A Colourful Canvas, Simplicity 1803
A Colourful Canvas, Simplicity 1803

Dear blog. It’s me…Sue…

Yes, I am here…albeit a little brain addled. A result…no doubt…of sublimely warm temperatures here in Vancouver…that and only having an imaginary swimming pool.

And….wot…please forgive me for neglecting a proper salutation.

So HI YA peeps….eep…that won’t do…let’s see…Hey guys…yes, that feels much more authentic. I hope you’ve been well since our my last chat. Me? I’ve been going around in circles, and getting almost zero accomplished while I spin. Too many wanna-do’s. So much ‘I could do dis, I could do dat’. The dis? Well, in no particular order….sew a swimsuit, a jumpsuit, yoga pants {and then I’ll want a matchy top}, sundress, shorts, and a skirt. Whoa! And the dat? Well, looking at the dining room table…I have a whole lotta swimsuit fabric and several patterns; a jumpsuit pattern, sadly missing suitable fabric, my Flip Flop Fabric for my sundress {sleeves, no sleeves, oh the decisions}…and…it…is…summer. The weather has been phe-nom-e-nal. The good…my garden doth grow, the ocean actually feels warm, festivals and farmer’s markets are in full swing…and, well, you get it. I be playing…a lot…these days. So…maybe sewing isn’t on the table…{well, it is so on the table literally, but that’s a nuther story}…quite so much these long, lazy days.

Just like my Feathered Friends Dress, this fabric had me at hello. I needed a new dress…so not true….but lucky me…seeing this fabric reminded me of a deficiency of orange {you know…like Vitamin C} in The Colourful Canvas dress department. And, since it basically became a health issue, who was I to argue? My design inspiration came from this Dior Video. {It takes a minute or so to load} After seeing it, via Closet Case Files What’s Doing series…I was completely smitten with pleats. I used Simplicity 1803…again…with some alterations to the front bodice…hello V-neck, adios triangular shaped keyhole. I added a collar of a sort…it’s a long strip of 3 3/4″ wide fabric folded in half lengthwise and randomly pleated. Let’s see, I added a waistband, also randomly pleated, and the skirt is…hello…pleated…similarly to my End of Summer Blues Dress. I pattern matched the bodice back centre seam, but surprisingly {to me}, the bodice front looked better not pattern matched. I think because all the front bodice seams are curved. Okay…me likey… my Pleated Poppy Dress fits like a dream, but, there’s something? I’ve resewn the hem once already…I used horsehair trim originally but took it out {yeah, that was fun}…..but still, I’m just not sure. Should it be shorter? Shorter with horsehair? Please do tell me what you think, what you really, really think.

That be all for today folks. Thanks for tuning in. Lots more summer news to come. Today’s fabulous wall mural courtesy of Elizabeth Hollick.

My other Simplicity 1803 makes:

My Coffee With Kaffe Dress
My Matchywear Top


  • Reply STAshworth July 6, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    I think it perfection, hem included. Although if the hem *feels* wrong, it probably is.

  • Reply josep-maria badia July 6, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    A wonderful dress. I love the pattern and design. The neckline is wonderful and the pleated skirt is gorgeous.

  • Reply Sewrendipity London July 6, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    I am blown away by so much colour, in a good way! I think Vancouver might be too! Lovely dress!!

  • Reply Marianne July 6, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    That fabric!!! Love the neckline too! I like the length but if you're not happy it's always worth experimenting. A tiny bit shorter? Colourful shoes?

  • Reply Melanie July 6, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Yes, shorter! Shorter! Heh. You say horsehair hem and I imagine those shaggy winter horses and a hem of shaggy hair stuff hanging down. I guess that's not what you mean. (I just researched it. Okay.)
    You are becoming all chaotic with those random pleats. Bwa-ha-ha. This dress is absolutely awesome and your backdrop for the photos couldn't be better. Go play now!

  • Reply idaaidasewing July 6, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Wow,this is a colorful canvas' appropriate fabric. What not to love in this dress, the fabric,The pleats Or the neckline?It is just perfect. I think the length would be better a bit shorter but it is ok as it is too.

  • Reply Merche Martinez July 6, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Perfectly fitted! And of course, being it a health issue, you couldn't say no to this beauty…I totally understand! 😉 I also understand about the sewing in this kind of weather…In a whole week of doing nothing I only managed to make a simple t-shirt for my son and a bikini for me…wow! But you are right, the weather is too good and there is too much going on around…Enjoy the weather!!!

  • Reply Merche Martinez July 6, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Did I just write the word weather three times?

