This dress came together in a very serendipitous way. I didn’t realize that the fabric and pattern would be a perfect match. I had no clue how it would look sans collar and buttons. But daggumit I went for it. And I love it.
After making multiple versions of Deer and Doe’s free Plantain Tee, I figured I should fork over some cash and try one of their many non-free patterns. The Cardamome Dress caught my eye with its bib front and smocked waist—two new-to-me techniques. The pattern also has a view with full-length sleeves, and I will definitely be making that in the fall. (Mandatory “It’s got pockets, too!” mention.)
I took my time with construction. This isn’t the sort of dress you can whip up in a night unless you’re a complete speed demon. The difficulty is listed as 4 out of 5, but the directions are solid and I think most people with a collared shirt under their belt could easily tackle Cardamome.
The trickiest step was the smocked waist, which calls for four lines of elastic thread. I’d never shirred/smocked before, so this was quite the learning experience. This post from Dawn Nicole helped a ton. Quick crash course in shirring for those of you who are unfamiliar:
- Elastic thread goes in the bobbin. Regular thread goes through the needle, per usual.
- You have to wind elastic thread onto the bobbin by hand.
- If you have a Brother cs6000i machine, I highly recommend watching this video. It demonstrates how to carefully adjust the tension by using a tiny screwdriver to tighten a screw on the bobbin casing. GAME CHANGER. My shirring was sad and loose before making this adjustment.
For the collar, or lack thereof, I took some inspiration from this Grainline Studio tutorial on how to sew the Alder Shirtdress with a Mandarin-style collar. It’s essentially a collar stand without the collar piece. I like the streamlined look of the Mandarin collar with Cardamome’s feminine gathering and bib front. I had every intention of adding buttonholes and buttons, but then I wore this out a couple times and realized they’re superfluous for a summer dress. Maybe I’ll add them if I make a cold-weather-friendly version.
And the fabric! I almost forgot. I found this cherry-red block-printed sateen on Denver Fabrics, and it is perfect. It’s totally opaque, which is ideal since this dress isn’t lined, and I love the kooky (slightly patriotic) geometric print. It feels a little knockoff Dusen Dusen to me and that’s exactly why I bought it.
Here are the dirty deets:
- Pattern: Cardamome Dress from Deer and Doe
- Size: 40
- Fabric: 100% cotton sateen
- Alterations: Added 1.25″ to the skirt, only because I forgot to add that length to the top. I’ll swap that for next time. // Mandarin-style collar. // No buttons.
BONUS BLOOPER REEL: Here are some pictures that I managed to ruin with talking or general derp-ness.
I haven’t seen this dress around the blogosphere very much, and I’m not sure why… it’s a fantastic pattern. Think you’ll give it a shot?