Muse Natalie Dress

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Hello there! Like my new dress? It’s the Natalie dress by Muse Patterns, which I’ve been eying since it was released a few years ago, wondering if those gathers would be friend or foe!

The answer? Both! Here’s a close-up, because I know the print it hiding ALL the detail.

inset

Basically, there are seams in the shape of a capital A on the front bodice: a triangle inset, with gathers on all three sides. They give lovely shaping at the bust (no FBA needed!), but I think they accentuate the belly rather than hide it.

 

side view

Boo. I know my body is the same shape no matter what I wear, but I don’t feel great in this. Fine if I stand up straight and smile, but I fear I’m a sloucher at heart!

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That said, there are some lovely things about this pattern. It sewed together really easily, and there is a variation with no belly-gathers that I might like better. This was also my first ever v-neckline! (Verdict: Annoying and slow, but good know my theoretical understanding was acurate.) I found the sizing quite generous, and ended up cutting everything down at the side seams… the sleeves must be a slim fit, because they were perfect as-is.

back

Two minor quibbles with the pattern:

  • The pattern suggests waist ties, attached at the side seams. To my mind, they’d be better attached at the inset, so the whole thing gets pulled snug… but I find waist ties annoying under sweaters, so I skipped them.
  • The original back is cut in one piece and seems a little boring compared to the front! I’m sure the ties help with that, but I noticed fit issues with a lot of the versions I saw online. To avoid a shapeless sway-back mess, I cut the back into a bodice and skirt, and added some gathers at centre back for interest and fullness.

If I sew this pattern again, I’d either lengthen the inset and do less gathers below it, or sew the version without gathers instead. I’ve got a vintage-y knit that I wanted to use this pattern for, but since I don’t love my trial version, should I really continue? (I’m picturing a pussy-bow variation, with a slim skirt and a  circular ruffle at the hem, inspired by this pin.) On the other hand, I’ve been thinking how I prefer modern styles to retro, so maybe I should steer away!

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In the end, it’s a perfectly fine dress, and I’m sure I’ll wear it. I’ve been loving khaki green lately… feels like it’s high time to add another colour into my palette!

Have you tried this pattern? Do you think I should try it again with alterations, or just move on? 

**UPDATE!** I wore this dress to work today, and felt fine but not fab in it. Came home and cut up the skirt to make a Santa Fe tank top. I predict it will get much more wear now! 

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36 thoughts on “Muse Natalie Dress

  1. While you look great wearing it, it doesn’t seem like anything you would wear normally. It seems too twee for you. It might be the pattern/fabric combo, but I’m not loving this on you. It think I would love this fabric if it was used in something else. In short, for someone who wants to copy everything you do, this isn’t doing it for me. I vote move on but keep the details in mind for another project!

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    1. When I read your comment this morning, I thought, “YES to this!” Too twee, and not something I’m ever going to love wearing. So I got home and cut it up! It’s not a Santa Fe tank – not perfect because I made the arm bands too tight, but much more wearable I think! Thanks for being a friend who knows my style well and gives good advice!

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  2. I really like this dress on you. It’s not your normal bright colours. But I think it’s perfect for the season and a nice more casual dress. I would try the alterations, and the flatter front. Maybe a brighter fabric too

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    1. I ended up cutting it into a simple tank when I got home.. but i’m wondering about colouring a few of the leaf shapes with sharpies to bring it more into my normal colourful palette! Can’t quite decide… but might happen!😉

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      1. OH YES, color in those leafs!!! That would be great and more fun. Would pull the attention away from the tummy part that is going to hang out in the front of your mind every time you wear it. Bits of beading in the coloring would be cool too.

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  3. I like this dress on you too – that V neckline really suits you and the colours are perfect for your colouring. I often add fish eye darts to the back of knits for shaping and find they work really well – I actually add them to RTW as well! I did that to the Camas (front and back darts) and it came out quite nice.

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    1. Fisheye darts are a good suggestion. Sometimes I’m not sure exactly how deep to make them, and where to place them… any tips for figuring that out on the fly?

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  4. I love the print and colors on you. Having made this dress too, I pretty much only wear it with a cardi because of the tummy effect you’re experiencing. Plus, it also feels extra boobalicious for work in the print I used. Still, I like my dress, and yours, and I’m sure it will get wear again this winter (say, in 4 months!). Also, love the proper way Muse does vee necks.

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    1. That’s useful to hear! I looked at your version again before buying the pattern, and I like how it looks on you… but I also put on a cardi today to try to tone down the shaping!😉

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  5. I think the dress looks nice on you, even if it isn’t your normal colours, which I think might also mess with your viewing of it. I also agree on trying the ungathered front for next time and double ditto on splitting the dress back into a bodice and skirt. I’d say try it again in a print that’s your usual colours. I really don’t fancy any of the solid colour versions that I have seen.

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  6. The print and colour are lovely on you. The style, not so much. Except for that nice V neckline. I’ve made a Moneta with gathers that hit my middle with a similar effect as your Muse. I don’t wear that dress because it makes me feel self-conscious about my tummy, and I would much rather wear flattering clothes that make me feel good (don’t we all?). So unless you are keen on spending your sewing time on modifying the Muse dress to suit your shape, I vote to move on.

