Colette Myrtle Dress

myrtleI picked up the newly released Myrtle dress pattern from Colette this week from Modern Domestic and I couldn’t wait to sew! I love cowl necks! I’m full busted and a nice draped cowl makes the ladies look good.

I’ve had this Italian jersey in my stash for ages. I just couldn’t find the right project for it since it has some gold lurex stripes and is a bit sheer.  So I needed something with a lining that wasn’t too casual and Myrtle was perfect. The front of the bodice is cut as a single piece and folded to make the lining. The entire bodice construction is rather clever.

Even though there are some new techniques in this pattern – it’s still quick and easy. Just be sure to read the instructions thoroughly before starting. I ended up sewing the waistband casing to the skirt and the bodice and it took me over 2 hours to rip out that seam! I think I spent less time on cutting and sewing the rest of the dress.  I also learned that the stretch stitch on my machine is bitch to get out and I will probably stick with a narrow zigzag from here out.


I ended up using 3 different sewing machines for this project – sewing, serger, and my new coverstitch! A regular sewing machine is necessary for part of the pocket construction and creating the elastic waistband casing.  Otherwise I used my serger for most seams and my coverstitch for the back neck, armhold and lower hems. That works like a dream!

Pattern: Colette Myrtle Dress – View 1
Fabric: 3 yards of Italian Cotton Jersey.  Extra was needed for matching stripes.
Modifications: Added 1.5″ to shoulder width to create slight cap sleeve

Fit For Real People – Class 2

In Week to of my Fit for Real People we finally did some hands on alterations. After trying on my pinned together tissue, Marta suggested I do a 3 3/4″ Y-FBA and a 3/4″ broad back adjustment. The Y-FBA is new to me but it’s similar to normal FBA. It widens the top of the pattern a bit above the bust but this results in smaller side dart.



The big eureka moment for me was how she figured out how much of an FBA was needed….she measured the gap between the the center front of the pattern and my center front. Brilliant!  It was also interesting to see how other people were fitted and the adjustments they made.

Now I need to get this pattern cut out of fabric so I can pin fit it in Class 3 and choose another pattern for tissue fitting.

Fit for Real People – First Class

Last night was my first Fit For Real People class and I’m very excited about it.  If you’ve never heard about Fit for Real People, it’s a pattern fitting method designed by Palmer Plestsch that uses tissue fitting. There’s a good book on it and they offer classes and workshops. I am lucky enough to live in the city that is home to the Palmer Pletsch Sewing School – Portland!

book-fitrealpeople-2ndEdPalmer Pletsch does a 4 day workshop to teach their fitting technique but it’s during the week and costs $700. Ouch! However people do come from all around the country and the work to take this class so it must be good.  While browsing around I found they offer a workshop for locals that’s only $105! It’s a 4 week class that meets for 3 hours each week but covers the same topics as the workshop.

The Palmer Pletsch Sewing School is located in fabric mecca, aka Fabric Depot. There’s are large classroom and our class had 8 women. Most of the beginning of the class was spent discussing pattern sizing and the history of patterns and it was obvious our instructor Marta Alto was extremely knowledgeable about sewing. By my calculations she’s been doing this professionally for nearly 50 years…although she doesn’t look nearly old enough for that.

Then she measured everyone’s high bust line and told us our starting size. Mine was one size smaller than I usually cut.  Then one by one she fitted us in bodices made of gingham. For each size there were bodices adjusted to cup sizes through DD.  On each person Marta pointed out where it fit and what adjustments needed to be made. It was particularly interesting because 4 people in the class were the same size but were totally different shapes and needed different adjustments.

My adjustment sheet from Marta

My adjustment sheet from Marta

I ended up being 2 sizes smaller than I would normally cut. My adjustments would be the high round, broad back, full bust, and waist. Marta said nearly everyone these days needs high round (yay computers!) and waist. The good news was she said my back was very flat. I guess my posture is better than I thought!

Our homework is to select a top, dress, or jacket pattern and prep it for tissue fitting next week. The only rule is it can’t have princess seams.  I dug through my patterns when I got home and picked the pink bow blouse from New Look 6808.

New Look 6808

New Look 6808

We are going to do 3 patterns plus a skirt so I need to start thinking of what else I want to make! I can’t wait to see how these turn out.

WIP Wednesday: Navy Pants

I’m nearly done with sewing these Simplicity 1696 pants, but I’m having fit issues with the rear rise. My favorite part so far is these slash pockets!


I might not be done with sewing these pants but Magi seems to like them just fine.




My Coco

The pattern is by Tilly & the Buttons and it’s called Coco. The digital version costs £7.50, which is about $12.50. On a side note, this is why my British friends love coming here to shop!

Anyway, I wasn’t that interested in making this shirt when the pattern first came out especially since it appeared to be £12.50, but that was for the printed pattern. Soon after getting another Boden catalog,  I realized I needed a Breton top, so I changed my mind and bought it.

My Polka Dot Coco

My Polka Dot Coco

I did a no-dart FBA and curved out the front side seams in the bust area to accommodate my DDDs.  Since I’ve never done a no-dart FBA before, I made a  test top using some leftover knit fabric to ensure this fit properly. I was very happy with the fit in the bust area. I also took the sleeves into make them more fitted.

My final garment was made using this fab black and white polka dot jersey I found at Mill End Fabrics. Since I was sure about the fit, I did the entire thing on my serger except for finishing the hems and neckline. I sewed those on my sewing machine using a double needle for a professional looking finish.

Overall I really like this pattern and I can see using it as a base pattern for my own variations. However I had a couple of problems with it. First and foremost is that the amount of fabric required is specified inaccurately in the Supplies section of the pattern. It says you need 2 1⁄4 yards x 60in wide,  but this is the amount you need to make a dress. You have to go to the layout page to see the amount needed just for a top (1 3/4 yds). And I think that is still inaccurate since I was able to make my larger sized top and still have over a yard leftover.  I think the pattern should at least specify in the supplies section where you need to look for proper fabric amounts.

My second issue is that the instructions tell you to do a lot of your hem and neckline finishes using zig zag stitch. Nothing screams homemade to me like zig zag. If you make this top I would definitely recommend using a double needle as it provides a great looking finishing seam that also stretches.  I wore this top today and and no one in my craft group had any idea it was homemade. That’s sounds like success to me!

The good news is about my extra polka dot fabric is I can pair it up with some to-be-purchased striped fabric and make one of these Boden Breton tops I love!


I kept getting the stellastarr* song My Coco stuck in my head while making this top. Here it is for you to enjoy, too.