19

How to sew Myrtle in a woven fabric

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If there’s one thing I like best about Myrtle, it’s that it is one of those rare patterns that can be sewn in either knit or a woven fabric.

The reason for this is the ease and drapey fit. Myrtle is designed so that shaping comes from the comfortable and stretchy elastic waistband, rather than the tight fit of the fabric.

While the pattern instructions that come with Myrtle are for knit fabric, switching to a woven is super easy. In this post, I’ll summarize the few changes you’ll need to make if you’re using a woven fabric.

And to make things super clear, you can download a free complete extra set of instructions for woven fabrics. This walks you through every step in the process, but assumes you’re using a woven fabric rather than knit.

(If you buy the digital version of Myrtle, you’ll get this automatically with your download as a bonus.)

Woven fabrics you can use

Myrtle works well in fabrics that have a bit of drape to them. You want the neckline in particular to hang well, rather than stand away from your body too much.

You have a wide array of fabrics to choose from. Here are a few that I think would be particularly lovely:

  • rayon challis
  • silk or rayon crepe
  • lightweight linen
  • light chambray
  • seersucker
  • wool crepe
  • cotton lawn (choose one that’s not too stiff)

For this sample, I used a vintage silk crepe. For the blue and white sample we showed yesterday, we used a light silk twill.

If you have a dressform, try draping some fabric on the form to see how it hangs. It’s very easy to replicate the look of the cowl with some quick draping, and you’ll instantly have a good idea of what the dress will look like.

Extra supplies you’ll need

There are just a few extra things we’d recommend for making Myrtle in a woven fabric:

  • 1 yard of 1/4 inch double fold bias tape. This is for finishing the back armholes and back neckline. While these curves can just be turned and hemmed in a knit fabric, wovens are not as flexible and should be finished with bias tape as a facing instead.
  • Universal needles. You don’t need a ballpoint needle if you aren’t sewing knits, so grab a universal needle. Be sure to match the needle size to your fabric.
  • Fusible interfacing. This is just for interfacing the shoulder tabs if you are making them, so a small scrap will do.

Stitching and finishing

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The most obvious way this pattern is different in a woven is that you don’t need to use a stretch stitch. You can do all the seaming and topstitching with a straight stitch.

Since you won’t be sewing this with a serger in a woven, you will need to finish all of the raw edges after sewing each seam. And of course, you’ll need to press them as well. Stitch, finish, press, just like you do with most woven garments.

Here, I stitched with a straight stitch, then finished the edge with a serger.

Finishing the back openings

For knit fabrics, the back armhole and back neck are finished by simply turning and hemming. Unlike wovens, you can hem curves this way with knits if the curve isn’t too severe.

For wovens, you’re better off using bias tape. You can either make your own bias tape from the self fabric, or use pre-made. Since it will be on the inside of your garment, a pre-made bias tape will often be just fine.

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When the pattern instructs you to finish these areas, begin by pinning the bias tape along the edge, right sides together with edges aligned.

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Stitch along the first fold line.

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Fold the bias tape to the inside of the garment, folding the bias tape in half to enclose the raw edges.

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Edgestitch the bias tape in place. Notice that the folded bias tape is acting as a facing, not a binding. It’s turned all the way to the inside rather than wrapping around the edge.

Use this same technique on both the back neckline and back armholes.

Another cool thing about this pattern is the way the front bodice is self lined, so you don’t have to bind anything in a complete circle. This makes binding much, much faster and less fiddly.

Shoulder tabs

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If you’re making the shoulder tabs for this dress, we recommend using a bit of fusible interfacing to give them more stability.

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After you sew the tabs with right sides together, clip the corners. Turn right side out, press, and edgestitch around all the edges to help the tabs stay flat.

Hemming

There’s no need to use the twin needle technique or a coverstitch to hem a woven fabric.

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Instead, you can sew a simple turned hem by turning 1/4 inch and pressing, then turning again 3/8″, pressing, and edgestitching in place.

Better yet, sew a blind hem. A blind hem will give you a very neat finish. It’s my personal fave.

Click here to download the complete instructions

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64

Introducting Myrtle, a knit dress with a fun twist!

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In the summer, there’s one difference between a pretty dress that gets worn constantly, and one that languishes in my closet: comfort.

We can plan all the structured, tight, bombshell-y dresses we want, but when it comes time to actually leave the house, who wants to feel constricted? I’d rather look beautiful with as little fuss as possible.

Give me an easy to wear, flowing, goddess dress. Make it as easy to sew as it is to wear, and you have a winner.

That’s why I’m so excited about Myrtle, our third knit pattern (along with Moneta and Mabel) in collaboration with knitwear designer Alyson Clair.

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Feel beautiful & stay cool

As many of you have discovered in sewing Moneta and Mabel, the very best thing about knits is that you feel like you’re wearing secret pajamas. And when your clothes feel that good, you actually end up wearing them.