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    1. I love your connection with Moneta – I never tried that pattern because I knew the gathered skirt would be bad on me. That helps me understand why I don’t like this one either! Thank you!

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  7. What a nice dress. I think that the khaki is great on you and the shape at the bust is really great but agree with the above comments that bright colours are more “you”. I had a look at your pin, go for it. I think that a pussy bow will look really fab with this style. The skin skirt and ruffles also sound great but then you will have practically drafted a new frock. Sounds awesome though. Xx

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    1. You are right – I’m pretty much after a whole new dress! I”m going to hold off for a while, because the fabric I had in mind is more spring/summer than fall… maybe by spring I’ll have a brilliant plan!?

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  8. I actually think this looks really great on you. It is different to your normal style which might be why you’re not sure. Thanks for bringing the pattern to my attention, I have some jersey in my stash this I think would be perfect for it.

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  9. That os a really cute dress on you, live the fabric choice and the v neck. However if it doesn’t make you feel great when you wear it, is either modify or save the fabric to use in another make. I haven’t tried the pattern and like you, tend to avoid that gathered style.

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    1. I took your advice and chopped the skirt of the dress into a santa fe tank when I got home from work. I’m feeling better about it already!

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  10. It looks comfy and I love the fabric. But if you’re not convinced, move on to the next pattern. I’m like a dog with a bone and find it hard to leave a project alone. I wish I knew when to leave something alone. But with that said, one of my favorite tips came after a few re-visits. If you can make more out of this pattern give it a go!

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    1. I’m scared another version might just be throwing good fabric after bad… I did notice when I wore the dress today that the insert triangle would ride up, so it wasn’t always doing it’s job of giving nice boob definition. Come on, inset, you had one job! ;P Might be time to move on to something else.

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  11. I think the dress looks nice, but your opinion is the only one that matters! If you feel uncomfortable, turf it and move on. I understand about the belly thing – mine is quite protruding and I don’t necessarily want to emphasise it. I ditched the Gabriola Skirt after a muslin revealed the triangle yoke not only released just above my tum, but acted as an arrow pointing to it!

    And just a heads up, you have repeated the name of the pattern in the first paragraph right next to each other, I assume it’s a typo.

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    1. Thank you for catching that typo!!
      That’s the first time I’ve heard anyone say that about the Gabriola… but it does make sense that all that fussiness at the waist might not actually be the best on a rounder pear figure! Duly noted!!😉

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  12. “I know my body is the same shape no matter what I wear, but I don’t feel great in this.” This sentence completely resonates with me and clarifies something so true – there’s no point in self-judgement. One is gorgeous when one feels gorgeous. This is exactly why I now only buy things I love and that fit perfectly. It’s also the reason why I make a lot of things that I try and trash, things that may work to some degree or another, but which are never going to make me feel great. Don’t bother with those garments (any more than you would buy RTW garments that you didn’t love). You deserve to enjoy the way you look and feel in everything.

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    1. I did make myself wear it to work today, just to see if I turned out to love it… nope! It got cut up when I got home. I do like experimenting with new shapes and patterns, but I agree – life is too short to waste time in bad clothes!

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  13. bravo for trying a new pattern and silhouette! And you win the prize for finding the silver lining by repurposing fabric you love when the result was something you didn’t.
    Speaking of lovely fabric – where did you find the beautiful khaki knit?

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  14. I really like this khaki green colour on you. I bought this pattern as a potential maternity/nursing dress but have yet to find the time and energy to make it up. I like your suggestion of moving the ties to the inset as that seems to flow better and would make adjusting for a fluctuating shape easier. Not sure about this shape for regular wear though. A lesson learned.

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  15. I have to say I thought it looked great and I didn’t notice any belly emphasis. I do agree if it doesn’t feel right for you, then it won’t get worn and much better to recycle the fabric into something that will

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  16. I think this looks really great on you – I love the print! But I get what you’re saying. I think you and I have a similar shape, and while they say that empire waistlines flatter everyone, I’ve never agreed with that. I find they seem to draw attention to my belly, and then I get the side eye about being pregnant. That makes me feel super self-conscious. So while I love the comfort, and the look of empire waistlines (on other people) I never feel really good in them. I’m pretty sure it’s mostly all in my head, but it’s me who has to wear it soooooo I say don’t wear it, if you don’t feel good in it. I’m glad you were able to salvage the fabric and make a top!

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  17. I feel a little silly commenting now that it’s a tank top, but I’ll do it anyway! I’m glad that you found a way to salvage the fabric, because the style didn’t look much like you. Waist gathers are such a tricky element. Especially now that I associate it with my maternity sewing from two years ago! The v neck looks good, though. Or looked, since it’s a different top now.🙂

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  18. Hi Gillian
    I was excited to see you reviewing this dress, as I have made several versions of this, and other Muse patterns. I like mine, and wear them often. I have a full tummy but it pushes forwards, so the Natalie retains side definition and still offers space at the front. They are so comfy at work and still feel ‘dressy’ enough (I teach as well).

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  19. I think it looks nice (I especially like the back alterations you made), but I agree about the front gathers. I, too, am a hunchback and while wearing a similar style this past school year was asked twice (!) if I was pregnant…. LOL I’m definitely not. Do you have another fabric laying around to do another “wearable muslin” but with all the new adjustments?

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