  • Reply Sox July 6, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Hello Sue.
    Beautiful dress. I too love orange. And poppies. And full skirts. And, well, all your dresses.
    Should it be shorter. I'm not 100% sure because there are only two photos that show you in full length, and neither is straight on, but I think you should go up by about two inches. From what I can see, the skirt hits you just as your calf starts to widen out below your knee instead of at the narrowest narrow part just below your knee. Does that make sense?
    And the horsehair? Sure, why not?!? More fun!!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 6, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Good advice, thanks! I really need to stop looking, and start *feeling*…eep…that wasn't intended to sound creepy, LOL. Thanks so much for the wisdom!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 6, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Thank you so much Josep! I hope you had a chance to see the Dior clip.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 6, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Thank you, thank you! Summertime might be the single time of year that Vancouver busts away from gray all day!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 6, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Well…I do have the shoes Marianne! Good point about trying the dress on with different shoes. The heel height might affect my decision, although am leaning towards shorter!

  • Reply a little sewing July 6, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    super charming dress!!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 6, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Yes, shorter!! Thanks Melanie! Chaos is good, right? bwahahaha

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 6, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks Ida! Thank you, shorter I agree!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 6, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    Hahaha…yep, you wrote the word weather three times, but if we can't talk about the weather, then what? You enjoy the weather too!

    PS Bet your bikini is gorgeous!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 6, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Busted! I think you hit the nail on the head Sox! Thanks for commenting! You see, the straight on photos just didn't look that flattering. Duh. {Sue knocks head against wall, LOL.} And I think the 2″ is about right too!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 6, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Thank you muchly! It is a keeper!

  • Reply Michelle Morris July 6, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Soo much fun! This print, your dress and that background, it all makes you SMILE!!!!

  • Reply Suzanne Carillo July 6, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Horsehair? As a non-sewer I think that all animal hair should be left on the animals. I know…I should go and research what it is. : )

    I adore the dress and the fabric you chose…so bright and sunny! Like your personality and your weather right now.

    I do think the hem would look nicer if it were shorter. I've been told it should always fall where your legs are their narrowest, right above, or right below the knee.

    You always mange to find the best spots for taking your photos.


  • Reply Heather July 6, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Boy oh boy do I love your colourful poppy print! That dress is fabulous and the mural just makes the photos!! I think the hem looks great, but if I was going to change it, I would go 1/2″-1″ shorter, and I think it looks good without the horsehair. I'm happy to hear you are enjoying your summer so far!

  • Reply Nicole July 6, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    What a beautiful pleated neckline! Gorgeous dress!

  • Reply Dorothy DotDot July 6, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Beautiful dress and pattern! It's a happy dress.

  • Reply Lori July 6, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Gorgeous dress and I would say a bit shorter. Your summer sounds like mine, very busy and fun

  • Reply Anne July 7, 2015 at 2:31 am

    I love the dress. For me, fine as it is. For you, though, I think shorter having looked at the Coffee with Kaffe dress again. Especially as you clearly don't feel comfortable in this length. I can't comment on using horsehair or not asI never have used it.

  • Reply Michelle Konieczki July 7, 2015 at 8:09 am

    I love the neckline modifications! The frill you added to the collar is absolutely amazing! If you could send some of your warm summer weather down to the middle region of the US, that'd be grand. It's chilly and damp here. The only good thing about it is that the garden is out of control.

  • Reply Shirl July 7, 2015 at 8:18 am

    The dress (gorgeous looking watercolor fabric btw.) looks good at that length, ( love the pleated V-neck line,) but now that you mention it, would be good to make another in same fabric but shorter. I think it does depend on shoe choices as well. Can you buy more of this fabric?


  • Reply Rebecca July 7, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Gorgeous dress – why would I expect less than that from you. However, I would probably go a bit shorter and wear a lighter sandal in one of the print colors. By the way, the Dior clip was great – thanks for posting the link.

  • Reply Hana Velvet Ribbon July 7, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Everything is perfect! I really love the pleated and the fabric is gorgeous. xx

  • Reply oona balloona July 7, 2015 at 9:08 am

    SUE! YOU COLORFUL VIXEN!!! even the technicolor walls must bow down to you! i love how you incorporated your inspiration.

  • Reply Ruth Procter July 7, 2015 at 9:54 am

    That fabric is gorgeous Sue! Definitely needed for health purposes – after all I'm sure you'd have driven yourself crazy thinking about it if you'd left it behind!

  • Reply Ms Neti* July 7, 2015 at 10:50 am

    As a lover of all things Orange, I truly LOVE this dress you made Sue. Enjoy your Life!

  • Reply jess July 7, 2015 at 11:28 am

    I love all the colors in this. It is such a happy dress!

  • Reply Remembering..OZ July 7, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    So pretty…and the type of fun dress you want to wear all the time.!

  • Reply Margo B July 7, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    This is another gorgeous dress Sue! I agree with you and most others… a tad shorter would be great. I don't think it needs the horsehair either. I love the pleating! The colors are beautiful on you!

