The Cami is a lovely pattern featuring a fitted button-front bodice (which also has a side zip) with a classic shirt collar, full gathered skirt, pockets and two different sleeve options (the 3/4 cuffed sleeve that I made or short sleeves).
Cami is rated 2 out of 3 for difficulty, which I think is probably accurate. Obviously a shirtdress has certain features such as a button band and collar which make it a little more tricky than a basic dress, but the most complicated bit about sewing Cami for me was entirely self-inflicted - my fabric choice. Not that there's anything wrong with the fabric itself, quite the contrary (it's a lovely cosy brushed cotton from Calico Laine), but trying to match up the tartan/plaid/check pattern on all the various pieces that a shirtdress entails did cause me a bit of a headache, and I think it probably took me about three times longer than usual to cut this dress out because I was being so careful about what I cut where! I also found that the layers of material where shifting a bit as I sewed, so I quickly hand basted most of the seams before sewing them, which helped keep things lined up nicely.
I'm glad I took the extra time to make sure everything lined up as I think it makes a massive difference on a project like this and I'm really happy with the end result. On that note, excuse any wrinkles in the photo above - I realised I'd forgotten to take any back shots when taking the rest of the photos but I'm pretty pleased with how the back collar lines up with the back bodice so I had to take this photo when I'd already been wearing the dress for most of the day.
In terms of fit, I made a straight size 44, which is the largest size in the pattern - so not it's not the biggest size range. It fits me nicely, with just the right amount of ease in the bodice for my liking. I don't like shirts or shirtdresses to be too tight or I get paranoid about gaping between the buttons, but I have no worries about that here.
I did add quite a bit of length to the pattern - about 1.5 inches in the bodice and 3 inches in the skirt, which isn't a massive surprise because Pauline Alice patterns are designed for an average height of 5 ft 5, and I'm 3-4 inches taller than that and have to lengthen almost all bodices. As I'd added extra length in the bodice, I also needed to adjust the button placement, and actually ended up adding in an extra button as that was the spacing that seemed best for me.
I toyed with various different button ideas, and spent quite a while one Saturday afternoon sat on the floor of my local wool shop comparing how different blue, red, white and green buttons of varying sizes looked on an offcut of my material, but in the end I opted for some small, plain navy buttons from my stash - sometimes simple is best, don't you think?
I really enjoyed sewing Cami - yes, I may have regretted my fabric choice slightly when I was in the middle of all the pattern matching, but the dress itself sewed up really nicely and the instructions are thorough, clear and easy to follow - and there's a great sewalong if you need a helping hand with any of the steps (I got a bit confused about how the collar was meant to be attached, but a quick consultation of the sewalong soon cleared that up). I think the finished result looks quite professional too, which is always nice!
I'm really pleased with how this one turned out, it was definitely worth the effort I put into the pattern-matching and the dress feels lovely to wear. Plus as an added bonus, it seems that there's a lot of tartan/plaid in the shops at the moment so I may have accidentally sewn something 'fashionable' as well as it being something I like! Now that Mary's extended the Autumn of 1000 Shirtdresses until January, I'm quite tempted to try to sew another Cami. Will you be joining in with the challenge?