Testing the Helen’s Closet Ashton Top!

Linen Striped Ashton Dress

“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!
Linen Striped Ashton Dress

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!

Linen Striped Ashton Dress
Check out that smooth sharp edge thanks to the facings!

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.

Linen Striped Ashton Dress

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!

Linen Striped Ashton Dress

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!

15 thoughts on “Testing the Helen’s Closet Ashton Top!

  1. That dress is beautiful! Thank you for your (as always!) super helpful pattern review 🙂 but the question I really wanna ask is: could you share where you got that fabric? Its so good!!


    1. It’s from my local Fabricland! One of those fabrics that I know was sold a few years back and I never even gave it a second look… but was just perfect for this! And also, super on sale! 😉


  2. Confession: I’ve been really into ruffles lately. This came through on my email and I *may* have let out an audible swoon. I hope you love this dress. I love this dress. ❤


  3. Sometimes the well- drafted basics are the hardest patterns to find! I know I had several flops on basic knit tank patterns before finding my favorite. It’s a wonderful hack, and I’ll be interested to see how this dress holds up for you since you’re the queen of ITY!


    1. So far I’ve worn it once and felt good… but I feel like there is a 50/50 chance that I’ll give it away before the end of summer! We’ll see!


      1. Ruffles are all the rage right now! I like this dress! What makes you not like it? The fabric? the fit? I am curious as I am tracing the pdf pattern right now! I am making the size 14, it seems spot on.


        1. There’s nothing I don’t like about it… I just tend to pass a lot of my clothes onto other people in the end! And althought I sew wovens a few times a year, they don’t seem to be the things I go to put on. That said, I did just buy two wovens last night in a sale because maybe they will be just the right thing for really hot weather!
          (OK, it’s mostly the ironing I dislike!)


  4. Gillian, I love this one! Please give it another couple of wears before deciding if it needs to go to a new home. Nice to hear that testing for Helen is so enjoyable! I’ve only made one of her patterns, and I was impressed by her drafting & attention to detail.


    1. It’s totally over the top, isn/t it? I really wanted the stripes on the ruffle to go horizontally but fI didn’t have quit enough fabric. It is quite fun to wear!


  5. Adorable! BTW – I’m so on the fence about linen. I know everyone loves it but the whole wrinkle thing makes me insane. Also, it can feel a bit crunchy. Having said this, last summer I bought a sleeveless top and pants in linen (RTW) and the shapes are so cool (very round but also somehow geometric/asymmetric – dare I say, a bit “cool urban middle-aged woman-style”) and I love them. It’s like being naked but with clothes. I just don’t look in the mirror at the wrinkles 🙂 Alas, the pants are SO drop-crotch so I might as well be wearing a skirt re: thigh touching. Also, I spent a small fortune, in Yorkville, natch, and if I’d just got with sewing my own linen clothing I could save a lot of money.


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