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Download a free pattern hack: The mod-ified Laurel


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I made this Laurel last month, inspired by some super-cute mod scooter dresses from the 1960s. I liked it so much, I made a free download of complete instructions so you can get more from your pattern too.

I’m a big believer in the LBD (little black dress), but in the summer there’s a variation that’s just as important in my lazy-lady’s closet: The LWD.



I am seriously lazy about what I wear in the summer. It’s got to be comfortable, cool, and easy to throw on without a second thought. And you know what? I think I actually look better that way.

This dress hits all those points and I’ve been wearing it at least once a week.

The fabric is a nice thick ivory linen. As much as I love to wear white and off-white, I really do hate having to wear slips underneath when it’s warm, so I went for something nice and opaque.

Since it’s linen, of course there’s some wrinkling. I don’t mind looking a little rumpled in linen, because it’s just so cool, breezy and soft.


The natural color does, I must admit, look a bit like muslin. But the fabric will soften up with more wear and become perfect, I just know it. Don’t you love clothes that get better with age?


The mod-ifications

To modify Laurel, I made a few easy alterations that you can do too. To get the complete set of instructions, click the download link below.

  1. I added a horizontal seam along the hip line.
  2. I added in-seam pockets, set into this new hip seam.
  3. For the top of the bodice front, I cut it in two pieces instead of on the fold.
  4. I added a slight V shape at the neckline.


All the details are in the download, so check it out below.

I hope to create more of these free downloads in the future when I modify our patterns. In fact, I’m already working on the next one.

Eventually, I hope to have a huge collection of pattern hacks to send out for free, so you all can get the most from each pattern you buy. Sound like fun?

Get the Pattern Hack Pack

Pattern: Laurel by Colette Patterns, with modifications (see download for instructions)
Shoes: Sven clogs
Bracelet: Tiny Armour
Sunglasses: vintage tortoiseshell glasses my friend Kittee gave me years ago

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 90


Pretty sweet! That’s a great dress. I’ve been searching for ideas for dresses with those same put-it-on-and-go, no fuss qualities. Oh, and pockets. Purses are too cumbersome sometimes, you know?


This is a really lovely modification and I can see it working really well with a bit of colour blocking as well. Thank you for being so wonderful to your customers and sharing this as a free download – it’s definitely one of the things I love about Colette!
And I am super excited to see what other pattern modifications you come out with for us!


I agree about the color blocking! I was also thinking that it would look good in plaid for fall. You could cut the bottom on the bias. Or cut the top on the bias and have the plaid form chevrons at the center front. So many options.


I love this dress, both the pockets and the neckline! I’m too pale to wear white/ivory myself, but I love it on you—and I can just make a more colourful version for myself, right? Or even a colour-blocked one!

I just read through the tutorial and it’s very clear. The only thing I was a little unsure about was step 7: “Cut 4 of the pocket pieces.” Are those just the original V. 2 pocket pieces? Just making sure, I don’t want to end up with weird pockets when I make this! (:


Yes, I just used the pocket pieces that come with the pattern. But you could also draft your own if you want them a little bigger.


Thanks, Sarai! The pocket size looks good on you, and since I’m sure I’m a smaller size than you are, I think it’ll be fine on me too. I’ll use the original pattern piece on my first toile and see how things go!


I cut a size 6 FWIW. I generally like to have bigger pockets I can sink my hands into, but proportionally I think this size works well. Any bigger and I thought they might be too close together, or too close to the side seams. I bet it would be less of an issue in larger sizes, though.

Fabric Tragic

Great idea! Looks really chic on – that’s the secret to being chic – effortlessness!

lisa g

love this mod! i’ve wanted to make a split neck laurel, and the addition of inseam pockets is just genius.


Sarai, you continue to amaze me with your awesome creativity! I love this hack!


I love this hack and your willingness to share them.


What fun, and thank you very much! I can’t wait to see the next one, sleeves for Myrtle or a cold weather necklines for Moneta? I must say, I appreciate the beauty of your work, even when it’s not something I can wear myself.


