Sarah's Alcott Dress

Sarah's Alcott Dress

The wrap dress. The holy grail of silhouettes for many body types, but especially those with a large bust to waist ratio, and a wardrobe staple, is a garment that I have been tip-toeing around ever since I had an unsuccessful attempt at one in the early days of my sewing journey. My lack of understanding left me with a gaping neckline, some misused bias tape, and lots of extra bulk at the waist due to an uninformed fabric choice. The dress was unwearable and I have stuck to admiring the wrap dresses of others from afar ever since. It has been a target of mine this year to learn more about how to fit a garment, and as such, project wrap dress was reborn.

Fortunately for me, Cashmerette has a range of wrap and faux wrap dress designs available, and after browsing the lovely fabric available at Jenny Stitches, I settled on the Alcott. Alcott is a faux wrap dress (meaning it looks like a wrap dress but is actually fixed in place) designed to be made with light to mid-weight knit fabric.

I spotted this graphic tiger print cotton jersey in Rust on Jenny Stitches and decided that this was the fabric for me. I know that many sewists don't like sewing with jersey, but I really love it! It is so speedy, the fit is obviously much easier, and with the right tools it isn't so different to working with non-stretch fabrics.

My top tips for sewing with jersey are to purchase the correct needles (needles for knit fabrics have a rounded end), a walking or knit foot for your machine and to make sure that you don't stretch the fabric out as you sew. The Tilly and the Buttons Stretch book also has lots of great tips for getting started with stretch fabric. Also, from my experience, start with a cotton rather than a viscose base. Viscose jersey has a lovely drape, but I have found it trickier to work with.

The King of the Jungle jersey I used is a really great weight for anyone who wants something nice and stable. The colour is a gorgeous deep rust and the quality of the fabric is top notch - I know that this dress is going to last and work hard for me.

In terms of the pattern, Cashmerette has once again got it spot on. The Alcott is really straight forward to construct without compromising on style or quality. There are two sleeve options and skirt lengths- I went for view A, the knee length skirt with flutter sleeves. The bodice is lined and feels really nicely fitted, but still comfortable. The elasticated neckline and waist ensure a perfect, gape-free fit. The wrap element can either be worn straight across the bust for more coverage, or with the top panel pulled down towards the waist to create a ruched effect (this isn't a different view, I have just noticed it worn both ways on Instagram)

The Alcott comes in sizes 12-28 and cup sizes C-H. I used the Cashmerette size calculator to choose my size. It is a huge bonus that these patterns are drafted for three different cup sizes (C-D, E-F and G-H), so the only adjustments I had to make involved grading between sizes for my waist measurement. I used the Cashmerette 'Ahead of the Curve' book to guide me through the grading process and it was a breeze. I did make a wearable toile but no adjustments were necessary, so now I have two lovely Alcotts to enjoy.

Overall I am so thrilled with my garment - a lovely silhouette in beautiful, good quality fabric. The only change I might make would be to have chosen the alternative sleeve view for this fabric, as the cotton jersey is a little too structured for the flutter sleeve. I know that this is the first of many Alcott dresses - I can see this becoming a real wardrobe staple, and I definitely now feel ready to branch out in to more wrap dress projects.

Jenny Says:

"I'm so pleased that Sarah chose to have another try at making a wrap dress, as it's clearly a style that she looks incredible in! Cashmerette patterns are so good for achieving a great fit. Sarah also makes some really great points about working with jersey, cotton jersey is definitely the easiest place to start and a ball point needle is essential. Here's to many more wrap dresses!"

Inspired to make your own version? Here's what you'll need:

Cashmerette Alcott Dress King of the Jungle Cotton Jersey also available in Khaki Ballpoint Needles


Sarah was provided with the materials for her project free of charge and received a gift voucher in recognition of the time spent on her project.
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