Thursday, May 2, 2013

Yet another Cambie.

I finished my Cambie #4 on Monday morning.

This one is made from a fabric I'd been ogling for quite some time on Fabric.com; a month or so ago I decided to just go ahead and buy it.  It's called Bromley Voile Arbor - I bought the teal/navy combo and it looks like there's still some available. 

I love blue and orange together.

Several shades of blue, pink, orange and coral - just beautiful.  The fabric also has a very soft, silky hand.  I'm tempted to try out the citron colorway, but I have a feeling it would wash me out.

A week or so after I got the fabric, I went shopping at the Textile Discount Outlet with Lisa of Poldapop.  I went looking for lining for this dress and picked up a deep coral polyester which looked like a good match under fluorescent lighting, but turned out not to be at all in natural light!  No matter - the color is lovely and it's super soft.

And then I got started.  I took this picture, just because I liked how it all looked spread out on the table:


For this dress, I used my straight neckline front bodice and the full skirt.  I even added the in-seam pockets!  In an effort to overcome the chest gape I've gotten with all my other Cambies, I offset the center front by 1/8" from the fold at the top, angling down to on-fold at the waist.  I really thought this would work, because when I pinned out just such a tuck on my other dresses, it cured the gape.  But no:


I've tried so hard to get rid of this.  In addition to the adjustment I did here, I've also tried interfacing the seam edge and easing it slightly.  All of these help a little, but don't eliminate the problem.  I'm starting to think that this might be happening to me in part because of my fabric choice:  all four of my Cambies have been made from very lightweight voile.  It could be that my wee little chest is just too broad an expanse for it to hold its structure.  I'm wondering if underlining the bodice would make a difference.

The other option I have is to rotate that extra into a bust dart, but since it's so little when pinned out, it hardly seems worth it.  At least I notice this on other Cambies I see around too - not all, but some.  Otherwise I'd be getting a complex about it!  More experienced sewers:  any words of advice?

I really love full skirts, but I HATE doing gathering!  It always seems like such a nuisance to get the gathers even, especially across an entire waistline.  On this dress, I decided to make things a little easier for myself and stitched my gathering lines for the skirt front and two back pieces separately - it worked like a charm and I'll likely be doing it this way from now on.

Nice, even gathers.

On my two latest Cambies, I've also cut two waistbands from the outer fabric and used one on the inside.  Not super original, but I think it looks pretty.  Here you can see my vibrant lining:


This lining washed and dried very nicely, but it was a pain to work with!  It frayed like crazy, and no matter what I did, my serger just ate it up.  So I ended up using French seams on the skirt and hemming it with my narrow rolled hem foot.  Even that had some iffy moments:


I am getting better at using the foot though.  I also did a narrow rolled hem on the outer fabric to give myself a little extra length.  And also because, by the time I got to the hem, I was really ready to be done working on this dress!


Here's my dress hanging up:


When viewed from a distance, the dress appears dun-colored.  I guess I should have expected that, since that's what you get when you mix blue and orange!  Here's how it looks on - I couldn't decide on which picture I liked best, so I'm posting them all, as usual!

I like this length for such a full skirt.



As you can see, I've got some fit wrinkles on the back bodice.  I have such a hard time analyzing these things - I really don't have the foggiest idea what these particular wrinkles mean.  Anybody?  They won't stop me from enjoying the dress though.

Using my pockets.

And finally:  the twirl test!


I just have to add:  every time I get out these lovely coral sandals I get sentimental, because while I was in the store buying them 8 years ago, I got a phone call from Hubby letting me know his sister was pregnant with our second niece!  These shoes always make me think of my sister-in-law and my niece!

66 comments:

  1. Such a pretty version! You're also making me feel better about the fact that I keep turning to a few patterns again and again right now. lol I feel your pain on the gathering, I just finished a gathered waistband on a skirt and did much less of an even job than your beautiful Cambie! Eek. But I really must sew this pattern up soon, it looks perfect for spring and summer.

