SOS LBD: Colette Patterns Laurel saves the day

OK, so when you are really busy at work & have built in an additional early morning exercise routine into your already busy week, do you usually sew spontaneous next-day projects or do you maintain a degree of calm in your home life & keep to a plan? Yes, I usually keep to a plan, maybe cutting out projects on a Sunday night in front of the TV, with a couple of options to sew during the week.

Laurel dressBut last week, the week that had a massive work event organised by me occurring in it, what did I do, but go rogue.   This event had a theme that meant we were going to dress up a bit (even though it was the afternoon, we were putting an effort into it at all levels). I thought that I could wear my trusty scarf back top & velvet skirt. At the eleventh hour I suddenly realised that the other female members of my team were wearing black dresses. Doh! The perfect opportunity for an LBD. Of course. But I didn’t have one (isn’t that shocking? Someone who makes her own clothes does not have a little black dress). This was on the Tuesday & the event was Thursday afternoon. When I could find some thinking time I was desperately listing the potential dress patterns:

For my instant LBD I had to make something that I’d already made & knew fitted. The girls at work said slim fitting was best, & therefore I knew for so many reasons that it was going to be the Colette Patterns Laurel (sleeveless)- you can’t go wrong with a shift dress, can you? And I love that vintage vibe.  But I wasn’t able to sew until Wednesday evening nor go out fabric shopping until Wednesday either.  On top of that when I could make it out I had only 20 minutes, therefore I had to brave the shop “that looks like it needs a good tidy” as someone recently observed, as it was closest to where I work. You would think that a city centre fabric shop would have an array of black fabric in the lead up to party season, wouldn’t you? I asked for crepe or even some silk – nothing. I didn’t want linen, I wanted something a bit more glam than natural.


The shop assistant managed to find me this cotton that almost has a burnt out look about it.   The pic is weird – it’s actually very black, but at least you can see some of the pattern.  It’s thin, transparent almost but I was always intending to line my shift. Scooping up just over a metre of the black cotton with poly lining came to the grand sum of £10.98, then with the addition of a zip, it all came under £13. At the same time I had in mind a chunky set of pearls to set it off, & popped into the vintage jewellery stall in the Guildhall market- finding what must be the perfect set- all for £5!! I was stoked.

Colette Laurel dress

So this was my Wednesday evening- got home about 6:45, cut the dress out whilst my dinner was warming up then a quick bite to eat before embarking on the sewing. I think I finished it at 10.30pm.

Marking all of the darts in both lining & dress seemed to take a long time & there I was itching to get the sewing started.  I had no intention of sewing anything by hand & managed to find some great tutorials for inserting a lining into a sleeveless dress all by machine at the Slapdash Sewist (thank you so much!!) as well as checking out the instructions for machining the lining to the zip also.   I overlocked all of the raw edges & used my blind hem stitch (aka heart rate monitor !) for the dress itself. I felt as if I was on one, to be sure.

Colette Laurel dress

So the dress is perfect. I loved wearing it. It was so comfy & I felt smart & badger-stylish. I haven’t got any more pics of it than were taken at the event itself by our official amateur photographer (a member of staff who happens to be a friend). He thought I was helping him out get his settings sorted in advance of the photos, but I had ulterior motives 😉  (And I did remove all that ID badge paraphernalia- just a bit later than these photos unfortunately.)

So, after an adrenaline fuelled Wednesday night, I can’t say I have sewed that much since – I needed a break. I have started to handsew a tie and have also started some knitting as a Christmas gift. But I think the break has done me good. I cut out a couple of things on Sunday night, plus have a man’s shirt on the go. That’ll be this week sorted!

36 thoughts on “SOS LBD: Colette Patterns Laurel saves the day

  1. maddie

    Did anyone tell you that you look very Audrey Hepburn, because you totally do! I’m impressed you squeezed this out in 2 days. I don’t think I could have only because I’d be so nervous!

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Gosh what a compliment! There’s no way I could be as beautiful as dear Audrey, but I admit I did Chanel her style with this look! I was desperate not to make any mistakes when I was sewing it, I had such little time ! But I think lining was a bit of a timesaver too

  2. SewSouthLondon

    It’s so very stylish – a classic, especially with the pearls.. I noticed that Rachel at House of Pinheiro made a plaid Laurel last week, which got me dusting off my Laurel pattern to make a plaid blouse. It’s the pattern that just keeps on giving!

  3. Sue

    I don’t have this pattern – why when it is so elegant, chic, stylish and yet could be casual too. I think it is absolutely perfect as a LBD and you look wonderful in it.

  4. Camilla

    The laurel is a brilliant pattern but I’ve yet to make a dress from it. Great job on your speedy sewing project. Sometimes everything comes together under a bit of pressure. I did something similar with a jersey top for an 80s night out.

  5. Tanit-Isis

    CUTE!!!! My husband is intermittently dismayed that I have sewn this huge wardrobe but still don’t have a LBD. maybe this year I’ll be inspired. Your planned sewing blocks sound familiar to me, too… I so miss the days when I could putter along an hour or three on any given day. /sigh

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Isn’t it just bizarre that we are not alone in being mad crazy people that sew, with stacks on handmade clothes, but no LBD? I guess buying black fabric just seems dull in comparison with all those pretty colours & patterns ….

  6. Marion

    Three hours forty-five minutes including eating dinner, that’s impressive. The dress looks really chic. I assume what looks like a sheer panel at the hem is just a trick of the lighting in the photo. I live in Surrey and even I know the shop you mean. 🙂

  7. Amanda

    Holy moly, girl – you are a speed demon!! Good choice on the pattern – I really love Laurel for its simplicity and great shape, and it makes a FANTASTIC LBD. You look so chic and stylish, no one would EVER guess you made this in a rush, or for under $20 ^__^ I noted to myself, while reading, that I too, am “sans” LBD in my wardrobe for some ungodly reason, even though all i ever wear is black – haha!! Maybe i’ll have to copy you and do a nice black Laurel – hurrah! ^__^

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