Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sewaholic Cambie dress #2

I dove in to the Sewaholic Cambie dress one more time to see if I liked it more with some modifications.  It felt like this project took forever and I was glad when I reached the finish line.  I'm wearing it to a wedding this weekend and there were times during construction when I felt like the fabric choice was going to make me look like I was IN the wedding as a bridesmaid. My initial thought was, "I'm making a bridesmaid's dress and I'm not a bridesmaid!" but my next thought was, "Hey! I made a bridesmaid's dress!" I'm not worried about that anymore.  I think it turned out well. 

For this version, I omitted the waistband and lengthened the bodice by 1 inch.  I also opted to add some pleats to the neckline and finish it with a tie belt.

I used this silk crepe de chine from Mood for the main fabric and this silk organza for the lining.  I've never worked with organza before.  The crepe de chine felt a little slippery when I started.  When I finished working with the organza and went back to the crepe de chine, it was like working with quilting cotton.  Organza is shifty.
This was a project where my imagination tacked on a lot of time.  My original thought was to leave the waistline plain like this....
...but then I didn't really like the finishing on the waistline (more on that later) and felt I needed to add something.  My first plan was a belt with an enormous flower detail on it.  I started cutting the petals out and then decided against it.  My next plan was to add the same pleating at the neckline to the waistline.  After some texting consultations with a friend and my mom, I decided against that too.  My third idea was just to go with a belt.  The right belt is hard to find.  I did a tie belt on this dress and liked it a lot so I went with it on this one.  I like it.  When in doubt, add a tie belt.  And if I ever find a regular belt I can have two options.
As you can tell from the above picture, the dart on the main fabric and the dart on the organza didn't line up when I stitched-in-the-ditch.  You can tell in the picture but I'm not so sure it's noticeable in person.  I initially lined up all darts and side seams but that resulted in excess main fabric in the front so the mismatched dart on the left side is what I went with in the end.  I want to be very clear that I cannot stand to stitch-in-the-ditch.  I have an edgestitching foot and I still find it to be a very painful task.  I did it three times and then decided it was good enough. 
All seams are French seams except for the waistband.  I initially serged it which led to an incredibly bulky waistband.  I then went back and pinked the edges which helped. 
I like the pleated detail along the neckline a lot.  My only regret is that I made them a little taller than I should have.  They are prone to falling down a little in the middle.  I catch-stitched them together on the back side and that really helped.  To make the pleats, I cut a very long piece of fabric that was 3 inches wide. I folded this in half lengthwise and pressed.  Starting in the middle and working towards the right side, I pinched fabric together on the backside and folded it to the left. 

I repeated this until I had enough for the right side.  When working towards the left side, I pinched the fabric on the backside and folded it to the right.  I basted the pleats and then basted them again to the front of the dress before sewing the lining and main fabric together.  I serged the raw edge on the shirt end.  When I reached the end, I opened up the last pleat and folded the serged edge back inside the pleats.  I knotted the end of the serged edge so I just tacked that down inside with a hand needle. 
It's an easy thing that adds an interesting detail to this neckline.
I did a rolled hem for the first time on the hem and also along the edges of the tie belt.  I tried and tried to get it to look right on my own but I couldn't figure out why those loops kept showing up to the left of the right needle stitching. 

I posted a question on the RTW Fasters Facebook page and received good feedback about adjusting tension.  However, it still didn't work.  I went to my Bernina dealer for some handholding and when I got there she said she was going to show me how to do a rolled hem but first she needed to find a screwdriver to take the left needle out.  And that's when I knew instantly what my problem was. I unthreaded the needle but didn't take it out, so the loopers were looping as if the left needle was making a stitch.  I was so thankful to have the answer that I didn't bother to be embarrassed. 
I said after making my first Cambie that the waistband really bothered me but I've worn it twice so apparently it doesn't bother me that much.  It's fun to see how a different choice of fabric using the same pattern changes the finished look. 



  1. Oh wow! You nailed it! I love the addition of the tie belt, and both of your Cambie dresses are beautiful. I know you will look extra special at the wedding, and not at all like a bridesmaid!

  2. Love the fabric and style! My favorite part is the pleated detail. The fact that you are teaching yourself to sew is truly amazing.

  3. hi I love the pleating detail at the neck. Adding design touches of your own shows you are well on your way! I particularly love your duffel coat - and wondered if you might be interested in the Craftsy course 'Sew Better, Sew Faster' I highly recommend it and it has a lovely jacket that goes with it. I have just finished it and love it - right out of my comfort zone. GOOD NEWS - it's on sale right now.