  • Reply Val S July 7, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Your dress is gorgeous! I hope Simplicity taps you to be their model because you almost make me want to start sewing and buying their patterns. No one does color and smiles as well as you!

  • Reply Jill James July 8, 2015 at 12:13 am

    Love the poppies, your dress just as gorgeous and as colourful. The mural the perfect back drop.

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion July 8, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Oh my goodness… here we go. I was going to give you a polite and non-descriptive comment. Then I read you are inviting me to tell you what I think, what I really really think (Spice Girls?). So here we go. I love the material, the bright and sunnyness of it but…. indeed there is something just not right about it. It does not flatter you like some dresses do. Remember my fondness for the blue/white striped one? That fitted you so well, and made you look fantastic. This dress does not make you look fantastic (IMHO). I agree with Suzanne that the hem should be on or just above your knee so we can see your calf going in. But even then, I am not sure. Bold suggestion: what if you'd split the two parts in a skirt and a top. Separating them and wearing them with solid colours (skirt with sold colour top and top with a solid colour cardigan?) might give you an idea what that “something” is? I feel like a party pooper Sue for saying this but that is what I really really think.
    The pleats of the collar are really nice. I love that.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Don't worry…my dress is vegan! The hem is definitely to a-dressed, and stat! I'm receiving various suggestions on how much…I can see a lot of pinning in my future, LOL. I want to find that magic spot, I think right about the knee….eep….if I even have a narrower spot there.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Thanks Heather! It's funny about the location…we were originally at the beach, but we got there late and it was too dark, and we did photos again…here! Much more fun! I've lots of input on whether to go shorter…I'm pretty sure I will share the end results!!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Thanks Nicole…it's nothing near the magic you've created in your design classes, but I really love how the neckline turned out too!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Thank you Dorothy! I thought just that when I saw the fabric…HAPPY!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Thanks Lori! Shorter it will be!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Thanks Anne! The horsehair can be a fun addition, making the hem line a little stiffer and therefore more full appearing!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Thanks Michelle! Oh, we need the rain here. We've got some nasty forest fires going on! I can imagine this neckline for a 'special' dress, made with sheer fabric.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Thanks Shirl! Sorry for any confusion, but I don't have plans to make another with the same fabric. I will be hemming this one a little shorter though! It just doesn't feel right at this length!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Ooooh…I could totally go for sandals in one of the gorgeous colours in this dress! Honestly, I am a little underwhelmed with my summer sandal collection, and any of these colours would be a great addition! Thanks for the suggestion Rebecca. Happy you enjoyed the Dior clip!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Thanks Hana! The pleating was pretty easy to do, given that it was random and not equally spaced.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Thanks Oona! Ruggy is leading the way when it comes to the importance of *the wall*. And yes…you do indeed rock!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Thanks Ruth! Whew…I was lucky to avoid the crazy talk had I not got it!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I know! Orange is often under-loved. But, it's so fabulous!!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Thanks a bunch Jess! It is a happy dress!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Thank you! The great fit does make for a dress I want to read for often…hopefully more so when I can nail the length.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Thanks Margo! You make a lot of dresses. And they always look the perfect length on you. Do you ever struggle with length? Or do you make yours all the same length? In looking at my dresses hanging in my closet, they are almost all varying lengths.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:38 am

    haha, thanks Val! I certainly have been sewing *a lot* of Simplicity patterns, LOL. Hey…what's with the *almost*? {wink}

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Thanks Jill! I couldn't say for sure that the dress flowers are poppies, but they evoke that mood for me, just like my photograph!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 10:53 am

    I've been waiting for your arrival Greetje! And please, please don't feel like a party pooper! There is definitely something not right with the dress…I can totally see it…in pretty much every photo I took! I just don't quite *feel* what it is that's not right. {The dress actually feels fabulous on.} I'm hoping it's just the length, because that is an easy fix!

    Okay…so this is the dress I made after our email conversation. What?! I know! I was attempting a silhouette closer to my blue and white dress, but got….this? I don't feel I ended up with a sleeker silhouette than the usual fit and flares I've sewn. Maybe it's the pleating in the neckline and waist that are too much? My chest looks bigger in this dress even though I have a perfect fit. My blue and white dress is a lot shorter, so I am going to alter the length of this skirt. Out of curiosity, I will put a top over the dress to see if perhaps it's just *too much* colour and pattern for my frame, although I'm pretty sure I won't remake it into a top and skirt…too much work with the zipper and lining. With that being said, I'm all for sporting a cute cotton cardigan over this dress if that's all it needs to take me from…um, dowdy?…to fantastic!

    Thanks again for your input and I'll let you know how it goes! Oh…and Rebecca mentioned the shoes, and I agree that these wedge sandals are not really doing the dress any favours.

