The Sewaholic Cambie dress, awesome x2!

Oh I have been so lucky.  I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of Tasia’s testers for the new Sewaholic Cambie Dress.  I became mega excited when I received details & designs.  You may have already seen there are two versions: a full skirted version with inseam pockets and an A line version with hip pockets.  Both dresses are fully lined & both have the cutest sweetheart neckline with gathered cap sleeves.

What struck me was that I would wear both versions.  The A line skirted dress I felt could be a smarter office dress whilst the full skirted version evoked vintage 50s frocks fit for a frolic.  I knew I was in trouble for the testing.  I wanted to make both.  Surely I could make both to Tasia’s deadline?  Maybe?

At my next available lunch break by the twelfth strike of the Abbey clock my desk chair was spinning on its pedestal as I raced across to the fabric shop in town.   I knew what I wanted, I had Tasia’s list of recommended fabrics, but could I find something “just right”?  Sadly not.  I wanted a patterned fabric, but not anything too modern, or too typically “2012 wedding”, or too expensive.  I ended up just buying some expensive lawn as lining a bit out of guilt after asking for them for the fabrics on my shopping list, *bothering* them to retrieve bolt after bolt & clearly turning my nose up at their offerings.   (Once home I found that I already had some suitable lining bought in Goldhawk Road at a fraction of the price.  Ain’t that just the way it goes?  Anyway, no worries, the lawn is destined for prettier things than just being a lining).

So, long story short, I rifled through my stash & found enough fabric in there already to make not one dress but two.  OK, it meant diverting some polka dots earmarked for Gertie’s Bombshell Dress, & some floral that was going to be a Chantilly, but why not?  So first up, the full skirted Cambie dress with in-seam pockets (styled most delectably with teal tights & aqua shoes.  “Nice look, clashing legged lady”)

[Just look at that peripheral clutter….I failed to spy that, clearly!]

What I love about Sewaholic patterns, as well as the styling,  is the amount of thinking that goes into the design to make our lives as sewsters easier.  Tasia seems to invent shortcuts or simple processes that take the trick away from tricky.

There is real understanding that underlies the way Sewaholic garments are constructed.  And what’s more the instructions and diagrams guide you through the whole method simply.  Magically I could not believe that it fit me the first time – no muslin.  I did breathe a sigh of relief as I had progressed quite far into the make before trying on for real (Barbarella helped all she could in the earlier stages)


I’m having so much practice sewing invisible zips that I no longer need to look it up !  (And yes Karen, I always use an invisible zip foot, can’t contemplate anything else) That feels like progress.  Check out the way the waistband matches each side….Oh yeah !

But can I go on more about the prettiness of the Cambie?  Just look at the neckline?  And aren’t the gathered sleeves also gorgeous?  You get the benefits of a sleeveless dress without feeling too revealing, or exposing too much upper arm if that’s something that could be seen as un-officey.   And yes, for my second dress, that is an unseemly amount of rick rack I’ve used in every seam possible.  By the time I was onto version 2 I was on a roll & didn’t want to miss an opportunity for some zigga zigga ah…  Neckline, sleeves, pocket tops & waistband.  Somehow it didn’t seem to be overkill (not to me anyway!!)

See, it has a different feel with the A line skirt.

And did I manage to make both to meet Tasia’s deadline?  Not quite, but I kept in touch with the lovely Tasia  & shared dress #2 with her.

Come on peeps, you know you want to make one for yourself!   Pop on over, gather all your pennies for when it comes on sale.  Good luck Tasia with the sales of this pattern.  I really love it & thank you for involving me in your testing 🙂

And I have already worn this beauty out to hear/ see/ swoon at my teen/ uni musical hearthrob.  Oh yes, you can’t go far wrong with polka dots & Martin Stephenson & the Daintees ….

Well, that is until superfans open their mouth & start talking gibberish that is.  (Sorry Martin!  I was starstruck!).  He’s got some dates coming up in Scotland by the way ….I’d link to a lovely vid on YouTube (here he is) but I have a major technology fail – anything to do with flash / shockwave isn’t working on my browser & it’s pants, I even have to put the links in via html.  I have a looming sense of doom that my laptop requires some of my quality time.


