Cambies & Cardi’s

It’s no secret that Meg, Michelle, and I have been hanging out and knitting.  As we do, we get time to chat about a lot of things – most popular topics of course is sewing and knitting.  As a result, we often find projects that we all want to make but just haven’t.  Enter the Cambie Dress.

TONS of gal seamstresses/bloggers have made the Cambie dress and love it.  I’ve seen so many lovely versions online, but I just never got around to sewing it up myself.  Michelle was in the same boat as me, she never made it either but wanted to.  Meg, on the other hand has made oodles of them and loves it.  It was only natural that Meg insisted we make it too and we could also make cardigans to go with – each of us picking our own cardigan pattern that we liked of course.  We set a deadline and off we went making up our respective Cambie dresses and cardigans to coordinate.

Cambies & Cardies

Before I start chatting away about my Cambie dress… It’s come up recently that cliques are forming in the online sewing community.

I’d like to be the first one to say that the last thing I want to be is in a *clique* of any type.  I’m actually quite an introvert and get really quiet when I’m in a large group.  Growing up, I gravitated towards the non-mainstream group of folks, namely the punk, emo, and ska folks in high school.  We were just on the same wavelength and I could be myself.  This whole community of sewing peeps is wonderful and I am happy as a clam to write to you all & chat & geek out about sewing and knitting.  I can be me.

But, the more I hang out with the same group of people (in person) the more I am myself – and these two gals just make it easy to be me.  We have so many common interests that we enjoy each other’s company and do talk about work, bf’s and various other fun topics naturally.  But… we like other people too.  :D  So while there’s going to naturally be more group projects with these gals since we have similar likes & interests, I just don’t want to give the impression that we’re exclusive and cliquish in any way.  We’re just all happy to knit & sew together that it’s natural we blog about it.  Ya know?

Back to Cardies & Cambies:

Or should it be Cardis, Cardi’s? Hmmm…. whatever.

The idea came up a few months back that it would be fun to make Cambie dresses with coordinating cardigans.  We each picked out our own cardigan pattern and got to work.  I have really been wanting a open lace type cardigan, something that would be summer-appropriate when I wanted some coverage but not the warmth that comes from wool.

I found this perfect shade of purple that would coordinate perfectly with my Cambie dress fabric.  Let me tell you… It’s quite challenging to find fingering weight non-wool blends- in person at a brick & mortar shop.  I was totally lucky to score this perfect purple to coordinate – little did I know it was going to be one of my biggest knitting challenges to date.

Cambies & Cardies

Pattern: Vintage Lace Cardigan, by (vintage) Vogue, 1950’s.  (Got the knitting issue off of Etsy in my hunt for the perfect lace cardigan.)  Still LOVE this pattern.

Yarn: Rowan Panama, Jacaranda colorway.

Size: With my crazy gauge, I used the stitch count for the XS fonts and S for the back bodice, sleeves drafted by yours truly.

I’ve come from a wool knit background (or wool blends of course), never knitting with 100% cotton or the like in garments.  I wanted to change that with this summer cardigan.  The makeup of my yarn was 55% rayon, 33% cotton and 12% linen.  So the bulk of the content is drapey rayon.  (Too bad I didn’t think about that fact before starting this cardigan).

I worked up the bodice of the cardigan as I would with any other knit project – I used my normal waist to armhole measurements & armhole to shoulder measurements and got knitting.  Well…. being drapey this thing grows!  I did not account for that at all – and had to frog my bodice & re-knit more than once since I’m not used to this with knits – at all.

The deadline was pushed back 2 weeks, just for me, so I could finish my cardigan.  I worked hard on finishing it, but found myself awake up until 4am the day before the new deadline, and still not finished.  :(  I went to bed at 4:20am, and during the car ride to the photo shoot I was frantically stitching down my facings and putting on my buttons.

Cambies & Cardies

When I arrived at the photoshoot location, I had never even tried on my cardigan to see if it fully fit with the buttons and all.  Yes…. it was totally stressful and the cardigan you see took me like 2+ months of work.  (Leisure pace at the beginning, frantic at the end).  I’m just happy that it fits and looks decent.

Cambies & Cardies

The one aspect I’m not happy about is the collar wierdness at the buttonhole (see first image of me with it buttoned up).  I’m hoping that some additional blocking will help that, otherwise I can restitch it down.  Again, due to my tricky yarn, the cardigan still is growing and my sleeve length is not where it was supposed to be.  But I do have to say, it’s such a perfect match for my cambie dress and I LOVE the style of it all.

