Colette Myrtle – the first dress of Summer!

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a lovely Easter!  Apologies for the extended radio silence, I’ve been, variously; ill, working, or dithering over my #springforcotton options.  I just wanted something simple and easy to keep ticking over, and I earmarked  the Myrtle dress ages ago, when I saw this version.  We had 2 warm days last month, which apparently made me jump up and go ‘I need summer clothes!’.  Since then, it has rained pretty much non-stop.


The fabric is a viscose (well I couldn’t swear to that as there was no label on the bolt, but it was surrounded by bolts of viscose and it feels like viscose, so, you know) from Leon’s.  Incidentally, I hate the word ‘viscose’, which might sound odd considering I’ve just used it about 300 times in one sentence.  Why can’t we call it ‘rayon’ like THE REST OF THE WORLD?  Lovely, slinky, mid-century-sounding rayon.  Not viscous viscose.

Anyway, it’s lovely stuff.  I didn’t actually buy it with a particular project in mind, just because I liked it, but it’s pretty much perfect for this dress.  I envisaged this as a quick-and-easy project, and it was pretty quick by my standards.  It would have been quicker if I hadn’t hand-basted every seam in the bodice before sewing.  It really paid off though – the fabric was really mobile, but I didn’t have to unpick half as much as I usually do!

Pattern-wise, it’s pretty much business-as-usual with Colette – they do have excellent, clear instructions and this was no exception.  The construction is pretty much a joy – I could almost wear this inside out!  I did have 2 WHY? moments, though.

  1. The PDF which I painstakingly, and at great expense of sellotape, printed, assembled and traced contains a skirt front (1 piece, cut on the fold) and a skirt back (cut 2 pieces).  The centre back skirt seam is straight, and when you chop off the seam allowance and lay it over the front piece, IT IS IDENTICAL.  There is absolutely no reason to make that a separate pattern piece.  I cut them both on the fold.
  2. The waistband is made by stitching the skirt and bodice together away from the original seam, creating a fold of fabric which you then turn up and stitch down to create the channel for the elastic.  It’s neat, easy, there are no extra waistband pieces or hand-stitching.  It’s great.  But why would you pin the elastic to the bodice, fold the fabric up over it, pin it and then sew around, stretching the elastic as you go?  I mean, why?  This is a mystery to me.  Fortunately it wasn’t a total surprise, as Lauren mentioned it in her recent post, or I’d have been really stumped.  I ignored the instructions and just made the channel, inserted the elastic through a gap and closed the gap.  I can only imagine the horror show that would have resulted from edgestitching this thin drapey fabric while trying to stretch 1″ elastic at the same time.

OK, I’m done whining now.  I made the longer version, worried constantly throughout sewing that it would be too short, but I think it’s just about right.  I hand-rolled the hem to keep as much of the length as possible, and I like the clean look of it.  Took FOREVER….

In terms of fit, it’s almost a success.  It’s just barely big enough for the thin fabric to not strain too obviously around the back.  The back bodice could definitely do with a bit more ease, and also length.  As it is, the bottom of the elastic just hits my natural waist – it feels a little high, although doesn’t look too bad in photos.  The ease issue is possibly due to it being a woven – in a knit it wouldn’t be a problem.

I did have my doubts about how flattering this style would be on me, and have been proven right on that score.  Still, it’s a very wearable dress – pretty enough for Easter Sunday lunch, yet elasticated enough to accommodate Apple Crumble Cheesecake, which followed said lunch.  You can imagine how much of that I ate.  I can definitely see myself making this dress again, which will give me a chance to nail the fit properly.  So I’m happy with that!

Well, cheerio, and Happy Easter!  Eat lots of chocolate, you still have tomorrow to work it off ;).




  1. April 6, 2015 / 6:31 pm

    Great choice of fabric. That dress really looks lovely on you.

    • April 6, 2015 / 8:55 pm

      Thank you! And likewise,, of course :)… I do love to wear viscose, though not quite so keen on sewing it, ha!

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