Ashton top tropical toile

The Ashton top from Helen’s Closet has been out for a while now and I finally caved and purchased the pattern as a possible replacement for the Cashmerette Springfield Top, which fits great, but is a bit too fitted for my tastes (I want something boxier).

The Ashton is available up to a “size 30″ or a 58″ hip and 58” bust (drafted for a D-cup). Helen splits her cup sizes across her size range, with size 0-22 available with a B-cup bodice and size 12-30 available in the D-cup bodice. This is something I’ve never experienced before (since Cashmerette offers cup-sizes across her entire size range which doesn’t go as low as Helen’s).

Ashton Top fitting

Since the D cup option was the only one available in my size, I took it. I cut out my pattern with a size 24 at the shoulders and graded out to a size 26 at the hip. In the instructions, Helen provides lots of guidance on fitting and suggests not grading more than 1 size if you’d like to retain the boxiness. Unfortunately, I’ve got a lot of armhole gaping in this toile- perhaps I would have used a smaller cup-size bodice piece if that was available.

This isn’t a finished garment that I’d wear outside of the house, but I have been wearing it a lot indoors on warmer days. I might try sizing down to a size 20 bust and see if that will let me get away with no doing much editing to the pattern.

Ashton Top

Torrens Box Top adventures

We recently launched some bonus long-sleeve pieces to accompany the Torrens Box Top pattern from Muna and Broad. Since our summer hasn’t been particularly warm, I went a little sewing-crazy adding new sleeves of various kinds to my wardrobe!

Rather than post about all of them, I thought that a round-up post might be in order!

Black silk noil Torrens

I made this black silk noil long sleeve torrens using the ‘wide-sleeve’ option (which was intended for thick fabrics such as boiled wool) and it’s perfect for pushing my sleeves up my arms (in a casual but very comfortable way)! I especially love to pair the top with these Glebe Pants made of lovely olive coloured tencel from A + R Fabrics

Black silk noil Torrens 2
Cotton Crepe Torrens

This cotton crepe Torrens is my new favourite! I got this fabric as a remnant from Miss Maude Sewing NZ and it’s a really unique fabric (with a lovely crepey texture), which is lovely to wear. I love mustard and checks, so this is a real winner!

Cotton Crepe Torrens 2
McElroy Lawn Torrens 2

Of course, peak Torrens sleeve experimentation includes this top that will be shared on the Minerva maker blog in due course (I slashed and spread the sleeves and added a cuff)!

McElroy Lawn Torrens

Torrens Box Dress Hack

Torrens Box Dress hand on hip
Torrens Box Dress Side

I’d been dreaming of my own comfortable box dress in the style of Elizabeth Suzann’s Georgia Dress in silk, and I knew this fabric would be gorgeous to wear and would drape well.

I have an entire pinterest board of sack dresses where the vast majority look exactly like the Georgia dress and I think the cute sleeve angle is an integral part of what draws me to the dress!

Torrens Box Dress front

I used the Torrens Box Top pattern (in my usual size A) and simply cut the fabric down in a straight line from where the pattern piece ended. Because the top includes a generous amount of ease, I knew there’d be no need for me to grade out at the hips.

I didn’t include pockets because I was worried about the long-term performance on the silk noil from me jamming heavy things in there, but it would have been easy to draft and add some in-seam pockets in!

Torrens Box Dress back

Trin from A+R Fabrics kindly sent this mirren blue silk noil my way (I believe this blue and the moss green are the two newest colours that she’s started to stock in her silk noil range).

Silk noil is great to sew with! Because of the lovely texture, it’s not at all slippery, and I almost never pinned the seams before I sewed them (except the neckline)! Since it’s a natural fibre, it’s lovely to wear and will work for winter & summer.

Fabric Usage & Size Details:
The silk noil is 110cm wide and I’d say that I could have cut this dress with about 2.5 metres and still had a small amount left over (I cut on the open, rather than with my fabric folded).
I used the Size A for the Torrens and I’m a 47″ bust and 54~” hip, but I had plenty of room at the hips without grading up.

Torrens Box Dress Landscape

Torrens Box Top with Sleeves

Sleeve Torrens

We’ve been working to extend the sizing and also add some long-sleeve options for the Torrens Box Top pattern that we’ve released under Muna and Broad!

This is my second test of the sleeve extension, and I’m so pleased that I’ve now got the woven drop-shouldered long-sleeve top pattern that I’ve been looking for!

Long Sleeve Torrens

This fabric is cotton crepe from Miss Maude Fabric in New Zealand. I bought this piece as a remnant, and was able to squeeze the whole top out of 1.6×1.4 metres of fabric!

There’s currently a small amount of this fabric left as a remnant!

If you have already purchased the Torrens, you’ll get an email with the new sleeve pieces once we’ve finalised the instructions in the New Year!

Slim Sleeve Torrens

Because I didn’t have much fabric, I wasn’t able to concentrate on pattern matching, but the two sleeves are non-identical twins! They’re pretty close, but the fabric was quite shifty and I didn’t want to stress much about trying to get the crepey squares to lay exactly straight.

The same virtues of the Torrens still apply here- Leila drafted the shoulder for larger bodies and also put a lot of thought in to the neckline as well. I find the neckline to be the perfect width for my narrow shoulders- it’s not too high and my bra straps are never on display. I don’t find that the top slips around during the day, and I certainly never have to pull the top down after it has slid backwards and started choking me at the neck (it just never happens and it’s a total game-changer). So, while this is a deceptively simple looking top that maybe doesn’t strike awe- the comfort factor is next level because there’s no ‘poor-fit’ issues affecting the wearing!

Summer Peppermint Wrap Skirt

Peppermint Wrap Skirt Cotton

I’d been thinking about buying some of this Australian floral printed fabric of Ellie Whittaker‘s from Spotlight’s upholstery fabric section to make this free wrap skirt from Peppermint Magazine for ages! When Spotlight had a sale, I didn’t hesitate to snap it up. But then it sat in my stash for a while and then I cut it out but didn’t sew it up, and then when I eventually sewed it up I realised that it didn’t really work with a single top that I own, so it languished in my wardrobe until today (a couple of days after this cropped white t-shirt arrived in the post)!

Peppermint Wrap Skirt Cotton 2

Size details: I’m a bit larger than the 54″ hip size for this pattern, but I cut the pasdttern as-is and used a slightly smaller seam allowance. The sizing difference means that the side-seams aren’t ‘true’ down the sides, but the generous overlap on the skirt means that it’s still difficult for me to flash the public (though not as difficult as it is in my wool version, which was utterly unaffected by breeze)! The only change I made to the pattern was lengthening the ties slightly.

Peppermint Wrap Skirt Cotton 3

Fabric estimate: I ordered 2.5 metres of this 150cm wide fabric and have a very decent amount leftover, but I did cut the pieces out paying absolutely no attention to pattern placement.