Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit

This post was originally on the CSC for the Curvy Year of Sewing Bodysuits and Swimsuits theme.

Today I am reviewing the Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit. I did also test the swimsuit before release but my opinions are my own. There were some changes made between the version we tested and the final version so for obvious reasons this review it based on the final version.

The pattern has two views: view A is a one piece swimsuit and view B is a two-piece swimsuit. The size range is size 12-28 with cup sizes C/D, E/F, and G/H; bust 40 inches to 58 inches. I chose to make view B for this review. I prefer two-piece swimsuits as they make bathroom trips a lot easier in the middle of swimming and they are easier for me to put on and take off with my disabilities. The pattern also has an internal wired bra that is optional. I chose to make it with the internal bra since I have experience making bras.

My measurements are 51.5 bust, 44 underbust, 46 waist, and 55 hip. I chose to make a size 22 G/H. I could have graded to a 24 at the hip but I chose not to do that and it worked out just fine except in one area which I will get to a bit later.

  

The fabric I used is nylon spandex lightening print and black poly spandex with black swimsuit lining and black bra foam as well as powernet for the bra band and black duoplex fabric for the bra bridge (duoplex is a stable polyester fabric used in bramaking). There are a lot of notions for this suit: swimsuit elastic, stable elastic for the straps, swimsuit clickers for the back closures, underwires, and underwire channeling. Phew. You can make the swimsuit without the internal bra and that definitely cuts down on the amount of materials, but you might not get the support you need. If you do choose to do that, I recommend using powernet to line the front as well to give a bit more support. Powernet should still be used in the back as well as directed.

In terms of construction, swimsuits are definitely not for beginners. Cashmerette lists the pattern as intermediate and it definitely is for that level. The pattern instructions are great and very detailed. There is also an online course for it, but I haven’t tried it out. There were some construction methods that I didn’t prefer. For the most part, however, those were personal preferences based on what is easier for me.

In terms of fit, there are a few issues. First off, this pair is my second pair for the bottoms. The first pair I made were a lot lower rise due to my belly and bum. I raised the pattern by 7 inches. However, I took about 3 inches away after construction. In total, there are 4 inches added to both front and back using the lengthen/shorten lines. They fit a lot better for me this way. You may need to make adjustments for a larger belly or bum.

 

The leg holes are finished by attaching elastic and then flipping it to the inside and topstitching over it using a stretch stitch. For my next pair, I will used bands with elastic enclosed in them. It’s my preferred method and tends to feel a bit more secure.

The top fits okay. I am going to narrow the neckband a bit since my shoulders and upperbust are narrow. This will help stop that wavy/loose bit at the centre of the neckband.

The bra does not fit me well. For people who are familiar with bramaking and have a bra pattern that fits well, continue to use that for your swimsuit, any swimsuit. I haven’t made a bra in over 2 years so I didn’t have that option and I wanted to see how the pattern bra fit me. There definitely needs to be more room in the cups for me. I am spilling over and the wires are lower than the should be instead of following my breast root. The shape of the cup works okay, but I definitely need more projection. Everyone’s needs are going to be different here so if you don’t have a TNT bra pattern, start by trying it out and then tweaking from there. I will need to do quite a bit of tweaking to get this one to fit well but it’s definitely going to happen.

Word of caution, though, for anyone pursuing the internal bra is to not expect a 100% great fit out the package. As with all bramaking, fitting is the hard part. Don’t use your super expensive material on that first one. Muslins for bras and swimsuits are a bit more expensive, but completely worth it.

I made one tweak for this version instead of following direction and used band elastic on the bottom of the top. For me, it helps keep the bottom in place a bit better and is firmer than the swimsuit elastic.

 

Overall, I really like the design and plan on making it again. I’d love to make the tankini using the free expansion pack. I also want to play with cutouts using powermesh or tweak the neckline into different looks.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit
  • Pros: I loved the pattern. I think there are definitely fit issues (as there would be with any swimsuit pattern) but overall there are more wins in terms of support for the bust and fun use of pattern mixing with the panels. The instructions are great as usual with Cashmerette. I definitely need to get a better fit in the bra and tweak a bit more here and there, but I’m not far off from a great fit.
  • Cons: I do think that the neckline could be a bit more flattering. The boobs do look a bit like a single block. I plan on tweaking that a bit.
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I am working on my bra pattern and then I will get more foam so I can use it for the internal bra.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

 

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Miss Bossy said McCall’s 7624…so I delivered…

Miss Bossy said make McCall’s 7624 so I made it!