Ooh, a cold weather Moneta is a fun idea. I immediately thought of this image:


That dress looks lovely. Even some other shape, perhaps a modified boat neck? I just know that I freeze when my upper back and too much below the collar bone are not covered when it’s cold, whether it’s due to air conditioning or weather.

Melissa O.

LOVE the boat neck idea!!! This MUST be done. ;)


I would totally wear a turtleneck Moneta…. With a hand made cardigan… or a vest… Yes!


Oh lovely – looks just like something unaffordable from Toast! Thanks for the free instructions!


This version of Laurel is great! Thank you for sharing this modification.


Really like the design. Am thinking about a winter weight one/tunic to wear over leggings.


It would be lovely in wool, I think.


I love the modifications to the laurel–gorgeous!


Your linen looks beautiful. I’m limited to buying linen online and have been having trouble finding a mid weight linen that also has nice hand and drape, like yours. Hope you don’t mind me asking where you bought it from?


I got it locally, at Mill End here in Portland. They’ve got a huge linen selection. We’re spoiled here.


I love this version of laurel, thanks so much for sharing it :)


This is so awesome!!! I love the Laurel dress, and this mod is one that will actually suit me – I like the others but they aren’t really ‘me’ :) Really adore the white linen too; one almost feels if one’s whole summer wardrobe was white cotton and white linen that would be just fine ^_^


Thank you for making a great pattern even greater! Your generosity is wonderful.


This is perfect! An amazing idea. Can’t wait to try my own version. :D


LOVE the pockets. Do you think this would work in a wool shirting weight fabric from Pendleton? I can see something like that for winter over tights.


That would look amazing! Now I must stop by Pendleton soon.


I love it too! Cool plaid idea too!


I love the idea of sharing pattern mods!


You’re in my head! This is perfect, brilliant, and just what I have been envisioning, without getting to working on, for a couple of months! Love the pockets and the V neck, and the color blocking possibilities. Pattern hacking is fabulous, because you’ve already spent the time to make the pattern fit, now you can tweak the style to make more versions. Love this! Thank you!


Bright idea! So chic and simple. Love it.


Thank you so much for these mods. I’m self-inspiration-challenged, so I love to see what others come up with, since these mods also make your already great patterns even more fabulous! I’d love to see more!


Wow, I can’t believe this! I pinned a photo of a linen dress exactly – and I mean exactly – like this for a couple of years and was thinking of using the Laurel pattern for it, but haven’t saved up the energy to start in on the project. Thank you, thank you!


LOVE this. Such a beautiful dress!

Thank you so much for your constant ingenuity AND willingness to share! I still haven’t made my first Laurel, but it is finally the next on my list. Now to decide whether to make the original or the hack first. BOTH, of course!

Looking forward to your future pattern hacks, too!


Thank you so much for your generosity and hard work. I’m excited about the hack and future hacks. Moneta is my favorite pattern to date and I like the idea of a winter version. The image you posted from Pinterest is right up my fashion alley.


Nice mod :-) I would love it if you shared more tutorials with ideas for moding your patterns. I own a lot of your patterns, several of which I’ve sewed repeats of. But I could always use more inspiration:-)


What a lovely idea, those modifications of existing patterns! And the dress really looks good on you!


This is fabulous! I have some metallic glazed linen that NEEDS to become this dress! Thanks so much for sharing!


Uh, that sounds AMAZING.


Heck yes, I like the idea of downloadable pattern mods. Do. It.

Also, this is a great dress! Love those in seam pockets.

Tara D.

I was just about to make a new denim Laurel dress. It’s like you read my mind!


I love the idea of a folder of pattern mods. My sewing time is so limited that I am often afraid to waste it by doing a mod that doesn’t work out.


love, love, love this! thank you for putting all the work into it and making it available for free! i am definitely making this! yours is so lovely.


Love the dress and the idea of a pattern hack mailing list! It will be Spring here and this would be perfect for the warmer weather. How gorgeous would this style be with some embroidery around the neckline?


