This was my first time working with Cashmerette patterns, but I’ve been admiring them for several months now. We recently started carrying a couple new patterns from them and the Lenox Shirtdress caught my eye. I loved the princess seams and I loved that it would fit a bigger bust. I usually find myself adjusting the bust to accommodate my curves and I was excited to not have to think about it and just sew.
Pattern: Lenox Shirtdress by Cashmerette
Materials: 2 ⅞ yards Light Duck Cotton/Hemp in Granite
Size Made: 12
Modifications: Due to my own error, I ended up adding about ¼” of width to the button band and consequently needed to extend the collar length. I also chopped off about 5 ½" in skirt length and added a button to the top.
I was really excited to pick the fabric for this dress, but it turned out harder than I thought. I wanted something that I could wear fall through spring and that would layer well. I saw this as an almost everyday dress. I wanted to keep it simple, but special. I originally considered a very busy Rifle Paper Co. floral print that would have been beautiful, but not an everyday kind of dress. Then I considered the new dreamy soft and gorgeous silk noil in an army green, until I realized it was going to end up looking a bit “boogie-woogie bugle boys” and I passed on that too. I decided on this lightweight duck in granite with all these wonderful little speckles of color like sprinkles on a cupcake. It was a bit heavier than the pattern suggested for the dress, but since I wanted a dress for the colder months, I thought it would be a good fit.
I learned a few things working on this dress, some on purpose, some on accident. For some reason, my center back panel was about 2” too short, so I had to Frankenstein a little rectangle in the back. Which ended up working and adds a little accidental design flare. I also love that this pattern uses the burrito method to install the yoke. It’s a method I’ve used in the past and love how nice and crisp and professional it turns out every time. I have a short bodice and if I had been smart enough to make a muslin, I would have raised the waist a bit, but it works.
My biggest challenge ended up being something I expected to be a breeze, the button band. Let me start by saying, I should know better than to sew past 11 pm, but I was on a roll and wanted to get one last thing done before bed. It was a combination of late night sewing + unclear pattern directions/illustrations that led me to sew the button bands on wrong, it was a pure delirious determination that led me to line and top stitch them before I actually realized my mistake. Tears! I woke up exhausted, headed into Fancy Tiger and bought more fabric to cut new button bands. I had also lost about a ¼ “ on each side, as I trimmed my seam allowance so I had to draft a new button band that was ¼” wider than the original and I had to lengthen my collar piece as well. What the pattern directions didn’t make clear on the button band installation was that the curved band should be sewn on right sides together, but bent backward at the curve. It took me talking thru this with two other Tigers to be sure. But the second time was 100% successful and even my self-drafted collar turned out perfect.
After I had worked out my issues with the button band, I was still not 100% happy with the dress for some reason. It wasn’t until I chopped off about 5” in length that I started to really dig this dress. It’s simple, but fun and flirty and the everyday dress I envisioned. I see more of these in my future, but next time I’ll be smarter and make a muslin so I get a better fit.