Sailboat dress!

A good friend is getting married in August on Block Island, and we’re spending the week there on vacation. He’s a maritime lawyer, so I had to find something nautical to wear while wandering around this classically New England vacation.

Fun fact: Amity Island in Jaws is a fictional island off the coast of Rhode Island. I’m pretty sure Block Island is basically Amity.

Anyway – something nautical, and preferably involving sailing, since this maritime lawyer has been sailing since he could walk. The first time I went sailing was with George in Puerto Rico – we went on a one-week sailing adventure last March!

This is my natural state. You’ll never get me out of the water!

Puerto Rico was gorgeous, and sailing from island to island across the Caribbean was the ideal way to vacation. I had to find a print worthy of the captain’s wedding.

When I saw Roisin of Dolly Clackett use a fantastic sailboat fabric, first here, then here again, I knew I had to snap it up immediately. It was navy and red, and covered in sailboats.

I paired the fabric with the Sewaholic Cambie pattern. This dress doesn’t need any introductions – it’s a darling of thousands of sewing blogs, and it’s easy to see why. I muslined this quickly in a grey polka-dotted Japanese cotton (unlined, unblogged, but worn fairly often), then cut into this fabric.

As you can tell, I didn’t really bother with seam matching, which ended up working out in the end, because I made a ton of adjustments to the finished garment. Muslining doesn’t really help if you don’t bother taking note of the adjustments you make. :P

When I was hemming this dress, I left the lining a tiny bit longer than the main skirt. I meant to eventually pick up some lace to hem the lining, so a little bit of the lace peeked out under the skirt, but never got around to this. You can kind of see the serged end peeking out. It looks a bit sloppy, but I actually kind of like the effect.


You can kind of see the muslin in this picture!

As usual, I did a 2" FBA on the bodice, shortened it by about 1/2", and did a quick swayback adjustment. The dress ended up nearly 2 inches too big after I finished it – I’m not sure where the extra space came from, but this seems to be a problem I have with dresses in general. I think I just like less ease in my dresses than most things are drafted for!

(this looks larger than I’d bargained for.)

After wearing it to work, I came home, drank half a bottle of wine, took off my dress, and cut off 1" off of each side of the back seam.

Just ran it through the serger. No measuring.

This could have gone horribly wrong, and I’m surprised that the sheer level of YOLO involved worked out in the end. Living dangerously works out sometimes.

I also ended up taking about 1" off the strap lengths, which is becoming a routine adjustment, too. I really like that the sleeves are attached last, which makes my bevy of narrow shoulder/dowager’s hump/who knows what adjustments super easy!


The dress is fully-lined (my first!), and Tasia’s instructions are top-notch. I lined the dress with a delightfully soft grey cotton lawn from Stonemountain and Daughter. The lining is machine-stitched in, which is a technique I’ve been using on all the lined bodices I’ve made since. The less hand-stitching I have to do, the happier I am.

Excuse the wrinkles – I took this photo after wearing the dress all day.

This dress is almost reversible!

This dress has had very heavy rotation in my wardrobe – it’s a lovely fit, and the weight of the fabric is perfect. I totally understand now why Michael Miller prints are so popular. I’m looking forward to a few more Cambies, including a planned wedding-guest dress!

Fabric //

Pattern // Sewaholic’s Cambie

Sizing // My size was all over the place: I cut a size 8, did a large FBA on the bodice, then took out 1" off the back.