I was thinking that too!


Thank you for this! I usually have to do lots of fit mods to patterns, but the Laurel fit me with almost not alterations, so it is amazing to get more use out of it!


Perfect dress for me!!
Love this simple linen dress, so comfy and chic.


This version is very nice. At the moment i’m working at a knit Laurel. Do you still leave the back darts? The idea of some inspiration to made the same pattern in different way is great. With this pattern you can sew a lot of different dresses.


For knits, I take the darts out. For a looser fit, you can just omit them. To make it a little more fitted in back, you could transfer some of the dart uptake to the center back seam. By that, I just mean scoop out the CB seam a bit at the waist. :)

Here’s my post for making it in a knit, if you haven’t already seen it (which you probably have):


Love this! You are so generous. As a beginner I very much appreciate the extra info.


Yes, just yes! Love these 60’s inspired versions. Will definitely use! Thank you!


Brilliant – love the neck line – can’t wait to try it out (that’s my weekend sorted!)


Superfantastic! I love my Laurel and this variation is sublime. You read my mind including information about your shoes! Thank you!


I love this modification – I think laurel number three might be happening in this house sometime soon! Thanks so much for sharing…

Maria Bywater

LURVE this!


Thank you for sharing! It a neckline that works for & my mom. I could totally see her in silk for the fall. I would do plaid, or two different kinds of fabrics. Its really super. Me likes mucho!


I love what you’ve done with this dress! Really classy. Yes please, do post more hacks, your ideas are so creative. Thank you for giving it to us free- much appreciated.


Haven’t yet gotten on the Laurel bandwagon. Now I will. What a great hack. Been looking for a split-neck tunic pattern since I’m not much of a dress wearer-needer. Just the right amount of V-neck for me. I’ve looked at shift patterns and thought I should be able to figure out how to create that neckline. Colette read my mind and made it easy for me.


Oh I love this! I’ve been meaning to make my laurel again this fall and this is JUST the inspiration I needed!!! Thanks a ton! And I love the idea of pattern modifications ( esp the peony and sencha wink wink).


What a great idea (and such an awesome value add) to pattern hack and offer them to us. I love purchasing your patterns because I know I will get a lot of use from them….and out of them!!

Alanna Jane

I love everything about this. Luckily I would be making a bigger size, so I could enlarge those pockets to funk it up a bit. Yes. Big funky pockets (perhaps even in a contrasting colour) on a MOD-ified Laurel would suit my needs just perfectly. Maybe not quite THIS crazy: This Laurel would also look amazing sans-pockets and somewhat shorter, as a tunic over jeans.

Alas, it will have to wait – given that I have THREE other Colette print-version patterns winging their way to mine as we speak!!

After I make the Juniper trousers a time (or three), I am planning to modify them into some lovely mega-wide palazzo pants (with the top through hips remaining snug as per Juniper). I have a dark brown pair that fall just below the knee in a super light-weight weave. They are stunning, and I want to recreate them in some slightly heavier fabrics to wear with knee-high boots this winter. My juniper’s will likely also find their way into being full-length, wider-legged light-weight or linen pants as well. And finally, the juniper trousers would also look INCREDIBLE with a pair of detachable-suspenders! But you are the master-designer …. ANY mods to Juniper would be awesome.

Too bad my other 2 patterns are retirees … Oolong as a blouse (perhaps with a rounded bottom hem) and/or a dark brown Parfait with cognac leather straps! :) I suppose that I will need to invest in more Colette patterns once this current sewing-spree starts to lag.

YES – even more than I love amazingly-crafted, classic Colette sewing patterns, I REALLY LOVE amazing ways to let my creativity run wild with a few mods :) You are a diamond for starting up this new side-line. Never-ever stop doing what you do best …. but when you have time, mods are really fun.


Hi, Did you put a zip in the back? Or did you make it without the zip. I know a few people made the dress without a zip. Just not sure whether to go down that track or not. I love this version!


