Camí/Lilou mashup dress

Hi everyone! It’s that time of year again – Indie Pattern Month over on the Monthly Stitch and I’m joining in again for the second year. There is a challenge a week for the month of July. The first challenge is ‘dresses’.  Now I’m not normally a ‘dresses’ kind of person (although they are fun to make!) but there was one dress that I wanted to go back to because my first attempt had quite a lot of mistakes in it.

The pattern: The Camí dress by Pauline Alice. My very first Camí dress was submitted for a Monthly Stitch challenge a couple of years ago. You can read all about it here. I went for view A this time around.

cami-dress

Fabric and notions: I picked up the fabric recently at a car boot sale and it didn’t even make it to the stash. It’s a duvet cover that I bought for £3 and it has cassette tapes and record players on it.

tape deck fabric

One side is just black and white and has smaller tapes and tape decks on it. This is the side I used for this project. The other side of the cover has larger record players on it and at first glance it looks as if it’s covered in boobs! I didn’t want to risk any dodgy print placement with this! I’m not sure what I’m going to use this side for – any kind of top is out! I’ll probably use it as toile fabric.

Like many duvet covers, it’s just a cheap polycotton but it sewed up well and pressed well. It also doesn’t crease too easily so this type of fabric is ideal for this kind of day dress.

Other notions included an invisible zip which I found in my stash. It’s not the best quality so I’m not expecting it to last. I’ve also used 7 buttons which were also in my stash. They came from a market stall in Amsterdam.

Alterations/design changes: When I first made the Camí dress a couple of years ago I put in a lot of work to get the fit right. When I originally made a toile, it was far too tight although the fit was good through the back and the shoulders. There was just no way I could get my waist and boobs in there – it was far too small! The toile was a size 40 (UK 14). This was the only dress/top pattern that I’ve ever needed an FBA on. I worked out that I needed a good inch in the boob area.  The bodice pattern only has waist darts but carrying out an FBA created a bust dart. I’m sure there are ways of carrying out FBAs without adding bust darts but I don’t know them, and this worked for me anyway.

before and after pattern

I also graded out the waist to a size 44 which is the largest size (depressing) and it’s still snug if I’m honest. The other change I made was to lengthen the bodice by and inch and in hindsight it probably didn’t need such a large adjustment. But it looks fine.

The final alteration was to swap the gathered skirt for a pleated one. The skirt I used was from the Lilou dress pattern from Love at First Stitch. Technically this is not an eligible pattern for the challenge because it comes from a sewing book. I won’t tell if you won’t!  I also omitted the pockets. As much as I love pockets, inseam pockets just flap around in an irritating way once you’ve got your phone and keys in there so I’d rather not bother!

Pattern instructions:  The instructions for the Camí dress were brief and to the point. There wasn’t much in the way of hand-holding, although if you want your hand held you can go to the sew-along here. I never used the sew-along but it looks quite thorough. I found I could get on just fine with the instructions that came with the pattern. The Lilou part of the dress was so easy I didn’t bother with the instructions at all but I have made this dress before (here) and the instructions are excellent. Perfect for beginner sewists!

Other issues: The only thing I would say is if you are thinking of making the Camí dress for yourself then I really recommend you do a toile of it first. Just the bodice and one of the sleeves would be fine. Compared to other patterns, this one comes out small. I found it small across the bust, small at the waist and tight in the arms (not enough to change the arms though!).

cami.jpg

The only other issue that I had (nothing to do with the pattern) was that I did not have enough fabric to cut out one large back skirt. I’ve had to cut two halves and have a centre back seam. The bodice doesn’t have a centre back seam so I knew this wasn’t ideal. It looks fine though. Oh and the print on the front of the skirt is upside down! In order to fit the pattern on the fabric either the back or the front would have to be upside down but I wish I did it on the back. Whoops!

In summary: Being a shirt dress, this is a fairly involved project with a lot of steps. None of the steps are particularly difficult though. The Camí pattern is rated an intermediate pattern which I agree with. That’s because you have a collar and stand to assemble, a side invisible zip and buttons and button holes. There are also sleeves to ease in. So not really a beginner make but definitely something to move on to if all you’ve done is sew basic garments.

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I do like my new dress and I much prefer this shape to my original gathered skirt Camí. I also like the quirky fabric, and I don’t normally do ‘quirky’. I’m usually drawn to stripes or checks but I must admit that is was so nice not to have to pattern match.

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I finished all seams on my overlocker but I think this project killed it. I think the knives are blunt from previous projects with thick fabric and it no longer cuts properly. The whole machine juddered when I used it on this project and it refused to overlock more than two layers of fabric. I’m waiting for the sewing machine repair place to get back in touch with me but it looks like I won’t be able to use it for the remaining IPM challenges which will slow me down. I’ll stick to woven fabric though (my sewing machine hates knit fabric) and we’ll see how I get on.

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Unfortunately my dress did not get shortlisted but never mind, it’s on to the next challenge. I’ve nearly finished my next garment but as the deadline is 11pm tonight and I have to go to work I’m leaving it right to the last minute as usual!

 

 

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