You know, I never was one for being ordered around and told what to do. I can get really stubborn and dig my heels in before I listen to someone tell me what to do. But occasionally, I listen to and follow orders. When it makes sense, I am willing to do it. And sewing always makes sense to me. 😉

  

I chose view C but with the ties from view D. I love the sleeves in view B, but wanted something for summer. Before I started sewing, I had to do an FBA…ughhhhh. I have never done an FBA on a bodice with a cut on sleeve like this, but I was up for the challenge. I chose size 22, which has a 44 inch bust. The finished measurements have it at 49.5  inches (edit: oops forgot to input the finished measurements for size 22). My bust is at 51/2 depending on the time of the month. I did a 3 inch FBA to add 6 inches overall to give me the extra ease that the pattern calls for. I also added 4 inches to the back skirt and the front skirt panels as well as 3 inches to the waistband pieces. I did my best to maintain the original neckline on the bodice so that I could avoid gaping. I didn’t manage to do that completely. There is still some gaping in the neckline, but it is not too bad. I will account for that in the next version. The tutorial I used for the FBA is from the Closet Case Files sewalong for the Kalle shirtdress. It worked out really well. I think the only adjustment that I would make for the next version other than the neckline gaping would be to add a bit more to the front skirt panels to balance out the fullness in the back. Or…alternatively take out the extra inches in the back. We’ll see when I make it again.

  

What else can I say? I just really really really love this dress! It looks fucking fantastic on me!

  

You can see how much I love this dress from these pictures.

  

And the sheer number of pictures I took!

  

The fabric I used is rayon fabric from Fabricland/Fabricville. It was lovely to sew with and pressed beautifully.

I think this will be a summer fixture in my wardrobe!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: McCall’s 7624 
  • Pros: Possibly the perfect summer dress with loose sleeves, drapey skirt, and elastic back for comfort.
  • Cons: Let’s talk about how crappy that size range is! 44 bust? Gimme a break, McCall’s. Your size range is the worst! Patterns rarely go above size 22/44 inch bust. McCall’s better wake up and start seeing the plus sized market!
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I love it. I just need to fix the neckline gaping a bit more and I may or may not make an alteration to the skirt fullness.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

 

Simplicity 8140

Simplicity patterns haven’t been widely available in Canada since the distributer issues years ago. Fabricland (Canada’s chain fabric store) stopped carrying them and even smaller independent fabric stores don’t carry them. Jen from a Maker Heart saw me lamenting about that and offered to send me a bunch on the next Joann’s sale. Tanya has also sent me a few Simplicity patterns in the past as well. It’s nice to have such amazing sewing friends. ❤

Simplicity 8140 popped out at me as a style I might like. I was excited to make it. Fabricland had a sale on yarn-dyed plaid flannel fabric and I started imagining a plaid version of this pattern with a lace yoke. I had a remnant of a navy lace really wanted to use it. Through some miracle, I had *just* enough fabric for it. The patterns calls for lightweight fabrics and while the flannel isn’t lightweight it still works well.

I made size 28W. I did widen the sleeves for puffed sleeves. Sorry not sorry for loving a puffed sleeve. I have super narrow shoulders so I like the way it gives me the appearance of having wider shoulders and I also love the mobility the extra fabric gives my arms without changing the size of the armsyce which often leads to other fit issues. So for me, a puffed sleeve is always going to be my default.

It was always my intention to wear a belt with this dress. Without the belt, it does resemble the nightgown Ebenzer Scrooge wears throughout the Night Before Christmas….

You’ll notice that I didn’t put the pocket on the bust. To me, bust pockets on a person with my size of bust need to be super tiny or not there at all, because they just tend to empasize that my bust is waayyyy bigger than the pocket and then people stare at the pocket in awe. So I moved the pockets down and cut them on the bias to avoid print matching.

I used the scallop edge of the lace on the back. I reallly reallly love the look of it. The dress certainly has a strange cool/warm thing going on and I find myself sort of wanting a shawl. The pattern does call for lining the lace, but I didn’t want to do that.

With the belt, the dress looks awesome. I made no attempt at pattern matching, but it doesn’t look too bad especially with the bias cut button placket and pockets.

That hem looks wavy, but I think it’s just the way it is draping because it is flat… I pressed it a bunch. Burnt my fingers and everything.