103 thoughts on “The Sewaholic Cambie dress, awesome x2!

  1. didyoumakethat

    They are both unbelievably wonderful. What a versatile pattern! The full skirted version is so, so pretty whilst the A-line version is sophisticated. Oh my, so many lovely patterns out there right now. You have done Sewaholic proud. What a clever Sewist you are! You look gorgeous.

  2. Marie

    This is going to sound weird, but seeing your two Cambies got my heart racing so fast Winnie! I loved this pattern when I saw Tasia’s newsletter last week and both your versions have convinced me that this dress and I are made for each other! Your versions are to die for and please don’t be annoyed if I totally copy you when I come to making mine ;o) Like you, I would totally wear both versions…I’m in love with this pattern!!!

  3. prttynpnk

    Oh, they are both too special- I love the edging you did on the navy -0h you may have just created the pattern purchase tipping point for me!

  4. Portia

    Gosh, these look gorgeous on you! I know what you mean about Tasia’s patterns. Alot of thought goes into the realities of constructing them. Sadly this isn’t a pattern that would suit my lumps and bumps (!) but on you they look just beautiful. Lovin your style, as ever!

  5. Lisa

    I cannot wait for this dress to go on sale. I love the sweetheart neckline and gathered sleeves. Both of your versions are adorable.

  6. agirlinwinter

    LOVE both those versions. I’m on the Sewaholic mailing list and I was really excited by the Cambie dress. It looks too difficult for a beginner like me, but it’s definite going on the ‘to make list’. Both dresses look great on you.

  7. Sophie (monbouton)

    evil enabler! I thought I could resist, but now that test dresses are going to pop up everywhere, I know I won’t be able to say no! Both versions you made are beautiful! Polka dot and rick rack!

  8. Debbie

    Great job on those dresses. I love the fabrics you chose. I have ordered the pattern and can’t wait to make a couple of my own!!

  9. Clare S

    How lovely – both versions look great on you! Excited about this pattern now – thanks for sharing the preview!

    And it’s definitely not overkill on the trim. Haha – I never knew the Spice Girls’s “zigga zigga-ah” was referring to rick-rack. I now view them in a totally different light 😉

  10. Tamsinwp

    These are both lovely and fit so well too. I think the second one is my favourite – can’t beat polkadots and ricrac! I love Martin Stephenson – I saw him a few times when I was at Leeds Poly (as was). I thought he’d given up the music biz, but clearly not!

  11. Carly

    Oooh this is the first version I’ve seen of this dress and I LOVE both your takes on it! Just gorgeous! My favourite is the floral one, gotta love a full skirt!

  12. Noelle

    Oh my goodness, I love them!!! I think I may like the full skirted one just a little bit more…
    You did a great job. Well done you!

  13. Amy

    What gorgeous dresses!! I love the ric rac and your choice of fabrics. I love both designs as well, what a fun pattern! I found you on Justine’s Show and Tell Saturday. 🙂

  14. Allison

    My socks are not only knocked off, but lying on the other side of the room smoking after having dented the wall.

    also, because I seem to have fallen into time warp lately — loved the pjs from the last post. Both the garments and the photoshoot 🙂

  15. cowroad

    My word, you have outdone yourself!!! I absolutely love them both and they fit you so well! Will definitely buy this pattern! 🙂
    Have a great rest of your weekend! (ours has just started as it is 7am here…)

  16. Tia Dia

    These are just lovely! I happily read Tasia’s “release” post yesterday, and although everyone is raving about her patterns, I haven’t purchased one yet. The Cambie may be the one that reels me in! Both your versions are wonderful and I really agree with you about the rick rack – it’s perfect!

  17. Justine

    You look so amazing in those dresses . I love them both! Your fabric choice is perfect for both and your figure looks amazing in the dresses. I would like to try this pattern now!

  18. Amy

    You lucky duck. These dresses look fabulous on you. It’s unbelievable what we can pull out of our stashes, right? The floral, polka dot, and rick rack are perfect. You’ve outdone yourself, and I can imagine you’ve made Tasia proud!

  19. Christine

    You look gorgeous in both of those dresses! I can’t make up my mind which I like better. I also love the image of you sprinting (literally, no doubt) to the fabric shop on your lunch hour!

