Sunday, 23 October 2016

Cashmerette Concord - part 1

I was delighted when I won this PDF pattern from Carolyn of Diary of A Sewing Fanatic, a part of a giveaway for National Sewing Month in the US. I wanted to sew up a simple pattern after my recent hair-tearing makes!

This is a tee shirt with a choice of necklines, sleeves and sleeve lengths and body lengths. It is designed for fabric with 20% stretch and is described as having a ‘modern RTW fit’. There is over 2” of negative ease at the bust,  and minimal ease at the hips, about ½” - this is described as just skimming the hips.

The first step was to decide what size to make. Cashmerette patterns are sized by full bust size and come in cup sizes C/D, E/F and G/H. That's great, no full bust adjustment! After you take your bust size, you check that size on a chart which gives you the size to make, or a choice of two sizes. If there is a choice of two sizes, the one closest to the size containing your waist size is used (smaller cup size if your waist is bigger, as mine was). I understood this. With a 42" bust and larger waist, I needed to make a 14C/D. I would, however, need to grade out significantly at waist to a 16 and hips, to an 18.

However, I wasn't keen on that much negative ease at the bust. I wasn't sure whether to increase cup size,  bust size,  or both. I contacted Jenny, who responded very quickly (thank you) suggesting, after getting all my measurements, that I cut the 18C/D, changing to a 16G/H if the shoulders were too wide. My measurements are, for the sake of completeness - 42 - 36/38(!!) - 47 and I'm 5'11"

I needed to know this before printing as the choice at home is to print C/D, E/F or G/H - all sizes 12 - 28 are on one printout but not all cup sizes. I therefore printed out the 31 pattern pages, after checking that the test size square measured correctly. It did.

When I went to start taping my pattern together,  I realised that a thin sliver was missing from the side and top of each sheet. I couldn't work out what was going on and again contacted Jenny who hadn't had this problem previously. Again she responded very quickly indeed despite it being a weekend evening.  Just before I sent off the screen shots she requested, I discovered that changing a particular orientation setting solved the problem. The pattern now printed centred on the page from side to side and top to bottom, instead of being skewed as previously. I have never had to use this particular setting on previous PDFs. I don't know to what extent this was related to me printing on A4 paper, which is our standard here, when the pattern is sized to letter size - though it can certainly print on A4 paper, just leaving quite a large margin around the printed area. Another 31 pages printed.

Putting the pattern together was fine. There is a 1” grid throughout the pieces which helps with alignment. I like trimming my edges using a trimmer.

I cut out a straight 18C/D and went ahead and used this to cut out the tee with long body,  side slits, high neckline and long sleeves. Actually,  I changed to short sleeves (less fabric) when I realised I probably needed a full biceps adjustment and I hadn't done that. This was not intended as a toile as I used some pretty nice fabric. I didn't have any suitable cheaper fabric for a toile. (I'm doing a stash tidy and have discovered some fabrics...)

I started to make up the top but found that it didn't fit as I would like. The neckline was too wide. I felt the whole top was a bit tighter than it should be. There was gaping at the front of the armhole (no sleeves attached) suggesting the need for a FBA. I should say, though, that this was in class and the try-on was less well done than it should have been! Over a tee-shirt...

I had read a few reviews but none was particularly critical. After starting to make up my top and finding it didn't fit as I would like, I looked at further reviews. I found that in general the necklines are wide, the fit is very slim, many of those who made it went up in size or in cup size or both. These are not criticisms but I do need to know that as this affects choices. Clearly, too, the fabric used impacts on that. Personal taste comes into this,  too. At my age I don't want a body-hugging tee. I'm not sure I ever did!

Marianne of Foxgloves and Thimbles reckoned it's worth persisting through initial fitting issues, which she also had, so I decided I would.

I reprinted the front in the G/H size,  have narrowed the neck a little, though I could get away with the width without adjustment (the shoulder fit is fine), did a nearly 2” full biceps adjustment, which involves the sleeve, sleeve cap and the armscye; this amount of change caused a marked dipping in the sleeve cap, which had to be restored - amount decided by drawing original cap before the manipulation and comparing.
I made the adjustment on the full sleeve length but then cut the pattern pieces to the short length I wanted

For this, I used Palmer Pletsch Fit for Real People, but Jenny also sent me a link to a tutorial on the Curvy Sewing Collective. I compared  the sleeve to the armscye (walked) to work out how much that required to be adjusted. I will/may add a touch to the hip circumference for the next tee (depending on how successful my cake fast is!!) I found that not much in the way of length adjustment is required. I made a 1" lengthening but am not sure whether I really need it. I'll leave that to see how it looks when made up.

