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A Laurel LBD for New Year’s Eve


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This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.

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My style has really taken a turn for the minimal in the last year or so. I think it reflects a lot of deeper stuff going on in my life (and in my head). Perhaps I feel overburdened, but I just want things that are simple and easy, and not too many of them.

I made this Laurel to wear on New Year’s Eve, but I knew I wanted it to do double duty. My goal was to create an LBD that I could dress up for a holiday, or easily dress down for day-to-day wear. Simple. Easy. Pretty much my perfect dress.



I added single welt pockets, because welt pockets make anything classier.


The fabric is a cotton-silk blend I bought while shopping with my awesome friend Christine Haynes at The Fabric Store in LA. If you are in Los Angeles (or New Zealand or Australia), you must check this place out, because the selection is stunning.


I shortened the Laurel a little, because frankly I like my legs. I have long legs and not a lot of waist definition, so mini shift dresses are pretty much the perfect shape for me.

I also shortened the sleeves, since that just seemed like it would work better with the fabric.



I paired it with back seam stockings, vintage Ferragamo Vara flats, and my camel hair wrap coat that belonged to my grandmother (thanks Nonna!).


I also scooped out the neckline a little bit, just to play with the shape. That’s one of the great things about bound necklines, it’s easy to adjust the shape exactly to your liking on the fly without having to change any other pieces.

My necklace is one I recently bought from local jewelry designer Tiro Tiro. You might remember that Teresa loaned us jewelery for the Zinnia photo shoot. After seeing it in person, I was totally smitten by every piece and decided to save my pennies and buy one for myself as a holiday gift. It has such a wonderful weight to it and a gorgeous warm bronze cast. I love jewelery that looks both modern and ancient. I’ve been wearing this necklace almost daily.

Details (for those that care):
Dress: Laurel by Colette Patterns in cotton-silk polka dot jacquard from The Fabric Store
Shoes: Vintage Ferragamo
Coat: Vintage (via my Nonna)
Makeup: Laura Mercier oil-free foundation, MAC pigment in bronze, Almay Liquid I-Liner, MAC Kinda Sexy lipstick (my current favorite nude-pink)
Nails: Essie Charmeuse with a matte topcoat
Jewelry: Necklace from Tiro Tiro, vintage rings

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.

Comments 70

Kate McIvor

Wow, that is a gorgeous version of a gorgeous pattern. I love the alterations you made. I feel inspired!


I love that fabric!


Such a classic. And I love the vintage Ferragamos too, they go so perfectly.


That fabric is wonderful!


yay! so happy to see the fabric in action! looks gorgeous (as we knew it would when looking at the fabric) and love the welt pockets! and those shoes! swoon!!! xoxo


I’m proud that I did something with the fabric already! I’ve got big plans for that striped double knit soon.


oooh, that double knit is washed and staring at me from across the room right now! I’m still undecided on what to do with it!


The fabric is really elegant and your version is wonderful! I love it! Have you done a lining for this dress?


Nope, no lining. The fabric has a lot of body, and I figured an unlined version makes it a little more versatile climate wise (i.e. I can wear it when the weather warms up too).


Very chic and very beautiful! Love it Sarai!


Love it!!!! You look stunning, Sarai!

Daisy Jones

Love it…giving me ideas too …You can never ever ever have too many pockets….!
bestest to you
Daisy j x

Lady ID

That fabric is pretty. I’m adding the Fabric Store to my list of places to go. I usually head to the Fabric District and Michael Levine.


You really must check it out, and it’s right down the street from Mood as well!

lisa g

this is gorgeous! i love the welt pockets–very elegant.


Love your new make. It’s suits you very well.

I’m going through a similar phase life- and style-wise. I want a life at my own pace, filled with meaning and quality time with family and friends. I hope to achieve this, this year.

Style-wise I want to cut my wardrobe down to the essentials. Not to many colors, not to many prints, things that go for different outfits and occasions,… I want to get plenty of use out of each garment I make. This year that will include a wedding dress and I want it be be something I can wear after my wedding. I love simple lines but I also love the layers and feminine shapes of the bohemian look. I’m still struggling to find what works for me.

May 2014 be a great year for you and the CP-team!


It seems like a lot of people are feeling this way right now. More and more, I’ve been releasing clutter from my life, and it’s very liberating. Reminds me of the William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”


It looks beautiful and so versatile. And you look stunning as always. Happy 2014 to you and Kenn!


This is gorgeous! I love the texture of the fabric! It’s so simple, but really chic!


