Less Is Myrtle

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 Dress: DIY from Colette “Myrtle” pattern

Belt: Dangerfield

Shoes: Comfortview

I’m not a natural sewer; I’m too impatient and haphazard, and I don’t really possess the skills to do things like full-bust alterations. I’m definitely not a measure-twice-cut-once kind of gal (more like a who-the-hell-measures-these-days kind). Despite my success with the Macaron dress pattern years previously I got a little burned with the last Colette dress that I attempted to make: the Peony had to be dramatically (and amateurishly) tweaked to be wearable, and even then I wasn’t that happy with the results.

Colette launched the Myrtle dress pattern in July this year with some gorgeous shots of a curvy young woman in a draped white dress. With its cowl-neck, blouson bodice and elasticised waist it looked like a dress with a forgiving fit for beginning sewers, so I thought I’d buy some cheap jersey from Spotlight and give the pattern a whirl.

Colette’s patterns are great for newbie dressmakers. The patterns come packaged with a booklet with very clear and concise illustrated instructions. The Colette website/blog provides heaps of basic tutorials, and there’s even a step-by-step sew along that culminates in a great gallery of dresses made by the participants.

I picked a cheapie printed cotton jersey from Spotlight in a lovely burnt orange. The dress seems to take an inordinate amount of fabric (that cowl neck bodice is self-faced, so there’s a bit of extra fabric in that) so I ended up spending a little bit more than I’d anticipated, but the result’s a killer.

The elasticised waist is easy and comfortable, and the fact I’m short-waisted wasn’t an issue due to the blousy effect of the bodice. The draped neckline flatters my figure by showing off collar bones without flashing my cleavage up and down the street. And (hurrah!) the dress even has pockets.

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It took me a couple of hours from fabric to frock, and that includes time acquainting myself with my new sewing machine, and unpicking and resewing the bodice to he skirt three times (I keeps sewing it on inside out. Don’t ask me how… it was late.)

I was so delighted with the finished result that the first thing I did was go out and buy MORE jersey fabric so I could make a second version, slightly longer than the first.

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This second Myrtle was made of a much softer knit fabric, so the drape on the neckline is deeper and more pronounced. The longer hemline gives it an elegance that makes it perfect for a special event, so I played up the glam factor with a sparkly brooch pinned at the waistband and my best bling from Totally Jewel.

Frocks and Frou Frou

Necklace & Earrings from Totally Jewel

All up – fabric, elastic and thread – the dress cost me about $14 which is a steal in anyone’s book, and now that I’m confident with the pattern I’m already planning to make a third Myrtlw with a special (i.e. spendy) fabric that I’ve ordered from Spoonflower.

Trollin’

Frocks and Frou Frou - Moomintroll Top & Mustard Skirt Frocks and Frou Frou - Moomintroll Top & Mustard Skirt Frocks and Frou Frou - Moomintroll Top & Mustard Skirt

Moomintroll Tee: Uniqlo

Skirt: Modcloth

Cardigan: Gorman

Shoes: Chie Mihara

Getting PLENTY of wear out of this mustard yellow skirt, and honestly I’m a heartbeat away from buying it in half a dozen other colours. The mustard yellow plays well with so much in my wardrobe, and the style dresses up and down easily.

I’ve worn it today with a novelty t-shirt featuring the Snorkmaiden from the fabulous Swedish kids book series “Moomintrolls”. Uniqlo does these regular collaborations with artists, brands, or designers – one of my favourite loose-fit tees was from a Uniqlo collaboration with Karen Walker last year – but I’ve learned that they come and go VERY QUICKLY, so you need to jump on them as soon as you see them in-store.

What with my love of kids books I was pretty chuffed to find Moomintroll clothing in adults sizes.  They’re clearly having a bit of a renaissance at the moment, and I’ve spotted the books and merchandise in some of my favourite independent bookstores (especially The Little Bookroom who seem to have been single-handedly championing their return for the past five years).

Like my long-gone Grug t-shirt the Snorkmaiden is a sneaky little nod to Those In The Know who grew up with the quirky inhabitants of the Moominvalley.

Did you ever read the Moomin series?