Thursday, 3 April 2014

Springtime Cambie Dress - Minerva Blogger Network


Friends, meet my Springtime Cambie Dress! I’m being super cheeky and doubling up this make as both my latest Minerva Blogger Network project AND my first #SewDollyClackett submission. I say my first of the latter, because I’m just warming up! Consider this an interpretation of Roisin’s earlier style, with something reflecting her more current style in the pipeline...sewing Dolly Clackett through the ‘ages’, if you like!



This is my first ever Cambie Dress, despite buying the Sewaholic pattern way back when it was released, but I'm so pleased I finally got round to making it. The irresistible cotton lawn from Minerva's designer selection is a perfect match for the pattern and a great way to welcome the glimmer of warmer weather in sight. Needless to say that Tasia's instructions are second to none, resulting in a beautiful garment inside and out. The pattern has become a firm favourite among stitchers around the world, which must have something to do with all its lovely details!

Gathered sleeves perfectly frame the shoulders and complement the sweetheart neckline.



Sneaky pockets come in particularly useful when you don't know what to do with 
your hands and arms in photos.

My best invisible zip to date, with a perfectly lined up waistband and everything! 


The construction of this dress is really clever, concealing all raw seams. The entire dress is lined and beautifully finished, with a nifty way of attaching the lining. At least, that's the theory! I fully lined mine with cotton lawn, but decided that the skirt was way too voluminous, so I ripped the skirt lining out. It still looks super neat with just the bodice and waistband lined though.


In terms of sizing, I made this up in a Size 8 (UK 12), but went down a size for the neckline and sleeves. Next time, I’ll probably pinch a smidgeon out of the front bodice – the gaping isn’t terrible, but could be better. Skip this next bit if you’re not up for a moan about muslins...

..The thing about muslins is that they sometimes trick you! After choosing my size and shortening the bodice pieces by my obligatory couple of centimetres, I then sewed up my muslin and pinned in a zip. When I tried it on (bodice only) it felt a little snug and too short. This ALWAYS happens by the way! I bravely ignore it normally and the final thing comes out fine. But this time I decided to reduce my side and waistband seams by 0.5cm. Guess what?!? My bodice is now a little too long and smidge too loose. Aaaargh! Does this happen to anyone else? Could this all be down to the weight of the skirt on the final garment?



I couldn't help adding this last photo in! I was surreptitiously picking a rogue thread off my dress when my boyfriend snapped me - he claims it looks like I'm feeding chickens! If we had chickens, this is definitely how I'd like to dress for feeding time...


Anyway, despite my minor gripes, I'm pretty smitten with this make overall! What do you think?

114 comments:

  1. The dress looks lovely and your fabric choice is beautiful. I have been hankering after making this pattern. Now I might just have to put it a bit higher on the list. Thanks for the info.

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    1. Thanks! I felt exactly the same about Cambie and yet it still took me forever to get around to it. But I'm glad I did and I reckon you will be too ;o)

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  2. Oh Marie it's gorgeous! It looks beautifully made, totally great on you and I adore this print. Unfortunately I just sent off my next 3 Minerva kits or I'd totally copy you. It even matches your wall!

    Yes, I have totally the same problem with muslins. It feels like you need to make the whole darn dress in a similar weight fabric and with all fastenings etc or it just isn't accurate. Ain't nobody got time for that!

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    1. Aaaw, thanks so much Katie! Shame you sent your next batch of orders off...maybe you can treat yourself instead?! Or, I'm sure Vicki wouldn't mind a swift change of plans/heart ;o)

      Bloody muslins!!!

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  3. Yes! Yes! Yes! That muslin thing happens to me too. Every time. I thought it was just me! I love your cambie. I've muslined that dress sooooo many times and never got anywhere near an acceptable fit. I have a very narrow upper back and shoulders and need to do an FBA. I can't work out how to do one on the cambie though. One day I will succeed as I LOVE this pattern :-)

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    1. Oooh good luck, I'm sure you'll be delighted with your version once you figure out the fit!

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  4. This is adorable! Every Cambie I see makes me want to sew one myself. So sweet!

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  5. one of my favourite dresses t=you made, the combination of fabric and pattern match is spring perfection. I looove the chicken feeding picture.. very 50's housewife!

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    1. Thank you Rachel, I think it's one my favourites too!

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  6. Gorgeous! Welcome to the Cambie club - man I love that pattern! Love the fabric too.

