My #sewtogetherforsummer Wrap Dress: the Appleton by Cashmerette



So I’ve sewn the first of my #sewtogetherforsummer wrap dresses; the Appleton by Cashmerette. I’m kicking myself for not trying this pattern sooner as it’s such a simple and quick sew yet is brilliantly drafted to ensure a really great fit.

I’ve sewn a few wrap dresses in my time (see McCalls 7119 here and here,  New Look 6301 and McCalls 6884 for example). I think one of the key reasons for wanting to make this years’ #sewtogetherforsummer challenge about the wrap dress stems from the fact that I’ve really struggled to find a traditional wrap dress pattern that does a passable job of fitting and flattering my bust line straight out of the envelope.

I can safely say that search is over.

Appleton Wrap Dress.jpg

To get the right fit, the Appleton requires a light to medium weight jersey with 50% crossways stretch. I fell upon this viscose and spandex blend fabric from Sew Essential; it’s on the lighter side of medium, has lovely drape and movement and handles beautifully. It’s black, with a grey and mushroom coloured floral motif – teeny but not too ditzy – that I thought would transition well day-to-evening depending on what footwear I was wearing! (I also love that you can purchase the fabric in increments of 1/2 a metre!)


Sew Essential also stock a paper copy of the pattern too, in case you don’t fancy tracing out the PDF!


The Appleton is your classic wrap dress with a low cut V wrap neckline; built-in waist ties and sleeve length options. It comes with different cup sizes – Yey! I cut a size 12 and the C/D cup. There is no seperate bodice piece; it’s simply front, back, bands and sleeve.

The amount of negative ease built into this dress at the bust means a lot of redrafting issues become moot; for example a 40” bust size has a finished measurement under 33” – the stretch in the fabric aiding the fit, together with the neck/front band and built in waist ties you’re ensured a snap finish at the bust…it really is secure!

In fact the only thing I did was to take a little out of the length and cut the sleeve so it fit just above my elbow.

Appleton Sewtogetherforsummer Wrap Dress.jpg

Dissolvable wash away wonder tape


You can get quite a different look with the dress depending on where you wrap the ties, at Empire height or at your natural waist. My only gripe really is I find that the hole to feed the ties through sits a tad high on me so that the ties start to wrap most naturally under the chest. Next time I’d contemplate moving the hole down a smidge. Oh and I like to use dissolvable double sided Wonder Tape to hold those seams nicely in place when it comes to finishing that hole at the side seam where the tie threads through!


There’s not much else I can say; it really is that easy to put together!

So that’s the traditional wrap dress made … I now find myself obsessing about the By Hand London ‘Orsola’ which wraps at the back and can be made in a woven. If you’re quick, we’ve still got a discount running on that pattern, plus others!

And did you see the dresses my #sewtogetherforsummer co-hosts have made? It was Monika’s ‘Orsola’ that got me craving the pattern…

And Suzy has made a gorgeous Sew Over It ‘Eve’ Dress…

I’ll be back very soon with our Burda and Big Four Wrap Dress Pattern Picks to inspire you; you can also read Helen of Helen’s Closet pick of the best Indie wrap dress patterns here.

Until next time, happpy Sewing!




Sewcialise with me on Instagram here xx

#sewtogetherforsummer 2018! Sewing a Wrap Dress for summer? We’ve got you covered!

It seems strange that I’m actually typing this up as the last of the recent snows finally melts away but snow be damned; it’s officially spring and I’m getting tired of sewing Winter Warmers so let’s talk about … sewing together for Summer!

Myself @sewsarahsmith, Suzy @sewing_in_spain and Monika @rocco.sienna have been putting out little teasers across our Instagram feeds recently and we’re so happy to finally be able to share:

Thinking of sewing a Wrap Dress for Summer? Good, we’ve got you covered!

The #sewtogetherforsummer Instagram Sewing Challenge is back!

2018 brings you a host of pattern and fabric discounts (see below) and a HUGE array of sponsored gifts!

We’re running the Challenge on exactly the same principles as before; again the aim is to encourage sewists of all levels to take part; to share your knowledge with others or taking the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques, i.e. to sewcialise and to make yourself a great wrap dress into the bargain!

