I was going to call this the Bastard Love Child dress, but bastard is the wrong word to use. I really really love this dress, which is probably why there are so many pictures, sorry.
I got this gingham in Kestrel Makes Spring Sewing Swap from my partner Louise, aka Tabatha Tweedie from Thread carefully. I love other people’s gingham creations, I have pinned a gorgeous gingham Vivienne Westwood dress on my Pinterest but I have always talked myself out of using it. The reason? School dresses. I know that there is no way I am going to be mistaken for a school girl, but I also don’t want to be accused of dressing like my eight year old daughter. However when I opened my Spring sewing Swap parcel I was really happy. As I said, I really love other people’s gingham creations and there would be no talking myself out of it this time.
After seeing Louise’s and Winnie’s I amost made a shirt dress. I also wanted a quick make to wear this weekend so at the last minute I decided to make a Cambie, inspired by Roisin’s here and here which are about as un-school dressy as you can get.
I wrote about the problems I had with the fit on my last Cambie here. Since then I have had a revelation. I was reading this post on the Colette Hawthorn Sewalong, about shoulder adjustments, when I saw this:
‘For narrow shoulders, the armholes sit too far out and off the shoulder. There is also an excess fabric across the upper chest and upper back.’
I always have to pinch an inch or so out of the back and front of things I make because of excess fabric. With my last Cambie I also made the straps shorter, which messed up the proportions of the bodice. Maybe instead of faffing around with all these adjustments I just needed to do one for narrow shoulders. I’m afraid I couldn’t be bothered to get too technical, so I folded my existing pattern rather than cutting and measuring, etc… Despite this I think it’s worked! I finally have a fit on the Cambie that I am happy with. Actually it is a smidgen tight, but not uncomfortable so. I think it is because I made the back seam allowance quite wide so that I could do a lapped zip again, as they are my new favourite kind of zip. As you can see I lowered the back again, because I wanted to.
Once I’d got the bodice done I realised that it still needed a bit more va voom. And which pattern has the most va voom of any pattern I own? The Elisalex of course. I absolutely love the curves I get from the Elisalex skirt so I decided to use it with the Cambie bodice to guarantee there would be no mistaking this for a school dress. I missed off the cambie waistband as the Elisalex skirt joins quite high up on the original pattern. I made a rough attempt to line up darts and pleats, which turned out pretty good. And there you have it – the Cambilex.
I bribed my daughter to take photos down at the Harbour.
Looking at the photos it does look shorter at the back than the front, but I don’t think it is in real life.
We got to the harbour early so it was pretty empty. By this time tomorrow however it will be heaving as the crowds descend for the Whitstable Oyster festival. I’m not a big fan of oysters myself. If I want something chewy, salty and slimey why would I pay for the privilege when I can just pick my nose and eat it? However the Festival is not just about oysters. It is paradise for foodies with local producers selling everything from cider to olives. There are live bands, competitions, something for everyone in fact. It makes me really proud that this is my adopted home town. Come on down and join us, but if you do don’t even think of driving unless you enjoy sitting in queues or driving in circles for hours looking for a parking space. Your best bet is probably to come here by train. And here are a couple of photos from previous years to give you a taste of what to expect:
Maybe see you there?