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?!



  1. This is such a great dress! I just love fabric, you did a great job x

    1. Thanks! I've been saving it for the perfect project, and I'm very happy to have made something with it finally.

  2. Really, really cute!

  3. wow! really looks beautiful on you!

  4. Love, love, love this! Reminds me of Megan Draper :)

  5. Hey there! New follower/sort of new sewer, definitely new to dressmaking. I stumbled across your blog when I was googling images of New Look 6145 made up, and really enjoyed your projects! Looking forward to following along!

    1. Welcome! I found that pattern suuuper frustrating, so I hope you have lots of luck!

  6. oh my! i love it. you did such a good job with the sleeves. The fabric is really nice too. such a nice colour and texture!
    And yes - very secretary like!

    1. Thank you, I've been saving it for something nice and I hope I did it justice :)

  7. Hello! I saw this on Project Sewn - it's beautiful, and I'm so impressed with all your little extra steps to make it as lovely on the inside. It looks wonderful on you! Cheers, Sarah

  8. Very cute! I love, love this shade of watermelon! And, it looks like you could use this for Mad Men 2014.

  9. Ohmygosh you are so darn cute!! That fabric is fab and I love your laurel modifications. Beautiful!



Back to Top