Appleton Wrap Dress: The Details

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Ok, so yesterday I gushed about the Appleton wrap dress pattern which I tested for Cashmerette. Today I wanted to talk more about the details: sizing, fit, instructions and the pdf.

Sizing: 

Like any pattern, you choose a size based on your waist and hips. From there, though, you’ve got 3 bust sizes to choose from, which indicate your “cup size”. I measure 42-37-47, so I sewed a size 16 on bottom and 14 on top, with the C/D cup size. Now, I wear a F or FF bra… but I had a round middle section, so from bust to waist isn’t actually all that dramatic. Definitely go by the measurements and not your bra size! Basically the cup sizes just indicate “small FBA/medium FBA/large FBA”.

Fit: 

Having that FBA included in the pattern already is AWESOME. I usually skip FBAs, but this pattern made me think I really shouldn’t. The fit on me is much better than the average knit bodice!

The print on my fabric obscures all details, so here are the original tester photos I sent Jenny where I am wearing the dress inside out. Look how nice and flat the bodice wrap sits! As I said yesterday, I really like that the back of the neckbands is a shaped curve instead of a folded rectangle pulled snugly. It really improves the bodice fit compares to these faux-wrap dresses I made last summer.

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On the flip side… this pattern was not designed for big-bottomed girls. Because… this:

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See how the side seams are pulling back, and the back hem is several inches shorter than the front? (Remember, I’d cut of 4″ all around because I assumed it would all be too long, so yours won’t be THIS short.) Next time I’ll cut a larger size in the back skirt, and lengthen it a bit. That’s much easier to do than an FBA, so I really don’t mind.

Instructions: 

Good! I rarely use instructions, but I read through these carefully many times, and they are solid. Good illustrations, and as detailed as you’d expect from an indie.

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PDF:   The PDF pattern has a faint grid printed on it, which makes it really easy to align. Once you’ve chosen your “cup size”, you print off the file for that cup size, and it’s easy to grade between nested sizes for the waist and hips like I have above.

Size Range:  Boy, was it strange to cut out one of the smallest sizes on a pattern! Like, so very, very strange. A little part of me wishes that the pattern came right down to smaller sizes because I’d like to recommend it to smaller friends, but let’s face it: There are plenty of patterns I’m too fat to fit into, so it’s not going to hurt anyone to have just one pattern line that doesn’t cover their size. I’d rather have well-designed niche pattern companies like Sewaholic, SBCC, and now Cashmerette, than a whole wash of identical companies. I know Jenny has mentioned that there will be SBA tutorials for her patterns, so hopefully that works well for the big-but-not-busty demographic. (Because “curvy” doesn’t always mean the same curves, which is a bit of a bugbear with me!)

Speaking of “curvy”: I don’t know how many of you spend time at the Curvy Sewing Collective, but I’m a big fan. I think they’ve done such a good job at creating a positive and active plus-size sewing community. Almost everything applies to sewists of all sizes, and the forum is a great place to get help or ask questions. They’ve kept up a steady stream of quality posts since they started – and from my own experience organising the Sewcialist blog, I know that’s a lot more work than it seems! If you haven’t checked the CSC out in a while, you should go take a look!

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I hope all that info was helpful! If you are curious about the pattern, I’d say go for it. It’s a good representation of the Cashmerette line, and you’ll know from Appleton if the other patterns will likely work for you too!

 

How do you feel about niche pattern companies with limited size ranges or a very particular fit model? Yea or nay?


30 thoughts on “Appleton Wrap Dress: The Details

    1. I do so love a nice distracting print that hides any fit issues or sewing errors… I probably should try on all my clothes inside out so see how they fit! Won’t, but should!😉

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  1. I think it’s absolutely a great idea to cater to a specific demographic! I love Sewaholic for that very reason. And I’m not sure you actually need a bigger size on the back skirt… you may be able to fix the side seams swinging back by lowering the front waistline of the skirt. I think it’s referred to as a “full tummy adjustment” (kinda hate the name!). I do it with both pants and skirts and it makes a huge difference!

