Sometimes it’s hard to start a blog post. What should I say first? I don’t know, maybe I should just begin with a photo.
After successes with the Cashmerette Appleton dress pattern I thought I should try the top version. There is a free pattern hack and expansion pack that provides a couple of extra pattern pieces – cuffs, differently shaped ties, front neckband – and has instructions on how to modify the dress pattern to sew a top. (I really dislike the term “pattern hack” by the way – is it just me? You are not “hacking” a pattern – that implies chopping it randomly and aggressively into bits. They are alterations or variations, not hacks! Rant over).
This lovely soft spotted knit is from Darn Cheap Fabrics. It is almost jumper weight, but not quite, and feels lovely next to the skin. I do suspect however that there is not one natural fibre in it. I decided to shorten the dress pattern to what I thought was hip length, but once I finished the top and tried it on I discovered that it finished right at the roundest part of my stomach. There was no way that I was going to wear it like that, so I pulled out the scraps and added a shaped doubled band that extended the length by another four inches or sew. Good save. You can see the seamline where I added the band if you look closely in the photos, but I wasn’t going to wear it as it was. I really do prefer full gut coverage. I cut out another top at the same time so have now saved the scraps as it will also need lengthening.
The bands are very long on the top version, and I did wrap it right around before tying it under my bust. From what I gather the ties are designed to hit slightly above the natural waist – on me they will naturally gravitate to above my belly, so that works fine. In a solid fabric or one that is less busy I wouldn’t wrap them right around the front like that, but would just tie them at the side with longer bow ends.
I really like the cuffs on the end of the longer sleeves – makes it a great top for winter. I paired it with Style Arc Linda pants made quite a while ago – they only just fit me at the moment, and I think I might need to retire them. They go around me thanks to plenty of width wise stretch in the fabric but could definitely do with more crotch depth! Good thing that I wore them with my new Style Arc Estelle Jacket over them.
From the Style Arc website: ESTELLE PONTE JACKET: This fabulous jacket is not just easy to wear but it is very easy to make. The knee length and the gorgeous waterfall collar makes this jacket a great trans seasonal addition to your wardrobe. A project you can complete in an afternoon.
This definitely is a jacket that can be sewn very quickly. One of the reasons for that is those raw edges. I just couldn’t do it, not in this jacket, and instead turned a narrow double-fold edge and topstitched. I also added a bit more time by including the inseam pockets. It was worth it.
Having that additional bulk around the edges means that the jacket collar and edges fall differently to the illustration, but I don’t regard that to be a problem. I just prefer the way that it looks – because I intended to wear the jacket to work as well as casually it felt a little more polished.
I sewed size 12, my usual Style Arc top/jacket/dress size (and recently I’ve been trying it for pants as well). The ponte came from Style Arc as well, bundled with the pattern. It is divine ponte, such lovely quality – I wish I knew where they sourced this stuff! I’ve found that all the fabrics I’ve bought from Style Arc have been really nice.