My Feel Good Dress

Do you ever make something and think: this is definitely going to be a winner. No doubts. No second guessing fabric and pattern. Just easy, good sewing, followed by a well finished and flattering end result. For me, this dress was that.

I’m a fan of the shift dress. It’s simple, and has always been a good silhouette for me. So of course, I’ve wanted to make the Colette Laurel Dress ever since it was released last year. Then I got my hands on this dreamy tencel denim from Télio, and I knew it would be a winning combination.

photo-2I could honestly write a poem about tencel. Tencel knit, tencel jersey, tencel twill, tencel denim… I love them all. Tencel, also known as lyocell, is a natural fiber, and is very similar in it’s production to rayon/viscose; wood cellulose fibers are processed and spun into yarn. As far as I know, tencel is made specifically from the Eucalyptus tree. Maybe that’s why it’s so scrumptiously soft and airy?

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So as you know this is the Colette Laurel dress. Based on my measurements, I graded from a size 12 at the bust to a size 14 at the hips. But I lowered the bust darts a good inch. More on that in a sec!

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The dress itself is so comfortable. I actually made this right before the holidays in December, and have worn it almost weekly since then. Every time I wear it, I get lots of compliments! It’s just one of those dresses. I don’t think there is anything particularly striking about this dress, but it does get noticed.

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I made a muslin for this pattern and the bust dart was too high for me. So I lowered it, and now it’s a touch too low. With the looser fit of the dress the lower bust dart doesn’t bother me. But when I make this pattern again, I’ll probably move it back up a bit.

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I love the drape of this fabric, it’s really perfect for this silhouette, I think! You might notice I made a couple of modifications to the finishing on this pattern…

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First, I drafted a neck facing instead of bias tape. I prefer this finish because it’s cleaner looking and let’s face it – easier!  I really like the look of a facing that is topstitched around the neckline, especially in this denim fabric.

photo-5Secondly, instead of an invisible zip, I decided to leave an opening at the center back, and add some ties for the closure. Honestly, I forgot to buy a zipper and came up with this solution! In the end, I’m super happy with the result. The dress is easy to pull off and on and I like the extra little detail on this really simple make.

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Here’s a shot of the inside of the neckline. Really clean finish, and it was faster than hand sewing bias around the neckline and attaching an invisible zipper! I also skipped bias tape around the sleeve and did a wide hem to match the topstitched look of the neckline.

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This really is the dress I reach for when I want to look polished with little effort. It’s lovely with or without tights. Boots or sandals. Day or evening. It’s been my go-to on days when I just want to feel good in what I am wearing!

I’d love to know – do you have a go-to handmade garment that just feels good to wear, time and time again?

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49 Responses to My Feel Good Dress

  1. sonia April 23, 2014 at 6:28 am #

    That is a great look for you. Love the neck detailing that you’ve added. Still searching for mine, when I find it I’ll make ten! Next stop Thurlow trousers.

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

      Thanks Sonia!

  2. Jaime April 23, 2014 at 6:29 am #

    You look so cute! Is that denim tencel Fabric? It is so fabulous! Where did you get it?

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

      Hi Jaime! Thanks so much :) Yes, the fabric is a Tencel Denim! I bought it from Telio, which is the company I work for as my day job. They are a fabric wholesaler, so unfortunately they can’t sell to the public. But many fabric stores carry their fabrics! Tencel Denim shouldn’t be too hard to find, but if you have trouble, you can e-mail generalinfo[at]telio[dot]com and they will be able to help you to check if there is a retailer near you or online that might carry the fabric.

  3. Katy April 23, 2014 at 6:39 am #

    I am in LOVE! Totally stealing your idea for a tie back closure.

    • Jeri Sullivan April 23, 2014 at 10:26 am #

      Me too! I love this way better than a zip I don’t really need!

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

      Yay! Do it! :) Thanks Katy. Loooove your blog!

  4. Fiona@staring at the sea April 23, 2014 at 6:41 am #

    Oh, I love the idea of a tie instead of a zip. How clever! I bought this pattern because I love the style. Without realising that Colette designs are aimed at girls who are a little better endowed in the bust department than I am! Then I discovered Sewaholic patterns, which fit my measurements much better, so have yet to make it.

  5. Sue April 23, 2014 at 6:48 am #

    I love the Laurel dress pattern and have made quite a few! It’s a great go-to and I’ve always left the zipper out all together. Super easy & satisfying! I’m really, really loving the tencel denim you chose — I might need to make a similar version! :)

    • Joyce Hamilton April 23, 2014 at 10:11 am #

      So, you don’t leave an opening at all and it just slips over your head nicely? Thanks for your input.

      • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

        Yes! It slips right over my head, and then I tie it at the back. It works great!

  6. Kelly April 23, 2014 at 6:59 am #

    Perfect! This is such a wonderful dress, and it’s no wonder that it came together so easily. I just love sewing projects like that!

  7. Abigail April 23, 2014 at 7:22 am #

    I’ve been thinking of going to pick up this pattern and you just convinced me to make it happen ASAP. Adorable!

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

      Yay! I love the pattern, I highly recommend it! Plus the bonus is it’s a super quick make.

  8. Cheryl April 23, 2014 at 7:32 am #

    I love it. I agree, simple is often what we go back to the most. I go back to my orange knit tunic all the time. It’s bold and bright but super comfy.

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

      Thanks Cheryl!

  9. Susanne April 23, 2014 at 8:14 am #

    It looks great on you and I really like the tie back! One stupid question, how did you attach the ties? Did you put them underneath the facing? I tried that once and it came out bulky looking…

    I have the Laurel pattern, too, but I had so many fitting adjustments to make that I put it away for a while.

