Dresses | Modern Patterns

(Another) Cambie Dress

August 30, 2013

I really thought this was worth sharing, even though I know the Cambie Dress has been made so many times you all are probably sick of seeing it!

This is my first post on We Sew Retro, although I’ve been following it for a while now. I recently started a blog of my own, and I’d really appreciate it if you checked it out here. It’s work in progress, but I think it’s coming along nicely!

This is the second Cambie Dress I’ve made, and I love both of them! It’s a great pattern – view B is vintage-y without being over the top!

I’m calling this my “duvet dress” because I made it out of an old duvet cover, purchased at the thrift store for $6.99! I have no idea how old it is. For anyone with more experience working with vintage fabrics than I do, I would love some help dating it! Not that it really matters; I love it no matter how old it is. It’s 100% cotton, which I wouldn’t have believed before I found the tag. It’s so soft and drapey that I could have sworn it had some rayon in it! The tag also said that it was made in Canada, which (in my mind, anyways) means it’s not very recent.

It was wonderful to work with! It was about 84 inches wide, which means I got the entire dress and a self-lined bodice out of only 1.5 metres! As for the skirt lining, I decided on Bemberg rayon lining, which I love the feel of. Although if I use it again, I would figure out a better way to finish the seams. I tried serging the edges, my go-to finishing technique, but the fabric puckered horribly, and looked really messy. Ironing didn’t help at all! I tried a couple different methods and in the end I just did a couple rows of straight stitching. It doesn’t look as nice as serging, but at least it’s on the inside. (If anyone has any tips on how to finish Bemberg lining, they would be much appreciated!)

The construction went pretty smoothly, other than my problems with the lining. I made a muslin for my first dress so there were very few fitting problems. The waistband did end up a little bit big, because I had to add a little onto the pattern piece and I think I overcompensated. I could have fixed it, but because I did a hand-picked zipper, that would have involved ripping out and redoing lots of hand-stitching.

I also decided to understich the sweetheart neckline, which was probably a mistake. At first, it made it sit much more smoothly, keeping the lining to the inside, but once I put the straps in, it gaped oddly. I think the understiching might have just stretched it out a little. I fixed the problem by sewing another line of stitching in between the seam and the understiching and easing it in slightly. It’s not very pretty on the inside, but it will do.

I added on 2″ to the skirt length so I could take a more generous hem, which, in my opinion, looks nicer. I sewed it by hand and I’m quite pleased with the result.

The shape of the skirt it a little subtler than my first version because of the drape of the fabric, so most of these pictures are shown with a crinoline.

I wanted to keep this short and sweet, so if you’d like to read more, head on over to my blog post here.

  1. Adorable Cambie! And that print is just lovely!

    I love using a french seam with bemberg rayon whenever I can – it takes a little extra time, but it does give a beautiful finish.

  2. Thank you!

    French seams do sound like a good idea – I’ve never tried them before, but I’ve been meaning to for a while. I’ll do that next time I line something with Bemberg. Thanks!

  3. This looks lovely on you. The print is worthy of a dress and you did a great job working through all the issues to get a great finished garment. Keep up the good work.

  4. Heehee, your post is a little like dejas vu for me. I just did my first post on here a few days ago, about a Cambie, and I just recently started a new blog too! Oh – AND I’m also in Canada (I am assuming you are as well, having gotten a ‘made in Canada’ duvet cover). Your Cambie is adorable! I was going to suggest French seams for your bemberg as well, or try playing with the thread tension on your serger – bemberg will be quite sensitive to that. French seams will look nicer though, and are very easy to do. I’m going to go check out your blog now!

    1. Thanks! I saw your post about your Cambie and thought of that when I was writing, hence the ‘another’ in the title.

      I did try changing the tension on my serger, but it didn’t seem to make much difference. The serger I use is quite old so it’s difficult to tweak the settings on it. Looking back, it would have been worth trying it with only one needle since most of the time I was serging the lining it was only one layer. I think next time, though, I’ll definitely try French seams.

  5. Your dress is perfect! The hem length is just right! I never pass up the household linens department in the thrift shops – one can find such good materials!

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