Ginger Made: Geometric Laurel(ish)!

Hello! Hope your weeks are all off to a great start! I’m so excited to show you my (literally) shiny, new dress!

For my April Mood Sewing Network project, I picked out this sassy Marc Jacobs cotton/silk blend at Mood Fabrics NYC.  It has a lovely satin finish so it feels extra fancy.  As soon as I saw it, it looked me in the eye and spoke to me: “I’m a shift dress!”  Who am I to disagree?

Ginger Makes | Laurel shift dress

The fabric sewed up easily, more like a cotton than a silk.  I armed myself with a sharp needle and a press cloth, which worked well. I wanted to avoid getting pin holes in the fabric, so I used silk pins inside the seam allowances. The fabric is too special for machine-stitched hems, so I took my time blind-hemming everything by hand.  No other special treatment needed!

Ginger Makes | Laurel shift dress

I used the Colette Laurel dress pattern, which I’ve made once before. I had a great deal of trouble sorting out the fit through the armhole the first go-round, so I grabbed the Gather Mortmain dress pattern, traced off the armhole and sleeve, and just made a frankenpattern.  I haven’t had a chance to sew up that dress yet (although I’m looking forward to it!), but I made a quick muslin and it worked!

Ginger Makes | Laurel shift dress

I can just wriggle into the dress without a zipper, so I cut the back on the fold to avoid disrupting the print any more than was necessary. The Laurel dress calls for a 5/8″ hem allowance, but I like more weight in the hem of a shift dress, so I added extra length to allow for a 2.5″ hem. I lengthened the sleeves by 1.5″. I also drafted neck facings instead of the bias binding that the pattern called for. Call me crazy, but I think I’ve been converted to a facing fan! They lend a nice stability to the neckline that I’ve really come to appreciate.  There’s only one problem with this dress- it wrinkles a bit, and the satin finish makes the wrinkles really stand out. It’s not the end of the world, though.

Ginger Makes | Laurel shift dress

I really like the mod style of this print combined with the shift style. I have to admit, I’m tempted to stitch up a whole fleet of shift dresses this summer!  I’ll be keeping an eye out for more bold prints!

Ooh, one quick item of business! Just wanted to make sure you’ve all seen the fun new Nettie bodysuit pattern released by my friend Heather of Closet Case Files and inspired by another friend, Wanett of Sown Brooklyn! This is what’s on my sewing table right now- I didn’t know I needed a bodysuit until I saw this pattern, but I’m really psyched to try it out!

EDITED TO ADD: I just found a free downloadable shift dress pattern, Simple Sew‘s Brigitte dress! So if you like this style, and a new pattern’s not in the budget, this might be a good option! I haven’t tried the pattern, but let me know if you do- I’d love to know how it turns out!

How about you guys? Do you like the shift dress style? Do you like large-scale prints? Anyone else making a bodysuit?  Do you agree that I definitely need a pair of blue heels to wear with my new dress?  What’s new with you?

110 responses

  1. I love a large-scale print, but I’m not a shift fan for my figure (with hips like these, you need to show the world you at least have a waist). I do, however, want to make that body suit STAT!

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  2. I’m almost positive I saw that fabric when I was at Mood last week and also though,”hey, that’d be a fab shift dress!” Lol! Lovely job – great was to show off such gorgeous fabric!

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  3. Of course you need a pair of blue heels. I buy shoes all the time for outfits I don’t even have yet without remorse, and you already have the outfit!

    I’m theoretically a big fan of large prints, but I find myself making garments mostly in small-scale geometric prints. Maybe I’ll make a bodysuit in a large scale print and kill two birds with one stone.

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  4. Your fabric is great! Shift dresses look very nice on you. Hey, the body suit looks pretty cool, too. I just got a remnant of a heavy nylon/lycra print – wonder if that would work for a dress? Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Great dress! And yes to blue shoes.

    Alas, shifts don’t work on my figure at all. I used to get shift envy every summer when people would break them out. You should sew a whole mess of them in large prints!

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  6. I love this! It’s such a fun and pretty print! You look super adorable in this dress!

    the Nettie pattern, seriously! I didn’t know I needed this until I saw the pattern. My train was duh! Now I can make skirts, shorts, and pants and not worry about fixing my shirt! I’m going yo be a knit convert with this pattern!

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  7. Omg that fabric! Of course it had to be a shift! Love it. And I’m thinking just like you about the Nettie. I didn’t know i needed bodysuits in my life until today, but now I’m obsessed about making dozens of them.

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  8. Very cool dress! I’m in love with the print 🙂 For the second Sew it up challenge we actually have to make a shift dress, so I’m dreaming up shift dresses as we speak! And I really like Heathers new pattern, looks super hot! Can’t wait to see yours!

