Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Cashmerette Appleton Dress - Two Knit Wrap Dresses with Multi Cup Sizing

Almost exactly one year ago, Cashmerette introduced their new size range with the release of the popular Appleton dress in sizes 0-16.  Before the release, they had asked if I'd be interested in sewing the dress to help promote the new size range.  Um, yes! 

Cashmerette Appleton Dress Knit Wrap Dress in FLoral Cotton Jersey worn by Sharon Sews
Maybe you've heard this fashion advise before: "Wrap dresses are flattering on everyone, especially large busted woman." 

I disagree! When I was a small (haha!) D-cup I did find wrap dresses to be flattering. Now that I'm much larger than that, I have found they can be tricky to wear.  As often as I've done full bust adjustments on patterns, I have never perfected the FBA on a wrap top or dress.

I liked the void that Cashmerette filled in the sewing community - larger sizing and bust cup options.  I had often looked at their patterns, but knew I needed to start with a smaller size than what they offered and I didn't want to mess with grading.  

That's why I was intrigued when I learned they were releasing some of their popular patterns in the new 0-16 size range.  It's my understanding that even though sizes 12, 14, and 16 overlap (the other size range is 12-32) they are based on a different block and don't fit the same. 

The description for the Appleton Dress pattern "the classic wrap dress is designed to play up your curves with a crossover front, a built-in waist tie, and a deep V-neck. Designed by and for curvy women, the Appleton’s innovative neckband construction prevents gaping across your bust."  

When I agreed to sew the dress, I knew I would need to sew a test version first.   

Honestly, I did NOT believe that it would fit my bust and not reveal too much cleavage.  

I was pleasantly surprised. I don't have a pic of me bending over to show that it stays in place, but I did demonstrate in one of my makes videos (I'll link that at the end of this blog post).

 It's true! It fits my bust and does not gape!

This floral dress is my test version. I sewed a 10 with a G/H cup, grading to a 12 at the waist and hip. What I discovered is that there was no need to grade out as the ties ended up right below my bust, rather than at my waistline.  That meant I have some excess fabric that bunches below the the tie belt. I have it pulled to the back in these photos but it's not that bad.

This fabric is a cotton knit that I purchased from SR Harris Warehouse during one of our Minnesota visits.  I used it because it was quite similar in weight and stretch to the fabric that Cashmerette provided to me for the dress I sewed for the release (pics below).

As you can see, it was quite windy the day I was trying to get photos. The strong wind seems to be a common occurrence here in East Texas, especially the day before a severe storm hits. Which means spring time is windy (and stormy)! 

The good news is this wrap dress is designed with enough overlap that the wind did not expose anything :-) 

Here's a pic of the blue dress.  This lovely blue cotton knit is from  Hart's Fabric. 

I choose to use the elbow length sleeves thinking I would wear this dress in the cooler months with boots.  However, it turns out I find the boots too warm to wear even during our winter months.  I may shorten the sleeves so I can wear this in the summer with sandals. 

Here's a back view.

There is only one thing I did differently on the blue version versus the test version. I added lightweight interfacing to the tie ends.  I didn't like how the tie belt would bunch up when I wore the dress. Adding the little bit of interfacing helps it to remain flat.

After sewing this dress I was so happy with the fit in the bust - without having to do an FBA! - that I eagerly awaited the release of other patterns in the new size range.  In fact, I purchased the Concord Tee pattern the day Cashmerette announced it was available and it has quickly become my go-to t-shirt pattern.

While I'm not 100% convinced I like wrap dresses, if any dress pattern were to change my mind, it's this one.  

If you're interested, here's a link to my makes video on YouTube where I model the floral knit dress.

Cashmerette provided the pattern and fabric at no cost in exchange for using my photos on their blog to announce the release of the pattern.  I had no obligation to write a blog post and what I've written in my personal option.

Have a blessed day!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

McCall's 7836 An Asymmetrical Cut Out Shoulder Top

I purchased McCall's 7836 when it was released in 2018, with intentions of sewing this asymmetrical cut out shoulder top. However, with my major surgery, followed by the move across country, followed by months of physical therapy because of the surgery...well, it just never happened.   

