A Little Black Jersey Dress

Mood Fabrics - Black Jersey Cowl Dress - Colette Myrtle - by Idle Fancy-2

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.

Mood Fabrics - Black Jersey Cowl Dress - Colette Myrtle - by Idle Fancy-18

Mood Fabrics - Black Jersey Cowl Dress - Colette Myrtle - by Idle Fancy-29

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.

Mood Fabrics - Black Jersey Cowl Dress - Colette Myrtle - by Idle Fancy-30

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!

Mood Fabrics - Black Jersey Cowl Dress - Colette Myrtle - by Idle Fancy-25



  • Faye Lewis
    August 21, 2015

    Your dress is simply gorgeous!

  • Meg
    August 21, 2015

    Lovely! I really need to make another Myrtle. FYI: the pattern is also lovely in rayon challis, which is what I used for my first Myrtle.

    • Mary Danielson Perry
      August 23, 2015

      Thank you, Meg! I was just thinking about trying the Myrtle in a woven, but was worried about the fit. I’ll have to try it out!

  • Marije
    August 22, 2015

    You make wearing secret pajamas look so classy! Beautiful dress.

  • Marianne
    August 22, 2015

    Wow! Your dress is so pretty, I may have to copy it! So far I skipped making Myrtle because I wasn’t sure about how my bust size would effect the drape of the cowl. Thanks to you I see comfy cocktailparties in my future 🙂

    • Mary Danielson Perry
      August 23, 2015

      Thank you, Marianne! I was worried about the exact same thing with the Myrtle. Cowl necks can be so tricky to fit, after all. Seeing someone else with a similar body type wearing the Myrtle convinced me! It’s so pretty on curves.

  • Janet
    August 22, 2015

    I love the amount of drape on the neck! I do love black. Best Myrtle I have seen yet.

    • Mary Danielson Perry
      August 23, 2015

      Wow! Thank you so much, Janet! I love how chic black is, even in such a comfortable fabric.

  • ME Pendleton
    August 22, 2015

    Great job . I have this pattern but haven’t tried yet. Thanks for the lovely motivation to get it going .

  • Amanda S.
    August 22, 2015

    Oh! I’ve never seen you in black before. It’s very striking. Lovely neckline and I’m sure it swoops and swirls wonderfully. I’m trying a navy viscose knit soon. Hopefully I’ll have good results too.

    • Mary Danielson Perry
      August 23, 2015

      Thank you, Amanda! I am actively trying to include more neutrals and solid colors in my wardrobe–it’s all prints, right now! I can’t wait to see what you make with your viscose knit. I hope you enjoy sewing it up!

  • sallie
    August 22, 2015

    You look so fantastic in this! I know exactly what you mean about that end of summer loss of sewing mojo – I gots it BAD! Your black drapey myrtle might just have given ME a sewing kick in the pants!

  • Kathleen
    August 22, 2015

    I love your dress on you! The fit is amazing (I’m working on fit right now and finding it a bit of a nightmare to be honest). You’ve inspired me to make a dress. I am a FAN of colette too 🙂

  • Najah
    August 23, 2015

    Your Myrtle got me off the fence about the pattern. It’s wonderful as an LBD. And thanks for just-right medium weight knit referral. I desperately needed one.

  • Fiona
    August 27, 2015

    Beautiful! It’s so classic and chic looking but I bet so comfortable at the same time!