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June 26, 2017

Webster Top & Dress Sewalong Day 1: Preparing your fabric and pattern

Hi everyone! Carrie here again to get us started on our Webster Top & Dress sewalong! The Webster is such a versatile summer sewing pattern (or layering piece for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere) and we can’t wait to see what you create!

Choosing your size

The first step in our sewalong is choosing your size in the Webster Top & Dress. There are two measurement charts: one is the Body Measurement chart, and the other is the Finished Garment chart. The Body Measurement chart helps you choose your size based on what numbers you get when you measure your body with a tape measure – it has numbers for your bust (around the fullest part), waist and hip. The Finished Garment chart shows you the size of the actual sewn garment – the difference between that and the Body Measurement chart is called “ease”, and it’s the amount of extra room in the garment that the designer recommends for the clothes to fit well and allow movement.

Generally, you want to start by comparing your measurement with the body measurement chart. However, sometimes you might find that it looks like you’ll need to grade between sizes based on your measurements. When this is the case, taking a look at the finished garment measurement chart can help you decide when grading is actually necessary. For the Webster, the positive ease will make it so the need to grade is less likely; see below for more detail on that.

As with all Cashmerette Patterns, the best bet is to start with your bust measurement – you should use your full bust measurement, which is around the fullest part of your bust. Because of the cup sizing, you may find you could fit in two different bust sizes – in which case, you want to pick the overall size that’s closest to your waist size. So for instance, if your bust is 44″, you could theoretically be a 14 G/H or a 16 C/D. Which one should you pick? Take a look at the waist measurement – if yours is closer to 34″ (size 14), then go with the 14 G/H. If yours is closer to 36″ (size 16), then go with the 16 C/D. Because the Webster Top & Dress is meant to fit more closely through the bust and then flow below that, the bust measurement is the most important here. Also think about the overall size and shape of your frame. Do you have smaller shoulders compared to a larger bust? Then maybe in the above example, even if your waist is 36″ you should try the 14 G/H. Fitting is a bit of art combined with science!

Don’t fret if the cup size doesn’t match up with your bra size – there is so much variation in bra sizing that it’s not possible to perfectly line them up. Use your bust measurement and you’ll be fine.

Grading Between Sizes

The Webster Top & Dress has a significant amount of positive ease in the waist and hips as it is designed to be a floaty, flowy fitting garment. If you want to grade between sizes or make a more fitted garment, check out this post where Jenny details how to adjust the Webster!

Preparing pattern and fabric

Now that we’ve chosen our size and graded if necessary, it’s time to prepare our pattern and fabric so that we’ll be all ready to sew next time! Are you using silk or a slippery fabric and feeling a little intimidated? Check out our Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Silk!

Here’s your checklist:

  • Wash and dry your fabric, to make sure it’s pre-shrunk and you’re not going to get any nasty surprises later!
  • Press your fabric so it’s nice and flat. Check to see if you get any iron shine when you press the right side. If so, you’ll want to use a press cloth when pressing between steps.
  • If you’re using a printed pattern, either cut or trace off your pattern pieces – if you’re making adjustments or are going to make any dresses in other sizes in the future, I definitely recommend tracing.
  • If you’re using a PDF pattern, you’ll need to print and assemble it. Here are some pointers to help you.
  • Transfer all the markings to the fabric. For the notches, make a little snip into the fabric, within the seam allowance (so no more than 1/4″/6mm).
  • Cut all pieces, following the layout diagrams in the pattern.

For the next step in our Webster Top & Dress Sewalong, we’ll get started interfacing, stay stitching, and sewing our darts. Share your progress with us using #WebsterTop or #WebsterDress!

 


Cashmerette
June 23, 2017

Sewing With Silk – Tips and Tricks for Sewing Slippery Fabrics

In preparation for our Webster Top & Dress sewalong, we thought we’d share with you some tips on sewing with silk. The Webster is the perfect pattern to pair with silk and because it’s not too complicated to sew, it could be a great first silk project!

Sewing with silk or other slippery fabrics can be intimidating at first, but with preparation and practice, you’ll be cranking out silk tops in no time! Today, we’ll talk about preparing, cutting, and sewing your silk.

