Good morning to my Tribe of Sewing Friends!
Well you asked for the Appleton Dress on a mature woman! And here it is.
I am hopeful that at 63, I qualify as “mature”, although most days I still wonder what I am going to be when I grow up.
Full disclosure: I bought and paid for this pattern, so I owe nothing to Jenny personally. No one, except a few readers asked me for this review. Also I am wearing no shape wear or spanx for this photo shoot.
My measurements for your comparison: 45-41-48. I usually wear a D-cup bra.
I am 5’8″ tall and have size 11 feet. I have a thicker waist and belly now than in my youth but still some definition in my waistline. I consider myself long waisted. I have a full round bum, stooped and rounded upper back, and quite a broad back. I have a foreword head and my shoulders have rotated forward. I also have beefy upper arms and generally do a BAA. (Beefy Arm Adjustment). You can learn more about the adjustments that I usually make for these figure variations in my previous post Fitting My Aging and Mature Body.
My biggest problem with most knit patterns is the armscye; it is often in the wrong place for my rotated shoulders.
I am now retired and wear very few dresses, but a classic wrap dress is different. It will not go out of style and can be dressed up or down. In my opinion, it looks great on me and I am my own worst critic. My husband’s comment? “What a great dress. You look nice!” High praise indeed from a man of few words.
This poly knit came from my stash. It has a heavy beefy hand and reminds me of a slinky type knit. It is difficult to tell right side so I marked the wrong side with chalk! This fabric is a lustrous wine red color. I went with a plain color and not a print to keep the more classic theme. This knit stretches 50% in both directions. I did have to piece the ties to get all of the pattern pieces onto this cut of fabric.
What size I went with and why
My measurements put me into size 18C/D on Jenny’s size chart. I felt confident in Jenny’s negative ease in the top of the dress but worried about negative ease in my hip area, so I graded out to a 20 at the waist and hip. I then went back and decided that I wanted the extra coverage that is suggested. So in the end I cut out the 18 graded to 20 in the EF sizing. I then tissue fitted the front of the dress and decided that this dress was a bit short waisted on me. I went back and studied the pictures of all the blogged Appletons and agreed with myself. So I added 1 1/2 ” at the waist line marking. Remember to drop the circle marking to your new waist line. That is where you want your belt loop to be. So my dress ended up 1 1/2 ” longer than drafted. I am tall so I ended up being grateful for that bit extra. Now for comparison, with last years’ big hit Moneta dress, I needed 2 ” extra waist length. I found no one else in the blog world who found that dress short-waisted.
I did compare the armscye to my favorite t-shirt pattern and made no changes. I measured the size 18 sleeve and decided it would be a bit too tight for me. I cut the sleeve in a size 18 at the shoulder and graded out to a size 22 at the underarm seam. I chose the 3/4 length sleeve.
I considered doing my stooping forward shoulder adjustment but with that beautifully drafted curved back neckline I decided I probably would not need it and I was right. I considered doing a broad back adjustment but again decided against that.
I encountered no problems with sewing the dress and followed the instructions carefully. I used my favorite 75/11 stretch needle and my serger. The size 22 sleeve eased in quite nicely.
I am happy with where the adjusted waist sits on this dress. The belt is still at least 3 inches above my belly button. I am very glad I chose the larger sleeve, and it fits well. The back neck fits well and I love the curved neckline! I don’t think I needed a broad back adjustment. I am very happy with the bust coverage, and it does not gape at all when bending forward. The armscye is damn near perfect, as drafted.
What will I change next time: Nothing! I will make a fun summer print one for next summer. For this winter I am going to make this into a wrap t-shirt!
The printed pattern went together well and I loved the faint grid markings.
The little extras are noted like not needing to cut off “bunny ears” when lining up the neck pieces. All notches line up perfectly. Well, well, well drafted! This dress is exactly as advertised and a wrap dress is my new best friend.
I am giving this pattern a 5 out of 5 rating. I could find nothing about it that I did not like.