My name is Rachel and I’m a sewing blogger/podcaster over at MakerStyle.ca
Today I wanted to share a dress I made in tribute to one of my all time favourite sewcialists – Sophie from Ada Spragg. I’ve always admired Sophie’s use of bold prints, awesome colours, and voluminous silhouettes. To me, her style seems high-fashion yet incredibly authentic.
I found Sophie’s blog right around the time when I started taking sewing more seriously and became obsessed with learning everything about the craft. Her garments really inspired me because they looked like something from a magazine yet were completely made by her. Seeing how professional her garments turned out encouraged me to get better at sewing. Then, almost a year ago, I interviewed her for an episode on the Maker Style Podcast and fell in love with her lovely self even more.
The make that has stood out to me the most over the last few years that I’ve been following Sophie were her iconic palm leaf culottes. I decided to recreate a similar look using a tropical print rayon challis. I think for all lot of sewists, Sophie is who comes to mind when you think of tropical prints so I thought this fabric would be a perfect match.
Since I’m not one for culottes, I decided to go for another trendy silhouette I could totally picture Sophie rocking: a drop waist dress. The pattern I used for my tribute was the Forsythe Dress by French Navy. If you’re not familiar with this pattern, it’s a drop waist dress with a slightly gathered skirt, a little bit of a high-low front, curved panels on the front bodice, a button back closure, kimono sleeves and hip-yoke pockets.
Yes, you heard that right, this dress has pockets!
This is the second time I’ve made this pattern so I’ve made some adjustments to match with my sewing style. Firstly, I replaced the bias binding with a facing. I’m not the best at sewing bias tape, and I was really struggling to make it lay flat while sewing the dress, so I ditched it and went with a facing.
Next, I omitted the back button placket and simply cut back pieces without it, leaving a little extra at the edge for seam allowance. I find that this pattern slips on perfectly over my head without needing the buttons at the back, so I went without them. This makes it a little easier to sew up quickly, which is always a win in my books!
While sewing I ran into a small construction snafu when I accidentally ripped a hole in my bodice front with the seam ripper. I was pretty upset thinking my near-finished dress was ruined, but Jenny from Ms. Jenny Homemaker came through with an amazing tip to save small holes like this in fabric – just fuse on some lightweight interfacing to the back! I’ve got a few pictures above of the hole and can barely see where it was, so I consider this make a huge success.
I love French Navy patterns because the sizing chart works well for my petite bod. I sewed up a size XXS at the bust and graded to an S at the hips for the perfect fit. I didn’t make any adjustments to the length of the dress and I’m 5,7″ for reference.
I love the finish look. It’s everything you could want in a summer dress – beachy, bold, and fun. But, I’m also excited to see how this dress translates into cooler fall weather. I could see it looking nice with a pair of black tights and a sweater for extra warmth come winter.
Sophie is one of my favourite maker’s and I’m so happy to be able to pay tribute to her awesome style with you all today! I can’t wait to see who everyone tributes – it’s going to be such a fun month.