Sewaholic Cambie, View B

Sewaholic Cambie, View B. The perfect sundress, pretty, ladylike but not ‘old & fussy’.

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.

Sewaholic Cambie: View B, the lining

Sewaholic Cambie: View B, the lining. You have to love a dress that looks just as good on the inside.

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.

Sewaholic Cambie: View B, the hem and lining

Sewaholic Cambie: View B, the hem and lining.

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.

Sewaholic Cambie - View A

Sewaholic Cambie – View A. This is a quick photo outside the front door after we returned from the beach. A little ‘posed’ but Miss 9 does not have a lot of patience with her model Mother.

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!

Banjo - beach dog

Banjo – beach dog. Just could not resist sharing a picture of the dog. He’s a lean not-so-mean beach-lovin’ machine. Trying not to emulate his bony appearance in my sewing creations!

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 womanactually 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…

Sewaholic Cambie: View A, the lining

Sewaholic Cambie: View A, the lining

Sorry just one more…

Sewaholic Cambie: View B, the hem and lining

Not my best photo but I love the trimmed lining peeking out from under the edge of the hem. Awww so cute.

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 :-)’


    • DEFINITELY I am a strong believer in channeling the seasons through wardrobe choice! Plus summer clothes make me happy – and it’s pretty warm here about nine months of the year. I hate winter (but love the clothing and accessories if that makes sense!)

      • It makes total sense as I feel the EXACT same way. I left the cooold, brrr, north U.S. for the hot, sultry, dirty south yet miss my winter clothing (just not the winter temps).

    • Thanks! This is such a fun and well-drafted pattern I think Sewaholic deserves the credit! I’m just the dummy in the dress LOL.
      Photos are at Nobby’s Beach aka The Dog Beach in Port Macquarie NSW. Lots of rocks, rockpools and lots and lots of dogs off-leash!

  1. Your dresses are so pretty inside and out and look great on you! I’m starting to heart Sewaholic Cambie dress just from looking at yours! I have a WINTER wool dress (RTW – Nanette Lepore from 2 years ago) that is very similar to your second dress and it has been one of my favorites! Love that cute dog too!

    • Hi Sarah! Thanks for your lovely comment. It’s such a great pattern and I NEVER thought I would wear a sweetheart neckline but I actually like it! To think my life has been devoid of sweethearts for so long!
      I’ve noticed you work in arts admin – me too!

    • Hi Felicity! Thank you, it’s hard not to like a girly dress isn’t it?
      It’s always worth giving something a try it’s had great reviews so far (I always think cotton sateen is a good idea as its very forgiving). I thought full skirts and sweetheart necklines were not for me. Looks like I’ve been wrong for all these years LOL

  2. Lovely dresses, I’ll be making my own this month, and can’t make my mind up between views A and B.

    • Thank you and hello!
      I love both versions. View A feels more ‘serious’ but it could be my fabric choice. View B is more casual, carefree and my mother loved it the best, reminded her of dresses from the 1950s. It’s cute but classy & timeless, it’s my favourite on me (just don’t tell View A) but others such as Did You Make That? and Sunny Girl have made gorgeous View A’s that I adore.

  3. Oh, I oohed and aahed over the first one then you throw in a 2nd one and I thought my head would explode with floral fabric lust! They are both so pretty! Love, love, love!

    • Believe it or not I was never a floral girl before I ventured into dress making. Now I am a junkie (and a Sewaholic addict argh!). I suspect my wardrobe is going to turn into a botanical bonanza! Step back, I will shortly start sprouting floral frocks from my fingers.
      Wow that makes me sound like a sewing superhero!

  4. I prefer View B but hadn’t considered a flower print. You, however, make a great case for the pattern, both views AND the flower prints so…Good thing my mother is going to Canada next week, LOL!

    • LOL thank you. I love the fabric of the black one, it’s floral without being flowery I think!
      I would love to make this up View A in plain linen. I think it would look fabulous… now that’s an idea…
      I have a blue eyelet in the stash I am planning to underline with white. I feel happy just thinking about it.
      Can’t wait to see yours!

