A Weekend of Selfish Sewing

Somehow, I managed to have a mostly free weekend.

I don’t know how I did that, which is slightly annoying, as I’d like a repeat. Oh well.

At any rate, I found myself with a Friday workday that ended a bit earlier than usual, and no immediate plans for the evening and the following Saturday. I’ve been reading back through one of my favorite book series (Patricia Briggs’ Mercedes Thompson series), and originally thought I might spend a few hours lost in a book. However, as I came down through my workshop after work (I have to pass through it to get to my room), I decided a wee bit of tidying was in order.

First, I hunted down my niddy-noddy and skeined three different bobbins of yarn. The cleared bobbins went back into the bin, and the bin went back to the top of one of the shelving units. Then,  I put the random buttons back in their respective places, sorted through the thread spools (I have a couple of spools that are almost out of thread, so I think some of my projects coming up are going to have random colors used on the seams).

Pattern crates went back on the shelf, pre-cut fabric was bundled by project and moved to an empty storage bin, my table-side trash bin was emptied, and the cutting table was cleared.

That left plenty of space to cut out some more patterns — my least favorite thing to do, but something that helps when I get the urge to make something quickly.

I cut out a favorite skirt pattern (It has pockets!) from some fun teal fabric I bought on sale the last time I was at the Quilter’s Studio. Even though the fabric originally has the “stripes” going horizontally, I opted to have them fall vertically. Even though this is the third time I’ve made this pattern, I always have a difficult time remembering how to do the side zip. It’s particularly fiddly, because it falls right at the pocket.

[Also, it calls for a 7″ zipper, which is about 1″ too short of the space you actually need to cover, leaving a little bit of a gap between the top of the zipper and the waistband.]

I finished the skirt with a bias tape hem, using a burnt orange color that I normally wouldn’t have chosen, but which coordinated well with the pattern and color on the skirt. Hooray for bins of sewing supplies gifted from friends’ grandmothers/great aunts! In one evening, I had a brand summer wardrobe item.

[The pockets came in handy mid-Saturday, when I stepped out to the garden to pick some rosemary for dinner, and ended up also picked some lemon thyme, chamomile, a bell pepper, and three pints of sugar snap peas.]

Saturday, I went ahead and cut out two new-to-me patterns from the indie designer Cashmerette. The patterns are designed specifically for curvy women, which is a big difference from most designers, indie or Big 4. Even better, in addition to providing a nice range of sizes, the patterns also allow for further size customization, depending on your cup size.

Now, that might not seem huge to some folks, but when you are used to having to do math and geometry for a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA in sewing lingo), having a pattern that takes this into account for you is a HUGE time saver. If you’re still having a problem understanding what this means: Using the contents of one pattern envelope, I can cut a shirt for three different size 18s: one with a C cup, one who wears an F cup, and one who wears a G or an H.

Her pattern sizes allow for an H cup, y’all. Hallelujah!

I’ve got three Cashmerette patterns in my stash at the moment: the Appleton dress, the Concord t-shirt, and the Turner dress. Since I don’t generally purchase many knit fabrics on a whim, I only had enough on hand to make two of the three. The Turner dress uses less fabric than the Appleton, so I opted to cut out the Turner and the Concord.

First up was the Concord. I used an extremely lightweight sweater knit mystery material that I bought way back when I still had a G Street Fabrics nearby in Seven Corners. [let us pause for a moment, in memory of the wonders of G Street Fabrics] The fabric is rather “floaty” for a sweater knit. Yes, that’s a technical term. Okay, the technical term would probably be “unstable.” It stretches pretty easily when it’s cut, which made for a bit of a challenge when pinning and sewing.

Within an hour of cutting everything out, though, I had a brand new shirt! Which I then proceeded to wear to bed, and then to church in the morning, and out bowling on Sunday afternoon. Yes, I went to bed in my clothes and woke up and went about my day without changing out completely. What of it? Well, actually, I did technically change out of it briefly, to put a camisole on underneath before heading out in public. Like I said, the fabric is extremely lightweight, and you can kind of see through it. But it’s also ridiculously soft and comfortable, and the shirt held up well during church, lunch, and five games of bowling in a sweltering bowling alley whose AC broke earlier in the week. I didn’t have to tug the shirt down ONCE during all five games! I’d call that a success.

The Turner dress didn’t take long to cut out and make, either. In fact, it would have taken even less time if the fabric I had been using wasn’t misbehaving during the cutting portion of the project. For whatever reason, the cotton jersey I was using had really weird, jagged edges. I don’t know how, but the area that was supposed to be a selvedge edge was all ragged and choppy.

With everything cut out, the whole thing went together rather quickly. Zip, zip, ZIP! I hurried to my room to try it on (at 1am), and almost cried when it fit near perfect, right out of the envelope. This never happens, folks. I always have to make adjustments to patterns, whether to allow for my boobs, or my butt. Especially when I’m making a skirt pattern! I always have to either add length to the back piece, or subtract it from the front, in order for the hem to be even all the way around. Not the case with the Turner dress.

I ended up wearing the dress on Sunday, too. After we got home from bowling, I was extremely, grossly sweaty [note of advice: if you go bowling at the neighborhood lanes, and it feels like the AC isn’t working, it probably isn’t and you probably shouldn’t be wearing jeans], so I changed out of the Concord tee and into the Turner dress. It’s perfect for when I’m lounging on the couch, since it’s much more comfortable when you don’t have to sit like a “lady” and can just flop onto the cushions. The length is perfect.

So, pattern review for two of my three Cashmerette patterns: ROUSING SUCCESS! The only thing I think I might change is to lower the armsythe on the Turner the tiniest little bit. Other than that, I didn’t need to change a thing! I went with the curved hem for the Concord t-shirt, which meant spending a little more time on the curved hem facing, but I loved the length, and I loved the fit. I also opted for scoop neck and the 3/4 length sleeves, but without the option of the sleeve tab. (I’m not generally a fan of sleeve tabs)

The instructions were also incredibly easy to follow, though the construction for both pieces was also pretty straight-forward. I’m excited to see how the instructions and patterns hold up for the other styles…so excited, in fact, that I’m running up to Stitch on my lunch break to pick up a couple more Cashmerette patterns and some more knit fabrics.

That, in itself, should tell you how pleased I am with this designer.

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