Completed: the Colette Myrtle Knit Dress

17 Mar

I am so excited that today’s post doesn’t involve sleeves or pants.

Myrtle knit dress

It does, however, involve a navy striped knit fabric. Sorry! Don’t fall asleep on your keyboard! Landon already told me I’m not allowed to buy anymore navy striped knit fabric haha. I guess we all have a type, and I have just announced mine to the internet.

Myrtle knit dress

This is the Myrtle from Colette patterns, a knit dress with a cowl neckline and an elasticized waist. You guys, I’m going to be straight up front and honest with you – I apparently bought this pattern, and then somehow COMPLETELY forgot about it until a couple of weeks ago when I was digging through my pattern stash in search of another pattern. So I’m a little late on the bandwagon with this one, however, it’s probably ok timing on my end since I don’t think this sleeveless style would have gotten much wear over the winter!

Anyway, discovering the pattern and then realizing that I had the perfect knit patiently waiting to be sewn up, meant that this project skipped straight to the top of the queue and everything else had to wait. Ha ha!

Myrtle knit dress

My past few experiences with Colette patterns have resulted in some questionable fitting (I think I’m about sized out of their patterns – at least the knits. Wah!), so I made a muslin of the bodice before I got to sewing my fabric. This ended up being a really good idea, because the bodice was all kinds of wrong on me! I knew the bust would be big – the finished measurements for the size 0 are still about 4″ bigger than my bust, and while I know a little bit of positive ease is good with this style, that seemed like too much to me. In the end, everything about the top portion of the dress was just toooooo big and not at all proportional to my body. The arm holes were also really low – like, you could see at least half of my bra band when I stood to the side.

I ended up shortening the shoulders by more than 1″ (I start with a 1/2″ adjustment by slashing the pattern about halfway across the armsyce, to shorten the depth, but that ended up being not enough so I took the rest out of the actual shoulders after the dress was sewn up. Hence why I can’t give you an exact measurement for that adjustment) and taking in the bust by about 1/2″ on either side. I didn’t make any adjustments to the waist – it needs to be a little big so you can add the elastic – but the bust needed to be somewhat tighter or else the entire world was gon’ get a side peep show. As it stands now, I think the bust could still be sized down more, but I didn’t want to overfit the dress so I left it as is.

Myrtle knit dress

The dress has a clever assembly – the front is self-lined (so you don’t see any ugly wrong side in the folds of the cowl) and the front arm holes are finished with all raw edges inside the lining. The back neck and arm holes are finished with a simple turned under hem – in my case, with the twin needle. The elastic has a channel sewn, and then wide elastic is inserted and topstitched down. This was the hardest part of making the dress – I found it a bit fiddly, and as a result, my stitches at the waist aren’t exactly straight (but, I mean, who’s looking? Right? RIGHT?). I think it might be easier to just feed the elastic through the channel once both sides are sewn down. There are supposed to be pockets, but I left those off bc I hate pockets in knit dresses (and freedom, too, apparently). There is a whole sewalong dedicated to this pattern if you are interested in seeing the construction, btw. It’s hosted by Devon, aka my favorite Disney Princess.

Myrtle knit dress

Even with the fitting adjustments, the muslin, and the manhandled elastic – this dress came together very quickly! Its a very easy make (4 pieces, not including the pockets) and I just zipped it all through my serger and used the aforementioned twin needle for all the turned hems. It’s also insanely comfortable, and I think the looser/breezy fit is going to be my gold standard with the blazes of Hell start blasting through Tennessee this summer.

Myrtle knit dress

I really love this fabric, especially with how the stripes look on the cowl! The knit is a Ralph Lauren ~dazzling blue~ striped viscose jersey (their words, not mine) from Mood Fabrics’ website. It’s a nice, slinky 2 way stretch knit with a gorgeous drape that feels wonderful to wear. Definitely bought this without any idea in mind of what I’d do with it, but I think I found a good match 🙂

I seem to have no pictures of this dress without the belt (I could have sworn I took some on the dressform, but they are gone. Or else they never happened, which is likely the case here), but here’s an shot I posted on Instagram last week. I think the encased elastic is a pretty touch (you will never EVER hear me say that again, by the way), but on this dress + stripes + lose bodice with cowl neck…. just didn’t look right on me. Hence why it’s covered with a belt. I’m still not completely convinced that this dress is very flattering on me, but, I like the fabric and it’s super comfy, so it stays.

Myrtle knit dress

Front bodice with self-lining.

Myrtle knit dress

Enclosed elastic on the inside. The elastic casing is created with a zigzag stitch, per the pattern instructions.