  5. Wow, two such pretty dresses, and great photos too! They are both so pretty… I think I prefer the first, but the second looks like it’d suit a lot more occasions! BTW thanks for the info about where to get the Sewaholic patterns in Australia as the lack of a local source had been my reason for not trying one… now I have no excuse except for all the other patterns that are jostling for attention.

    • Hello and lovely to meet another Downunder Stitcher (I just can’t write sewer – its just wrong).
      Sew Squirrel are great and that had been my blocker – tired of shipping costs. Then Sewaholic posted about their new Australian stockist – and I gave in. I’ve also ordered Renfrew, Pendrell & Thurlow!
      I’m bingeing but oh it feels good!

  6. these turned out great!!! I dont know if i can wait til payday now to buy this pattern! i already have fabric with this in mind! so excited! Lovely post! love the pictures on the beach and both dresses are amazing!

    • Aww thank you. I really want to make another right away (yes really) but I’m going to make Simplicity 1880 first and my daughter’s confirmation dress with a linen jacket. Ah the sewing list is long… and fun!

  7. Thank you for reminding me of all the great things about the Cambie! I”m supposed to sew my sister one this weekend, but I’ve been dragging my feet… I made myself one, but the bodice fit is off and it drives me nuts! Plus somehow it came out soooo girly that I just don’t want to wear it. I need to give it another shot though! 🙂
    Here’s my first one… http://crafting-a-rainbow.tumblr.com/post/24226110283/i-feel-pretty-oh-so-pretty-aka-the-floral-cambie I don’t hate it, it’s just not me!!!

    • I was a super tomboy growing up, I still remember a friend’s mother opening her front door and doing a double take because I had a skirt on!
      Your dress is really pretty it’s probably just because it doesn’t ‘feel like you’ that you struggle with it. It’s a gorgeous fabric but if you feel self conscious I would try a dark contemporary floral – or even no floral but a modern graphic print.
      It’s too good to leave this pattern in your stash you just need to make it your own.

  8. Wowers. What stunning dresses! I was going to buy the cambie from sew mama sew but now I’m going to check out red sq. love your version of simplicity 2444.

    • Hello 🙂
      I’ve never used Sew Mama but Sew Squirrel has been awesome! I discovered them via a Sewaholic blog update.
      Cambie is a gorgeous pattern and I also loved making 2444 Simplicity. I did prefer lining Cambie to doing the facings of 2444 though. The Cambie lining is lovely (I confess I keep putting my Cambies on and twirling in front of the mirror – that can be our secret LOL).

        • Yes Spotlight often offers up a surprise which makes digging through all the bolts worth it. I was chatting to an elderly lady yesterday and she had found a great b/w print to make a skirt. It was lovely! For a moment I was tempted to grab the bolt and run LOL.

  9. I love you Cambrie dresses. I have to get on with sewing my first one. I have a feeling that like you I am going to be making a second one straight away. I have view A cut out. But then the Thurlow pattern arrived on Friday …….

    • Yes this pattern is highly addictive. I just love the interiors too. I also got the Thurlow pattern but steeled myself and got on with my Sunni Shirtdress Sewalong. Can’t wait to make those shorts!!

    • I adore this print it’s just delightful. Funnily enough when I posted it in Flickr I discovered via a comment that someone is making it up in Sunni’s shirt dress sewalong. It look gorgeous too!

  10. So I’ve followed you from the Twitter conversation & I am in love with your versions – both adorable & that includes the lining & lace peekaboo. Totally beautiful, I dont blame you for swirling & taking the frock to the sea

    • Hello Scruffy 🙂
      Thank you – and most remiss of me not to mention you in the blog post. Fancy being the inspiration for people’s underlining trimmings!
      I have the most scrumptious soft blue eyelet for my next one – I think it will even require a lace trimmed waistband… however I really must make a confirmation dress for my Miss 7. Which of course will require ample amounts of trimming!
      I’ll be a Scruffy Koala before I know it.

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  22. My question about the trim added to the lining . . . you say it “peeks” out so was it sewn longer than the skirt or does the peeking only occur intermittently? Did that question make sense? I’m wondering if the nice trim will show be design or only by mishap, so-to-speak? I think I’d like mine to peek 24/7.


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