Here it is guys! The final challenge of the Super Online Sewing Match - the Cambie Dress by Sewaholic.
I have to admit that I was a little hesitant when I found out what the final challenge was. I have always admired Sewholic patterns, but have been reluctant because I have heard that they are patterned for a pear shaped body type. I am kind of the opposite - more apple shaped. I am a little self conscious of my broad upper body and boxy waist. I didn't feel any better either when I measured myself and my chest and waist put me in a size 10 and my hips in a size 0. Luckily the skirt is full so it didn't really matter what my hip size was, but I still wanted to do what I could to under-emphasize my shoulders and chest.
It's such a cute and sweet dress and I have seen it made up many times to be absolutely adorable, but I just wasn't sure it was going to look great on me unless I made a few customizations. The first and biggest change was to change the sleeves a bit. To do this I simply got rid of the gathers (the lining piece has no gathers so you can easily just use it as your top piece as well.) I also raised the point of connection between the sleeves and bodice to make the sleeves appear a little more built in.
Another way that I tried to make the dress a little more flattering for my body type is through color blocking and fabric choice. Both of my fabrics came from Mood and the colorful one is silk and the black is a crepe. It was very important to me to find fabric that was flowy and not cotton because I wanted the full skirt to have a more body conscious silhouette instead of a 50's style one. I also wanted the dress to be a little more formal and I think the the silk really adds to that. The slippery fabrics definitely gave me some fits during the construction, but in the end I think that the effort was worth it. By putting the bright fabric in the center and the black on the outside I was trying to create the illusion of a thinner silhouette.
Another change that I made was to the back of the dress. I wanted to create a dress that I could wear to a wedding or special event. To add a bit more drama to the back I lowered the back neckline to about half way down my back. It's high enough that I can still wear a normal bra with it (a must in my book) but low enough to make it feel a little more formal. Other than that the only changes that I made were for fit. I sewed up two muslins of the bodice before cutting into my silk and as a result took in the sides by about 1/2" and the shoulders up by about the same.
The way that the instructions have you attach the lining to the dress is pretty awesome and a technique that I would definitely use again. It makes for such a professional finish to both the inside and outside of the dress. Another feature of this dress that I LOVE are the simple hidden pockets. It just makes any dress so much more practical.
It was important for me to keep the seams nice and neat but as minimal as possible so as not to hinder the flow of the skirt. In the end I decided that a simple serge was the best solution.
For the hem I made a 1/4" machine stitched hem on the lining and a 1" invisible hand stitched hem for the main dress.
And that's it. I just need someone to invite me to a wedding or surprise me with a cruise so that I have somewhere to wear this dress!
I must say that I have a huge sigh of relief as I post this final project. It has been so much fun to be a part of this competition and I have learned a lot. But it's also been a lot of work. I have some really well made garments to show for it and am pretty ecstatic about that no matter what.