I have a busy week ahead of me, supper out tonight with friends, a WI committee meeting tomorrow night, on Friday I have more friends over and then I’m out again for supper on Saturday. This isn’t normal I assure you – much as I love eating and spending time with friends, I’d soon put on even more weight if I kept up this pace every week.
Even though I have a growing wardrobe of me-made clothes, whenever I’m due to meet up with friends I get this over riding urge to make something new to wear. Now, that in itself isn’t so bad but for some reason, as sod’s law would predict, it doesn’t matter how many times you have made something, the Sewing Gods of Doom will know you are time limited and decide to play tricks on you. I really should learn from experience, plan ahead and not leave things until the last minute! Am I the only one who does this?
I’ve made the Appleton dress before and always feel great when I wear it so I’ve been waiting for an excuse to make my second version.
The Appleton is a wonderful wrap over dress designed especially with curvier ladies in mind. The way the pattern is drafted makes it a dream to cut out and sew, no need for FBA, no need for sway back adjustments and no full bottom adjustments – something I almost always have to do. The pattern just works over all those lovely curvy areas – and as you know, I definitely have my fair share of them.
I purchased this gorgeous navy and white cherry jersey fabric from Guthrie & Ghani
The moment I saw it in their shop it just screamed ‘Appleton’ and I had to buy it – you know that feeling right? Once you picture the fabric made up into a garment there is no way you can leave it behind in the store.
It is described as a lightweight jersey fabric although it feels more medium weight than lightweight to me. It has a composition of 95% viscose and 5% spandex and with a four way stretch of 60% on the cross grain. This is perfect for the Appleton which requires a minimum of 50% stretch.
The cost of the fabric was £10.50 per meter, it is 152cm wide and I ordered 2.6 m, all of which I used.
I pre washed the fabric on a cool program and tumble dried it afterwards, I didn’t notice any shrinkage which is always a bonus and there was no curling of the edges, something which often happens with knit fabrics, even more so after tumble drying them.
My measurements (B46, W41, H52) mean that I don’t fall into any of the standard size categories for this pattern so this is what I decided to do:
- Work with the C/D version of the pattern
- Use size 18/20 around the shoulders, arms and bust.
- Grade out to 20 at the waist
- Grade out from 20-22 at the hip area.
The pattern design makes grading really straightforward, even when going between multiple sizes i.e. 18-22 as I did.
I took 2 inches off the length of the sleeves on the lengthen/shorten line. I have very short arms and almost everything hangs off the ends of my fingers if I don’t alter them from the start
I lengthened the bodice front and back by 1 inch. Although this might seem a strange thing to do as I am only 5 ft 1” the Appleton is designed to sit just below the knee and I tend like my dresses to fall at least mid calf. I really don’t have the legs to be putting them on display.
I used an 80/12 ballpoint needle to sew the dress.
All seams were sewn on my sewing machine using a zig zag stitch set to 2.5 length, 1.6 width. I then overlocked the raw edges to neaten and strengthen them.
Seams were sewn at 3/8” as per the pattern instructions
I used clear elastic on the shoulder seams to strengthen them overlocking the elastic in place to make sure that it wasn’t going to go anywhere.
On my previous version I top stitched all around the neck band using a zig zag stitch. However, I wasn’t overly happy with the finish I obtained and the sewalong mentions that this isn’t an essential step. So I decided to leave the top stitching off this dress and I’m glad I did, I’m much happier with the finish on this version.
To be honest, the pattern is so straightforward to make that once you have made one version you really don’t need to look at the instructions again. The only thing I did was to refresh my memory on how to correctly attach the waist ties to the left and right neckbands. There is a helpful video on the Cashmerette sewalong showing you how to do this http://www.cashmerette.com/2015/10/appleton-sew-along-day-6.html
Things that didn’t go well or things I would change next time
Nothing went wrong with the pattern but l as I hinted back at the start of my post – I really shouldn’t leave making clothes until the day I want to wear them. Here are the list of calamities that befell me today:
When I plugged in my iron a fuse blew and plunged the house into darkness. Now I’m a resourceful gal and if push comes to shove I’d sew in the dark but unfortunately my sewing machine wouldn’t play ball, it really wanted the electricity switched back on. Needless to say we didn’t have a fuse to hand so helpful hubby had to make a quick dash to the shops.
With electricity restored I was ready to cut out my fabric. Or at least I would have been if I could have found my fabric cutting scissors. After a lengthy search around the house I found them only to get that horrible sinking, stomach churning feeling that only comes from knowing your husband has ‘borrowed’ them to cut paper – eek!! Can I rescind the earlier bestowed title of ‘helpful hubby’?
I know I bought matching thread, I absolutely know I did, but could I find it? Not on your life. It wasn’t in any of my usual stash hiding places. Another 20 minutes wasted in a fruitless search. Luckily the navy fabric was a very dark shade and I managed to get away with using black thread. Not ideal but only the eagle eyed amongst you would notice it if you were stood right next to me.
And finally, in the middle of sewing a seam on my overlocker one of the needles just snapped in half and the end flew across the room. I have no idea what caused that to happen but it made such a loud noise that it made me jump. I still haven’t found the broken needle. Note to self – wear shoes until it is found.
One thing that I thing I will do differently on my next version is to interface the ties as per Stitches and Seams suggestion. I do find that when I wrap them around the back they bunch up and don’t lie as smoothly as I would like. I’m pretty sure following Debbie’s suggestion on her review of the Appleton will fix this issue on me.
The finished dress
Is it possible to love this dress even more than my first version? It would seem so. It fits beautifully and is utterly comfortable to wear. It is one of those pieces of clothing that makes you smile when you put it on because it makes you feel so good.
Cost to make
Fabric – 2.6m at £10.50 – £27.30
1 reel of Gutterman thread – £1.60
Clear elastic for shoulders – £0.10
Total cost to make: £29.00