Tag Archive: dresses

It’s a salad, only bigger, with lots of stuff in it.

Hey strangers, what’s happening? Yet again, it’s been a while, but that’s just how life is at the moment, I’m afraid. The last few weeks have been quite difficult, as my granny died on Easter Monday.My grandparents, Francie and Molly, on their wedding …

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McCalls 7542 as a Dress

I always saw the sleeves from this pattern on a dress. The top on the pattern is too short for my comfort level but those sleeve variations are what drew me to it and finally made me buy the pattern. Which is probably why it’s one of the most bought an…

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Amanda vs Simplicity 2648

For a lady who has been sewing for five years I really don’t have much in the way of party dresses. In fact, in the lead up to Frocktails the only party options I had was my Tiki dress or my tulle skirt. Pretty rad stuff but those wardrobe stats aren’t great. So I did […]

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I like my coffee like I like my women. In a plastic cup.

Hello! Urgh… so my plan to blog more frequently has been a big fat FAIL, hasn’t it? Oh well. Here I am now anyway. I’m having a short break from work for Easter, which is really good as everything has been so full-on so far this year. We don’t have m…

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Special birthday dress for London

Today is my birthday! So I sewed a dress! I’m the ripe YOUNG age of 40! And, I’m in London! Um, not in these photos, obviously. We’re actually on vacation right now and I took these ahead of time, since we weren’t planning to travel with a laptop and I… read more »

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Amanda vs Simplicity 1609

Real talk: The first quarter of 2017 has been a bit up and down for me. While my health has been on the fritz (boo!) I’ve scored an awesome new job (yay!) that is helping to even things out. And now that I have talked myself into an executive role I figure it’s time to […]

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I’m clown realness.

Hello! So… my resolution to blog more often has totally fallen by the wayside, hasn’t it? I can’t apologise for it really either… it doesn’t matter all that much. It’s the way it as at the moment. I’ve been doing two jobs since Christmas (my job an…

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Another Concord tunic: the bread & butter of sewing

Is there anything more comfortable than a ponte tunic? Methinks not. I recently found this amazing doubleknit at Emma One Sock (get it here!), which is black with tiny little dots on one side, and stripes on the other. EOS consistently has the best quality ponte out there, and this one’s no exception. My first project {…Continue Reading}

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Amanda vs Centaurée Dress

It happens to me every year – by the time I am fully prepped and ready to go with lots of sundress sewing the weather turns. So while the weather is starting to cool and the days are beginning to shorten let’s squeeze in a few more sundresses… This fun frock is the Centaurée Dress from Deer and Doe. The […]

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The jury is out: StyleArc Adeline dress

For a long time, I’ve made my rejection of sack dresses well known. Heck, I even founded a sewing pattern company in opposition to the idea of sack dresses being the only things available for plus sizes! And yet. Perhaps my aversion to sack dresses was primarily because for a long time it felt like {…Continue Reading}

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Sprouts are good for you! Sprout Patterns Turner Dress

One of the things I like most about sewing is the creative potential. If you can think of it, you can make it! Compare that to Ready to Wear clothing… ugh. I remember a particularly enlightening trip home to Scotland where I tried to find a black wrap top in a size 18. NOPE. Sewing {…Continue Reading}

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I’m pretty and tough, like a diamond. Or beef jerky in a ball gown.

Hello hello helloooooo! It’s been a while: this getting back into blogging craic fell by the wayside a bit as January swallowed me whole. But it’s February now and although it’s still pretty brutally cold, I can see some signs of spring and I’m getting a little bit of breathing space again, so that’s good. I found January to be a real struggle – I was exhausted all the time and my anxiety was playing me really badly, so it’s a relief to finally be through it.

Anyway, sorry to moan. In amongst all of the harder things, life has still been good. I’ve been making time for sewing when I can – although, it’s difficult to find the motivation to sew when it’s cold as my sewing table is in front of a window and it’s freezing there! Motivation came a few weeks ago when Alice from Fabric Yard got in touch with me and offered to send me my choice of fabric to make a dress with. I’ve shopped with Fabric Yard a fair bit – I enjoy dealing with a Northern Irish business, they do flat rate postage of £1 and, best of all, have a really great selection of fun fabrics. I took the opportunity to get some fabric I’d had my eye on for ages – an Michael Miller print called Atomic.