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    1. Oooh, interesting! I’m going to have to look that one up because I can’t quite picture how it would help in this situation – but the magic of fitting is that there are so many ways to tackle a problem! THanks!

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      1. To see if that adjustment is what you need, try your dress on again and pull up the skirt at the waist seam (leave the bodice in its place) and if the side seam comes back to straight, then that’s the adjustment you need. If not, then it may be the back skirt piece that needs adjusting.

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  2. First, you really look gorgeous in this dress. It’s classy it sexy depending on styling, and looks easy to wear! I can see this being a staple garment in my wardrobe too! I ordered the printed pattern as I have sworn off any new PDF patterns. The 3$ extra saves me at least an hour of work or more. Worth it! I am excited to try this dress. Thanks for making it! We have similar body measurements so I can use you as my fashion guide!

    MaLora Ann

    >

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    1. I really hope you like it as much as I do! (I think you will.) I like the wrap dresses read as more formal than other knit dresses – I’m trying to decide if I can get away with wearing a knit wrap dress to a family wedding next month. What do you think? In nice fabric?

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  3. That bodice really does fit like a glove! Fantastic! I think it’s great that there are pattern companies dedicated to specific shapes. If I was really petite, I’d be so excited to sew SBCC patterns and not have to shorten everything! I’m not a business woman, but it makes sense to me that having a focus and a really specific audience could be a major strength for a business.

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    1. Weirdly, I am petite, and I’ve never tried SBCC! Initially because i hated the company name (I”m picky like that, apparently!) and now because I don’t know which pattern is really my style. I should try them though, because they might be fabulous!

      I think you are right that having a focus for a pattern line/business must be helpful – I mean, how else to you winnow down all the things you could possible design?? I wouldn’t know where to start!

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  4. Your dress is fabulous. I love the idea of this and of not having to do an FBA. That would be fantastic. I adore your dress and the one that Jenni wears on the front of the pattern. However, I was about to order this it but was put off by the difference between the finished garment and my actual measurements as shown on the size charts. That is a TON of negative ease. I am worried that if I size up like some testers have mentioned to do then how do I know by how much? Won’t the shoulders be too big then? Also, if I have to do a muslin is this not as much trouble as doing an FBA? Isn’t the point of these patterns to not have to do any adjustments? Sorry if this sounds a wee bit negative, it is totally not meant to be, just constructive as I am a bit puzzled (doesn’t take much :)). I am so stoked that there is a line of patterns for us curvy, busty ladies and if I knew what size to buy would get them all. I don’t tend to fit in the Indies or are just at the top of their size ranges. So fed up of taking a whole day of pattern adjustment before I can even begin to sew anything. Xx

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    1. Ok, I’ve been thinking about this, and yes, I totally get where you are coming from. The negative ease is pretty much all in the bust – the waist has a teeny bit of positive ease, and the hips have just a smidge of negative ease… both of which will depend on how tightly you tie the dress. There is a LOT of negative ease in the bust though, so I think Jenny’s suggestion has been that someone who wants more coverage to sew up a cup size or two. By nature a wrap dress does have to be snug though, or it will just gape open!

      Basically, for mine, the rayon has 50% stretch and because it’s rayon, it stretches easily without looking tight. If I were to sew it in ITY, I’d probably go up a whole size. (Ok, I probably wouldn’t bother because my pattern is already cut out, but if I was starting fresh, I would size up.) One size up shouldn’t affect the shoulders noticeably, because with a more stable fabric you’d want the extra width from side to side.

      Bottom line, if the intended fit isn’t something you’d feel comfortable wearing, then don’t feel like you have to buy it just because it’s shiny and new! She’ll have more patterns, and maybe one of them will be more right for you. On the flip side, a wrap dress might be the perfect time to try out her sizing, because you can always adjust the fit with the wrap.🙂

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      1. Just to echo Gillian
        – if you go up just a cup size, eg 20 C/D -> 20 G/H, the shoulders don’t change at all
        – if you go up an actual size eg
        20 G/H -> 22 G/H the difference in the shoulders is really marginal.
        – if you think you want to go up two or three sizes, then I would do a muslin.
        As Gillian says though, it is a naturally low cut style! Don’t worry, there will be others that aren’t😉

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        1. Thanks both. Adjusting the wrap part to make it less revealing is the easy part. I was just thrown by the ease. I don’t like my knits too stretched. I am far too lumpy for that. Great pattern and so happy that there will be more in the pipeline too. Xx

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          1. As a tester, I can confirm that the shoulders barely go up between sizes. I went up one size over my measurements for my test version, and that seam hits exactly at my shoulder joint. I don’t think I’m going to lose much fit-wise by going up another size, which I’m going to do for my next version.

