May 22, 2017

Lenox Shirtdress Inspiration and Fabric

Hi all! Carrie here and we’re getting ready to launch into our Lenox Shirtdress sew along, so today I’m here to share some amazing shirtdress inspiration and fun fabric options! There are so many looks you can achieve with a shirtdress depending on your fabric choice and styling. Here are some looks that we love!


A graphic check, a vertical stripe, or an African wax print lend a bold, graphic feel to your shirtdress.


Tanesha, queen of the shirtdress and style icon at Cashmerette HQ, has such a beautiful array of dresses! The red with the lace trim is to die for!


Keep it simple in black and white, but you can still make your shirtdress feel vintage, romantic, or edgy!


Or go for a bold print! The classic shape of the shirtdress helps it carry whimsical prints without feeling too juvenile. Have a fun quilting cotton that you’re dying to make a garment out of? The Lenox might be just the ticket!

On that note, let’s look at some fabrics!

First up, the kits were a huge hit and most have sold out, but we’ve been able to source more chambray and Tencel, so if you were eyeing those, nab one before they sell out again!

Cashmerette Montgomery Dress

Here are some fun fabrics that we think would make a great Lenox from around the web!


Classic prints in rich color schemes are one of our favorite combinations. The plus signs are a delightful mid-weight cotton. The mustard floral is a rayon challis that has been making the rounds on Instagram like crazy lately! The feathers are a rayon twill, which is one of our favorite substrates. There’s even a few sneaky birds hidden in there!


Seersucker? Double gauze? Embroidered flamingos? Dots that remind me of that dot candy? Metallic peach floral? Why not?! Make a statement in your Lenox in one of these fun, playful fabrics.


Or go for a classic and make a wear-with-anything linen version. We love these with the wide stripes, pin stripes, or metallic for a classic with a twist!

Are you going to join us for the Lenox Sewalong? What fabrics have caught your eye? Make sure to share your makes with us on social media with #LenoxShirtdress !

May 17, 2017

Newsflash! Name change & more kits available

Hi everyone – wow, what a week so far! It’s been amazing seeing how much you guys love our latest shirtdress pattern, so a huge thank you to everyone who’s ordered – we can’t wait to see what you make.

We have two bits of news:

The “Montgomery Shirtdress” is now the “Lenox Shirtdress”

First up, a name change. To avoid confusion with any other patterns, the Montgomery Shirtdress has changed its name to the Lenox Shirtdress. The pattern is 100% identical, so don’t worry if you already ordered yours.  Please use the hashtag #LenoxShirtdress so we can see your fantastic shirtdresses.

More kits in stock, and the sale is extended!

Second, we have more kits in stock! You LOVED the Tencel and Blue Chambray kits and they sold out within 24 hours, but we were able to get more of both fabrics in, so you have another chance to catch one.

The fabric’s winging its way to Cashmerette HQ right now, so if you order now, we should be able to ship to you within the next 10 days.  To celebrate, we’ve also extended our sale! You can now use code LENOX to get 20% of the Lenox Shirtdress kit – or any other Cashmerette kit – until 24 May (11.59pm EST). You can find all our fabric kits here.

Happy sewing!

Cashmerette Montgomery Dress

May 15, 2017

Introducing the Cashmerette Lenox Shirtdress!

It’s no secret that the sewing community is fond of shirtdresses, so I’m totally thrilled to introduce you today to the Cashmerette Lenox Shirtdress! Are you as excited as I am?!

(Note, this dress was previously called the Montgomery Shirtdress, but we changed the name to avoid any confusion with other patterns).

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Lenox Shirtdress

The Lenox Shirtdress is a classic fit-and-flare shirtdress, with features that have been thoughtfully designed to look absolutely fantastic on curves (and of course, it’s in our usual sizing of 12 – 28 and cup sizes C – H).

What makes the Cashmerette Lenox Shirtdress stand out?