Myrtle knit dress

Anyway, I think it’s pretty cute! I like it with the yellow belt, and it also looks good with my tall brown boots and a cardigan (which is how I wore it last week). The only thing to keep in mind with this pattern is that it is NOT bend-over friendly. No photo evidence to be found here, but just trust me… leaning over is the best way to give the nearest stranger an eyeful. I haven’t found a way to rectify that (some of my other cowls can be pinned to my bra cup, or even have a little piece of elastic or a weight to hold it down, but the design of this cowl doesn’t allow for that), but I thought I’d point it out. One thing I might add later down the line is some little bra strap holders at the shoulders.

SO happy we finally had a warm week here! It’s been pushing over 70 the past couple of days, with loads of sunshine, and it just feels *amazing* outside. The season of bare legs is upon us, at least for this week! Kind of a bummer that I’m going to leave all this to go to cold ol’ NY this weekend (I classify everything under 70*F as “frigid” just fyi), but I’m pretty excited for this class this weekend! Plus, fabric shopping. Can’t visit NY without coming home with a suitcase full of pretty new fabrics, amirite 😉


61 Responses to “Completed: the Colette Myrtle Knit Dress”

  1. helen March 17, 2015 at 7:46 am #

    The dress looks great and the yellow belt a nice contrast.
    I love the way stripes sit on A line skirts, I made a lady skater in stripes and you get a great chevron effect at the side seams.

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 8:07 am #

      Yess, I agree – stripes on A-lines look so good. If you can get the chevron to match at the side seams, it’s a nice effect 🙂

  2. sallie March 17, 2015 at 8:32 am #

    Blue and white striped anything always screams SPRING to me!! Love this dress, looks like the perfect easy warm weather throw on and go type of look. I actually have this same fabric sitting in my stash waiting to be made up into my own spring look! It really is lovely, so I know how yummy that slinky, silky little dress of yours must feel to wear!

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 8:08 am #

      Ooh, I can’t wait to see what you make of it – I know it’ll be something babelicous!

  3. janetlouisemiles March 17, 2015 at 8:51 am #

    You look fabulous in your dress–it makes your great body look even more incredible! Love the stripes.

  4. tialys March 17, 2015 at 8:59 am #

    I’ve made this and also found the elasticated waist a bit fiddly. I haven’t noticed any trouble with ‘flashing’ yet but the usual place for that, in my case anyway, is in the supermarket queue when I’m bending over the trolley to lift my shopping onto the little conveyor belt blissfully unaware of the reveal.

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 8:08 am #

      Oh yep, that’s exactly how my situation went! Well, at least probably SOMEONE enjoyed that moment hahahahaha 😛

  5. CV Johnson March 17, 2015 at 9:48 am #

    I’ve tried three different Colette patterns (from the Colette Sewing Handbook) and they just do not work for me, or at least not for my intermediate sewing skills. I’m very short (5’1″) and on the small side and even Colette’s smallest pattern sizes overwhelm me in length and width. Out of the six or so pattern companies I’ve tried, the only patterns that have been close to my body size with little alteration (dart and waist placement, shoulder width, FBA) are the ones from Deer and Doe. I’ve just taken to making my own patterns based on a Deer and Doe template–that’s been much easier than dealing with patterns that are so wonky on me that they make me feel like an alien. Ha ha!

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:29 am #

      I’ve noticed that with Deer & Doe patterns as well – they tend to fit my body and proportions a bit better than other patterns. Colette’s not a really a good match for me, unfortunately, but if I like a design enough I’m willing to make the modifications to get it to work 🙂 But using the D&D pattern as a template to create your own is a great idea! Why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to, you know? 😉

  6. Kellys Sewing Adventures March 17, 2015 at 10:14 am #

    I’m from TN too, but farther east. And though it’s been really nice, not in the upper 70’s, but maybe today. Keeping my fingers crossed. Anywho, I think the dress is very flattering for your figure! It’s really nice. As in dammit you convinced me to try making one in the future kind of nice. H
    Have fun On your trip to New York. Can’t wait to see what you bring back.

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:30 am #

      Apparently it was really nice over the weekend! In Tennessee, I mean – NY, not so much (although it’ll be warm when it get home this afternoon and ahhhh cannot wait!). And YAY so happy to peer pressure you hahaha. Can’t wait to see what you make! 😀

  7. Nathalie March 17, 2015 at 11:40 am #

    The dress suits you so well! I love the styling with the yellow belt. I hardly ever make knit dresses I can never get them to fit me right. They always cling to the wrong places.

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:31 am #

      I know that’s a common downside to knit dresses – the cling factor – but I guess I just don’t care if it’s not 100% flattering because it certainly is 100% comfortable! Ha! I’d pick comfort over form (I mean, within reason anyway) any day 😛

  8. Betsy March 17, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    70 degrees sounds like something of myth here in NYC. Make sure you bring your pants and sleeves. Cute dress! it looks like summer is just around the corner.