Now that’s an interesting conversation – does how we feel inside reflect how we dress? I totally think so. On the flip side, if our exterior looks are a reflection of our interior state, then you must be one happy person. Even though you’re wearing black, an LBD, you’re beaming!


That would make a good discussion post, hmm. I feel like how I dress reflects more how I want to feel.

And thanks for saying that, because I felt I looked a bit scowly. Another reason I respect professional models, being in front of the camera is hard!

Johanna@projects by me

You look so pretty! And you are so right to like your legs!


I absolutely love this variation of the Laurel dress – thanks for sharing it.

I totally share your minimalistic intentions… I started going that way a couple of years ago, and I intend to pursue it in 2014 – I have simplified (without oversimplifying) my schedule, my furniture, my cooking, my wardrobe (simple, versatile, multi-function, very few colors and most items are interchangeable), and having been a bit of hoarder in the past with always too many things and projects going on at the same time, this has felt so much better, I have loved my clutter-free and more “essential” lifestyle. It has improved my quality of life immensely – and I really cherish the extra time I get to spend with my family.

Keep us posted on how you get on and good luck with the process.



It’s really interesting to hear that, because it seems a lot of people say that when they pare down their belongings, they feel they have more time. Less time shopping, orgainzing, clearning, repairing, I suppose.

Though I know you mentioned simplifying your schedule as well, it’s just a tangential point, but I’ve seen it come up a lot.


Love the dress! I visit the Fabric Store about once a week (as I live in Auckland)- it is the most amazing shop. It is hard to walk out without purchasing anything.


Lucky lucky! I was really blown away by the beautiful selections. I wanted almost everything in the store.


Perfect and very pretty LBD!!! Love the idea of the welt pockets…. can you do a tutorial how you did it?


Sure! I was actually going to do it when I made the dress, but realized black was a poor choice for a tutorial.

However, here’s a walk through of the single welt pockets on the Anise jacket. It’s basically exactly the same, but it doesn’t mention cutting the pieces (since they come with the pattern). Other than that, it takes you through the whole process:


Gorgeous ! I love it !


Wearing my Laurel today, mine is in a large scale floral print jersey and minus the sleeves and pockets. The fabric pattern is so busy it would have seemed like too much. Its the first thing I’ve made from my pattern but I’m going to make loads more, next time with the sleeves and pockets. I love your version, the fabric is beautiful.


I really like the scooped out neckline, and hope to see it included in future patterns!
You look stunning in all the photos and I love your accessories!


I think we live in a culture where most people could do with minimalising, but it can be awfully painful. I’m going to be moving from a house all to myself, to a space on mum and dads futon, to student accommodation this year and one of the charity shops closest to my house told me they didn’t have room for any more books. :-(


Books are the hardest thing to get rid of. Kenn is very good about doing periodic book purges (reselling on Amazon a lot of the time), and using the library a lot helps, but still…


So chic! Love this, and I must say you look absolutely stunning, lady. xx


Aww, thanks Tilly!


When I was looking at this post on my phone the fabric looked like a lace overlay. Looking at it now on a big monitor I can really appreciate the beauty of the fabric you chose.

Amy Peck

I ADORE this dress and want to make a short-sleeved Laurel now. I am not very skilled at adjusting patterns… would you mind telling me how you shortened your sleeves? The sleeves on your dress are the perfect length. Thank you!


I just hacked some off at the bottom! It’s easy! I don’t know how short they are, but I can measure them tonight and let you know. :)

Amy Peck

I would love it if you could let me know!

Jolies bobines

So perfect !


Beautiful laurel! Perfect for a party! Love your make up too, great photos!


Your makeup is absolutely gorgeous. So is the dress!


Thanks! I feel like I had to search forever for a nude-pink lip color that suits me, so I’m happy this one’s worked out.


You look stunning! The laurel looks pretty amazing too!


My kind of dress! fabulous…really fabulous….any chance of some details/tutorial on the welt pockets and pattern adjustments. ie: position of the pocket. sleeve length etc…
fabulous dress, perfect work dress…definately on my 2014 list!


For a welt pocket walk-through, see my link above to the anise sewalong! For placement, I just put them where the patch pockets are designed to go on the Laurel.


Looks really great to me, you do a wonderful job with your designing and sewing!


Wow, this dress is gorgeous! Really flattering on you and perfectly simple. Maybe it’s the new year, but I’ve been feeling the same way about getting rid of clutter and extraneous stuff. I have a bit of a thrift store/estate sale habit (my boyfriend and I are both vintage nuts and we sell in an antique booth) and I end up keeping too much of the stuff I find. One of the things I want to do this year is to sell or donate all but my very favorite items. Oh, and use more fabric from my way-too-big stash (Isn’t that every sewer’s problem?) Anyway, thanks for another inspiring post!