Michael Miller Atomic in turquoise*

I’ve actually sewed from this fabric before, although not for myself – ages ago, I made my lovely friend Lucy a B5748 from the olive colourway. She loved it and still wears it, which is a wonderful compliment. It is worth sewing for other people sometimes. Well, only sometimes.

With Lucy’s dress in mind, and also partly inspired by an amazing dress that Camille made during Sew Dolly Clackett, I hatched a plan…

A Fine Romance dress – Christine Haynes Emery dress bodice with a half circle skirt, worn with Poetic Licence ‘The Right Stuff’ shoes

Alice sent me three metres of the fabric, which was enough to do pretty much anything I wanted with it. I had enough for a full circle skirt but recently I’ve been really digging how half circle skirts look, so that’s what I did. The bodice is my trusty Emery bodice. I’ve experimented with shortening it by about half an inch. This has meant it fits a bit better at the bust, but I do need to do something about the shoulders, which now gape a bit at the neckline:

HELLO BRA STRAPS. Now to be fair, this is exacerbated a little bit by my unnatural stance – it’s not nearly so evident when I’m standing a bit more normally. I should probably do a slight FBA, which  might put everything where it should be. I’ll do that. Definitely.

I am pretty happy with this dress, even with the slight fitting issues. The fabric is fabulous, and I love the colour. I don’t love these photos – I think the proportions of the dress are such that it will look better with higher heels. I’m really looking forward to wearing it with some orange high heeled clogs once the weather allows.

I think the colour of the dress will also look better on me when winter is over and my skin isn’t literally blue any more. That will help. Can you tell that I’m pretty much over winter by now?

Okay, I’ll try to stop crabbing about it being cold because it’s not even all that cold really. We’ve had a few hours of pitifully sleety snow this past weekend and that’s been it in terms of extreme weather. I shouldn’t really complain. It’s a nice excuse to cuddle up in my slanket** and binge-watch RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Anyway, that’s your lot for this evening. Goodbye!

*I was sent the fabric for free but wasn’t otherwise compensated for this blog post, and the links are not affiliate links

** I don’t have a slanket, sadly. I might have to get one now though.

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Concert Dress Refashion

This was my high school concert band dress.  I loved this thing, but ever since high school I have only worn it once and that was in college when I was stuck in the basic concert band for a semester instead of my Major which was jazz.  This dress has soo many amazing memories and…

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I don’t think I’ve ever been to an appointment in my life where I wanted the other guy to show up.

Evening everyone! You know, it’s hard to know how to start blog posts these days because there is so much shitty stuff going on in the world that being all, “Hey, take a look at my dresses and shoes and stuff” seems almost too frivolous for words. It’s been stopping me from blogging, to be honest, because it doesn’t feel right. But stopping myself from doing things that make me feel good is no answer either, so here I am, because blogging is one of the things that makes me feel good.

It’s been a rum few days, but good things have been happening too. On Friday, Nic got an email to say that a funding bid he had submitted for a major research project had been successful. This is really exciting for him and it was really good to get some positive news on an otherwise hard day. I’m really proud of him, because this sort of funding isn’t easy to secure and the project is something he feels excited about. We celebrated with champagne and pizza, because that’s how we roll, and it was a good end to what had otherwise been a pretty challenging week.

The sun came out on Saturday, which was lovely after a week of freezing fog, and I had a very restful weekend. It is very cold at the moment. I’m telling you this in an effort to avoid getting the inevitable “But aren’t you cold?” questions at the bottom of this blog post. It is cold. It’s too cold to wear the dress I’m going to blog tonight, for sure. It’s going to have to wait until spring now, probably. But, we had one very unseasonably mild day a few weeks ago and I wore it then. But yeah, it is out of season and I am aware of that. Don’t worry. I have many coats and I bought another pair of cute warm boots at the weekend. But here is a spring dress all the same:

Six Napoleons dress – New Look 6020 with a gathered skirt in Michael Miller ‘Paris Ville’ fabrc, worn with Swedish hasbeens Mimmi sandals

Aww yes. Michael Miller ‘Paris Ville’. This is one of my all-time favourite prints and I made a dress from it in 2013 that was a knock-off of a Bernie Dexter dress I loved but didn’t want to pay £120 for:

Here’s me in the 2013 dress. I had to get photos of it indoors because there was snow on the ground. I never wore it with the beret. Full disclosure, too. I haven’t read La Bete Humaine in French, either, although I have read it in English because Zola is the best. 