I made it without a zip. The pattern includes a zip because not everyone has flexible shoulders. But I think a lot of women can make it without a zip without a problem.

Melissa O.

I made mine without a zip. It turned out just fine. I’m not good with zips at all. No matter what tutorial I use I screw it up, so anytime I can avoid one I do.

Ryane LeCesne

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I LOVE the Laurel pattern. I have made two shirts and a dress. I get SO many complements and I know it’s the dress – not me! I adore the new additions! Can’t wait to get started!


Love it! Have the perfect fabric waiting to be made into it. I love the fact that I have a pattern that fits me and now I can change it for a different look. Thank you. I would love variations on patterns. Can’t wait to see what you create next.


Very cool–the pockets are the best! Thanks for sharing!


Simply amazing….. I loved make my 4 Laurel, each with different variations, and I’m sure I’ll love make this one! Thank you for hours and hours of deep joy!


What a great offering! I love Laurel pattern, I have already made 3 Laurels and this pattern hack inspires me to make more! The idea of pattern hacks is excellent and really generous- it gives me some hands-on experience on pattern manipulation and makes me feel I am creating something new. Thank you so much!


Cool! What a great variation! I just wanted to say I’ve literally LIVED in the four – yes, 4 – Laurels I’ve sewn this summer. They have taken me in style and comfort through work and play, glamour and total relaxation in no less than five countries and three continents, from major metropolises to a remote cabin on the Norwegian west coast, and I still have plenty of ideas for more. Might have to buy a new pattern, it’s becoming so worn.

Shirley Knight

I absolutely love your book and all your patterns. I especially love the Laurel i bought and the way you can modify it. Your latest modification is stunning . You have inspired me to take up sewing again. Thank you so very much.


Fabulous! I love the look of this version, it would be perfect for Autumn/ Winter as a tunic over leggings. Do you think it would work in a knit fabric? I’ve been meaning to try Laurel in a knit.

Than you so much for sharing different versions, having spent time solving fit issues it’s great to have more options for different looks from one pattern rather than having to start all over again, specially since I have limited time to sew.

I would love to see more patterns hacks, how about a less gathered skirt for Moneta, more like a skater dress?

Thank you for always being so inspiring!


Sarai wrote a post on a knit Laurel. Just search the blog with those two keywords and it’ll pop up. I’m looking forward to trying it in a knit too!


Yup, and I linked to it in a comment above too. For this particular variation, you might want to add something to stabilize the neckline divet if your knit isn’t super stable on its own. I think it would be fine in a sturdy knit like doubleknit, but with a jersey, you might want a little more stability there.

I normally do not like facings with knits, but in this case, I might add one with a little knit interfacing just to keep the divet from getting too floppy.


Great- thanks for all the fab tips!

Melissa O.

I’m so excited about this! I’ve been thinking about ways I could modify a couple of your patterns (Laurel, of course, is the easiest I think) to make them more my style. I’m so new to sewing though it scares me a little. I love that you’ve been thinking about it too & are generous in sharing your ideas w/ us. I can’t wait to see what’s next. :)

BTW, I would love a cute little decorative, turned up sleeve; & instructions on making set-in cap sleeves for dresses with straps like the Hazel. Just a little something to cover the shoulders. ;)


the modification that I would most like to see is for sleeves (on dresses that are sleeveless, of course)

suze jones

Great dress – and great idea for releasing free pattern mods – sign me up please!


Love this! I am definitely going to be making this this fall—I have the perfect fabric lined up and everything. Would love to see more Colette hacks!


Thanks so much for the pattern hack. Just one more thing to love about the Laurel pattern. Definitely looking forward to more pattern hacks!


Sign me up on the mod train! Excellent idea!


Thank you . the pattern is perfect and it’s very kind of you to provide it.


Thanks for sharing this modification! I’m new to sewing and after making 2 Sorbettos and a Ginger, I’m starting a Laurel this week. I found this dress that’s pretty similar in shape and length with a different back: I think that would be a great modification too!


Oh pretty! Thanks for sharing, Mia!

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