Friday, 15 February 2013

Shirking and Sewing

I've got the wedding craft blues :(

I've spent so long cutting and gluing and designing and printing stuff for the wedding, that I'm getting a little bit fed up. All along I was worried that my main problem would be getting everything done in time, and unless I'm forgetting some major task, that doesn't seem like it's going to be a problem. So this week I've totally shirked my wedding duties and rewarded myself with a little time to work on some projects for me!

Almost exactly a year ago, I bought the Cambie dress pattern from Sewaholic. I love Tasia's patterns - they are super easy to sew, with lots of handy tips on her website, and are flattering for pear shapes like me. I bought fabric online with an eye to make it for last summer. But alas! The perils of online fabric shopping! What was listed as cotton lawn, was actually more of a polycotton, so I was a little deflated. I added it to my stash, and other than using some of it for purse linings, I've generally forgotten about it. But when the urge to sew something struck, I decided to give it a go. I loved the print - white flowers with brown stems on a pale blue background - and I had picked it specifically because I have some super comfy brown wedges that I don't get to wear enough that I thought would go wonderfully with it.

I was really really careful with this project. Usually I just plow straight ahead, all guns blazing, and generally make lots of mistakes and messes along the way. Not this time. I took my time, pressing all my seams properly and checking the fit as I went (I still lack the discipline to make a muslin first.) It was my first time making a fully lined garment. I've lined skirts before, but usually only the lower half, and Tasia's method of constructing the dress was easy to follow and worked out great. No slip stitching the lining to the zipper for this girl! I now, however, super mega loathe anti static dress lining, which is, frankly, the most super static material on this earth! Next time I line a dress, I might opt for muslin or even cheesecloth, something a little more natural and a lot less slippery.

So check out my finished Cambie (I say finished, but the hem is still only pinned up. I'm hoping to finish it properly later today and will get photos of me wearing it in due course.

Close up of the patterned fabric

Am I happy with it? Yes and no. It fits well, and I think I did a pretty good job on the construction side of it. My decision to opt for a contrasting white waistband rather than the blue of the rest of the dress seemed like a good idea during the sewing process, but now I think it adds a nursey feel to the dress, if you know what I mean. I like its slightly retro look, and the material wasn't too bad to work with in the end, and doesn't feel (or sound) all that synthetic, but I'm worried it's a little too Alice or Dorothy Gale for me. I don't really know how much wear I'll get out of it. It's certainly not everyday garb, but would do for early evening dinners out with my other half - although those are few and far between. The combination of pattern and fabric has produced a strange mix between day dress and dressing up dress, in my mind. It's too full and poofy for a day dress, yet too sweet and daytime-y a fabric for an evening dress.

So, would I make it again? Probably not. That's no fault of the pattern, it's simply that this kind of full skirted dress has limited use in my wardrobe. Add to that the sweet neckline and I think this dress is firmly in the 'frosting' category, rather than the staple 'cake' category that is really more of what I need at the moment. The pattern comes with an A-line skirt option too, for heavier fabrics, which I may make one day, but I really don't think it would flatter my ample behind!

This has, however, reignited the sewing spark in me, and I've bought three new fabrics and two new patterns to be getting on with. I even pre-washed the fabrics, which is something I never usually do! I bought a dark blue linen, which I plan to use for the Hollyburn skirt, and a pale blue linen effect cotton, which is soft enough and has a nice drape, so its going to be used for the Mathilde blouse. I also picked up a dark blue fabric with a white floral print - I'm not sure what it is exactly. It's beautifully soft and light, and feels almost like jersey except it has no stretch at all. I'm going to be making the ever popular Sorbetto with it, and hopefully have some left other for another top too.

Linen and soft cotton (the very bottom is my bedspread) 
Linen effect cotton

 It was nice to actually go fabric shopping, and get a chance to touch the fabrics and feel their weight and drape. I don't often get to go to fabric stores, and when I do, I never get to browse as I've always got a gaggle of sullen males with me. Hopefully this careful selection of fabrics for each project will lead to more successful, not to mention wearable, garments and that I'll be blogging about them soon!


  1. YEY!!! I have several dress projects on the go at the moment, and I love seeing other people's creations too. Thanks for the site link too I am going to check out the patterns!

    I've got a bad habit of buying long cuts of vintage fabrics from eBay... Its a terrible addiction once you get going.

  2. Great post ....sort of know what you are saying about the dress but I think in the summer you will find it a useful addition. You say it is a good fit and suits you ...if that is the case I would be tempted to knock up a black one ...or what ever the new black is at the moment ... nothing more useful than a little number in 'black' but not in a fancy fabric can dress it up ...or down ... for a 'do'. So glad you are having fun dong things that you enjoy at the moment. xx