Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Cashmerette Concord T-shirt, a wearable muslin



Hi there! You just caught me during one of my favourite springtime jobs: inspecting future plum cakes in our mini orchard. 
At the end of each summer I traditionally ruin some tops while harvesting blackcurrants or bringing in the walnuts, giving me a good excuse to sew some fresh shirts during spring. 
This year the planning of new gardening gear coincided with the launch of the Concord T-shirt by Cashmerette Patterns. A classic t-shirt with three hem lengths, three necklines (high, V-neck, scoop) and, most importantly, three different cup sizes. Sold!

As this was my first Cashmerette pattern I checked the stash for muslin options. I found a lightweight cotton jersey of unknown origin, which to me looked like the result of drunk fabric shopping. Perfect muslin material!

Now to determine the right size.Sizing chart instructions tell you to use your full bust measurement to choose your bust size. Hmmm, I've never had any luck when following that rule. 
If your full bust could fit into two sizes, choose the size closest to your waistline.
Don't try this at home if you're middle aged and your waist has it's own agenda!

According to the above rules I had to cut a size 18 C/D cup (I have not been in those regions of the alphabet since high school, wearing a European 36HH bra)  I ignored the advice and went straight for the 18 G/H while adding some extra room for said waistline. This way I worked around the significant negative pattern ease. I can live with negative ease at the bust, negative ease at the back is a no go.




The design choices regarding length of sleeves and bodice were made by the fabric, I could just squeeze it out of 1 meter while avoiding the white horizontal band in the print ending up at apex height. 

When I'm making a new pattern I always start by basting the shoulders first. If the fit in the shoulders is off, the garment will never hang properly. I baste, adjust, and repeat the process till I'm happy. For the Concord tee  I made a shoulder adjustment that Liechty et al describe as Low Neck Base adjustment, so by reverse diagnosis I suppose that's what I have to deal with since I often make this type of adjustment.  I took in 3/8 inch at the neckline, tapering to zero at the armscye and used my calculator to determine the percentage of shortening needed for the neckband.


Cashmerette Concord

As mentioned before the Concord comes in three lengths. The pattern envelope is only showing two views, so what's what? The size chart is giving finished measurements for bust, waist and hip. It would be helpful to see finished back length measurements as well.

Come to think of it, if I remember correctly Cashmerette patterns are drafted for a 5'4" height, but nowhere in the instructions, nor in the size chart on the Cashmerette website could I check this.
It's a pet peeve of mine, but I feel the importance of the height issue is easily underestimated. I know I have sewing friends who are 5'1" as well as sewing friends of 6' tall and most probably Cashmerette customers come in very different heights as well. It's so much easier when you know the starting point!

For those of you who want an indication of the length: I am 5'8" and I cut the mid length, which I expected to be on the short side. Surprise! In the end I shortened it by 1,5 inch it's now finished at a length that's 1,5 inch longer than the crop length. 



The instructions are comprehensive, but when I look at the booklet through the eyes of a beginner I think some useful tips could be added. For instance, clear elastic for the shoulder seams is 'optional'.




When you consider these tiny seams as the anchor for both the neckline and the sleeves, I strongly recommend using clear elastic, or even a woven ribbon to reinforce the shoulder seams! It really helps the neckline to stay in place.

Also, but maybe I'm sounding like my nitpicking editor self now, the instructions tell you to sew side seam and sleeve seam at one go, starting at the waist and sewing to the end of the sleeve. From the waist? Technically the waist is where one of the notches is, about halfway between top and hem. When do we sew hem to waist, a beginner might wonder? I feel this could have been phrased more accurately to avoid confusion. 

O, and last but not least, sew the neckband using this Off the Cuff tutorial





Final verdict: after some minor adjustments I really like the fit of this pattern and there will be more Concord t-shirts in my near future. I'm planning a longer version for the gym, a fun print with a v-neck and a stripey one with medium sleeves.

Edit: as Jenny of Cashmerette mentions in the comments Cashmerette Patterns are drafted for 5'6" and that information can now be found on the sizing page.


22 comments:

  1. This review was perfect for me. So, you feel good about the size decision you made? I've just received mine and am contemplating size. I think my full bust is 38/40 which would put me in a C cup. But, I haven't seen that in 20 years. I normally wear a F cup. Hopefully I can try it out this weekend.

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    1. Yes, the size feels right! After wearing the shirt for a day now no sign of excess fabric!

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  2. Love the t-shirt Marianne! The fabric is perfect, and look forward to see your next versions.

    I draft for a height of 5'6" which is mentioned in a few places but not in the pattern itself, so I'll definitely look into adding that into the instructions in the future. In terms of the elastic in the shoulder - I find that if I use a serger I usually don't need to add elastic in there, but a lot of people use sewing machines, and in that case I definitely recommend it - ultimately though I think it depends on the sewer and the fabric and machine!

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    1. I also just added it to the sizing page ;) Thanks for the prompt!

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    2. Thanks for adding the height information, it's one of the first things I look for when I try a pattern from a new to me pattern company!
      Regarding the shoulder reinforcement, it's such an easy job so why skip it? A dropping shoulder can easily ruin the fit of the neckline and the overall look of an otherwise well fitting tee. I agree it depends on the fabric, but better safe than sorry!

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    3. Also, my serger foot allows for elastic with a special opening. I add it it all my knit shoulders.

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  3. Thank you for the review! So helpful. And gorgeous as usual.

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  4. Thanks so much for this review. I've just ordered this pattern and I'll come back to your advice when I start mine. Funny and true comment about middle (or older) aged tummies! So many of these lovely designers are my daughters' age and have very different bodies. I really like your version and it reflects the stunning colours of a summer garden and no sign of drunkeness at all!

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    1. That's why I like the online sewing community so much! Isn't it nice to see interpretations of the same pattern by women of all ages and a variety of body types?

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  5. Lovely fit! One can't underestimate the fabulousness of a great tee!

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    1. You're so right! In 'cost per make' this pattern will be a very good deal!

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  6. Love your helpful and entertaining review Marianne. Your tee turned out very well and I love that fabric.

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    1. Thanks, Jean. The fabric is growing on me.

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  7. I'm sorry, but you look entirely too good to work in the garden! Your shirt is great - I love the energetic colors, especially when teamed with your sweater. Thanks for the review - I've just ordered the pattern and am looking forward to making my own versions soon.

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    1. Haha, that's what I like about sewing. A long time ago I decided it was no good to spend all of my sewing time on making party dresses and look dull around the house or in the garden. I too like the shirt better when layered with a cardigan, I guess it balances the psychedelic print ;) We don't have much short sleeve weather in The Netherlands so that's how I'll wear it most of the times anyways. Good luck with your Concords!

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  8. Hmm, drunken fabric choices look good! And for household and garden chores patterns like this hide a multitude of stains, should they arise (and they always do). I agree, tight backs should be banned - who wants to see the body ripples, especially at our age - although cardigans hide that too! I enjoy your nit picking - as you say, a beginner needs clear instructions.

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    1. Stain hiding prints, great thinking! Now to find a grass print for summer and a mix of pumpkin and dirt to have all seasons covered ;)

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  9. Great t-shirt! I love the fabric- fun colors!

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    1. Thanks, Meg! Your orange version was the inspiration for one of my next Concords!

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  10. Great review, thank you. I have a similar body shape, so I appreciate your detailed review. I bought the pattern last week and had been debating which size to make, your helpful information has assisted the decision.
    Cheers
    Jeni in Australia

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    1. Good luck with your shirt, Jeni! Or should I say shirts? I've made three Concords and have plans for three more. It's so nice to have a bunch of well fitting tees!

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