You can read the original blog post here. The pattern I used was New Look 6886 and I loved loved LOVED the dress. It’s too big now and the fabric has faded. I wore it once last year and decided that it couldn’t be part of my wearable wardrobe any more and that it needed to be archived – which is to say, I’ve packed it away and will keep it for sentimental reasons. I didn’t think of it again until one day when I just took a notion that I wanted that print back, so I ordered myself some more of the fabric and made a seasonally-inappropriate replacement. What’s the point of being able to sew if it’s not to make exactly what you feel like, eh?

I couldn’t find my copy of NL6886 but, to be honest, the little spaghetti straps were not the one. As I had made myself another Bernie Dexter-ish dress from NL6020 – the Prospect Park dress – I thought it would be a likely candidate. And it was!

Here I am wearing the dress with an Andi Satterlund Miette cardigan that I knit with some Malabrigo worsted yarn – I’m not sure I ever blogged this, but I knit it sometime last year.

I sewed this dress just after Christmas and I had a lovely little afternoon to myself. Nic was watching an old Douglas Wilmer Sherlock Holmes episode – The Six Napoleons – hence the name. As with the other versions of NL6020 that I’ve made, I mixed up some of the pattern details. The front bodice is from view D and the back bodice is from views A and B (it has a v-back, which I didn’t get a photo of) and I moved the zip from the side to the centre back. I did this by not cutting the centre piece from the back bodice on the fold, instead adding a seam allowance to it. I sewed the seam allowances at 5/8 (rather than the 3/8 the pattern calls for) except for the side seams, which I sewed at an inch.

I’m really pleased with how the dress fits, and with my pattern matching along the princess seams – this is something I’d never attempted before. Not that it’s difficult, but I’m still pleased by it!

The wider straps of this dress make it more wearable than the original – the straps on that were narrow and wide-set, so I mainly had to wear it with a strapless. Even despite that, it was so well-loved that I know this one will be too. I’m glad to have it back. I just need to make it through to spring! A trip to Paris is a possibility for later in the year, and you can bet your bum I’ll be bringing this with me if we do go. I’m that kind of girl and I don’t even care.

So look, that’s the craic with me. I’m not ready to talk about the world yet, but I’m glad I came and spent some time talking about pretty dresses. Now it’s time for me to mosey on, though. Nic and I have been watching The Jinx so I’m going to go and have an episode of that. Until next time, mes amies!

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Blue Window Dress

This year has started out with a full on sprint.  Trey and I are moving to a 2-bedroom apartment in March where I will take over the second bedroom and make it a sewing room.  (It will also be a Study with a couch and our 4 bookshelves… but I GET MY OWN LITTLE STUDIO!!!)…

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A couple of Turner Dresses in the sun

It’s funny: product development takes so long, that I’m often wearing the next Cashmerette Pattern months and months before it’s launched! The main challenge is keeping them off Instagram (although the eagle-eyed among you may occasionally spot a future design…) but last year just after I developed the Turner Dress I went on a little {…Continue Reading}

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Amanda vs Josie Dress

1980s Amanda has no idea she had it so good. She was living it up on a hobby farm with a pet goat and a pet goose, rocked some epic 80s sundresses and had access to the occasional piece of Mum-made Cherry Ripe slice. So pretty much living the dream. Now 2010s Amanda has things […]

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Ultimate Sheath Jumper

Do you ever get taken with a piece of fashion that up until a particular point in time, you’ve more or less ignored? That happened to me this winter! I have some tried-and-true style combos that I love and turn to time and time again. But this fall and winter,… read more »

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Ogden Cami Dress

A quick holiday post, from the spectacular Bruny Island, Tasmania, Australia.   I suspect the True Bias Ogden Cami may be a popular Australian summer sewing pattern with many. I think the sleeveless, casual style & being a pattern for … Continue reading

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I’m agorophobic. I can’t even watch Groundforce.

