The Laurel Sewing Contest: Thousands in prizes, a dozen chances to win!



This contest has ended, check out the winners here!

To celebrate the launch of our new Laurel pattern, we’re hosting a ginormous sewing contest! I thought it would be fun to see what you all come up with right off the bat, and since this pattern is so open to interpretation and creative ideas, it seemed the perfect chance.

We have 6 different categories you can enter, each with a grand prize worth at least $400, and each with a runner up prize to boot.

How to enter:

  • Make your own version of Laurel: Use any fabric, any color combination, add any details, style it however you like. You can make as many versions as you like!
  • Upload your photos: Take photos and upload them to our Flickr group.
  • Tag your photos: Tag each photo “laurel”. Then decide which category (or categories) you want to enter, and tag your photos with the tag for that category (listed below). Each dress you make can be entered in multiple categories!

The contest runs from now until April 30, so buy your Laurel (currently 15% off) and get sewing!

Category One: Favorite use of print

One of my favorite things about this pattern is how well it showcases prints. Choose a fabulous print or use one in a creative way!

How to enter this category: Tag your photos “laurelprint” to enter.

Grand Prize:





Second prize: $50 to spend at Colette Patterns

Category Two: Favorite use of color

With pockets, bias binding, and numerous other ways to combine and incorporate color, here’s your chance to show what can be done with solids.

How to enter this category: Tag your photos “laurelcolor” to enter.

Grand prize:





Second prize: $50 to spend at Colette Patterns

Category Three: Self-designed fabric

I’m so excited about this one. Think of all the things you can do by printing your own fabric for Laurel! Design a fabric and print it with Spoonflower, or bust out the fabric paints, dyes, or silkscreens. My friend Amy has written a fantastic book called Bend the Rules with Fabric that you might check out for ideas!

How to enter this category: Tag your photos “laurelselfdesigned” to enter.

Grand Prize:




  • $250 to spend at Spoonflower
  • $100 to spend at Magpie Patterns
  • Prize package from Jimmy Bean’s, includes 1 copy of Sew Red, Fabric for 3 projects in the book (Parson Gray Ditty Bag, Mobius Cowl Wrap, Drawstring Dress), and 1 heart pincushion kit

Second prize: $50 to spend at Colette Patterns

Category Four: Use of added detail or embellishment

The Laurel Extras book has ideas for plenty of details and variations, but there are a million more you can try! Add your own details, from appliqué to lace to buttons.

How to enter this category: Tag your photos “laureldetail” to enter.

Grand prize:





Second prize: $50 to spend at Colette Patterns

Category Five: Fall/Winter version

This one is especially for our friends in the southern hemisphere (but open to all!). Make a version of Laurel suitable for the chillier months, style it for Winter, and enter this category!

How to enter this category: Tag your photos “laurelfall” to enter.

Grand Prize:





  • €80 to spend at Schnittchen (DE)
  • $120 to spend on patterns at Sew Squirrel (AU)
  • A package of patterns (pictured above) from Indie Stitches (AU): Megan Nielsen’s Kelly Skirt and Banksia Top, Sewaholic’s Renfrew and Thurlow and the Peony and Parfait from Colette Patterns
  • A package of patterns from Stitch56 (AU): Sewaholic Cordova, The Makers’ Journal Weekend Tote Bag, ColettePatterns Juniper trousers, You Sew Girl! Hats5, You Sew Girl! Petite bag with many options!

Second prize: $50 to spend at Colette Patterns

Category six: Readers’ Choice

How to enter this category: Just tag “laurel” and we’ll do the rest! All contestants are eligible for the readers’ choice finals. Finalists will be chosen by our judges, and these will be voted on by our readers.

Grand Prize:





Second prize: $50 to spend at Colette Patterns

The details

This contest is open to everyone, worldwide. All of the prizes can be used by or shipped to anyone, anywhere. In some cases, you may be responsible for shipping charges or local import fees for your country.

You can alter the pattern in any way, and use any version (including the blouse). This is all about creative interpretation!

You can enter as many times as you wish, in as many categories as you wish.

You must have a Flickr account to enter, and be able to upload photos there and post them to our group. Joining Flickr is free and easy.

Winners will be chosen on a subjective basis by our lovely judges and cannot be appealed. Finalists for the “readers’ choice” category will be chosen by judges and voted on by the readers.

Sponsors and their employees are not eligible to win (sorry!).

The contest closes midnight PDT on April 30, 2013. Please post your photos to the Flickr group with the appropriate tag(s) by that time!

