October 9, 2015

Cashmerette Patterns sizing and your questions, answered!

Well, yesterday was a total blast! Thank you so much for all your lovely comments, not to mention orders. It’s so fun seeing them pop up on the blogosphere – I’ll do a proper round up later, but here’s Gillian’s awesome tester version to get you going… Don’t forget to tag your makes with #AppletonDress so we can see them all!

Cashmerette Patterns Appleton Dress

One exciting thing is that the first batch of Appleton printed patterns has now sold out! Wowsers! Don’t worry though – we have more coming next week, so if you order now, we’ll ship them to you the week of Oct 19th. Can’t wait? You can buy the PDF, or you can order from our first two stockists, Grey’s Fabrics and PatternReview.com.

As you’ve probably seen by now, the really innovative thing about Cashmerette Patterns is the cup sizing, which covers sizes C – H. Given the average woman in the US is a DD, and the average British woman is a D, doing an Full Bust Adjustment has been a regular thing for most of us, but now we can skip it!

When I developed the pattern with my professional drafter, we spent nearly 6 months working on our “blocks” – the underlying pattern that all subsequent patterns are based on. Given the way in which having a bigger bust affects patterns, I decided that we would do 3 separate blocks: for C/D, E/F and G/H busts. So the different sizes aren’t just “adding a bit on the bust” – they’ve actually been designed specifically for that size.

Because my sizing is new, I’ve had a bunch of questions about it, so I thought I’d answer some of them here today, together with some others specifically about the Appleton Dress. Let me know in the comments if you have any more you’d like me to answer.

Where can I see your sizing?

You can see Cashmerette Patterns body measurement sizing here, and you can see the finished garment measurements for the Appleton Dress here (click on the image below the big one) .

Should I pick the bodice size that is the same as my bra size? 

During my research I found out that there’s huge variation in bra sizes between countries, stores, and even brands. As no two “36E”s are alike, what I recommend is that you use your full bust measurement to pick your size. It might not be the same as your bra size, but don’t worry! If it fits, that’s what’s important.

My bust size could fit into two of your sizes – which one do I pick?

You should pick the size that is closest to your waist and hip size. So for instance, if you have a 38″ waist and 48″ bust, use the 18 G/H rather than the 20 C/D.

What are the high bust measurements of your patterns? 

If you need to do an FBA, it’s common to use your high bust measurement as a workaround to get the right shoulder size, so many of us are used to doing that. With Cashmerette Patterns, there’s no need to do this! As the designs have been specifically created assuming you have average sized shoulders (i.e. unlike the big 4, which grade out hugely at the shoulders!) but are busty, and you won’t be needing to do an FBA*, you can use your full bust measurement, just like less busty gals have always been able to do.

There seems to be a lot of negative ease at the bust – is it going to be tight?

The great fit through the bust is partly achieved through negative ease in the wrap dress, and it fits snugly but not tightly. Bear in mind that as sizes get bigger, the absolute negative ease will go up – so 10% negative ease on a larger size is a much higher number than 10% negative ease on a smaller size. That said, if you’re not comfortable with wearing close-fitting clothes, I recommend going up a cup size or two. That’s the joy of sewing!

Is there negative ease at the waist and hips in the Appleton Dress? 

As this is a wrap dress, ease at the waist and hips is a funny thing, because ultimately you wrap it around you to where it is comfortable. There is actually a little “positive ease” at the waist (i.e. it’s slightly bigger than the body measurement) and there is a little bit of “negative ease” at the hips (i.e. it’s slightly smaller than the body measurement), but again, because it’s wrapped around you it’s not actually stretching across your body. If you’re significantly pear shaped, you may want to grade up your wrap to a bigger size at the hips.

I don’t want to wear anything too low cut – will I get enough coverage? 

Wrap dresses are by their nature pretty low-cut garments, although the Appleton’s “no gape” neckline does make it more family-friendly than most! That said, if you’d like something less low cut, simply size up a cup size or two.