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:32 am #

      Oh yeah, I should have brought a damn puffy coat! It was COLD this weekend! On the flip side – apparently it’ll be 75 degrees when I land in Nashville later this afternoon 😀 haha!

  9. BeckyLeeSews March 17, 2015 at 11:57 am #

    Love the cute dress. I’m obsessed with dresses lately (no matching anything except shoes) and I’m always looking for a good pattern. Are the front stripes with an upward center pull a design feature? Or was that needed to match the stripes?

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:33 am #

      I’m not sure if I 100% understand what you’re asking – but I think the answer is that it was needed to match the stripes. The pattern is kind of a funny shape (especially since it’s self-lined and it has that big cowl), but the stripes run straight horizontal and that’s how they are matched. Hope that makes sense!

  10. Carolyn March 17, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    Lauren you may be obsessed with stripes but this was the perfect choice for this fabric! This is great on you!

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:33 am #

      Thank you so much, Carolyn! You know how I feel about my stripes ;D

  11. SeeKatSew March 17, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    Stripes = summer, spring and sun!! Your dress makes me happy. This is a pretty great pattern, I will have to try your shoulder adjustment technique on my next Myrtle.

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:34 am #

      I’m glad it makes you happy – it makes me happy too 😀

  12. emcclure2010 March 17, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

    I had major issues with the construction on this one…I mean, not in the sense that it was hard because it wasn’t but in the “oh my god what have you done?!” sort of way when I tried it on! LOL I made it in a floaty silk (actually it is the same they used on the model though it was not on purpose!) and that bodice was ALL kinds of wonky. Too short and thus too baggy on top and ew. I actually ended up removing the elastic altogether and just wearing a belt which looked cute and was comfy. But I was bummed it didn’t work as intended. And I am a bit loathe to attempt in knit after all that…

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:35 am #

      Hahaha I KNOW, the construction seems all wrong when you are doing it! But it really works out beautifully, so I can’t complain 🙂 Normally, I’d say that you would have better luck with a knit – but, I dunno. I think in this case, the float silk would be easier/work out better. I just feel like knits need to have *some* negative (or just 0) ease somewhere, which wasn’t the case with this pattern, so it feels kind of wrong hahaha.

  13. AlisonB March 17, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    I was surprised that you found it so long and wide because I’ve made myself 2 versions of this, I’m only about 5’3″ and fairly skinny and I love it! BUT then I remembered (a) I’m really long in the back (b) I like to wear it with the top part bagged out over the elasticated waist and (c) I ended up gathering the shoulder seams onto clear elastic or they finished down towards my bicep and were really unflattering. So actually, yeah, you’re spot on!

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:36 am #

      Ooh, well, your dress sounds really pretty! I might have to copy your shoulder seam gathers because I am liking the way that sounds haha

  14. Pootle and Make March 17, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

    I want your dress, it’s gorgeous. Just add a yacht sailing by the French riviera and you’re good to go.

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:37 am #

      I’ll trade you the French Riviera yacht for the dress, if you’d like 😉 HAHA

  15. justineabbitt March 17, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

    It’s adorable and the fabric is perfectly drapey for it. I found the pattern huge, too. I’m way bigger than you but had to cut an extra small. It was postively voluminous.

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:37 am #

      Yeah, I’d say for most people it’s probably best to go down a size if that’s an option. I just think it would fit better that way!

  16. Anonymous March 17, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

    I have not been able to make or wear a cowl neck. With a small bust and narrow chest/shoulders, this is just not my style. Have seen them look great on my daughter who has broad shoulders and well-rounded bust (she takes after her father’s side not mine in those areas). The one pattern that worked (Style Arc) still needs a tank top under it for modesty.

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:38 am #

      I feel like I look kind of weird in cowl necks too, but honestly, that doesn’t stop me from wearing them. Although now I want to see this Style Arc pattern you are talking about!

  17. Frances March 17, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

    The cowl neck looks really nice. This pattern is on my to download list because I have the perfect jersey fabric for it, but alas, no time to stick those dreaded A4 sheets together. Thanks for the advice by the way, I have never made a Colette pattern although I have a few. A case of good intentions but no time. One day…I’m really enjoying your insightful Vogue patterns comments by the way, I haven’t had a good chuckle to myself in a long while!

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:39 am #

      Ooh, I hate the taping – I’d rather pay more and just get the damn tissue pattern! Haha! And thank you! I’m glad you like the Vogue reviews ;D

  18. Veronica Darling (@veronicadarling) March 17, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

    The neckline is really sweet! I haven’t sewn with Colette Patterns for AGES!

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:39 am #

      Me neither! It was kind of a blast from the past to make this, haha!