  20. Roobeedoo

    Now those are what I call DRESSES!
    I saw the first one and audibly GASPED. And then I saw the second and SIGHED.
    Love them both. Jealous at your fitting skills. And blue roses? Mmmm hmmm! Fab.

  21. Nikki

    Amazing! I pre ordered this pattern just before I read this, both versions are fabulous. I have 2 weddings coming up, I was making Colette’s Ceylon for both, but now I will be making Cambie for the second.

  22. Pennie

    I am dribbling…firstly with awe at your skill with a sewing machine and secondly with jealousy, those are 2 fabulous dresses – awesome

  23. Ginger

    OOH!! These are so gorgeous! You look BEAUTIFUL! Great job!

    Oh, and thanks to you and Karen, I just ordered an invisible zipper foot! I’ve been holding out, but your zips are just too lovely (and mine don’t come close to that level!). Hooray!

  24. Evie

    I’ve just ordered my copy of this pattern and having seen your versions I’m so glad I did. Even my husband thinks this is a great pattern and normally I have to wring a response out of him. I have fabric ready and waiting. Hope it turns out as nicely as yours!

  25. Tanit-Isis

    Oh, I am jealous. Jealous, jealous jealous. I have to wait until the END OF MAY before I get this pattern. /cry.

    Both your versions look awesomely perfect. I’m curious—do your measurements match up with the Sewaholic sizing, or do you grade down on the bottom? I know it won’t be an issue for the full-skirted version but I’m a bit worried about the A-line skirt. My bottom-half size is three or four pattern sizes smaller than my top-half size…

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hi Tanit-Isis,
      I totally could see you in this dress too you know …! End of May isn’t that long ….:-)
      Anyway, I’ve just gone & checked what size I made & how it compared to my measurements… it seems I made both dresses in a 6, thinking that it would be easier to grade down if needed, since I think I would have potentially gone down for a 4 skirt according to my measurements (the joys of Sewaholic! Usually I need to grade up for my lower body!). The waist & ribcage area (my usual place that needs to be smaller than “standard patterns”) was spot on. I think I could have got away with a smaller size in the skirt, but this wouldn’t impact the full skirted version, & at least for the A line dotty dress version it’s so comfy with ample room for hands in pockets. I’ll have to wear it a bit more to see if I *should* have gone down a size!

  26. Debi

    AHHHH!!! I love both your versions SO MUCH! The fabric you had in your stash works perfectly! I can’t wait to get my paws on this pattern!!

  27. amy

    Your A-line version with the ric rac and dots has sold me on this pattern (that, truthfully I already liked, but now I love it).

  28. Rochelle New

    Ahhhh you lucky duck!!!! Both dresses are PERFECT. I can’t even choose which I like better. I’m definitely more a fan of full skirts on myself, but the baby rick rack and polkadot is killer. Love love love!!!!

  29. Debbie B

    Well done, I love both versions, I am going away right now to sign up for the pattern! I especially like the shaping at the back neckline and that an A-line skirt is an option. They both look gorgeous on you, lovely fabric choices and the ric-rac is fab!
    Debbie B

    1. Margo

      I just bought the most dairnlg green and white polka dot bikini yesterday for a huge pool party we are hosting this weekend. Polka dots are so fun! Love the shoes!Tracy

  30. shivani

    oh my, what lovely dresses!!!! I am definitely going to invest in the pattern – your dresses are just perfection! the dotty dress especially – just wonderful! x

  31. Alessa

    Oh wow! Both versions look absolutely yummy! Did I mention that I’m a bit obsessed with florals right now, as well as polka-dots? 😀 If those two beauties go missing, they might have mysteriously turned up in my wardrobe… *evil laugh*

  32. Fiona

    They are both gorgeous dresses. I love the trim on the polka dot version, it works so well with the neckline. I can’t wait to get my hands on this pattern!

  33. Bella

    They are both wonderful, Winnie! Now I’m really sorry I didn’t participate–we could have been matching.

    Great fabric choices & super-fast sewing skills.

  34. Joanne

    Wow wow wow wow you look totally gorgeous! I love both of them but the second polka dot version is my favourite – it’s so beautiful! I am blown away – stunning 🙂

  35. Dibs

    I’ve been debating with myself all day if I should get this pattern or not. Your two versions have just convinced me that I should. So I am off to buy it now, and while I’m at it, I might as well get the pendrell….

