One of the dresses I sewed especially to take on our Thailand/Laos trip was a Cashmerette Tuner dress. Shoulder coverage, knee coverage, so good for temples, yet comfortable in a knit. That was the plan. The plan worked!
I have had a fair bit of success with the cut of Cashmerette patterns. I’m not a typical shape. I am very thick through the midsection, with a pregnant-looking belly, and a very short back waist length. My ribs are almost on top of my hip bones! In comparison, my shoulders are fairly average, my hips are comparatively small, and I have a relatively flat bum and average size boobs. Really, it’s a shape that is quite common in menopausal women – except I’m not quite menopausal (fast approaching though) and have always been this shape. My size has varied quite a lot, but not my shape. It makes for some fitting challenges, as most patterns are designed for a more defined waist. Now, one of the reasons that I sew is because I can make what I like, but it’s still tedious have to make loads of alterations. However, I’ve found that the smallest Cashmerette size (the 12 C/D) works pretty well as a starting point for me.
I did remove waist shaping by cutting the pattern a size larger through the waist. Otherwise, this is exactly as per the pattern. From the Cashmerette website: Elegance meets comfort with the Turner Dress! This everyday favorite features a softly flared skirt and a feminine lined v-neck bodice. There are three sleeve lengths – short, three-quarter and long – and whether you make it in cozy merino jersey or lightweight rayon jersey, this pattern will carry you through every season with style!
Now, there is nothing earth-shattering about this style in many ways. There are heaps of patterns out there for knit dresses with a fitted bodice, sleeves, and a flared, circle or gathered skirt. To me, the difference between this pattern and the rest of them is the drafting and the fit. It’s for sizes 12 to 28, in three cup sizes (C/D, E/F, G/H), and from what I have seen around the internet, it WORKS. I’ve seen some lovely versions in all sleeve lengths, sewn in fabrics from ultra casual to super formal. Definitely a basic that is well appreciated by the size 12 and up dressmaker.
I always like a V neckline, and the bodice is lined. This provides a really lovely finish, and it’s easy to sew. It also reduces bra squish show-through, which I like too. The waistline is definitely raised a little. That is my preference, but keep it in mind if you’re sewing this dress and like your waistline right at your waistline.
Apparently there is a swayback alteration already drafted in to Cashmerette patterns, and I think that you can see that with the reduced amount of fabric pooling compared to many of my other garments. I really DO need to do a short back waist length alteration (done similarly to a sway back alteration) on all my garments! It clearly helps.
The skirt is nicely swishy. I had to cut the back piece with a centre back seam due to fabric restrictions. Speaking of fabric, isn’t this lovely? It’s cotton spandex jersey from Spoonflower. The print called Oriental Birds and is by Three Branches Design – who happens to be a friend of mine! The jury is still out a little for me regarding Spoonflower prints though. I’ve had three on their cotton spandex jersey base now. They’re comfortable to wear, and so far the colour retention has been pretty good too, but the print is definitely on the top – which you can see when you stretch the fabric – and the layers can sort of “stick” to one another if it is folded with the print touching print. I suspect that with Spoonflower you need to try different substrates to really see what you like best. There is no doubting that they have marvellous designs. I bought mine when they had a free international shipping offer, otherwise I find the cost prohibitive.
This dress really did work well for me when we were on holiday, yet in many ways it’s not quite “my” style. I definitely love the print, and the fit, but I’m not sure that the fitted bodice with fuller skirt silhouette is really me. Either way, this dress is staying in my wardrobe – and being worn!