Until January of this year. 

McCall's 7836 Asymmetrical One Shoulder Cut Out Top in Animal Print Knit worn by Sharon Sews a brunette standing in front of a garage door

Here's the pattern cover.   I do remember sewing View B (with one with the big sleeves) before we moved, but I can't find it. Now that I'm thinking about it, I think I gave it to one of my sisters who said she liked it. 

McCall's 7836 Pattern Cover

I'm glad I didn't sew this until we moved as it really is not a practical design for Minnesota winters.   It works much better here in Texas - I can wear it when it's a bit cool outside and I'm not uncomfortable even with my one shoulder exposed. 

McCall's 7836 Asymmetrical One Shoulder Cut Out Top in Animal Print Knit

The pattern is rated Easy (I would agree) and is described as a fitted, pullover top featuring a dropped shoulder.  I was concerned it would be too fitted for my large bust so I did a full bust adjustment adding 2".  I probably could have added another 1" as I prefer a looser fit in my bust area. Because of that asymmetrical shoulder, I had to do a full bust adjustment on each front piece.

 McCall's 7836 Asymmetrical One Shoulder Cut Out Top in Animal Print Knit worn by Sharon Sews a brunette standing in front of a garage door

This is a size 14 in the neck/shoulder area, with the full bust adjustment, grading to a 16 at the hip.  There is a center front and center back seam.  

I used my BERNINA 770QE Plus to sew the top.

I normally stay away from turtlenecks because, well, my large chest. It's not the most flattering look on me. That's why you'll typically see me wearing a long necklace if I wear a higher neckline.  But this one I think is okay because of the shoulder being exposed. 

I had read a few reviews of the pattern before I sewed mine. Some sewed up the opening on the shoulder saying it was too large.  I did not do that.  I like the opening just the way it is.  

Now, I am not going to wear a strapless bra when I wear this top.  And I'm definitely not going braless!  Nobody wants to see that, LOL

For these pictures I tucked my bra strap under my arm.  Usually I wear a black bra with the top and just let my black bra strap show. I know I was taught to never let my bra strap show, but I honestly don't care in this case. 

This version was just supposed to be a test to see if it fit the way I like. But once I was done I realized I liked it out of this fabric. 

I used a cheap baby French Terry that I picked up at the local Walmart. It was one of those precut bundles some of the stores carry. The quality of those bundles varies greatly but I pick them up occasionally for sewing test garments. This bundle was two yards for six dollars. 

I plan on sewing another, but now that we are into spring the extremely hot weather isn't far behind, so I'll likely wait and sew another next fall. 

BTW, I accidentally snapped a pic as I caught myself almost falling! My left foot is still partially numb from the surgery three years ago and sometimes my balance is a bit off.   It was a reminder to me that I should probably choose lower heels these days :-)  


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Monday, April 11, 2022

Vogue 1375 Wool Knit Vest - Sandra Betzina Design

I was going through old photos on my computer and came across a few makes that I took photos of yet never blogged about.  This knit vest is one of them. I sewed this in 2016 or 2017, I don't remember for sure.

The fabric is a lightweight, embroidered wool knit that I purchased from SR Harris. I remember I was drawn to the textured detail of the fabric. I liked it enough that I overlooked the fact that those colors are not colors I normally wear. 

That meant I sewed this beautiful vest only to have it sit in my closet as nothing worked with it. I'm trying to be more thoughtful in my fabric purchases as I don't wish to spend time (and money!) sewing a lovely item only to end up donating it because it does not get worn.

Here's the back view.  I put a note on the pattern envelope to keep the pattern because the instructions for sewing the lined yoke are really good.

The pattern is Vogue 1375, a Sandra Betzina design from 2013.  Back when almost all of us were wearing these flowy knit cardigans and vests.

I sewed one for my girlfriend last year in a slinky black knit. I know I took photos of it before I shipped it off to her so I will have to look for those and write another post.


