Monday, August 11, 2014

Get a Clue Myrtle Dress

After making three Belcarra Blouses in a row, I was ready to try a new pattern. Then along came the Myrtle Dress. Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I haven’t had the best of luck with Colette Patterns. This is no fault of the patterns themselves. I think it’s a combination of my own inexperience, the fact that the patterns aren’t drafted for my body type, and the highly fitted nature of what I’ve chosen to attempt. When I saw that the Myrtle Dress had a looser fit and could work with either knits or woven fabrics, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I had found a Colette Patterns design that could work for me.

The fabric for this particular dress came from Drygoods Design, one of my favorite local fabric stores. I picked it up last fall when I was taking the Staple Dress class there, and I had intended the magnifying glass fabric for a Sherlock Holmes costume. (That fabric’s actually from a retired Moda line called Get a Clue, Nancy Drew.) The solid fabric is anonymous. For my first attempt at this pattern, I chose to sew View 1, which is the longer version, without the shoulder tabs. Now, I know this dress would look better in a fabric with more drape, but I was too scared to work with anything other than reliable quilting cotton for my first try. Call it a wearable muslin, if you will.

Because of the looser fit, my measurements fell within one size and I didn’t have to grade the pattern. (Whew!) Since I chose to work with woven fabrics, I used the alternate instructions. Working with 3/8” seams instead of a 5/8” seams threw me a bit. I tend to use 5/8” French seams whenever possible, so was a bit disconcerted when I came to the “finish seams” instructions. I used bias bound seams in some places, and a mock overlock stitch in others. The way the bodice is made encloses quite a few seams, which is nice. I think I did something wrong when it came to finish the back, so the shoulder seams are a little wonky. I don’t think you can tell, though.

For the pockets, I used the magnifying glass fabric and I love the contrast. I also love being able to carry my cell phone when I wear a dress. Pockets should be standard in all dresses and shirts these days, don’t you think?

The part that I was dreading was the elastic waistband, but I shouldn’t have worried. I made a couple of mistakes on the first try, but they were easily fixed with a bit of unpicking. The first time I made the waistband, it was too large, and I was pleased that I could adjust the fit on the fly by simply cutting a few inches off the elastic and sewing it again. The elastic waistband is actually super comfy. I prefer it over the elastic thread that I used on the Staple Dress.

All in all, I am very proud of how this dress turned out. I’ve already purchased knit fabric for my next version, and am optimistic about my first foray into sewing knits. If you’d like to make a Myrtle Dress yourself, they just started the sewalong last week!


  1. Very nice! Can't wait to see the knit version....and good for you for continuing to try new patterns and techniques...

  2. I love it and it looks great! If you love the fit now, wait until you make the knit version, you will love it even more! Beautiful!

  3. super cute! i actually love the little bit of structure the cotton give the skirt. it's so flattering!

  4. It is adorable on you!I love the blue for you, as well :) and who doesnt like a little nancy drew?!

  5. I love the dress -- especially the pockets. You look super cute!