This was really easy to make. I followed my favourite method for the button placket and have all the raw edges hidden inside and then the boxed “x” topstitching. I used a glue stick when sewing the collar facing down and it looks amazing. I should really take more detailed shots of these finishes, but I sort of feel like sewists have probably seen enough collars in their lives…

Perhaps my only criticism is the sleeves are really wide at the hem. Instead of tapering down to the hem, they are straight from the armsyce to the hem. It would have looked ridiculous keeping them like that so I tapered them a bit at the hem. Even though they are meant to be rolled up, it doesn’t really make sense to me to have such a wide hem. Also, the 3/4 length that you are supposed to roll them to is really long. I get that I have short arms, but these are basically full length on me… For my next version, I will definitely be moving where that sleeve tab sits for them to actually be 3/4 length on me.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 8140
  • Pros: Great size range. Love that hem.
  • Cons: The sleeves are weirdly large at the hem.
  • Make again?: Absolutely after a couple more adjustments to where that sleeve tab sits. I really want to make the top version.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

Blank Slate Forsythe Trousers

As part of the Curvy Year of Sewing, I decided to make the Forsythe trousers to fit the pants/trousers theme for Jan/Feb. I made Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe Trousers, an elastic waist trouser with front pockets and back welt pockets. The trousers can either be full length or capri length. The Forsythe Trousers go up to a 55″ hip. It’s not an amazing size range: my 55″ hips just make it into the pattern’s 3XL size. I have a double belly, big booty and a waist that is about 7 inches smaller then my full hips. I haven’t done a lot of pants fitting and have only just begun with it, but this pattern is great for beginners. They are like secret pjs and are so so sooooo comfortable to wear.

The first version I made was with a lightweight denim with deers and stars on it. I made the capri length in anticipation of wearing the pants for a trip over the holidays to Cuba. The fit wasn’t perfect. I did my usual adjustments before this pair by adding to the back rise (big booty adjustment) and scooping out the front crotch. The back fits pretty close to perfect for my first version, but the front crotch definitely needed more scooped out of it as there is some pooling of fabric in that area.

I forgot to mention in my CSC post that I changed the waistband so it was 1 inch elastic. That, of course, means only skinnier belts can go through the loops. It does also bring the rise down a bit more. I prefer rises to hit under my belly button.

My second version is made using a lightweight stretch suiting material with stripes throughout. For this version, I scooped out more in the front and actually lowered the rise a bit at the center back. There is maybe a few more tweaks that could be made, but overall they fit pretty well and I really love them. You’ll notice in both versions I left the back pockets out. I am not a fan of back pockets in general. I have them on a few other pants I made, but I just don’t like them. I never use them and find that they don’t really add any benefits for me. I do, however love the front pockets and think they are a great size. My phone fits in them so that makes me happy.

I took about 4-5 inches off the hem to get them to fit correctly. I didn’t go for the cuffed hem, but instead made a 2 inch deep hem.

 

Blank Slate Patterns always has great instructions that are easy to follow. I also find that their patterns are pretty standard and I can make the same adjustments. I actually used my Barton shorts pattern to help me get a good fit with my first pair by comparing the pattern pieces to make my adjustments.

 

I’m a big fan of how the pattern looks on me and I am definitely going to make it again.

It’ll be a great addition to my work wardrobe.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe Trousers
  • Pros: Simple pattern. Great for beginners with great instructions. Fits well with minor adjustments.
  • Cons: Size range could be a bit better, but I do fit into the size range so that is something.
  • Make again?: Absolutely after a couple more adjustments. Destined to become a TNT pattern.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

 

Decades Everyday ESP Dress (Tribute Sewing)

For Sewcialist tribute month, Gillian asked me to contribute to the blog. I knew immediately who I was going to make a tribute to: Tanya from Mrs. Hughes.

I’ve been following Tanya since 2012. She is one of the reasons I got back into sewing in 2013 along with the other editors at the Curvy Sewing Collective. My adventures in sewing had been all over the place before. I was convinced that sewing patterns were incompatible with curvy women. I didn’t know about FBAs or other pattern adjustments. I still use Idle Fancy’s tutorials on that.  I also mostly saw bland clothing out there for plus sizes. Nothing colourful or interesting and certainly nothing with reasonable prices and shipping for a Canadian gal. I ordered some dresses from modcloth and eshakti, but I had to wait for sales. I knew I wanted to sew all my clothes since I bought a sewing machine in 2009, but I didn’t feel like the majority of sewing bloggers reflected my needs. When I started following Tanya, all that changed. Her style was exactly what I wanted to sew! Vintage, colourful, and lots and lots of dresses! 😀

Eventually after a million comments, Tanya and I became friends. She sent me the Decades Everyday ESP dress and Wonder Woman fabric and I knew my tribute to her would include both.

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

If you don’t know, Tanya is the queen of the ESP Dress. She has several versions in all different kinds of fabric, including her very own Wonder Woman ESP Dress.

I love this dress!

