I’ve seen Colette Laurel dresses sewn a lot all over the blogosphere, but I don’t think it gets enough credit as a top. Although I needed to make some alterations- it’s such a versatile pattern that the simple alterations I did do were worth it.
The first time I sewed up laurel, in Colette’s size 18. I added four inches to the length of the pattern before I even realized it would need any other modifications. I have an unusually long torso, so that’s a pretty standard alteration on tops for me. This was the result of the first fitting.
Not the worst fit I’ve ever sewn, but there are some definite issues.
- Drag lines on the bust tell me I need to do a FBA
- The bust dart is up to high for my breasts
- Gaping at the back of the neckline
- Tightness along the upper back
- Tightness along the lower bicep area
- Some weird drag lines on the armhole
So I got to work fixing everything. I started with the bust. I did a full bust adjustment, and lowered the dart using the box method. Then, I moved onto the back. I pinched the excess fabric out of the center back seam to stop the gaping issue. I then tapered it out from the center back seam to give more ease along my broad back. I could have probably taken some ease out and made a smaller dart as well.
Finally I addressed the issues with the sleeves. The main issue a lot of people were having, even if they didn’t need to do a full bust adjustment, were drag lines above the bust. It seems like there may have been a small drafting error in the sleeve head. It doesn’t fit very well into the sleeve. This diagram was posted on flickr by wzrddreams explaing the problem. I filled in the small area on the armscye that the diagram recommends. I then did an adjustment to increase ease along the bicep area of the sleeve. While it seems like a ton of work, I did it in about an hour. It involved lots of tape and tracing but was overall worth it.
I got a really versatile pattern for a woven top or shift dress. I made the second version up in a cotton lawn, which is my preferred fabric for the pattern. I’ve since made this pattern a lot, like “more than anything else I’ve ever sewn” a lot. It’s kind of a wonder how motivated you can be when you know something is going to fit you well!
Size range: 2
The sizing on this pattern is the old system of sizing for Colette and only goes up to my size, a size 18 (46-38-48). Although they’ve rectified this in newer patterns which extend up to a size 26 (54-46-56) they haven’t retroactively increased the size of the older patterns.
I rarely have issues with the Colette instructions, and these instructions were easy to follow and well explained.
Construction Process: 4
The only reason I’m not giving this a five is because of the armscye issue discussed above.
Final Fit: 5
I’m including all my alterations in the final fit. Once I modified it, I think it fits nicely. I don’t think it’s fair to assume patterns are going to fit right out of the envelope. We all have fitting adjustments no matter our size. I’m glad to have learned how to do a lot of new fitting techniques as well. Since it’s a simple pattern it’s a good block to learn on.
Overall Rating: 4
It’s a solid, simple, versatile pattern. If you take the time to fit it correctly you’ll be making it over and over