Outfits · Sewing · Vintage-Inspired

Gingham Square Dance Dress: Sewaholic Cambie

I have often seen pictures of vintage style, square dancing dresses on google, or Pinterest. Their twirly delightfulness captures my interest every time!

(The sources are as follows: 1. Source 2. Source 3. Source 4. Source 5. Source )

How gorgeous are those! I loved watching Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Oklahoma, and various other Rogers and Hammerstein movies and seeing all the amazing twirly dresses.

Confession time: I’ve never been to a square dance, but if I did, I’d wear this dress:

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Oh the tiers! And the ruffles! This dress makes the little girl in me squeal with glee. Childhood dreams coming true here, y’all. Gingham and twirliness = perfection!

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This is the Sewaholic Cambie Dress with a few modifications. I saw this dress when it came out, and, to be honest, I wasn’t very thrilled with it. I don’t know if it was the fabric choices on the samples, or my newness to sewing, but I didn’t think I would want to sew it up. Then I started seeing absolutely gorgeous versions popping up everywhere. The dress grew on me. And grew on my. And-. . . You get the idea.

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I bought the paper pattern over the black Friday weekend last year when there was a really good sale. (That was also when I discovered that I had been reading the prices in Canadian currency, which translated to significantly cheaper in USD. Needless to say, I was thrilled!) I deliberated on sewing it for a very, very long time. I was worried that I would need to make several adjustments in order for it to fit correctly. I have a horrible habit of procrastinating about sewing up a pattern if I think there will be a list of adjustments necessary.

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As it turns out, the only adjustment I made was to add a 1/4″ FBA. Other than that, I went with a straight size 10. For my second version, and I have already made one, I added half an inch of length to the bodice, and I may add just a smidge more.

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I omitted the included skirt patterns, and replaced it with this simple tiered variation. Each tier is twice the length of the one above. The bottom tier was a little more than 240 inches, or, over six yards long! I used yarn and a wide zig-zag stitch to do all the gathering. Although a little more of a hassle to start with, when I didn’t have to deal with breaking threads, or doing two rows of wide stitches it was absolutely worth it.

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Other than that, I followed the pattern instructions precisely. I lined the bodice with some cotton fabric, and lined the sleeves in the same gingham material. I didn’t even end up hemming the bottom tier. I just serged the edge and it is practically invisible. Although it might not be a couture finish, I didn’t want to take any more length off the dress, and this doesn’t weigh down the hem. In all reality, I only did it because I was lazy and I needed to finish the dress in time to wear it the next day!

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I am very pleased overall with the Cambie dress pattern and instructions. It is excellently done! I quite liked the illustrations. Overall, the pattern and instructions had a “homey” feel to them. It also helped that Tasia had a sew along that she ran a while back on her blog. Before I started the dress, I read the post about how to attach the sleeve to the bodice front after you’ve applied the lining, so that made it even easier.

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Jolly day to you!

~Emily

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