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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New pattern tomorrow!

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Just a quick reminder… tomorrow, we’ll have a brand new pattern for you for the summer!

I am super excited about all the possibilities for this one. Comfort, elegance, and ease all in one pretty package.

Check in again at 10AM Pacific for all the details!

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!

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!

You’ve gato make your own clothes when you run a half meowathon

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When Kristen and I decided to run a half marathon together, we knew it would be the perfect opportunity to make our own running gear. And what’s better than handmade running gear?

Cat-themed handmade running gear.

The patterns

My top was made with the Fehr Trade XYT top pattern, which Melissa kindly let me try out. It was a lot of fun to make and I finished it in just a couple hours.

I made a couple minor adjustments, which are mainly a matter of preference and my general love of experimentation. I decided to finish the edges with fold over elastic, which makes the binding process very easy. I did the back X in black powermesh, just for fun.

I also did a little switcheroo in the order of sewing operations and left one shoulder seam open until the binding was installed, in order to avoid binding in the round. I’ll avoid binding in the round whenever I can, and with knits that’s pretty easy to do.

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I went by the size chart to determine my size, which put me at an XS (I am usually a small or medium, fyi). The only issue I had with cutting this small size was that the bra lining was extremely tight, perhaps because I am a larger cup size.

As a busty runner, I usually avoid compression-style sports bras, so I think next time I might omit the lining and wear one of my favorite encapsulation-style sports bras underneath.

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Kristen’s top was modeled after a tank top she already had, but her shorts were made from the Fehr Trade Duathalon shorts. Kristen cut them a little longer than the booty-shorts version.

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Check out the gel pocket! Kristen even matched up the little kitty heads on it.

The Fabric

The fabric we used is from Spoonflower.

Spoonflower has a couple of options for performance fabric. The regular performance knit has moderate one-way stretch. The hand feels like you’d expect a poly jersey to feel. Not my favorite thing to touch, but it’s sort of what you’re used to if you wear athletic gear.

(If you missed it, here’s a more in depth look at why polyester is such a good choice for athletic apparel.)

I opted for the performance knit because I thought the smaller amount of stretch might help provide support. This turned out not to be necessary, but still the fabric worked out just fine! It performed well all 13 miles. The print I bought was this one called pussycat in summer coral by magentarose.

Kristen went for Spoonflower’s other performance fabric, the performance pique. This is a bit softer and much stretchier, very similar to the sorts of fabric I’m used to in serious athletic clothes. In the future, I’d go with this fabric for tops, for sure.

These fabrics aren’t cheap, but you don’t need much to make summer workout gear. I used much less than a yard.

The Race

I know that talking about running is super boring to non-runners, so I’ll just say that this race was a real beauty: flat, gorgeous, and perfect weather.

This was Kristen’s first half, and it was really fun to run together. We should make it a tradition. Every year, a different cat-themed outfit!

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