An Experimental Myrtle

Anyone else having one of those weeks? Work’s been mad busy and I’m exhausted from the run up to exam season. I’m seriously craving half term! When I have found time to squeeze in a bit of sewing, it’s been pretty disappointing 😦 First there was the ho-hum top, then an awful blouse failure that I can’t even bring myself to blog about and now this…


Despite its failures (I just couldn’t bring myself to try it on for photos and I’m seriously photo-ed out from MMMay), I think I’ve learnt a lot from the process. The pattern in question is Colette’s Myrtle, one of their beginner patterns ‘designed for knits’. I’ve been determined to rid myself of some of my early-fabric-purchase-mistakes for knits that have been clogging up my sewing drawers for far too long now. I didn’t have enough of either of these fabrics for a whole dress, so I thought I’d attempt a mash-up of the two, knowing full well that the weights were a little ‘off’: the striped fabric being a lightweight knit and the darker fabric being a much heavier, thick jersey (?). To be honest it was only ever going to be a wearable muslin, so it’s no great disaster but frustrating all the same…

As usual, Colette’s instruction booklet was really clear and helpful. I chose version 1, the longer version without the shoulder tabs. After a couple of projects coming up a little small of late, I opted for a size S, rather than an XS. Seeing as I was experimenting anyway, I thought I might as well be a bit braver with my overlocker too. It gets a little tiresome switching between two machines, so I thought I’d challenge myself to see if I could just use my overlocker for this.

I started by overlocking every edge of the pattern pieces. I knew some of this was going to be cut off later, but couldn’t quite work out which, so just did the whole lot, which did look lovely regardless. My first problem was hemming the neckline and armholes. I did cover sewing hems on the course I went on, but to be honest I was so busy getting the basics right, that my concentration had gone by then. I did have notes for a rolled hem though (presumably for sheer fabrics), so I decided to give that a go. I bravely, gulp, cut one of the threads and experimented on some scraps with just three threads. It wasn’t perfect, but did the job. You can just about make out the results in the picture, above right. It’s ok-ish… Anyone have any better ideas for how to do a normal hem on an overlocker?

Putting the bodice together was a little tricky, but worth it for a very pleasing fully-lined front. This was such a better way of finishing a cowl neck than the top I made recently. I managed to rethread the overlocker pretty easily (hurrah, it does get easier) to stitch the bodice up. But then it came to the pockets and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to do this, so out came my regular machine. This is only the second time I’ve made pockets, but I was pretty pleased with how they turned out using a small, neat, zigzag stitch on my machine. The skirt was easy to put together as was attaching it to the bodice, but then came the elasticated waist…

Granted, I should have checked the accompanying link to a video tutorial recommended, but the kids had my iPad at the time, so I thought I’d wing it. The result was, quite frankly, a mess! While I understood the construction, it was my uneven sewing that really let me down. I managed to make really uneven pleats and then stupidly top stitched before I realised. This coupled with the fact that I was using a contrast, cream thread resulted in a complete bodge-up. Seriously, all-in-all this was a pretty ugly make. Ughhh!

The next morning I was determined to at least attempt to fix it. Firstly I removed the pockets, pretty though they were sewn (I did get something right), they were just too bulky in this fabric and really weren’t doing me any favours. I then attempted to unpick the waist. To cut a long story short, many holes and much swearing later this ended up in the bin. In my defence this is the first time I’ve totally hated a project. But there were just too many problems to fix…

Come on, make me feel better: what’s caused you to turn the air blue before being unceremoniously dumped in the bin?

So three dud-projects under my belt, surely the only way on from here is upwards? I sincerely hope so, as I’m about to attempt a jumpsuit: what could possibly go wrong there? πŸ˜‰ #jumpforjune

40 thoughts on “An Experimental Myrtle

  1. Nothing, absolutely nothing can go wrong with a jumpsuit! Who knows, maybe you are gonna love it?!I
    I had plenty of sewing desasters in my day – the lastest one only last week, when I finished a dress, put it on for the first time and realised I would never wear it. Bad luck ey?

    • Just having a bit of a run of them, just when I thought I was getting reasonably good at it 😦 Oh well, maybe the jumpsuit will be my turning point? I’m certainly pleased with it so far and the fabric’s lovely to sew…

  2. Oh no 😦 its awful when you get a run of projects like that. Maybe try a tnt next before your jumpsuit so you can get some positive reward for all your efforts to put you in a great mindset? The only tip i have for hemming on an overlocker is to finish the bottom edge then turn under and use the sewing machine to stitch in place? Not perfect but it seems to work πŸ™‚ The last project I binned was my dahlia – it ended up looking like a hospital gown haha!!