  36. Jane

    Absolutely beautiful Winnie, both of them, but especially the polka dot one. You’re a fabulous advert for sewaholic! x

    1. LinB

      Agree. Spots and dots are “your” pattern, for certain sure! I do love a sweetheart neckline. It’s so fresh and feminine, without making everyone gawk at one’s cleavage (a. if you have cleavage, b. without having to wear one’s bodice ripped to the waist). Sounds/looks as if you have a new TNT summer dress pattern.

  37. Lauren

    I love that you made both versions of this dress – and I love the fabric you used as well! Such a pretty pattern, I think it might be my favorite one from Tasia yet 🙂

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  39. Jennifer

    I can’t decide which of these dresses I love more! The floral is so sweet but, the navy polka dots and ricrac is just so fun! You did a wonderful job pairing fabric with the appropriate version.

  40. Thewallinna

    OMG! Both dresses are so beautiful! I favorite the polka dot just because you inserted the rick rack 🙂 BTW, Love your pretty scissors necklace (“⌒∇⌒”)

  41. scuffsan

    I love both your versions. Always a sucker for polka dots! You really can’t go wrong with polka dots or florals. I think I need some of that floral fabric…lovely!

  42. Maureen

    I’ve ordered the pattern, these two lovely dresses only make me realise that it was a good decision.

  43. Jessica

    Love both versions! When I first spotted the blue one I thought you had piped it – but the ric rac is a fun touch. I’d be happy to have even one of these in my wardrobe, and you have two!

  44. Susan

    Beautiful dresses, I just hurried over from Sewaholic to look in more detail. I wasn’t going to get the pattern, but now I think I’ll have to. BTW do you think it would be possible to make an A line skirt with pockets from it?

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hello! Yes I think it’s a great idea to use the skirt part for a cute skirt with hip pockets. It already has a waistband, that you cut two of – you could just cut one twice the height ….Thank you for the useful thoughts!!!

  45. Shawnta

    Both versions are really sweet!! I thought I could possibly pass on this one but resistances is futile after seeing your lovely dresses!

  46. Keri

    Wow, I have been looking all over in the shops for a navy polka dress or pattern but could find neither until I spotted your version on Tasia’s site. I love it, super inspirational with the ric rac (I’ve never used it before but am going to have a go) and I hope you don’t mind me having a go in the same dotty colourway too as it’s just lush! I’m loving all your other blog posts as well, great showcase for a number of patterns and it has inspired me to maybe begin to share some of the little projects I have started to make for me as I have gained confidence and moved on from just children’s clothing. Thanks for your inspiration!

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  48. Betty

    Wow, I’m so ordering this pattern today. The floral one drew me in but the polka dot one sold me totally! They look amazing on you. Very summery and sweet.

    Where did you get such cute ric rac from?

  49. Betty

    Wow! What lovely dresses! The floral one drew me in but the polka dot one sold me totally! They look wonderful on you.

    Where did you get the ric rac from? It’s adorable!

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thank you!! It’s a wonderful pattern, so pretty….I got the Rick rack from ebay, a whole load of it I’m afraid. Not sure but I think it was described as vintage…

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  55. Lyric

    Okay, I am back. My lovely daughter purchased the pattern for me and I was notified that is has “shipped’. YAY!

    Now I am blogging about the pattern and included your photo and link to your website and have a question. The rick rack looks as though it is edged with white stitching of some sort. I have never seen edged rick rack. Is that a UK thing or did you indeed embroider an edging on your rick rack? Or, perhaps sew one on?

    I want to make sure I am comparing apples to apples for your rendition of this dress is great. You should really get a commission for you have sold many of us on this pattern because of YOUR work and style.

    Thank you.


    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hello again! How exciting!! I’m thrilled for you.
      My ric rac is some vintage ric rac that I found on ebay such a long time ago – a big huge bundle of it, so I am afraid I can’t help direct you to any to buy yourself (& wouldn’t personally dream of hand embroidering it, but maybe it’s worth it for you?!)
      And you are so kind to say that, thank you 🙂


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