as it was super breezy to wear.

That photo's for all my fellow Napoleon Dynamite nerds.  You remember that photo shoot scene right? I was obsessed with that movie when it came out, and still quote it quite regularly.

You still with me? Now that we've gotten through all those photos lets talk about what I've done for fit alterations, and then I'll show you one more dress. I told you I went shift dress crazy!

I started with a size 6, then:

  • I did a 1.5" FBA (for 3" total)
  • a 1/4" high round back adjustment 
  • 3/8" forward shoulder adjustment
  • shortened the dress at the lengthen/shorten line by 1.5"
  • finished the neck and armholes (on the sleevless versions) with store bough bias tape
  • then I slimmed the dress from the bust down to the hem by about 1/2" - on my first floral version I did this before I hemmed it, but then I changed the paper pattern piece for the 2 other versions
  • serged and turned the hem under

Seems like a lot for a little shift dress doesn't it. The good thing about working out all the fit issues is when you're done you have a great fitting dress pattern, you can make over and over again.

Okay, if you've hung in this far, thank you! On with my last and favourite Laurel of the summer. It's definitely not the best fitting one of the bunch, and probably the least summery, but I love it! I also should mention that I keep putting it in the dryer which is such a big no no, because it shrinks a little everytime it gets washed. This seems to happen to all my handmade denim garments. Even my jeans!! When will I ever learn?!

This one is made with a gorgeous, polka dot, tencel denim I got from Blackbird Fabrics. It really is a beautiful fabric, and I really wish I had bought a lot more of it. It's so soft and drape-y, and how can you go wrong with denim? Sadly, it is now sold out, but there is this cool animal print-ish one. I may just make this dress again in that one.

I have wanted a denim shift dress since I saw Caroline Amanda's on the Sewaholic blog. But I wondered if it might be a little too plain for me. I am, after all, a bright colours and prints kind of girl, especially when it comes to dresses. But when I saw the spotty denim, I knew it just had to be. Then to top it all off, I saw this blog post - and I thought a split bust dart would be such a cool little detail.

This was my first time trying a split bust dart, and it didn't exaclty work out. Maybe I should have practiced/muslined a bit more before I tried it in my lovely fabric. I used this tutorial here, which was the only one I could find and I think I ended up taking a little to much fabric up in the darts. I had a hard time figuring out exactly how much room you put in between the darts. And that's why I think this one is so much tighter than my other 3. Plus the darts are a little long for my liking, but I think that was my error.

If you guys have any tips for me about splitting darts, or if you know of any other good tutorials,  I would love to hear about them, cause I love this idea. Fit issues aside, I still love this dress, and I know just throw a sweater or cardigan over it, and wear it lots. It will be great with tights and boots for fall/winter too. I actually wore it quite a few times already just as is, but it is a bit tight around the boobs, so it's not the most comfortable.

Other than splitting the dart, the only other difference between this one and the others, is that I actually made self bias tape to finish the neckline. Woo hoo! Oh and the sleeves are slightly longer too.

Alright,  that's it, we are all caught up on the summer sewing (well at least the stuff I wanted to blog about anyway). Thanks for hanging in there with me. Now we can get on with the Fall Essentials, and the JEANS!! Woo hoo!