Jennifer Lauren Handmade - Laneway Dress: Pattern Review

Hello Everyone!

I have a pretty exciting make to tell you about today. It is the Laneway Dress which is a 1940’s inspired pattern designed by the amazing Jennifer of Jennifer Lauren Handmade.

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With the fitted bodice, asymmetrical or centered collar, and slim flared skirt, the Laneway is a classic style that suitable for nearly every occasion. I fell in love with this pattern when it was first released, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when Jen announced that she was looking for a few sewing bloggers to review her patterns. Yes please! And now I am here today to tell you that Laneway has exceeded my expectations in nearly every possible way. *

I am becoming a bit better about focusing on properly fitting my handmade garments. I don't think I have ever made a muslin of an entire dress. I usually just make a quick test run of the bodice since it always needs the most fitting. Most dress patterns I sew up have some style of flared skirt which means I don't need to worry about fitting anything around my hips. Basically, unless the pattern requires a fitted pencil style skirt, I will just make a muslin of the bodice. 

It was no different with the Laneway dress. I used a size 12-D, which means a size twelve that is drafted for a D-cup. Due to being a more busty gal, I almost always have to make some form of bust adjustment for a pattern to fit correctly. Whenever I am lazy and skip the FBA, I always regret it and the garment ends up being hardly worn and eventually sent to the thrift store. Nobody wants their chest to be smooshed flat by an ill fitting dress!

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Considering all this, imagine my shock and surprise when the Laneway test bodice ended up fitting perfectly! The bust pleats ended just below my bust, right where they should be. The midriff and shoulder areas were snug with the precise amount of ease needed to be worn comfortably. Even the sleeves went smoothly, and that never happens! I have a large number of sleeveless dresses in my wardrobe that were originally designed with sleeves but I left them off because they were so uncomfortable and I didn't know how to fix the issues. I was so thrilled with the fit that I decided the time had come to cut into some of my favorite stash fabric.

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Now, it might sound like I am gushing away at this just to give a good review, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I've already sewn up the Felicity Dress and it fit perfectly without any changes. I also purchased the Hunter Tank last year and I've been meaning to make it ever since. Different people will find that certain pattern companies will draft their patterns from a block that ends up working with very few or no adjustments. That's how I have found Jennifer’s patterns to work.

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I purchased this adorable woodland fabric when it was on sale at Joann Fabrics several months ago. I fell in love with it and I knew that it would be sitting in my stash until I found the perfect pattern to work with it. I wanted to sew a dress with it that I would love wearing. As you can see, Laneway was the one. I used some linen scraps for the collar and pockets. I thought the solid fabric would provide a nice contrast to all the little animals frolicking about the rest of the dress. The buttons were also from my stash.

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What would I change for my next version? Well, I would like to change up the skirt. It is a lovely a-line shape, but since it is a little snug across my hips it makes the pockets stick out a little. I think the Laneway bodice would look gorgeous paired with a half or full circle skirt. I am also curious to try out the centered collar option. I also think I would add just a smidge of extra room along the center back. The bodice back fits beautifully, but it is borderline too snug. I think it would be even more comfortable if it had maybe 1/2 - 1 inch more ease. And looking at these pictures, I could probably do with a small sway-back adjustment. I should really do a sway-back adjustment more often, but I usually forget all about it until too late!

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Speaking of the collar, I have a funny antidote to tell you. I accidentally managed to mark the collar on the opposite side of the neckline. If you look at the other beautiful versions of the Laneway dress you can see that my collar is flipped! I was a teensy bit bummed, but I realized that since it is supposed to be asymmetrical, nobody would really notice. And in the end I think it looks just as good as the original.

I was surprised with how well my Laneway Dress turned out. Genuinely and pleasantly surprised. I'm the type of girl who loves to make the same pattern 50 different times because I know it works for me. Cutting out and using a new pattern is rather nerve wracking for me, but I have had wonderful success with a couple different dresses I've made recently. As you know, I pattern tested the Matilda Dress that was the latest release from Megan Nielsen patterns. It has quickly become one of my top favorite dress patterns! I have two versions already and I am regularly imagining making more.

I have an inkling that the Laneway Dress will be similar. It is such a gorgeous style and, since it already fits so well, I now want a dozen more! Watch this space. . . More Laneways and Matildas will surely be coming your way!

~Emily

* The Laneway Dress pattern was given to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review on my blog. All opinions expressed herein are my own. I never recommend a pattern or product that I wouldn't personally purchase and use.