Cambie Dress number one

Last Christmas I decided to be really pro-active about presents.  I’m usually the kind of ‘surprise me’ person, I always think it’s a bit rude to ask for things for some reason.  However, my previous attitude used to result in flummoxed relatives with no idea of what to get me.  Consequently I’d end up with slippers, PJ’s and an array of smelly bath stuff!  Last year my list of want’s consisted of sewing patterns and fabric!  My Mother-in-law kindly got me the Sewaholic Cambie Dress pattern and three metres of Liberty Tana Lawn.  Now I have to admit I have been a little apprehensive about starting this project, mainly because I didn’t want to ruin such lovely (and expensive) fabric!  However with summer on the way and questions about when I was going to get it done I could put it off no longer!

I decided the best course of action was to do a trial run in something a lot cheaper that I didn’t mind if I made a hash of!  This is generally my habit when I am trying a new pattern, I am too impatient to make a toile so I generally just dive in with what I suppose you could call a wearable muslin.  I have realised that I am short waisted so I always take an inch off the length of the bodice but other than that I just trace the size closest to my measurements and wing it!

I picked up this Blue fabric a few week’s ago specifically to make my first Cambie with, I’ve no idea what it is but would guess at Rayon as it is very drapey!


The dress is described as a ‘fitted, lined dress features a sweetheart neckline, darted bodice and extended cap sleeves. View A has a slim A-line skirt with slash pockets and view B has a full gathered skirt with inseam pockets’

I went for view B.   As it calls for a full lining I planned to use some buttery soft white cotton that I’d got five metres of in my stash.  I decided however to just use this to line the skirt and then line the bodice in my main fabric. (didn’t want to risk the lining peeking out!) This dress eat’s a lot of fabric! It took three and a half metres to cut the main dress and bodice lining and a further metre and a half just to line the skirt!  I cut a size 14 as that seemed to fit my measurements.  I was a little unsure about the sweetheart neckline, thought it might emphasise my bustyness too much so I redrafted the front bodice piece to form a straight neckline.

Now I seem to have developed a fear of sewing things that are too small, I keep muttering the ‘trust the measurements’ mantra but I’m always worried that I’ll spend so much time making something that is unwearable (this happened with a By Hand London Charlotte skirt which I couldn’t zip up for love nor money!). As I was sewing the bodice pieces together I decided to keep my seam allowances as small as possible (about 6mm) my thinking being that it would be easier to take in than let out!

The dress pieces and the lining pieces are identical apart from the sleeve lining piece.  You are essentially making two dresses before sewing them together along the zipper and bodice top and sleeves.  When it came to attaching my bodice and skirt to the waistband I had a bit of a panic.  I tried the waistband around my waist and it only just met…. hmmm.  Just to be on the safe side I recut two more waistbands adding two more inches for good measure!  After sewing everything together I decided to try it on for size and guess what?  It was about two inches too big!  I really should just have faith in the measurements given on the pattern envelope!  I had to take an inch of each side from the underarm, through the waistband and skimming to the top of the pocket.  Tried it again and it was spot on!

The next step was to insert the invisible zipper.  Learning from my wrinkly Anna zip I cut two strips of fusible interfacing for the centre back.  The first side went in like a dream but the second was a complete pig!  I had decided to start sewing the second side from the waistband down so I could get a good match but it just wasn’t happening, I had to unpack it three times, by then the interfacing had been unpacked to death!  I eventually settled for ‘good enough’ even though there is a slight wonky bit at the waist!  For some reason it is really tricky to zip up but no problem to unzip, at least I’m not going to have an attack of claustrophobia trying to get out of it!

Sewing the lining and dress together went without a hitch.  The only thing It’s change next time would be to do the pocket lining’s in my main fabric, I did them in white lining fabric for this version and they are quite noticeable when you put your hands in them!  Anyway here’s some pictures:


On Doris (My dressform!)


The inside!







Overall I’m more than happy with this dress.  I think the straight neckline adds a little more modesty (and helps to contain the girls!)  Will do the same adjustment on my ‘proper’ dress.  Now I just have to pluck up the courage to cut into the Liberty, I shan’t show you which print it is yet, you’ll just have to tune in next time to see!

Have you got any fabrics in your stash that you are too scared to cut into?



9 thoughts on “Cambie Dress number one

  1. I love this! I recently cut into some Liberty fabric that I’d had in my stash for about 2 years. I’m so glad I finally was brave enough to use it. It’s much nicer to have a shirt made from it, instead of it living in a bin under my bed.

  2. I’ve not had time to cut my Liberty yet, want to make sure I’m not rushed so I don’t mess it up! I’m also planning to use some fabric I’ve been saving for over a year for the outfit along. Your right that it’s much better to be wearing it than sitting in the stash! Helen x

  3. Looks like you did a great job! You can cut into anything now! I am always afraid to cut into material that is destined for someone else’s outfit. I don’t want to mess up anyone else’s clothes.

  4. I like the blue fabric, it seems to work well with this dress. Great job! I always go bigger as well for the same reason, I’m afraid I won’t be able to let it out if it ends up too small. I feel like even when I follow the measurements on the pattern, it still doesn’t match up completely. And I just bought some silk that I am completely terrified to cut into since I’ve never worked with anything that fine before. We shall see….

    • I always look at the measurements and try and trust those, there’s usually a bit of ease built in, but once I’ve cut it out I panic and think it’s too small! I’ve sewn with silk once, it was a bit fiddley but I took my time and it worked out ok!

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