Hello, my lovelies! A few weeks back, I awoke to a delightful surprise in my inbox. Cashmerette, one of my favorite indie companies, released a new pattern, the Dartmouth Top! Naturally, I snapped it up right away and set my printer to work cranking out PDF pages. (who could possibly wait for the printed version. I want it now!). A bit of tape, scissors and background music later, the pattern was ready to cut. But which version to choose? Described as cross-over jersey top, the pattern comes in two variations – fixed wrap or ruched front. I opted for door number one – Classic Fixed Wrap!
Version #1 – Classic Front in Classic Black Mystery Fabric
Since the company appears to use the same basic block for each pattern, I felt confident cutting out a straight 16 G/H (my current CP size). Lengthening the sleeves 1.5″ was the only adjustment I made. If you’ve sewn up the Cashmerette Appleton pattern, this one is pretty similar. In fact, the enterprising sewist could easily hack the Appleton into a Dartmouth (and vice versa).
From layout to hemming, it took me about 90 minutes to finish the top on my sewing machine. You could shave off much more time if you use a serger (mine experienced a sewmergency and I had to drop him at the hospital).
Overall, the fit felt pretty good. The mystery fabric I snagged from my stash proved perfect for this project. Only a few adjustments are still needed for future versions. Clearly, sleeve length is an issue – these were the LONG sleeves and even with 1.5″ were quite short on me. I also considered shortening the hem as I’m not a huge fan of where it hits me on the front. All in all, not a bad effort. Though I can’t wait until my serger is back. Hideous insides hurt my heart!
Version #2 – Classic Front, Repurposed Sweater Knit
Perhaps it was the blizzard raging outside or maybe my credit card was still smoking from the last fabric haul, but I decided dive back into my fabric stash for Dartmouth Numero Dos. I found this brightly colored bit of sweater heaven hiding in my ottoman. No idea how it got there, yet I’m so glad it jumped out and screamed “my day has come!” For this version, changes included a 4″ sleeve extension and a slight let of the side seams to relieve some of the tightness in the back.
My thoughts on this one are mixed. I generally love the color and fit – even the slightly too long sleeves (increases the snuggliness factor). However, there are two layers of fabric from the front underbust to hem. It felt like I’d put on waist spanx given the limited stretch of the fabric. Now if that’s your cup of java, yay you! For me, not so much… Perhaps next time, I’ll take a page from Always A Crafty Lady and draft a single layer version. Until then, I’ll stay snuggly with my sweater Dartmouth!
Version #3 – Gorgeous Fabrics Dress Hack
One of my first thoughts on seeing this pattern was “That would make a gorgeous dress!” And here we are, transforming visions into reality. For this dress hack, I extended the front cross piece and back piece to just above my knees (about 14.5″ total). I left the undercross piece the same length to avoid having two long layers of fabric for the length of the dress. Speaking of fabric, my stash-busting marathon continued, yielding a lovely printed jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics. (The label exclaimed that this ITY was “needle-ready,” which still confuses me. Aren’t all fabrics needle ready?)
This was my first time hacking a top into a dress, so I knew my chances were 50/50 in the wadder vs wearable debate. Thankfully ladies and gents, we’ve got a wearable! Despite the picture showing both a too long AND too short sleeve, they’re actually a happy length (#selfieproblems). I like the fit through the body. And bonus, the insides are quite lovely, now that my serger returned triumphantly from the doctor. One thing sticks out to me though. Can you see it? Should I tell you? Because you definitely can’t un-see it… *sigh* The issue is pattern placement, my darlings! I unintentionally placed giant patches of black across my belly and bum! We may be back in wadder territory *blerg*
Version #4 – Quilted BodyCon Dartmouth Dress
And for my last and final act, I give you a bodycon Dartmouth Dress. This quilted knit fabric comes from one of those “we’ve been going out of business for years” shops in the Garment District. It feels almost scuba like in nature, though much less stretchy. Confession time – no stretch was checked before cutting this bad boy out. And when I tried it on? Yowza – calling all curves! It turned out a few hairs snugger than planned. Fortunately, I can still breathe.
Despite the cling, I do love the silhouette of this dress! Alterations wise, I used the previous dress pattern as a starting point, sewing up the whole dress, leaving the side seams open from the hip down. I then spent some quality time contorting before the mirror, hand pegging the skirt to my figure. (Who knew I could be so bendy? (#thanksyoga)). I now wish I’d traced the result onto the actual pattern for future versions (doh!). For the band, I used the wrong side of the fabric for contrast. When sewing it in, I accidentally used a 5/8″ seam allowance resulting in deeply plunging neckline (escándalo!). I decided to tack down the front to keep the mystery alive. One tip I would add is to curve the hem of the shorter front cross piece. When left straight, you can see a harsh line on the front of the dress. Drastically curving the hem made it disappear entirely. I love fabric magic!
That’s a wrap for my blog-based Dartmouth explorations! Hope you enjoyed this latest Cashmerette review. I’ll post any future iterations on my Instagram.
Ciao for now!5