Sewcialists Sew Style Hero : : PS, I Drafted My Dress Pattern

Sew Style Hero, The Sewcialists, My Small Wardrobe, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger

Hallo. Hallo. August has been anything but lazy chez A Colourful Canvas. It’s been weekend getaways, beach days, and eating all the ice cream days {which in my case is So Delicious Coconut Almond Bars}. And, as if that hasn’t been enough, there’s been not one but two sewing community socials buzzing along this month as well.

The Sewcialists Sew Style Hero Month (previously Tribute Month) can be found on Instagram @sewcialists  and hashtag #sewstylehero as well as on their newly revamped blog, The parameters are generous….share a make inspired by a style hero. Yep…it’s just that easy.

Braugust has also caught my attention this year. Organized by @tailormadeshop, it’s an IG exclusive…each day has a themed prompt…all things lingerie and swimwear related. The hashtag is #braugust2018. Sigh…so much pretty. I managed to sew up some underthings and I’ve nearly finished my #2018makenine swimsuit due to all the inspiring makes I’ve been seeing.

But…back to today…and we’re all about Sew Style Hero.

When asked to define my personal style, I usually reply classic with a twist. The description is intentionally slightly vague…I like to leave myself some wiggle room for experimentation. A small window of potential. A pie in the sky hope of one day reaching an unattainable fashion goal. Wot…what’s that you ask? Well, that’d be my secret hankering to be French Girl Chic. I don’t actually expect I’ll ever be French Girl Chic….but #stylegoals….just sayin’. I know the reality. I live it. I can’t say no to whimsical prints and fruity colour palettes. But. The dream is real people.

Sew Style Hero, The Sewcialists, My Small Wardrobe, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger

Photo above right courtesy of My Small Wardrobe

One blogger that inspires me greatly with her effortlessly chic and unique perspective is Carelia of My Small Wardrobe. IMO she has a great sense of style and proportion and she adds just the right amount of unexpected or playfulness or….the je ne sais quois…to her outfits.

Simple maybe, but her blue and white striped t-shirt dress had me at hello. She’s featured it twice on her blog, here and also hereHer first post, playfully titled My Effortful Attempt to French Style, hints at her sense of humor.

So yes. I like the dress. A lot. So much so, that I decided to dust off my pattern drafting skills and give making my own version a go.Sew Style Hero, The Sewcialists, My Small Wardrobe, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger

Photo above right courtesy of My Small Wardrobe

At first glance, the pattern looked fairly straightforward to knock out. I’s a J Crew knit dress with a simple shape and no closures.

But….I gotta tell ya…that underarm/sleeve piece was a puzzle piece that had me scratching my head. I did figure it out….woot…with major help from Carelia’s photo above right. I’m sure she had no idea how helpful that detail shot would prove to be for a sewing blogger. {If you’re wondering…the top of the side panel is V shaped and the sleeve pattern piece is also V shaped.}

Sew Style Hero, The Sewcialists, My Small Wardrobe, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger

The beauty in this dress is all about precision stripe matching or…precision stripe not matching…as is the case for the center front/back side seams.

The stripe details are what make the dress special. The stripe details are also what made me almost lose my mind. Offset stripes. Matching stripes. The same…but different. There was only. One. Way. Lots of pins and then….hand basting the seams before sewing. That extra step was 100% worth it.

Sew Style Hero, The Sewcialists, My Small Wardrobe, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger

Last, but not least, let’s talk fabric. I searched high and low for high quality striped fabric in blue and white. It’s difficult to find and I literally jumped up and down when I found it on the Mood Fabrics website. For those that sew, you know. For others….Mood Fabrics is an American fabric store whose fame derives from being the official store on Project Runway. My fabric, an ecru and navy Saint James Striped Knit Ponte can be found hereI really like it and would/will purchase it again. I am, however, still on the hunt for a fabric that more closely matches the J Crew dress. I really want those equal sized stripes. So. People. If you know of a source….please, please, please let me know.

All righty…that’s all she wrote for today. Massive thanks to Carelia of My Small Wardrobe for graciously permitting me to use her photos in my blog post today. And…can’t forget…thanks also for blogging your outfits. They really do inspire.

Thanks also to the team at The Sewcialists. I love your posts, your sense of community and your quarterly challenges.

See you all soon!


  • Reply Sheila (of Ephemera) August 31, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    What a fun post, and what an awesome challenge to yourself, Sue! I love your version of the dress – you did an amazing job in recreating it. The offset stripes are such a nice detail, and I truly appreciate how much work it takes to make such a “simple” detail. I love that you bought the fabric from Mood! I love PR!

    Hope you’ve been having an awesome summer – are ya ever coming over to the Island?? I’m going to be in Van on Sat night next week to see Frank Turner at the Orpheum, but it’s a surgical strike – in and out, less than 24 hours for dinner and a show. Hugs to you and enjoy the rest of this crazy summer!

    • Reply Sue September 4, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      Hey Sheila! PR isn’t airing again until 2019…I can hardly stand the wait.

      Summer has been fabulous. I mean. The weather has been awesome. I was over in July and it wasn’t until the last minute that I knew I was able to stay overnight….so pretty much family time and we did get a quick visit at the Egypt exhibit. For sure, I’ve got you on my mind and hope to connect some time!!!! xo

  • Reply Linda (ACraftyScrivener) September 1, 2018 at 6:52 am

    your drafting is impressive, Sue! Art Gallery Fabrics has some equal stripes in their knits, but not a true navy, its a lighter blue. I just had a quick look and their ‘Striped Alike Caviar’ looks like it may be dark navy?