  • A gentle V-neck button placket frames your face and looks great on a larger bust.
  • The princess seams on the front and back bodice mean an amazing fit.
  • Short sleeves with a separate hem band.
  • Two collar versions: a traditional collar, or a simple band collar.
  • Two skirt versions: a lovely swishy pleated skirt (which is positively sculptural in mid-weight fabrics) or a simple gathered version.
  • Back princess seams with a built-in sway back, so no fabric pooling in your lower back.
  • A separate waistband which hits at the high waist, and looks equally great with or without a belt.
  • Pockets!
  • A beautiful finish inside with a faced waistband and a burrito-style yoke (and use you can use french seams for a 100% clean finish!)

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

You can use a range of light to mid-weight woven fabrics for the Lenox Shirtdress: chambrays look fantastic, and I’ve also made and seen awesome versions in rayon, linen and even silk.

Here’s my view A version in a classic blue chambray (available as a kit, so you can make this exact dress), in size 18 G/H, graded to a 20 at the waist. I’m 5’6″, and the skirt hits at the top of my kneecap. It goes so well with my new clogs, too!

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Dress

Rachel’s wearing a view B blue floral rayon Lenox Shirtdress (also available as a kit), in a size 16 G/H, with the waist raised 1 inch (she’s super short waisted!).

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

20% off “Sewing for Curves” online workshop

The Lenox Shirtdress is classified as an Intermediate level pattern, because the construction is similar to that of a classic shirt, with quite a lot of steps.

However, if you’re an adventurous beginner, you should totally give it a go! You could also enroll in “Shirtmaking for Curves“, my online workshop: the techniques are very similar to making the Harrison Shirt, and it will hold your hand through steps like creating professional-looking collars and doing a burrito-style yoke (the main differences are that it won’t cover the skirt or the V-neck button placket). Use code MONTGOMERY to get 20% off the price (valid through 11.59pm May 21st).

We’ll also be doing a photographic sewalong on the blog soon, so you can see the construction step-by-step.

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

As always, the Lenox Shirtdress comes in sizes 12 – 28 and cup sizes C – H, and it’s available as a beautifully printed paper pattern, or as an instant-gratification downloadable PDF, which includes copyshop files for A0 and US printing.

Lenox Shirtdress Kits

As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve got four kits for you – and two of them are featured on our cover! All the kits come with the fabric, interfacing and buttons you’ll need, and have the option of coming bundled with a printed or PDF pattern, or just the fabric & notions alone.

First up, the fantastic blue chambray I’m wearing on the cover: is there anything more classic than a chambray shirtdress? (in these photos, the colour on the professional studio photos is the most accurate!). SOLD OUT! You guys move fast! 

Cashmerette Montgomery Dress

Then, we’ve got the bold and beautiful navy floral rayon that Rachel’s wearing on the cover. It has tones of purple, orange and green, and will brighten up anyone’s day.

This light red chambray version is totally on trend, and so pretty as we in the north head into summer.

Finally, that hard-to-find tencel! We sourced this beautiful dark navy tencel and paired it with gorgeous brass buttons for a really sophisticated Lenox. It has the appearance of denim, but with a much softer feel and smoother drape: win-win.  Alas this one also already sold out during the newsletter pre-sale! All the more reason you should make sure you’re signed up for next time 🙂 

I hope you love the Lenox Shirtdress as much as I do, and I can’t wait to see what you make. Make sure you use the hashtag #LenoxShirtdress when you post on social media. What do you think: will you be making a Lenox? What fabric and view will you go for?

May 1, 2017

Your Cashmerette Makes! Dartmouth Top Roundup

Now that the Dartmouth Top has been out in the wild for a month and a half, we thought it would be fun to share some of your awesome makes! The Dartmouth is a great option for transitional seasons…pop a cardigan over it when chilly or even make a long sleeve version if you’re heading into winter!


We love Dartmouth Tops equally when made in prints or solids! Can you believe Amanda’s first ever sewn clothing item was the Dartmouth?? (This lovely purple number was her second Dartmouth, but they are both amazing!)


Florals for spring, stripes for always, buffalo check for winter? Yes, please! Also, you can see, the crossover can be worn over or under the bust. As drafted, it’s designed to go under, but you can wear it whatever way you choose!


