I have a confession. I am not a huge fan of Colette’s women’s patterns. Not because I don’t think that the styles are gorgeous and the instructions are excellent – because they are both of those things – but because they generally just aren’t MY style. But it seems that I have to make a massive exception for the patterns designed for knits. I have made a number of Mabel skirts now, really like my Moneta dress, and now I have to add the Myrtle dress to the list of Colette patterns that I really, really like!
As with both the Mabel and Moneta, I wasn’t all that excited by the Myrtle when I first spotted the pattern, but it grew on me. A sleeper pattern, maybe! And there wasn’t much to be lost by giving it a try with some boldly printed knit from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table. So I gave it a go. I decided to cut size Large, based on my measurements and on prior experience with Colette patterns. I didn’t make any alterations. This style is designed with positive ease, mainly being brought closer to the body by the elastic around the waistline.
Hang on a minute, I did make one alteration – when I cut the back bodice piece I moved it in about 3/4″ at the upper edge, effectively removing an inch and a half from the centre of the back neckline. This was a good move – it sits nicely against my body around the back. I left out the inseam pockets too – I don’t tend to use them in knit dresses, as I find that they just weigh things down. This left just four pattern pieces – front skirt, back skirt (which is meant to be cut as two pieces with a centre back seam, but I forgot to do that and cut it on the fold instead), back bodice and self-lined front bodice.
The bodice is very nicely constructed. The back bodice neckline and armholes are turned to the inside and finished with the twin needle, then the shoulder seams and side seams are sewn with the back sandwiched between the front and front self-lining. Then you stitch the front armholes together, turn it all the right way out and voila! The front neckline drapes beautifully with no chance ever to flip out, the armholes are smoothly finished, and you have an extra layer smoothing over any lumps and bumps at the front. And all the bodice seams are completely enclosed inside between the front and front lining. Fantastic! The casing around the waistline for the elastic is also nicely done, with the elastic being fully enclosed. I could have made the elastic a little tighter, and might go back and adjust it. But I might not.
This is the longer version of the dress, and the waistline is lower on me than on the model and the pattern illustration. This is possibly a combination of me being short-waisted and the elastic being a little on the loose side, so be aware of that if you want to make this dress. I quite like it in this location, but may petite the bodice a little the next time that I make it. Now, as you know it is winter here, and this is actually a sleeveless summer dress. But with the addition of stockings, boots and a long-sleeved tee underneath, it winterises very well! I actually wore it with another layer over the top. I’m rather impressed at how well this bold, extremely large-scale print fits in with the rest of my wardrobe (and yes, I have more….)
Next time that I make this I might give the size Medium a try. However, that would require reprinting and retaping the pattern. Actually, my biggest gripe with the Colette pdf patterns that I have made has been that the pattern pieces could be SO much better arranged for printing. The page margins are huge, so they take massive numbers of pages, and the larger sizes are grouped alongside the smaller ones on what ends up to be a massive pattern sheet. It’s hard to work out which pages you do need to print for your size and which you don’t. I think that I had to discard about half the pages I’d printed! Pdf patterns don’t just have to be a tiled version of one huge pattern sheet – there are a number of pattern designers who have realised this and arrange pattern pieces so that they fit efficiently on to a smaller number of pages, where you only need to print the pages of the pattern pieces that you need for the size and variation that you want to make. In my opinion, Colette patterns needs to improve in this area (but they’re not the only ones)! Okay, rant over.