Sewcialist Tribute Month: Like a Sewing Fanatic

This month’s Sewcialist theme was “Tribute”, sewing projects inspired by another sewing blogger. It should have been so easy to choose one, but it was actually quite difficult to try to narrow down the options seeing how many amazing and different sewing bloggers are out there now. I had to come up with some criteria to limit my options. I wanted to challenge myself, so I wanted to try to pick someone whose style is relatively different from my own. If I realize that someone has inspired a project, I usually try to credit them, so I know I have several past projects, like this one, this one, and this one, that were inspired by other sewing bloggers. I wanted to make sure to choose someone who hadn’t already inspired me with a project.

Tribute Dress 5

As I was trying to choose a muse, I began thinking about a particular question posed by Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic a few months ago. She had asked something to the effect of why aren’t there more sewing bloggers making up professional clothing such as business suits and such. I have a couple of theories about this, but the one that runs closest to my own personal experience is along the lines of how someone who is in a position to need really professional clothing on a frequent basis is also probably someone who is terribly busy with work and who thus may not have the time to also make their own clothing and blog about it on a regular basis. It’s easy for me to make excuses for not making more professional clothing; being a telecommuter, I don’t exactly need to wear a suit. On the other hand, if I had a professional event I needed to show up for on short notice, what would I wear? It seems prudent to have at least one option in the closet.

Tribute Dress 2Carolyn seems to be the reigning queen of sewing professional woman’s work-wear. (as an aside, she is also a plus-size woman, so incredibly inspirational for me on the fitting front too) She often makes dresses, usually some variation on a sheath-dress shape. She uses beautiful fabrics and various trims to create all kinds of different looks, despite the similarities in shape between many of them. She recently used Vogue 8972 for a color-blocked dress, and she often uses ponte knits. I thought I’d combine those elements and make myself a sheath dress of my own.

Tribute Dress 4I had this textured black knit (poly or poly blend) fabric as well as the black/ivory colored printed ponte in my stash. The print would have been hard to use on its own in a dress, but I love how it combined with the second fabric. in princess-seamed panels The varying textures made it possible to combine the two, since matching black fabrics is pretty much impossible unless they were designed as coordinates.

Tribute Dress 1The pattern wasn’t designed for knits, even stable ones, but I think it really worked out. It’s one of those patterns with multiple bodices to customize the fit, so I was able to work off the finished garment measurements rather than just body measurements. I lined the dress in black Laguna Cotton (cotton/lycra 95/5%), so it’s really comfortable and not at all see-through. One of my main peeves when wearing poly knits is how itchy they can feel, so lining the dress makes it much more wearable for me. I maybe could have done without a zipper, but I put an invisible one in the center back, as per the pattern, because I hate trying to wrestle things over my head, especially when I’ve already done my hair.

Since this is a sleeveless dress, if I were really going to wear this as business wear, I’d plan to wear a jacket or cardigan of some sort for coverage. It’s summer though, and since I don’t have any board meetings to attend, all my pics are bare-armed. Ignore the arms and just look at these Ann Taylor shoes that happened to match my dress perfectly.

Tribute Dress 6


Thanks Carolyn for being my career-dress muse, and for the ongoing advice on corporate dressing. Even when it seems the younger generation isn’t listening, on some level we are.


Stash-busting stats: 38/50, 80 1/2 yards









14 responses to “Sewcialist Tribute Month: Like a Sewing Fanatic”

  1. sewbusylizzy Avatar

    Wow!!!! Looks fabulous!

  2. Elizabeth Schartok Avatar

    I LOVE IT! This is a very flattering dress for you, and I have several different ponte knits set aside for this dress as well.

  3. Kendra C Avatar
    Kendra C

    Fantastic dress! I think Carolyn will be so proud!!

  4. oonaballoona Avatar

    that contrast panel, so fanatic! you look lovely.

  5. Carolyn Avatar

    OMG! That is fabulous and you really took that pattern to another level. You hit two trends black ‘n white and lace…I’m in awe of you. There’s so much I want to say ~ first I’m honored that I inspired you to create such a wonderful dress. Second ~ ummmmm I do work a horrible number of hours but sewing provides a balance to my life especially since all of my children are grown. Thirdly, I am slowly coming to the realization that people are reading/listening to me more than I think. *LOL* Finally, the shoes! Seriously the shoes…they are just perfect for the dress!

  6. prttynpnk Avatar

    Nicely done and a great homage!

  7. […] Cari from Cari Homemaker made a classy work dress inspired by Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic. […]

  8. MarrieB Avatar

    Beautiful dress! I love how you used the print. Carolyn was my Muse this month too. 🙂

  9. liza jane Avatar

    I love the combination of the two fabrics. I think you are right about the ivory and black fabric being too much as a dress- combing it with the black textured fabric was genius! Fab dress!

  10. hrosechase Avatar

    That is such an amazing dress! I came here from Carolyn’s blog to check it out. I love the black and white. I keep trying to add color to my wardrobe, but honestly the only things that get worn are black! Thanks for sharing this! And yes, those shoes are to die for!

  11. Sabrina Avatar

    You look absolutely stunning! Yes, Carol is such a great inspiration. She amazes me with her creativity and so do you. I love the dress.

  12. Gjeometry Avatar

    Lovely dress Cari! Looks so nice on you and takes professional to a still fun and funky level. I think Carolyn would be proud! Snif, snif. 🙂

  13. Lynn Avatar

    It looks so elegant!

  14. gmariesews Avatar

    I swear I commented on this. I love how the lace panel looks like the dress buttons up the back. This is fantastic – I adore this dress on you. g

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