Today I've got a garment to share with you that I'm actually not all that pleased with now it's done. It's been one of those projects that just doesn't quite turn out as you imagined it in your head. I had high hopes for this one too after the success of my Little Black Laurel Dress. I was convinced this gorgeous Theory Striped Linen from Mood Fabrics would be the perfect match for the pattern and I was excited about creating the perfect chic Parisian shift dress for throwing on on hot summer days! However, although I have had a lot of wear out of black version and was really pleased with it I've never quite nailed my perfect fit for this pattern. Despite the fabric being gorgeous and so easy to sew with it does have a crisper hand which seems to emphasise the fit issues. I think I'd have better success with a fabric with more drape or at least something softer.
I cut the size 2 again and repeated the side seam alteration from my black version to slim it down a little. Luckily I had transferred the amount I removed from the side seams to my pattern pieces so this was easy! I can still just about get this on and off comfortably without a zip. I also lowered the bust point by 1/2" which seems to be a fairly common adjustment among the sewing community with patterns from Colette. I retained the pattern's original length, despite shortening it for my black version, as I wanted to feel comfortable wearing this one without tights.
I'll admit this isn't a silhouette I wear a lot anyway but even after fiddling with the fit this still feels a little sack-like. The double ended darts in the back are lovely and I like the shape through the waist and hips from front on but it just doesn't sit right across the chest. I'd be tempted to go down a size and try a full bust adjustment if I made this again but to be honest I'm not sure I'm keen enough to make this again to put in the effort of making that adjustment and fiddling around with the sleeve heads (which I'll get onto in a minute!). Maybe I'd get better results if I used the pattern pieces for the blouse and lengthened them as I've been much happier with the tops I've made using this pattern. Colette patterns do seem to be the one's that I have the most trouble fitting and it's usually something to do with the armhole or bust. I must just have a very different body shape to what their blocks are drafted from.
I've never really got on with the sleeves on the Laurel Dress and with this version I had real trouble setting them in as there is so much fullness in the sleeve head. When I had trouble with this on the blouse I thought it was because I had redrafted the armhole on the bodice piece slightly as it dipped inwards making the garment tight across the upper bust. However I noted last time that the armhole shape was different on the dress pattern pieces and I didn't need to do that. The fact that the same sleeve pattern piece is used for both versions might explain it not fitting particularly well into the armhole but I'm not sure. I unpicked and restitched my sleeves a number of times but in the end gave up and settled on this being the best I could do. It's definitely not my best sewing and the sleeve is hanging somewhat strangely with weird folds forming from the excess fabric. They're slightly gathered along the seam line too which is disappointing.
One thing I am delighted with on this garment is my stripe matching! Despite risking cutting the pattern pieces on the fold instead of in a single layer (which I should really develop the patience for when trying to match a print!) it turned out beautifully across both side seams and the centre back. I was careful to make sure everything looked like it line up when pinning but t didn't really require any extra effort at that stage.
As with all my versions of the Laurel I used a facing I drafted off the main pattern pieces instead of finishing the neckline with bias binding. The under-stitched neckline sits MUCH better than on my previous versions because this lovely linen presses up so beautifully. I also simply turned the hem of the sleeves up twice and topstitched it instead of using bias tape as recommend in the pattern; partly because I like the length they then end up finishing at and partly through laziness!
I finished all my seams on my overlocker using a mid grey thread. I treated myself to a new set of grey thread cones a little while ago as I felt like just having black and white wasn't covering all my bases. I'd heard a myth that a nice mid grey was great for blending in with pretty much any colour and print and after a couple of months of sewing with it I've found that to be nearly always true!
It's a shame I'm not happy with the overall look and fit of this as I'm really pleased with my finishing! This might be getting sent straight to the charity shop... I have been sewing up a storm recently though and this appears to be the only real wadder I've made so stay tuned for some more successful stories!
And finally, selected from a whopping 95 entries by random number generator, the winner of the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress sewing pattern is Lara from Dreaming of Avonlea! Congratulations Lara, I really hope you enjoy sewing it up. I'll be sending you an email to get your postage details and then the ladies at Sew Over It will send out your prize!