Welcome back to the Laurel Dress Sewalong! This week we are going to talk about the alterations I did to this simple Colette shift dress. As you can see I did make quite a few changes including; a keyhole, short ruffled edged sleeves, a scoop-out back, and a short hem!
When I first saw the alternate versions of the Colette Laurel Dress, I knew I wanted to try my first keyhole! It was actually just as easy as I thought it might be. I started by folding the front of my dress in half to ensure I would center my keyhole. Once I cut the shape out, I then sewed on my bias tape to act as a facing for the keyhole. You’ll definitely need an iron handy for this part, for when you are folding your bias tape facing over inside to the wrong side of your fabric. Once I did this, I then sewed the facing down to the main fabric.
A fun component to add to a simple dress like the Laurel is a cute trim! I liked the discreet cuteness of this ruffle trim I added. It is the same color as the main background color of my fabric, so it doesn’t make a huge statement or act as an overly feminine ruffle.It works to add a bit more of a finished edge to my sleeves. You could even add the ruffle edge to the keyhole, bottom hem, or even the neckline if you like!
Another alteration I made to my dress is a dramatic scoop out of the back. I’d say this was actually the trickiest part! I had to calculate for the change in height from back top center to back bottom center; meaning I had to calculate for a shorter zipper. The hard part of the scoop came when I had to add darts around the scoop edge. After I cut and bias taped the scoop edge, I tried on the dress and saw that because of the loose fittingness of the Laurel, the scoop back seemed to drape outwards drastically! This meant I needed to add some darts to ensure the scoop edge would lay flat against my back. I added 4 darts along that edge – two on either side of the zipper. One pair of darts was 4” away from the zipper, and the other pair was about 8” away. This will vary depending on the depth of your scoop! Luckily with the busyness of my batik print, its hard to tell that I added darts!
The last few minor alterations I made to my Laurel dress, was the shorter hem, and the deeper darts. Becuase of the simplicity of the dress, I decided to spice it up with a shorter height. I also on the side seams and the back darts, I took the liberty of making my dress just a bit more fitted. I ended up taking the dress in quite a bit, actually because I accidentally made the dress a size bigger than I should have! Based on my measurements and the measurements listed on the size chart, I guessed my size wrong. I could have made a smaller version, because the Laurel is not particularly fitted, you can be more liberal with what size you choose to make!
Good luck, and happy sewing! Tune in for Part 4 of the Laurel Sewalong!!