Preparing Your Silk

Believe it or not, most silks can be machine washed! Now, I wouldn’t recommend taking your favorite silk shirt and tossing it in the washing machine, but if you prewash your silk fabric in the washing machine, you’ll be able to machine wash the finished garment. Something to keep in mind: machine washed silk loses some of it’s shine, so if you want a high-shine garment, you’ll need to dry clean. Also, take a swatch of your silk and machine wash it to see how it holds up. The silks from the Webster Top & Dress kits have all been machine washed when making samples!

If you are not going to machine wash your silk, take it to the dry cleaner before you sew with it and have it pre-cleaned. Silk can shrink depending on how it’s treated, and a shrunken silk garment is a sad thing indeed.

If you have machine or hand-washable silk, you can use gelatin to stiffen the fabric and make it significantly easier to cut and sew. I’ve also heard you can use cornflour or cornstarch but I haven’t tried that myself.

To stiffen your fabric with gelatin, mix 1 teaspoon for every 16 ounces of hot water. Depending on how much yardage you want to soak, you may need 1 – 2 gallons of mixture (128 – 256 ounces).  Let this mixture sit for 30 minutes to activate the gelatin. Add in your silk and mix it around so it all gets soaked. Let it sit for an hour in the gelatin mixture. Remove from the mixture and lay the silk out to dry overnight. I often put a towel over my shower curtain rod and drape the silk over that. Once the silk is dry, it should be stiff and a little crunchy, far easier to manipulate than its usual slippery self.

Cutting your silk

Keeping your silk nice and flat when cutting, whether you’ve stiffened it or not, is super important. It is very easy to shift it off grain while cutting; I highly recommend cutting it in a single layer using a fresh rotary cutter blade. If you don’t have a rotary cutter, trace all your pieces using a chalk marker (test your color first to make sure it comes off; this can be v. sad!). Make sure you cut your fabric with a very sharp pair of scissors. When you cut seams on the bias (like the v-neck of the Webster), I’d recommend immediately stay-stitching those pieces when you cut them out. I often will have my machine set up near by so I can take my freshly cut piece straight to the machine.

Sewing with silk

There are a few tools that make sewing with silk much easier. Here are my recommendations:

  • Super sharp, thin pins like these
  • Wonder tape for hems, which make it so much easier than trying to pin double-folded silk
  • A microtex needle, which minimizes the chance of creating runs in your fabric; make sure it’s a new one
  • A walking foot if you have one — these move the fabric through the machine more evenly than using just the lower feed dogs

If you are going to be finishing your seams on a serger, make sure to test the serger on a scrap of your fabric first to make sure it doesn’t create runs.

When pressing silk seams, use a press cloth and a spray like Soak Flatter to help the seams press crisply.

Cashmerette Webster Top & Dress

Those are our top tips! Let us know in the comments if you have other recommendations for sewing with silk or other slippery fabrics!


Cashmerette
June 21, 2017

How to make the Webster Dress more fitted

Howdy sewing friends! So as you’ve seen by now, our latest pattern, the Webster Top and Dress is designed to be an airy, floaty, swooshy garment – perfect for hot summer days. It’s fitted through the shoulders and bust, and then flares out pretty dramatically for a silhouette that’s almost trapeze-like. It’s not necessarily going to make you look thinner, but in our books, that’s not always the point of our clothes!

But what if you love the look of the Webster but want a more fitted look? Don’t despair: there are actually quite a few approaches, and I’m going to take you through three of them today. One thing to note: because there are no closures (zips, buttons or the like) you don’t want to make your Webster TOO fitted, or you’re not going to be able to get it on and off. However there are definitely ways to make it a little more form fitting and a little less voluminous.

Cashmerette Webster Top & Dress

The original Webster Dress in its swingy glory!

1. Grade between sizes

If you want to retain exactly the same look on your Webster, but with a closer fit, then grading between sizes is the easiest approach. Start by picking the right size for your bust. Then, decide how many sizes you want to go down for the rest of the garment. The way to do that is to look at the Finished Garment Measurements, which show you how large the actual dress is. You definitely still need to have quite a lot of ease to be able to get it on and off, but in most cases, you’d be safe going down 1 – 2 sizes.