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

The ESP dress only goes to a 46 bust, though, which meant I had some pattern alterations to do for it. I did a 2.5 inch FBA on the largest size to give me 5 extra inches for my 51 inch bust. With the ease in the pattern, it worked out perfectly for me. I also did a large bicep adjustment on the sleeves. The sleeves weren’t tight, but I wanted a bit more ease of movement. For the future however, I will need to increase the armsyce just slightly since it is a bit tight and high.  The FBA added space to the waist. However, I could have made the waist darts a big bigger since the dress doesn’t quite come in enough at the waist without the belt. I also lowered the neckline since I knew that would be too high for me. After a muslin, I did a slight hollow chest adjustment at the neckline. I will also be taking a wedge out of the back neckline too next time.

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

For the skirt, I was restricted with the width due to fabric constraints. I think the fullness works, though.

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

I already have another version planned using nerdy Hello Kitty fabric.

While this dress isn’t going to worn to work that often, it will get a lot of wear at cons or on the weekends. Basically any excuse for Wonder Woman!

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Decades Everyday ESP Dress
  • Pros: Really well drafted dress with raglan sleeves and square neckline. Easy pattern for making alterations.
  • Cons: A good size range, but I do subtract meanly for it only going up to a 46 inch bust. Otherwise a 5 star pattern. (edit: Decades Everyday is going up to a 52 inch bust soon!)
  • Make again?: Already have my next one planned out.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes and M6754

Edit: I forgot my TL:DR review for the Winslow Culottes. D’oh. Added at the bottom now.

Another edit: After a request, here is the Full Butt Adjustment I follow for pants (at the time I followed a different tutorial, but I find this one is better). I didn’t lengthen the waist area for the Winslow Culottes as they didn’t need that, but followed the rest.

I started my Winslow Culottes in July of last year. I’ve been having issues since last year with finishing things. I have several things cut out and in various states of completion. Some are just sitting there based on motivation. Some are sitting there because there were fit issues. My Winslow Culottes were victims of fit issues. I graded up the pattern by two sizes. I also made the back crotch a bit longer. I’m glad I did that adjustment, because it fits quite well back there and hangs nicely. The fit issue was simply bringing the waistband in a bit.

But of course, the culottes got tossed in my UFO pile and left for several months. Sad times. Especially sad, because I really loved the colour and material I made them with and they could have become a wardrobe staple several months ago. The material is a poly rayon in a plum colour.

The Winslow Culottes are super comfortable to wear. I think they are made for flowy, drapey fabric like linen, rayon, silk, soft chambrays, voiles, lawns, double gauzes, etc. Lush and lovely fabric perfect for summer. I’m kind of glad that I am finishing them up in time to wear and duplicate for the summer months. Our spring has been cold and rainy here so I am prepping like crazy for that time I can actually wear these outside without tights.

There aren’t a lot of fit worries with a pattern like this. Make sure that the crotch length is correct. You don’t need to make as make adjustments as other pants patterns due to the volume of fabric, but there is a certain amount needed to make sure that you get the right drape in the front and the back. I read somewhere that 4 inches of ease between your crotch and the culottes crotch will work out well and that is what I made my adjustments based on using my Misty Jeans pattern as if it were a sloper. Make sure the waistband is sitting in the right place and is short enough to keep it in the right place. I could go a couple inches shorter with this waistband, but I was not going to rip it back another time. I made the back pleats a bit deeper to make the change for this adjustment and left a little length in the waistband for a hook and eye closure.

I love the pleats and the in-seam pockets. I am a big fan of this pattern and can see several future versions using my new fabric obsession linen. Bonus for those who are interested is that the Winslow Culottes are on sale this week! Woohoo!

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I also got another item cleared out of my UFO baskets. I made a M6754 using the peplum view C with raglan sleeves and princess seams. Like the other version I made, I needed to size way down and even with the XL needed to size down again. BMV’s ease never seems to be negative for knits so you have to size way down. I will never understand why they do that.

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I think I shaved off an inch from every seam and then I reattached the peplum. I will also do a sway back adjustment for any future versions.

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I love the top, but it was kind of a ridiculous amount of work for a knit top. But I will likely make it again. I’m having trouble justifying buying fabric at the moment since I have so much in my little space so I probably won’t revisit this pattern for a while unless it really fits a gap in my wardrobe. At the moment, I have enough knit dresses and tops to make me happy for a while.

