Friday, September 5, 2014

Dotted Boulevard Myrtle Dress

Gentle readers, I present to you my first ever knit garment! While I am quite pleased with the end result, I was very glad that I had made the woven version of the Myrtle Dress first. Even after reading The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits, working with a knit fabric was still quite challenging. However, I persevered and ended up with a garment that I enjoy wearing.

The fabric I used is Dotted Boulevard by Sara Lawson, a 95% Cotton and 5% Spandex knit made by Art Gallery Fabrics. I bought it sight unseen from Hawthorne Fabrics. It was thicker than I expected, but pleasant enough to work with. Since the edges of the fabric rolled, I had a hard time figuring out if the selvage edges were lined up when I was cutting out the pattern pieces. As a result, the pattern pieces might be a little bit crooked, but you can’t really tell when I’m wearing the dress.

The main change I made from the pattern as written was that I lined the back of the bodice as well as the front. I gleaned the idea from Crafting a Rainbow and Love-Teach-Sew and was thrilled that it meant I avoided hemming the armholes and neckhole. After that, I followed the sewalong as it happened. Even though I used a ballpoint needle, there were a couple instances when I messed up the stitching. I found seam ripping on knit fabric nigh impossible and so just sewed around those mistakes. Not ideal, but it worked. Speaking of seams, I started out using a lightning stitch, but found those seams to be a little bumpy and uneven. I switched to the zigzag stitch indicated in the pattern and liked that much better.

The elastic waist was easy enough and is quite comfortable. I prefer how the dress looks with a belt, though, which is why you see me wearing one in all of these pictures. The pockets were also easy, and I can’t imagine sewing this dress without them.

The biggest challenge I faced with this dress was sewing the hem. Even though my sewing machine came with a universal twin needle, I had never used it before. My local Joann’s didn’t have a ballpoint twin needle, and I was really worried about messing up the hem. I anxiously awaited the last set of instructions from the sewalong, hoping for some inspired insights about hemming, and was disappointed when the instructions were “sew the hem.” Luckily, there was a previous Coletterie blog post on the subject, so I learned to use Wonder Tape, which I happened to have on hand. The actual sewing of the hem went smoothly, but after the fact, I realized that I had sewn it in the wrong place. I sewed it 5/8” from the folded edge, but I should have sewed it 1” from the folded edge, in order to catch and secure the raw edge. In my haste to finish before vacation, I glossed over that part of the blog post. Oh, well. Making mistakes is the best way to learn, right?

Even with my mistakes, I really like this dress. It is super comfortable to wear, and I received quite a few compliments at the office. At some point, I want to make it again, possibly with a high-low hem or as a maxi dress.


  1. What darling photos!! So pleased at you success and next time will be even easier!!

    1. Agreed... but would be great to have some scripting on the page, dont you think Debbie?

  2. Oh this turned out so fabulous! It is going to get easier and easier each time you sew with knits, I promise! I have been on the hunt for a "ball point twin needle" for quite some time now and have yet to find one, let me know if you do! I love your shoes too!

  3. This is nice.. Great Javascript!!

  4. Very cute! And I love that fabric.

  5. That dress is so cute! Who takes all of your lovely photos for you?