October 15, 2015

Cashmerette's Appleton Times Two

I, too, was a tester* for Cashmerette's Appleton dress.  I was honored to be asked.  While I'm not as vocal about wrap dresses as Jenny, they are a staple in my closet.  I always feel very put together when I wear one.  I equate asking to test a pattern with being asked to sit with the cool girls at lunch during high school - I can honestly say that I never sat at that table and it's kinda fun to be included now.
photo from Jenny's pattern site

So - let's start at the beginning.  I had a bit of operator error in printing the pattern - completely my fault - I missed seeing a box that wasn't checked and should have been, so while my 'gauge' box was the right size, my pattern pages were off just a bit and that may have affected my first version.

I very carefully too new measurements and looked at the size of my most uncomfortable, but best fitting bra to determine my size.  Based on my measurements, I cut a 16 at the bust through the waist and graded out to a 22 at the hip.    I found the construction very easy and sewed up both dresses on my sewing machine.  While I love my serger - I like construction to be neat and look the same all over the inside.  Because I wasn't positive I could make both sides seams look neat and tidy constructing them on the serger, I chose to sew it together with a tiny, narrow zig zag. Because this was a tester version - I did not add any length, nor did I add width to the sleeves.

You aren't seeing things - that's not me!
For my first version - I grabbed a pretty ponte knit that I had bought at Fabric Mart in the last year.  I would guess I paid less than $4 a yard for this fabric.  I had 3 yards and I was able to cut the Appleton and a magic pencil skirt from the fabric by piecing the waist ties.  The fabric print was busy enough that the piecing on the ties isn't noticeable and I honestly didn't worry about matching the print.

Because of my printing errors, I print out the pattern again - properly this time.  Trimmed the pages, glued it together, traced it again and cut out version No. 3.  Again - 16 bust, waist and graded out to closer to a 20 at the hips.  This time, I used a solid knit for the bands and ties.  The floral fabric was a ponte that I bought at JoAnn fabrics.  On this version - I did mix up the construction just slightly - I put the sleeves in flat, before adding the ties/band - just personal preference.

With both versions of the dress - I loved that the back fit my back and hugged my curves - whether they were on my sides (waist to hips) or my back (low back to butt). I can't wait to get the final version of the pattern and make another version.  Jenny mentioned that she had smoothed out the hip curve (which was an issue for me with my drastic grading between sizes) and she also took a wedge out of the skirt so it hangs straight (which Krystle has mentioned is an issue with her).

When both girls were home for a family friend's wedding in August - I offered the dresses up to either of the girls.  While both dresses fit both girls - they ended up going home with Krystle.  For sizing purposes and information - Krystle wears a either a size 12 or 14 in RTW and a D cup.  I think these dresses look smashing on her - and a a young married lady trying to build up her businesses and design clients she likes the opportunity to have a nice, professional dress without spending a fortune to add it to her closet (maybe one of these years I'll get a fabric mart gift certificate for my birthday or mother's day ::winkwink::)  Now - don't get me wrong - I did not gift the dresses to Krystle because I didn't like them - I would have kept them and worn them - but I didn't LOVE them and thought if one of the girls did - so be it.  I have made another - which I will keep and wear and just bought fabric for more.

I hope you found my review of the sewing helpful.  But want to hear how the dresses wear?  And see how they fit my girl?  How they fit into her professional lifestyle?  And be entered into a little giveaway?  Go check her blog - go now!

*As a tester, I was provided the pattern and ultimately a Appleton Dress Kit, however the opinions on the pattern and construction are my own.

October 9, 2015

Floral Southport

 This is truly my most favorite-ist dress currently!  I love it.  

Looking at the photos - I can honestly say - it's not the most flattering thing I've ever made.  But I would quickly follow that - by it's so comfortable, I really, really don't care! 

The fabric is a rayon challis bought from Hancock fabrics some years ago.  I added a little football shaped sleeve so I could take my cardigan off when I wear this to work.  

It was pointed out by a co-worker (and I agree with her) that I could size down with this pattern.  I think I made the largest size available.  I made no alterations - except maybe length - I honestly can't remember now.   

The Southport in rayon is floaty and feels cool and fabulous to wear.  It moves without making noise and just seems to float around my body.  I feel dressed up and like I made an effort when I put this on.  I want to figure out how to wear a sleeveless maxi dress all winter!  That being said - I think the short version of this dress as designed (without sleeves) would be fabulous as a jumper over a button up, with tights and boots for Winter.  Wonder if I'll have time to get to that.  

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