Myrtle offers a different look to add to your knits wardrobe, one with more drape and ease but plenty of shape.

The draped neckline can look classic (like a greek goddess), vintage (like a cocktail dress from the 1960s), or completely modern (in simple black or white). Wide encased elastic defines the waist for a silhouette that’s flattering on a huge variety of body types.

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Version 1 falls just below the knee. Version 2 is a little shorter and hits right above the knee, and includes button-on adjustable shoulder tabs that gather the shoulders a little more. Both feature in-seam pockets, a gorgeous draped neckline, and a flowing skirt gathered at the waist with comfortable elastic.

I can even see this dress lengthened into a maxi-length evening gown, or shortened into a sheer beach cover-up.

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Use almost any fabric – knit OR woven!

Though Myrtle is part of our knits collection, with a few minor tweaks, you can just as easily make it with wovens. That means that no matter what beautiful fabrics you encounter, you’re sure to find plenty of ways to make this dress.

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We created a free bonus set of instructions for you to download, so that this knits pattern can be made with woven fabrics like silks, cotton lawn, or voile.

Just download the free alternate woven instructions right from the shop page. Or, if you buy the digital version, you’ll get the extra instructions included in your download.

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Plus tomorrow, I’ll share a few of the most important tips for making Myrtle in a woven fabric. With a few simple changes, you can make it either way. Have fun running through that stash!

A quick make with a fun twist

Like most knits, Myrtle is a quick sew (and it’s pretty fast in a woven too).

With only four main pattern pieces (plus pockets), cutting time is minimal. Just like Mabel and Moneta, you can whip this baby up in a matter of hours.

Plus, it is honestly really fun to put together. Myrtle has a clever self-lined front bodice that is cut all in one piece, folded, and sewn to help give a clean finish inside.

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It’s a little like origami and so satisfying when it’s done. Of course, if you need more help getting this part right, we’ll have another in-depth free sewalong coming up in the next month (which Devon and I are planning right now).

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I don’t know about you, but to be honest I spend less time sewing in the summer. So I want all my projects to be wearable, pretty, and fairly quick.

Available from XS to 3X

Like our two previous patterns, Myrtle is available in a wide range of sizes, from XS to 3X.

Check out Myrtle’s page in our shop to see the size guide and fabric requirements.

15% off through Friday!

To celebrate Myrtle‘s launch, get 15% off now through Friday in our shop! Plus, as always, free US shipping if you spend over $50.

Ready to join us in more knits fun, make something lovely and wearable, and learn a few new construction techniques?

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6

Weekend reading: body ethics, vintage pattern rage, and a great tip for decluttering

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I’m in California this weekend celebrating my dad’s retirement (!) and getting ready for our next pattern launch on Tuesday. So between writing newsletters, making some new graphics for the shop, and writing blog posts, I’m going for runs on the beach with my sister, eating homemade pizza, and listening to loud Italian music.

Here are some links I’ve enjoyed over the last week. Enjoy!

  • I posted the photo above of some fabric from a vintage dress I tried on, and some commenters let me know that the artist is Harwood Steiger. I love his work!
  • Heather has vintage pattern rage. I must say, this kind of frustration is one of the main reasons I started Colette Patterns five years ago.

  • Maddie has 7 tips for sewing for long periods of time.

  • How not to say the wrong thing. If you’ve ever dealt with serious trauma (yours or someone else’s), this will probably resonate.

  • Rachel has a nifty cheat sheet on knit fabrics!

  • 10 tiny tasks to declutter your home. I don’t have much clutter in my home generally, but I do feel like these tips would be useful when doing a closet purge. I love the sticker idea!

  • The price of success is an interesting look at self-censorship. I don’t think one even needs to be “famous” in any way to feel the effects of an increasingly public life.

  • I really enjoyed this profile of Jen Gotch of Ban.do and especially found her decision to sell her business really interesting to read about.

  • This article about a new body ethic comes from one of the best fitness blogs I’ve ever come across (actually, the only one I subscribe to right now). “The fitness industry fails because the choice at the center of all of its products is what to buy, not how to live. You get the reward—the personal pride, the release of social pressure, the assuagement of guilt—when you pay, not when you change.”

PS: If you enjoy the links I find, you may want to follow @colettepatterns on twitter. I post these links and more as I find/read them!

16

New pattern pre-sale starts Friday!

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One more quick reminder, friends:

We’re offering a special discount and sneak peek for those who wish to pre-order the new upcoming pattern!

Secret details and the discount will be mailed out this Friday, so be sure to join the list before then for access:

Get first access

To get on the sneak peek list, enter your email below:

ETA: The preview has already gone out… check back Tuesday, July 15th for the official announcement!

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