Ahoy there! My First Sewaholic Cambie Dress

Cambie: My Perfect Dress

I’m sure that pretty much everyone who sews has heard of and/or sewn a Sewaholic Cambie dress by now. I only bought the pattern a couple of months back in their sale. It caught my eye ages ago; it looks like my perfect style of dress; the sleeves and gathered waist remind me very much of my favourite RTW dress from Cath Kidston:

Cath Kidston Woodland Leaves Dress Purple
Photo Credit: Cath Kidston

I wear this dress at least once a week. I think people are sick of it seeing it, but I love it! It has a flattering gathered waist, in seam pockets and the bodice is just the right length for me. Anyway, enough love for this, onto the Cambie…

Make All The Cambie Dresses!

I’ve planned so many versions of the Cambie, it’ll be a wonder if I actually sew them all. I found so many awesome ones out there in the wild on Pinterest that I’ve even set up a secret board to gather them all together. Obsessed much? Well yes, a bit, but it seems like this pattern has so much potential  and how could anyone not want to make this version with buttons?

Photo credit: Sewaholic

As you may have noticed from previous posts, I’m not one for sewing up muslins if they’re not wearable. I really can’t be bothered because I figure that if it fits ok, then I’ll wear it and tweak the next one accordingly. I mean, hardly any of my RTW clothing is a perfect fit, but I still wear it! With this in mind, I still didn’t want to use any expensive fabric for my wearable muslin, so I dived into my fabric stash and decided on this polycotton with a nautical vibe.

 photo 39D9DF02-4031-4E3E-8CAE-4FE373F79EE0_zpspb3xkgfx.jpg
Cats. They can’t resist the allure of fabric.

The reason it’s never been used is that I bought it online and it was much thinner (i.e. see through) than I was expecting. Given that the Cambie is a fully lined dress, I thought I’d get away with using it.

I decided to go with View B for my first version of this dress, because gathered skirts are my favourite style. I will make View A soon though, the fabric for that arrived a week or so ago (always the best kind of post), look:

 photo 5EB03696-F30A-40BE-9274-F42C4C703320_zpsbpc81vmc.jpg
Wax Cotton. Not to be confused with waxed cotton.

I like the pockets on View B too, and I already knew they’d be easy to sew as I pinched the pocket pattern pieces (haha, sounds like a tongue twister) to add to my Secret Garden dress. As I said before, pockets are good for us socially awkward people who don’t know what to do with their hands!

 photo Sew Victoria Sewaholic Cambie Dress Pattern Envelope_zpsc93tq8pm.jpg
I will always choose a paper pattern over a PDF

Tracing the Pattern

I bought the paper pattern rather than the PDF as I loathe sticking PDFs together, but I still traced out the pattern rather than cutting into it. I always do that, I can’t bear to cut them up! Also, if I want to sew a different size another time, which is likely when it’s a muslin version, then I’ll be ok. Tracing it was no problem, and I didn’t bother with tracing the skirt or waistband pieces as they’re simple rectangles; I just made sure to note down the measurements I’d need for each piece.

 photo Sew Victoria Sewaholic Cambie Dress Pattern Tracing_zpscbwlqa6e.jpg

The only thing I changed when cutting out my fabric was to cut the pocket pieces from the main fabric, rather than the lining. The only reason I did that was because I managed to cut out two back bodice pieces that were the same way round. I hadn’t followed the cutting guide as I was having to make allowances for the direction of the pattern on the fabric. Not wanting to waste the fabric, I thought I might as well use it. Although I did end up wasting it as I actually forgot to sew the damn pockets in! I sewed the side seams up on the skirt and then sat there feeling very confused as to where the pockets went until it dawned on me… One day I will learn not to sew when tired! I make so many ridiculous mistakes.

Is The Cambie All That I Expected?

So, I had high expectations for this pattern but did it deliver? Can it possibly be as good, and well-fitting, as so many sewing blogs claim?

It was certainly easy to sew together, and the instructions that come with the pattern are very thorough. Even if you’d never sewn a dress before, I don’t think you’d have a problem with it. There are also some sewalongs over on the Sewaholic blog for those who need some more visual hand-holdy type stuff. I don’t really have anything remarkable to say about the sewing of this because it really was easy.

I’ll admit I was a tiny bit disappointed when I finished it as the neckline gapes a little. I seem to have this problem on every dress I make so there’s obviously an adjustment that I need to make that I’m not aware of. Aside from that, it fit perfectly! I’ll omit the waistband for future versions because I think it’ll suit me better. The waistband lengthens the bodice meaning the gathered skirt starts at my widest point which I find less than flattering. I also messed up choosing a lining fabric; it’s a little too stiff so the skirt seems (to me at least) to stick out quite a bit over my bum, which again, not so flattering. Totally my mistake though.

I wore it on Friday night for my birthday meal out with my friends, along with a navy shrug/cardi type thing that I knitted to go with it. This is definitely a dress that will get quite a bit of wear, so I’m really pleased. Will I sew it again? Hell yes.

 photo EA4B84C4-AB3E-487B-9C44-5C57F0A405F1_zpsamfofg7e.png
“Say cheeeeese!”

How massively awkward are these photos?! It’s difficult to pose for photos when you’re not keen on having your photo taken, and lots of er, “tipsy” people are wandering past giving you funny looks. At least I got a few snaps though.


PS – Thank you all you lovely people who have wished me a happy birthday today 🙂


  1. 2nd February 2016 / 8:44 am

    You look lovely in this dress! I my even consider buying it for the none-gathered version!
    (also, happy birthday. I am a terrible friend and always forget on social media – hope you had a fab day) xx

    • 12th February 2016 / 10:27 pm

      I swear I replied to this on my phone. Thank you, I had a lovely birthday. Especially as I dragged it out over an entire weekend! Lol. Hopefully I’ll see you soon 🙂

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