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Sunday, March 27, 2022

Sew Like a Pro ~ The Future of Fashion Free Online Event

I want to share with you this online event "Sew Like a Pro - The Future of Fashion", hosted by bridal designer Chelsea Bussemier.

The free event runs for two weeks and began on March 25. But that's okay, you can still sign up! You receive a new video presentation every day via email.  There is a wide range of topics from fabrics, to wardrobe planning, to machine embroidery, and more.

I was delighted to be asked to speak on personal style and sewing!  Sewing and fashion have been two of my passions since I was a teen. Well, let's be honest. Probably before that age as I was always "designing" for my Barbie dolls when I was younger :-)

My interview will be sent out the second week of the event (the week of April 4). I don't have the exact date yet. 

Sign up here - https://sewlikeapro.ca/sharon

PLUS, you can watch Suzan Lazier's interview style presentation on Fashion & Sustainability now! Lazier is a professor of fashion at the Mesa College in San Diego.

Bussemier is hosting this event as she has a mission to shift fashion in a sustainable direction.  I hope you'll join in by signing up to hear from all of the sewing educators who are participating. 

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Thursday, February 03, 2022

Vogue 1704 - a Rachel Comey Linen Top with BIG Sleeves!

I present to you my first finished WIP (work in progress) for 2022! 

Vogue 1704 Rachel Comey Top in Orchid Linen Blend worn by Sharon Sews

Y'all, I wish I hadn't waited so long to sew this one as I adore this top!  

I mean, c'mon, Look at the amazing sleeves!

I purchased the pattern when it was first released in 2020, and cut it out soon after.  I don't recall why I tucked it away, but I THINK it was because I didn't have the right color thread on hand.  

The pattern is Vogue 1704, a Rachel Comey design that includes both the top and pants. The design is from her Spring 2019 line.  It's look 7 at this Vogue.com runway show link.  

When I purchased the pattern, I didn't realize the front edges of the top were finished using an overcast stitch.

 Because I don't read the description on the back of the envelopes :-)  

Rather than buy serger thread in a color I would never use again, I purchased a couple of regular spools of thread and used those in my serger.

 The front pieces are overlapped and stitched in place.

There is a zipper opening on the left side seam. Another detail I was unaware of because I didn't bother to read the description.  I didn't have one that matched, but it's invisible so I used a lilac one.  There are side slits on each side. The hem hangs properly when worn, I'm not sure why it looks off here.

If I had known both of those details before I cut the top out I may have altered the pattern to a button front, or perhaps moved the invisible zipper to the front. Now I'm glad I didn't know as I like the top just as designed.

The top is described as fitted.  The bust for a size 14 (what I used) is 36" and the finished bust measurement printed on the pattern is 40-1/2" giving this top 4-1/2" of ease.  However, I would have only had 1/2" of ease - way too tight!  So I did a rather large FBA, almost 2".  (The pattern already had  a dart.) By doing so I also gave myself additional length and width. I like the fact that this has a bit of shaping at the waist, but is still loose enough to feel comfortable.

Now according to my upper bust measurement, I should start with a size 12 and do a full bust adjustment, but I find it easier to start with a 14 and do a slightly smaller FBA :-) 

The sleeve has an upper and lower section. You are instructed to sew them together with a French Seam. I didn't do that. I just stitched the seam and finished it with my serger. 

There are three upper darts, and four lower pleats that contribute to the fullness. The sleeve is finished with a narrow hem.

Have I mentioned how much I like these sleeves? :-) 

The collar and front facing are both interfaced. My interfacing was a medium-weight and it wasn't enough to keep the collar from flopping over.  

I suspect the fabric is a linen rayon blend, but I purchased it at SR Harris, and those bolts rarely have fiber content listed. 

Because my fabric is a linen blend I like the softness of the collar.

I have no desire to sew the pants.  I live in jeans and yoga pants now that I've officially retired. 

But the top! I need another as I find myself wearing this one whenever the weather cooperates.  (Here in Texas, it's currently just above freezing with the threat of snow and ice as I write this.)

I don't normally take photos in our backyard, so the little one was quite curious what was going on and didn't want to leave me alone. 

Blessings and Happy Sewing!



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