A Liberty Christmas Cambie!

OK, so it’s taken a little over six months, but I have finally finished making up one of my Christmas presents!  As you may recall in my previous post about Cambie number one my Mother in law kindly got me the Sewaholic Cabbie Dress pattern for Christmas, along with three metres of Liberty fabric of my choosing.  I spent hours pouring over fabrics online, I think it was about two weeks before I finally made a decision.  In the end I went with my head rather than my heart and plumped for something which would go with the Green Miette cardigan I had started knitting and so:

Ta dah!


I now have a complete outfit!

The fabric is Ellie Ruth Liberty Tana Lawn in dark green from really posh fabric shop Joel and Sons, I think it cost around £21 a metre so this is by far the most expensive fabric I have ever worked with (I’m used to my bargain basement Economy Fabrics!).  It’s described as a ‘smart retro floral with toothpaste stripes’, I liked the combination of green and orange flowers:


I made the dress exactly as I had done my first Cambie, I shortened the bodice by 1 inch and took an inch out of the centre back.  I self lined the bodice and used some more of my buttery white cotton to line the skirt.  For the skirt lining you just use the skirt pattern pieces so there is a lot of fabric!  There’s also more fabric in the back than there is in the front which makes for a very gathered derriere!  The only difference I made was to use the main fabric to make the pockets (I used my white lining fabric last time, as per the instructions, but it noticeably peeks out when you put your hand in the pocket!)

I used an invisible zipper and this time I took my time with it!  I added two strips of interfacing down the centre back and used my regular zipper foot to baste it in.  Only when I had matched up the waistband and basted the second side did I feel confident enough to switch to my invisible zipper foot and stitch it down properly!  I think I have learned not to sew when I’m tired or to try and rush things as I make silly mistakes and then spend ages unpicking them!

I did have a bit of a devil when it came to the final bodice fitting.  On my previous Cambie I had used a Rayon fabric which had a bit of give and seemed to mould around me.  The Tana Lawn, although a dream to sew with, didn’t want to mould!  I think I must have tried the dress on a dozen times while I was tweaking it, sewing in my undies in between!  It’s so difficult to fit when you are on your own, especially when you can’t see what your back is doing!  My main problem was that the neckline gaped a bit and I had pull marks about three inches above my waistline.  I ended up lowering the neckline by about an inch and a half before resorting to interfacing it!  (I have since tried on my first Cambie which also has a bit of a gape but as the fabric flops against my chest I didn’t notice). I also took nearly an inch off the side seams before I decided to stop as I was in danger of ‘over-fitting’ and buggering the whole thing up!

Anyway here’s the finished result:


On Doris


The insides


On me!




more twirling!


The back…


and from the side!

I think I have to be honest with myself and admit that the pulling at the back and the gaping front are there because I really need to do a full bust adjustment!  I have avoided doing a FBA since I tried it once with the Colette Rooibos dress and made a real mess of it (probably not the best pattern for a first try seeing as there are SIX waist darts!). A FBA also adds length to the bodice and seeing as I am short and usually have to take an inch of the length I can’t figure out just how much I would have to take off.  I think if I want things to really fit well I’m just going to have to get past my fear and have a go, I did put it down as one of my New year sewaloutions so I’ve got another five and a half months to crack it!

Overall I really like how vintagey this dress looks, the sleeves, full skirt and the nipped in waist are very evocative of the pattern envelopes from the fifties (only twice the size!). I am quite surprised with how light and yellowy the fabric looks as I thought it would come out darker with the flowers and black stripes.  I have spent the past three weeks working on both Cambies and to be honest I feel all dressed out and was just pleased to get it done and out of the way!  It’s a great pattern and I will definitely make more but I think I need to do some quick fix sewing with some instant gratification to resurrect my sewing mojo.  I’ve got my outfit along dress to make but the deadline is not until the end of July so I think I can safely put it on the back burner for a couple of weeks.  I toted up my list of ‘to sew’ projects the other day and realised I had twenty things in the queue which I’ve got the pattern and fabric for!  Now I’ve just got to decide which to start first!

Do you ever experience sewing fatigue?  And just to be nosey, how long is your sewing queue?!

13 thoughts on “A Liberty Christmas Cambie!

  1. Chris Mac says:

    What a beautiful outfit, it really makes a difference using ‘good’ fabric.

    As a Miette ‘expert’ lol can I ask you a couple of questions? I’m making my first version for me to see if I can downsize it for DD2 (she is a size 30/32) and yours always fit so nicely. What size did you make? I’m a 42 bust and went with the 38 size as I never fasten cardigans anyway. Also did you adjust the waist size? I’m a waist 38 (mainly tummy) and so I wondered about reducing the amount of shaping and moving it to the back of the cardigan instead of the front. Would be great to hear your experience. I’m knitting in Cacade 220 using 5.5mm needles and getting perfect tension.

    Tia Chris

    • Hi Chris, thanks for your comment about the dress, I think I’ve been looking at it so long that I can’t tell if it’s worked! I made both my Miettes in a size 42 as there’s a couple of inches of negative ease built in making it a 40inch chest. I’m a 42 bust and 34 waist and I can button it up comfortably with a bit of room to spare! The only modification I made was to add ten rows at the waist to give it another 2 inches in length. I used Cascade yarn on both of mine and blocking it made a real difference to the size, I put it through a wool wash and then laid it out flat and stretched it until it measured the same as the schematic diagram! One thing I would consider is to bind off quite loosely just to given it that extra room at the waist. I know some people have moved the bust shaping to the side, if you get stuck there’s probably a thread on Revelry with all the answers! Good luck! Helen x

      • Chris Mac says:

        Thanks for your help, especially the tip about lengthening by 10 rows, I have been unsure about the short length at my size and age lol.

        Next job is to find a fabric and make a dress. I’ve been analysing what I dislike about all of my bought dresses in the hope that I can get it right when I take the plunge and make one.
        Chris x

  2. I love your dress – its such a beautiful print! I don’t think any pulling is obvious in your pictures so it may be one of those things which you can see so much more than anyone else can!

    My sewing queue is also a little crazy – though not quite up to 20 items – I have been making lots of tops and have a couple more I want to do to finish this off, have a couple of dresses I want to get on with that will require muslins and I intend to make trousers this summer and have to make a costume for my daughter… hardly anything really!


  3. Thanks, I think I had been tinkering with it so long that I was in danger of over fitting! I’ve got a couple of tops and skirts in the pipeline, a bit of simple sewing is what I need after two dresses! Good luck with the trousers, I’ve been tempted to make a pair of capri pants but put off by potential fit problems as I can never get rtw ones that fit!

  4. Béa says:

    That’s really pretty. I’ve always liked the Cambie style, and it really suits you. It is odd how the colours change when you see the dress as a whole, rather than just looking at the fabric detail!

    I don’t really experience Sewing Fatigue, because I don’t think I’m anywhere near as obsessive a sewer as other bloggers! I’ve got Dance as my main passion in my life, sewing is a nice little sideline! If I don’t feel like sewing, I don’t sew, so it doesn’t really become an issue.

    But I kind of wish that I was more productive, because I have WAY more ideas than I have impetus to sew! I’ve got a definite plan for the immediate things I want to make, I try not to make definite plans for more than four things in a row, but I’ve also got a million ideas of things I would like to make if I could only find the drive.

    • I always have far more plans than I have time to sew, there are things in my queue that have been there over a year! Maybe I should face the fact if I haven’t sewn them already I’m probably not that enthusiastic after all! I love that you have dancing in your life, it’s one thing I really miss as the opportunity doesn’t come along very often, apart from a quick boogie to the radio when I’m cooking tea!

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