This is the last of the Laurels (for now… it’s only fair that I admit that). The idea: a little black dress that isn’t meant to be flirty or discreetly seductive but is decidedly not a sack; modest and simple, but not “oh, Mother Superior, I’m looking forward to life in the novitiate.” Did I manage that?



I like the end result, my lacking ironing skills notwithstanding.

Here come the details:

Fabric: black rayon challis from It was more sheer than I had anticipated but that wasn’t a problem — after all, what are slips for? I wear it with a hundred-year-old slip sewn up for me by my mother’s dressmaker way back in my youth. The fit is just okay thanks to it being cut on the bias. And by “just okay” I mean I can squeeze myself into it but I really should make another slip.

A moment of honesty about the sewing experience: cotton it wasn’t, but also not a slippery snake. All in all, it was manageable enough not to require the spray starch I was keeping nearby.

And just look:

What are we looking at here? The absence of a zipper, no less. I was really fretting zipper insertion in this lightweight fabric and breathed a sigh of relief when I was able to try the dress on with the back seam basted closed. This is the first time I skipped a zipper. I’m usually pretty skeptical about that, since a zipper makes a closer fit possible, but it worked here, saving me a lot of time and worry.

I left the upper back portion of that seam open and made a corded rouleau loop. According to Sandra Bardwell, a corded rouleau loop is easier to make than the regular rouleau loop. I followed her instructions from Sewing Basics and yes, it did indeed go much faster and more smoothly than my earlier attempts at the elusive art of turning a narrow tube of fabric inside out. The addition of the cord also makes more sense in this fabric, so it’s a big win for zipper defiance.

Keyhole detail: the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to be the key (ha! long live lazy puns!) to livening up the dress without sacrificing minimalism. I followed the instructions from the Laurel Extras booklet with the exception of adding ties because they seemed too fussy for the look I wanted.

Seams and finishes: French seams for the side seams and sleeves. (Do you know this Threads article about seam finishes on sleeves? I believe the link takes you only to one of the teachnique descriptions but that’s already well worth it. Great piece.) Center back seam bound with Hug Snug rayon binding. Sleeves, hem, and neckline binding finished by hand.

Verdict: Could I claim to be objective about this pattern? Maybe not. I’ve spent a lot of time with it and now feel that I’ve fitted it pretty well to my body. I will sew it again, but I think it might be a good idea to step away from the rayon for a bit.

What’s your take on lbd’s? Do you wear them? Do you sew them?


Published by


I write about sewing, knitting, and may sometimes be tempted to talk about books.

4 thoughts on “lbd”

    1. Thanks! I kept telling myself that if it somehow ends up too boring, I could always chop off the bottom and make it a blouse. I still think it’s a top idea worth considering, but I do like the dress. I’m really happy I was stubborn about that keyhole and risked it!


    1. I love your dress! If that’s okay, I’ll link to it here. The lace detail looks so modern in this design. It’s such a cool dress!

      I’m glad I decided to challenge myself with that keyhole detail. The key was to go slow (which seems to be my mantra for better sewing) and press patiently.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s