My love for Cashmerette’s first pattern, the Appleton Wrap Dress, is well documented… and now she’s released her second pattern! When I pattern tested this one, I made a straight-up (unwearable) muslin from orange ITY and purple quilting cotton. Needless to say, that one is never going to be blogged!
A month later though, I pulled out this 1.2m remnant of rayon jersey from my stash, and decided on a whim to make a dress from it. I wanted a close-fitting bodice, and thought immediately of the Washington bodice! And so here it is: half a Washington, with a Tiramisu half-circle skirt attached!
(Bare legs and fall leaves seem a long time ago already! I took these pictures the same day as these dolman dress and top pics…)
Why did I substitute the skirt? Well, as drafted, it’s an a-line meant for a combination of ponte yoke and woven skirt. A-line skirts aren’t really my thing, and neither are wovens… and this print is crazy enough on it’s own, without adding any contrasting fabrics! I could definitely see making the dress as drafted for my sister to wear at her office, and the tester versions popping up are gorgeous. In the mean time, the bodice alone is a total winner and is going to be a workhorse in my pattern-hacking repertoire!
Let’s take a close look, shall we?
The bodice is snug-fitting with a scoop neck and three sleeve lengths. I love the fit on the armscye, how the shoulder seams fit perfectly on my shoulder, and that the short sleeve has a flattering curve to the hem. You’ll notice the fit on me is tight – this is the tester version, but for the final pattern, Jenny added some width to the back and a bit more length to the front. I also reinforced my waist seam with some lingerie elastic, as I always do… this time I may have pulled it a bit too tight! I just really hate it when heavy rayon skirts pull the bodice out of shape.
For fun, I decided to pull the scoop neckline into a v-neck with a bit of clear elastic ruching. I stitched the elastic to the inside using a zigzag stitch, stretching it as tight as I could. My only tip is to make sure you start with a much longer piece of clear elastic than you need – that’ll give you something to hold on to as you sew and stretch!
(Oh, and the necklace I’m wearing? I wore when I was married at the town hall, wearing a really similar-coloured RTW blue and white strappy sundress. We had a more traditional wedding the next week, but without an officiant, so it was inportant to be legally married first! Wearing the necklace now always makes me smile!)
When I first finished this dress is felt a little frumpy and boring because it was just one colour. I’m really not used to wearing monochromatic clothes, and I couldn’t figure out how to accessorize it or what colour cardigan to layer on top. After wearing it a few times though, I like it! I usually avoid wearing sleeveless dresses to teach in, so short sleeves like this are perfect for the beginning and end of the school year.
I like to think of my TNT patterns as mix-and-match pieces that I can jigsaw together. Between Tiramisu, Comino, Myrtle, and now Washington, I feel like I’ve got lots of bodice options. This is the first snug bodice I’ve ever sewn that ended with a level waist and room for the ladies (unlike Lady Skater and Moneta, which did not work well for me). Hurray for cup-size patterns!
I’m excited to try out the finalized pattern for a winter dress with long sleeves… maybe with a full-circle skirt for maximum twirliness? What are your favourite knit dresses to sew? Are you going to give Washington a try?