A summery Cambie for the winter solstice

So this is me cutting it very fine for an entry to the New to Me challenge…but to be honest I wasn’t sure I wasn’t going to finish in time at all so we’ll call this a small victory.

I received the Sewaholic Cambie dress as part of the pattern swap. My partner did well, as I’d been thinking about buying this pattern for a long time, so I’m glad to finally have it in my pattern collection! I wanted to use a fabric from my stash to make it up for the IPM New To Me challenge, and I ended up settling on a blue and white floral gauze I found in the 2 Euro bargain bin at a fabric shop in Paris when we were there over New Year’s eve. I can get a bit precious about using my ‘special’ fabrics, terrified to use them in case I mess it up or don’t like the outcome, but I had 7 metres of this fabric so I didn’t have to worry too much as I had plenty left over.

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I underlined the main fabric with a cotton batiste, which is almost a gauze itself. I used a cotton poplin blend as the lining for the bodice, and more of the cotton batiste to line the skirt.

I made several muslins of the bodice to get the fit right around the bust. I ended up cutting a size 12 at the shoulders grading down to a size 14 around the chest and waist, and doing a 1 inch FBA as well. I had to tinker with the darts several times after doing the FBA, at first they were on a slight angle so I tried to correct that but then went the wrong way, so it took me about 3 goes to get them right. By this time it was about Wednesday and I knew I was going to start running out of time so I just had to take a deep breath and start cutting my final dress.

I followed the instructions the whole way through and found them fairly simple if a bit basic – there were one or two times I had to pause and re-read something a few times until it made sense in my head. One example was the stitching the lining straight to the zipper tape. I really like the neat finish this gives the inside of the dress and now that I understand it I can see myself using this technique again.

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I actually had to use a shorter zip than the pattern calls for as I only had a 17 inch zip to hand, so I moved the top of the zip down a couple of centimetres and put a hook and eye closure at the top.

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I got the dress about 90% finished by Thursday night, all I had left to do was sew in the sleeves and hem it…but then I gave up on it as we were going away first thing on Friday morning for the weekend. I didn’t think I was going to get it done, but then once we got home on Sunday night I threw myself back into it and somehow managed to get it done!

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I’ll be honest with you though – it still needs work. When I tried it on to hem I found that the sleeves are about an inch too long leaving quite a bit of gaping at the back. I think this will be fairly easily solved by pulling the sleeves further through the openings in the bodice, but as I’d double stitched the sleeves in for reinforcement I didn’t quite have the energy to unpick all that stitching last night! Also the bust darts still need a bit of attention…they’re a bit pointy, despite my best efforts.

After all this work on this dress it seems a shame I won’t get to wear it for a while – we’re heading into the middle of winter here, so it’s fairly seasonally inappropriate! But it will make a nice little summer dress.

Next time I make a Cambie dress I will try to put less stress on myself – I didn’t particularly enjoy sewing a lot of this dress because I was feeling pressure to get it done in time and also make it perfect. For future makes I will probably omit the skirt lining – there is a lot of fabric in this dress!

Anyways, I must be cutting it very close to the deadline by now! My apologies for the fairly average photos – it was enough of a battle getting these shots with four cats and a two year old all clamouring for my attention after I’ve left them alone for 3 days! (Don’t worry, we left the 2 year old with his grandparents – nobody call community services!) There’s a small possibility I might be able to convince my husband to take some photos of me in the dress when he’s home for lunch, but we’ll see how we go!

Despite this being a slightly stressful sew I’m glad it’s done and looking forward to making more Cambies in the future!

5 thoughts on “A summery Cambie for the winter solstice

  1. Hey, we made the same dress! What did you think about the width of the front pattern compared to the back pattern? I thought there was an error so I cut both sides equally as wide. I will also have to do some serious unpicking in order to slide my straps further down into the dress for a better fit. Besides those issues, its a great design, don’t you think?

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    • Oh thanks! I didn’t quite get the energy to get any more photos – I was asleep on the couch when my husband came home for lunch yesterday! I actually commented on your post as well – I just cut the pieces as the pattern suggested, even though I thought it seemed strange. I’m already planning another Cambie in a red gingham (a la Dolly Clackett) for next month’s challenge! If I can find the perfect gingham…

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