Julia Bobbin

Well you look effortlessly stunning. I love this version of the laurel, I think I’m going to have to copy-cat.

Your make up palette looks stunning too might I add, and I LOVE the necklace; I’ll be checking out that store for sure.

Another beautiful dress.

P.s. – I got a little excited to read you have Italian heritage too :)


When I lived in New York, I used to go to this Chinese takeout place up the block all the time. One time, the lady who worked there squinted at me for a few seconds and asked, “Are you Italian, or Jewish?”

I’m both! Must have been the roman nose and dark eyelids.

Taryn (forkandneedle)

I love ‘The Fabric Store’ too – and as I’m in New Zealand I’ve been shopping at it for years – many of mine and my daughter’s clothes are made from there. Unfortunately my local store – in Christchurch – was closed due to our 2011 earthquake. Fortunately other stores here (esp the Dunedin one) do mail order for local customers. I’m looking forward to the Christchurch one reopening sometime soon. I’m so pleased so many LA shoppers get to enjoy their wares as well. Beautiful dress Sarai!


Oh, that’s really too bad. I wish the shop and community luck in the continued recovery.


Ah, what a babe! Sarai, our names are close, our physical build is close, and our facial features are also very similar. To be honest, I find it so inspiring to see you look this aMAZING! I ‘steal’ a lot of what looks good on you, as I know it will flatter me too. Does that sound a bit stalkerish?


Not at all! That’s the cool thing about seeing clothes on non-models!


I recently started adult ballet, and I am really interested to see what it is going to do to my body shape. How extreme must change be before you redraft a bodice block?


Sarai, that dress is amazing! I love the subtle polka dots on the fabric! And that picture with you in the dress with the Ferragamos and the camel coat is like a throwback to pictures of ladies from the 50s and 60s – it’s so perfect!


such a great dress! I really love the fabric! I go to The Fabric Store in Sydney quite a bit and I love all the fabric I end up buying from there. and the girls who work there are so nice and they all have New Zealand accents for some reason.
I love this minimal version of Laurel – t-shirt style dresses are so perfect!


The woman in the LA store was from NZ as well… and also super nice.


Wow—you look amazing, and I absolutely adore the dress. I’m feeling the same way about simplifying but have no idea how to start. My sewing room is such a mess that I’ve been avoiding it. Time to get out the crazy dance tunes and get to work!!!


Absolutely! Music is key when it comes to cleaning and motivation. That way you can take dance breaks.


I love this! The fabric is beautiful, and I really love the seamed stockings :) Beautiful coat too :) Laurel has become my very first TNT, probably for the same reasons as you – I like my legs and the dress has just enough shape to make it not hang off my chest like a tent but rather skim the curves in a flattering yet minimal way – I’ve found it also makes a PERFECT blouse :) Lovely when a dress can go from casual to dressy so effortlessly :)


Wow, it looks really great and comfortable as well. For some reason I always realize after I get to a party that I can’t move my arms or the skirt creeps up or some such thing.

Also, I was so surprised when you said “frankly I like my legs” that my mouth dropped open. I’ve never heard a woman say that before – that’s awesome!


I never thought about my legs much until I became a runner. Now I’m proud of the muscles I’ve built! I love feeling strong.


I love it, it’s perfect! Chic, timeless with a distinct character.


Dresses with pockets are the confiest pieces of clothing!


Love it! And the tights too :)


Very pretty! So funny, my new years resolution falls along similar lines. “Take it easy,” by which I mean (since I’m terrible at this), be OK with doing less but focusing on what you’re doing. I’m working on a book, which ultimately means less sewing and knitting time … and so “taking it easy” means being OK with sewing 1-2 garments a season instead of 1-2 garments/month (my old pace). Not cramming in that extra workout or morning coffee writing session. Being kind to myself. Leaving time in my schedule to relax and breathe. Spending more time with friends and family, giving myself permission to duck into a coffee shop and just relax and enjoy the atmosphere. In essence, I find my life improves when I subtract things, not when I cram in that extra one or two, but it can be so hard to figure out what to subtract!


The dress and photos are absolutely gorgeous!

Another devotee of the Australian branch of The Fabric Store here. They will send swatches and do mail order as well – very helpful.


I love the welt pockets on the Laurel, so I am trying too but I have a problem with the inside of the dress ..since I did not intend to line it, the pockets inside the dress don’t give a very neat finish ..How did you do ?

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