Sewaholic Cambie No. 3 - Don Giovanni inspired!

Sewaholic Cambie No. 3 – Don Giovanni inspired!

After a severe bout of Renfrew-itis I’ve now come down with the Cambie Pox. Yes I’m absolutely dotty about Cambie.

Sewaholic Cambie No.3 - the inspiration

Sewaholic Cambie No.3 – the inspiration

This dotty Cambie was inspired by Opera Australia’s Oz Opera’s production of Don Giovanni coming to our theatre next month. When I received the costume sketches, I immediately thought, I gotta make that spotty one. It’s on display in our theatre foyer in the lead-up to the production. This production by Opera Australia’s Oz Opera has been set in 1950s Italy, there are leather jackets, 1950s frocks, sunglasses and flower-pot hats. I’m not a huge opera fan but my girlfriend (almost ‘not an opera fan’) saw it last week and called up to RAVE about it. She said it puts the soap back into opera. It’s fast, funny and the costumes are divine – you can see all the costumes sketches here – beautiful!

Can’t wait. Really! I’m busting to see an opera!

The polka dots only cost me $9 and I lined it with white homespun rather than batiste as the polka dots are very flimsy and I wanted a big skirt and plenty of structure in the bodice. Plus the polka dots are also rather see-through! So I also omitted the pockets as I did not want to see the pocket outline through the skirt fabric.

I’ve posted the back view, guts and hem at the end of this post – just in case you are sick to death of my Cambies! I understand I really do.

You might recall I’ve been rattling on about having to make a dress for Miss 7.

I admit it… I am a selfish selfish selfish stitcher. I want to stitch for others… but then I do and it just ain’t so much fun as stitching for me… I reason that I sew to relax and dealing with other people’s expectations is not relaxing.

Yes even when it’s my kids… bad bad mummy…

After several false starts, I nearly finished Miss 7’s confirmation dress. We were told to dress them in something they might wear to a restaurant. hahaha. So I imagined what I might dress Miss 7 in to take to a restaurant and chose this pattern… and pink flowerly fabric with lots and lots of holes.

And it was all going swimmingly until I realised… yes the dress may be lined but with all those darn holes I was going to have to underline the dress as well! Ok. Deep breaths. Laid out the patterns pieces and discovered the pink fabric is more like 140cm wide, not 150cm as I thought, and there was not enough for the circle skirt.

Argh. Another week of procrastination. Decide to alter pattern by shortening bodice, adding a waistband and attaching a gathered skirt in the style of Cambie. I made up a very rough muslin (no zip) and decided to risk it. Not my finest production but she is thrilled. “Mum I LOVE it”. The next problem is getting her to stop twirling so I can take a picture – so you will have to wait for now. And I still have to hem and do a few decorative bits and pieces before I’m finished.

However I will share the now Miss 9’s first communion suit ,yes suit, because everyone else wore a dress she wanted a suit – she looked so stylish and very Jackie O – my mother made this and it’s perfect).

Zoe's first Communion

Zoe’s first Communion (Miss 9)

Hopefully one day I’ll be as clever as my Mum!

Sewaholic Cambie No.3 - the waistband

Sewaholic Cambie No.3 – the waistband

Sewaholic Cambie No.3 - the lining and hem

Sewaholic Cambie No.3 – the lining and hem, trim inspired by Scruffy Badger, the champion of trimmings

Sewaholic Cambie No.3 - the guts

Sewaholic Cambie No.3 – the guts. I love the Cambie lining, it just makes the dress perfect.

Sewaholic Cambie No.3 with a hat

Sewaholic Cambie No.3 – this will make a lovely market day dress! I also think this will look cute as a button with a denim jacket.

Now I’ve got a vision of a denim a-line Cambie with that little red polka dot waistband. Now wouldn’t that look cute!


    • I loved seeing the sketches, it’s so interesting to see what the wardrobe people work from. The red dress is quite different in the production shots. I’m making my own version of the red dress to wear on the night from a 1950s Vogue original pattern.

    • It’s a great investment this pattern. I’ve learnt a lot making up my Cambies. The Sewaholic Cambie lining tutorials are worth reading. I got a flawless finish the first time. Thanks for stopping by 🙂 enjoy your Cambies!

