Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Finished Eyelet Cambie

As promised, here are more pictures of my finished eyelet Cambie:

Navy Eyelet Cambie

Check out the pattern matching on the back! I wasn't even trying! I think I just got lucky because I took so much care to keep the fabric on grain when cutting out the pattern pieces.

Navy Eyelet Cambie - Back

Action shot.  I tried to style this with my red belt, but I think it's a bit too wide for this dress.  Oh well, this just gives me an excuse to buy/make something that works better.

Navy Eyelet Cambie in Motion

Construction notes:

I used Sewaholic's Cambie pattern, View B.  The fabric is the fabulous navy eyelet that I purchased from Britex on a recent trip to San Francisco. I used the solid selvage edge of the eyelet for the waist band. The underlining and bodice lining were mystery polyester/synthetic blends purchased from Jo-Ann's

I cut out a size 6 and graded the pattern to a size 8 at the waist.  I also made a swayback adjustment, which is standard for me on most dress patterns, and took in the upper back shoulder about an inch. The pattern looks kind of crazy, but it works for me.

Cambie Pattern Adjustments

I underlined the eyelet fabric and only added lining to the bodice. I omitted the skirt lining because I worried that the dress was becoming too bulky. I decided that the fabric was opaque enough with the underlining to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions.

A change that I did not make intentionally -  at one point my mind decided to take a vacation and I switched some of my seam allowances from 1.5cm to 2cm.  It wasn't by design, but that's why this Cambie is a bit tighter than my first one and why the waistband is narrower than it should be.

Navy Eyelet Cambie

Final thoughts? I love the dress. I still wish I had used a lighter weight fabric with more drape for the underlining to avoid the extra bulk at the waist, but I'll get used to it :)   Knowing me, I'd do it again because it was the exact color fabric that I wanted.

This officially means I can cross another project off of "The List"!

Monday, February 25, 2013


Guess who just finished their eyelet Cambie dress? That's right, I did!

Here are my two Cambies hanging out together:

Eyelet Cambie and Watermelon Cambie

Guess who's also too busy watching the Oscars, checking hockey scores and trying to cut out another Renfrew to actually take proper pictures of the finished dress?

Yep, that would be me also.

I promise to post pictures later this week. Until then, how about another cat picture?

Ms Flooz

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Burda Pencil Skirt

A couple of weeks ago, I put my Cambie aside and downloaded Burda's Princess Seam Pencil Skirt

Burda Princess Seam Pencil Skirt
I wanted a pencil skirt for my upcoming work trip and thought this pattern would be the perfect use for the teal wool from my stash. I was drawn to the princess seams and thought they would be more flattering on me than darts.

I made a muslin of the largest size, 44. I the only adjustment I made was to take in each seam 1 to 2 centimeters at the waist. Just to go off on a tangent for a second - who does Burda size their patterns for? I'm definitely not a stick, but I don't consider myself that big either (not counting the extra junk in the trunk).  Why am I cutting out the largest pattern size?  Okay, rant over :)

Here's the completed skirt paired with one of my many Renfrew tops. This was completely unintentional, but my color choices are very similar to the original Burda image. (Posing with my black cat would have completed the look.)

Burda Pencil Skirt and Renfrew Top
The skirt went together like a dream.  It's official, I love sewing with wool felt. (I'm pretty sure that's what this fabric is.) It presses beautifully and I didn't have to finish the seams which is a huge deal to me.  I'll also be able to easily take the skirt in if necessary.

The pattern is very easy to put together.  There's no lining and the fabric is simply folded over to create the waist band facing.  Because the wool holds a crease so well, I didn't feel the need to sew this facing down anywhere except the zipper. If I had used a lighter weight fabric, I probably would have tacked it down at each seam.

Burda Pencil Skirt

My zipper is a bit crazy toward the bottom, but I really don't care. I'm probably the only person who will notice this anyway.

I can officially cross another item of "The List"! I will definitely reuse this pattern and have some newly purchased black wool lined up waiting for an opening in my sewing queue.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Unexpected Sewing Interruption

Life has a habit of throwing a curve ball into the best laid plans.

I had an upcoming work trip and wanted to make a pencil skirt and a pair of pants before leaving so that I would have something to wear. I also wanted to finish my eyelet Cambie.  Oh, and all of this would be magically accomplished within a week and a half.

I'm rolling my eyes at myself now for even thinking that this was possible, even in ideal conditions.

Unfortunately due to a death in the family, plus planning for my business trip and extra end of quarter wrap up activities at work, sewing and blogging have taken a back seat.

How about a picture of Kiko to make up for the lack of sewing pictures these past weeks?


