A Little Black Jersey Dress
Sewing motivation is a funny thing. I adore every aspect of this craft–the sensory joy of picking out fabric, the swish of the rotary cutter as it whisks around patterns pieces, and above all, watching thread and patience form a wearable, gorgeous garment. Yet, there are times when going into my sewing room is the last thing I want to do. For me, this always happens at the tail end of summer, when it’s too darn hot to wear anything comfortably and when I’d really just like to don a breezy, flowy nightgown and get on with my day. Pajama revolution looms. It takes a special bolt of inspiration to get me back at the cutting table, excited about a garment again.
This month, that inspiration came from one fabulous source, Lilli of the blog Frocks & Frou Frou. Lilli is a fashion blogger whom I’ve followed forever, but who’s recently begun featuring a lot of sewn garments. Specifically, the Colette Myrtle dress. She rocks that drapey, cowl neck dress in fun prints, bright colors, and even astronomy-themed fabric. After blog-stalking every version she’s made, it hit me: I needed a Myrtle. Or possibly five. This dress was the answer to my sewing woes! It’s knit, has that glamorous cowl, and an elastic waist. Y’all, it’s practically my daytime nightgown wardrobe dream come true. How I’ve skipped over this pattern so long is beyond me.
So, I bought the PDF. Then, I promptly ordered a gargantuan box full of knits from Mood Fabrics, to fulfill my pattern lust.
Among the knits I chose was this medium-weight, cotton-viscose black jersey. It’s absolutely beautiful, in person. The fabric is truly a medium weight knit, lending complete opacity and heavy drape to a garment, plus it has phenomenal two-directional stretch. It would actually make a great pair of leggings, if you’ve been searching for that sort of fabric! I will say it feels more like cotton than viscose, but it’s already holding up better than your usual cotton knit. If this came in more colors, I’d snap them all up. As it is, I am thrilled to get a little black dress out of it. After a massive closet clean out, this summer, that was one staple I desperately needed.
The Myrtle is an expertly designed pattern. Its front bodice is self-lined, with a single front bodice piece that is folded in half along the cowl neck, giving a lovely drape up front and making construction a cinch. Since it’s a knit dress, I sewed everything on my serger, except the hem. That was twin-stitched down, to mimic a cover stitch, and stabilized with fusible webbing. (Lite Steam-a-Seam II, of course!) Not only was this dress really fun to sew, but it only took me a handful of hours. Knits are the bomb, y’all.
Fit-wise, this pattern was almost perfect, right out of the envelope. I made a very small FBA to the size XL (the pattern runs up to a 3XL), and added an additional two inches of length to the hem. The cowl is less dramatic on me than it is on most other people, which is probably due to both my height and bust size. I’m tempted to size up in the bodice, just to up that drape factor a little bit more. Otherwise, though, I adore this dress. The knit fabric is amazingly comfortable, but the dress is chic enough for a night out or fancy cocktail party. Next time, I’m going to take a slightly larger FBA, but otherwise, I’m super happy with this dress.
This dress was exactly what I needed to kickstart my sewing. Since whipping it up, I’ve already made another Myrtle in the same poppy-print viscose that Lauren used on her gorgeous wrap dress, last week. Another two dresses, one a knit and one a woven, are cut out on my table, ready for a weekend of whirlwind sewing. When things get hectic and the mojo leaves, beautiful knit fabrics really are the best answer. They may actually be better than my evil plot to only wear pajamas! Thanks, Mood!