Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Myrtle visits Paris in Liberty

I succumbed to buying the new Colette Myrtle dress pattern and decided to make it in a Liberty Tana Lawn fabric for my summer trip to Paris.  It is a pretty easy make really, I only made one change and had difficulty with just one part of the instructions.
Visiting Disneyland, Paris
Here you can see a close up of the lovely fabric I used, a Liberty Tana Lawn that I got in a sale well over a year ago.  It was perfectly light weight for the hot weather in Paris Disneyland.

My difficulty

My difficulty with this pattern was at the shoulders where the front and back bodice meet up with each other.  Before sewing them up the instructions are to sew a quarter inch bias tape to the right side of the neckline on the back, and then fold it over completely to the wrong side and stitch it down.  I made my own bias strip using the same fabric as my dress, and made it so that with the two raw edges folded under the finished strip would be one quarter inch.  Whenever I buy ready made bias tape it is always labeled with the measurement of the finished width, and doesn't include the underside seam allowances that are folded away within the labeled name.
The trouble was that using 1/4" tape means that the raw edge of the dress edge is only folded back by 1/4" but when this shoulder piece is meant to nest in with the front bodice piece, it is just too big!
My solution was that I had to snip along the front bodice fold line so that it would nest in with the back bodice.
Did anyone else have trouble with this?  If so, I'd love to hear how you solved it.

Visiting the 1950s French Couture exhibition

My alteration

The one thing I did change was to use 1/4" elastic instead of 1".  As it was to be a dress for hot weather I just couldn't face having an entire inch of elastic touching me on a hot and humid day.  It was pretty easy, I followed the instructions but found that there was an important point missing.  Once you sew the bodice and skirt together and you overlock the raw edges, you need to pull the bodice back out from the skirt so that the dress is then completely inside-out as though it were hanging on a coat hanger and looks like a dress.  This isn't in the instructions or in the diagrams, and had me baffled for a while.
Then I made a circle of elastic and put it around the middle of the dress like a belt.  With the bodice to the left and the skirt to the right, I folded the overlocked seam allowance over the elastic and onto the bodice where I stitched on my machine a bit at a time.  I didn't bother with pins, just kept focused on the fabric and made sure my elastic stayed snuggly to the right of my stitching line.
Took me ages to decide which Frozen souvenirs I needed to buy

This dress was a dream to travel with, it didn't crease easily, folded up quite small in my suitcase and could easily be dressed up or worn casually. 
Here is my posterior for posterity:  Never flattering but always informative.


  1. Another winner! From your instagram feed, it looked like you had an amazing vacation! Thanks for the extra tips on construction. I'm still undecided as to whether or not I'm going to buy this pattern, but I might just have to do it. I'm glad to see that it made up well in a woven!

  2. I love it. Looks gorgeous on you. I didn't have an issue with the bias tape at all. The waistband instructions, however, were confusing and could use an edit to help understand the process.
    Again, lovely Myrtle! :)

  3. Minnie Myrtle! Awesome pairing of fabric and pattern! I think your choice for the more subtle elastic is an improvement, so far that detail kept me from making the dress. Maybe I will now, after I make McCalls 6696. Might as well copy the rest of your travel wardrobe too ;)

  4. Your dress is gorgeous, love the fabric! I have been eyeing up this pattern, you may have just convinced me :)

  5. Great job! Holiday looks brilliant too.

  6. Gorgeous! Also '1950s French couture exhibition' - swoon!

  7. Gorgeous dress love the liberty print and you look fabulous in those mini ears

  8. Gorgeous! And in Liberty, that must feel very luxurious! Looks like you've been having a great time Nessa!

  9. Well done, and of course the ears set it off ;o)

  10. Lovely dress! Just perfect for swanning around in hot weather :)

  11. So pretty!! What a lovely holiday!

  12. I have no idea what you were talking / writing about, but the dress looks fab !!!


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