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    1. Thanks so much Helen, your versions are lush!

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  7. Lovely! I just started on my first Cambie, also floral cotton. After my first fitting I'm planning on taking it up at the shoulder seam (I'm quite short with a high bust), then I'll take a little off where the waistband meets the bodice if needed. We'll see how it goes! Otherwise it seems to fit well, so I'm hoping to have a new go-to pattern!

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    1. Oooh, good luck! Sounds like you have a solid plan and very pretty fabric ;o)

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  8. It looks great! I'll add the Cambie dress to my ever-growing 'patterns to make' list. And I agree with your boyfriend that it looks like you are feeding chickens!

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  9. It's gorgeous! I'm actually not a huge fan of this pattern, but I love this version. That fabric is great! You look beautiful :)

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    1. Thanks Katy...might you become a Cambie convert now?!

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  10. Beautiful as always! The pattern is a beaut isn't it! And on a side note your necklace goes so,well with the dress!

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    1. Thanks so much lady...the necklace was £1.50 from Primark!

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  11. I think that you look absolutely lovely in this! It makes me want to have a go at the Cambie (already in my pattern stash) as well! :)

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    1. Thanks Naomi - I say, go for it!

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  12. Love it Marie! It is a true classic and I love the fabric you've chosen. Interestingly I've also considered Cambie as a sew dolly clackett contender! But haven't got close to even deciding yet. I suspect it'll be a last minute rush!! Anyway, looking forward to seeing your next entry(s)!!

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    1. Winnie! Thanks! It's your very two gorgeous versions that swayed me to buy the pattern in the first place! I want to make more of a Dolly Clackett dress for the challenge too, but like you, I haven't even started that!

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  13. Yes, the bigger/longer thing happens to me, too!! I think it's also because you handle a finished garment so much more while sewing than you do the muslin. This make turned out lovely, though! Great colors on you.

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    1. Hmmm, interesting theory...you could be onto something!

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  14. Love, love, love this! The finish looks fantastic & the fabric is a perfect match for the Cambie.

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  15. This is gorgeous!! Really looks good on you. Your finishing is lovely, I'm super-impressed with that zip, the invisible pocket, and wow - that ultra-tidy lining! Nice one :-)

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    1. Aaaw, thank you so much! It's all down to the Sewaholic instructions to be fair ;o)

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  16. I love this dress! It looks fantastic on you!

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  17. You and the dress look gorgeous! What a perfect fabric and pattern pairing.

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  18. Your dress is beautiful. Why not showcase both Minerva Blogger Network project your first #SewDollyClackett submission. Does that mean there's another dress in the wings;)

    He's very cheeky but it is a good pic!
    I get caught out with bodice length or lack of it when my fabric types change. Well that's my excuse.

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    1. Hehe, good excuse!

      And thank you for the kind words. I'm hoping there's time for another #SewDollyClackett dress or two ;o)

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  19. Ugh, I just have to make the Cambie!!! This is yet another smashing version - that fabric is perfection and if it didn't cost so much to ship to the US I would buy it right this second! Lol - I wish I had some muslin advice but I rarely make them... shhh... also, I really like the chicken feeding picture :)

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    1. Shame about the P&P costs darn it! But I'm sure you can find some equally lovely prints in the US ;o)

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  20. Your Cambie is delightful! It is a breath of spring with the promise of summer.

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    1. Thanks so much for the beautifully poetic comment!

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  21. I'm pretty smitten with it too. The neckline isn't anything someone would call out, sewer or nonsewer. I've seen many version of Cambie, and this is one of my favorites!

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    1. Thanks a million Madalynne, you're too kind!

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  22. You look awesome in this dress! The shape is perfect on you and at print is gorgeous. I hate Muslims. I think it's because I only do the bodice that it always seems different in the final outfit. I think it's definitely got to do with the skirt dragging things down.

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    1. Thanks so much Kat! Muslins are pretty tricky, but who's got time to make full ones?!?

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    2. I'm almost certain you meant mulsins there - were you typing this on your phone, because iPhones always want to autocorrect that word...

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  23. Beautiful and so flattering too. How do you find the sleeves? I find them a little restricting and difficult to lift my arms without pulling the dress.

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    1. Thank you! The sleeves are totally fine and comfortable on my version. Do you think you maybe made the straps too tight during construction? Maybe you could lengthen the sleeves a little next time?

