Don’t look now Jessie, she’s gone full lobster!

Ah ah ah this dress!


This, my lovely readers, is the Sewaholic Cambie in full on LOBSTER PRINT. I’ve been wanting this fabric ever since I saw the lady who owns Swonderful Boutique (highly recommended for Wellingtonians – excellent quality and made in store) wearing it in the white colourway, and she told me about Michael Miller fabrics.

I’ve actually had the fabric in my etsy card several times only to see it sell out again when I dithered. When I decided to try buying from fabric.com*, I snapped it up instantly. And I was not disappointed – the colours look even better in real life than in the shops photos.


Even though this is my fourth version of the Cambie bodice, I actually made a muslin! My last version I found to fit a bit oddly, and the bust darts were too high on previous versions (here and here), so I thought I’d make one so I never have to worry again. Which I think I have now – it’s a bit loose (because of the give in the cotton vs muslin) but the darts are in the right place and I now have the sleeves at the right length.

But I’ve got no idea how I made the sleeves two difference widths:


You’ll notice that I didn’t do the gathers on the sleees which… wasn’t totally on purpose, but I’m glad because it would potentially make this a bit too squee. Like my ships dress, the skirt is just a gathered a-line skirt. For construction the bodice seams are just pinked, the skirt seams are overlocked, and the waistband is (dodgily) stitched down using my stitch-in-the-ditch foot. Hem is turned and sewn so the overlocked edge is hidden. The lining is, of course, totally different to the shell:


I did a lapped zip (again, using scruffy badgers technique. I think I’m just going to print these pictures out and stick them on my wall!), which I put in then had to pull out completely because the waistband didn’t match up. I actually considered leaving it, but it was pretty obvious, so I sucked it up and did it again (this time using the same technique that I use when doing invisible zippers – start sewing from the waistband down, turn around and sew from the waistband up – you just need to make sure the tops line up when you sew down the lining/facing).

I didn’t really make any effore to pattern match which was supid, but I accidentally got this:


They’re only off by 1-2cm! So from far away it’s not that noticible at all, woot. I did have a heck of a time getting the lapped part to sit nicely at the neckline after I sewed the lining down. Looks kiind of okay, but really I need to remember it’s not a good idea in a lined dress – unless anyone has any tips??).

And, of course, it has pockets


I love love love this dress, and I already got two compliments when I wore it to Whangarei – and some very odd looks.

This, you might have guessed, is also my third entry for the Sew Dolly Clackett sewalong. I might squeeze one or two more into the competition, we’ll see how we go – I still have The Monthly Stitch’s challenge for the month, and I was hoping to take part in Sew For Victory 2.0, but my pattern hasn’t arrived yet and it will need muslining and things. There’s some long weekends coming up though so I should have time!


I’m also on the look out for a red belt… you may have noticed that I always wear this scummy brown one that I think I bought from the $2 op-shop in Christchurch. I don’t like shopping though, okay?



Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie

Fabric: Lobster quilting cotton by Michael Miller, about $35 after shipping

Notions: zip and interfacing, stash. Thread $3

Total: $38





Ships ahoy! Sew Dolly Clackett #2

Y’all are wonderful, truly. Every comment on my last post gave me warm fuzzies. The shorts got a good workout today, too, when we went out on a boat ride. I got to drive a boat! And previously I would have had to wear a dress (not exactly appropriate for a speedboat) or running leggings.

And, speaking of boats…Ta da!

ImageA dress with ships on it, of course.

This is my second entry in the Dolly Clackett Sewalong. I’m sure I’ve said before that I draw inspiration from Dolly Clackett – she knows what suits her, and uses TNT patterns to let the fabric take the center stage. I decided that the sewalong was the perfect time to crank out some similar dresses myself, as I’m generally lacking in this kind of casual dress.

The dress is made from a Michael Miller quilting cotton (see Dolly Clackett’s own version here). I’m not sure why so many sewers/bloggers are against quilting cotton – sure, I had some disasters when sewing with poor quality stuff when I was younger, but I would have had MORE disasters had I tried using anything less stable than a sturdy quilting cotton. ImageI’ve now learned how to sew with a heap of different fabrics, but it’s nice to come back to a fabric that you know will treat you well.

The pattern from this dress is my bodice sloper, and an a-line gathered skirt: basically, I put down my cambie skirt pattern with about 15cm extra width, so it would still be shaped but I had room to gather it.

ImageIt’s best worn with a belt because a gathered skirt isn’t the most flattering shape on me, and because there’s something squiffy going on at the front – I think the lining is sewn in a bit shorter than the shell, so it pulls up at the waist seam. It’s also a bit loose on me but I’m liking the amount of ease.

Image*Sigh* still having some fitting issues with this sloper. The shoulders are pulling a bit which I know is because the slop is drafted to have sleeves, and sleeveless dresses should finish higher on the shoulder. There’s also that combination of gaping and pulling at the bust/underarm, which I think means the bust of the dress is a bit too high. If I tighten my bra straps a bit it goes away. One day I’ll get rid of all gaping, or I’ll just get over it. Do other people not have gape, or am I just blinded and much more critical of my own sewing?