So let’s say you are a perfect fit for the body measurements of the 18 G/H (48″ – 38″ – 48″). If  you graded down to the 14 waist and hip, the garment would still be 51″ at the waist and 55″ at the hip – enough to get over your size 18 bust, but overall you’ll have 4 inches less of ease than if you made a straight 18.  If you’re normally a bigger size at the waist/ hip (e.g. if you’re an 18 G/H bust, but a 22 waist/hip), conversely you could just make a straight 18.

To grade between sizes, start by marking your bust size on the side seam, at the bottom of the bust dart (indicated by a red circle here). Then, mark the size you want to grade down to around the waist. Note that there is no defined waist point on the Webster (it doesn’t go in!) so it’s really up to you where you want to put that. Then, join up the bust and waist points with a smooth line. Continue down the line of the smaller size, and onto the bottom hem band. Then cut your fabric and sew as normal!

 

2. Add waist ties

A second approach is to add waist ties that will cinch the dress in at the waist. This is a very simple method, and you can make the ties as short or long as you like, and either tie them at the front, the back, or even make them super long and wrap them around you all the way.

First, decide how long you want your ties to be (I usually drape a measuring tape around me or a scrap of fabric to assess). Construct them using the same method as for the Webster back straps.

Once you’ve attached the facing but the dress is still flat, baste the straps onto the back side seams at whatever height you like. Then, complete construction as normal.

 

 

3. Add a waist drawstring or elastic

This final approach is inspired by the True Bias Southport dress! You’ll add a channel to the outside of the dress, and then you can either insert a drawstring or a piece of elastic (there’s a slight difference in construction for elastic).

First up, create the channel.

To calculate how long your channel piece should be, first measure the width of your pattern pieces at the height where you want the channel, allowing for a 1.5″ gap at the center front (and a 1/2″ seam allowance at each end). So for instance, if your pattern pieces are 40″ around, then your piece would be 40″ – 1.5″ + 0.5″ + 0.5″ = 39.5″ long. For a 1 inch wide finished channel, the depth of the piece should be 2″. So: cut a rectangle of your fabric that’s your desired length by 2″ deep.

Once you have that piece, fold over each long side to the wrong side by 1/2″ and press (note the illustrations are not to scale). Then, fold over each short end to the wrong side by 1/2″ and press again. Now, from the right side, topstitch down each long end.

 

Create the drawstring as long as you’d like, using the same method as the Webster back straps.

Once you’ve completed constructing your dress, pin the channeling on to the dress at the desired height, and topstitch it to the dress at the top and bottom (make sure you’re accurate and leaving enough of a gap in the middle!). Pin a safety pin through the drawstring, and insert into the channel and you’re done!

To insert elastic, follow the same approach for the channel, but without the 1.5″ gap in the center. Sew the channel in a loop, then pin to the dress. Topstitch the channel to the dress, leaving a 2 inch gap in the bottom topstitching. Wrap a piece of 1/4″ elastic around your waist and stretch until it is snug but comfortable. Cut. Pin a safety pin through the elastic, and feed through the channeling. Sew the two ends of the elastic together, and then topstitch the 2 inch gap closed.

So there are three approaches to making your Webster Dress more fitted! What do you think: will you be trying any of them?


Cashmerette
June 19, 2017

Webster Top & Dress Inspiration and Fabric Ideas

The Webster Top & Dress pattern makes a fun and trendy trapeze dress or a classic tank with a strappy twist. Today, we’ve gathered some Webster inspiration and fabric ideas to get your creative juices flowing!

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You can play with color blocking on the dress version along the seam lines, or use a border print fabric for a fun effect. Don’t be afraid to play around with different strap variations! Not in summer mode? Try making your Webster with a lace overlay for a totally different look.

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A shape like this can be so stunning in a solid. Go for a rich summery color or a classic white and you’ll have a piece that can be styled so many different ways!

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You can’t go wrong with a floral for a breezy summer dress! Dress it down for a day at the beach or dress it up for date night!