Hola! A slightly belated happy new year, everyone! I hope you saw in the new year in the style that suited you best. Nic and I had a really lovely, relaxing break. On the 30th, we went to London as Nic had booked us a night in a nice hotel as a treat. …

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Bringing in the new year with a Concord Tunic

Happy New Year, funsters! And what better way to kick it off with one of my most-worn garments from late 2015: my Concord T-Shirt Tunic hack. My steely determination to mostly wear tunics and leggings has already been documented in this space right here, and when I spied this amazing Japanese waffle-knit at Mercer’s Fabric, {…Continue Reading}

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Miss Bernadette Decks the Halls: Butterick 6244 and Cashmerette Turner Dress

Good evening, kittens! There’s time for one more 2016 blog post, right?
We originally had grand plans for tonight, but after two straight weeks of travel, decided to plant ourselves on the couch and watch college football instead. Sam is making steaks, I may whip up some brownies, and we’ll ring in the new year in my favorite way: clad in pajamas and drinking mimosas at home. I would make such a fabulous hermit, y’all. 
Despite my introverted inclinations, we did spend most of the holidays celebrating in style. Not only were there a million parties to attend in December, but our third anniversary fell right before Christmas. Usually, I make up one fabulous holiday dress, then wear it endlessly for a month. This year, I made a dress and a coat. It wasn’t overachieving, so much as self-preservation. We had a series of cold fronts, before Christmas, and I would’ve been a beautiful popsicle, without a festive coat to throw over my festive dress. 
No shivering under the mistletoe for me, this year!
Butterick 6244, the coat in this ensemble, is a pattern I’ve longed to make. It’s one of the new Lisette patterns for Butterick (she moved from Simplicity, last year) designed by Liesl Gibson, of Oliver + S fame. The pattern features two pieces: a simple princess-seamed dress and a drape front coat to pair with it. The dress is cute enough, but that coat! Be still my heart. Unlined, with that dramatic collar and flat-felled seams, it’s the elegant, but easy-to-sew outerwear of my dreams. 
Gorgeous versions of this coat first popped up, last winter. Lori, of Girls in the Garden, made an elegant camel version; Margot, of Creating in the Gap, made this glorious red one; and 
The Frougie Fashionista made a buffalo plaid iteration that I have coveted ever since. We had a remarkably mild winter, last year, and I never got around to cutting it out. This year, however, coats seemed like the smartest thing to sew. We had a cold snap early and those Arctic waves of weather keep on coming. I’m relishing them, if only for the opportunity to wear my favorite layers. 
For the fabric of this coat, I chose a dishy boiled wool from Mood Fabrics in cayenne red. This color is, sadly, no longer stocked on their site, but a dozen or so other colors are still available. Boiled wool is exactly what it sounds like–wool fabric that has been agitated in hot water, so that the fibers shrink up into a tighter, more felted fabric. It has a gloriously soft, nubby texture and a bit of springy stretch in one direction, thanks to this process. In addition to coats, I’ve had a couple of winter skirts made from boiled wool and they are such cozy layering pieces. It is one of my favorite fabrics to wear during colder months.
It’s also a bit strange to work with. Boiled wool is densely packed, but isn’t opaque. It’s super warm and a bit heavy, but also drapes beautifully. This is the first of two projects that I’m using boiled wool for, this season, and I’m treating it differently in each case. This fabric works brilliantly for unstructured, drapey pieces like this one, as it doesn’t unravel and has beautiful movement on its own. However,  if you add the right lining and understructure, it’s also a fantastic fabric for a more structured coat. It’s almost more chameleon than cloth.
The construction of this coat was about as easy as outerwear gets. There are two darts at the neckline, no lining to fuss with, and only five pieces in total. The instructions are pretty clear, with a lengthy explanation of flat-felled seams for beginners, and there’s a sew-along on the Lisette website for the entire pattern. Boiled wool doesn’t actually unravel, as mentioned above, so if you wanted to leave the drape unhemmed and the seams unfinished, this pattern would be easier. You’ll see unhemmed boiled wool in ready-to-wear all the time and it gives a bohemian, casual look to the finished garment. Despite my penchant for perfectionism, I almost did that myself. This wool looks seriously beautiful left on its own. 
In the end, though, I hemmed everything and finished all seams as instructed. The armscyes are the only seams left unfelled in the directions, which I kept out of pure laziness. The fabric is a little bulky for flat-felled seams, but it takes both pinning and pressing well, so it’s not too big of a challenge. My seams aren’t perfect on the insides, but look nice and neat on the outside. I’ll take that!
My only note is that, if you’re going to use boiled wool for an unlined design, expect it to wrinkle. I wore the coat for an hour, before these photos, and signs of wear are evident even after a good pressing, earlier that morning.  Its organic, unstructured nature is part of the charm, in my book. For more tailored designs, definitely consider those lining options well, however.
Underneath this coat is another version of the Cashmerette Turner Dress, which is easily my favorite pattern of the last few months. It’s a simple design, but also a timeless one. Depending on fabric and design variations, soooo many different looks are possible with this pattern. Plus, those multiple cup sizes are amazing. I will never be able to praise Jenny enough for making the FBA a thing of the past. It’s freeing to skip such a major fitting step! 
For this Turner, I used black and white geometric rayon jersey, also from Mood Fabrics. This fabric is extra stretchy, drapes like a dream, and has abstract hearts and circles marching diagonally across the print. It’s absolutely beautiful and just a little strange, which I dig. In order to take advantage of this fabric, properly, I made a few small changes to the pattern: 
  • Rounded the neckline and subbed in a neckband, in place of the lining. 
  • Elongated the shoulder seam slightly to give it the illusion of a cap sleeve, which I thought would be fun with those diagonal stripes. 
  • Kept the 1″ added to both the bodice and skirt, last time. 
Like my other knit makes, I constructed this one in the usual way. It’s sewn on my machine, with a lightning bolt stitch for the seams and small zig-zag for the hems. Lightweight fusible webbing is used on both the skirt and sleeve hems to stabilize them and make sewing much, much easier. 