  • Reply Louise Perry July 8, 2015 at 11:17 am

    The neckline pleats are fun, as is the fabric. You have such a knack for choosing bold prints. But, think you are right it needs to be shorter. Can you bear to do it again? It's great as is but i think just grazing the top of your knee would rock. I love the previous suggestion of cutting it and getting two dresses for one, but somehow the idea of cutting up something so stunning is too hard to handle.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 8, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Hi Louise, I actually quite like hand sewing, although re-hand sewing isn't my absolute favourite activity, LOL. This dress is niggling at me enough that I DO want to get to it, and shorten it. And yah….I love it too much to risk trying to separate the top from the bottom.

  • Reply Ever Rose July 9, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Adore your sense of style – the mural behind you is such a perfect compliment to your dress. Can't wait to see more colour soon!


  • Reply Anonymous July 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Hi from Tamara,
    I would like offer an alternate view on hem length. Have you considered a longer dress? This dress has added “visual weight” i.e. the ruffles around the neckline at the top half. Also, the waistband appears lower than in your 'coffee with kaffe' dress. The shorter length looked terrific in that version. (thanks so much for your blog – it's fun, creative and inspiring 🙂

  • Reply Curtise July 9, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    I don't seem to be seeing what some of your commenters are seeing – I love this dress, the colours, the print, the style, the fit, the length, everything! In fact, if you're not sure about it, by all means send it to me! (Joking – you are teeny, and I am not, so it wouldn't fit. And you should wear it lots because it's FAB!) xxx

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 9, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Thank you so much! Definitely more lovely colour on the horizon!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 9, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Hi Tamara! Wow! A big thank you for the ah-ha moment you've given me. You are so right about the ruffled neckline adding visual weight. As a result, the dress isn't appearing balanced. Unfortunately, I don't have enough hemline to make the dress longer, but interestingly, after taping the hem up…it actually flared out more width-wise, and I do think this helps create that currently elusive balance.

    As an aside, in Dressing Your Truth, one of the things I learned about my energy type was that we feel better with light, upward movement. Your observation has helped me to see that the neckline is somewhat heavy visually, and being at the top of my garment, is having a tendency to weigh down the complete look…me too, LOL! I was on the right track, I think….I have a V-neck opening, and random pleats, type one details, but the overall look isn't doing me any favours.

    Anyways, I'm excited to give this dress a lighter, more upward movement! You've certainly made a huge help with understanding my *?* mark about my make! Thanks again!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 9, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Aw, thanks Curtise! I do love the dress…but man….when I was reviewing photographs, I was unimpressed with the way it looked on ME, LOL! It's funny how that goes sometimes. I'm glad I asked for honest input…I've had lots of really helpful tips on tweaking this happy little number. You wait…I'll show an updated look after I've made some alterations!

  • Reply Annie Case Hanks July 10, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    I love the fabric! You pull this off where I could not. So, even if it is not perfect or the style is not you, it still looks great!

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion July 10, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    Oh I am relieved you take my comment the way I mean it. Perhaps it is because there is not enough skin showing at the neck? Although I think the pleats at the top are ever so cute, I once heard the tip that if you are … well endowed (I love that expression), you should not wear tops all the way up to your chin. I think it is true, which is a bit of a problem for myself too. The many wrinkles on my chest, make me always wear boatneck tops. Difficult to get proportions right. Good luck with the dress.

  • Reply jen storer July 11, 2015 at 1:41 am

    That is sensational, Sue! Oh, it makes me happy! xx

  • Reply jen storer July 11, 2015 at 1:41 am

    That is sensational, Sue! Oh, it makes me happy! xx

  • Reply Flo July 11, 2015 at 9:26 am

    So many fun details on this dress, the ruffled neckline to the interesting waistband. It looks perfect with that mural as the background! As for the length, it looks a little odd, but to me it's not an issue with the dress, but more with the shoes you have paired it with. I don't know why, but they make your legs look out of proportion and from seeing you in other photos, I know that is not the case! I would definitely try photographing it again with a pair of traditional pumps and then with a pair of ballet flats and see if it makes a difference before you tear that hem out.

  • Reply Dana Bishop July 14, 2015 at 9:29 am

    I love the detailing around the neck. It's perfectly pleated, because, of course, you are so great with detail. What great fabric!!!

  • Reply stirandstitch July 16, 2015 at 9:20 am

    i'm always happy when a post of yours pops up in my feed!
    this dress is lovely, and the neckline pleasts are just fabulous. i do think it wants to be a wee bit shorter, maybe just up to the knee?
    and good luck with all of those decisions!

  • Reply Iliska Dreams July 18, 2015 at 1:59 am

    Love everything about this dress!

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