The Webster Top and Dress look amazing in so many lightweight fabrics; the world is your oyster! Here are a few ideas for some different looks.

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Go for a statement in a fiery red viscose with beautiful drape. Paired with nude sandals and gold jewelry, you have your summer wedding attendee dress sorted! Make a slightly more structured version in a light weight ikat for a downtown cool look. Or why not use double gauze to make the perfect beach coverup?

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Because of the relatively simple style lines, the Webster is just crying out for fun statement prints. Giraffe silk crepe?? Yes please, especially in that perfect coral! Make a special dress or versatile top in a Liberty print. And for a truly special top, choose a unique silk border print!

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Of course, we have a few kits left as well! This geometric rayon challis is such a lovely fabric with a soft hand and perfect drape. Or emulate our lovely cover model, Rachel, in this purple sandwashed rayon; pictures really don’t do this scrumptious fabric justice!

Are you planning any Webster Tops or Dresses? Share your ideas with us in the comments and pictures on social media using #WebsterTop and #WebsterDress. We can’t wait to see what you create!

 

 


Cashmerette
June 15, 2017

How to print PDF Copyshop files cheaply

How to print PDF Copyshop files cheaply

Cashmerette Patterns come in three formats, and today I’m going to be sharing the secret of inexpensive ways to use the Copyshop files! No more $18 bills from Staples, thankyouverymuch.

There are pros and cons to each of the Cashmerette Patterns format, so you can choose yours depending on what you care the most about:

  1. Printed pattern: The big pro is there’s no additional work required to start working on your project – it’s all there! You also get a lovely printed envelope and instruction booklet to refer to. The cons are that you have to wait for it to be sent to you (or buy it from a store), and you’ll have to pay postage if you have it sent (US mail costs $2 – 3 (depending on the pattern weight), and international is $6 – 7).
  2. PDF Print At Home: The main pro is that you can get your pattern immediately, print it off on your home printer, and get going straight away – and, no postage costs. You can also reprint in the future if you want a new size, don’t want to trace, or lose your pieces. The con is that you have to construct it, which involves trimming the pages and taping or gluing them together. Some people love this, some people hate it!
  3. PDF Copyshop: The pro to this is that you get beautiful big paper pattern pieces that you can print locally, so no postage fees or waiting for an international package, and no printing at home or taping. Cashmerette Patterns Copyshop files come in US size (36 x 48″) and A0 size which is used in the rest of the world. The con is that sometimes this can be expensive – but that’s what we’re solving int his blog post today! If you don’t find a good local option for you here, I recommend googling “engineering print printing”, “plan printing”, “blueprint printing” or “reprographics printing”.

Note, all Cashmerette Pattern PDF files are split by cup size, so you only need to print the relevant cup size for you.

How to print PDF Copyshop files cheaply

Most people assume that you can only have Copyshop files printed at large chains like Staples and Fedex (in the US) – but they’re super expensive, starting at around $7.50 per sheet (and most of our PDF patterns are at least 2 sheets). Once you add that to the cost of the PDF pattern, you may be better off just buying a printed pattern. However, there are in fact some much cheaper options available. If you know of any additional national companies, let me know and I’ll update the post!

USA copyshop file printing

  • PDFPlotting.com
    • This online PDF plotting business has great prices and pretty quick shipping (2 – 5 business days, with same-day printing if you order before 2pm). A standard 36 x 48″ Copyshop pattern sheet is only $1.20! The catch is, there is a minimum order cost of $7.49 (so you need to print 7 pages), and shipping is a flat $6.99. However, that still nets out at $2.06 a page vs. over $7 for Staples.
    • To order, indicate the number of originals (that’s the number of sheets you’re printing), the number of sets (the number of copies you want) and then you’ll be asked about the dimensions of the files – for all Cashmerette Patterns, you should tick “My file(s) are sized to the dimensions selected” (it may be different for other companies).
    • I have used this company personally and recommend them (please note, I haven’t used the others, I have just had recommendations from other people).
  • Blueprintsprinting.com
    • This is another online PDF plotting company, and they offer 36 x 48″ Copyshop pattern sheets at $1.32. They don’t have a minimum number of pages, but there is a “set up fee” of $7.  Shipping is variable, but at $16 to Boston, it’s pretty steep.

