A floral Holyoke

The Cashmerette Holyoke dress and skirt had me smitten from first view. A floaty, dramatic maxi dress with buttons, elegant but bra-covering straps, with Cashmerette’s amazing princess seams? A skirt version that’s a decent dupe for another skirt I wish I could make (but doesn’t come in my size)? SOLD.

Shannon standing outdoors in three-quarter profile, looking up with a slight smile. She wears a sleeveless fitted dress with a full skirt in dark blue with a floral pattern.

I was doubly excited when fabulous local fabric and yarn shop Knit & Bolt reached out to ask if I wanted to sew up a shop sample of the new pattern. The pattern, fabric, and all supplies for this dress were provided by Knit & Bolt. I picked out a glorious floral rayon designed by Rifle Paper Co. for Cotton and Steel. It has long vines of florals interspersed by dark navy stripes.

A full length image of Shannon, showing the maxi dress. Here, you can see the alternating stripes of dark blue and florals going down the front.

The pattern required some careful placement in order to balance the stripes, but I’m very glad I took the time because it looks amazing. I cut a straight size 18 G/H and made no adjustments. This is my usual size in Cashmerette, though as this pattern is more fitted than some of the others I’ve made from them, I could likely go up to a 20 E/F or G/H happily if I wanted a bit more ease.

Shannon, with one hand in the pocket of the dress. The dress has bright red buttons all down the front.

As usual, the Cashmerette drafting is spot-on and the instructions clear. The one quibble I have is with the construction of the front button placket. As designed, it’s a faux placket, stitched closed, to avoid gaping. The instructions have you construct it after the side seams are stitched by first topstitching the underlayer, then overlapping the two front plackets at topstitching through them all. At that point, you’re stitching through six layers, four interfaced, with the back of the dress constantly needing pushing out of the way! It’s a bit much. The top layer of fabric shifted and puckered the whole time as I stitched, just leading to frustration. I ended up unpicking my first attempt, topstitching each side separately, and handstitching them together from the inside. With the buttons stitched through, it’s quite sturdy!

A back view of Shannon in the dress.

I’ll definitely be making more versions of this, both the dress and the skirt. I might experiment with sizing to give a looser silhouette, though this version will get plenty of wear (once it’s out of the Knit & Bolt shop window!)

A three-quarter view of Shannon with one hand on her hip. Here, the front placket of the dress is more visible.

19 thoughts on “A floral Holyoke

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  1. Lovely job!! And as a Minneapolitan, I appreciate learning about Knit and Bolt. Haven’t visited yet, but I must!


  2. Such a beautiful dress, so well-made! I do think it’s too bad that while it is spending time as a store sample no one will get to see how lovely it looks on you, or how nicely the Rifle print coordinates with your tattoos!


  3. I’m absolutely frickin’ in love with this dress. I love how the flowers and stripes make it romantic but also kind of hard edged. I’m deeply impressed with your pattern placement and balancing skills.

    It looks SO flowy and perfect and is exactly the dress I wanted all last summer, I’m so excited to make it for spring here, plus obviously a tonne of edwardian explorer librarian skirts…


  4. This post brought tears to my eyes. So beautiful, so inspiring. I absolutely love seeing well-made, flattering clothing that flatters ALL women. Thank God we can sew, it’s salvation in a sense.


  5. Wow! All I can say is, “wow”! You really knocked it out of the park with that dress. That fabric, those stripes, and that pattern: wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This dress looks amazing on you. I would love the pattern for my self but Im only 5ft 3 inches. Cheers Barbara


  7. The print matches your tatoo!!!! It gives the dress (not that it needed it) tremendous flair. As a non-sewer, this just freaks me out it’s so good!

    I’m new to Cashmerette, but I’ve been following you on IG as @capgemlib. Great serendipity that my first newsletter features you! 🙂


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