Introducing the Cashmerette Lenox Dress

Edit: The Montgomery dress had to be renamed to the Lenox dress. The url reflects the old name, but I have updated my blog post for the new name.

Let’s get this out of the way… Yes, I tested this. Yes, I received the pattern for free. Yes, I am biased. But seriously, it’s a shirtdress and I was going to be biased toward the pattern anyway. And sure I am biased, because I am friends with Jenny and I’ve tested for Cashmerette for a while. I am biased because the fit with her patterns is usually really good and works for me. I am biased because I get the patterns for free. I dgaf. This dress rocks.

The Lenox shirtdress has so many great features: princess seams in the front and back, a back yoke, a waistband, full collar and collar stand option, gathered or pleated skirt option, banded sleeves, v-neck shaping on the button band, and pockets. My go-to shirtdress before now has been the M6696, which I have made several times before. To be honest, I’ve never quite achieved a great fit there. I’ve gotten a good fit, but not a great fit. There are some issues I have with the pattern overall. The side-seam pockets are really shallow and the one time I used them I almost replaced them afterwards because my phone fell out. The back of the dress is pretty puffy due to the gathers. I’ve always meant to go back and alter that part, but generally forget. I also don’t really love the shape of the button band with the collar. If you button it all the way, the collar chokes a bit. In comparison, M7084, which I used for my wedding dress, is a bit closer to what I want in a shirtdress, but my fit on that was still not great and again the collar was a bit high. The Lenox dress sort of hits all my wants in a shirtdress. I was sick at the time I tested it, but could not say no to doing it so I powered through.

The yoke is sewn on using a burrito method and there is an inside waistband for two really great finishes to make the insides pretty. A shirtdress with these details is a time-consuming creation, but completely worth every second you spend on it.

For my tester version, I used the full collar with the gathered skirt. I did french seams throughout except for the sleeves. I find that can be a bit difficult and wasn’t worth my trouble for the tester version. I finished the seams at the armholes with pinking sheers. I made the dress using a white cotton that I got from a friend purging her stash.

After I was done testing, I put the dress on a hanger and left it unhemmed for a bit. I didn’t really feel keen to wear a plain white shirtdress in spite of the fact that when I started I wanted just that. I decided it would need something for me, the colour nut, to wear it comfortably.

Then Ciara posted about the beading she added to her dress. Add to that, all the embroidery I was obsessing over through pinterest and instagram. I kept pinning designs of varying levels of difficultly. I decided to use a variegated embroidery floss in all the colours and do very simple lines of Xs along the collar, arm bands, waistband and hem, as well as using the floss to put the buttons on with an X as well. At first, I was going to do two lines of the Xs at the hem, but several hours later and a pair of sore arms, I just left it at one line. The embroidery details are subtle and lovely. It gives it enough of a pop of colour that I don’t feel like I am wearing a plain white dress.

I’m really happy with how it turned out and want to make a few dozen more. I wish I had a crazy fabric budget right now since I want linen like crazy to make another version. I’m going through a linen fabric obsession right now. It’s just so lovely to work with and wear.

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirt dress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

I will say that the pictures here are showing weird fit issues that don’t actually exist. I had just cleaned a bunch and was all sore and red from that. I may not have buttoned it correctly since my fingers tend to have issues after cleaning.

This picture taken this morning reflects the bust fit better:

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There is some rippling along the princess seams, likely from doing french seams and not getting it flat enough.

Expect to see several more versions of this dress  on the blog. I’m getting through my large UFO piles right now, though. Some things in that pile have lingered for almost a year. I got through a bunch of things this weekend and am still working my way through it. Let’s just say the pile is deep…

Second helpings

With a little over five weeks until the wedding, things are getting pretty busy! I still have a ton of time to sew oddly enough. But not time to take pictures and blog. I just finished my wedding dress this weekend and will blog about it soon with the final reveal waiting for July after the wedding. I have just the sash left to make. I am also making a sash for my sister’s dress, which she bought, and a dress for my little flower girl, my niece. My niece’s dress will be red like the sashes and the vests for all the tuxedo wearing people. We’ll be quite the gorgeous wedding party!

On to the non-wedding stuff!

This month I made several seconds, thirds, and fourths of things. There’s nothing better than making up a pattern that you’ve made several times before and know what to do. None of them are perfect in spite of the fact that I have made them all before. You would think I would have all the fitting issues worked out, but nope! Sometimes that is down to fabric differences, like in these cases, but often it’s just down to not getting the technique completely down, like in the case of my floral bomber jacket.

M7100 Floral Denim Bomber Jacket

I made this jacket at the beginning of May. There are a couple of issues with it. The fabric is heavier weight from my first version so it ends up being a little tighter than the previous version. I think I will be doing an FBA for future versions to have it fit a little better through the chest.

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I also messed up the waistband….er….again. The instructions for this are pretty vague, though. It’s basically: “and then attach the waistband.” Not much direction for that meant that I fudged it up again. It’s not super noticeable to the non-sewist eye so I am not going to fuss over it.

I am pleased with the welt pockets, though!

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I really love the jacket, though, and have been alternating between the two jackets all Spring. It was incredibly sunny and very humid during all these pictures. So enjoy the progression of me melting. LOL.

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Two Jennifer Lauren Vintage Bronte tops:

These tops have been cut out for a while, but I had fitting issues on my white one in the same cotton interlock fabric so I had been putting off making these two tops. After my post about what I need to fill wardrobe gaps, though, I immediately got to work on these two. I took some length out of the neckline in the front. The result is a much higher neckline, but a lot flatter and it sits better on my shoulders. The neckline also isn’t as curved as it is in the pattern. I am okay with that. I actually really like this style and have been enjoying wearing them. The resulting tweaks, however, make for a short top. I’ve made the changes in the pattern and will be lengthening future versions based on the changes. I think I may unpick the white version and cut the neckline in a similar fashion, as well, because this worked out quite well.

I also lucked out by having buttons in my stash that matched perfectly with the fabric!

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Don’t you love when that happens?

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Long sleeve shirts plus leggings on a hot and humid day made me rather melty….

Purple M6696:

This dress has also been cut out for a while (since writing my Spring sewing plans). Other than switching out the pockets for the straight skirt version pockets, I made no adjustments from my nautical version to this version, but perhaps should have remembered to cut the waistband a little longer (by about an inch) and to pivot and shorten the bust darts. Oops. There are always a million future versions for these adjustments! Not much else to say about the dress. I love wearing it. I also tried a little different thing for the buttons and am not pleased with what I did! Oh well. I thought I was getting the horizontal buttonhole in the middle of the band, but sadly it’s a little too far over and too close to the edge of the band. If I had started at the bottom of the dress, I think I would have done the others differently, but I started at the top. I tried unpicking, but it looked horrible so I just went with it. It looks fine, but the buttonholes are dangerously close to the edge of the band. I don’t have any more fabric or I would just have cut a new button band and redone the whole thing. Oh well! There’s always a million future versions! The fabric for this is quilting cotton that I stole from my mother’s stash a few years ago. Check out my other three versions (including the skirt version).

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I need sunglasses. And a tan…. I’m brighter than the sun!