“That’s not a top, Gillian!” you say. Well, you are right. I’ll show you my tester version of the cropped Ashton Top but this linen I bought for testing turned out to be so rainbow-riffic that I couldn’t bear to use just part of it on a top!
Pattern testing is work, and the “free” pattern is usually offset by the cost of the fabric you use. I love testing for Helen though, because:
- She always has a Facebook group for tester, so we get the fun of seeing each other’s projects, and can ask each other for help
- Helen’s Closet recently expanded their size range, and the tester group was full of lots of diverse bodies
- She listens to feedback! We said the armscyes were low, and she raised them. We asked for a shorten/lengthen line above and below the bust, and she made it happen. I swear, that makes all the difference!
So behold, my Ashton dress! I lengthened it by extending the side seams down and out, and added a straight ruffle at the hem. I used the all-in-one facings, and they give such an easy clean finish. I chose facings over bias binding any day!
Fit wise, I shortened this above the bust about 1 1/4″, so that the armscye would sit in the right place.Since the armscye has been raised after testing, I would need a smaller petite adjustment on the final released pattern.
Purely for comedy and educational value, here is my tester version as drafted layered over my dress! See how the petite adjustment fixed the armscye on me? (I’m only 5’2″, so if I have to do a pattern adjustment, this is usually it.) You can also tell perhaps that I should techinically do a smaller size and FBA, because the front hem swings forward and up… to the extent that it’s actually well above my belly button! See that far left pic? My lower finger is pointing to my belly button. I think the important takeaway is that the cropped length is *quite* short even on someone petite!
Everyone sings the praises of natural fibres, so I’m trying to give them a go… maybe this dress will be much cooler and breezier to wear than a polyester dress! But then again, I’m wearing a polyester bra and legging shorts underneath, so how much extra airflow can there really be? I will report back in time!
So, what are my final thoughts on the Helen’s Closet Ashton pattern? I think it’s a winner! If you like woven tanks, clean lines and basic styles, you will enjoy this. The size range is excellent and so are the instructions. The required yardage gets shockingly high for the larger sizes, but if you are happy cutting creatively or even adding a sneaky seam as I did with mine, then you can make it with much less. I can definitely imagine sewing this pattern as a gift or using it when I teach people to sew. It’s not the most unique design, but it’s a well-designed basic!