    • I don’t think you’re alone with a frustrating Dahlia, I’ve read about a fair few πŸ™‚ I usually switch to my regular machine to hem, but was attempting not to. I might have to set one of my machines up permanently in the spare room. They can’t both live on the kitchen table πŸ˜‰

  3. Oh god, I have had SO MANY wadders over my years of sewing! They get fewer as you go, though, and learn how to match the fabric to the pattern and get better at various techniques. It sounds like you learned a lot on this project, so I sure wouldn’t think of it as a waste of time, and you did accomplish your goal of decreasing the knit fabric in your stash.

    • It’s all a learning curve I guess, just frustrating when you get a run of them together! Sometimes it’s good to share the failures too, the sewing community on here’s always supportive and someone usually manages to make you see the funny side πŸ™‚

  4. It’s so frustrating isn’t it? But it happens to everyone and as long as you’ve learnt something from the experience then it hasn’t been a waste of your time. Once half term’s here and/or exams are over your mind will be free to concentrate on the sewing and you will be making beautiful clothes (jumpsuits) again. Leggings are the only thing I’ve made this May because I know I can’t focus on sewing at the moment either. Can’t wait ’til half term myself – my sewing machine is not going to know what’s hit it!

    • Thanks Corrine, I think there’s going to be a collective sigh of relief πŸ™‚ Probably not sensible even trying when life’s so hectic, but thought it would help me switch off…

  5. Oh, do I eee-vah know how you feel, Dear One! There are sooo many variables in sewing and we’re all just doin’ the bestest we can. I second the thought that you sneak in a tried & true project before you jump. xx

  6. I’ve had a few lately as well, so you are not alone.

    There are very few garments you can make completely on an overlocker, they just wont work out. Your overlocker is a lot newer than mine and you have tried some great techniques but not necessarily for the right fabric.

    Get out one of your trusted patterns and run up a garment that you know you can have a win with.

    • Thanks Sharon πŸ™‚ That helps to know with my overlocker. Thought it was me missing something. I really think I need a permanent base for one of them to stop all this to-ing and fro-ing! Something simple next, onwards and upwards…

  7. See them as practices not duds. You’re saving yourself for the jumpsuit, I can tell! It’s gonna be ‘sew’ amazing you’ll forget all about these! πŸ˜€

  8. I sympathise about you feeling your precious days off were wasted with unproductive sewing, but if you’ve learnt from it, then it’s not totally time badly spent. I don’t recall anything that I’ve thrown in the bin, although I recut things that I just don’t wear for whatever reason and usually end up with something I’m happy with.

  9. I think labelling the pattern ‘beginner’ is extremely misleading!! I think re – labelling it ‘beginner with guidance, reading reviews and spending time on UTube ‘ might make us feel a little less inadequate. I would no longer class myself as ‘beginner’ but this pattern definitely had many of those ‘just walk away and think about it first’, moments.
    I was pleased with my end result but I think it was by luck, not judgement.

    • Thanks Lucie, that does make me feel better but I think it was magnified by my bad fabric choices too! I would like to have another go at this pattern, but when I’m feeling a lot more ‘rested’ …

  10. aww, I know exactly how you feel, it is so awful when that happens and it can really put you off sewing some patterns. I would agree with some of the previous comments, there is definitely something in the air at the moment, my Kelly skirt was total disaster.

    • This is why I love this little corner of the blogosphere πŸ™‚ I could just be sat crying over ‘spilt fabric’ at my kitchen table on my own, but instead I get to ‘chat’ and feel a whole lot better about it. Thank you!

  11. It can be so frustrating when something doesn’t turn out as hoped, but it sounds like you are getting more comfortable with your overlock machine. I bought one last September and it’s still in the box. Scarey things, those machines.

  12. I agree with Jennifersews. Comfort sewing restores balance! Knock out one of your fab Mabel skirts – each time you make those I get my Mabel pattern out……..

  13. Oh no, so frustrating but probably because you’re tired, so things will improve. Ive had many failures, but it gets easier to rescue them, though if its not fabric you love, just think of it as all part of the learning experience. I’m sure your next project will be a winner. Agree re me made may, gets a bit much taking a photo a day! ☺

    • Thanks Barbara, just when I thought I was getting better as well! I’m learning that fabric makes all the difference with knits, balancing the weight and so on. It can vary so much. I do still like the pattern though, so I’m determined to give it a second shot πŸ™‚

  14. Sorry to hear about your sewing woes …..we have all been there and I know how disheartening it is! I have a love/hate relationship with my sewing all the time. I’ve been brought to tears, brought to cursing and coctails lol …..but as you know we learn and get better. Then there are those days where we have great sewing success that just tickle us pink πŸ™‚

    Your jumping into June outfit will be fab!!!

  15. Reading your post definitely made me feel better about all of my makes that don’t quite go to plan! I guess as long as you learn something each time, no make is completely wasted πŸ™‚

  16. I’m pattern testing a dress right now where I made a muslin and found a few issues I needed to change before cutting into my final fabric. The most major issue is that the neck is too low for my taste. I made every change except for that one! I am hoping I can salvage it– I hate spending time completing something that I know right away may never get worn. I try to view it all as practice, but it really does sting when something doesn’t work out.

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