The ‘rules’ (for want of a better word) are:

  1. Pick a wrap dress pattern. That’s any pattern in any fabric (woven or knit). Perhaps you’ve got the pattern or fabric in your stash already or use the discount codes given below to go shopping!
  2. Follow us on Instagram; that’s myself, Sarah @sewsarahsmith, Monika @rocco.sienna and Suzy @sewing_in_spain to make sure you don’t miss anything as we’ll be sharing hosting responsibilities;
  3. post your newly sewn dress to Instagram with the hashtag #sewtogetherforsummer Please also tag your post with our three Instagram @ to make sure that no entry gets missed! We want to see every single one!
  4. before the Closing Date of 21st June 2018
  5. Thats it!

Participating in the Challenge gives you:

  • Discounts on several major Indie wrap dress sewing patterns;
  • Fabric discounts;
  • Support;
  • Inspiration;
  • the opportunity to potentially share in the huge pile of sponsored sewing gifts! (You can read the full list HERE!) As last year, the lucky recipients will be entirely chosen at random, this is not a competition;
  • and by no means least, a beautiful wrap dress!

So why the Wrap Dress?

It’s an iconic and classic garment that’s been reinterpreted again and again; there’s such a diverse and fantastic range of wrap dress sewing patterns out there (and we’ve got loads of pattern and fabric inspo coming your way!) But that doesn’t mean sewing a wrap dress is without its challenges; getting a good fit at the crossover front (or back!), choosing the right style for your shape, potential issues working with knits or fine floaty wovens; doing an FBA/SBA on a Wrap Bodice piece etc … but we can conquer any issues by sewing it together!

So, for the Challenge, what constitutes a wrap dress?

A wrap dress should have a front or back closure formed by wrapping one side over the other and knotting the attached ties or fastening buttons. It should not have a zip. We will also accept faux wrap dresses which cross at the front and are slipped over the head.

We will not accept dresses that cross on the skirt but not the bodice.

Yes, the Kielo counts! In fact we’ve got a discount code for it!

Your Discount Codes: please be mindful of the expiry dates, so you don’t miss out! (Click on the graphics for direct links)

Watch this space – there’s lots planned – see HERE for the details of our Sponsors and the full list of gifts!Helen of Helen’s Closet has picked her top Indie wrap dress patterns, Caroline of Blackbird Fabrics will be discussing fabrics; we’ll be looking at wrap dress patterns from Burda and The Big 4 Pattern houses, sharing resources and running a wrap dress Q&A ‘hints and tips’ session over on Instagram – we’d love your input – so as to collate and share the feedback here.

So, you in? Good, let’s ‘sew together!’

Sewcialise with me on Instagram here x

All Sewn Up : Jan-Feb … a bit of a ‘Life Lately’

Hello sewing friends, thanks for dropping by. I could do with a chat!

Although fully intending to, I haven’t written one of these ‘All Sewn Up’ diary style blog posts in a while. My life has been subject to some…flux…lately and I found myself unable to find the words with which to contextualise my sewing, so I dropped them for a while whilst I tried to process what was going on… Read More

The Matilda Shirtdress by Megan Nielsen : my first magazine article!

Sewing World magazine


Please indulge me – I wanted to share two things with you; my excitement over my first published sewing magazine article and it’s subject matter – my Matilda Shirtdress from Megan Nielsen! I popped along to the newsagents the other day and picked up the January edition of Sewing World magazine because… look! Inside there’s me! Appearing rather more put together than the version of me who stood outside the newsagents clutching said magazine in her be-gloved hands, wrapped up from head to toe and stamping her feet to avoid frostbite, it has to be said!

Sew Sarah smith husband

I received the email* asking if I would like to contribute an article way back in the summer of last year whilst I was in the States. (I remember running into the room where my husband was napping to tell him the news before turning on my heel and legging it back to the kitchen to pour myself about a pint-sized glass of wine to celebrate!)

I couldn’t start on the project until we’d returned to the UK and I ended up sewing it in a bit of a mad rush so I could wear it to the Great British Sewing Bee Live show in September. I think I submitted the article somewhere around the same time. And then had to do what I don’t do very well…keep schtum!