The Dartmouth Top as a dress?!? We love this hack and it looks so amazing on Jessica and Syreeta!

Keep sharing your amazing makes with us using #DartmouthTop on social media and let us know in the comments if you have any ideas for hacks…I saw something brewing on Instagram with a clever sleeve hack; I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for that!

April 24, 2017

Curvy Confidence Interviews: Jennifer W

I’m so excited to have Jennifer here today for our Curvy Confidence Interviews. Jennifer became a great “internet friend” through her hilarious reviews for the Curvy Sewing Collective, but even better, became an “in real life” friend too! I was fascinated to hear her story – so much resonates with me, and I’m sure with many of you, too.

Make sure you follow along with her amazing makes on Instagram @weboughtamanor and on the Curvy Sewing Collective (here and here, for example.)

​Let’s start at the beginning! What was your body image like as a child and teenager? 

Three memories from my childhood clearly stand out:

  • One of my earliest memories is telling my dad that I felt fat. I was nine.

Figure 1: My school photos between 3rd and 4th grade. Obviously, I should not have been concerned about my weight.

  • The first week in high school (9th grade), I joined the tennis team. In the locker room they opened the box of tennis uniforms (for competition days) and the biggest was a size 10. I felt such dread and panic at the possibility that I wouldn’t fit into that skirt (I was most comfortable at a size 12) and that everyone would know I was too fat to be on the team. I squeezed into that size 10, even though I had to leave the top button undone — it never occurred to me that asking them to order a size bigger was an option, or that not fitting into a size 10 shouldn’t be a source of shame.
  • In 11th grade, that same tennis coach didn’t recognize me — he thought I was a new member of the team. When I laughed and pointed out that I had been on the team the previous two years, he made a HUGE deal in front of the rest of the team about how I looked so different and it was because I had lost a bunch of weight and looked so “in shape.” I hadn’t lost any weight, but it might had shifted around a bit — and I still needed that size 12 skirt. I remember being puzzled that someone that I saw on a daily basis for months each year wouldn’t recognize me because of a little change in my body.

Figure 2: School photos from 10th to 11th grade. Would YOU recognize me as the same person? Of course you would.

Throughout middle school and high school I consistently felt chubby, although I look back at photos and was absolutely not fat — not even “plus size.” I hit puberty almost overnight and was wearing a C-cup bra with stretch marks on my hips ​by the time I was 15 years old. I think being curvy contributed to a sense of unease about my body’s role in my life. Even though I played sports year-round (tennis, indoor track, and outdoor track), had a great group of friends and steady boyfriends, I was always cognizant of my weight and being “bigger” than my peers.

Figure 3: That’s me, front and center — and certainly not looking any bigger than the average kid on the track team.

In my senior year of high school, I experienced a round of clinical depression and lost 30 pounds and got down to a size 6. Even thought I was in the “dark days” of hopelessness, I felt a sense of triumph that I was finally skinny. Over the next five years, I gradually bounced back to a size 14/16 and now, approaching age 40, I currently wear a 20/22/24. I’ll admit that I’ve seriously questioned whether it would be worth being seriously depressed if I could lose weight like that again. Hint: it’s not worth it, no matter what your brain tells you.

Who or what most influenced your perception of what women’s bodies are “meant” to look like? 

​Learning to sew for myself has been a game changer, as has finding the Curvy Sewing Collective. I realized this summer that it had really normalized my view of “average” women’s bodies when I opened up Pinterest and scrolled through “women’s fashion” and was fascinated/appalled at the prevalence of the “super fit, super curvy-with-big-boobs-a-tiny-waist-and-skeletal arms, excessively thigh-gapped, and disproportionately bobble-headed” models that cropped up everywhere. It was the first time that I had looked at those kind of images and immediately thought “holy smokes that doesn’t even look real!” rather than “I wish my body looked like that”.

