Alice wearing the ‘Camille’ dress using the book ‘Sewing With African Wax Print Fabric’ by Adaku Parker made from the  African Wax print from Dovetailed London.

Alice stitches up a sleeveless version of the Camille Dress

Alice (aka made the Camille Dress from the Dovetailed London pattern range. She was drawn to the unique shaping at the neckline, and decided to make a sleeveless version to let the bodice (and the amazing print!) take centre stage. A big fan of high fashion and runway, Alice added a voluminous gathered skirt to give the dress a nod to Dior and Prada’s vintage inspired dresses, while the bright colours and bold print give the dress a contemporary edge. Keen to use up every bit of the fabric, Alice made a matching bag to complete the look! Grab a cup of your favourite drink and enjoy!

I’d been eyeing up the Camille Dress sewing pattern since its launch, so as soon as Adaku got in touch about being part of The Stitch Festival, I knew which pattern would be the one for me. Adaku’s combined sense of style, fashion and creativity culminate perfectly in this design. While the Camille Dress is a wearable and comfortable style to wear, there is also a nod to high fashion - and it’s all in that amazing bodice shape…

The pattern

Camille has a neckline shape I’ve never sewn before, and is testament to how clever professional pattern cutting really is. The bodice is made up of three pieces - the bodice front and two back pieces, which are fastened with an invisible zip. The amazing neckline is formed by large darts that sculpt to create a high funnel-like neck. So simple yet so clever.

The original design has large sleeves and a near-circle skirt. This sleeve shape doesn’t quite fit my style so I decided to go sleeveless to create a dress ready for the warmer weather. I made no alterations to the armscye and it worked perfectly, which was a huge relief! I did however make the bodice and try it on before cutting and sewing the bodice lining, just in case it didn’t work out and needed some tweaks. I also opted for a gathered skirt, purely because I feel more comfortable in a gathered skirt for everyday wear, and I want to get a lot of wear from this dress.

The fabric

Camille looks amazing in contrasting fabrics, as shown by Adaku here. I decided to go for one fabric as I was going sleeveless and felt different prints on the skirt and bodice might look a bit incohesive without the sleeves tying it all together. I went for a bold floral print in fairly muted tones (although still bold and bright!), but you really can go all-out in vibrant shades with Dovetailed’s fabrics. The colours are beautiful and stayed colourfast after a pre-wash, and the fabric behaved perfectly throughout cutting and sewing - a guarantee of African wax print is it’s going to do what you tell it!

The project

With minimal pieces and clear construction (everything just makes sense!), this project is perfect for confident beginners or intermediate sewists. If you’re more advanced, this is a glorious project as it’s straightforward but still uses some brain power! As mentioned, I initially cut and sewed one bodice before cutting the lining, just to check the fit, but as with all patterns, I would make a toile before using your best fabric. The neckline forms beautifully, it was so satisfying to see it coming together to create that funnel shape. The rest of the project is fairly standard construction, so it was a joy to sew. Methodical, reasonably quick to come together, and beautifully finished (that lined bodice is a gorgeous touch), the Camille Dress was a truly enjoyable project to focus on. Music on, no head scratching moments, just pure sewing joy.

The result

In terms of fit, I found the bodice had quite a bit of ease, so I brought the back pieces in by 3 cm on each side before attaching the zip. It’s still fairly roomy so I think for my next Camille Dress I’ll go a size smaller for the bodice, but that’s down to personal preference and wanting a more fitted shape. Again, if you can, make a toile/test version to check the fit is how you want it. I’ll probably be glad for the slightly relaxed fit come summer as it’ll be more comfortable, and I definitely see myself wearing this on repeat! I absolutely love the shape, it’s pretty without being cutesy - the ideal middle ground. The Camille Dress is comfortable, chic, and that amazing neckline gives it a bit of edge. Now to get started with Camille no.2…

Want to make your own? Shop the pattern here.

Love the fabric? Shop the fabric here.

Want to buy ready made in a selection of Dovetailed fabrics? Shop ready made here.

Want to make your own with a little help? Shop workshops here



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