So, when the Laurel first came out I wasn’t too thrilled with the pattern, I generally like my clothes to be more fitted to show of my curves. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a shift dress. However, I liked how the pattern preserved and showed off a large print, how it was billed as an easy dress, and how Sarai promised that it would look great on curvy gals. I ordered a pdf right away (something I don’t think that I will be doing again), printed it out and got to work.
I made a muslin put it on and wasn’t really impressed with the fit. I felt like it was too tight in the bust and too loose in the waist. Looking back this may be because I have never really liked the shape of a classic shift, I wasn’t used to seeing one on my body and I felt uncomfortable. So, I messed with the fit. This mostly meant that I just sat there and stared at it in frustration because my fitting skills are not great. With the lack of darts I didn’t really know what to do to change the fit. I tried taking it in at the sides, a attempted my first FBA, I messed with the darts in the back. Again looking back, maybe I did too much, but by the end of my second muslin I was pretty frustrated. This was supposed to be easy! So I set it aside.
Then I went to a fashion design class with Nicole Vasbinder from Stitchcraft in Petaluma, Ca. Nicole is my sewing teacher and I have taken many classes with her, including my first class where I learned how to wind a bobbin. When class was over I told her about my Laurel troubles and she had me try on a version of the dress that she had made thinking that it may fit me. She was right, the fit was great! So I copied her fitting adjustments (somewhere deep down inside I feel like this is cheating) and headed home to make my own version.
With my fitting troubles over the rest of the dress was a dream to sew. Nicole had added another double point dart to the front of the dress, giving it more shape. I like this addition even though it breaks up the pattern on the front a little. She also added two little darts to the back neckline, keeping it snug against my neck, something I really like. The sleeves have been shortened and the neckline has been made into more of a scoop. Scoop necklines are my favorite but this one gapes a little and I’m not really sure why. Anyone have any ideas?
I slipstitched the binding on the neckline as instructed, the first time I have ever used a hand stitch on a dress (I know, I am lazy) and I love the results! I am going to do it on all my necklines now (well, maybe). I machine sewed the binding on the sleeves and even though I did my best to hide the stitching you can still see it, or at least I can and I’m not very impressed. I also machine sewed the hem, which I am fine with. I love the fabric that I used, it was the first one that popped into my mind when I saw the pattern, but in the future I want to make this dress out of something besides a quilting cotton, it’s too stiff for this pattern.
I am really proud of how invisible my zipper is because it is only the second one I have ever done. Unfortunately I ended up with a little tuck at the end of the zip where my seams didn’t match up right.
I would like to make this pattern again, but I don’t see it becoming a go to of mine anytime soon. I see this being a pattern where the fabric comes first, meaning I would have to have the right fabric to make this one again. I’d probably lengthen it a bit too. Felt a little breezy when I raised my arms. I’ve also been considering taking it in a bit at the waist and hips, but I am worried that I won’t have enough movement. Do you think should I take it in?
BTW since my fitting fiasco I have bought several fitting books and am now studying them diligently.