    • Reply Sue September 4, 2018 at 7:06 pm

      Thanks bunches Linda! Hey…great minds think alike. I actually an Art Gallery stripe for my second draft of my pattern. It looks pretty great…I wear the dress frequently, but it lacks a bit of the weightiness that I’m ideally looking for. That being said, AG has good,consistent quality and I love sewing their knits in general.

  • Reply fran September 1, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Super again!!!!

    • Reply Sue September 4, 2018 at 7:06 pm

      Thanks Mom!

  • Reply Sherry - Petite Over 40 September 1, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    I’d say you nailed it with French Girl Chic here, Sue! In my humble opinion, there is always an element of FGC to your style–usually with a nod to days when Coco Chanel was wandering the beaches of France in simple linen flare pants and a navy top. (I’m thinking now of your most recent coverall make.) Even when your dresses have patterns, the cuts and styles are of this same classic era. (Classic with a twist really fits!)

    But back to the dress. It’s ever so cool that you posted the original blogger inspiration for this make. The side-by-side photos and your comments about the underarm/sleeve section helped me see just how not-simple creating this pattern might be. And yet it looks effortless on you.

    Here’s hoping you get a little more time to wear this lovely dress before our PNW rains set in.

    – Sherry

    • Reply Sue September 4, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      THanks Sherry! You know your styles and eras so I’m really pleased as punch that you think I nailed my FGC. And thanks for the other visuals too. It helps me to hone in a little tighter on what I want to achieve with future makes.

      Hopeful maybe…but I think I might be able to wear this dress with tights into autumn. We’ll see if it looks good…

  • Reply Anna Brown September 1, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    i love this post and i curve this dress. Tres chic

    • Reply Sue September 4, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      Thanks so much Anna!

  • Reply Gillian Whitcombe September 1, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Its so beautiful – I love how you did the side by side shots! That sleeve is such an interesting little detail – I wouldn’t have noticed it if you didn’t point it out, but now that I see it, I can’t look away! Thats my favourite kind of sewing detail! Thanks for joining in another Sewcialists challenge! <3

    • Reply Sue September 4, 2018 at 7:11 pm

      Thanks Gillian. At first go I sewed the sleeve and side panel together with an outer V on the sleeve nested into an inner V on the side panel and I thought ‘What was the point of that?’ I had a little puddling of fabric right under the arm. Ah Ha. I twigged onto making the sleeve an inner V and it worked like a charm. I agree…it’s a little detail, but I really love it.

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion September 1, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    You did an amazing job. On stripe and not on stripe… beautiful. I know what a lot of work this is. And how important. Even yesterday I rejected a top at a shop because the stripes didn’t match at the seams. I hate that. It is lovely and playful not to have them matched at the panels. You can see that it is intentionally though.
    You go and try and find the darker striped material and make another one. Oh one tip: I think a darker scarf like Carelia is wearing would be nicer for you as well.

    • Reply Sue September 4, 2018 at 7:14 pm

      Thanks Greetje! I have to say…in this day and age, I’m impressed when I see ready-to-wear stripes done well! I will keep looking for stripes…it won’t surprise me if I have to order from the UK or Europe. I’ve seen some sewing European bloggers work with lovely stripes…just have to remember who they are so I can ask. AND! One would think France would be the go-to place for Breton stripes.

      Definitely will keep my eye out for a darker scarf, thanks. I have two…what we call bandanas…like Carelia is wearing, but they were both off in the blue shade and kind of crappy quality. Shamefully, I bought one of them in the dollar store so you do get what you pay for.

  • Reply Helene Wilson September 2, 2018 at 6:27 am

    Great pattern drafting! Your dress is really gorgeous. You might want to try Marci Tilton for some striped fabrics:

    • Reply Sue September 4, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      Thanks Helene! And thanks so much for recommending Marcy Tilton. I haven’t visited her web store in a very long time but I will check it out!

  • Reply Linda Storoz September 3, 2018 at 11:05 am

    This dress is awesome and so flattering. I love your stripes and solids outfits the best but, then, that’s pretty much all I wear. Love this make. Linda

    • Reply Sue September 4, 2018 at 7:16 pm

      Thank you Linda! In looking back over my more recent makes, I think I’m starting to gravitate to more solids and stripes. I’ll never not love polka dots, but I’ve been loving the challenge playing with stripe matching so you can expect to see more in the future!

  • Reply Sabine Ingerl September 6, 2018 at 10:39 am

    A marvellous dress, Sue, and wonderful pictures of you in the warm evening light.

    • Reply Sue September 12, 2018 at 10:19 am

      Thank you Sabine. It was around 8:00pm when we took these photos. The sunset was really pretty.

  • Reply Annie September 11, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    I love everything you make and love reading your narrative of their creation, too. This is another winner! You look so doggone HAPPY in this dress, I don’t doubt you’ll get a lot of wear from it.

    P.S. It’s black, not navy–but check out these stripes:

    • Reply Sue September 12, 2018 at 10:22 am

      Thank you so much Annie. It surprises me how often I reach for this dress. But actually doesn’t surprise me…it really is so very comfortable…and…I feel great in it!

      Will check out the Blackbird Fabrics link, thanks. If I recall, Caroline does not list the weight of the fabric, but I can always ask her if she knows. Or order a sample…

      Edit: Ooooh…she does list the gsm. This jersey is 200, which is a little light for what I’m looking for.

  • Reply Weaveron Textile August 1, 2019 at 2:42 am

    Sometimes your dress looks great on the go … and photography is great too ..

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