I’m a small cup size C or a B, can I fit in your patterns? 

Yes! If you’re a C, there’s a good chance you’ll be fine with the C/D cup. If you’re smaller, you can do a Small Bust Adjustment, which we will have a tutorial on shortly.

Are your sizes US or UK? 

They are US indie sewing sizes. As there’s so much variation between brands though, always use your measurements to pick a size.

You say it isn’t going to gape at the neckline… Really? Really?!?!

REALLY! It was my #1 tester comment, and I even have a little video of you of my lovely friend/model Andrea doing a dance – no gaping! (Press the play button – warning, it does have music too!)

How does it not gape? Drafting magic! OK, it’s the combination of the shape of the neckband pieces, and the relative length of the neckband and neckline.


If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask below, and I’ll try to answer them all!

*for 99% of people!

38 thoughts on “Cashmerette Patterns sizing and your questions, answered!

  1. Kathleen Marshall says:

    Is it possible to make this dress shorter in the waist. It’s very difficult on many wrap dresses.

    1. Yes it is! The waistline is marked on the front and back of the pattern, so you can shorten it there. There’s also a lengthen/shorten line at the skirt level.

  2. Megan @ TheGreenViolet says:

    As a small C cup/maybe a B cup/I don’t even know anymore now that I’ve started sewing bras, I can vouch that the C/D size worked for me! I probably have a bit more coverage than was intended, but that just means I can wear it to work!

    1. Thanks for adding that Megan!

  3. Robin says:

    So I don’t have “normal” (shocks me that you of all people would use that term) size shoulders. How do I go about picking a size?

    1. Hi Robin – I was referring to the fact that most plus size patterns seem to get extremely wide at the shoulders! (which is why I put it in inverted commas) But I probably should have been clearer about that – I’ve updated it 🙂 I’d use whatever method usually works for you (I’m not aware of many if any other patterns that have a high bust measurement).

      1. Robin says:

        Thank you for the explanation. I take my high bust measurement and compare it to the full bust measurement on the size chart and then do an FBA. This allows a better fit through the shoulders and back. Does that make sense?

        So based on your system I’m not really sure how to move ahead, but am happy to make a muslin.

        1. The method you describe is usually a solution which is good if your bust is proportionately bigger than your shoulders, which is the problem with big 4 patterns which assume everyone plus size has very wide shoulders and a B bust. The high bust/full bust method effectively reduces the shoulder/bust ratio.

          My patterns are drafted the opposite – they assume you have average sized shoulders, but a bigger bust. Theoretically that means the high bust/full bust and then FBA method is redundant – but let me know what works for you! Muslining is definitely a good idea first 🙂

  4. byseverine says:

    merci Jenny pour toutes ces précisions, j’écris en français pour tes visiteuses francophones. Je voulais confirmer que le décolleté est réellement flatteur, mais comme la profondeur de bonnet est adapté la robe ne bouge absolument pas. Je travaille dans un lycée avec que des jeunes garçons et j’ai pu porter mes robes sans encombres, aucuns regards en coin, j’ai conservé toute ma dignité sans y penser ;0).

    1. Merci Severine!

      For the non-French speakers, here’s my (rusty) translation:

      “Jenny, thank you for all these details, I’ll write in French for your Francophone visitors. I wanted to confirm the neckline is really flattering, and because of the cup size, the dress is definitely not moving. I work in a high school with young boys and I can wear my dress without problems – no sidelong glances, and I kept my dignity without having to think about it 🙂 “

  5. Congratulations on your new pattern! It’s beautiful!

  6. Emma says:

    Love this dress and can’t wait to make it up! As a new Mom, I also love that it’s nursing friendly and accommodating for my changing post-partum shape. Could you post a link to the sheer polka dot fabric you used for the sleeves of the black version? I MUST have it…

    1. Hi Emma! – as far as I’m aware the polka dot fabric isn’t available for retail anywhere, but you can buy the entire kit from me, jersey, ribbing, polka dots and all! It’s here: http://shop.cashmerette.com/products/black-polka-dot-appleton-fabric-kit-plus-pattern

  7. Kathy says:

    Can you tell me the back neck to waist length? What height are the patterns designed for? It looks fantastic and I am keen to give it a go

    1. Hi Kathy – the back neck to waist is 13 – 14″ depending on size (pretty much evenly distributed), and they’re designed for 5’6″.