    For the back wrinkles, I would almost say that maybe the back piece is too long for your torso, but I'm not sure how you'd adjust that without changing the front (unless you took it from the top, which would change your armhole... which may or may not be a problem since there aren't sleeves to set in). I still need to learn how to read things like this an translate it into something I can fix!

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    1. I've always been a pattern repeater - I do it with knitting too!

      It can really be frustrating trying to sort these fit issues out, can't it? It always makes sense when I read it in books, but I'm having a very hard time translating that into correcting my own work. Still, it doesn't really fit any worse than a RTW dress, so it's not a complete loss.

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  2. Gail, I LOVE this! I think it's my favourite along with your olive green & red flowers cambie. Wow, what a beautiful fabric choice. I'm jealous and may have to get some Bromley for myself.....

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    1. Except that I've looked online and I can't find any for sale in the uk, damn! The brown colour way is gorgeous too. Gutted!

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    2. Thank you, Sabs! Sadly, I don't fit into the olive green one at the moment :-( So this one will have to do!

      What a bummer you can't find the fabric - odd too, because it's a Westminster/Rowan fabric! I know that Fabric.com ships internationally, but I'm not sure how hefty the charges are.

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    3. Too hefty for me to justify I'm afraid ��

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  3. It's the prettiest of them all! The back waist is a bit long as you move towards the centre back. I suggest that you take a wedge out that tapers at each side seam (so that you don't have to alter the front length. I think it would probably work and it's very easy to do. Another possibility is that the skirt is too tight right where the bodice meets the skirt. That's a reason why those diagonal pull lines might be there (disguised as bodice length wrinkles). As well, since your torso is quite a bit narrower than your hip area, that you might need a bit more fabric where the bodice ends, but less at the centre back (as you move up the torso).

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    1. Hmmm. I get the first part of what you're saying - same as Tasha above, and that makes sense. But I don't understand the skirt being too tight? That's 80" of fabric gathered to my waist measurement! Help! Explain! You know a lot more about this stuff than I do!

      Also, maybe it's time I actually took some measurements of my body? You think?

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    2. I'm not looking at it up close or touching it so don't listen to me. But even though the 80 inches are gathered, they are still gathered into a certain (smaller) circumference. The extra fabric isn't just pooling (though it's doing that for sure) it's also pulling diagonally. Without seeing it up close and touching the fabric, I can't really say anything definitively - not to mention that I'm NO expert. Just saying that those drags could be about the circumference being too small. Have you bought Sarah Veblen's book on fitting? It would likely be very helpful.

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    3. And you're a NUT for not having current measurements! :-) Just goes to show that you have an excellent intuitive sense of your proportions.

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    4. I know - I'm a little ashamed. And I also have to admit that I did not interface the edge before inserting the zipper, and I do think that's part of the problem. Sigh. I'm so slipshod!

      Thinking about all of this lately has really reinforced for me that what I love about sewing is the actual construction - i.e. using the tools.

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    5. Oh, and I don't have the Sarah Veblen book. Will look into it - thanks!

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    6. I was thinking length as well when I saw you ask, but Kristin's other suggestion blew my little novice mind away! Of to check out the book!

      Love the colour choice, Gail. There is something very 50s Italian about this dress for me! Beautiful.

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    7. Heh. Well, since I'm almost 50, and half Italian, I guess that's fitting!

      I ordered the book last night :-)

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  4. It is a gorgeous dress and the gathering was so worth it! Sorry I can't help much on the fitting issues.

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  5. What a gorgeous dress Gail. The colours are lovely. Sorry I can't help with the fitting issues.

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  6. I'm glad the wrinkles at the back won't stop you from enjoying it because I think it looks great. As you know I'm not fitting expert, but it looks to me that there is too much fabric, either in length or width, but I haven't got a clue how to go about fixing that. I really would like to take a fitting course!

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    1. We really have to make it happen! Our sanity might depend on it!

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  7. Another beautiful Cambie. The orange and blue are definitely a great combination; a burst of sun and sky all at once.

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    1. Thanks, Melizza! Orange and blue has always been a favorite combo of mine - I think you've articulated why!

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  8. This is a pretty dress upon you, Gail! The gathers was like an architectural art bit on it.