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  5. First of all, I love your dress. Secondly, yes to niche indie pattern companies! I think sizing flexibility is the biggest advantage that indies have over big 4. I really see more specialty sizing options being the future of patterns, especially as people in general get more used to buying things off the web. The downside is if a particular pattern company drafts for a certain size, but doesn’t match an aesthetic I’m going for. The more niche companies offering specialty sizes, though, the greater the chance that I’ll find something I like that I can make up with a minimum of alterations. And the more people who have options for sizing that can for them with a minimum of fuss, the better as far as I’m concerned.

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    1. Ooh, yes – Sewaholic and SBCC both draft for my proportions, but neither has patterns I really want to wear! It’s nice though that as comapnies are getting more established, lots of designers have a huge catelogue of patterns to choose from. I remember when Sewaholic only had 5 patterns! Now there are more than I can remember.

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  6. wonderful dress and i think that i can go up two sizes in the bodice to accommodate a K cup and taper in for shoulders and waist. it’s still better than an FBA. for me, the question is what is the amount of the wrap? i’ve never had much luck sitting in a wrap dress without my panty crotch saying hello to the world.

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    1. Oh, good point, i should have mentioned the wrap! Basically, the layer that goes underneath is maybe 5″ wider then the one on top, so it’s a nice secure wrap skirt!

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  7. Have sparkly fabric. Checking Appleton reviews with gimlet eye. Thus far, prints rock! Not worried about length; at 6.0, adding length is a given. Also a given with wide shoulders-hips, ample frontage. The perfect kiss ’em buh-bye dress. The one you wear the last time you’ll see someone. Let ’em sob into their beverage as you pivot, then walk away with a subtle hint of sway. Haven’t worn a dress in 9 years; skirt suits, sure. Not a dress. Here’s to the perfect, sparkly, NYE dress!

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  8. Your dress looks great. I have totally done the same thing by forgetting that my butt takes up space and makes the back of a dress shorter.
    As for pattern companies that target a specific niche, I think they’re one of the strengths of indies. They don’t have to appeal to everyone so can cater to a specific want or need. I love Sewaholic patterns because I’m pear shaped and live in Vancouver, they fit my body and suit my lifestyle. It can be quite empowering to make a pattern designed for you, it switches your perspective from “my hips are too big” to “the hip size on this dress is too small.” A small thought but one that can really impact self image.
    I hope that Cashmerette patterns will help do this for people who fit into their clothing range.

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    1. You are so right about how sewing can help the way we frame our thinking about bodies and fit! I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been but I feel foxy when my clothes are me-made and well fitting!

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  9. Lovely dress and thanks for the details. I have similar measurements to you, except I’m 5’11”. I take a 36DD bra size so might just need the smallest cup size in this pattern. So, like you, I reckon 14C/D on top and 16 for the hips with lots of added length. I too was worried about the amount of negative ease especially at the bust, so I could go up a cup side . I love ZB’s dress description! However, I reckon I’m a bit too reserved for her dress! I don’t have a fabric that would work so I’ll hang for until I find one.

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  10. Such a great job you did with this dress. I received my Appleton pattern today and am combing reviews before I get started. You mention you are petite – did you do any petite adjustments to the pattern? Thanks.

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    1. Nope, i didn’t need to shorten it all att! It has a slightly high waist, and the waist as designed worked perfectly for me. I hope you love sewing and wearing it!! (Oh, and I did initally shorten it, thinking that every dress is too long for me… nope, not this one! I had to add all the length back on.)

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