I’ve had my eye on the Deer and Doe Cardamome Sewing Pattern for several months now. There was something about the style that caught my fancy. I delayed making it for so long because I wasn’t sure how this design would look on me. Too often I’ve tried a pattern that looked gorgeous on the model but ended up not quite right on me.

However, as you can see, I took the plunge and decided to just go for it. After all, what is there to lose? Yes, I could end up with a dress that I didn’t like, but that isn’t the end of the world.

To start off with, I made several changes to the original pattern. I did a 1 1/2 inch FBA, a 3/4 inch sway back adjustment (measured up 3/4 inch at the center back and tapered to nothing at the side seam. This accommodates my hips/bottom and means no weird wrinkles in the lower back) left off the buttons and buttonholes on the bib at the front, omitted the shirring at the waist, added a waistband and side zipper, and used a simple gathered skirt.

Whew! That’s a ton! But all those tweaks resulted in a dress that I can’t get enough of. The bodice is blousier than the original due to the FBA, but it fits over my bust perfectly. And with the waistband cinching everything in, I think it is quite flattering in this Cotton Fabric.

Taking that 3/4 inch of length out of the center back was far more effective than I thought it would be. I’ve regularly struggled with having weird bulky wrinkles at the center back just above my backside. It was only recently that I’ve realized a sway back adjustment might help with that. And it did!

I followed the tutorial on the Deer and Doe blog to add in the waistband and zipper. It is such a simple change, but I think it made the dress far more wearable. After making the Reglisse dress a couple of months ago, I’ve found that I don’t wear it as much as I would like because the shirring is fairly difficult to get over my head/shoulders and I’m always worried that I’ll rip the fabric.

In the tutorial they recommend shortening the front and back bodice pieces by about 1 1/2 inches and I decided not to. I knew that with my fuller bust I would need some extra length in the front. And, as above, I had already adjusted the back bodice. However, seeing how the finished dress looks on me I think I could do with removing about 1/2-3/4 inch from the bodice. It isn’t horribly too long, but I think shortening it ever so slightly would make the waistband sit better on my waist.

One of my top favorite details of the dress is the bib on the front and back. I love it! I think it is an adorable detail and while a bit fiddly to sew, it was so much fun. It turned out beautifully and I want to make another Cardamome dress purely so I can sew another bib! I left off the buttons since such a high neckline wouldn’t look right on me. Plus, if I can avoid sewing buttonholes I consider it an extra successful sewing project!

I was extremely pleased with how my Pauline Alice Cami dress turned out with the gathered skirt. Since then I am all about super full gathered skirts. I’ve avoided them before because I thought they made my waist look big, but I realized that when I made the skirt REALLY full it actually accentuated the narrower waist. So I knew immediately that I wanted another poofy skirt on this dress. And it actually mimics the gathers in the bodice which is quite nice.

Okay, let’s talk about sleeves for a second. As I have mentioned several times in previous posts, I struggle with getting sleeves to fit. 9 times out of 10 I will leave the sleeves off and have my garments either sleeveless, with cap sleeves, or sleeve bands. As I was already taking a chance with this dress, I branched out and was extra adventurous by attempting the sleeves too!

I cut the sleeves at a size 46 which is two sizes larger than the rest of the dress. I wanted to be sure I had extra room in there because that’s where I usually struggle. I don’t mind that the sleeve has a bit of puff at the shoulder. In fact I rather like it! I didn’t know until I basted the side seams whether the sleeves would actually work, and I was convinced they weren’t going to right up until I tried on the dress for the first time. But they did! Whether it is due to the actual pattern drafting or if it is because I made the sleeves larger I don’t know, but they fit and I can move my arms around perfectly.

I hope you aren’t terribly bored of my Deer and Doe obsession because it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon! I have the Lupin jacket planned for October’s MCBN and I can’t get the idea of a festive, holiday Chardon skirt out of my head so stay tuned for that!

-Emily