What’s the best sewing magazineAs for the magazine itself, I think Sewing World has had something of a rebrand lately; the styling and content is refreshing and looks clean and polished; much more likely to appeal to contemporary sewists, I feel. It’s got your usual mix of crafty makes thrown in too but even they look like projects suited to the modern sewer as well as your granny! Overall, I felt really honoured to have my own contribution within its pages!

I love all the possibilities Matilda offers to personalise the design – I merely opted to use contrast fabric peeking out from the inner collar stand and the underside of the breast pocket flap. Also, the instructions are fantastic; the Matilda is my first pattern from the Megan Nielsen collection and this is one reason it won’t be my last – I used the burrito method for the first time ever when sewing up the yoke following Megan’s instructions which made it an absolute doddle. Not forgetting there’s a full online sew-a-long for this dress too. It’s not a quick sew, by virtue of all the pieces, but it’s an immensely gratifying one. And of course it offers the option for lots and lots of lovely topstitching to emphasise the design lines of the pattern…I  lurve me some topstititching!

The full detailed review, as well as being published in the mag, has also now been published on the Minerva Craft blog, so you can head THERE to read it.

If you’re interested in the supplies I used, they were:

Megan Nielsen Matilda Shirtdress review

Matilda Shirtdress by Megan Nielsen
Wow, look…bare arms and not a woolly hat or scarf in sight!

I do love the dress and I highly recommend the pattern! Again, I feel I learned a lot making this dress but by no means do I think I perfected it but it’s not just for that reason I want to make it again! Again, you can access the full review and an online copy of the full article over on Minerva Crafts blog HERE.

Until next time, happpy stitching!

Find me on Instagram here

*I was sent all the supplies from Minerva Crafts to make the dress for the Sewing World magazine article. By no means has this influenced my judgement; any opinions I express are always 100% genuine. Scouts honour 😉

Pssst – Yey! There’s a 10% discount at Girl Charlee UK – just enter my promo code SEWSARAH at checkout!


My #2018MakeNine : my ‘I’m All Giddy With Excitement’ list!


Ah I love this ‘gentle challenge’ because it’s more of a personal pledge than anything; a New Years’ Resolution, if you will. Not only do I find this challenge a useful tool for focusing the ol’ thought processes, I’m hoping it also reflects the evolution of my skill-set and style. Well, that’s the excuse I’m using to justify totally abandoning my 2017 list, along with all my other New Year’s Resolutions, by the mid-point of last year! Having made 5 out of the 9; I’d outgrown the list. And I’ve totally just made myself giggle looking back on it – have a look yourself and see if you can spot the ‘what on earth was I thinking’ entry! Although, and I hope you agree, there were a few notable successes made from it (see my M6696 Shirtdress, Coppelia ballet wrap cardy and striped jersey M6886 dress).

All in all, I’m truly excited by this, my 2018 list as I feel it represents both the practical and the developmental. There are patterns here that will fill holes in my wardrobe, encompassing both everyday essentials as well as a few more ‘tailored’ pieces, from joggers to jackets. But I also know that in cracking a couple of these, I’ll learn and develop some important core skills; welt pockets and sewing with Lycra anyone!?

It looks like this:

Sasha Trousers by Closet Case Files

Sew Sarah smith #2018 Make Nine #2018makenine

I got my hands on a paper copy of this pattern as, I’m guessing, a gazillion others  sensibly did too, soon after it’s release. It’s just such a classic looking pant! I’m down to my last pair of similarish RTW trousers and I refuse to buy anymore. I admit to feeling a bit daunted about those welt pockets but that’s the point (although View B omits them). Also, I’m down to my last pair of RTW jeans. If I can crack the fit of the Sasha, I’ll be downloading the PDF of their Ginger Jeans too as apparently its crotch length has been updated to match the block of the Sasha. So, in theory, by nailing the fit of the Sasha I’ll be killing two birds with one stone and be more readily able to fit the Gingers too.

Melilot shirt by Deer & Doe

Melilot #2018MakeNine

I made my first Melilot, which was also my first foray into Deer & Doe Patterns, just before Christmas. Apart from taking out some length it fit, quite staggeringly, straight out of the envelope. This rarely happens for me and this joy has roughly translated into my now wanting to sew my way through their entire back catalogue and I’m eagerly anticipating the release of their new Spring/Summer 2018 collection. But first and foremost I want several more of the Melilot; it’s a great shirt which will pair nicely with a classic pant like the Sasha or dressed down with, say, a pair of Ginger jeans. Although I made my first in a blousy rayon, I’ve got two lengths of floral lawns earmarked for the next. And I want a sheer one too. And some plains. This may turn out to be first ‘proper’ TNT pattern.