ImageI’m also happy to say the dress has pockets! Only semi-matching polka dot pockets, because why not?

ImageI made sure to hold the skirt up to me to make sure the pockets are the perfect height, as I’ve found a few patterns put them too low for me. The skirt itself is a bit too short – I initially cut it quite long then had to hack it off. And, well, I hacked off too much! It’s not like this dress would have been work appropriate anyway, but I would prefer it 1-2″ longer.

ImageConstruction wise, it’s all pretty standard for me. I lined the bodice with cream cotton (it’s all I have, okay). Bodice seams were just trimmed, and the skirt seams were overlocked. Hem is just turned over twice – should have kept the length and done a blind hem. I used an invisible zipper.

If anyone cares, my trick is to interface both sides where the zip will go, then sew the first side. Mark on the zip tape where you want the second seam to be, then pin and sew up from just below the seam. After making sure the seams line up, you can go back and finish below the seam. You do have to make sure the TOP of the dress will line up when it does up but that’s way easier than trying to get the seams lined up when sewing top-down.

ImageI’m way angrier than this when the seams don’t match



Pattern: My own sloper + gathered skirt

Fabric: 3 yards of “My Favourite Ship by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller” from fabric.com, approx. $30 after shipping, and lining from my stash

Notions: Thread and zip from my stash

Total: ~$30

What are your thoughts on quilting cotton, and how much do you think your opinion has been swayed by popular bloggers either way?

ImageLook how BIG she is now! She’s going to be huge.


On a roll: my third Sewaholic Cambie


This is my third version of Sewaholic’s Cambie pattern – a dress that suits my body and style SO WELL that I should have made a twenty versions by now. There was a large gap between my first two versions (here and here, sewn about 9 months apart) and another gap before this one – but you can expect to see a few more versions cropping up in the near future.

This is partly because I do just love this pattern, but it also coincides with the Sew Dolly Clacket competition, which is running to celebrate Dolly Clackett herself (real name Roison, although I always feel somewhat odd calling bloggers by their first names when I don’t know them) contribution to the sewing community, and her upcoming wedding. I’ve been inspired by her blog for a while, by how she churns out so many wearable, gorgeous dresses from fun fabrics – she knows what she likes, and runs with it!


I promised myself recently that I would sew more with tried-and-true (TNT) patterns, which allows me to play around with more expensive fabric (taking inspiration from both Dolly Clackett and Mary from Idle Fancy), and I think this dress is a good start.


Like my other two copies of this dress, this is Version A with the a-line skirt and slash pockets. I do want to try the gathered version but I tried pulling out the pieces once and it used a HUGE amount of fabric, which was super unflattering. I might try one more time and see how they go; otherwise I’ll try a pleated or circle-style to skirt to mix it up, so I don’t end up with 10 versions of the EXACT same dress!


Although I could easily be happy with 10 versions of this, lines up side by side in my wardrobe. truly, I love this pattern.

All versions so far have been made with no alterations to the original pattern (not even grading out at the hips!). For this version I made a couple of changes FOR NEXT TIME – namely, lowering the dart point and moving it to the center; letting the waist and hips out a touch; move the sleeves in towards the middle a bit; and removing 1cm from the back shoulder seam.


I don’t have a photo of my waist side on, but trust me when I say this is flattering on my waist; unfortunately the bust darts are too high, I think that’s why it squishes my bust so much.

I think I made the sleeves a bit too tight on this version, because the neckline is a touch higher than would be idea. I also stupidly didn’t use any twill tape on the neckline (damnit, Sophie) so it does gape a bit at the front if I don’t have my shoulders back properly (good posture, Sophie!).


The fabric is a quilting cotton from fabric.com (sorry local shops – but I’m soo faaaar from you right now). I used a red invisible zipper partly because I thought it would look cool, and partly because I didn’t have one that matched.


Unfortunately it pulls a bit at the waist (needs a touch more room in there) but I’m okay with it.


I think you can see that, after my gloominess of last Month, I’ve really started sewing stuff that makes me happy. It’s only March 14 and I’ve made SIX DRESSES! And, more or less, I love them all. At the very least, they’re very wearable and not crap.


Funnily enough, I don’t even have this pattern up here with me – I leant it to a friend who gave it to another friend to return. Which meant that I couldn’t ask her to post up when I realised that I made misplaced the skirt back piece (and the back lining piece!) – I had to draft a piece off one of my existing versions, which worked alright.

Also, halfway through sewing it I realised that I had lost the sleeve lining piece, so again had to draft it off an existing version. Idiot! Again, worked alright. I need to get more organised.


The Deets

Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie dress

Fabric: Polka dot cotton from www.fabric.com, about $30 after shipping

Notions: Thread and invisible zip, stash

Total: $30


So stylish.