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October 8, 2015

Introducing: Cashmerette Patterns!

I am beyond excited to finally announce what I’ve been working on for the past year: Cashmerette Patterns, the first modern sewing patterns specifically designed for women with curves!

Cashmerette Patterns Appleton Dress
As I’ve learned over the past 5 years, women of all shapes and sizes can feel fabulous when they wear gorgeous and well-fitting clothes, but until now there’s been a really limited selection of sewing patterns available if you’re curvy. That’s crazy, given that 70% of American women are a size 12 or bigger, and the average cup size is a DD. Your dress size doesn’t limit your creativity, so why should it limit your wardrobe?

That’s why I decided to try to help move the industry forward, by releasing contemporary patterns, in sizes 12 – 28, and cup sizes from C to H, with a modern fit. You know what that means for 99% of us? No more Full Bust Adjustments! Huzzah! Honestly, the first time I made up a sample I was over the moon at not having to adjust anything at all: it’s a rare experience for the curvy.

Here’s the low-down:

  • All Cashmerette Patterns are professionally drafted and graded based on 3 separate blocks, in C/D cup, E/F cup and G/H cup sizes, so you will get a fantastic fit. Smaller than a C/D cup? No worries! We’ll have a Small Bust Adjustment tutorial on every pattern.
  • They are available in instant-gratification PDF and beautifully printed paper formats. The PDFs have files for printing at home, at a US copy shop, or in A0 size at a copy shop elsewhere.
  • Each pattern is thoughtfully designed with details to make the pattern comfortable, well-fitting and stylish, and has been tested on a wide range of curvy body types.

And with that, I present to you the very first Cashmerette Pattern: the Appleton Wrap Dress – which you can buy today here.

Cashmerette Patterns Appleton Dress

As you know, I’m the #1 fan of wrap dresses – they do awesome things to curves! – so I combined all my favourite characteristics from store bought DVF dresses and hand-made versions, together with new features. The Appleton Dress has an innovative neckband which hugs the body for zero gaping (yes, even on my H bust!), a built-in waist tie, a longer under-layer for less flashing potential, and three sleeve lengths.

1201 tech drawing for store-01

The Appleton Dress can easily be made on a sewing machine or a serger, and there will be a fully detailed sewalong starting next week, including tips on how to find knit fabrics and tips and tricks for sewing with them.

Cashmerette Patterns Appleton Dress

Because it’s often difficult to source high quality and beautiful jersey, we’ve also gone one step further, and put together two limited-edition fabric kits to go with the Appleton Dress. Get them before they sell out!

First up, we have the ultimate day-to-night little black wrap dress with unique polka dot stretch mesh sleeves. The kit comes with black rayon jersey, polka dot stretch mesh and ribbing for the cuffs, and an included tutorial on how to add the cuffs to the pattern. I love this dress because it looks very elegant, but no-one knows you’re in secret pyjamas! I can’t imagine a better dress for a party or Thanksgiving dinner…  You can buy the kit here now while stocks last.

Cashmerette Patterns Appleton Dress
Second, we have a fun but grown up black and white bird print rayon jersey, which comes with enough fabric to make a short or long sleeved dress. It’s a great dress to wear to work, or when you feel like being a bit fancy at the weekends without having to put together an entire outfit! You can purchase the limited edition kit here.

Cashmerette Patterns Appleton Dress

Cashmerette Patterns are also available to purchase wholesale – if you’re a brick and mortar store or an online store with your own domain, register for a wholesale account here, and we’ll be in touch.

Finally, a huge, huge thank you to everyone who’s supported and helped me over the past year – I quite literally couldn’t have done it without you. There are far too many people to name them all, but I have to mention the fantastic work and support of Alyson, Jen, Heather, my gorgeous modeling friends Andrea and Melissa, T, all my wonderful testers, my Curvy Sewing Collective crew, the Boston Crafty Foxes gang including Ashley, Carrie, Shop Sarah, MacKenzie, Jessica, Tall Sarah, Doga, Toni and Katy, and my ever-supportive and entrepreneurial family who’ve cheered me on since the beginning.

I really hope you love the patterns, and do let me know what other types of patterns you’d like to see in the future! And of course, share your Appleton Dresses – you can find me @cashmerette on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and I have a new Flickr group too – tag your makes with #AppletonDress.

