February 1, 2021

Upton Dress & Skirt Sewalong: Prepare Your Fabric & Pattern

Are you ready to sew your first Upton Dress or Skirt? Today, we’re kicking off our sewalong by going through our prep checklist to make sure our pattern and fabric are ready for us to start. Thanks for joining us!

The Upton Dress is the ideal fit-and-flare dress for curves (with sizes 12-32 and cup sizes C-H included), and now you can make over 350 different dress and skirt combinations with the new Upton Mix & Match Expansion Pack. You could make one for each day of the year if you wanted! This sewalong will show you how to make the standard Upton Dress variations, as well as all of the other features included in the new expansion pack.

Okay, so after checking out these new Uptons from a few Cashmerette pals and loading up on inspiration for daywear Uptons, evening and partywear Uptons, and wedding Uptons, you’re ready to sew your first Upton. Let’s get started.

(Need help deciding between the 350+ possible Upton options? Try our free downloadable Upton worksheet.)

First up, we need to pick our size. Thanks to the three cup sizes it’s more likely that you’ll fit in a “straight” Cashmerette Pattern than many other companies, but of course we all vary and chances are you may not be perfectly in one size. The good news is that sewing gives you tons of flexibility, and it’s easy to grade between sizes.

How to Choose Your Size

The fastest way to find your ideal starting size is by using our Size Calculator! Try it here.

There are two measurement charts: one is the Body Measurement chart, and the other is the Finished Garment Measurements chart. The Body Measurement chart helps you choose your size based on what numbers you get when you measure your body with a tape measure—it has numbers for your high bust, full bust, waist and hip.

(Not sure how to measure yourself? Check out our guide here.)

The Finished Garment Measurements chart shows you the size of the actual sewn garment. The difference between that and the Body Measurement chart is called “ease”, and it’s the amount of extra room or stretch in the garment that the designer recommends for the clothes to fit well and allow movement.

Generally, you want to start by comparing your measurement with the body measurement chart. However, if your measurements are between sizes you can take a look at the Finished Garment Measurements chart to see if you can fit in just one.

For the Upton Dress—as with all Cashmerette patterns—the best bet is to start with your high bust and full bust measurements. You may find that your full bust can fit into multiple size—for example, if your full bust is 48″, you may be an 18 G/H or a 20 C/D—so your high bust will clue you in as to which size and cup size you should use. In this case, if your high bust is 43″, you’d go with the 18 G/H, while if your high bust is 45″, you’d go with the 20 C/D.

Don’t fret if the cup size doesn’t match up with your bra size–there is so much variation in bra sizing that it’s not possible to perfectly line them up. Use your actual full bust measurement and you’ll be fine.

Grading Between Sizes

If your bust, waist, and hip measurements end up in different sizes, you may want to grade between sizes. For a run-down of how to grade between sizes on pattern like the Upton, check out this tutorial here. (If you’re using the princess seamed bodice, check out this tutorial.)

Still not sure what size to use? You can write to us here for additional fitting advice.

Preparing the Pattern and the Fabric

Now that we’ve chosen our size and graded if necessary, it’s time to prepare our pattern and fabric so that we’ll be all ready to sew next time!

Here’s our fabric prep checklist:

  • Wash and dry your fabric to make sure it’s pre-shrunk and you’re not going to get any nasty surprises later!
  • Press your fabric so it’s nice and flat. Check to see if you get any iron shine when you press the right side. If so, you’ll want to use a press cloth when pressing between steps.
  • If this is your first time making an Upton, we recommend making a muslin first using an inexpensive fabric that has similar weight and drape to your final fabric, in case further adjustments are needed.

And here’s what you need to do to prepare your pattern:

  • If you’re using the PDF pattern and are printing your PDF pattern at home, you’ll need to print and assemble it. Here are some pointers to help you. If you want to get it printed, here are some suggestions.
  • Either cut or trace off your pattern pieces. If you’re using a paper pattern, making adjustments, or are going to make any other sizes in the future, we definitely recommend tracing.

Finally, it’s time to cut into our fabric!

  • Cut all pieces, following the layout diagrams in the pattern.
  • Transfer all the markings to the fabric. For the notches, make a little snip into the fabric within the seam allowance (so no more than 1/4″ / 6mm).

Made it this far? Give yourself a pat on the back—the hard part is over and now comes the sewing!

We want to see your creations, whatever stage of the process you’re at! Tag your makes with #UptonDress or #UptonSkirt on social media so we (and the whole sewing community) can cheer you on to the finish line!

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Let me know what you think!