I know, I’m back on the birds. Its been a topsy turvy few weeks here at Plum Towers, and I’ve had several projects on the go (including a rather fabulous cardi for Mr PK!). He was away at his parents so I had a whole weekend to actually get things finished. Like this beauty for instance.
This isn’t my first shirtdress, but its the first one I’m excited to wear. The Lenox Shirtdress from Cashmerette is a princess seamed beauty, with pockets, and several collar & skirt options that, in my not so humble opinion at least, looks pretty darn fab!
Now first up let me be clear. This started life as my second muslin (or toile, or “be sensible for once in your life & do a practice run”) The fabric is from Spotlight, found at the bottom of a pile of rayon looking rather worse for wear. It was super cheap on sale plus I had a voucher to use. Its a nice dark navy, which I’ve noticed when it comes to cheaper fabrics, is so much nicer than black, which can look a bit faded.
Why a muslin? Because with princess seams, skirt gathering, my chunky arms and actually getting a tad sensible in my dotage, it seemed like a good idea. There was a lot that could go wrong., hoping for the best probably wasn’t going to cut it…
I initially cut up a stained linen table cloth and mocked up just the bodice & one sleeve. There is plenty of ease through the hips of this pattern, so I knew the skirt would be fine. In the bust I cut a size 16 , I’ve learnt through experience using other Cashmerette pattern to go with a 16 for my 44′ bust. I’m quite narrow through the shoulders & don’t have a big difference between my high & full bust, so an 18 is just to generous. Oh the beauty of knowing a particular pattern company!
I added approx 1.5 cm to the sleeve using the cut & spread method from the Curvy Sewing Collective tutorial , I’m extremely conscious of a tight sleeve (overstuffed sausage casing always springs to mind…??) and have 16 ” biceps, if your arms are less generous I wouldn’t bother. Also note I didn’t change the size of the sleeve cuff pieces, and they were fine.
I graded from a 16 bust through to a 20 waist & hips. It wasn’t complicated, and I’m so glad I did, the waist feels comfortable without lots of baggy fabric around my bust. Even on my best body positive day baggy & bust are two words I never want to hear in the same sentence hey…
I’ve no idea what I did cutting out the waistband, but one ended up about 3 cm shorter than the other, which wasn’t ideal. I ended up making the seam allowance on the button band wider to hide it….which in hindsight (oh you clever minx hindsight!) wasn’t that clever, I should have just not been a lazy cow & cut a new waistband.
What did I learn? When using rayon pins, pins , pins & then maybe just a few more pins for good luck. It really did make life easier. Gosh I’m sounding so grown up, two muslin’s, extra pins…?!
Ok, this puppy isn’t perfect. The waistband issue aside, I also seem to be showing way more cleavage than the pattern pics . I’m ok with the girls on show, but I still don’t know what I did to make my neckline so much lower? Also the collar band is a bit floppy, but I suspect that’s my choice of interfacing…I’ve only just learned there is more than one kind.
But , my Mother non-withstanding, who will pick it in a heartbeat, (she has form, she picked sleevegate straight away), can you see the big difference? My shirtdress buttons on the opposite side. I don’t know why men & woman are supposed to button their shirts differently, but after my waistband snafu my button band was a bit narrow, so I thought I’d put the most attractive one in front. Naturally Sod’s Law indicated this would be the incorrect one. I’m a rebel & I’ll possibly never be any good (although Im trying…)
It’s a bit chilly still in Auckland, despite being nearly summer, so tights were welcome, along with my fav pink suede shoes (Jigsaw, from about 15 years ago…) I love opaque tights & coloured shoes, despite not being at my most elegant walking in heels. Who didn’t watch Sarah Jessica Parker in SATC walking (running??!) New York City’s uneven pavements & think WTF? I’d have spent the entire series at physio wearing trainers…
Will I being making more Lenox dresses? Oh yes, so comfortable to wear, I love the look & now I’ve made one I know what tweaks I need to make going forward. Nice.
Hope you have had a lovely weekend, did you manage to get any sewing done?