The Judges

Our judges for this contest are the lovely Rochelle of the blog Lucky Lucille, Sarah of Rhinestones and Telephones, Erin of Miss Crayola Creepy, and Sarah Gabbart, 2011 contributor to The Sew Weekly and former owner of Sew Crafty in Houston. Thank you to our lovely judges, and please do not try plying them with chocolate, because they are tough, tough ladies.

Now go buy Laurel and get sewing!

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

More about our writers

Comments 116


Amazing pattern and amazing contest – Am very excited about being involved and seeing what wonderful creations the sewing community produces! I have always wanted to do some self designed fabric so this may be the kick up the proverbial to finally do this.


Wow this is so exciting! I’m especially thankful for a Southern Hemisphere category – hopefully the weather will start cooling down enough here soon that I’ll be able to bust out some beautiful winter fabrics.


I am so IN!!!!!!!! waiting for my Laurel!!!!


Wow this is amazing!Can we enter in more than one category?


It says up at the top of the post that you can sew as many dresses as you like, and each dress can be entered in multiple categories!


Those are some pretty sweet prizes! The Laurel is lovely, and I love that you’ve enabled us to express ourselves in so many ways with this one pattern.

Paige @ LPD

oh wow this is going to be so much fun! I’m assembling my pattern tonight and hope to start soon.


Are we allowed to customize the pattern? For example add a more shaped waist or belt that is sew on?


YES! You are free to do whatever you want with it.


The pattern is printed, cut out and currently half way through sticking!! I’ve got the perfect fabric ready.


How exciting! This will be the first sewing contest I ever take part in. I’m getting my sketchbook out to get my creative juices flowing…


Oh my goodness! This is really exciting! I’m pretty much in love the with the Laurel pattern already, especially because you can make so many different variations of it!

I’ve got a Colette Pattern giveaway going on my blog at the moment (any pattern of choice), but can’t help but think it would be very cool if the winner chose the Laurel!


So exciting! This will be the first sewing contest I’m entering!

Just wondering though, like someone asked previously, if you can enter in more than one category?



Yes, you certainly can.


This is so fantastic! I’ve already started sketching a colorful version of Laurel, and I’ll be picking up the supplies to make a basic eyelet version soon (just to test the fit). I can’t wait to be inspired by what everyone else does; I have a feeling I’ll be making quite a few Laurels!


Hmm… Too bad I’m not a huge fan of the pattern- the lack of waist shaping in the from makes the busty me question how flattering this would be for me right off the bat. However, those prizes are tempting and I definitely have some ideas for this.

A question- can we take the blouse version and make it more than a blouse? Like add a skirt of our choice to it?


I agree. I’m plus sized, and I can tell this dress would NOT be flattering, unless I made it with a ponte knit of some sort, and it was tight. But ponte knits don’t tend to come in pretty fabrics, just plain.


Although, I guess I could just add some darts in the stomach and in the back? IDK, it seems like a lot of work for a dress that might not even fit that well.


I think it might be fine if I wear the dress with a belt or if it’s ok-ed to make the blouse version with an attached skirt. I’m just very hourglass shaped and need to have my waist defined.


Yup, you’re free to do whatever you want to alter the pattern. It’s definitely intended to be a blank canvas.

Rochelle New

Thank you so much for including me as a guest judge, Sarai! I’m absolutely thrilled to be involved and can’t wait to see what everyone makes. What an awesome sewing challenge!


Alright, alright, I will actually commit to buying a pattern and learning to sew adult sized garments! That rubber arm sure is getting to be a problem…


My brain just blew apart.

I am excited! I’ve been trying to do my own challenge with my sewing, but it’s so much more fun when there are prizes and other people involved! I have a very bad feeling that my husband is going to hate me in shifts, but that’s too bad. He’ll have to get over it.

Funny thing is, when I was 14 shift dresses were all the rage with the younger set and I remember wanting to learn to sew and make some myself (my family did not have a lot of money and most of my clothes were second-hand). My dear mother did not have the time or energy to show me, so it was another 10 years before I started teaching myself. But, I have never made a shift dress!

18 years later–I can finally have a shift dress!


I can not wait to do this! My Laurel pattern is ordered, and I am going to start fabric shopping now.


Wow! What fabulous prizes!

Quick question: can you make more than 1 version of Laurel and enter multiple categories? or is this a 1 person, 1 entry contest?


Yes, you can enter as many times as you like!


