My Accidental Sack Dress: Colette Myrtle Review

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All right, so the Colette Myrtle was the second pattern I bought after a bout of irrational affection for knits. (I don’t know either. I think I’m over it).

And, I like her, but only a little.

First, if you haven’t seen the ladies in the beautiful sunset photographs on the Colette store, you might not understand why I was so optimistic about a cowl necked, elastic waist dress. Anyway, go look at them and then come back before getting all judge-y.

Let’s examine this thing.

1. Starting positive: Whatup cowl neck. I really like it, and in this heavy weight ponte knit, it took on an architectural fold, which I liked.

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2. More positive: This is a full skirt that I actually like on me! I hate a-lines and so mostly think I hate full skirts, but this is okay! I’ve used a ‘light weight’ ponte knit for the bottom, and it drapes without being clingy, so good news there.

3. Now, the instructions: Mostly they are fine. The bodice assembly was a little more complex than normal, but well-explained. The method of attaching the elastic though? I’m not sold on the method or the explanation. I think this method might be better, but let me know if you think there’s a reason that wouldn’t work!

4. I didn’t make a muslin, so arguably the fit issues are my fault. But I’m still not feeling the complicated sewing process. (If I were, the cream wool I plan to use for this Aime Comme Marie-Aime Comme Mon Petit Bazar would totally be washed by now. It is not washed.) So I just took the pattern pieces out of the envelope, laid them on the fabric, and sliced right through.

So. The fit issues:

4. Would you like to see my bra? Here it is.

colette myrtle -- for the large of armsocketed
oh hey there bra.

That armhole is waaaaaay low. I’m not really sure how to resolve that issue, given the somewhat origami-y way of assembling the bodice. I just wouldn’t know how to modify and also not eff it up.

5. There is hella back gaping at the top back, though it’s a bit hard to see here, but is also a little visible in the bra gape picture.

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Both of these issues could be attributed to the fact that I am a little on the small side. Someone 5’8″ could easily have the same width measurements and an extra inch of wingspan that would take out all the gaping. But it’s not clear to me how you would adjust this without effing up the bodice entirely. (Maybe trace the back bodice and slice out an inch from the back upper neck, tapering to zero at the waist?)

6. I really wish I knew what height the patterns were designed for. Why take the care to say ‘designed for a c-cup’ (which, thanks!), but not note the height? While the above issues make me think the pattern is too long, I am confused enough by this bodice that I occasionally think it is too short.

7. And really, with the sizing charts. I fall squarely in a size 6, according to Colette’s sizing charts. Those are exactly my measurements. The XS is supposed to cover sizes 0-2. If the issue is that the bodice is a size too big, well, then the sizing chart and the dress are inconsistent.  I remeasured myself, twice, after making this dress.

My sewing time is limited, and I don’t want to have to make a whole dress to figure out that, in this instance, the sizing chart is off. Or the dress is off.

Anyway, perplexing girl this Myrtle.

9 Comments

  1. Oh man, I feel your pain! For what it’s worth, a good friend of mine just sewed up a Myrtle that went straight in the trash… http://line4line.blogspot.ca/2014/08/win-some-lose-some.html

    The sizing is just insanely off with this pattern. I don’t get it. And as a mad fanatic of sewing with knits, it makes me mad that Colette are marketing it to knit-newbies, ’cause who is going to want to sew knits if they turn out like this? There are so many more reliable knit designers out there, like Sewing Cake, Kitschy Koo, or Maria of Denmark. In the mean time… I’m wondering if you could turn that dress into a skirt? You could just chop off the bodice (say, an inch or 1.5″ into the white bodice) then fold & stitch that down to finish the waist. Even if it doesn’t become a new favourite, at least then it would be more wearable?

    1. I feel so much better knowing it’s not just me!
      Your suggestion on the skirt is duly noted and filed away. I like the cowl part a lot and so am not quite ready to hack it up yet. But…after a few weeks unworn in the closet, Future Wasted might take you up on it.
      Also, noted on the other pattern companies for when I come back around to knits (which, you’re right, are not so hard that people should be scared of them!).

  2. So sorry it didn’t work out, esp after all that printing/taping. The sizing does seem to be a problem for many.

    Kathleen F’s elastic method would def work for Myrtle, but so would just sewing the casing without elastic in it, leaving a small opening, and then threading the elastic through with a bodkin or safety pin, and finally sewing the opening closed. I’m an experienced knit (and wovens) sewist and I would much prefer to leave the elastic out until the end to avoid accidentally catching it in the stitches or just plain wrestling with it while trying to sew a straight line. 🙂

    Modifying the height of the armhole … keep in mind I don’t have the pattern so I’m just guessing as to the construction technique and pattern shape … but I think it’s basically just the front doubled? If so, raise the armhole on both “halves” of the front and also on the back by just redrawing it higher.

    The back gape, unfortunately, probably can only be fixed in this version by sewing some pleats from the neck downward. Keep in mind that only YOU will know that it’s not as designed. Anyone else out in public will just think it’s supposed to be that way and won’t think a thing about it.

  3. I would like to follow you- either by email or by bloglovin’. Can you add those to your sidebar? Following via WordPress always makes me jump thru too many hoops.

  4. You know, the back neck is cut on the “stretchy” direction of the knit, and it is hemmed along that axis as well which may stretch it further. I noticed that even right after I cut the fabric and unfolded it and set it down again, the back neck edge had become significantly longer than my paper pattern. So I eased it back into the correct length with some persuasive steam and massage (using my pattern piece), and then ironed a little 1/2″ strip of fusible knit interfacing along the edge (less stretchy direction of interfacing along the cut edge.) Then when I serged the edge, turned and topstitched it under, it was not crazy wide, but instead exactly like the pattern. I got this idea from the sewalong, although I’m pretty sure it’s not included in the Myrtle printed pattern directions. People who are experiencing crazy-wideness across the shoulders might want to try this, especially with a stretchier knit.

    1. Thanks for that note and the pointer to the sew along. It’s good Colette’s trying to make up for it there, but it makes me want to scratch my eyeballs out a little bit that this ‘BEGINNER KNIT’ pattern requires you to either follow a month-long sew along or to bring some pretty solid prior knowledge of knits to the table. It sounds like you’ve got that knowledge, but for the knit newbs among us — eesh. For a company that’s meant to have built its reputation on ‘patterns that teach’ and good instructions, it’s disappointing, esp for $17 or whatever. It’s defo not in the printed instructions. Rant over! Your tip really is appreciated.

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