Pattern Hack | Cashmerette Carlyle TShirt X Gilmore Skirt
For those of you who have read my blog before, you will know that I am not very good at following instructions. Just like when I cook, I sew with thoughts of, what if I just added this here, or changed this there…
I recently made the Carlyle Tshirt, which is one of the patterns made for the Cashmerette Club. I instantly fell for the flattering square neckline and wanted more of it.
The third month’s club pattern launch was the Gilmore skirt. I was disappointed when I saw it, thinking it just wasn’t for me. I don’t wear skirts and so I ruled it out as a make pretty quickly. [side note, I don’t know why I don’t wear skirts, I just never feel comfy in them].
You can see from the image of my beaming face, and the reams of full skirt in my hands, that this was not the case!
A knit Gilmore?
I’ll be honest, I am not sure where the idea came from but as my mind is often rambling through sewing ideas something must have sparked it. I started to ponder what it would be like to make the Carlyle into a dress, and then I started to think about the Gilmore as the bottom of it.
The Gilmore is a woven pattern with a waistband that fastens with an invisible zip. On looking into the pattern I saw that Cashmerette had created a version of it with their Upton bodice on the top half and so I was convinced I could make this work.
Given the style and structure of the Gilmore skirt, I decided quite quickly that a knit with some structure would be the way to go. I have had some success at converting woven patterns to knits with a ponte di Roma before (see my knit Zadie Jumpsuit) and so this was my preferred choice.
My biggest issue with Ponte fabric however, is that it is so often made with synthetic fibres. Those fibres are banned in my wardrobe and so I had quite a hunt around for other options. Happily, I found this viscose version in the most beautiful shade of Cobalt Blue at The Fabric Shop NZ and it has turned out to be perfect for it. I don’t know the weight of the fabric, but it is fairly heavy and makes this spot on for the Autumn/Winter we are now in here in NZ. This would not be good for a summer dress!
Ponte – a great knit for woven patterns
The great thing about the Ponte, and I think this goes for any woven in a knit, is that it isn’t generally as stretchy, and I find it has a bit more hold. It also has worked wonders with the drapes on the skirt really helping to hold the shape of the undulations, especially when I swish and twirl the skirt. The only challenge so far is that I haven’t managed to iron out al the creases as the iron heat needs to be a bit lower for this that the seams and creases need.
I did have to make some significant adjustments to the size of the pattern that I used though to account for the variation in stretch. When I first made my Carlyle Tshirt, I made an 18GH which I took down to a 16 when I first tried it on.
For my bodice here I took the size down again to 14GH as I needed the more snug fit for the dress bodice.
I made similar adjustments to my sizing in the skirt. I have a very thick waist. Actually, I really don’t have a waist anymore as my mum-tum is a full one. I often grade out at the waist and so I took some time to test the skirt on it’s own before I joined the t-shirt to it.
I cut the skirt at 18GH which is my standard Cashmerette start point. I checked the waist band and took it down to a 16 as I needed to account for the stretch.
turning these two patterns into a dress…
When it came to constructing these two individual patterns into a dress, I have to say, I was fairly gung-ho about it all not really following any process.
First up, I made the patterns separately, stitching together the panels of the skirt and the same with making up the t-shirt. As I was not inserting a zipper, I didn’t follow the instructions for anything other than the seam allowance and fully stitched all the panels to fully form the skirt.
To make the waist band, I took the two short ends, RST and stitched with a 1cm seam allowance. The, right sides together I attached this to the waist of the skirt. As I had taken the waist band down, I had to stretch a little just like when adding a neckband to a t-shirt.
When it came to the T-shirt, I had already cut the pattern pieces at the cropped length line, but I could see from trying it on that I needed to reduce it by a few more inches. I have a short torso and so getting this right was an important step.
Once I had reduced the length, it was time to attach the top to the skirt and see if this whole thing would work!
With right sides together, I lined up the bottom of the t-shirt with the top of the waist band and basted it all in place.
The moment of truth
I was not entirely sure, until I tried it on, that the waist band would stretch over my bust.. but it did! My first try on confirmed that I was going to love the dress but it needed a few more alterations.
1. Due to the weight in the fabric, the waist band was sitting too low, andanother 2 inches needed to come out of the top.
2. The waistband was not snug enough to hold the skirt in place and needed to be taken in by another inch.
I made these adjustments, and in my opinion, they were perfect!
Just the hem to go at this point and I was done. I say just the hem… but the hem on this in no small feat!!
My New Favourite
To say I am in love with my new dress would be a bit of an understatement. There is something about it that makes me feel great when I have it on. Maybe it is the gorgeous colour, maybe it is the swish of the skirt, maybe it is the feeling of being all dressed up in a comfortable knit dress. Whatever it is, I need more of these in my life and my puppy agrees!
Both of these sewing patterns are available to Cashmerette Club members. You can join here
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