Pauline Alice’s Cami dress for our two-year blogiversary!

Applebymakes is 2 years old this month!  Hasn’t it gone quick?  The Monthly Stitch is also celebrating it’s 2nd anniversary and I thought that this dress fits into their ‘2’ theme.  The dress in question is the Pauline Alice Cami dress and I was seduced into buying it by lots of lovely versions of it in blog land!

cami dress front

cami dress back

I bought the reversible fabric from Dewsbury on a blogging meetup and I knew then it was destined for a shirt dress.  I wanted a pattern that really showed off the the reversibleness (?) of the fabric.

I semi-followed the sew-along on the Pauline Alice website.  Like a good sewer I knocked up a quick toile of the front, the back and one sleeve.  I cut out a size 40 (UK size 14 approx) at the bust and graded out to a size 42 at the waist and tried it on.  It fitted nicely across the back and shoulders.  My boobs and waist wouldn’t fit into it though – far too small!  It was also like a cropped top – not a look I rock thanks to my Bryn-belly.  I made another toile, this time lengthening the bodice an inch, grading the waist even more to a size 44.  This is the biggest size!  I also carried out my first ever FBA which was quite fun! I worked out that I needed a good inch in the boob area.  The bodice only has waist darts but carrying out an FBA created a bust dart.  I didn’t mind this at all but is there a way of carrying out an FBA without creating bust darts?

cami dress pattern

Shall I start with the good things?  The messing around with the fit mostly paid off and I love the shirt part of it.  I folded the button placket back on itself to reveal the gingham which I really like.  I also made the collar and cuffs in the gingham and the effect is just what I wanted.  I originally was going to have a patch pocket in the gingham too but changed my mind as I thought it may be a bit too much.

cami collage

The cuffs were fun to do.  They went on like a giant piece of bias binding really.  My top stitching is not too bad either thanks to my ‘stitch in the ditch’ foot.  The collar was constructed in a different way to how I’ve done it before and it was here things started to go wrong really.  I made a small mistake on constructing the collar and got a pucker (shock horror!) so I unpicked it.  It was here that I realised that I couldn’t really unpick this fabric because it has a loosely woven texture and I was more likely to pull out the woven threads than my stitching threads.  I only needed to unpick a tiny bit though so I got it done but it did take a while.  That wasn’t too bad but when I attached the collar to the bodice I didn’t align the two sides up properly at all.

cami dress collar

Ooops!  One side is a good half inch higher than the other side and all because of my inability to follow a seam allowance guide on my machine. Mistakes like that would nomally be unpicked right away but I knew I’d make it worse if I tried that.  I decided not to put a button on the neck stand (I would never have it buttoned to the top anyway) and hopefully no one will notice! The other thing I didn’t notice until too late was the fact that one of my waist darts eliminated a white stripe but it’s still there on the other side. Now it’s made up it’s glaringly obvious to me.

cami dress missing stripe

Can you spot the missing vertical stripe?

The skirt part was really straight forward.  The plaid made it very easy to cut out the rectangles nicely and I kept the selvage at the bottom which meant I could be lazy and not bother hemming it!  This is the first time I’ve ever sewed side-seam pockets (it was dead easy) but unfortunately, thanks to my one-inch lengthening of the bodice, they are now too low down to be much use!

cami dress pockets

Looking at these photos my daughter did a good job of taking them and they’re starting to make me feel a little bit better about my dress. When I first tried it on I really didn’t like it at all.  I didn’t think that the gathered skirt did me any favours at all and I felt enormous in it.  I love the bodice (apart from the collar and missing stripe) and I think the pattern can be hacked to make an excellent shirt pattern, especially since I’ve fiddled about with the fit.  I’d love to know what you think of it. What could I do to change it?

In other news…..


Look who’s been visiting our garden!  Apparently it’s a Californian Quail.  Not a native so probably escaped from an aviary somewhere.  He’s been here all weekend and the early week but I’ve not seen him for a day or two now.  I hope a cat hasn’t got him!

22 thoughts on “Pauline Alice’s Cami dress for our two-year blogiversary!

  1. Happy anniversary, I’m almost 2 years too, doesn’t it fly!?!?
    I recognised your fabric straight away, and I still regret not buying any. It looks fab made up as a shirt dress, and your fit adjustments are spot on. Made me chuckle trying to look for the disappearing stripe!! 😃

    • Thanks very much! I don’t do adjustments very often so this was quite fun to do and I learnt a lot. All useful stuff for next time!

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  3. Doing more research on this pattern after making a toile this weekend and I am so relieved to read that you had the exact same problem as me. Mine was far too small on bust and waist though I cut the right size according to my measurements. I then cut the next size up and it was ok if I didnt move me arms higher than boob level :-(. It looks like I will have to do a lot of mods but I am motivated now that I know its not just me :-).

    • Have you just toiled the bodice or the whole dress? I just did the bodice. I’m really pleased with the fit on the bust (although I created bust darts in the process) but I forgot to factor in the drag the skirt has on the bodice. I probably didn’t need to lengthen the bodice by the amount I did as the skirt did a good job of pulling the bodice down. Your arm issue sounds interesting. I don’t remember having that issue although I have read about it recently on the ‘did you make that’ blog and someone suggested this video which explains a lot!
      Good luck with you dress – I can’t wait to see it!

      • Thanks I will check the link out. I only toiled the bodice and found that I needed about 1/2″ extra. I plan on making a belt so I need the skirt to start a bit below my natural waist. Once I have made the adjustments I will definitely be making a full toile based on what you said – dont want to cut into my precious until I have it spot on 🙂 Though its been doing my head in so I have deliberately put it aside for 2 days to calm down.

      • Thanks so much for that link! It was super helpful. Exactly my issue – making adjustments when I get back home tonight and another toile hopefully 🙂

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