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  9. oooh I love it, very cute:)love the fabric..gorg.. I should really get that pattern hah..

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  10. So pretty, Gail! I especially love the pockets picture :) And the coral sandals are so cute!!! It's so awesome to have those associations that make something special.

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  11. Great fabric, such a wonderful find and I love the story behind the sandals. So sweet.

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    1. Even better is that when Hubby came home, he told me that this particular niece wants to come visit us this summer for the first time! (She's now 7 years old.)

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  12. I adore orange and blue together too, and your dress is beautiful! About the gathering... Have you ever tried using clear elastic to gather? As in, take a piece of clear elastic the desired post-gather length, divide it up and pin, stitch to seam allowance while stretching? I've never tried it but was reading about it the other day and it sounds like it could be brilliant.

    Sorry I'm no help on the fitting tweaks, but they don't detract from the look of the dress! And what a happy sandal story... :)

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    1. Yikes! I'm an elasto-phobe! I find that idea kind of terrifying, LOL! Given the choice between gathering and sewing fabric to elastic which I'm stretching, I'll take the gathering!

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    2. Ha! Well then... Hopefully it'll make you feel a little better about the gathering... Think about how much worse it could be. ;) I think it sounds pretty cool though, assuming the right fabric scenario -- I will post about it if/when I try it!

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    3. So...I just had to look this comment up to follow up with you -- for some unknown reason I remembered this convo from a year ago! :) I tried this, finally. Your instincts were right to stay far, far away from this method. It srsly blows. I'll blog about it eventually... ;)

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    4. Good grief. I just saw the date, that it was *exactly* a year ago... freaky!!

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    5. Hahaha! and we are now at the same conference as last year. Can't say I'm surprised about the elastic!

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    6. Hahaha! and we are now at the same conference as last year. Can't say I'm surprised about the elastic!

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  13. Your dress is so beautiful Gail! I'm with you, definitely not a fan of the gathering process, but the results are worth it. I'm not a fitting expert, but maybe a swayback adjustment could help with the back? But then, that's my solution to everything :)

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    1. Thanks, Debbie! I might try a swayback one of these days. I've had a few items where I wondered if I needed it, although when look at my silhouette in the mirror, it doesn't seem like I ought to. So hard to know!

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  14. have you tried the gathering with dental floss method? it transformed my gathering experience! you take dental floss, then zig-zag over it , and then you just pull on the floss to gather. it's amazing and easy and quick.

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    1. Oh, that sounds really promising! Thanks!

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  15. Love that fabric! Dress is so great on you, swirly and twirly! Your sewing and finishing skills are amazing.

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  16. This is such a beautiful dress - I love the colors, the design, the vibrant lining, the fit on you! Lovely!!!

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  17. That looks amazing on you!

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  18. Gorgeous! Fabulous fabric. I love it.

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    1. Thanks, Evie! One of the things I love about this fabric is how changeable the colors are, depending on the light. Sometimes subdued, sometimes vibrant!

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  19. gorgeous dress! really love the fabric you choose. i second all of k.line's fitting suggestions, so i don't really have anything new to offer! and geeze 80" of gathers? wow!

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    1. Thanks! So: not even about the chest gape? No one as addressed that . . . suspicious! Why aren't you guys solving all my problems for me, LOL?!

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    2. haha chest gape.... maybe instead of darting out at CF take a pinch out closer to the strap? then maybe move the strap in the tiniest amount. you definitely need another cambie to try it out... amiright? :)

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    3. You probably are right, and I actually have fabric for 4 more (at least). The thing is though, as much as I love these dresses, I don't find myself choosing them when it's time to get dressed - they always feel a little fancy for my everyday life, yet not fancy enough for going out in the evening (in the fabrics I've chosen). Although I do plan to wear this one to the theater this week.

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  20. This is such a beautiful dress! The pattern really does suit you perfectly, and I just love fabrics that appear more subdued from a distance than they actually are.

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  21. Hi, Gail. Lovely dress, suits you admirably. Have you thought of cutting the top a size smaller, maybe adding a little on the sides to make up the size. A tip my mother-in-law gave me many years ago and it works for me.