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  24. This is STUNNING! I've just bought the Cambie and now I need to make it. Feel inspired after your beautiful version.

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    1. Thank you so much, go forth and sew it up asap ;o)

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  25. Oh yes, FAB fabric, Fab dress, Fab pattern & Oh boy muslins -I'm getting to the point of why the heck bother !

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  26. I love it! I have a cambie in my future too! Lovely fabric! I think muslins always seem too short. Partly as the weight of the skirt pulls them down and partly as the waist of a dress comes quite high so as a top it looks super short! You could baste side seams in final fabric? Or use the bodice lining as a muslin?

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    1. Yeah, you're probably right actually! And thank you for the kind words!

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  27. Wahoooo petal that it gorgeous!! Great entry for Clackett :-)

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  28. I love it! Such a pretty style on you.

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  29. It's official - you cannot get any cuter (and can I steal those shoes?). I feel so bad but I've had my cambie pattern for close to three years now and still haven't made it! I will, I will!

    Love your version!

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    1. You're making me blush Jen, thank you!!! Don't worry, you'll get round to your Cambie and you'll love it!

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  30. I think it is stunning! I love the fabric you chose!

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  31. Beautiful! This dress is so gorgeous and you need to go and make a million more Cambies becuase this is super flattering on you!
    And I love the fabric you chose. And I love your necklace!

    How are you getting on with your house renovation/redecorating? Any more updates for us? Perhaps not appropriate on a 'sewing' blog, but I'm hoping to move house this year and I LOVED your posts about your new (beautiful) house!

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    1. Thanks so much Su, you're very kind indeed!

      No more house updates at the moment I'm afraid...however, we have decided that we're tackling the dining room and hallways next. So watch this space for updates ;o)

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  32. It's a gorgeous dress - the colours look perfect for spring. A Cambie is definitely high up on my list of things to sew this spring/summer.

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  33. Great shape fabric and style a winner.

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  34. Ooh, this is lovely Marie! Springtime perfection. That muslin thing TOTALLY happens to me, too - it's so frustrating!

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    1. Thank you! Silly, silly muslins and their silly ways!

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  35. I was going to say that the bodice was tighter than the muslin because you added the lining. This happened to me with my first Anna. For my second Anna I used a different fabric, without a lining, and it was HUGE! I think the skirt is affecting the fit of the bodice, cause my second dress had a heavier skirt than the first one.

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    1. See, what you're saying makes perfect sense and I can understand why that would happen. But it was my muslin bodice that was tighter than my finished garment...which leaves me scratching my head to be honest!

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  36. this dress is absolute perfection on you! the colors, the shape, just beautiful! and yes, the misleading muslin has happened to me as well. the weight of the skirt makes a huge difference! sometimes i'll pin my bodice muslin to a skirt to give me a better idea of the pull. at any rate, lovely work here!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words and the great advice!

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  37. I think this is my favourite make of yours, it's simply gorgeous and you look amazing in it. I might have buy that fabric too. What a good eye you've got, I hardly ever buy fabric on line as I have to see and touch it.

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    1. Thanks a million! I am quite daring when buying fabric online and you can't really go wrong with cotton lawn ;o)

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  38. Same thing with muslins. When I use cotton, I just fit as I go, basting the bodice seams before sewing and leaving nice big seam allowances, also basting on the skirt for a fitting before sewing. Cotton is easy to pick seams out of. You look fabulous and I want to make another Cambie now, too! Thanks for the inspiring pics! Remember the scene in Cinderella when she feeds the chickens?

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    1. Thank you, you're very kind and excellent tips too! And yes, hehe, I do recall that Cinderella scene now!

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  39. Beautiful lady! Looks great on you. x

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  40. I love this dress on you :) I'm new to your blog and would also like to say I love your big vintage mirror. Fab photos, but you need a photo-shoped chicken ;)

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    1. Thanks Amy! The mirror is my pride and joy (just £25 from a charity shop) and yes, I totally should have added a chicken or two...!

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  41. Gosh, this is beautiful, Marie! Cambie is such a good choice and this really suits you. And damn, I love those shoes!

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    1. Hehe, glad you approve Roisin!!!

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  42. This is gorgeous! I love it on you, Marie! It's absolutely the perfect dress for you! I can totally relate to the muslin issue- it seems like every time I lengthen the bodice, it's too long at the end of the day! Ugh! And, like my Flora dress, if I take in the side seams, it's too tight afterwards! Yuck!

