Thursday, May 17, 2018

2018 Birthday Makes Part 2: The Rivermont Dress & Top

2 weeks ago I made a test piece of the Cashmerette Rivermont because I was pretty sure I wanted this to be the dress I wore to my birthday party. I was inspired by Gillian's black Liverpool version because it looked so chic on her.

If you aren't familiar with Cashmerette Patterns, it is a company specifically focused on curvier women, only designing for US sizes 12-28. The best part is that each bodice has several cup options, from C to H. Patterns are available in paper or PDF. I've made a couple Turners, an Upton, and have the Harrison shirt and Concord tee queued up for later this year. Jenny Rushmore, the designer, is super active on both the Cashmerette Facebook page and group, AND the Curvy Sewing Collective Facebook group, so if there is ever a question about a pattern or technique, she very quickly answers it. I'm not sure when she sleeps...

Back to the Rivermont: the pattern is for mid-weight knits like pontes with at least 40% stretch, has 3/8" included seam allowances, comes with 2 views (a peplum top and the full dress), and is rated for advanced beginners.

Even though I made the Cashmerette Turner 2 years ago, I still wanted to test the fit because I was using a heavier knit and this was the BIG birthday dress, so I didn't want to mess it up. I had remnants of the double knit from my Floral Aqua Tee, which was identical to the pink floral I intended to use, so it was perfect if limited in options. As a compromise, I made the top version without sleeves using the 16 C-D cup bodice. This was an easy enough hack, and timely for the upcoming summer. As I did with my previous hack to the sleeveless Turner dress, I simply raised the armhole 1/2" at the bottom. This doesn't even require changing the pattern itself, I just drew it on the back of the fabric with a heat sensitive/erasable pen and blended it back to the existing armscye:


I also had to trim down the peplum by a full 3 inches, but since I'm short and that's a typical adjustment for bodice length, it worked out perfectly. One of the many wonderful attributes of Cashmerette patterns is that the bodices are typically shorter anyway, since higher waisted bodices are more flattering for fuller-busted women.

The fit was perfect, though I did have to finagle a way to finish the armholes below the facing (I simply turned them under once). I thought about making a longer facing to completely encase the armholes but a) fabric was at a premium, and b) it felt like it might be too bulky. I think I was wrong about the bulk, so we'll see about it next time. Regardless, I used the burrito method for joining the facing to the top of the armholes.

Worried that understitching the facing wasn't going to be enough to keep it from showing on the front, I decided to topstitch around the neckline. Unfortunately I didn't use a walking foot and stretched the neckline out a bit. It honestly doesn't bother me. I think I'm too in love with the fabric!

Testing the top version meant I didn't actually test the fit of the skirt, but I had generous stretch in the fabric. The pattern itself is reminiscent of a nicely shaped woven garment with 4 darts in the front and 2 in the back of the bodice, with the same number on the skirt. That's TWELVE DARTS, people. In a KNIT dress. Darts in knits are a bit unusual, but they really do add a little pizzazz to the finished product.

I had nothing to worry about. The skirt fit perfectly. Those darts...well, they're the most time consuming part of the construction, especially in a thicker double knit like this. But once you're done, it's a pretty quick make. And it comes with built-in pockets (which the instructions sagely advise to use a thinner fabric for—I used rayon jersey)!

This is the first Cashmerette pattern I've made up from a PDF (I thought I was saving time by avoiding a shipping delay but then my printer broke and it took a week to receive the replacement!), and like I've mentioned before re: PDFs, they aren't all created equal.

The PDF lacks layers, trimless pages, and all sizes print as black with a different dash or dot pattern. And while that's usually okay, here's what happens when you have 9 sizes stacked on top of one another:


Fun, right? You can see it requires the use of highlighter to make sense. And a great deal of patience. Of course, if I'd ordered the printed pattern it would have looked identical. By the way, Cashmerette's paper patterns come on a lovely white tissue paper slightly thicker than the Big 4's paper, so it's much nicer to work with.

In the end I loved it! I opted out of the kick pleat in the back because I didn't shorten the dress before cutting it out. I needed to remove 2" from the length, which ate up too much of the pleat, so it was easy enough to simply sew it shut. After the darts, it comes together super duper fast.

As all other Cashmerette patterns I've used, the instructions are superb and filled with excellent illustrations. There are both modeled photos and technical line drawings in the instructions, as well as finished garment measurements for each cup size. A fully illustrated sew along is posted on the Cashmerette website, which I think is standard for each of their releases (such a great value add, I really wish more designers would do this). The instructions also include a print layout.

I want to make many more of this dress! I have a stretch crepe that I'd love to hack with a cowl neckline, and keep sleeveless. I also want to copy Gillian's black one, since it seems like it would be the perfect LBD, which is on my #makenine! I'm thinking about hacking the two versions into one, and making a peplum top with pencil skirt bottom. Or is that too over the top?

What do you think?




Didn't even attempt pattern matching and I'm not ashamed!

Pattern Recap:

Pattern: Cashmerette Rivermont Top & Dress
Size: 16 C-D cup
Fabric: floral double knit, poly-spandex blend
Modifications:

  • Top: raised armhole 1/2" to make it sleeveless, removed total 3" of length from peplum, topstitched facing
  • Dress: removed 2" of length from skirt and eschewed kick pleat

Notes for next time:
  • Top: if leaving sleeveless, extend facing to cover entire armscye
  • Dress: add 2" to sleeves to make elbow length

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