Modified Colette Patterns Myrtle Dress
Over the past couple of years I've made several versions of the Colette Patters Myrtle dress, in both knits and wovens. For some reason, I find myself not wearing them as often as I intend to, even though they are easy to make and easy to wear. So what’s the problem? I realized there are a few fitting/design issues that keep me from really loving this pattern that I really want to love!
One, I don’t think the wide, almost-off-the-shoulder neckline is a great look on me. It isn’t the most flattering since I have slightly broader shoulders and back. Two, there is a lot of fabric that drapes in front of my torso in a not-so-cute way (although it does make it beer and burrito friendly!). I’m pretty certain this is because Colette drafts for a bigger bust, so what can you do.
Finally, on a breezy day that front drape can blow off to one side and then I am getting way more exposure than I need. So! I decided to modify this pattern into a halter style at the front with a racerback. It was easy:
First I just traced off the back pattern piece. I shortened the back neckline and moved the shoulder seam over, making sure to keep it the same length. Then I connected the shoulder to the side seam using a curved ruler.
The front pattern piece I kept nearly identical to the original. I traced it off and I just slightly lengthened the line from the side seam to the shoulder seam, basically by “scooping” it out a little. The front underarm has a little farther to travel in a halter style. I pinned the tracing paper, “tried it on”, decided I needed to scoop out a little more on the front, tried it again, and decided to go for it!
The first version I made was using a pineapple print rayon crepon (?) from Fabric.com. Turns out this had a lot of mechanical stretch, so it was almost like sewing a knit. I’ve started self-lining the back bodice; the first time I did this was when I made the silk version above, because I didn’t want to deal with a bias binding on that thin shifty silk. I also prefer it to a turned down hem. The end result – success!
I love this. It’s a little too big, because of all that mechanical stretch, it’s a bit loose along the sides. But I much prefer the neckline.
I made a second version with some polyester crepe de chine from Mood Fabrics that they’ve been selling at 40% off lately.
This one I sewed exactly the same as the first but I went back and scooped out more of a racerback (I love a racerback). I also self lined the skirt because the fabric is pretty lightweight. This fabric has zero mechanical stretch and so it gives a different look than the pineapples:
It’s almost a hair too snug, across the back. But I love how the front drapes and how the drape comes up higher at the neck.
I have plans for at least one (maybe three!) more version for the summer – this is my new easy summer dress pattern. It has all of the things I love about the original in a silhouette that works better on me!