I’ve had the Appleton Wrap Dress pattern from Cashmerette for several years but only getting around to it now. This was because I thought it would be tricky to fit for me, and it was, but I like the shape of the second version, blue with orange binding. The patterned one with blue binding is too low cut for my taste. Although still wearable with a cami underneath.
Cashmerette has a really clever size calculator on its website, which I’m sure helps most people. But my sizes are so all over the place that based on my measurements it says to use size 14 g/h with a 2” full bust adjustment, grading to 20 waist and 22 hips.
First, I have no idea how to do an FBA on a wrap dress, and second I didn’t think grading between that many sizes would work.
On the first version, I compromised and started with 16 g/h at the shoulders. I used the shoulder height of a bigger size because I wasn’t sure what to do there.
I graded then to size 20 and size 22 as suggested.
I could see that the sleeves were going to be much too tight for me in size 16, so I slashed the size 16 sleeve in several places vertically and spread it to fit. I then shaped the lower part of the sleeve to be narrower. I find this gives me a better result than several other methods I’ve tried.
I did not redraw the now somewhat flattened top of the sleeve because I reckoned with knit fabric it would be fine. I’ve also left this flattened shape previously on a woven and it worked well. And the sleeves did work out perfectly.
The instructions as you’d expect from Cashmerette are very good. But I had to go to their blog to figure out how to attach the belt as it was a bit head-scratching.
I sewed up the side before adding the sleeves as I wanted to see what the fit was like. I could see that the grading was a bit extreme and there were ‘saddle bags’ on my hips. I straightened these out on the pattern and then reshaped the side seams likewise.
I prefer setting in sleeves on knits
I’ve taken to setting in sleeves on knits. When attaching them flat I find I need lots of clips and you kind of have to twist the sleeves around. If I sew the side seams of the dress and the sleeve first, I just need two clips – one at the underarm and one at the shoulder and it takes two minutes to set in the sleeve. And if I want to add a cuff like I did here, it’s much easier to do that, and top stitch it when dealing with just the sleeve and not the whole dress. It’s also easier to iron the sleeve seam. And for a dress like this, I could do the fitting without the sleeves being in my way.
Version number two
For the second version, I brought the front bodice in 1”, and continued this down the skirt part. I shortened the bands appropriately. On the shoulders I used the size 16 height. I much prefer this neckline. This means the front shoulder is 1″ wider so you need to alter the back shoulder to match.
On both versions I lengthened the dress by 3”.
This is a really comfy dress and I am planning to make it again. I might bring the neckline in another 1/2” but I’m wearing it today to see how it goes.
I used ribbing fabric for the neckbands. I find it works the best as the stretch and recovery are always good.
The patterned cotton jersey is from https://thefabriccounter.ie/ The blue is a lightweight French Terry I’ve had for ages in my stash.
Your Appletons are lovely!
Reading your post was a yes, yes, yes! experience. Yes, the Cashmerette size calculator doesn’t work for me either, with my sizes ALL over the place, as you say. Yes, Cashmerette’s sleeve sizing runs small – I’d be very interested in seeing a photo of the sleeve adjustment you made. I have proportionately small armjoint for my very large bicep, so I am always looking for hints on sleeve adjustments. And the last yes! – setting in sleeves in knits. In fact, I set in ALL sleeves, even men’s shirts. For all the reasons you mention, plus I’ve read that the couturiers
say it gives a better “hang” by allowing the armhole seam to the be dominant seam. (Same reason as for sewing the crotch seam last on pants.)
I love Jenny/Cashmerette for her designs, and business model, inclusivity. I’m looking forward to her sewing/fitting book coming out this fall.
How brilliant to hear someone else has the same issues, I’m not alone. And yes I’d admire Jenny Rushmore too.
I’ve emailed you pics of the sleeve piece.
Thank you for sharing how you modified the pattern to fit you. I haven’t had success with the Appleton so looking for tips to fit it better
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I’m glad it helped. I think I forgot to say that when you widen the front, the shoulder gets wider so you need to alter the back shoulder to match. 🙂