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    1. Thanks Sonja, you're too lovely! Muslins really are annoying aren't they?!?

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  43. Ooo. That floral is really fantastic. And, your shoes are INCREDIBLE!!! I haven't made a Cambie yet, but I may take one on along with some friends early this summer.

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  44. It's a beautiful dress! You always pick such gorgeous and flattering fabrics - I'm swooning over the colours :) I'm sure it's been talked about in the comments before... but yeah. The weight of the skirt definitely affects how your bodice sits. I always muslin skirt and bodice, but I am partial to muslining only one sleeve ;)

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    1. Thanks so much lady! Good advice too ;o)

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  45. This isso beautiful and such a great make, how neat is the waistband! Love love love and a great SewDollyClacket interpretation. Inspired!

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  46. The difference will probably be a combination of the weight of the skirt pulling the finished garment down, and the weight of the fabric itself - calico tends to be a lot heavier and more tighly woven than garment cotton, so will hold itself up more. Even if you attach the garments skirt, the garment cotton will probably pull down more with the same weight. It is annoying! I tend to tug it a little bit to see if I can wing it (but sometimes tug too much)
    Also - did the muslined bodice have the waistband attached? Because that will affect how long it feels and appears.

    In terms of the neckline - make sure you're staystitching it, going from one side to the center, then the other side to the center (instead of one continuous line across the whole neckline). Or you can always use staytape, like in Mrs C's tutorial http://sentfrommyiron.blogspot.co.nz/2011/03/how-to-get-neckline-not-to-gape-art-of.html

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  47. Thank you SO much for all the brilliant advice! Will certainly take on board for next time/future makes. To answer your question though, yes, I did muslin the bodice with the waistband...and it still seemed a little short. Wish I'd have just gone with it though!

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  48. This looks smashing, lady! You choice of fabric to pattern is always amazing! And when muslining I now ensure that I do the skirt as well because I've had too many occasions where it all goes pair shaped with the additional weight.

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    1. Aaaw, thank you - you're too kind! I really hate that all evidence is pointing towards having to muslin the whole thing, but probably sensible!

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  49. Love the shape! Looks really nice and the fabric is lovely!

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  50. This is so cute! It's inspiring me to make lots of pretty Spring/ Summer dresses. And I want your shoes!
    I usually find that after I've muslined something, the finished thing doesn't come out quite the same but I assumed that was because I don't tend to muslin in the same weight of fabric as the finished garment (I know, bad!).

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    1. Thank you so much! And yes, I think the weight of the fabric plays a huge role in all of this...if only we were rich enough to buy double the amount of our fashion fabric ;o)

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  51. This is super gorgeous! I love the fabric you chose x

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  52. Oh it's absolutely wonderful! I've been meaning to sew a Cambie for ages now (seriously, the pattern sat on my sewing table for months), and you're re-inspiring me to! The print is great and what a fun dress for spring. So so cute! I love the chicken feeding photo, too. ;-)

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    1. Thanks so much Tasha! Cambie has been on my stitching wishlist for so long too, so glad I finally got around to her ;o)

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  53. I think this is just one of the prettiest dresses that you've shown us, it suits you down to a t, and you should most definitely be proud of that perfect zip insertion. I drafted something almost identical years ago using a pale pink very low sheen satin, I love the style but always feel like I should be in a bridal party. Just goes to show how fabric choice can dramatically change the outcome. I'm completely in love with your shoes too, can I ask where they came from ?

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    1. Thanks so much Deb, you're very kind! The shoes are actually about 4-5yrs old I'm afraid, from a River Island...

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  54. It's gorgeous and so pretty! I love it all, the pattern, fabric and the shoes!

    Yep I have the same trouble with toiles/muslins too. I've taking to trying the garment on as I'm sewing it up, and try to deal with fitting issues before all the seams, lining etc, are finished.

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  55. This is so pretty! I need to make another Cambie in a floral fabric. You do have the best fabric! I love all of your fabric and dresses you've made!

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    1. Thanks very much Kathy, you're too kind!

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  56. This dress really flatters your figure. The dress is very pretty and you look gorgeous. Congrats on a very successful make!

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  57. Waow! I have a massive sewing crush on your dress, it is of total beauty! I have been discreetly reading your blog for a year or two and I am very impressed, but I always am anyway! Fantastic choice of fabric, I love the 1950s twist

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