Thursday, November 4, 2021

Brocade Holyoke Skirt and Cotton Modal Dartmouth Top

I had a fall wedding last week and I really struggled with what to wear/make, but I ultimately landed on something that was super comfortable and pretty classy, I think!

I don't have a ton of formal attire, nor do I have much formal fabric. Vermont is just not a formalwear type of place. And I hate making too many one-time wear garments. Plus, Tim and I recently bought a house (!!), so I am determined not to add more fabric to my stash and am trying use up what I have if I can. 

I had a flash of inspiration, though, looking at this metallic brocade (I think?) fabric that I got in a giant box of fabric from my husband's aunt. She spent a lot of time overseas for work and seems to have collected fabrics as she traveled. I think she purchased this piece in India. 

It a sheerish woven fabric that has tan threads in one direction and gold threads in the other, giving it a nice sheen. It has a woven, geometric/floral design in chocolate brown, forest green and a maroonish color. Perfect fall colors, plus a hit of sparkle to make it dressier. 

I immediately thought of a maxi skirt. I've had visions of that maxi pleated Cashmerette Upton skirt and turtleneck combo. Unfortunately I didn't have quite enough of my fabric to cut out that full, pleated skirt. I was also concerned about the "hard" waistband on the Upton because I've been living and loving that elastic waistband life for a while now.

As an alternative, I opted to use another Cashmerette pattern, the tried-and-true Holyoke maxi skirt pattern. You can see previous versions of this pattern that I made here and here. It's a six-panel skirt with a flat front and elastic back waistband.     

My measurements have changed since I last made it, so I sized up from last time I made the Holyoke skirt. I cut a size 20, which worked out great.

I made a few tweaks to the pattern to suit my needs: first, I removed button placket for a more formal look. I cut the front skirt and waistband pieces on the fold at the button line (check out Karina's video tutorial for the method I used). 

Second, I ended up using elastic all the way around the waistband rather than just in the back. I tried it out on a whim and was getting a super smooth waistband that you can barely tell is elasticated, so I decided to stick with it. 

The only weird thing is that I have to put the skirt on over my head because I can't get waistband over my hips. This has been my experience with my other Holyoke skirts, too. 

It turned out so pretty! A bit of flare, a bit of sheen, beautiful autumn colors...

So pretty you can barely tell that I took these photos in the beer bottle-strewn back parking lot at the Stony Brook Hilton Garden Inn ;-)

To pair with my skirt, I sewed up another Cashmerette pattern, the Dartmouth Top

I was a tester for this pattern when it first came out, years ago, but never wore my tester version because it was far too small for me. However, it fit my mom great and she loved it, so I gave it to her. You can see her wearing it in these photos

My Dartmouth is a size 20 C/D. I cut the version with no ruching, and I went with long sleeves (although in retrospect maybe 3/4 sleeves would have been better because I had a bunch of gold bracelets I wanted to wear with it!). 

It came together so quickly! A very easy sew with lovely results.

The fabric is cotton modal jersey knit from Blackbird Fabrics in the merlot color, which is a such a deep red that it's almost a chocolatey brown. It perfectly picks up the colors in the brocade, though! The fabric is super soft, with great recovery, perfect for the Dartmouth.

I'm pretty smitten with this wedding guest outfit. Dramatic, seasonally appropriate, comfy, and definitely not like anything else other folks were wearing! 

A bit of gold jewels (including some gorgeous geometric earrings from local Vermont artist Soul Simone), some comfy shoes (these garnet red pointy flats), a bit of nail polish and I was good to go!