Figure 4: On the left, I am 24 years old and will shortly be told on a blind date that, while I’m really nice, I’m a bit “bigger” than women he’s attracted to. On the right: 60 pounds heavier (and 14 years older) and feeling like a sex goddess.

Figure 5: Skydiving, kayaking in Sweden, and climbing a mountain in Turkey — three amazing adventures in my 20s. II was exquisitely aware of my weight during each adventure. It never stopped me from doing things, but man I thought about it a lot.

 What is the culture like regarding body size where you live? 

​I know from demographics that I am among the heaviest 1% of the US population when it comes to my height/weight ratio. ​Looking around my community, I don’t feel particularly out of place. On my recent trips to San Diego, Bangkok, Japan, and Sweden, however, it became VERY obvious that the vast majority of world populations are skinnier than Americans. I don’t like feeling like the “fat American” but what are you going to do?

Figure 6: Preparing to be the fattest person in Paris, in a trip this past summer with my family. Look at me, hiding my angst.

Figure 7: Just kidding! While I was definitely the “curviest” person on the tour and on the streets, it didn’t impact my happiness one bit!

 Tell us about your journey to body positivity: did you have a “eureka!” moment that changed your self-perception, or was a it a more gradual process? 

​Are we ever really there? I think it’s an ongoing process that is two steps forward, one step back. Or sometimes, sixteen steps back. I struggled with infertility in my early 30s — I was otherwise healthy but according to my OBGYN could “stand to lose 20-30 pounds.” Dealing with all of the emotions and pressures and shame that comes with infertility and then to add a weight component — well, it was very hard. And after all of it, I gained 30 pounds as a result of the fertility treatments, hormone supplements, and emotional eating that came with the journey. That’s where I am right now — six years later, at my heaviest weight ever, and in general, I’m the least concerned today about my weight as an abstract thing.

I made a conscious decision after the infertility debacle to stop dieting and to stop looking at my weight as a thing to be “managed.” Dieting and weighing myself daily brought me no joy, it didn’t work long-term, and it always veered to obsessiveness. (Side note: how awful is an obsession that doesn’t work!?) Since then, it’s been so much easier.

Looking back, it was the decade or so where I hovered right between straight sizes and plus sizes that was the toughest – I was always worried about tipping over into “officially fat.” Oddly, there was something immensely freeing about just admitting that there was no question – plus size it is.

Figure 8: The day we adopted our kids. I’m wearing one of the first me-made tops I ever attempted. I look at this photo and feel SO happy — extra weight and all.

What role has sewing played in your self-image? 

​Ironically (or not, perhaps), having a closet full of handmade clothing has made me NOT want to lose weight. If I woke up tomorrow 50 pounds thinner, I would be sad that none of my beloved clothes would fit anymore. I’m sure I’d get over it (and what a wonderful excuse to buy more fabric!) but it’s an amazing accomplishment (to me) to actually *want* to have the same body tomorrow morning as the one I went to sleep with.​

Sewing has also changed my relationship with my body into something that is more objective. Sewing makes you really KNOW your body – not just the feel of it, but its actual dimensions and angles. Looking at my body, I now see an amazing array of geometry and proportions that are fascinating – not good, or bad – but absolutely unique to me.

Figure 9: Some of my favorite recent makes.

What do you say to people who criticize curvy women for being unhealthy? 

​I try not to engage the trolls on the internet, and I haven’t had anyone say negative things to my face or within earshot in years. My “force of personality” (e.g. I am a strong, Type A, speak with confidence person) ​probably helps keep people in check and I’d like to think that I could handle it with grace. Or at least, shut them down and leave them quivering with embarrassment.

What do you find are the biggest challenges to your body confidence today? How do you overcome them? 

​On a daily basis, I don’t feel particularly fat — if anything, the biggest “body” feel that I have right now is about getting older — I’m starting to see wrinkles and sagging skin. So that’s another journey of self-acceptance. ​

How do you think issues around body positivity affect women’s broader role in society? 