UK copyshop file printing

  • Netprinter.co.uk
    • “Plan” printing (black and white) on a A0 page is 75p a page, and postage is £3. I wasn’t able to see if there are any printer set-up fees (let me know if you have more info!)
  • Printingandplotting.co.uk
    • “Plan” printing on an A0 page is 75p a page, minimum order is £5, and postage is £5 (next day).
  • Print your Pattern
    • A site just for printing sewing patterns! £6.50 per pattern, in A0 size (up to 2 pages, you can also email them about printing more pages), plus free shipping. Delivered folded to A4 size.

Denmark copyshop file printing

  • Sysiden
    • A0 printed for 45 kr + tax + shipping if you’re part of the Sysiden sewing club (the printing is via Vester Kopi).

Germany copyshop file printing

  • Schnittherzchen
    • A0 page printing starts at Euro 3.50, and shipping costs are variable. They also offer the option to send in an A4 sewing pattern which they will tile for you and print on an A0 page! Very innovative and great for sewing patterns that don’t come with a copyshop file.
  • Preiswertplotten.de
    • Online printing service, I believe A0 page printing starts at Euro 1.29, plus shipping.

 Netherlands copyshop file printing

  • Repro-plotservice.nl
    • €1.76 for an A0 sheet – ask for the black & white plan printing, large format.

 Norway copyshop file printing

  • Allkopi
    • (I couldn’t translate this page, but if any Norwegian wants to give me the info, I’ll update this!)

 

Australia copyshop file printing

  • OfficeWorks
    • “Plan” printing (black and white) of A0 pages is AUS$4.10 a page, and can be ordered online and sent to you, or picked up in a store.

New Zealand copyshop file printing

  • Warehouse Stationery
    • “Plan” printing (black and white) of A0 pages is NZ$6.50 a page. You can order online, or get the printing done in a store.

South Africa copyshop file printing

  • PostNet
    • Nationwide chain of franchise run stores. Slight variation in prices depending on store location but A0 b&w is currently less than R30 – usually around R25.

So that’s how to print PDF copyshop files cheaply! I’d love to hear if you have any  more options, and I hope you found this helpful.

Thanks a lot to everyone who contributed to this post in the Cashmerette Facebook Community Group!

*Note, all prices accurate at the time of publication (June 2017). Prices may vary in the future. Please note, in some cases I had to use Google Translate for non-English pages and information may be incorrect – please let me know if you spot anything and I will update it!


Cashmerette
June 12, 2017

Introducing the Cashmerette Webster Top & Dress!

As the summer finally starts in Boston, I’m thrilled to introduce you to our latest pattern, the Cashmerette Webster Top & Dress!

Cashmerette Webster Top & Dress

Cashmerette Webster Top & Dress

I’ve always wanted a cute, flowy summer top and dress with fashionable strappy details – but never been able to find one that didn’t flash my bra or tent from my bust. That’s why I designed the Webster Top and Dress – a flowy, chic and bra-friendly top and dress that you’ll reach for all summer long (Down under? It also pairs well with leggings and a cardi!).

Cashmerette Webster Top & Dress

Rachel is wearing View A (Top) in a size 18 G/H, and she’s 5’5″

Cashmerette Webster Top & Dress

I am wearing View B (Dress) in a size 20 G/H, and I’m 5’6″

The Webster Top & Dress are fitted through the shoulders and bust, and then flare out with lots of ease for a floaty, breezy silhouette. They both have a V-neck front and back (just high enough to cover your bra band), cross-over straps at the back (don’t like straps? Just leave them off), and a high-low hem. As always, Cashmerette Patterns have an armscye designed for larger busts, which means no side-bra flashing.

The top & dress have an all-in-one facing to get a beautiful flip-free neckline, and if you combine it with french seams, you can have fully finished insides.

Cashmerette Webster Top & Dress

View A is a top/tunic length, which covers your bum at the back, and is the perfect pair for jeans or leggings. I’m in love with my rayon lemons Webster (it’s been quite a challenge keeping it off social media!). Want to make it a longer tunic? That’s super easy – just add length at the shorten/lengthen line on the pattern pieces.

