Secretary Laurel

I tooooold you I made two Laurels! I needed a break from pants fitting, and I love my Colette Laurel pattern--it fits very nicely out of the envelope and it is really versatile.

While the first one was fairly straightforward, my second dress obviously diverges from the pattern a little! I've been hoarding this fabric, purchased for me by my mom (thanks Mom!) for exactly this dress, but I wanted to wait until I had my shift perfectly fitted, and take my time making it. It is some sort of geometric jacquard, I think a poly-cotton blend. I sort of feel like a cross between a glamourous secretary and the most beautiful couch ever. I love it.

I wore a vintage pin (my great grandmother's costume jewelry) with it for these photos, 
it has little pearls and tiny pink rhinestones!

In addition to the modifications mentioned for my Floral Laurel, I added a little roll collar with a split back, which is easy: just cut out and attach a rectangle as long as your neckline and twice as wide as your desired collar depth (like this).

Here you can see the collar points in the back. They don't lay down very nicely in this fabric, so I think I'll have to tack them down. Oh and did you notice my seamed stockings? They are nude with pink dots and seams, and I got them for free from What Katie Did for filling out their yearly customer survey! Score!

I also switched out the sleeves. Laurel comes with a sleeve option, actually two: an elbow-length sleeve and the same sleeve with a ruffle that brings it almost to three quarters. I wanted real three quarter sleeves, and I really wanted sleeve darts--I think they are such a nice vintage touch--so... I sniped one off a vintage pattern!

I used the sleeve pattern from McCall's 6969, also seen in other various incarnations here, from 1963.

The pattern illustrations on this one kill me.

Here's what I did: I lined up the grain line, because that is a thing that you are supposed to do. Then, I lined up the underarm points. I basically ignored everything above the underarm from the vintage pattern, tracing the laurel.

First, press your pattern pieces. (I skipped this for my little recreation.)

So, trace the left side of the laurel sleeve.

Then, I ignored everything below the underarm from the laurel, tracing the vintage pattern. I just fudged the seam from the underarm point of the laurel to the sleeve hem.

I ended up (luckily, through no skill of my own) with a beautiful, vintage sleeve tacked on my modern Laurel. I'm really kind of shocked how well it worked, and the resulting sleeve has lovely elbow darts.

Lovely, lovely sleeve darts, bonus french side seam.

I'm really pleased by the interiors of these dresses. The Laurel is so simple that it is easy to finish all the seams nicely, and it really is worth it. I know that taking my time with French seams (and French whipped seams for the armscye seams on the pink one) will not only extend the life of my garment, but make me happy! I am so proud of the insides.

French whipped seams, also known as double row of stitches plus zigzag.

To attach the collar, I sewed it right sides together, 
then pressed and stitched in the ditch.

Bias bound center back seams, lapped zip.

And the outside on the mannequin.

Fabric: A mystery stash jacquard c/o my mom from G Street Fabric.
Pattern: modified Laurel, size zero.
Year: Contemporary.
Notions: double fold bias binding, 22" zip.
Time to complete: even with the seam finishes and additions, this took me less than a day.
Wear again? yes!
Make again? yes.
Cost: free to me!

UPDATE: I have entered this as my Mad Men make in Julia Bobbin's third annual Mad Men Challenge! Although I am terribly far behind, I do love the show and the fashion. I'm going with Megan as my inspiration once again--she is always wearing this color--and that makes two years in a row that I've made a Laurel inspired by Megan (here's the other one). What will I do next year?!


My Floral Laurel! (not pants!)

I've felt like I'm fighting through my sewing recently. Pants fitting! arghhhhhh!!!

After all these close-up pants fitting posts, how about some nice loose fitting dresses?

I was really feeling in need of some "instant gratification," and I turned to Colette's Laurel. I have made the Laurel several times (my Megan Draper dress and my Lilly Laurel)--it is super easy and fits well. 
So I made two! Here is the first one, a lovely spring/summery shift with a bright floral.

Don't you love this fabric? It's amy butler, and I think it looks just like the fabric from Betty Draper's floral dress.

My original plan was to make a similar fitted sheath, but... ugh. I don't want to bother with that. I don't know, I can always pin out some more and make it more fitted, but this relaxed shape is more practical since my life has more crawling on the ground than lunch dates meetings with politicians.

I only made slight modifications:

1. I lowered the bust dart points by about half an inch.

2. I straightened out the side seams. I consider myself a slender pear which sometimes makes vintage shift patterns annoying to fit, since they seem to be built for someone with a real hourglass figure (the shift from my Weekend Wardrobe pattern, Simplicity 5299, falls in this category). The Laurel has a dramatic curve at the side, such that it gives you, like, hip wings? Anyway, I just used my french curve to straighten it out a little. The hem circumference ends up the same, I just straighten out some of the S-curve. You can see my "enhanced" seam on the left hand side of the dress in the left hand photo down below.

3. This pattern is short. I loooooooove short dresses, the shorter the better in my opinion, but I am also practical (at least, sort of) and I want to be able to wear these dresses to work.

4. I made myself some facing patterns and used those. I know they are supposed to all be bias finished, but whatever. I like facings. I sew and I can make whatever I want, SO THERE.

After all the tedious pants muslins, it is so refreshing to whip up an easy shift, and even more satisfying to see all the nicely finished insides. Plus, now I have a Laurel for both the Draper wives, Betty AND Megan! 

Fabric: Amy Butler's Tumble Roses (from my stash)
Pattern: Laurel, size zero.
Year: Contemporary.
Notions: 22" zip
Time to complete: not long.
Wear again? yes!
Make again? yes.
Cost: $20ish

p.s. I will not be wearing this outside since there are INCHES of snow on the ground--in North Carolina! It is in the process of melting, but that means all the places are not covered in snow are covered in slush.



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