the dripping-with-sophistication dress

Who doesn’t just love a sophisticated dress? I like to have just a few items that elegantly say, Classy lady. So I made this Colette Patterns Myrtle dress in a floral rayon challis.


The beautifully draped cowl neck makes for a number that’s just so sophisticated. This pattern was recently released a few weeks ago and is magically suited to wovens and knits. I’ve had this pretty rayon in my stash for a few months and knew that it was meant to be an elegant dress.


The trick with this dress was the sleeves. Neither version on the pattern includes sleeves, and the thing is that I’m a sleeves girl. So I knew that if I wanted to make the Myrtle dress I would have to find a sleeves solution. I ended up drafting sleeves onto the bodice pattern, rather than fashioning set-in sleeves. I thought that sleeves as an extension of the bodice would be more elegant than the alternative. And you know, elegance was kind of my thing with this dress.IMG_7053

I love how the self-lined bodice came together, and the sleeves didn’t require any changes at all to the construction method. Looking at my finished product, I wish I’d have made customized bias tape from the rayon for the binding on the sleeves and back neckline. I think it would have prevented that weird flare they have going on. But if I went back to redo it, I’d basically have to sew the whole dress all over again, and that might make me swear and swearing is not that sophisticated (not that I’m above letting go of my aspirational sophistication every now and then for the well-placed hell and damn). So the sleeves stayed as is, weird flare and all.


I love that this fabric goes with these shoes of mine. I bought those shoes as a self-picked anniversary present last year, and that bow on the back kills me. I just love it. And these shoes plus my summer-survival bun amp up this dress significantly.

I’d love to make this dress in a knit sometime, and to see how my sleeve addition translates between wovens and knits. I have a feeling that the sleeves in a knit will be even better and maybe even flareless. So, on this hot summer day, let’s lift up our glasses of raspberry lemonade to elegant dresses and cowl necks and rayon challis and self-drafted sleeves.

PS You still have two more days to enter the Stitch-by-Stitch giveaway

***Specs: I made this CP Myrtle dress in rayon challis from It’s super soft and has a beautiful drape. I loved working with it. I bought the digital version of this pattern and have concluded that I prefer printed patterns for garments. So. I made the neck in a size 6 and the waist in a size 10. With the encased elastic waistband I deviated slightly from the instructions and sewed the casing before inserting the elastic. I left a small opening in the casing and pulled the elastic through with a bodkin. I had to make sure that the elastic didn’t twist, but once I ensured that it was flat, stitching-in-the-ditch on the side seams (as instructed in the pattern) secured it completely. You may like pinning the elastic and sewing around it, but I found using a bodkin much less finicky. I didn’t lengthen the skirt (version 1), and might want to use the longer version next time. If you’re wondering about how I drafted the sleeves, I’ll be writing a post on that process in August! *Edit: You can find the link to the sleeves tutorial here.*
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  1. Jerusha
    Posted July 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering how you would do the sleeves. They look so nice. I saw the sleeve flare after you pointed it out, but it does not detract from the overall sophistication. Good job! I LOVE the shoes!

  2. Posted July 29, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Um, that was FAST! Way to whip that pattern right up! I plan to make that dress someday too so prepare yourself to answer all of my sleeve questions. Your dress looks absolutely fab!

  3. Irene
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    I love the addition of sleeves to your dress- I will be waiting for your post on how you drafted them!

  4. Colleen
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much for doing this!!!! I’ve been wondering about that myself. The sleeves seem to be the same as those on the By Hand London’s Anna dress but for some reason I’ve been making it difficult in my head because of the self lined bodice….

    Can’t wait to read your instructions. Nice job!!!!!

  5. Sonia
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Beautiful as always. The dress as well. 🙂

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