August 5, 2013

Liberty Print Shift Dress

Today I am sharing my first attempt at making a dress. I have put this off a bit because I didn’t know the first thing about dressmaking and when I read the instructions for the pattern, I was so confused by all these words I didn’t understand. I have seen this pattern, the Laurel dress by Colette Patterns, on a few blogs now and I really like the cut. It looked easy to wear and had a couple of simple variations that I liked (it even comes with this little ebook of Laurel extras... such a nice way to vary the pattern!) Most importantly…. it was labelled as BEGINNER.


I wanted it straight away so opted to download the pattern as a pdf. This was slightly cheaper and worked out about Β£10, which I was happy to part with. This sounds like a great way to quickly get a pattern but I really would advise you to order the printed pattern if you can wait. It was 49 pages long and involved a LOT of cutting and taping and then cutting the pattern again – it takes a couple of hours.

The instructions were great and so easy to follow. As a true beginner I can say that I did not have any difficulty following the pattern. If there is a term you might not know there is a link to an instruction page on the Colette website.


I picked this material as I wanted to make a light summery dress for a party coming up. This Liberty Tana Lawn is called Pablo Pepper and I love its delicate design.


I finished off all of the binding and the hem by hand which gives the dress a really neat finish – from the outside you can’t see a single stitch! Just before I hemmed it and the dress was hanging down I did look a bit hospital gowny, as the dress only has a couple of back darts and bust darts which gives it a loose hang. To avoid the baggy boxy look I turned it up a couple of inches and hemmed it by hand. This means I can easily let it down later if I change my mind.

I’m definitely going to make another one! But this time in a darker fabric. It’s such an easy dress to wear and I know it’s going to become one of my favourite.

Can you recommend any (simple) patterns to me? And has anyone tried out any of Colette’s other patterns?


Forgot to say! Colette also have a great blog with skills and a few tutorials.. check it out!




This is beautiful! It will look really great in autumn with tights and a thick wooly cardigan too :)

Sarah - Fabric Tragic

Great job on your first dress! Depending on your style, I’d try a kimono sleeve dress next – Pattern Runway has a PDF kimono sleeve dress that has an elastic waist, and I’ve just adapted a Butterick dress B5211 to be similar and is extremely easy – I’ve recently posted about it on my blog.


Had not heard of pattern runway so THANK YOU, so useful! Loved your dress, I’m not sure I am up to elastic yet… Would you recommend Butternick patterns? I tried out a Burda pattern and the seam allowance was not included which was too confusing for me!

Annie Hogan (@_annie_h)

beautiful fabric – the dress looks perfect for summer! I’ve only ever tried the Hazel dress by Colette (it’s also a beginners one and it’s definitely worth a go). I wear mine all the time – it’s super comfy and has pockets!


I like the Hazel! I think I might make a couple for Laurels to practise a bit before I tackle a different one. I really like the Hawthorn dress too, but it is intermediate level, so I guess I’d better wait a bit…!


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