Merchant and Mills Camber V2

Given my love of the 1960’s fashion aesthetic and my dissatisfaction with some aspects of my first Camber, I decided to sew up V2. Using an embroidered cotton and underlined with a blue cotton (both originally from The Fabric Store and more recently from my stash), here it is.

After wearing V1 a number of times, I found the following issues:

Issue 1 – the neckline felt as if it were constantly dragging backwards and choking me. The Big Red Book suggested that this may be caused by a forward should joint so I experimented by adding ⅝” to the back shoulder seam while simultaneously removing ⅝” from the front shoulder seam. This appears to have reduced the dragging backwards feeling considerably.

Issue 2 – excess fabric in the back which does little to flatter my figure. So, I removed ⅝” from the front and back centre seams. This has made a difference in the front but the back is still in need of some tweaking in my opinion (I’m thinking of adding darts on V3).

Issue 3 – removing ⅝” from the front and back reduced my ability to throw it on with ease. To combat this, I inserted an invisible zip into the side seam. Much better!

Upon its first public outing, I received a number of compliments; however, this particular comment from a brand new colleague took the cake…”ChaCha, I love the way you dress. You look like a librarian to the movie stars!” I’ll take that!

Fellow sewists, what is your opinion of this version (particularly the view from the back)?

Until next time, chat quietly amongst yourselves.

ChaCha signature 2

14 thoughts on “Merchant and Mills Camber V2

  1. This weekend I decided it was time to get my Camber pattern out and make it up. So I made the tee-top Camber first to see if I liked the upper body fit and for me it worked well with my usual adjustments. But like you I got the baggy back and I decided to make 2 darts which has helped. For this top I used a cotton seersucker. Happy with the tee, I decided to make the Camber dress. Same pattern and adjustments but the sleeves don’t look right and the back doesn’t look baggy. I did not add darts. The dress fabric is a cotton that looks like linen that I was given so I have no real idea what it is but is does drape beautifully. I am baffled by this but I do have 2 wearable muslin’s. Try some darts in the back of your dress as I am sure they will help and I think the front, shoulders and sleeves look really nice.

    • Hmmm…I wonder why it did that to you. Sometimes sewing can be so frustrating! I will try the darts next and see what happens. Keep your eyes peeled!

    • Shall do! I am currently sewing up a vintage dress and can see excess fabric in the curve of my back so your comment and Red’s are timely. Let’s see how V3 goes!

  2. I agree with the comments above. Maybe some “teardrop” shaped darts radiating up and down from the waistline (long dart heading up from the waist, shorter dart heading down) in the back will help, and they’re retro too. You could try basting them into V1 to see how it looks.

    • Hmmm…never heard of this. Must do some research. Actually, basting them into V1 sounds like a great idea as I love wearing it but passionately dislike how I look from the back!

  3. It looks great but I think I prefer fabric in v1. Can I ask what sizes you made? You mentioned going down a size for v2. Did you?

    • Hi Kay,

      Thanks for your feedback; it’s always great to receive another opinion. For v1 I cut a size 10. For version 2 I used the size 10 pattern with the following alterations: Drew a new centre front line 5/8″ in from the original (essentially narrowing the front by 1.25″). I made this same alternation on the back piece. I also inserted an invisible side zip in v2. Overall, while I love the linen of v2, this pattern is not a great fit for my body shape unless I make some further alterations such as inserting back darts to give a little more definition. My recent Vanessa Pouzet make is much more flattering. I hope this information is helpful for you.

  4. Hello, I just came across your blog while searching for Camber vs Laurel. I’m trying to determine which dress to get next. I have the Merchant and Mills factory and trapeze patterns and think they are really well drafted (despite my lack of skill in the collar section) and wanted to try out a Colette pattern as they seem to be really popular. What are your thoughts on both dresses now that you have tried them?

    • Hello back and welcome to my blog! I would love to be able to give you a straight answer but I can’t. Here are my thoughts on each pattern and hopefully I’ll give you an answer by the end of the mini essay!

      Colette Laurel: I found that the bust darts were way too high so had to make that alteration. I also added darts in the back to give it some shaping as the shift dress is not the best look on me (not necessarily an alteration you would have to make), and I found the neckline a little choking on me. I also dislike the sleeve head shaping as it can be difficult to get a smooth finish.

      Merchant and Mills Camber: I added darts to the back to assist with shaping, added a side zip to one version due to fabric choice and lengthened the sleeve. The sleeve head drafting is excellent and produces a very clean finish. The neck choked me a bit on this one as well so I did a forward sloping shoulder adjustment and it is better.

      I have pointed out these issues as both patterns needed some work. That said, the Camber pips the Laurel in my opinion. Happy sewing 🙂

      • Wow thanks for your response. I already trust Merchant and Mills for their quality and commitment to professional drafting. I think perhaps my next pattern (other than the sale stuff at spotlight) will be the Camber. I’m glad I found your blog!

      • You are welcome! There is a hiatus on blogging at the moment as my machines are in another country to me but service should recommence in the next month. Hope you stick around and good luck with your Camber; I don’t think you will be disappointed. I will keep my eye on your blog for it!

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