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  9. Firstly, yes, yes you do need those new shoes. Secondly, great shift dress!! That print is perfect for this style, it looks fantastic. I love this style and have a vintage pattern earmarked for summer sewing.
    Heather’s new pattern is brilliant – I just need to find the right fabric for that low-back dress!

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  10. I really love this fabric/ pattern combo! I have the laurel on my list of patterns to make next and I also want to make loads – and I haven’t even made one yet!

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  11. I love the fabric and I agree it works perfectly in a shift dress style as you envisioned.
    I’m mad for shift dresses too – I need to make some for this summer – its been ages since I whizzed one up!
    Maybe Me-Made-Me will motivate me to get my (sewing) machine moving on marvelous material…. OK that’s enough M’s for now ; )

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  12. Love that fabric! Your dress looks super comfy too! I’m really digging the new Nettie pattern, in fact it’s sitting on my printer right now, waiting to be assembled.

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  13. i love this fabric!!! it’s so perfect for the shift dress, i can see why you paired them! i’m with you on the facings, i do not understand why they induce such rage among some. facings are the bee’s knees IMO. and i’m totally on the shift dress bandwagon, since i seem to keep making them for myself and my kiddos… in fact i finished a black knit shift dress just today 🙂

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    • Dude, you should make more shifts! I loved your floral version- it suits you so well! I think I like facings now that I’m not a beginner and I sew more precisely. When I was starting out, they never matched up correctly and I didn’t understanding how to properly understitch, so that doesn’t help you get good results!

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  14. The dress is fab! I’m loving shift dresses at the moment, endless possibilities!! Also just bought the Nettie today, super excited to get started on it. Look forward to seeing your version !

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  15. http://peppermintmag.com/other/sewing-school/

    Third time, I’m trying to write a note. Stupid feedly. Hmpf. Anyway, the link above will get you to the free pattern page of Peppermint Magazine. There is another free shift pattern, among other fun ones, since you’re feeling shifty and all. 😉 cheers! school/

    Third time, I’m trying to write a note. Stupid feedly. Hmpf. Anyway, the link above will get you to the free pattern page of Peppermint Magazine. There is another free shift pattern, among other fun ones, since you’re feeling shifty and all. 😉 cheers!

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  16. A girl after my own heart! I absolutely adore this dress! Its so happy and pretty, just like its owner! When you have a print like this the less interruption to it the better and don’t you love when you don’t have to add a zipper.

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  17. I’ve also come around to facings – I used to haaaate them, but now that I know how to do them right (clipping, understitching, +/- interfacing) I really like them! Plus I can’t get bias bound necklines to stay flat and not gape.

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    • I agree- it’s really hard to get bias necklines to lie flat. I’m a much more precise sewer now, too, which was a big problem with facings when I first started out. I never got them matched up correctly!

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  18. Oh, that geommetric print is great on a shift dress 🙂 I love big prints but find it really hard to find any in fabric shops near me. I made a Mortmain!! Need to post abput it 🙂 xx

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    • I’m not sure, but you should call their cotton prints department and ask them about it! I’ll keep a lookout for it next time I go, too. If I’m remembering correctly, I saw a different colorway once, too- maybe more blue?

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  19. Fun! I never have the balls to wear big prints like this, I’m more of a solids gal. (Even though my stash has quite a few prints!) Yes, you should definitely find some shoes that match the dress a bit better–any excuse for new shoes, right? 😉

    P.S. I may be the only one, but for whatever reason, your blog double posts on my reader (i.e. I got this one yesterday, and then again today). I don’t know if anyone else is having this problem, but thought I’d let you know just in case.

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    • I definitely need to wear this with different shoes– I hate the black ones with this! Plus, you can wear shoes for AGES, so why not invest in a few more pairs?

      Hmmm, I’ll investigate the double posting issue. Sadly, I’m really not tech-savvy, but I’ll try to figure out what’s going on. Thanks for letting me know! Which reader do you use? I wonder if it makes a difference…

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  20. Haha I’m glad I’m not the only person to whom fabric speaks to and demands to be made into something. It’s truly fab. I had issues with the laurel armhole too, but I’ve found that new look 6808 fits me perfectly from the bust up so I’ve made a frankenpattern similar to yours. It’s a great top pattern or can be extended to the laurel length. Nice work.

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  21. Love the print! Like someone else pointed out already…blue or red shoes would be excellent…I am just giving you an excuse for a new pair of shoes ;o) BTW as someone who always has issues with sleeves and armholes I totally second your frankenpatterning!

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  22. Soooooo cute, I love the mod shift dress style…I’ve been thinking about one with giant polka dots, just need to find the right fabric. I had to re-draft that Laurel armhole too, it was funky. Bodysuits!! I am super old so I rocked a lot of bodysuits back in the early 90s- I can’t wait to make a few for old times sake 🙂

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