Want to be the first to hear about future Cashmerette Pattern releases, have the chance to be a pattern tester, get cool tutorials and keep up to date with all the latest curvy fashion inspiration? Sign up for the Cashmerette mailing list here: 

PinterestAppletonDress-01
Cashmerette Appleton Wrap Dress

Cashmerette
February 16, 2015

Old dog, new tricks: McCall’s M6884 wrap dress

I’ll admit it: I’m a bit of a one-trick pony. Believe it or not, I wear wrap dresses even more than you’d guess from reading this here blog (yes! it’s true!). They really are my uniform, and usually they’re exactly the same, bar the sleeve length and fabric.
However, I thought I should step up and try something new so… here’s a *fixed* wrap dress! I decided to try out Pattern Review’s #3 most popular dress of 2014: the McCall’s M6884 dress. And let’s just say you’ll be seeing a little more… err… Cashmerette than usual:
McCall's M6884 fixed wrap dress
Yep, it’s a plunger! I usually wear my wrap dresses with a camisole because I like the look and it’s work-friendly but I thought I’d try this one without. As suspected, it’s date-night not day-at-desk.
I made it using the rest of the birdie jersey from my StyleArc Demi Drape top, which does cover up the style lines a bit in these photos. To be a bit clearer, I made view C of the technical drawing below – it’s got a ruched side and the ties meet on the side rather than going all the way around like a traditional wrap dress. There’s no waist seam, which I like, and the length is fairly short (I’m 5’6″) – I would potentially lengthen it by an inch or two next time.
McCall's M6884 fixed wrap dress
It was pretty easy to make, although I did do a different process than the instructions. They suggest going back and forth between hemming and finishing the edges and constructing seams, but because I use a convertible serger and coverstitch I wanted to batch the tasks together. So first I did all the edges and hemming, and once that was done, I did all the seams.
McCall's M6884 fixed wrap dress

I like the end result, although I’m not sure I like it more than my usual heavily hacked Christine Jonson wrap dresses. Still, good to have some variety!

McCall's M6884 fixed wrap dress

Have you made this dress, or any of the other Pattern Review top patterns of 2014? Would you add any more to their list?

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Cashmerette
December 15, 2014

Pickup sticks wrap dress

Brrrrr it’s cold here! I think these are probably the last outdoor shots you’ll be seeing at Cashmerette for quite some time. Now if only I had a blank wall in my apartment…  In the meantime I braved frostbite to take some photos of my latest make in the lovely Boston Public Library courtyard.

The fun here is all about the fabric (yep the pattern is the Christine Jonson wrap again): it’s a Theory knit that I got a few months ago from EmmaOneSock, and it appears to be a photographic print of bits of black gaffer tape.. very unusual! Linda had nearly run out of it, so she shared the last 4 panels with me, which, as luck would have it, was just enough for a border-print wrap dress and one sleeve. It was printed rather off grain – so much so in fact (maybe 20% off?), that I think it may have been intentional – but I didn’t have much option but to follow the pattern. As a result, it sits just slightly oddly.. not terrible, but I can see that it doesn’t drape as nicely as my usual wrap dresses.

What do we think of the one sleeve asymmetric look? It’s about as edgy as I go.. and I’ll admit that I had a back-up sleeve in white all prepared as backup! 
Due to the sheer nature of the knit, I followed the original instructions and made a self-lined bodice for extra opacity – the only downside is that it has a little bit of gape compared to my normal neckline-band finish. I wore a slip to make sure it was also opaque in the skirt. 
So another wrap dress for my stable: I breed them like racehorses. This one’s definitely a bit more at the edge of my style, but I think it’s going to grow on me over time. 
And thanks as ever to my photography and styling crew... this pic can also help you appreciate how cold it actually was! 


Cashmerette
October 14, 2014

Tutorial: how to finish a wrap dress neckline

Hi lovelies! I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve found a great way to finish wrap dress necklines and I got some questions about it, so I put together a quick photo tutorial to show you how to do it.

Start making your wrap dress by sewing the shoulders. Now, you’re ready for the neckband.
 
First, make a strip of your fabric, 1.5 inches wide and the length of your neckline – if necessary, join two pieces together to get the end. Fold the strip in half wrong sides together, and press in half down the length of the strip (remember to “press” up and down and not slide your iron along, which will distort the fabric).
If you had to connect two pieces together to make a long enough neckline band, here’s a little trick for getting the seam to lie nicely: snip the serged seam in half *just* up to the left needle stitching. Then, push the seam allowance one way above the fold and another way below the fold. When you now go to fold the whole neckline band, it lies flat as there are only 2 layers of fabric rather than 3. You can also use this tip any time you need to serge over an already serged seam.
Now, take the band and pin it to the right side of your neckline, with the raw edges matching – i.e. the “open” side of the folded band should line up against the raw edge of the neckline. If you want, you can wonder tape this rather than pinning.
Over to the machine! Serge the band to the dress at a 3/8 seam allowance – which on a serger means that you’re not cutting any fabric off with the knife, you’re just skimming the edge against the knife.
 