  1. Another great Cambie! I love it. Also, I would like to tell you that my mother made all my clothes growing up, and I did NOT appreciate it as much as I should, and I did NOT feel badly when she did not sew for me as a child. I wanted bought clothes like all my friends. It was only when I was almost an adult that I began to appreciate the uniqueness of my clothes. So, long story short, you probably aren’t disappointing them as much as you think when you don’t sew for them. Sounds like self-imposed expectations to me. Or, do your kids expect it?

    • Thanks Becky. My Mum also made everything for me and I did not appreciate it at all. Horrid little thing I must have been.
      My girls love the things I make for them, perhaps because it’s not ‘the usual’ thing for Mum to do. We spend time picking trim & fabrics and talking about the progress of the project. I can now see what a great learning process it is, so even if they don’t sew when they ‘grown up’ they are developing an understanding of styles, fabrics and finishes. I hope that makes them more confident in their clothes choices and smarter in their shopping habits.
      However I steadfastly refuse to see a school uniform, that would kill all love for sewing for me!!

      • Yes, I was an ungrateful wretch at times, to my dismay. However, my best memories of my mother are trips to fabric and pattern shop. It was so wonderful to be included into her grown up world and treated as an equal. She generally let me pick out everything for myself, with gentle guidance. I miss her so much every time I go into a fabric store, I could cry. It’s terrific that your girls are enjoying it. Good mothering!

  2. Lovely! I am in the process of trying to convince my favourite indie sewing store to carry Sewaholic patterns… because how amazing would it be to be able to pick up a pattern and not pay shipping? There’s something about sewaholic patterns that means people seem to make them over and over again – and that’s pretty impressive!

    • You are so right, Sewaholic patterns do seen to be such good value as most people make multiples and Tasia offers variations within the pattern which doubles the value! I’m in Australia so shipping is just a sad fact of life.

      • Is the contrasting waistband fabric, or a ribbon of some kind? This dress is absolutely FABULOUS – I am waiting eagerly for my Cambie (and others) to arrive in the mail – I live in New Zealand so I feel your pain with shipping!

        • It’s just a coordinating fabric. My local has a huge range of cotton polka dots! The dress was quite inexpensive to make as the fabric isn’t ‘fancy’ but it does pack a visual punch! Look very cute with flats & a denim jacket.

    • LOL she is a very sensible & serious little person. She saves up and buys shares!! Classic first child – I’m the classic baby of the family, noisy, frivolous and just refuses to grow up.
      Zoe has a very firm idea of what she likes to wear and most of the time she’s very stylish. While I can be a bossy and strict Mum I also respect the fact they are individuals and if they want a suit or to wear a huge pink frilly dress (that’s Giselle the family baby) and there is no reason they can’t – I let them. It’s just clothing and they need to feel happy and confident.

  3. Please, stop torturing meeee!!!!! I love it! My Cambie (and Lonsdale) are coming with my mother next week and you’re making my whole body itch with the cute iterations. This one just KILLS!!!

  4. Ahh, the Cambie Pox. An affliction worth having. This is so wonderful. Really nice job. Stop making these adorable things or I’m going to have to go and buy this pattern! By the way, I’m a selfish stitcher as well. People ask me to make them stuff but I just can’t bring myself to it yet, especially while I’m still SO slow at everything. Enjoy your lovely garments!!

    • Funnily enough I wasn’t going to buy Cambie. I thought ‘do I really need another dress pattern’ – such a great investment! It’s improved my sewing and it turns out I can’t live without it. The perfect summer dress!

      • You know, Busy Lizzie, I am thinking (as I’m going through your comments here); I should just make me a good one (not simply a muslin) in polka and just do the dayum thing!!!! I live in a semi-tropical area so summer-like temps are the norm here. You see, I can get almost 12 months use of such a garment; probably 12 months. Perhaps I could just make sure the dots aren’t too big. That may be my ticket to a cute polka dot dress for this large, curvy gal!!!

  5. I love Don Giovanni and I love your polka dot Cambie! You must wear it to the opera. Your sewing is really beautiful, maybe because you sew slowly, which I believe that may be a secret to good sewing. Beautiful and bravo!

