Cashmerette Washington Dress (Well, sort of!)

My love for Cashmerette’s first pattern, the Appleton Wrap Dress, is well documented… and now she’s released her second pattern! When I pattern tested this one, I made a straight-up (unwearable) muslin from orange ITY and purple quilting cotton. Needless to say, that one is never going to be blogged!

A month later though, I pulled out this 1.2m remnant of rayon jersey from my stash, and decided on a whim to make a dress from it. I wanted a close-fitting bodice, and thought immediately of the Washington bodice! And so here it is: half a Washington, with a Tiramisu half-circle skirt attached!

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(Bare legs and fall leaves seem a long time ago already! I took these pictures the same day as these dolman dress and top pics…)

Why did I substitute the skirt? Well, as drafted, it’s an a-line meant for a combination of ponte yoke and woven skirt. A-line skirts aren’t really my thing, and neither are wovens… and this print is crazy enough on it’s own, without adding any contrasting fabrics! I could definitely see making the dress as drafted for my sister to wear at her office, and the tester versions popping up are gorgeous. In the mean time, the bodice alone is a total winner and is going to be a workhorse in my pattern-hacking repertoire!

Let’s take a close look, shall we?

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The bodice is snug-fitting with a scoop neck and three sleeve lengths. I love the fit on the armscye, how the shoulder seams fit perfectly on my shoulder, and that the short sleeve has a flattering curve to the hem. You’ll notice the fit on me is tight – this is the tester version, but for the final pattern, Jenny added some width to the back and a bit more length to the front. I also reinforced my waist seam with some lingerie elastic, as I always do… this time I may have pulled it a bit too tight! I just really hate it when heavy rayon skirts pull the bodice out of shape.

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For fun, I decided to pull the scoop neckline into a v-neck with a bit of clear elastic ruching. I stitched the elastic to the inside using a zigzag stitch, stretching it as tight as I could. My only tip is to make sure you start with a much longer piece of clear elastic than you need – that’ll give you something to hold on to as you sew and stretch!

(Oh, and the necklace I’m wearing? I wore when I was married at the town hall, wearing a really similar-coloured RTW blue and white strappy sundress. We had a more traditional wedding the next week, but without an officiant, so it was inportant to be legally married first! Wearing the necklace now always makes me smile!) 

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When I first finished this dress is felt a little frumpy and boring because it was just one colour. I’m really not used to wearing monochromatic clothes, and I couldn’t figure out how to accessorize it or what colour cardigan to layer on top. After wearing it a few times though, I like it! I usually avoid wearing sleeveless dresses to teach in, so short sleeves like this are perfect for the beginning and end of the school year.

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I like to think of my TNT patterns as mix-and-match pieces that I can jigsaw together. Between Tiramisu, Comino, Myrtle, and now Washington, I feel like I’ve got lots of bodice options. This is the first snug bodice I’ve ever sewn that ended with a level waist and room for the ladies (unlike Lady Skater and Moneta, which did not work well for me). Hurray for cup-size patterns!

I’m excited to try out the finalized pattern for a winter dress with long sleeves… maybe with a full-circle skirt for maximum twirliness? What are your favourite knit dresses to sew? Are you going to give Washington a try? 


32 thoughts on “Cashmerette Washington Dress (Well, sort of!)

  1. Oh! the good old days… bare legs, light dress, sunny weather. It will all come back next year! In the meanwhile, you have a perfect little dress to wear with tights and cardigan. This blue is lovely on you. Great hacking work!

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    1. Thank you! It’s awfully hard to remember things like “being too hot” or “walking out the door without a coat” once winter starts!

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  2. Thanks for the post! I’ve been eyeing the pattern, but like you A-line skirts are not my jam. But I have been looking for a basic knit top that will fit properly through the bust, and this may fit the bill…

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    1. I really do love the bodice! I’ll give the skirt a proper try, and I’ll seen some beautiful versions… but first i can’t wait to make a long-sleeved version of this bodice with a circle skirt for winter!

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  3. I think I’m having a V8 moment…because when you said this dress was “frumpy” I was all SHE’S CRAZY. Then I realized that’s the exact same thing I say about my “monochromatic” dresses (which, like this, are really patterned…). WE ARE LYING TO OURSELVES!

    Awesome swishy sexy dress, lady.

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    1. It’s a mass delusion brought on by so much colour in our closets – anything less than wacky seems bland? This print is definitely my version of “somber”.

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  4. That colour looks great on you, there’s definitely no need to worry about it being frumpy. I love your necklace too! I need to make some more knit dresses, I’ve only made a Moneta so far. I’ve got the Colette Wren ready to try, but I need to finish Christmas sewing first!

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    1. Wren has lots of nice features! Once I started making knit dresses there was no turning back – I choose dresses over pants most days, because tey look polished but are actually hella comfy!

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  5. This looks awesome! I tested this pattern too and had some trouble with my pear shape and the woven skirt. I haven’t tried to fit or wear many woven skirts, so i was kind of at a loss as to how to troubleshoot that one! I agree with you though, the bodice is perfection and I was thinking of adding a moneta skirt to it, but I really like what you have done here. This seems like a great, easy to wear dress! And that necklace is AMAZING

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    1. I think that Jenny has nailed the bust fitting, but isn’t so much drafting for a booty. No matter though, easy to fix now that we know we’ll need to! Have you made the pattern again since testing?

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  6. Pretty!!! I love the tighter fit on you…shows off your gorgeous curves!

    Your necklace is stunning! I wish I had chose something that lovely to wear on my day that I could wear afterwards.

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    1. Thank you! It turns out I’m really nostalgic about jewellery (ok, about most things, which is why I have so much clutter! so I’m happy I get to rewear this necklace too!

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  7. That’s exactly what I’d like to be able to successfully do with my patterns– get to the point where I can just mix and match the features that I want to get a completely customized look. I don’t think the dress looks boring at all, even if it is just one color! Personally, I get more bored when it’s just solids, rather than a monochromatic print. And from what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t be opposed to trying the Washington. I’m intrigued by the knit/woven mix idea, since I do admittedly have a lot of wovens to bust through. But I think I’d still like to get my hands on the Appleton and try that first. (I put the pattern on my Christmas list, so now I’m just waiting to see if I get it or not!)

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    1. Appleton is definitely better for nursing! But I think you’d look great in a washington! The original skirt silhouette reminds me of the Cambie skirt, and your tea cup version has always been one of my favs!

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  8. Your dress looks great! Did you straighten out the curve at the bottom of the Washington bodice or leave it as-is? This will be my first pattern hack attempt and I can’t figure out whether an adjustment at the bottom of the bodice is needed, or if that’s somehow magically worked out when the skirt is attached. Thanks!

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    1. It magically works out! That extra length is for the bust, and without it, the waist will ride up under the boobs.

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