So far, if Me Made May has taught me anything, I need to focus on making a couple of basic cardigans, blazers, bras, underwear, and more dressy tops and dresses. I have enough basic/casual “cake” for my wardrobe but RTW is still the icing in my wardrobe and most of it doesn’t fit quite right anymore. Once I get through the UFO piles, I’ll be making a list of things I want to make. The bra project should finally get underway (underwear…har har) for me to have bras that don’t kill my shoulders and fingers to get them on. I also feel like my objective for sewing is a bit different. I crave slower projects right now.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes
  • Pros: Simple design. Super easy to grade up and make. Pockets! ❤
  • Cons: A good size range, but I do subtract meanly for having to grade up a couple of sizes. Otherwise a 5 star pattern.
  • Make again?: Definitely. It’s a great pattern and I see lots of these in the future in different lengths.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

Cashmerette Turner Dress for the Holidays

The Turner dress was the last garment I made in 2016 and the first refashion I did in 2017! Haha. I’ll get to why I refashioned it later in the post. All of the pictures in this post are mirror selfies fyi, because it’s cold outside and I am in hibernation mode so the fact that I am taking pictures at all is a huge thing. I never promised professional photography here people!

I tested the Turner dress in March before leaving for my honeymoon in April. I brought the tester version with me a wore it a bunch while in Holland and around Scandinavia. I don’t even have a picture of me in the dress there except covered by a coat, because I was too worried about accidentally posting it on instagram before the release.

Cashmerette Turner Dress

Cashmerette Turner Dress

Ignore the wool socks with flipflops. These pictures were taken in March last year and it was cold! The fabric I used for my tester version was a navy ponte with enough stretch for the pattern. I picked it up at the thrift store. I love finding good scores there.

I made size 22 E/F graded to a 24 at the waist. My friend’s version is the same size.

The pattern goes together really quickly. There’s clear elastic at the waist to stabilize it. Debbie of Stitches and Seams, however, didn’t use elastic at all and has a stable seam. I think with the right fabric you could definitely follow her method. I’m allergic to the clear elastic so I just used regular latex free elastic. Likely this ponte fabric as well as the ponte fabric I made my friend’s dress out of are totally fine without elastic.

Turner Dress

Both of these are lined bodices. I added pockets to my friend’s dress, because pockets are amazing.

The week before Christmas, I went to Fabricland at Honest Ed’s. It was having a closing sale so I picked up this pretty rayon poly knit:

I figured it was perfect for a Christmas dress that would look good beyond Christmas.

Sadly, there are no more Fabriclands within a good distance from me. The most accessible one for me, I believe, would be at Dupont and Dufferin, but that is an hour from my place by transit. I am still really close to Toronto’s Fashion District, but it is often difficult to find sales or even printed knit fabric that isn’t completely polyester. Hopefully a Fabricland will appear again in a more accessible location sometime soon.

It wasn’t until Christmas day that I was certain that I would be making this dress. I was sick most of the holidays and it’s irritated my breathing issues and made them worse again. So it wasn’t until around 1pm on Christmas Day that I decided to start making it when we were leaving for dinner at my husband’s sister’s house at 3pm. I got it done at 2pm! Before your jaw drops off, I already had it cut out. 😉 I also did a modified neckline and used the scoopneck from my concord t shirt pattern and the band. I also cut out a 22 G/H graded to a 24 at the waist since my size had changed slightly since the last time I made it.

Turner Dress

It worked out really well and we were out the door in time. But as the night went on, the dress stretched and stretched….. and the knit fabric had zero recovery… so it looked a bit like an off the shoulder dress after a while… I wore it one more time to work and then tossed it in a corner to be fixed.

Turner Dress with sad fabric recovery fail

Inspired by Gillian’s recent series Lazy tip for fixing knits, I had to make it work! The best way to fix it in my mind was to do two things: stabilize the shoulders with some elastic (probably should have done that in the first place! HAHA) and replace the neckband with a cowl to cover up an modesty issues that may arise with the recovery issue. I didn’t take off the neckband when I put the cowl on because I was worried about it stretching out further, but I did serge it off.

Turner dress with cowl neckline

Turner Dress

Turner Dress

I definitely like the refashion and might actually do this again for another Turner dress with a slightly different shape for the cowl. I love cowl necklines so I call this a win.

The cowl is also long enough that I can hide in it. I think this will be useful for the winter hibernation.

Turner Dress Cowl Peekaboo

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Turner Dress
  • Pros: Super fast pattern. Great shape and style. Really good for large busts with the cup sizes.
  • Cons: The pattern itself doesn’t come with pockets, but it’s easy enough to add. Like most Cashmerette patterns, the neckline and shoulder are wide, but that is an easy fix.
  • Make again?: Definitely. It’s a great dress and a great base for some fun pattern hacks. 🙂
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md4.5/5 stars