Sewaholic Cambie Dress

I’ve got a bumper two in one post for you today so apologies if it gets a bit long. The manfriend’s brother got married last month so I wanted a pretty dress to wear to the wedding. It was a gay wedding so I hoped to be able to make a dress made out of this incredible rainbow and unicorn fabric:

rainbow and unicorn fabric

But unfortunately it was a classy and respectable wedding so it was vetoed and I went for some less extravagant floral stretch cotton sateen instead. I still really need to own a dress made out of that unicorn fabric though.

I used the Sewaholic Cambie dress pattern but with a circle skirt and here is the dress in action in the stunning gardens of their wedding venue. (Sidenote: if you’re looking for somewhere to get married in Shropshire, The Hundred House Hotel is beautiful.)

sewaholic-cambie-dress-at-wedding

But before I tell you about the dress I have a top version to share. I worked hard on the fit of this dress. First making a rough toile and then a wearable toile peplum top.

cambie peplum top

My first toile had fit fairly well except for a lot of extra length in the front strap/sleeve bit and a gapey neckline, front and back. So I shortened the strap by 1″ and set to work on my pattern for the gape. The back was easy enough – I just cut a line front where it gaped to the back armhole and overlapped to get rid of the gape. But the front was a bit of a headscratcher and I ended up butchering my front bodice pattern piece so much that I had to retrace it. It was then that I noticed that my toile seemed to have stretched out of shape quite badly, with the sides being much longer than they should have been. The darts were also slightly too wide for me.

That gave me the idea of cutting 3/8″ off the centre front and adding it onto the side seam instead. So I gave that a go and I also stabilised the front neckline with twill tape to prevent it stretching out again. I used this tutorial from Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing.

cambie-top-back-and-side

My adjustments worked pretty well but the back neckline was still a bit gapey and there was a little bit of fabric pooling at my lower back. So I increased the neckline overlap and did a slightly overzealous swayback adjustment. Then cracked on with my dress.

sewaholic-cambie-dress-with-circle-skirt

Which I am super super happy with. I used the free Veronika skirt pattern from Megan Nielsen for the skirt part because the last time I tried to draft a circle skirt it went horribly wrong so I didn’t want to risk it. And fortunately the size 8 of the Cambie dress and the size M of the Veronika skirt had the same finished measurement of 30¼”. Of course that wasn’t leaving me with any ease whatsoever but I figured that the stretch in the fabric would cover that or I could use smaller seam allowances if I needed to. Luckily I was right and it fit great, without even needing to fiddle with the seam allowances. Hurrah for stretch cotton! It even coped with the amount of food and booze I threw at it.

sewaholic-cambie-dress

In terms of construction the dress is the same as the top. I again moved the zip to the side and stabilised the neckline with twill tape. I also did a horsehair braid hem to give the skirt a bit of weight and floof without having to wear a petticoat. It was not fun to handstitch.

cambie-dress-back-and-side

There’s not a lot else to say about it really so I’ll just bombard you with a few more photos and then leave you with the details.

cambie-dress

sewaholic-cambie

cambie-at-wedding

The details

Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie dress with a Megan Nielsen Veronika skirt

Measurements: Bust 37.5″ – Waist 30.5″ – Hips 40″ — Height 5’2″

Size made: 8 (dress) and M (skirt)

Alterations:

  • Moved the zip to the side
  • I shortened the sleeve pieces by 1″
  • Took 3/8″ off the centre front and added it onto the side
  • Overlapped the back neckline by about 3/4″ to remove some gape
  • A swayback adjustment (not sure by how much as I think I eyeballed it)

Fabric used: Just over 2m of 150cm wide stretch cotton sateen.

Another version?

Yes, I’m a little obsessed with this pattern now.

Any changes next time?

I want to use a non stretch cotton next time so I’ll probably have to use teeny tiny seam allowances or add a bit of extra room when I cut out. The darts possibly need shortening a smidge too. And I think I may also bring the centre of the sweetheart neckline down slightly as I lost some of the shape by cutting a bit off the centre. I’ll probably put a pleated skirt on it next time too. So just a few changes…

Non-clueless versions:

Final Thoughts

I love this dress. The fabric is gorgeous, it fits well and is perfect for twirling in.

spinning-cambie

Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt

How did it get to be Friday again? I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I got back from my holiday. It feels like ages and no time at all. I’ve come down with a stinking cold since I’ve been home and I’ve spent most of this week feeling thoroughly sorry for myself, doing lots of lounging around, rewatching Brooklyn Nine-Nine and a bit of knitting. I’m making quite good progress on my Vianne cardigan for the Outfit Along and I’m hoping to start on my dress at some point this weekend.

But for now I have a Sewaholic Gabriola to share with you.

gabriola-balcony
Oh to be back here…

I mentioned in my last post that I had sneaky selfish plans for this black and white viscose if my nan didn’t choose it for her dress and I’m really pleased with how they turned out. I love maxi dresses and skirts in the summer and have no doubt that I’ll get lots of wear out of it. It’s so swooshy and fun to wear.

I have a few photos but they’re not very varied. We were off out for dinner and I asked my mum to take a few photos of me before we went and I was starting to feel a bit divaish when she kept trying to give the camera back and I kept declining and asking for more photos.

gabriola skirt rock
And then I got some more photos stood on some rocks.

I made the skirt in a size 10 but redrafted the waistband to be curved, using this tutorial. I’m glad I did as I think it fits much better than it would have otherwise. Though I would have had more room for meze…

I’m a bit confused by the finished measurements given on the pattern envelope as they are quite a bit smaller than what I measured the pattern pieces as when I was deciding how much to reduce the top edge of the waistband by. (I went with 5/8″ in two places and the waistband is then cut on the fold so I took 2.5 inches out in total.) The only explanations I can think of are that the skirt is actually supposed to sit on the hips, so the finished waist measurement is theoretical or I actually cut a size 12.

gabriola balcony 2
I really should have ironed it

I used a mixture of seam finishes on the insides, some French seams, some turned and stitched seams and I even broke out the overlocker for the back seam and the front yoke seam. I’m a lot less terrified of it now.

Oh speaking of new toys, my manfriend found me a dressform in a local charity shop a few months ago and it (she?) was really helpful for levelling the hem after the bias dropped. I know it doesn’t look particularly straight in any of these photos but that’s because I apparently refuse to stand straight. I took about 3 inches off the bottom too, as I’m a shorty at 5’2″. It’s now a good length for me to wear with a low-mid heel but I did wear it with flip-flops too after the heels I started out in tried to chew my toes off.

sewaholic gabriola
I’ve never looked so much like a blogger

I love maxi skirts and dresses and I’m really happy with how this skirt turned out. I can see more in my future, maybe a solid cobalt blue one. Though I have lots of other things on the to be sewn pile to get through first. Including lots of new to me patterns, so this weekend shall be the weekend of toiles/muslins. I’m thinking of getting myself some Swedish tracing paper to try out. Has anyone used it? Would you recommend it?