We'll return to our regularly scheduled eyelet Cambie progress later this week. For now, I want to concentrate on a few simple projects where I can have a sense of accomplishment with minimal effort. I've tried to squeeze in sewing time wherever I could because it really does help keep my mind off of things and relax.  Surprisingly, I've completed a lot and hope to have a chance to catch up with blogging about it in the next few days.  Let's start with this:

Floral Fabric for Apron

This was from a recent purchase. Beautiful, isn't it.  I was seriously tempted to steal this for myself. I'm certain this is quilting cotton, but has a great texture and drape and think would work well in a garment.

But I behaved and used the fabric for what it was actually destined for, Butterick B5125.  This is the retro apron from "The List" that I wanted to make for my mom.  Her birthday is coming up next weekend and my plan was to sew this apron for her and also have my old sewing machine fixed up for her to use.  With everything going on, I haven't had the chance to bring the machine to the shop, but I was able to complete the apron:

Butterick B5125

I modified the pattern by adding a second ruffle to the bottom, shortening the top layer by an inch. My mom has been admiring some retro aprons with multiple layers of ruffles, so I wanted to replicate that for her.

Butterick B5125 Ruffle

What I love about project like this is that it's quick, satisfying, and I can experiment with fabric that I normally wouldn't purchase. I can't wait to give it to her!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Progress on Eyelet Cambie

I love that point in the sewing process when you see the garment start to come together and actually look like something. That's what happened to me early Sunday afternoon while working on my Cambie.

Prior to that, it was just a bunch of pattern pieces:

Pattern Pieces
(Since Ms Flooz won't move, she might as well help model my fabric.)
But Sunday afternoon, a skirt emerged! I could start to see the finish product.

I also have this amazing ability to pick out the most unsuitable fabric combinations for shells and underlinings.  I did this over a year ago when I sewed the Lonsdale dress pattern from Sewaholic. My fabric choices were this wonderful gauzy fabric for the shell, and crazy stretch fabric for underlining.  In the end it worked out beautifully, but it involved many hours and much swearing to get to that point.

My eyelet, while beautiful, was tough to keep on grain.  It didn't help that I decided to go with the satin mystery fabric as the underlining.  I struggled to keep both fabrics lined up enough to baste together.  I think I've managed so far, but it definitely slowed down the project.  If I had been patient and waited until some nice cotton in the perfect color came along, I probably would be finished already.  Oh well, onward and upward...

I was also having a bit of difficulty with my skirt gathers.  I guess I'm just not used to making and wearing something this gathered at the waist.  It almost felt too gathered and I worried I did something wrong.  Contributing to this is the fact that the skirt is getting heavy with both fabrics. I'll admit that I had a few panic moments where I thought that this dress going to be a puffy mess and that I had wasted good fabric.

I draped it on my dress form and pinned the sleeve/straps to their correct position.

Then, Magic:
Eyelet Cambie Dress in Progress

I LOVE IT.  It has a wonderful vintage vibe.  It's beautiful.  No more worries.  I can't wait to finish.

Next steps - I need to insert the zipper and bodice lining. I think I'm going to omit the skirt lining. The fabric is opaque enough to leave it out and I am still a bit concerned about the extra weight and bulk.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Navy Eyelet Dress - Getting the Party Started!

Chantilly, I just can't quit you.  I was so set in my decision to go with the Cambie pattern for my eyelet.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of hanging my the Chantilly bodice muslin on my dress form. I've been staring at it for a day now wondering if I made the right decision.

"Pst...You know you want me. I'm so pretty!  Just cut me out!"

Chantilly Bodice Muslin

No.  I made my decision.  If I don't stick with it, I run the risk of agonizing over the pattern for months. Cambie it is!

Don't worry Chantilly, I have an awesome consolation fabric in mind for you:

That's right, it's Dr. Who Toile from! I'm eying up the cotton voile mainly because it comes in a wider width than the cotton silk (54" width vs. 40" width). And since this fabric is expensive and the pattern does take up a decent amount of yardage, the wider option is more economical. 

This fabric will be perfect. The pattern is subtle enough for daily wear but nerdly enough for events like ComicCon. I'd call this a win win all around.  And, the purchase shall be my reward for finishing a few projects.

Now, on to Cambie!

I started cutting out the shell last night and I have to say that cutting this eyelet was a bitch! I was trying to be very careful to make sure it stayed on grain. This meant lining up the circles every few inches and pining them in place. I also had to decided if I wanted the circles aligned vertically or horizontally. It's subtle, but I know if I didn't keep this consistent it would drive me nuts. (Horizontal alignment won.)

As always, my dedicated helper was there to supervise.

" You might want to consider pattern weights instead of pins"
Ms Flooz - Sewing Supervisor

She is really annoyed in this picture that I have the nerve to try to move her! Check out those ears.

I need to cut underlining and lining next, but I anticipate that these will go much faster as long as I don't get any more feline help.