Caribana has come and gone! It’s a fun time of year for West Indians here in Toronto: music is blaring on the streets and in cars, people are vibing and the fetes are non stop. This year’s big fete was at OVO Fest featuring Machel Montano as the headliner and let me tell you, when Machel is performing, you better come prepared to jump, wave and buss a good wine. Needless to say, it can get hot and sweaty so wearing sneakers and shorts is usually the way to go. But this year I wanted to wear something different…something that felt a bit more tropical because it was going to be at Echo Beach. So this is what I came up with!

I picked up the material at Fabricland for 2 x $12/m. As soon as I laid my eyes on it, I knew I had to have it – it was just so colourful, pretty and and fit my ‘tropical’ vision…but I was hesitant on the price for some reason. An older lady saw me debating it at the cutting board and convinced me to get it. She asked me if I could see myself looking and feeling beautiful in this fabric and well…that sold me right there. Pretty simple way to help decide on clothing eh?

Anyways, before I even made it home I knew what I wanted to make and what’s really neat is that what I saw in my mind is exactly what I was able to produce.

That’s probably the best part about sewing: creating exactly what you want!

Here’s how I did it: I used my trusty Simplicity #1873 for the bodice, lowering and adjusting the neckline to accommodate spaghetti straps which were pretty easy to make. I used method 1 from this sweet tutorial to get the straps perfect.

caribana dress bodice drawing

As for the skirt, it’s a simple 18″ x 80″ rectangle. I cut it into 3 panels to make room for the pockets. Once I added the pockets and reattached the panels together to make it one piece again, I ran two baste stitches across the top and gathered it to my waist size.

Overall, it was a pretty simple make. There was nothing complicated about it which makes it even better! I’m really happy with the way it turned out and it fits perfectly. I got tons of compliments and the best part was that I was able to dance the night away looking cute as a button in this dress!


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Shoes: Zara | Sunnies: H&M
Photos by D. Tharmal


Tropical Vibes by Sweet Shard

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