Comparing the two fronts,  I can see the extra space that I feel I need at the bust level. Jenny told me that the sleeve doesn't change. That's why I only printed out the pieces for the front.
The purple mark and arrow between purple and orange lines shows the difference between the C/D and G/H cups. The extra marks were where I was deciding to add to armscye following the sleeve adjustment
The actual sewing will be quick.

However, in the meantime, I wondered about salvaging my fabric, for me. I'm planning to add a gusset. The options I had -
  1. I could re-cut the short sleeves, wider by the extra 2” I need. The sleeve band would also need to be re-cut wider (I haven't already cut it in the smaller width). I would then add a triangular shape in the top of the side seams. Although I think the underarm could benefit from being raised, I won't alter at this stage.
  2. I could add a gusset extending from bodice up through into sleeve. Triangular in bodice, parallel sides in sleeve.
I decided the first method would be easier easier for this hopefully quick fix.
The triangular addition to the bodice will also give a bit of extra space at the bust,  provided I make it long enough

Both methods involve a different stitching order. The original instructions have you put the sleeve in flat and then sew up bodice sides and sleeves. I would have to do this differently and set the sleeve in after the bodice is sewn. No problem.

I'm planning to leave this until my next sewing bee so that there is advice on hand if I need it. Mid term break is next week, so that's this Thursday with Lyn (This was on Thursday past, so I will update with a post later) or in two weeks with Dan. Yes, I attend 2 bees weekly,  when I can (I do miss quite a few because of other commitments) . In addition, I'm attending a tailoring module with Rory - again, I'll have to miss some sessions but I can catch up in the sewing bee. I'm very lucky!

Any comments?

I hope to do the update post later in the week


  1. I am in awe of your attention to detail. Thank you for the pictures and explanation of how and what effects changes make. It's no wonder we struggle with RTW K xXx

  2. Gosh, you are amazing at all these pattern adjustments :-)
    Are you coming down for Sew Up North on 5th November?

    1. I wish I were, thanks. Yes, I'm planning to attend on 5th. Might wear my finished top.

  3. I'm sure you were looking forward to a simple project after the complicated work you've been doing. Somehow simple isn't always easy. You would think a tee shirt wouldn't involve so many pattern changes but you are aiming for a perfect fit. I always fit from the shoulders down and have found the high bust measure (that's one done same as bust except you go up over the bust and high under the armpits). I find that gives a more accurate indication of your shoulder and neck sizing. Once that's correct then fit for the full bust, then waist and last hip. Full busted figures often need more fabric in the front but none in the back. Good luck on your next round of toiles.

    1. Yes, thank you. I have always previously used high bust measurement as you describe. I decided to follow the instructions and charts on this pattern, designed for plus sized people and larger busts as these issues were, I believed, taken into account in the cup sized drafting. There is a list somewhere of the specific pattern inclusions to make them suitable for plus sized people with larger busts and smaller upper busts. Obviously different fabrics will behave differently. Also, my personal preference was for a less tight fit. A toile is recommended. The T fit is not bad. I'm altering this toile into a wearable T and will transfer changes to the pattern. Then I'll make another. My next project is a fitted jacket...

  4. Gosh! you are basically remaking the pattern ... with so many adjustments I would have probably given up. I am sure you will get the perfect fit. Choosing the perfect size to cut for a specific knitted fabric can be so tricky. I like to take the finished measurements mark them on the fabric and drape it around my body to see if I'm ok with the ease/fit because as you said in the prev comment different fabrics will behave very differently and with knits the difference can be huge

    1. No, I'm not remaking the pattern, just trying to choose the right size for the fit I want! I haven't changed anything about the pattern itself other than adjusting for fit. I have to do that on every pattern - lucky, and few, are those who don't have to! I agree with your comments about sizing and your tip about draping is helpful. I'm not experienced with knits. As Cloning Couture said in an earlier comment, it is clear that 'even' with this pattern, choosing by high bust measurement is essential. I knew I was never a C/D cup and should have listened to my inner voice but I wanted to try to do it the way recommended - much added work, I fear.


Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. Please leave a comment. I welcome each and every one. I value criticism (constructive of course! ), love hints and tips and would appreciate suggestions for future direction.

Do you know? Can you answer?

I put up blog posts via Blogger. I follow blog posts via Bloglovin’ with a few via email. The stats on the Overview stats page o...