Monday, September 09, 2013

First (but not the last) Cambie

Of all the patterns by Tasia at Sewaholic, I've been most drawn to the Cambie.  I'm fairly pear-shaped and the style of the dress is pretty good for my figure.  The 20% off discount through Sew Mama Sew and the SOSM convinced me to finally plunk down the money for the pattern!  Seriously, I don't know why I waited so long.
As a contestant in the SOSM, I had a feeling the Cambie would be the final challenge, and the three finalists did fabulous interpretations of the pattern.  As much as I wished I had been able to compete in those later challenges, it was nice being able to make something for the love of sewing, without worrying so much about changing up the pattern or coming up with something new, novel and extra-special.   It's also a bit of a relief knowing I don't have to expertly finish each and every seam :)
Full back coverage--love!
This dress wasn't my original plan for this pattern--I actually unpinned the Cambie pattern pieces from a different fabric (a silk/cotton plaid suiting that I still intend to use!) to make this version first.  This Anna Sui silk/cotton voile from Mood was purchased to be a top of some kind, but the print was larger than I'd expected, so I immediately switched gears to sew it up as a dress.   
Incredibly, I managed to eek out the shell of this full-skirted dress out of only 2 yards of 44" wide fabric!   To do this, I reduce the the back panels of the skirt to be same width (+ seam allowance) as half of the front panel.  I'm not sure why the back panels are drafted to be quite so full, but I think my version is plenty full enough!  For sizing, I cut size 2 for bust and hips and graded up to size 4 for the waist.  I also did a petite adjustment on the bodice (and think I could use a tiny bit more) and the shoulder seam.  
The hot pink silk taffeta waistband totally makes this dress, in my opinion.  I only wish the pink in the design was a little more apparent!
Back waistband and invisible zipper
I don't love full skirts ordinarily but chose that version of this dress because the fabric was so lightweight, and thus more suitable for gathering.  But I didn't want even more bulk in that particular area, so the dress lining is actually the A-line version of the pattern (in 100% silk, crepe-ish type fabric). I called my mom to get a second opinion of the idea before cutting my silk, but it worked really well! The two fabrics don't cling together, so the overskirt flows over the narrower lining.
The seams were serger-finished, with a blind-stitched hem for the outer skirt and a regular straight stitch for the lining.  
I am completely in love with this pattern.  The style is just right, the full-coverage back is good for me and I adore the way Tasia sews the lining sewn into the dress (so clean and perfect!).  Literally, my biggest beef is something I could fix easily myself (and should have for this dress) and that's simply that I'd like the pockets to extend up to be sewn into the waistband.  Other than that, I can see using this pattern for work dresses or even more fancy frocks than this one (all-over lace anyone?).
This one will likely get worn with a great pair of brown patent and suede d'Orsay heels to one of two weddings we have in October.  (By the way, would it be completely gauche to wear it to both?  The weddings are on opposite coasts and there will be no overlapping attendees, except for the omnipresent Facebook...)   In any case, the dress fabric came in at under $60, and considering it's mostly silk, that's a darn reasonable party dress!


  1. Fantastic fabric Nicole! It suits you beautifully. I know you wanted more pink in the dress, but I really think the pop of pink at the waistband is a flirty surprise, and it draws the eye to the smaller amounts of pink in the main body. So, the back is roughly half of the width of the original pattern? Looks perfectly balanced to me. And, making the lining in the A-line version is a brilliant idea. I love the look of a full skirt...but the reality is I don't have a tiny waist, and gathering in two layers of fabric can just create extra bulk where I don't want it. Thanks for the pattern is sitting here unopened and I may get to this dress yet.

    You look beautiful and the dress deserves to be worn to at least two weddings!

  2. Love the colors! Beautyfull dress! Suits you very well:)

  3. Anonymous5:02 AM

    This fabric is amazing, it looks great with the pink waistband too.

  4. Gorgeous! Such a great fabric choice! This is one of my favorite patterns. I've made it four times already, and have fabric for at least four more!

  5. Anonymous6:06 AM

    Wow, this is amazing and looks fabulous! And, I do not at all think it would be inappropriate to wear it to two weddings! :) Totally show off worthy!

  6. I live very close to mood and saw that fabric on my way out on my last trip for buttons (for a pair of coastal cargos). If the kids werent being so grouchy, i would have added it to my "selfish sewing" pile that i never use haha
    I love this dress on you. You did a wonderful job. I need to learn how to do a bust adjustment then maybe my pile of fabric will magically decrease.

  7. I love that you used a contrast waistband! And, it was smart to inset it the way you did!

  8. This is one of my favorite cambies that i've seen! and your fit is spot on!

  9. Nowadays only Hollywood starlets don't wear the same outfit twice. European royalty do it all the time, in fact some have worn the same dress to the same occassion two years in a row! Seriously. In the 17th and 18th century, it was a given.

    So, if you look great in it (and you do!) why should either group be punished by being unable to gaze upon you. ;)

  10. I love this dress, it's lush! I especially like that touch of probably just need a hot pink bow clutch to match ;)

    1. If only I had a fabulous pattern for such a clutch... :)

  11. I love that you made the back less full - who needs more fabric there?! Also, the only reason I don't like a-line linings in gathered skirts is that I like to wear my regular dresses when I'm pregnant and there have been a couple with enough room in the bust and in the skirt, except I'd have to cut a hole in the lining. But when you're not pregnant, the less bulk the better.

  12. Congrats on winning the community prize!! :-) You deserve it with this gorgeous dress