Personally, the combination of the thin band + stretchy knit + large bust + wearing a camisole means that I don’t have to do any stretching to the neckline band (unlike on a t-shirt where you definitely do) – the knit just eases around the neck curve without anything energetic, much like the collar on a woven dress. However, if you’re making a fixed wrap, or have a different knit/bust/camisole situation going on, you may want to stretch the band as you’re sewing it – that will make it spring back a little and the neckline will be tighter against the body.
Now, flip the seam allowance to the inside, so that you’re just seeing about 3/8 inch peeking out on the right side.
 
Press that baby! Not everyone presses knit fabrics while they’re sewing, but I find it gives a more professional finish. 
When you press the band over the shoulders it curves around, so press it over a ham to retain the shaping.
And this is what it should look like.
Finally, use a coverstitch machine or twin-needle on your sewing machine to sew around the neckline band, securing the seam allowance down.
And you’re done! A professional and easy wrap dress finish.
This tutorial first appeared on the Curvy Sewing Collective as part of the Wrap Dress Sewalong.

Cashmerette
October 10, 2014

You know what I need?

Another wrap dress! So after hosting a sewalong on the Curvy Sewing Collective all month, I can exclusively report that doing sewalongs is pretty exhausting. But, in addition to being able to help lots of seamstresses join the Cult of The Wrap, I also ended up with my own dress. Win-win, says I!
What I need is another wrap dress | Cashmerette
It’s the usual: Christine Jonson, neckline band, no waist seam. Made with St John watercolour knit from EmmaOneSock

I fear I may bore you dear Cashmerette readers with the never ending stream of wrap dresses, but to be perfectly honest, this is what I wear 90% of the time, so at least you get a real sense of what I look like on a daily basis! And, I’m pretty happy that I focus a lot of my time sewing garments that I will wear constantly.

Do you have a staple outfit, readers? Do you find yourself sewing that outfit most of the time, or are you more adventurous when it comes to your handsewn wardrobe?

Cashmerette
August 18, 2014

Another week, another wrap dress

Here’s the final product of my Wrap Dress Assembly Line, and, dare I say it, the crowning glory. I made the dress using Milly London jersey from EmmaOneSock which I scored ages ago, and then sat on in terror of ruining it. I would occasionally visit it in the dead of night, and whisper “my preciousssssss” but then my temporary-sewing-room-housemate got annoyed, so I had to stop. My new attitude: if I’m pawing over it in my stash, far better to actually wear it and enjoy it.
So, another wrap dress it was, this time with full length sleeves, giving me the option to wear it all year round. If you’re wondering about those adorable shops behind me: they’re around the corner from my apartment, and sell $18,000 necklaces (srlsy) and $500 lobster tufted pillows. Much better to just photograph in front of them for free!

I ran out of fabric to do my usual self neckline binding, so instead I used leftovers of the StyleArc Rosie ponte to make a contrast trim as a “design feature”, and I actually really like the effect. Perhaps I should accidentally not buy enough fabric again in the future. Please forgive the apparently uneven hem in these photos… I swear it’s OK when I’m standing up straight! Either that, or I should only walk on slanted sidewalks from now on.
So there we have it. Another wrap dress which I will undoubtedly wear into the ground, and one step closer to wrap dress perfection. I’m not quite sure where Peak Wrap Dress lies, but I’m willing to bravely soldier on on behalf of the International Sewing Community to find out. You’re welcome. 


Cashmerette
August 4, 2014

Wrapper’s delight (sorry.)

I find my sewing swings like a pendulum between trying exciting new patterns and techniques that are a bit hit or miss, and sewing basics that I know I’ll wear constantly. Summer 2014 seems to be the peak of a basics swing, and while it’s not quite as creative as the other side, it’s arguably even more satisfying.
To that end: I realized the other day that my favourite thing to wear to work in the summer is a short-sleeved wrap dress, and that I was down to a mere three, two of which were, er, tatty. So, I fired up the wrap dress production line: four sets of jersey were cut out and two dresses assembled in a single Sunday, and the other two shortly later. Exciting? Not particularly. But will this now compromise 50% of my summer wardrobe? Almost certainly so.
First up was the OonaPalooza dress, and here’s the next: 
I wasn’t at all sure about this fabric when it was in my stash: I thought it was a little garish and not very me. But now it’s a dress, I love it! Funny how that happens. 
All the usuals here folks, neckline banding, short sleeves…
And this time the pattern isn’t symmetrical so no spinal pattern placement issues!

Simple, basic, and I’ll wear it all the time. Thank you, sewing!


Cashmerette

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