Cashmerette Webster Top & Dress

Cashmerette Webster Top & Dress

View B is the Webster Dress, with a deep hem band added to the bottom – use a contrasting fabric for a color-blocked effect! As designed (for 5’6″), it is just above the knees at the front, and just below the knees at the back. Again, you can shorten or lengthen to your heart’s desire.

Cashmerette Webster Top & Dress

Cashmerette Webster Top & Dress

Make your Webster from a lightweight woven with a nice drape, like rayon challis, cotton voile or silk crepe de chine. I’m a huge fan of my washed silk and rayon versions! Depending on your fabric, this can be an every day garment for casual weekends, or a beautiful dress for special occasions.

The Webster is rated as “advanced beginner” because of the floaty fabric used and constructing the all-in-one facing, but a brave beginner could definitely tackle this, and we’ll be doing a step-by-step photographic sewalong on the blog to help you along.

The Webster Top & Dress comes as a beautifully printed pattern, or an instant gratification PDF download (with print at home and copyshop options).

And as always, Cashmerette Patterns are designed for curves, in sizes 12 – 28 and cup sizes C – H.

Webster Top & Dress Kits

The key to an amazing Webster is using the right fabrics, and we’ve sourced some amazing fabric kits for you! All the kits come with the fabric and interfacing you’ll need to make a Webster Dress (and if you make the Top, you’ll have some extra to make another garment!), have the option of coming bundled with a printed or PDF pattern, or just the fabric & interfacing alone.

The first two kits sold out in our pre-sale yesterday (all the more reason to sign up for our newsletter before next time!), but we still have two lovely kits left:

This beautiful purple sandwashed rayon is being worn by Rachel on the cover. It’s hard to capture how amazing this is in a photo – it’s is super soft and drapey with an ever-so-slightly faded quality that’s achieved through sandwashing. It makes a truly beautiful understated Webster.

And then we have a geometric rayon challis that’s worthy of sunglasses! I love this bold, colorful pattern – perfect for a summery garment. The drape is wonderful and it is fantastically soft.

There’s tons of potential for creative fun with the back straps (or you can leave them off if you prefer), which I’ll be showing you in the upcoming weeks – the only limit is your imagination! And, we’ll be doing a photographic step-by-step sewalong, helping you along each step of the way.

I hope you’re as excited about the Webster Top & Dress as I am, and I can’t wait to see what you make! Make sure you tag your makes with #WebsterTop or #WebsterDress on social media so everyone can see your amazing garments.


Cashmerette
June 10, 2017

Lenox Shirtdress Sewalong Day 10: Finishing Touches!

We made it to the final day of the sewalong! Hooray!! Today is all about finishing touches. We’ll hem our Lenox Shirtdresses, then put in button holes and sew on buttons.

To hem the dress, start by pressing the bottom edge up by 1/4″. Fold it up by another 3/4″ and press. Pin in place from the right side and topstitch at a scant 3/4″ all the way around. Make sure the edges around your button bland are well-pressed and any raw bits are tucked away. After sewing, give it another good press.

Using the buttonhole guide, mark the positions of the button holes on your dress. As drafted, there is no button on the waistband so if you want to wear a belt, it doesn’t have to go over a button. If you don’t plan on wearing a belt with your Lenox, we’d recommend shifting the buttons so there is one on the waistband. You’ll also want to make sure the second button is in line with your bust apex to help prevent gaping. Adjust the spacing of your buttonholes if necessary to get them in the right spots for you.

Use the buttonhole foot on your machine to make your buttonholes, then carefully open with either a seam ripper with a pin in the end of the hole, an exacto knife (very carefully!), or a buttonhole awl.

Align the two button bands, pinning in place at the waistband, hem, and V-neck corner. Mark the locations of the buttons through the button holes and attach the buttons either by machine or by hand.

And that’s it! You’re dress is done!! Thanks so much for sewing along with us and make sure you share you’re garments using #LenoxShirtdress so we can see what you create!


Cashmerette

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