OH MY GOODNESS – talk about the most AMAZING competition EVER!!!! Wow – those are some seriously impressive prizes!
Argh – I have so many pressing sewing plans with my wedding coming up, but I really want to enter this comp!!!!


Holy cow, Sarai! You had said that you were having an amazing sewing contest, but this is totally incredible!! It’s beyond what anyone could have imagined! I love that sew many members of the sewing community have joined in. Wonderful!

I am absolutely delighted, honoured, and excited to be a judge. Thank you so much for asking!


Awesome!! I can’t wait ~ placing my order on Friday and in the meantime, going through my stash to find my pretty prints and fabric that I want to use to make a few of these dresses. I like shift dresses – you can dress them with belts and cardi’s, sandals or heels, whatever you want!


Hum… just a question: cant we use this pattern as a base and modify it a little or more (sleeveless or longer sleeves, redraw the neckline, move the ziper to the side, add a colar or a bow, closer or looser fit not to mention the lenght of the skirt, and so one…)?
I see this pattern more as a blank page to start than anything else. But perhaps this will not be the goal of this contest, no?!


Yes, you can do whatever you like with it! That’s why I offered all the variations, I want to see what other creative ideas you guys come up with! It’s a lot like Sorbetto in that way. :)


I was hemming and hawing about whether to buy or not [trying to save for that new kitchen ;) ], but once I saw these amazing challenges, I HAD to! I am so excited for this! Stash-busting time!

Diane @ Vintage Zest

Oh how fun! It’s too bad that I’m gone for the entire month of April, so whipping up the dress would be ridiculous for me to do in 2 days. :( Well, I look forward to everybody’s inspiration for when I sew up my own Laurel!


Wow, this is an amazing contest.

I have to say though, that it would be more enticing if the prizes were split up a bit more, and there were more winners – like 2 or 3 in each category, with a smaller prize each.


There are already 2 in each category, though.


So excited about this! I have just recently started sewing garments again after years of only making plus toys, and I’m thrilled to have such a great excuse to make more new dresses!

Can you confirm, we can enter a dress in multiple categories, but each category can only be entered once? I have a series of several ideas that would work for multiple categories, and I am unsure how to decide which dresses to enter for each section!


You can enter as many times, in as many categories as you like.


This is a CRAZY exciting contest! How could I NOT participate? I bet there will be so many gorgeous interpretations. CAN’T WAIT!


Aah I’m super excited to enter this! The prizes are out of control amazing! One question though: for the “favorite use of color” category, do we have to use only solids, or can we use prints as well?


Prints are fine too!


I can’t wait to see the immense outpouring of creativity sure to come from this!

Miss Crayola Creepy

This contest is going to be amazing, I can’t wait to see what everyone makes! Thank you for letting me be involved. xo


I’m in! I’ve downloaded the pattern and am now plotting what to do with it. Thanks for offering this – it is really getting my creative juices going. The prizes are absolutely wonderful!


I’ve purchased my pattern and am looking forward to sewing my first Colette pattern!

angela hathaway

YAY! what a great dress/shirt! I just ordered my Laurel….can’t wait to get sewin’!

Thanks Sarai for always having such impeccable style! Your patterns are always A+


CC Cesarik

Oy veh! I was trying to resist this pattern until I made up some of the (tons and tons) of patterns I already have, but these prizes sucked me in… Just ordered the pattern and I’m pumped to see what everyone makes!! I’m not sure shift dress will be flattering for my curvy/pear shape so I’m thinking I’ll make the top version…


Sorry if you have already answered this question…..Does the contest also include blouses, or just different versions of the dress?


This is so exciting! I haven’t sewn in a few months, and I think this will be the right kind of kick in the pants to clear some time and get back to it.


So excited for this. I’ve spent the last 3 hours planning in my head rather than playing attention in class. Oops…


Fantastic competition. I do have lots of patterns in my stash, but the prizes are too tempting. Hopefully this will get my sewing mojo back after its absence since the arrival of my beautiful boy last Feb. Good luck everyone, can’t wait to see the entries. xox


Irresistible, I can’t wait to get started.


Holy crap, how am I supposed to work now that I’ve seen this competition. I just want to go home and get started!


Wow! You have put me to shame, all of this must have taken some hard planning and many, many long hours. I thought I worked hard! Well as you have done so much for us, it is only fair that I try and do the same. Expect some entries from me over the next few weeks. I have the pattern, the fabric and the notions, just have to think how to put it all together, as well as a bunch of excuses why my other work is going to be delayed. Opps!