      1. Kathy says:

        Is this the high waist where the tie sits rather than the true waist? It seems to be very short at 13 or 14 inches. A size 14 Vogue pattern has a back waist of 16 1/2 inches which is almost right for me…I normally only have to lengthen it by 1/2 inch

        1. Hi Kathy – I just realised I forgot to add the back neckbkand length! Oops. That takes it to 15 – 16″.

    2. Cecile says:


      I love that you are designing. Though I do have one slight problem with the sizes and it’s the same one I have with almost all pattern companies. The sizes never go high enough. Most are like yours and go up to 28, though I have seen patterns that go up to 32. But that’s usually the limit.

      The only designer who does go higher is Connie Crawford who designs for sizes 3 to 44. Though I think her blocks are for C-cup. Anyone with a larger cup size still needs to do an FBA. I love that you’re patterns eliminate the need for the FBA.

      I’m 5’4, my measurements are 62 – 54 1/2 – 70 1/2 and I’m a D-cup. According to Connie Crawford’s sizing I’m a 5X (size range 38-40).

      Is there any possibility that you and your drafter will go larger in size range so that Very Curvy Girls like me can patterns that will only require a slight adjustment for height? Right now for me it’s either Connie Crawford or drafting my own patterns.


      1. Cecile says:

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to hijack someone else’s post.

  8. Kim says:

    I’m having an issue with the front wrap piece not falling straight. It angles down quite a lot and ends up being about 2 inches lower than the under wrap piece and not straight. I cut out a 14 G/H size and the top fits perfect and my side seams are straight up and down and hit me in the correct place. The only way I can get it close to fitting right in the front is to raise up the hole for the tie about the two inches but then it literally puts the ties wrapping me at the bra line. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Kim – the hole for the waist tie is meant to be at your high waist rather than true waist – is that where it’s hitting you? (If you look at the photo on the cover, you can see the tie is just below my bust vs. at my true waist). If not, it could be that you have a difference in waist height/bust height vs. the pattern drafting, so you would need to adjust the height of the hole to get it to hang correctly. If you send me a photo to jenny@cashmerette.com I can try and help you more specifically! (I’ve just sent you an email, too).

  9. Anne says:

    Beautiful dress! Did you allow much extra room in the upper sleeve area? I have large upper arms and in regular patterns this is my biggest fit problem. Thanks.

    1. Hi Anne – the upper sleeve is moderately fitted but not loose per se, so I would say that if you regularly have to adjust patterns, there’s a decent chance you’ll need to adjust here, too. Thanks!

  10. Well I did it! Made my first Appleton in the weekend and I LOVE IT! The construction was so simple (my fabric however wasn’t and it slid EVERYWHERE!). It took me a little longer than it should to make due to me cutting it all out with the fabric facing the wrong way so everything was backwards – took me forever to work out which side went over the top so won’t be doing that again!! That aside, the instructions were precise and I had no trouble following them. Wasn’t sure about the reasoning behind the shaped portion behind the neck by golly it sits lovely and flat!! I made the entire thing on my overlocker and I found that my coverstitch machine didn’t so much like going over the shoulder seam so I left off the top stitching and it still sits perfectly flat against my body. I have chunky bingo wing arms and the 3/4 length size 18 fit me perfectly, I used a 18 bust and sleeve and graded to a 20 everywhere else. Not a smidgen of boob gapage to be seen either! I do however have quite a protruding bum which caused the side seams to migrate backwards and wondered what would happen if I graded out to a 22 on the back or should I grade up on the front as well? The only other thing I might adjust is to raise the waist just a little as it sits a little low for me but I do have a very short torso (to be fair at 5’1″ EVERYTHING is short!) 🙂 and perhaps shorten it even more than the 2″ that I did on this first attempt. Can’t wait for the next pattern!

