Cali Faye Gardenia Dress – 3 times!

Oh, it feels so good to sew and take pictures and write a blog post!!
First, thank you all for the lovely comments on Ashley and Darrin’s engagement. They are so excited. And her ring is exquisite 🙂 The wedding date is now February 21, firm, which is nice. More time to enjoy the engagement feelings and activities.
Gosh, I’ve been sort of absent for a while. But recovering from being unwell for 6 months has taken some time and lots of rest. But I’m so much better. Feels so good. I’ll put a little info on what happened at the end of this post…
Meanwhile, what a super cute dress. I found this on Kollabora, just zipping along looking at projects. And ordered the PDF download right away (there is a version for girls as well). I can’t find a line art pic anywhere, so I’ll try to describe: the front bodice is two-piece, with a slight sweetheart seam below the neckline and a raised front curve. The back bodice has a dipped curve ending just around the waistline. And the dress has nice 3/4 length sleeves. 

The bust conundrum:

Incredibly for any pattern, this one comes in sizes XXS – XXL – but that is a little misleading 🙂 The associated bust range is 30″ – 39.5″.  Whose bust – that of the dress, my bust? What size to use? A clue from Cali Faye: the model’s bust is 33.5″, and she is wearing a size Small, bust 31.5″. OK, I followed suit. My bust is 37.5″, so I drafted the size Large, bust 36″. And it worked – but I do wish pattern makers could be specific on this point.

(Before I forget, for reference, I’m 5’7 1/2″ and wear a size 14/40 just about all the time).

This mid-weight cotton/spandex from Girl Charlee (love, love) is a great weight for this dress. I only made two changes changes on this first version:

  • Added an inch to the skirt length. 
  • Lowered the curve of the front bodice edge by 1″ at center front, cured out to the side seams. It would be great for a baby bump the other way, but IMHO, looks nicer a little lower.
I was very surprised that the bodice, front and back, was long enough for me. I am accustomed to adding 1.5″ inches for my height – might be a caution for short waists…

I love this dress! While in JoAnn’s ages ago, I found a piece of camo cotton/lycra knit (and haven’t seen it since, in the store or online). And I’ve wanted to sew it ever since Angela of Collected Yarns made her camo maxi in August. Voila!

On this version I removed the sweetheart seam from the front bodice, drafting it as one easy piece, and used elbow length sleeves.
And now it’s jingle bells time! Again from Girl Charlee, a cotton/poly knit. 

This was fun. Ciao! Coco
A little info on what kept me down…

Incredibly insidious, and linked in the end, to my scleroderma. I had a severe B12 deficiency. Like no B12. From May, when I began to feel ill, to mid-October, the worst time, I increasingly lost my motor skills, had constant light-headedness and nausea, experienced mental confusion, and had vacillating blood pressure (orthostasis). I had overwhelming fatigue and was extremely weak. All the fingers in my left hand, my right thumb, and the toes on my left foot were numb, sometimes painfully so. And I developed episodic paroxysmal hemicrania, which is stabbing ‘ice pick’ headache, in my left temple and around my left eye. My scalp was so painfully sensitive that my hair hurt (the new haircut was because I just couldn’t brush or wash it easily). I was in the hospital twice with hypokalemia (potassium imbalance and metabolic acidosis), and ended up on a walker, with a nurse coming to the house every other day.
I was depressed, because I was seeing otolaryngologists, neurologists, and internists at Cleveland Clinic Hospital and getting sicker, not better. 
Then one afternoon, I remembered a test I had in 2012 – my B12 was only 181 in a normal range of 200 – 1100. I was struggling with medication-induced anorexia at the time, and my doctor put me on super vitamins to compensate. A year later I was off the problem-causing medication and had regained a healthy 18 pounds. And thought no more of it.
What we did not know then, was that I have scleroderma, an auto-immune disease. And auto-immune diseases tend to destroy something called ‘intrinsic factor’ in the stomach. The role of intrinsic factor is to trigger absorption of B12 from food and storage in the liver (which normally has a 2 – 5 year supply of B12 on hand). 
Apparently I’m out of both intrinsic factor and B12. 
The remedy was easy – I’m taking 3 milligrams of B12 a day. This is a lot of B12! Fortunately, the body uses supplemental B12 without any help from intrinsic factor. I feel so much better!!
I have to be careful – my liver is trying to replete it stores, and it’s kicking my potassium a bit while it does it, so I’m eating a lot of potassium. My body tells me when I need something – I get shaky or light-headed. I’m doing small meals 4-5 times a day. But I can do a grocery-shop now. And sew. And take pics. Wonderful.
Perhaps my experience will help someone who is likewise mystified. Hope so 🙂

38 thoughts on “Cali Faye Gardenia Dress – 3 times!

