And here is the last pattern of the Deer&Doe fall-winter collection! After the Arum dress and the Fumeterre skirt, the only one left is the Cardamome dress. Unlike Arum, which pulled me out of my comfort zone style-wise, Cardamome is closer to what I’m used to sew and wear, as it it fitted at the waist and also because it’s a shirtdress ! (c.f. my recent obsession) Cardamome is ranked as a pattern for advanced sewists (a 4 out of 5 on the new Deer&Doe scale) because it is full of details: shirring, pockets, bib, collar with collar stand, and sleeve plackets. All of this makes for a slightly ambitious dress project, and the opportunity to try out a few techniques.
Actually this dress is not the one I sewed to test the pattern. I had made that first one in a very lightweight cotton and you could see the pockets through the skirt and that did not look good. So be careful if you pick a fabric that is not opaque enough, as you might have to add a lining to the skirt or remove the pockets altogether. Oh yeah, and my test version also used a different pattern for the left and right sleeves, so again, not a good look.
As I was pretty happy with the pattern I made another dress, this time making sure that my fabric wasn’t see-through. I chose to use a chambray, taking inspiration from the many chambray shirtdresses made by Sandra (like this one, this one, or that one). It was my first time using chambray so I wasn’t sure what to look for, and I picked this one semi-randomly. I was a bit disappointed when I received it as it was a bit thicker and less soft than I expected, but in the end I think it worked well for the pattern because it gives some body to the skirt and the collar.
I have to admit that I wasn’t really into the whole “bib” idea to begin with. I have seen a lot of bib dresses on Pinterest recently, but I can’t stop associating them more with drool-catching devices rather than with anything I would want to wear as an adult. So I wasn’t feeling the contrasting bib and I decided to make it in self-fabric instead. Since then I saw Julie‘s wonderful version and I completely changed my mind. I think her choice of making the dress and the collar in the same color and the bib in white is absolutely genius. I’m also thinking that the Cardamome’s bib is wider than your usual bib and that might help getting rid of the baby/lobster associations.
As I hate wearing shirts buttoned all the way up and I knew I would never close all the buttons on the Cardamome, I skipped the buttonholes and buttons. With the weight of the collar and without the buttons to keep it down, the bottom of the bib does not exactly sit as it is supposed to, but I don’t mind it.
That’s how I wear it, so I think it looks better without the buttonholes. And here’s what it would look like with the buttons closed up and my giraffe neck:
However I really like how the yoke looks in the back. And even though I’m not usually a big fan of bodices that blouse up above the waist, I think the proportions here make it work.
I wanted to make the sleeveless version because I had really liked how my test version looked before I sewed the sleeves on it. The only thing that bothers me is that I find that the armholes are a bit wide, but that might be in part because my fabric is too rigid and makes them stick away from the body.
The armholes are finished using biais binding, and luckily I had a near-perfect match in my stash, an old packaged one that I had found at a yard sale. That was nice because I was way too lazy to pull out the leftover fabric to cut some biais strips, and anyway I thought self-fabric biais binding might be too heavy. Here I didn’t have to do any of that and the inside looks great.
I made a size 38 / 36.5 / 40, lenghtened the bodice by 6/8th of an inch above the waist and cut the length of the largest size for the skirt. Grading between several sizes around the pockets wasn’t so straightforward and I was afraid at some point I was going to mess up, but I’m thinking Eléonore might be publishing a tutorial on how to do this in the future.
When it came to do the shirring I also felt a bit uneasy… I had a really bad experience doing the shirring on this dress, as I was using an old elastic thread that kept on breaking. Instead of the technique described by Eléonore, which is to do a zigzag stitch on top of the thread, I tried this one where the elastic thread is winded around the bobbin, and it worked perfectly. I am actually looking forward to more shirring now!
In the end I am extremely happy with this dress: it is great to wear, both comfortable and elegant. And for once, I made a dress that is long enough to wear at work! And to top this off I just found out that it looks great with my Ondee sweater, with the collar sticking out, and that’s great because it’s finally going to give me a chance to wear it. Now I would just have to make another Cardamome with long sleeves for the winter…