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

      Hi Susanne! I attached the ties so that they were sandwiched in between the facing and the dress, so they were sewn into the seam. I made sure to trim the corner really well, and made sure that my ties were not too bulky. I think if your fabric isn’t too heavy, you wont have to worry about the bulk. :)

  10. Teresa April 23, 2014 at 8:50 am #

    This looks terrific on you! I can totally understand why you call it your feel good dress!

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

      Thank you so much!

  11. Ingrid April 23, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    Lovely dress. Looks effortless! Will be looking up tencel fabric myself!

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

      Thanks Ingrid! I highly recommend any tencel fabric. :)

  12. Elizabeth April 23, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    I love this dress! You inspire me to pull out my laurel pattern again and get to work! Thanks for sharing…also thanks for the details about tencel- I’ve always wondered what it was composed of and now I know!

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

      No problem! Thank you! :)

  13. Nina April 23, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    Very nice! I should get that Laurel pattern out again too… And your fabric looks lovely, but I’m not sure lyocell can strictly be called a ‘natural’ fibre – I’ve seen it called a ‘man-made’ fibre, as distinct from ‘synthetic’; but it’s not a natural fibre in the same way cotton, hemp, wool, etc are. (More details: http://organicclothing.blogs.com/my_weblog/2005/11/tencel_sustaina.html)

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

      Yes, thanks for sharing that! I think some would say it is considered natural because it is made from plant cellulose, and although it is processed with chemicals, it is biodegradable and the closed loop system used during production is quite eco friendly. I found this article interested too when I was reading up on it a while back! http://www.annrobinsontextiles.com/tencel-and-bamboo-natural-fibers-or-not

  14. Sandra April 23, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    Super cute, great idea with the ties in the back.

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

      Thanks Sandra!

  15. Elaine April 23, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    Love your dress! What a great feeling when you put on a dress and you feel great in it.

  16. Carol G April 23, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    Is there a Telio store in the Vancouver area or do you need to shop strictly online?

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

      Hi Carol! Telio is a fabric wholesaler (I get my fabrics from them because I work there as my day job!). Tasia also partners with them for fabrics. However they unfortunately do not sell to the general public. You should be able to find a tencel denim online somewhere else though! And if you are in BC, I’m quite sure that Fabricana carries something similar.

  17. Sophie-Lee April 23, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    I keep humming and haaing about the Laurel dress – I’ve seen so many cute versions but I think I just wouldn’t get away with the shape (being a super pear I really need darts). This version is lovely though!

  18. Nisha Williams April 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    I love this version of the Laurel. I wonder if I can get this sewed up for Pattern Review Weekend next weekend? LOVE! LOVE! Bravo!

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

      Thanks Nisha!

  19. Sally April 23, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    This is so cute! I tend not to sew basics, although it is exactly the style of thing that I would happily buy- but I think I’ll have to change my mind for this one. I think it would be cute in a plaid. Must buy the pattern!

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

      Thanks Sally! I think it would be so cute in a plaid too! Minimal seams, so matching the plaid wouldn’t be too difficult.

  20. Shannon April 23, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    Love it! I too like tencel a lot. It has really nice drape without being too flimsy! As far as I understand, it can be made up of any wood fiber (similar to other types of rayon), but what makes it different is the production method. It’s also supposed to be more environmentally friendly than regular rayon, because the chemicals used to process the wood pulp can be re-used rather than dumped after each batch. All in all, it’s a great fiber!

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

      Agreed! It’s such a great fiber.

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

      Thank you!

  21. sew Amy sew April 23, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    This is so pretty, I love the back neck tie, it’s adorable. I really love this pattern too, so comfy and you can dress it up or down. That fabric is so dreamy too.

    • Caroline Amanda April 23, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

      Thank you!

  22. Fabric Tragic April 24, 2014 at 2:04 am #

    Caroline this is great! Denim dresses are so underrated! I’ve got myself the perfect shift mashup which is a laurel-new look 6808 combination. I’ve got a few things I always feel fab in and I reckon a denim shift would absolutely fit in perfectly – great inspiration, thankyou!

    • Caroline Amanda April 24, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

      Thank you!

  23. francesca April 24, 2014 at 2:59 am #

    Gorgeous. I think my next Laurel has to be in a chambray – love it!
    FYI, I have made the Laurel twice – after a muslin in calico – I sewed the back seam up on the muslin and was fine pulling it on, so I don’t put a zip or anything else in. Both were liberty lawn, and I placed the back on the fold, 5/8″ over the edge to account for the seam allowance. Even with the tiny frills i put round the neck and sleeves on my first one plus a hand made hem, it was the fastest dress I ever made:)

    • Caroline Amanda April 24, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

      Thanks Francesca! I’m so glad it worked on with the back on fold for you. That’s what I will do for my next version. My only issue I’ve run into with this dress is that there is some seam slippage around my bum in the center back seam, I think because when I sit down it pulls that seam apart a bit. No center back seam would fix this altogether! Thanks again!

  24. lisa g. April 24, 2014 at 6:42 am #

    i love this dress, and it looks great on you! i just made the laurel for the first time, and have had every intention of my second one being from chambray–basically this exact dress! nice work!

    • Caroline Amanda April 24, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

      Yay! Thanks Lisa :)

  25. Miss Crayola Creepy May 1, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

    I live in knit dresses, but I never thought to make one out of Laurel! Such a great idea!

  26. TÉLIO TEXTURES May 6, 2014 at 5:47 am #

    Wow! This is so cute! Looks very comfortable and stylish!