Query – can we photograph the dresses on a dressmakers doll, or do we have to be photographed wearing them? Thanks.

Good luck everyone, I think this is going to be fun! :)


I love this challenge/contest. Time for some stash diving. Bring it!


Sarai, this is absolutely amazing! I like looking at this post just for the visual happiness it brings. :) Thank you so much for all the incredible work and thought you put into Colette Patterns. It’s really thrilling to see what you come up with each and every time!


My head has been swimming with ideas since I read about this contest. My daughter, age 9, and I have started brainstorming on various ideas. Thank you for this generous opportunity!


how exciting! and such awesome prizes to boot – i’m off to find my sketchbook and get started…


I probably don’t have a hope in hell of winning, but it’s a great motivation to get some sewing done for my winter wardrobe! I love that you’ve remembered us antipodeans :)


Self-motivation is great, but it’s also nice to have someone else “pushing” me to do things and try new techniques-which is exactly what this contest is doing. Thank you. I’m excited to see what I’ll try and come up with.

A few weeks ago I told myself “no more patterns!” – buuuuuut, what’s the harm in just one more? :) the scissors and tape are out and ready for my newest .pdf pattern!

Colette Patterns Laurel - Inspiration - mabelmakes

[…] I have broken my ban on buying new patterns but this was too good to pass up. Check out the details of the challenge and consider taking part yourself. The pattern is easy so if you’re a beginner it should be a […]

little cuckoo

Just a little note to all the busty hour glass girls out there, I am 4ft 11″ I wear a 32 G bra and I have a tiny waist but I love wearing shift dresses like the Laurel. Due to the darts at the back and the bust dart this pattern should skim your body at the right places and flatter your figure. I wear shift dresses for my office job all the time teamed with a blazer and pumps and for night outs too their so versatile. Don’t be put off my hour glass ladies you might be pleasantly surprised.

I’m printing off the pattern tonight and can’t wait to join my first competition, I’m stash busting and thinking ahead can’t wait to get sewing.

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Wow, this is a great pattern and I love how you made it so versatile with all of the variations. I just bought the digital copy and I can’t wait to get started! -Melissa @Scavenger Hunt


What is the pattern?


Can’t wait to see what you all make!

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So stoked.

I just bought the pattern! This is the first time in over five years that I will be using a pattern I didn’t make but it will be fun. I’m looking forward to it.

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Sarai, you’re the best. Really! You have managed, yet again to surprise us readers of your blog! Wow! Where to start? I did get the pattern in the post yesterday, so step 1 is completed! Thank you for giving us the perfect canvas to explore on! This is going to be SEW MUCH FUN!!!!

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Wow.. great contest and HUGE incentive to buy the pattern! I will have to look at my stash this weekend and see what I can come up with.

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Paige @ LPD

Is having your photo set to friends only, but view-able to the Colette patterns group going to affect the chances of winning? Or in otherwords do the photos need to be outright set as public to be able to win?


If the judges can see the photo, that’s fine…but we’d also need to be able to publish them on the blog, with your permission.

Paige @ LPD

Oh thats not an issue at all! I have my photos on my blog, but I tend to attract some pretty awful flickr creepers so I like to limit my viewing on the site.
Thanks for the clarification!

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If I buy the hardcopy of the pattern how soon will it get here? Or would it be better to buy the e version at this point do to time? Thanks!


It depends where you live. Domestic orders take about a week. We ship out daily (on weekdays), and the rest is up to USPS!

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Lix Hewett

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Two late-in questions: I’m torn over which category to enter my design in (it might become apparent when you see it why this is). Anyway, do I have to choose, or, can I enter the same dress in two categories? (Sorry, I know you’ve been over this already, but I’m still not certain whether it’s one dress per category, but multiple entries, or one dress entered in multiple categories, or both!) 2nd: as this is an international competition, what’s the exact deadline? The end of your day on 30th April? Anyway, I’m really having fun making my versions of Laurel; thanks for such a great competition (and creative opportunity).


It is both. Make as many dresses as you want, enter each into as many categories as you want.

The deadline is midnight PDT on April 30.

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Casey Cabana

This sounds great, but I thought contests like this weren’t allowed on Flickr. Is it okay for me to enter? I’m worried that my Flickr account might be disabled if I do. Is it okay to enter my patterns?


Casey, this contest is already over. I’ve never heard of Flickr disallowing contests, and a google search turned up nothing about that, and there’s nothing in their community guidelines. Let me know if you have other information.

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