In just over a year of sewing I still don't have much faith in my abilities and I try to keep things as easy as possible.
Anyhoo, inspiration finally came to me in the form of this blog post by a Melbourne fashion blogger who occasionally dabbles in sewing too. If she could sew not one, but THREE Myrtles, surely I could sew one. And I did...
I absolutely love this dress, from the groovy fabric purchased from Spotlight to the cowl neckline to the blousey-ness of the bodice. This is EXACTLY the kind of dress I would buy if I saw it in store!
All the love aside the armholes are just WAY too small for me to wear the dress and be at all comfortable. This is kinda upsetting as nearly every other blog post I've read on this make says the armholes are REALLY big. I think, thanks to sewing, I have now developed a mega complex that I have arms bigger than a X-mas ham! Excuse the shot of my armpit - but you see that I have nearly NO room under my arm...mucho uncomfortable! It also digs in at the front and back of the "sleeve".
Whilst we're still on the topic of the ham-arms, I think that perhaps the pattern piece for the front/back bodice at the shoulders is a bit too wide? It's sort of like this dress can't decide if it wants to be sleeveless or have cap sleeves?
I'm definitely going to make this dress again -- I just need to figure out how to make the armholes bigger whilst not stuffing up the pattern completely. An FBA has been suggested but I'm not even going to go there (plus it fits well across the bust). This make is a straight XL and I think in order to bring the shoulder width in somewhat I'll reduce from an XL to an L, or perhaps even an M from the shoulders to the underarm...and then I also just hack into the pattern at the bottom of the armhole to give myself an extra cm front and back...what do we think people? Is that a good or a bad strategy?
Moving right along, the construction of the Myrtle is really easy. I had no trouble making the bodice at all and like I said I LOVE the cowl neck and blousey-ness of the front/back bodice. Very flattering on my figure I think. The instructions for this pattern were very good - very easy to follow and great for a beginner.
I had been worried about turning the neckline and sleeve hems of the back bodice under (they are not self lined) but this also proved to be a breeze thanks to my new BFF, Wondertape (bought from Addicted to Fabric in Canberra).
I also thought I'd have trouble with the elastic waist, but this also turned out to be...not too bad. I inserted the elastic twice as the first elastic was very stiff and uncomfortable (it was a non-roll elastic). My second elastic is quite supple and does roll a bit so I've sewn down the elastic at each side seam to prevent it moving around too much. Next time I think I'll just sew the casing channel and then thread the elastic through, rather than trying to wrangle the elastic and channel and sewing all at the same time which is what the instructions suggest.
That said, I'm wondering if I could forgo the elastic channel altogether and just sewing less wide elastic (or even clear elastic) onto the waistband as I join it to the bodice. I feel like that would be more comfortable.
So there you have it. Even though this dress was a fitting-fail; I would call it a win in terms of sewing and construction. I'm happy I saw it through to the end as I think my work colleague would like this so it's not going to end up in the bin. She wore one of other sewing fitting-fails to work the other day and I was super thrilled!
Pattern: Myrtle Dress by Colette Patterns
Fabric: Polyester Elastane from Spotlight - purchased 3m and used most of it
Notions: Elastic and thread
Changes for next time: lower arm holes to give more room; perhaps reduce the bodice size from the shoulders to the underarm fom an XL to L or M. Possibly look at changing method of attaching the bodice to the skirt with thinner elastic and no elastic casing (would reduce the whole dress to an L if I did this as it's very roomy without the elastic casing feature).