  19. Sarah - Fabrictragic March 18, 2015 at 3:09 am #

    There will never ever be enough stripes for me in this world, therefore I think it’s great! Actually the top reminds me of a cute stripey tee I bought in France several years ago that I LOVED but recently sent off to the op shop…. Anyway it’s very cute on you and the only thing in my book better than a yellow belt with stripes is a red or tan one.

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:40 am #

      Oh, yeah, red belt for sure! I think the yellow belt is a nice twist to the nautical, but red will always be my favorite. I love the idea of a tan belt, I’ll have to try that!

  20. The Sydney Girl March 18, 2015 at 3:13 am #

    I love the classic look of it. And who can go wrong with stripes?!

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:41 am #

      Stripes are never wrong as far as I’m concerned!

  21. nekoralie March 18, 2015 at 4:28 am #

    Well done! The dress looks great! 🙂
    I made one for myself last Summer but ended up with way too much fabric on the bodice too. (Pictures of the dress here: I think Colette patterns are for a C cup which in my case explains why it was way too big! Next time I’ll make a muslin! 😉

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:41 am #

      Ohhhh, yours turned out BEAUTIFUL! Awesome job!

      • nekoralie March 23, 2015 at 11:44 am #

        Thanks Lauren! Looking forward to your new makes! 🙂

  22. Jet Set Sewing March 18, 2015 at 7:21 am #

    I have a running joke with another blogger about how many striped knit Breton shirts we have in our wardrobes, so that fabric never goes out of style! I really like your version of the dress, and the time you took to fit it really paid off. It’s very flattering!

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:42 am #

      Haha it’s true! I hope those stripes never goes out of style, just so I always have access to more yardage 😛 ha!

  23. Catherine from Canada March 18, 2015 at 8:22 am #

    Interesting that you found the armholes too big. I’m the opposite.
    I’ve found for Colette patterns that I have to broaden the shoulders by at least an inch, add an inch to the arm hole depth and correspondingly increase the sleeve depth, and lengthen the bodice a further inch or more (which I always have to do, I am long-waisted.)
    For the record, I’m 5’10”.

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2015 at 11:43 am #

      I’m fairly petite proportioned, so too-big arm holes are usually the case for me 🙂

  24. devon March 18, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

    CUTE CUTE CUTE!!!! disney princess approved √

  25. Ines March 20, 2015 at 10:06 pm #

    Oooooh I love it!!! Totally cute/sexy all wraped into one! I feel the same about stripes in general they make everything better. Congrats on your fitting ‘cuz after all kinds of wrong you made it all kinds of right!

  26. Ines March 20, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

    And one more thing supa flattering style! I don’t have your fitting skills otherwise I would make one for me.

  27. Sandra March 21, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    Just as the fuller figure might be excluded, it seems to me that the slighter figure is also getting a raw deal. You shouldn’t have to pay a lot of money for a pattern, and do this much work. We are all ‘real women’ and need to be accommodated or it made clear that these patterns do not work for us. I down loaded a free pattern the other day, but frankly I don’t want to waste my time with it when I can find one that is a far better fit already. The violet blouse looks so much nicer when people have made it more fitted. Why does it have to all be so hard? What is the point of a ‘pattern’ if you virtually need to remake it? I would be really annoyed. Thank to your review however I don’t need to be as I will pass.

    • LLADYBIRD March 24, 2015 at 10:47 am #

      I understand your frustrations, but I don’t think it’s really fair to assume that the sizes are being excluded out of malice. Some companies just have limitations (financial, skill, or otherwise) that prevent them from expanding to a wider range of sizes. I’m sure everyone would love to include EVERY size, but unfortunately it’s just not that easy.

      That being said, I definitely would not compare my situation to that of the plus sizes because it’s really not the same thing at all. Plus sized women get to deal with all those stigmas associated with their size, and I don’t have those. It’s one thing to have to redraft a pattern to get it to fit you, but it’s quite another to basically be told that your body and size are “bad.” Just my two cents!

  28. AmyBriceXO (@saltairlifexo) March 23, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    Way cute! Perfect with the belt.

  29. Bibliotecaria March 24, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

    When you did the lining, what did you line the bodice with? Self-lining? I’m wondering what kind of lining could be used on a knit skirt portion that might change the clinginess.

    • LLADYBIRD March 26, 2015 at 8:49 am #

      The bodice is self-lined – the pattern piece is basically two bodices that meet where the top of the cowl folds (if that makes sense), so you couldn’t line the bodice with anything other than self. Not sure about lining the skirt – I don’t like lining my knit garments, so I’ve never experimented with different fabrics.

  30. IZABEL April 16, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

    Robe marinière très jolie j’aime beaucoup l’encolure


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