Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Colette Patterns recently released a wonderful shift dress pattern called Laurel. And whilst i almost purchased it, a combination of student budget and already owning 6 tubs/drawers full of patterns, stopped me. So whilst I would encourage all to go and support Colette themselves, I did the dodge and instead went to see what I had that would be a pretty close match...

So, the pattern:

Butterick 2704
Early to mid 1960s (??)
One of those that is co-ordinates inspired, with each garment pretty much able to be mixed and matched with every other. A whole wardrobe in one tattered envelope!

I selected the pink number, up top, on the right. Seemed to be quite a nice combination of shift style, french darts (keeping the overall shape more fluid and vertical...if you get me).
The only thing I really wanted, and it didn't have, was sleeves. So I think I just selected a short, capped sleeve from another pattern of a similar era. 

Surprisingly, the pattern itself was a really old-school one (i.e no marking on the tissue paper, but rather a series of differently sized holes indicating the main features of the pattern pieces.) This meant i had to copy it out onto separate tissue paper (usually a good idea anyway, as the original patterns can be pretty delicate and tend to tear easily). 

As i was adding a sleeve from a different pattern, I had to fiddle around a bit with the armhole measurements. I am more of a 'trail and error' sort of person when it comes to this sort of thing. Yeah, i'll do some measurements to try make it match, but i figure the toile/mock up version is for testing this stuff out, and playing about some more if it does not work first time. 

Here is the toile, made from a rather pretty op-shop bed sheet. Shame (and rather gross) that whilst the outer edges of the sheet were bright white and the roses colourful, the centre of the sheet was musty grey and the colours very faded. So, whilst not good for real wear, perfect for a mock-up. 

You can see here that i have had to put some tucks into the sleeve head. I was playing about with fitting it into the arm hole, and though gathering the sleeve head is the conventional method, i thought some small tucks would be cute, and give it a little (but not too much) puff and body.

And here is the finished toile. Pretty happy with the fit all up. Apart from widening at the hips (only a fraction), i didn't alter the main shape or size of the pattern at all. 

The neck is a nice boat-neck style, which is good as it covers the scar on my neck (past thyroid operation), and isn't too tight or constricting. The back has a simple slit, closed by a button and thread chain, but it is really just for show, as i can easily slip the dress over my [big] head without undoing it. 



for the finished dress!

Sorry about the grainy selfie...

The fabric is a poly-blend/unknown i picked up last year from an opshop in Ascot Vale. I really like the dark blue (almost black) and white stripes. Actually, i was a bit of a badass and broke a cardinal sewing rule: i didn't follow the true selvedge line of the fabric, but rather went for second best and used it cross-ways, as i liked the stripe going horizontal more than vertical. 

And that is about it! I've worn it once so far, luckily our summer seemed to go on forever (has only really dropped in temperature in the last week or so - and even then we're still getting tops of 20-25 degrees C!)


  1. That is adorable! I LOVE the stripe version. This is so inspirational - I should definitely make more use of my sewing machine too... and save $$$.

    1. sometimes you save heaps, but if you're anything like me, you will buy fabric (and some not too cheap either) and then never actually sew with it!

  2. Love both dresses! Makes me want to start sewing again. Red shoes are great.

    blue hue wonderland

    1. Thanks! The flowered one will probably just end up being something to wear about the house, as the fabric is a bit iffy in places, but i plan on getting heaps of wear out of the striped one!

  3. Loove this, I love that striped version especially. I'm so excited to have found your blog, I love your style and I am excited to be following along from now on!

    1. Thanks Haylee! Alas, it is well and truly winter here in Melbourne now, so the dress wont be getting very many outings. But there is always next spring and summer to show it off!