I really adore this pairing, y’all. A black-and-white print worn with bright red statement pieces is one of my favorite combinations, especially at the holidays. It’s festive, but also works at other times of the year. You can deck the halls or just bundle up for an elegant evening out. Even better, this coat is eerily similar to wearing a gigantic blanket. Between it and the secret pajamas factor of a knit dress, it feels like I’m cheating at dressing up! When I’ve eaten record amounts of holiday food, that’s a definite win.
Happy New Year, kittens! I hope you had a joyful holiday season, filled with friends, family, cake, and maybe even a little selfish sewing time! I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for us all. 
Note: The fabric for this post was provided by Mood Fabrics, free of charge, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions and thoughts are my own, however, and I choose all my MSN fabrics. 
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Some of the happiest moments of my life have been at Waitrose. I was recently asked where I would like my ashes to be scattered. I couldn’t think of anywhere other than Waitrose.

(Return of the Mack) Come on(Return of the Mack) Oh my God! (You know that I’ll be back) Here I am (Return of the Mack) Once again (Return of the Mack) Top of the world! (Return of the Mack) Watch my flow (You know that I’ll be back) Here I go Hi guys!…

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A dress: Vintage Vogue 8974…

A Vintage Cogue 8974 – or when everything old is new again… Continue reading

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Drink, anyone? Burgundy Appleton Dress

Next up in my festive Cashmerette wardrobe: it’s a burgundy Appleton Dress! (And if you want your own, you can pick it up as a kit here). As soon as I found this rich rayon jersey I was totally smitten, and although it was originally intended for the Turner Dress, I decided I needed an {…Continue Reading}

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Miss Georgia Knows These Woods Well: Cashmerette Turner Dress

Good evening, kittens! It’s hibernation season, down here in Texas. We’ve had a surprisingly chilly beginning to winter*, the kind of weather that demands tights and coats and copious amounts of tea. It’s also the kind of weather that makes me want to …

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Polka dot overlay Turner Dress: fancy AND comfortable!

You know how sometimes you try on a garment, and you think oh this is just so me? THIS IS SO ME! (And if it’s so you, too, you can buy your own kit to make the dress here!) I’ve been a fan of dresses with sheer overlays for ages, but never quite managed to {…Continue Reading}

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Vogue 1499 – playing with stripes

Vogue 1499, an Anne Klein design, playing with stripes! Continue reading

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Accidental Sashiko

There’s a funny story behind this dress. Several months ago I got one of those “Here are all the things your stash needs!” emails from Fabric.com and one of the fabrics pictured caught my eye. I forget the designer (I want to say Robert Kaufman but I might be lying) but it was this beautiful chambray […]

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Papercut Adrift Dress – a birthday dress

or When You Almost Exactly Copy The Pattern Envelope… I had this lovely spotty rayon fabric in the stash and while I tried to resist more or less replicating the Papercut Patterns version, I couldn’t resist this pattern/fabric combination. My Grainline … Continue reading

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