    1. I”m so glad to hear that, hurray! Yes, you may want to grade up to the 22 on the back to give yourself a little more bum room 🙂 And shortening the waist is definitely possible (the waistline is marked on the pattern) – just remember to reduce the neckband length as well. So glad you like your dress!

  11. Cathy says:

    I’m with Cecile. Short (barely 5’3″ and quite round (don’t know my measurements and don’t want to know until I start sewing again. So sizing for Very Curvy Girls would great! Your new line and sizing will eliminate a great deal of adjustments so it is easier.
    All the very best,

  12. finally, a wrap dress where my gifts won’t spill out for the world to see! I plan to make this in a tunic length for work. Now to find a good quality red knit.

  13. Susan W says:

    I wanted to ask a sizing question. I want to get the pattern regardless, so the question is more for when cut out and sew.
    I’m an apple; a curvy apple. Bust, waist, and hips are all within two inches of each other, with hips not quite as large as the bust, and the waist the smallest. By Bust/hip measurement( I was just was fitted for new bras [so much more comfy!] 40G in european sizes, 40I in US, so I’m looking forward to the busty block). I’m a 16-18 for hip/bust measurement but by my waist I’m a 22-24. Can I really grade up that much between bust/hips/waist?

    1. Hi Susan – good to hear from you. Yes, I *think* you will be OK grading between sizes, though I would need your actual measurements to advise you very specifically. What I’d probably do is use the 18 or 20 as the base size (going up a size will also give you a little more coverage, and make the grading less acute), and grade to the 22 at the waist. It’s actually “easier” to grade like this (as opposed to smaller at the waist and bigger at the bust/hip), because effectively you’ll be drawing a more straight line between the bust and hip points, rather than curving in as it’s currently designed. In fact, we have a post next week on the sewalong which demonstrates exactly how to do it, so keep an eye out for that!

      1. Susan W says:

        I hadn’t measured myself for ages, so I didn’t know them, but I whipped out my measuring tape.
        Bust 47, Waist 45, Hips:50 inches. I’d guess closer to a 20 with a bit of waist grading.

  14. Åsa Nilsson says:

    I love my appleton, but I think it shows too much cleavage, like it is sitting too low on my chest. Could it be that I need a bigger cup-size?

  15. Jeanne says:

    Jenny, would you describe how to alter the Appleton pattern to lower the bust point? I am 51 and my bosoms are full on the lower half without any fullness at all from the bust point up, and in addition I generally have to lower the bust point by two inches on a big 4 pattern. By the sounds of the research that went into this pattern design, I am hoping you will know how to do this. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jeanne – as it’s a knit, I’m not sure if you’d have to lower the bust point. Also, because these patterns are designed for a larger bust, the bust point is also lower than most big 4, I think. I’d recommend making a muslin first to see if it works. Lengthening the bodice above the waist is a little tricky without distorting the angle of the neckline.

  16. Marilyn says:

    Hi Jenny. I was surprised and glad to see that someone has made clothing patterns for ladies with up to an H cup size. I am a G cup and rather short…just scraping 5’2″. I see the models are quite tall and the clothes look great on them. Will I be able to get the same effect even though I am short? I would like to try the Appleton dress as I like the way it looks.

    1. Hi Marilyn – the patterns are designed for a height of 5’6″, and there are lengthen/shorten lines on all of the pieces so you can adjust for height. Many of my customers are shorter and love the garments they make!

  17. Amanda says:

    Hi I’m a U.K. 38k bust. Is it possible to adjust your lovely patterns enough to fit me? Many thanks

    1. You choose your size by your full bust measurement, but it’s entirely possible that the patterns will fit you without adjustment – I know women up to an N cup who haven’t had to make changes.

Let me know what you think!