Cambies & Cardies

I’m quite tempted to actually make a second version of this cardigan but in a wool blend.  I bet it would behave much nicer and fit a bit better.

As for my Cambie dress…  It went together in a cinch and I spend 1 week working on it and was done.

Cambies & Cardies

I guess it makes up for the craziness that was my cardigan.  heh

The fabric is really neat.  First, it actually came from Michelle who, in turn, got it at an estate sale and I snagged it at our last Chicago meetup/swap.  Secondly, if you look, the fabric looks like it’s on the bias as the plaid pattern is diagonal and not horizontal across my body.

Cambies & Cardies

BUT… The fabric is 100% on grain and not on the bias – the plaid pattern is just printed so that it looks like it’s on the bias.  Neat, no?  There’s a ton of yardage that I still have at least 4 more yards of it to make something else  (I’m thinking of a fun blouse…)

I made just one muslin of the Cambie bodice, made a few minimal changes & got stitching.

I love how feminine the sweetheart neckline is, but I had to stitch down some twill tape to prevent gaping.  I still think mine gapes a tiny bit, but it lays flat against my skin when I’m upright.

Cambies & Cardies

I’ll most likely take a bit more fabric out at the neckline for the next version – and YES there will be more.  I’d love to make one for the winter in some wool fabric.

I also increased the height of the center of the bodice by 5/8’s inch (wanted it modest so I could wear it to work), and tapered it to the original height at the outer edges of the straps so it matched the back bodice.

The inside finishing is really nice, but it takes soo much time, especially given I made the full-skirted version.  It’s a nice detail and I actually needed to either line or underline my plaid fabric as it is a sheer cotton.  I used a basic white cotton batiste for the lining for the most breathable summer dress possible.

Cambies & Cardies

I’m not a fan of invisible zips, so I went and changed things up so I could put in a center back lapped zipper.  As soon as I learnt just how to put these in, I rarely sew in any other kind.  (Sorry forgot to snag a pic of my zipper.)

I did a narrow hem on the exterior of the skirt.  But what I did very different was to hem the lining with 1″ horsehair braid to give the dress even more fluff at the bottom without wearing a crinoline.  I fully encased my horsehair braid as there’s nothing worse than having the braid cut-edge scratching at you when you’re sitting down or walking.

Cambies & Cardies_Hem

I think my favorite pictures of my dress are in the group shots.  Since I’ve chatted enough, I’m just going to dump in my favorites so you can browse through.  (Full set of photos are on my flickr page).

Group Photos & Silliness:

Cambies & Cardies

Roller- coaster image once again; it’s always a great idea.  Being in front, I’m always gripping on for dear life.  LOL

Cambies & Cardies

Cambies & Cardies

I love this photo (below), looks like Meg and I have a secret from Michelle.  heh


Cambies & Cardies


Cambie & Cardies


Meg’s Cambie-Cardie Combo:

Cambies & Cardies Meg

I looove Meg’s cardigan so much.  I tried it on several times.  It’s such a great layering cardigan and was soo thick and toasty warm with the yarn that she choose.  It’s just wonderful & a great knit.  Turned out flawless, too.  Meg has become such a great knitter.

I’ve lost count on how many Cambie dresses Meg has made, but this is her newest one and it just screams *Autumn*, especially paired with her cardigan.  It’s a great transition dress – just perfect for October & November here in Chicago.

Michelle’s Cambie-Cardie Combo:

Cambies & Cardies Michelle

I love that my favorite pics of both Meg & Michelle are in the same exact pose.  heh

I just love the fabric Michelle used for her Cambie.  It’s a lighter weight wool (or wool blend), and it’s looks so chic and tailored.  I mean seriously, we ate breakfast beforehand and there’s not a crease in sight on her dress!  It fits her so well and the pocket, waistband combo just looks so clean.

I was really admiring the stitch pattern on her cardigan too.  While that style isn’t something I’d wear, it looks great on her – The color and stitch pattern I can totally get on board with.  :)


One thing that always surprises me is no matter how many times we make the same project, they always turn out so very different from one another.  Michelle was saying to me, that she thought it amazing that I turned such a modern dress into something very vintage looking.  *yay* It’s such a great compliment to hear since well… I’m all about the 40’s and 50’s.  I do think the 50’s cardigan does help some though… not to mention using vintage fabric.

What’s up next??

There’s been talk of trousers, the Bruyere top, Archer,  as well as cabled knit sweaters & socks.  All of these are on my fall planning list which is perfect.  I’m really not sure what’s coming next but something is, you can bet on it.  :D

In: Knitting Sewing

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

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