    • Thank you 🙂 I think with work and the kids I have to slow down. Or rather do little bits at a time as I don’t get many chances to sew for hours and hours and get to the point of tired & frustrated. I’ve also been basting the trickier bits at night by hand after the kids go to bed, it’s relaxing and I get a better end result.
      Can’t wait to see Don G now!

  6. I like your polka dot dress! And interesting idea with waistband! My next dress will be with polka dot too!%) Also may be I will go tomorrow to the shop and buy some meters of red fabric with white dots for skirt!%)

    • Thanks it was a moment of inspiration in the fabric store. The dress I was copying was worn with a red belt – and I thought…. why not just change the colour of the waistband and then I don’t need to find a red belt!


  8. this is amazing! you really have this pattern down now! I love it! 😀 The fabric drapes beautifully! Maybe I will start the cambie today instead. argh. need to make a decision soon! Only so many hours in the day!

      • Denim A line is an amazing idea! Even though it is the same pattern, I wouldnt have known from your dresses. They each have so much personality!

        • I can’t wait to make the denim one. It’s going to have a red polka dot waistband. But then I’m also keen to make the vintage Cambie in denim with red polka dot scallops – I can’t decide!!!

          • all sounds lovely! do you keep an idea/sewing book? I love denim with polka dots! Creates a lovely contrast and vintage feel. 🙂

          • I confess having NO imagination. And, when I “steal” no prob. in giving credit (throwback from college days). Sew, what’s this about a vintage one with scallops? I’ve been nursing a love affair of the scallop since I got into recreating my wardrobe into vintage style. Pics, PLEASE.

            Oh, and below (or above when this is posted) someone mentioned an idea/sewing book. As simple as that sounds I’d like to see someone else’s to get a clue. Simply a notebook and write down stuff (’cause I do that all the time); or is it something fancier? Like quilters always talk about a design wall. I have a notebook (right by me at this minute) where I write down patterns I want, but I am thinking what the sewist is writing about is way cooler than my $1 store note pad.



      • Denim A line is an amazing idea! Even though it is the same pattern, I wouldnt have known from your dresses. They each have so much personality! Oh thank you! 🙂
        I am still a bit behind my reader but it is lovely to be welcomed back 🙂 yay!

  9. So delighted to have found your blog, I love what you make, especially this beautiful polka dot Cambie. And the idea of a denim, A-line Cambie with polka dot trim is awesome. please make it soon! x

    • Thank you so much Jane. I’m a fan of yours too – your recent Marilyn-inspired dress was to-die-for!
      I’ve been stuck on what to sew next do I think it will be a denim and polka dot dress, using my ‘vintage’ Cambie pattern. I love Cambie and could make it over and over and over. I think I need to break out of the Cambie fetish for at least ONE project…

    • Cambies are the most perfectly delightful dresses I’ve seen – inside and out. I’m currently trying not to make another – I need to make something else or I’m in danger of having a ‘month of Cambies’… not such a bad thing…

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    • Thanks. I was pleased with how this one turned out. It’s cute but not too kitsch. I’ve been trying to stop myself making a 4th Cambie but decided tonight I have to get the denim and red polka dot one out of my head and into my wardrobe.
      This is a wonderful pattern, it’s hard not to make a lovely dress. I think it would really suit you.

      • Yeah, they are, but, ahem, I am not so sure on a 46″ hipper like myself. Maybe I could make a “muslin” out of some inexpensive polka and see what’s what and then decide. But, yah, lady, it looks smashing ON YOU and lil gals like yourself. 😉

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  17. Your sewaholic outfits are amazing! This dress and your black version are gorgeous! I have never bought any sewaholic patterns but after seeing all the awesome things you have made I might check them out lol!! Erin @ I-heart-fabric.blogspot

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  21. Okay, by golly this is it!!!!!!! I am officially fiending to make this frock. You look cutely, wonderfully stunning in the Cambie. And honey, you’ll get no chastisement from me about sewing for self; DO YOU.

    Looks like I might have to be following yet another blog. See, that’s the thing . . . so much blog reading and not enough sewing going on, LOL.

    Seriously, good job.



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