​I travel a LOT for work as a consultant and engage in lots of high-profile meetings with senior executives of large companies, and I will tell you that while there may be a lot of fat people in the world, few of them are at the upper echelons of the business hierarchy. I’m virtually always the biggest person on the airplane (especially in business class), and there are many times when it is clear that I am not a typical body type around the Board Room table. Over the last year or two, when I do think about my body critically, it’s been in conjunction with my career — recognizing that I would fit in better with most “senior leadership” if I dropped 50 pounds. That’s a tough one I’m wrestling with now at a conceptual level.

What advice would you have for other women who would like to find a peace with their body and self-image, but are struggling? 

​I hate the strain of body positivity that says “your weight doesn’t matter as long as you’re healthy.” Screw that. You are worthy of dignity and respect and empathy and kindness NO MATTER WHAT. Even if you are horribly unhealthy (or just enjoy a weekly trip to McDonalds), that doesn’t remove your inherent worth as an individual and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t ever let people tie your weight to your health as a way to manipulate you.

Instead, focus on what you’d like your body to DO FOR YOU. I realized this year that I had lost upper body strength as a result of my daughter getting too big to carry. So I recently started doing informal Crossfit sessions with my neighbor a couple of times a week — and we were both surprised to find out how strong I was right out of the gate. (Apparently, carrying around extra pounds is great for building muscles!) And after running across the entire Charlotte airport (about a mile) to catch a connecting flight, I realized I need to up my aerobic fitness — so I now try to push myself at least twice a week to “walk like I’m about to miss my flight home.”

Figure 10: I recently treated myself to three new handmade workout outfits. Fingers crossed that they fit six months from now!

Over the Christmas break I saw this amazing video of a curvy pole dancer — I don’t have access to pole dancing classes (I’m in one of the most conservative/religious parts of America so unless it’s “Pole Dancing for Jesus” I’m out of luck), but this is another thing I’d love for my body to do — not my “skinny” body — just my body as-is. And that is an incredibly freeing feeling.

April 17, 2017

Pocket time! Add pockets to the Cashmerette Turner Dress

We sewists have many advantages over poor Ready-to-Wear buying ladies, and surely one of the mightiest is: the pocket!

Yep, pockets are scarce in women’s clothes in stores; I do not know why (a handbag industry conspiracy?!). But, you can add them into almost any garment when you sew.

Turner Dress with pockets

So it was only natural to add one into my fave Turner Dress. Perfect for storing my phone while strolling around LACMA….

Turner Dress with pockets

I love this geometric windowpane Turner Dress that I made with ponte from Fabric Godmother. It’s gorgeous and thick and cosy, though watch out: it’s also really melty, so you need to use a very cool iron. That may or may not be a melted bit under my right boob…

And now, dear ones, you can have a Turner Dress with pockets too.

Turner Dress with pockets

To get the free Turner Dress pocket and tutorial on how to sew it, simply sign up to my newsletter below, and you’ll get the free downloadable PDF tutorial in an instant!

Already a newsletter subscriber? No problem, just re-enter your info, and you’ll get the download but we’ll make sure you only get the newsletter once.

Here is how the free download works

  1. Put your email address in the box above (it needs to be this box, not the general newsletter subscription one).
  2. You will be sent an email asking you to confirm you want to be subscribed: click the grey “yes” button.
  3. You will be sent a second email which has a link to download – the subject line of the email is “Cashmerette Turner Dress Pocket: Subscription Confirmed”.  Don’t see the email? Check your junk folder, and make sure you clicked on the confirmation email.

April 15, 2017

Reminder: last few days to get 15% off “Pattern Hacking for Curves”!

If you’ve always dreamed of being your own pattern designer, then make sure you don’t miss the chance to get 15% off our new online workshop “Pattern Hacking for Curves: 1 Top, 10 Ways” – there are just two days left to our launch promotion.

Get 15% off with code “1TOP10WAYS” until midnight April 16th – click here and the code will automatically be applied.

Here’s what our students are already saying:

“This is dynamite information… take advantage of this if you can. This could be your sloper from which you can make anything your heart desires!” 

“Amazing value!” 

I can’t wait to see what you all make!


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