Luzerne Trench Coat by Deer & Doe

Luzerne Trench #2018makenine

See reason No 1 above. Reason number 2 is this – I had an oxblood pleather trench coat in my 20s in which I strut the streets of London until it literally fell apart at the seams. I loved it with a passion and, like all first loves, it’s not been forgotten! The Luzerne is pretty similar in design though I might have to consider reshaping the lapels and maybe lengthening it a tad. I’ll not make my first version in pleather since it’s obviously fairly unforgiving stuff. But once number one is nailed, you can bet your last coin I’ll be searching for pleather, in oxblood, like a woman possessed.

Halifax Hoodie by Hey June Patterns

Halifax hood make nine

I just love the look of this versatile pattern – I think I first spotted it on Heather (The Pug & Needle) and I’m diving into the funnel neck version first. I’ve got the pattern and fabric already lined up; I’m using some gorgeous Atelier Brunette French Terry which I think will look good paired with jeans. I admit to being half-tempted to make a version to matchymatch a pair of joggers which will probably replace my PJ’s and become my new ‘What I Wear When I Sew’ outfit.

Monsal Lounge Pants by Wendy Ward

Sew Sarah smith

I’ve just received a preview copy of Wendy’s latest book ‘A Beginners Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics’ and have been invited (along with a host of other fabulous bloggers) to make up a garment from the book by way of a review. I’d been planning to jump on the Linden/Hudson loungewear bandwagon for some time but since receiving the book I’ve now ditched that idea in favour of Wendys’ Monsal pants. These are a classic looking jogger that if I’m brave enough to pair with the Halifax – tracksuit stylie – I’ll live in. Probably.

Lycra Leggings

Sew Sarah smith #2018 Make nineI’m undecided as to the pattern as yet. However, a sneaky little birdy tells me there’s a brand new leggings pattern in development at the moment and, really, I’m holding out for that particular one since I trust the designer. Watch this space!

The Appleton Wrap Dress by  Casmerette

Appleton Wrap Dress #2018makenine

I’ve sewn a few wrap dresses in my time but none that has come close to achieving holy grail status. Wrap dresses are funny beasts; I truly believe there is a version to suit and flatter every figure type but I’ve yet to find one where I’m completely happy with the fit over my ‘generously’ proportioned boobs. However, having seen Helen (Helen’s Closet) looking nothing less than fabulous in her sleeveless version of the Appleton recently, my interest in this pattern was again piqued. Given that Cashmerette design specifically for curves and that this dress comes with various cup sizes and promises an “…innovative neckband construction [that] prevents gaping…”, it’s probably fair to say I’ve been a bit slow on the uptake in trying this, Cashmerette’ first pattern.

Butterick 5908 Wide leg trousers


I’m considering these an essential part of what I’m going to call the ‘Trinity of Trousers’; forming of the classic straight legged pant (Sasha), the casual boyfriend jean (the Gingers) and this, the old Hollywood classic wide leg turned up trouser. The B5908 is an out of print pattern I got from Sew Direct and it has options for all the details I was looking for; semi-fitted with a tapered wide leg and turnups, contoured waistband and belt loops, fly zip and pockets. I can see it looking good with…

McCalls M7513 ‘Hacking Jacket’

M7513 Hacking jacket

This is your traditional, tailored looking, nipped in at the waist ‘Hacking Jacket’ type affair with its notched collar and peplum. I’m not keen on the fact that this jacket pattern is unlined though. I might decide not to worry about that or else find a similar pattern that is. Either way, this is the look I’m going for.

So there you have it. A mix of über comfy casuals and perennial staples. What do you think? Any here on your own list?

Sew Sarah smith

(NB if you want to know more about the #makenine challenges and the #2018makenine in particular, head on over to its founder, Rochelle of Lucky Lucille and @homerowfiberco Blog HERE)

Until next time, I hope your needle and thread continues to be strong in 2018 (now, excuse me, whilst I continue to veg out on the sofa for a little while longer yet!),

Find me on Instagram here