Sewing Project: Pink Laurel Dress

Today I’m sharing the second Laurel dress I made for the Collete Patterns Laurel competition (you can check out my first dress here).
This one is made with a thick coral pink cotton fabric that has a kind of a basket-like or crepe-like weave. I’m not sure exactly what you’d call it. I made the pattern pretty much as specified in the instructions, except I lowered and widened the neckline by about half an inch, I didn’t take up the hem at all (which made it knee-length on me) and instead finished it with bias tape, I omitted the zipper in favor of pull-over styling, and I added waist darts (I used the darts from the Licorice dress in the Collette Sewing Handbook and that seemed to work very well). I did this one both of my Laurel dresses- over the years I’ve figured out that with my body shape I need some kind of waist definition for dresses to be flattering on me (seriously- I just do!). Oh, and I didn’t add any kind of lining.

I added two rows of off-white bias tape for interest on the sleeves, hem, and neckline, which I think coupled with the shape of the pattern gives the dress a definite 1960s-vintage style. I wanted to have a seamless look with the bias tape so each piece is machine sewn on and then hand sewn down (if that makes sense). My fingers were sore by the time I finished all of that hand stitching! I added a little black and white striped bow of some Petersham ribbon I’ve had for years (yay for finally using it!). I was originally going to put bows on the sleeves too, but once I put the one on the neckline it seemed like that would be too much bow action for one dress.

It’s funny because I had originally planned to make this as a blouse in a totally different fabric. When I decided to create something for this contest, I told myself I had to only use fabric I already had in my (way too big!) stash. I found a great 1960s rayon- thick, warm, and soft in brown with a black and aqua print that I knew would be perfect for a fall/winter blouse. (BTW, Does anyone know what that kind of rayon fabric is called? It is definitely rayon because it’s super soft and drapes so nicely, but it’s thick, unlike all the other thin rayon challis fabrics I’ve encountered). I drew up an idea with bias tape accents and bows that I knew would be just perfect- until I went to cut it out. I was about 6 inches too short to make a blouse! Have you ever had that happen when sewing? So frustrating! And of course it was a thrift store find so there was no way I could run out and get more. 

After getting over my disappointment I broke my own rule and headed out to our local fabric store. After looking at lots of beautiful (and pricy) woolens and such I was getting discouraged of finding anything that would work but not break my budget. I finally found this coral pink fabric on the sale table for $5 a yard. I bought two and a half yards and came in a little over $15 with two packages of  bias tape!

The last two pictures show how I would style this dress for winter- with tights and a long vintage coat of course!

All in all, I’m really happy with the way this dress turned out. I will definitely make the Laurel dress again (I want to make the bib detail version next!). It really is a versatile pattern and I’m amazed at how many gorgeous versions people have already come up with!

I have to give another big “thank you” to our friends Jose and Danielle for taking these photographs for me and editing them. I really appreciate their help and expertise! Oh, and check out Danielle’s amazing blog when you get a chance!

Have a great weekend!