  1. Hi Carole. And thank you for the diet tips. I'll take a look. I'm almost vegetarian, only eat a bit of turkey and chicken, don't really cook any more. Always looking for tasty ways to pick up my protein and minerals! I love love Indian food like chickpea curry!


  2. Hi Virginia. Well, I haven't eaten meat in years, I do eat turkey and chicken occasionally. Mostly I focus on a balanced diet, getting in my protein and minerals, keeping out cholesterol, empty carbs,and fats. I don't cook! I microwave or eat it raw…I used to cook, was actually a very good cook, but lost interest when the children left home, and I was travelling all the time for business. And you're right, scleroderma is no fun – but I'm learning to manage 🙂 I'll look at the paleo diet, it's always interesting to see what works for others. Thks!


  3. Thank you, BeaJay. The whole thing was such a surprise. I've been so careful with my health because of other issues. Funny you mentioned my colour, I really was off-colour, almost yellow! Incredible. And I love my hair too, thank you for the compliment – it's super easy for me.


  4. Thanks so much, Cindy Ann. I'm better every single day.

    I wore my hair short for years, but now it's super curly and so easy. Turned out to be a blessing that I cut it!


  5. Thanks, Sara. This bout was really something. The dresses are really nice. I made one more, sleeveless and mid-calf, for really hot weather and sandals, it's super cute as well. Will blog when it gets warmer here (we're actually cool right now).


  6. Thanks so much! I've always loved your hair, particularly the color. If only I were braver, I'd color mine red – but I don't have the beautiful skin for it as you do!


  7. It would be so much fun to wear our dresses together 🙂 Life does get full to overflowing…I hope you get that breather soon. I think of you so often and keep looking to see if you have posted. Hugs…


  8. Oh, Bunny, I do hope it stays in remission! I have chronic migraine disorder, so my neurologist has had me on meds for that for 5 years. The medication for the paroxysmal hemicrania worked after a few days, but, wow, it is awful and the medication that pushed it back is not gentle either! He did say it is likely to recur, and that it is rare. Thank goodness for good neurologists.

    Hope you stay well, will be thinking of you.


  9. I am so glad you found an answer to your health issues. I have chronic paroxysmal hemicrania and know your pain. It hurts to put on makeup, I know. I can't imagine having it with the other health issues as well. They did check me and my B12 was fine. I am now on medication that is working wonderfully and it is in remission for the moment. It comes and goes. It is such a rare thing I just had to mention it as I don't know anyone who has ever had it and the neurologist told me it is quite rare as well.

    Your dresses are darling. Love the shape of that waistline. Take care.


  10. Oh, I love your new dresses — if we ever get together in real life, we have to wear our camo dresses:) And I have to jump on the bandwagon and say I love your new haircut — you look gorgeous! I am happy to hear you figured out a solution, and it turned out to be relatively simple. My mom had so much leg pain/restless leg problems for 15 years or more (and was on a lot of horrible medications trying to find a solution), but the thing that ended up getting rid of 85% of it was taking Vitamin D and magnesium supplements.

    On another note, I have been absent from the blog world for a while. Daily life, both good and bad, has been using up everything I've got this fall. I have to make it through the end of the year, and then hope to get a breather. I'm so glad you are feeling better!


  11. So glad you're better! It's amazing how problems like this that can easily be fixed can sometimes take so long to get diagnosed. I love the dresses, they look adorable! Nice and airy, they seem ideal for summer (taking note…).


  12. You poor thing. It is so horrible that the body rebels against itself. So glad to hear you are feeling better. You are certainly looking better – a happy smile and a good colour. I know that you had your hair cut due to your illness but let me say – that is THE cut for you. You look so sophisticated with that cut. Lovely.

    Great dresses too. You have been hard at work.


  13. Love, love the dresses, the pattern and the new hair do! You are looking fabulous. So sorry you have been so sick. So happy to hear that the B12 has been the answer to your issues in this case.


  14. Your dresses are lovely and I'm glad for you that you are feeling better. I've a lot of time on the couch myself lately and likewise it meant so much to me to get back in the sewing room!!


  15. Lovely dresses that suit your style and give you some comfort. How clever you were to figure out your B12 deficiency all on your own! I have a question exactly the opposite of Carole's–do you eat meat? I have some autoimmune issues and I am a big believer in the paleo diet, for what it's worth. Scleroderma is no fun at all. I had an aunt with it. Anyway, whatever your dietary practices, I'm so glad that the supplement form of B12 is so bioavailable.


  16. So sorry you have that nasty disease and associated trauma! I'm sure you are doing everything right to stay healthy, but may I suggest…if you haven't already…to look into Eat to Live, Forks Over Knives, and associated vegan/vegetarian diets?


Thank you for stopping by! comments are welcome and appreciated - Coco

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