A Review of the Laurel Dress PDF Pattern by Greenstyle Creations.
I associate Greenstyle Creations with sports wear patterns but because they had an offer on for Black Friday I had a good look through their site and was attracted to the Laurel Dress. The website states that:
You will fall in love with the comfort, flexibility and options of this dress. There are four different sleeve lengths, three different skirt lengths, and three different torso lengths. We even found it works great for those who are expecting so it can be worn throughout your pregnancy and after! This pattern includes sizes XXS up to 3XL so it covers a wide range of sizes.
I was drawn to the Laurel Dress by the small design elements such as the cowl neck and the pleats on the front and back of the skirt. The size chart in the instructions only gives you the bust measurements which put me in a Large. This ended up being a good fit and the rest of the dress isn't fitted anyway.
The bodice pattern piece has Short, Regular and Long torso options but there is no information relating to measurements for these options or indeed any fitting tips. Also, no indication of what height this pattern is drafted for. I cut out the regular torso because I know I'm definitely not long with the plan to check the fit after sewing the bodice. The regular torso was the perfect fit for me.
I decided to cut out the Knee Length option with 3/4 sleeves. While looking for information regarding torso lengths on Greenstyle Creations website I discovered that there is a free slouchy cowl add-on which also includes a pattern piece for neck binding if you don't want the cowl. I decided to go for the slouchy cowl and I'm really pleased with the outcome.
I bought two metres of this beautifully soft knit from Loris Textiles. Its a fabulous lavender colour and I think I may go back and purchase some of the sage green they have too. At only €5 a metre its fantastic value.
I found the instructions for the Laurel Dress straight forward enough and its actually a very quick sew but I didn't like the fact that there isn't the option to turn on/off layers for different sizes in the pdf pattern. Also, I don't like the way that you have to stick the pdf pieces together - you have to butt one edge of paper against a printed line on another piece. This is a very difficult method to maintain accuracy - I much prefer there to be some sort of anchor points at the corners.
I went straight to the serger to attach the shoulders and sides but for the sleeves, skirt and cowl I sewed on my sewing machine first and made sure everything was smooth and even before serging.
I used to use sellotape to stick my pdf patterns together but this meant that I ended up with pieces of pattern that I couldn't put a pin through. I tried Pritt Stick and have never looked back. Its much more forgiving than tape and my patterns lay flatter and are easier to use. While making this Laurel Dress I was pinning down my seams - so they'd face towards the back while I was sewing a cross seam - and I wondered if I could glue the seam down with Pritt Stick. This worked amazingly well! I only used a small amount but it was enough to hold the seam in place and the sewing machine sewed through without any issues. I also used the glue stick to keep the pleats in place and to hold seams together at the beginning of sewing.
I found the pockets difficult to serge neatly as they've been cut to such a shape that it was impossible to manoeuvre the serger around them. I ended up sewing the pockets with my sewing machine and then serging afterwards but I'm still not happy with the finished look - even though this is on the inside and no-one but me will see! Pockets are usually a nice feature but I'm not sure how well they work on this lightweight knit - do they spoil the line of the side-seam? I think that next time I might omit the pockets or possibly draft a different shape.
I haven't used a Twin Needle for a while but this time simply turned up the raw edges of the hems, pressed and sewed. I am happy with this finish as its less bulky than serging the edge or making a double fold. I also decided to use the Twin Needle to topstitch the cowl and feel this has given a lovely neat finish.
Final Thoughts: even though I had some gripes with the pdf pattern I really love this Laurel Dress and will definitely make more.