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  22. Orange and blue form a spectacular duo, very ... sweet-acid! Love the dress and I'm sure there are ways to solve these excess fabric at the neckline and back, but in the meantime ... enjoy this beautiful dress!

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  23. Love this on you! It looks amazing! The colors really are fantastic, and the silhouette really suits you! I think this is your signature pattern! RE: the gaping-- I wonder if it would help it you took a little dart out near where the shoulder straps join the bodice, then rotated it to the bust dart. As you said, it wouldn't need much of a dart, but maybe it would be just enough to eliminate the gaping. I find that necklines cut straight across tend to gape more on me than round ones, for some reason.

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    1. I agree with you on both counts: the dart would probably help, and I'm also finding that the straight necklines seem to gape more than the sweetheart ones. But this fabric was asking to be straight. Yes, I speak Fabric.

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  24. I love this dress! I love how the contrasting colors work together. And thanks for the head's up about that lining we bought - I'm planning to use it for a client's skirt in the next week or so, and I'll be ready for it! You know I struggle with fitting issues in the back, too. I'm going to try something new for a dress I'm working on this week and I'll let you know how it goes!

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    1. I meant to send you a note about that lining, but things have been a little cray-cray around here, so I'm glad you read it here!

      I just got the Sarah Veblen book today (The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting) - can't wait to dig into it tonight after I finish up my work. And I also got a Threads special issue on fitting - hadn't even realized it was out!

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  25. It's a beautiful dress!

    Re the back creases. I would say there are two options, cutting each panel smaller, or trying out some vertical darts to the back panels.

    With the cutting option, I would experiment with cutting the back panels down in both length and width, as the creases are horizontal as well as vertical, which suggests both length and width are too generous for your frame. I would take perhaps 1.5cm off the length, not too much. As for the width of the back panels, they appear to fit you nicely around the waist but it looks a little looser around the upper-middle back to shoulder blades area, so I would keep the waist width of the panels the same, but shave off a slice (or a long thin triangle) from the back centre line of each back panel, to draw it in a bit more. Around probably 1.5cm per panel (ie a 3cm overalll width reduction) starting from the top of each back panel at the centre point, tapering into the waist. I think this might help pull it in.
    The other option is to try darting the back panels vertically. A lot of vintage dress and blouse patterns have back darts, and this dress is quite a vintage shape.
    You could actually try tacking some darts and reductions into your finished dress to see if taking in the fabric helps the fit - unless the fabric is very sensitive, you can remove them with no damage to the dress. Would be an interesting experiment.

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    1. Hmmm, very interesting points to consider - thank you! This pattern does include vertical darts on the back bodice, so I guess I could increase those a bit? This is very interesting to me because I've become convinced I have a broad back, and have even started doing broad back adjustments on some things (although not on this dress) because things always feel so tight across my upper back. And now you're saying I should take the back in! The mind boggles! SO much to learn!

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  26. This dress is so fabulous. I love your cambies!!
    It's hard to tell with just one photo but what other people have said about shaving off some length at the waist might help those wrinkles at the waistline.
    The other thing I'm seeing is wrinkles pointing at the shoulder blades on your upper back. Maybe I'm attuned to this as I've been discovering I need shoulder blade adjustments on all my stuff.
    The Veblen Perfect Fitting book goes over this- You can either pinch out fullness into a dart (if there is any, for example I often get fullness at the back armhole) and rotate into neckline/shoulders in patternwork to form a dart there.
    Or, if it's tightness without any gapes to conveniently pin into a dart, you have to add length at the shoulder blades, forming a dart in the process like this: http://makingitwell.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/fitting-makin-stuff-up.html (it's covered in the veblen book too!)

    Whoops, wrote a thesis. Anyway, it's a minor deal, the dress looks amazing overall and no-one will notice the wrinkles! :D Let us know if you do try anything new fit-wise!

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    1. I got the book the other day and am hoping to start reading it today :-) I did wonder about that shoulder adjustment after I saw you do it.

      I will certainly report if I find any solution!

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