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Colette Laurel Pattern: first impressions

I got the Laurel almost as soon as it appeared. Not necessarily for the dress part, but for the blouse.

Some more blouses are useful and I figured this would be a good pattern for most days.

With my "couture" dress almost done, I printed the pattern this Monday and am planning to do a full series on what works for me and what doesn't. It probably will take a while, but after all this is the whole point of a series. I'm going to be making version 4, the blouse.

First impressions

As with most modern patterns, this pattern does not mark stitching lines. I do wish pattern companies  added these lines on the pattern as well! It's one of the things I loved about couture sewing and I think I will incorporate in all my future project (the jury is still out on underlining), because I like to be flexible with how big the seam allowance is.

The second thing I noticed as I was taping the pattern together was that there are no waist markers. I found this a bit disappointing, although having some experience with patterns I know how to determine the waist line.

Interestingly, the blouse version does not require a zipper. Given the dress versions have (at least on paper) the same measurements, I do wonder if the dresses require a zipper either. If the blouse will look good enough on me I might consider doing the sleeveless version of the dress for summer.

Fitting the muslin

The reason I wanted to have the waistline marked is because I have taken Karen's challenge seriously and I have fitted a pattern for myself. But with such a high neckline on the Laurel and with my very changed shoulder line, I was going to start aligning the pattern from the waistline up. However, I decided to just try to fit the muslin from zero.

When I went to SewOverIt for my two (yes, 2!) fittings, we ended up changing quite a bit in the front, and not a lot in the back, so with a shift blouse I'm fairly confident I can get a good front fit on my own.

I expect the following changes on the back:

  • let out the back darts
  • adjust for a sway back
  • move the shoulder seams towards the back 
I don't really know what to expect for the front, I'm hoping that the C-cup design that Colette does will help with some of it. I'll probably need to put some more fabric above the bust though.

Still. First thing first: determining the STITCHING LINES. That will be a fun hour.


  1. I am not English speaker, but what is the difference between sewing lines and stitching lines?

    1. Great comment. I think (also as a non-English speaker!) my expression isn't correct - I'll look for the term and correct it.

      By stitching line I mean the actual line where the needle will go through. Rather than cutting a pattern "as it comes", I will trace the stiching line first. This allows me to have seam allowances as big or as small as I want.

      Patterns usually come with a 1.5cm (5/8in) seam allowance - the only company that doesn't add seam allowances is Burda as far as I know. I prefer to remove the seam allowance from patterns before I start making a muslin because that allows me a lot of flexibility.

    2. Okey! Catch it!

      Not only Burda - all europian magazines don't add seam allowance - la Mia Boutique, Patrones, KnippMode, Ottobre for example


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