Corkscrew Cambie

Tori 2


This lovely young lady is my friend Tori. She needed a dress on a tight schedule so she could attend a wedding. Obviously I jumped at the opportunity to revel in creating a confection of satin and chiffon. Actually I said “yes” to the dress-making before I knew exactly what she had in mind that she wanted, but of course I was hoping for special fabrics. She brought me a sketch, because she is a woman of decision and knew exactly what she wanted.

Tori's DressObviously she’s a much better artist than I am. I can’t sketch a dress to save my life.

As soon as I saw her drawing, I immediately thought of the Cambie Dress from Sewaholic. The sleeve/strap area is a little different, but the other details, the sweetheart neckline, separate waistband piece, and a-line skirt are all there. I just happened to have bought the Cambie Dress pattern recently, but haven’t got around to making it up for myself yet.

To turn the sleeves into straps, I used the lining piece for both the inner and the outer straps. I drew new cutting lines at the outer edge of the sleeve, but kept the neckline edge the same. I made a quick muslin to make sure that changing up the sleeve/strap detail didn’t result in something unwearable and to check the fit of the bodice. She’s quite petite and wanted the waistband to be a bit wider than the Cambie pattern, so I ended up taking out a few inches in the upper bodice. I don’t have muslin pictures, but here’s another one of the finished dress.

Tori 1


And one of the back. The reflective satin of course makes it a little more difficult to see how well it fits.

Tori 4I used Melissa’s trick of marking the zipper where it needed to line up from one side to the other at the waistband and it worked quite well for me.

Moving on to the skirt portion, you have to have noticed that it’s embellished in a way that I’ve never seen on another Cambie. Tori called it a “corkscrew skirt”, and the ruffles really do look something like corkscrews. Her original picture had the ruffles coming straight down, but she also showed me a picture of a dress she liked (that I don’t have because she was showing me on her phone)  where the flounces were placed more horizontal and wrapping in a spiral around the skirt.

I attempted some sketching of skirt flounce possibilities (which I won’t inflict upon you) and the final decision was to place them in vertical lines then spiraling down along the hemline.

Tori 3


I used a circle skirt tutorial (the one from Gertie’s Book) to figure out how to draft the flounce, using the length of the skirt/spiral instead of a waist measurement as the inner radius of my pattern. The flounces also gave me a good reason to finally figure out how to set up the rolled hem on my serger. I rolled hemmed/serged all edges of the flounces, then placed them on the dress. Once I got the first one, down the center front, placed, then I measured out evenly across the waist to place the others, and eyeballed placement from the waist to the hem. This flounce placement worked out just perfect for the pockets. I just moved the pocket bags out of the way while I stitched the flounces down in front. Every party dress should have pockets if at all possible.

As a final touch, since she was going to wear peep-toe shoes, I was able to make removable bows to coordinate her shoes with the dress.

Tori 5


The bow is a rectangle of fabric, gathered down the center. The button secures the bow to a strip of bias tape. I put a button hole on the other end of the bias tape strip, so the button secures the bow to the shoe. I may have squealed just a little bit when these got fastened onto her shoes successfully.








5 responses to “Corkscrew Cambie”

  1. ShanniLoves Avatar

    So creative! Way to go! I would be totally scared to take on a sketched idea but I think you nailed it!

  2. Cherie Avatar

    You are a better person than me. I don’t sew for other people. Partly because if I spend all that time sewing, I want a new dress. Foe ME. But partly because I would be heartbroken if the person didn’t end up liking the dress. But your result is pretty and it looks like she loves it. Well done!

  3. EmSewCrazy Avatar

    Fabulous job! The bows on the shoes are a great finishing touch. The dress looks great!

  4. AnnetteB Avatar

    That turned out beautifully. It looks nothing like the pattern you referred to, you made beautiful changes! You should make it into it’s own pattern – have you ever thought to go into pattern making? (and nice model, too)

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