The sun finally struggled out from behind the clouds this weekend. Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous and today was not-quite-as-perfect but nevertheless still lovely for a winter’s day. I can’t complain if I can run about on the beach (in the middle of winter) in a sundress can I?
So off we popped to the beach – pictures courtesy for ELH (ever-lovin’ husband). It was cool but not freezing.
Say ‘hello’ to Sewaholic Cambie View B. This dress is so pretty & sweet it makes my teeth hurt. It’s a good-quality cotton poplin from the highly prestigious establishment known as Spotlight. Despite its humble origins (think the Wal-Mart of fabrics if you are not Australian – huge range, good prices but quality varies), the fabric is very lovely to touch and work with. It has a lovely sheen and smoothness to it.
Perhaps you are a little like me and read the flood of positive gushing reviews about Sewaholic Cambie and thought ‘can it really be that good or does blogland just have a crush on Sewaholic right now? Is it just another sundress?’. Yes I am a total cynic.
So I gave into my curiosity (as I always do) and picked up a Cambie pattern from Sew Squirrel, an Australian online company that sells independent pattern designers - Sewaholic & Colette patterns so far. I have this little dream that they might sell Figgy’s for kids - they are so cool!! I’m sure I’m not the only Aussie mum that would like to make these clothes for her kids.
I digress… back to the post topic… it’s true every blogger appears to have a crush on Sewaholic and with good reason – this pattern is absolutely delightful. I am a sheep. Confession: I have fallen head-over-heels in love with Sewaholic.
What’s so fabulous about it? Everything.
It fits me perfectly right out of the envelope, no adjustments required. It’s like Tasia has some weird ESP and conjured up the perfect sundress for me. I love the fact it is not too ‘strappy’, it’s ladylike without being ‘old & fussy’, it’s somehow modern and a tad retro at the same time, it’s got pockets (I can hear you sigh) and it is beautifully finished.
I had never lined a dress before – and here is a secret – I had avoided those patterns. I thought they would be too fiddly and hard for this novice seamstress. However Tasia at Sewaholic shook her head and said ‘Lizzy you CAN do this‘ and away we went together, stitching merrily along to her Sewing the Lining into the Cambie Dress online tutorial and the next thing I knew I had a lined dress. Even my mother is impressed!
I also used Tasia’s online instructions to insert the straps/sleeves. Her online resources are excellent, well written and illustrated and I would encourage everyone to use them, even if you know what you are doing I think a fresh approach can be valuable.
I did a couple of things to ‘Lizzy-ify’ the dress. I lined the dress with cheesecloth, a slightly odd choice for lining but it’s cotton, easy to iron and gives the skirt an extra bit of oomph. It also feels good next to your skin – what more could you ask for in a lining?
I added lace trim to the lining so it has a lovely peek-a-boo effect when swishing and frolicking about.
I constructed the shell and lining at the same time rather than making the shell first and then making the lining as the pattern directs. I think this makes the project more fun. I sew all the darts and the side seams at the same time for each piece – I think that it improves my thought process. I also get horribly bored with making the shell and then sewing up the rather less exciting lining. So I do them in tandem.
I hand-stitched the hem and then decided to slip-stitch the lining to the dress at the waistline rather than topstitch, ‘stitch in the ditch’ or whatever the pattern said. I was so happy with how the dress was turning out I wanted to take the time to finish it nicely.
I LOVE this dress I feel like frolicking in the sun and eating ice-cream and giggling with my girls. Frightening I know but I’m sure they like this version of their Mum.
After the delight and happiness of View B I decided that I must try View A immediately. I had been reasonably sensible and traced out the extra pattern pieces for View A when I traced off View B.
I picked a black rose cotton sateen from the stash and got some very fine black bastite to line it. It can be quite humid where I live so anything with slippery, synthetic lining ends up a smelly sweaty bad idea in summer. I was a bit worried about cotton sticking to cotton but a march around the house proved that this combination works. Perhaps because it’s an a-line shape.
With View A I decided to cut the bodice straight across as I really love Sunny Gal’s version (thanks for your advice Beth!). While I love the bodice like this, my bony whippet ribcage is just not built for this look. You can’t tell from the image but it gapes slightly across the top but fits me well across the bust. ELH tells me no-one is really going to notice but I WILL so I’m going to fix up the neckline, dipping it in towards the centre. I think this will fix the problem. And I’ll probably love it as much as View B – actually that might not be possible…
Sorry not so many pictures of this dress – it started to get chilly after we got home. You know about 15 degrees – very cold for us in winter!
View A with the a-line skirt is a lovely dress. I think I could wear this to work in summer. It’s a bit more sophisticated and reserved (ELH’s description - I could not have said better myself!). I absolutely love this fabric – what else can I make with it?… I got this one from the little local independent fabric shop. It sells dance fabrics (and often has sparkly shiny fabrics outside) but she has some little hidden treasures! I love going to this shop because we chat about sewing, I like to support small business and Miss 7 delights in the novelty buttons on the counter and will happily spend at least 30 minutes fiddling with buttons while I chat and cruise the fabrics. It’s bliss. Plus it is nice actually talking to someone about sewing and you get better advice from these sorts of places.
I took more time with View A although the machine sewing element was much quicker as I knew exactly what to do. I hand-basted the zip and the lining before attaching the lining to the dress via the machine. I did this mainly because I had some free time one night and I do like being able to rip along on the sewing machine without pesky little pins rearing their colourful little knobbly heads.
My verdict: great pattern and I have plans for two more. I’m rather scared for Dolly Clackett’s sewing future as she sees to be totally spellbound by this pattern and keeps churning them out – and they are all awesome! There’s the green gingham one, the red gingham one and the cute blue floral one.
Somebody stop that woman – actually no don’t she’s too funny. She tweeted me that there is another one on the works!
ELH’s verdict is View B is the stand-out winner in the Cambie Shoot-out. View A is lovely but I think a tad more sensible – clearly he likes a girly girl – even if he did marry a camo-pant lovin’ jeanaholic lass.
My only complaints about this pattern and dress? Sewaholic patterns should carry a warning label – something along the lines of ‘sewing this pattern may result in obsessive behaviour‘ or something similar. I have two more planned!
Second complaint… I can’t undo the zip to show off the gorgeous lining! There are some laws about public decency I believe. Ah well you can’t have it all…
Sorry just one more…
Thank you for your patience in enduring the Sewaholic Cambie Lovefest. I HEART Sewaholic Cambie.
And hopefully when Sewaholic Thurlow and I are united tomorrow a similar love affair will begin. I’m sure Cambie has room in her heart for another little friend – even if it is her cousin :-)’