Channeling the Group of Seven

Have you heard of the Group of Seven? They are the most iconic of Canadian painters, famous for pictures of northern lakes, forests and arctic vistas. Go take a look at their pictures here: they are so gorgeous it makes my chest hurt! The Group of Seven (and Tom Thomson, who was a friend and sort of honorary member) capture the longing we all have for camping and cottaging up north, in the land of “blue lake and rocky shore”.

cottage Collage

The highlight of our summer is usually a few days at a friend’s cottage… but this year they aren’t renting out, and we’re stuck in the city instead. Not to worry, though – I found some rather cuckoo ITY fabric that reminds me of Group of Seven sunsets, so now I can channel “cottage country” all year round!

Group of Seven Comino Cap Dress

(Yes, I’m playing fast and loose with copyright by including famous paintings in my collage… bad me.) 

The dress is, of course, a Comino Cap. It *might* be the last one I make for a while – 4 seems like enough! Although I am considering making a wintery version by subbing in the Olivia Oversized Tee pattern for the bodice…

Group of Seven Comino Cap Dress

Can you see why this fabric reminds me of the Group of Seven? I love the contrast of glowing pale yellow with purpley blues and turquoise, contrasting against the black. It’s a dead ringer for the painting on the right – colourwise, at least!

That said, when I tried to interpret the graceful movement of the trees into my pose, things didn’t go that well…
Group of Seven Comino Cap Dress

I’m definitely not a dancer!😉

Group of Seven Comino Cap Dress

The dress is a perfect match for the lovely purple French Terry I got at Cali Fabrics recently… but something didn’t go quite right in my pattern hacking. I tried to adapt my TNT McCalls 5890 cardigan to make it more like this Style Arc cardigan, but I ended up with an unflattering amount of fabric in the front… so I cut and changed and fiddled and ended up with the sort of cropped jacket thing I’m wearing in the pictures. There’s an exposed serger seam front and centre when the collar turns back though, and it drives me crazy.

Group of Seven Comino Cap Dress

In my head, it was going to be cosy and drapey and a dream to wear… in practice it’s ended up stiff from the folded bands (Which were originally wider and not folded, but then there was too much fabric). It’s passable, but not great. I’ve got 1m more fabric though, so I think I’ll cut off the collar and front and recut to the original pattern, which I know works well for me. Oh well, you win some and you lose some! 

 Group of Seven Comino Cap Dress

Also, many thanks to Jamie who has been a very obliging photographer this week! I’ve been feeling like I need a break from tripod pics on the balcony all summer, so I finally asked him for help (He always says yes, but I feel guilty anyway…) He’s been really good about trying to capture what I want, and also helping me avoid too many telephone wires, cars and other city eyesores in the background. Thanks babe! (Oh, and ps: I grew up with a copy of the painting above in my bathroom, which explains why I love it so!) 

I think it’s pretty clear that Comino Cap has been my pattern of the summer… which makes me wonder what my pattern of the fall/winter will be? Maybe something new, yet to be released? **cue new pattern cravings!**

What was your pattern of the summer this year? Something that you made more than once, or something that made you feel summery every time you put it on? 


26 thoughts on “Channeling the Group of Seven

  1. I can totally see the likeness! And I LOVE the Group of Seven. My fave is Tom Thomson (though I know he’s not technically a member). I do love living near the AGO to see so may beautiful originals.

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    1. I have lots of fond memories of going to the McMicheal gallery growing up! I feel like Emily Carr, Tom Thomson and the G of 7 dad so much to define the Canadian identity, and distinguish us from, say, the British… the appreciation for wilderness is now so much a part of our culture!

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    1. It really is a great pattern for showing off fabric! I probably should spend some time tweaking the fit, but I really can’t be bothered bc it’s all about the prints!🙂

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  2. Love, lovely, lovest. You are totally channeling Canadian sunsets my friend. I too am craving cottage time – may just need to settle for a sweaty Montreal public pool, sigh.

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  3. Oh, you gorgeous girl! I LOVE your Group of Seven dress! It is spectacular! I do love the cardi, too. It goes beautifully with the dress.

    I am a huge fan of their work (our wedding invitation was a Gof7 print) and have several prints hanging in my home. Emily Carr is another favourite.

    My patterns of the summer were Sorbetto and Vogue 2128. I made 8 (I think) Sorbettos and 3 pairs of Vogue 2128 pants.

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  4. Wow, what great photos! I haven’t heard of the Group of Seven, but the paintings you shared are beautiful! I really like this dress on you- the fabric is particularly amazing! The Alder shirtdress was definitely my favorite summer pattern… I’m still thinking about sneaking in a third before the end of the summer!

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  5. Clearly, I am an uncultured Canadian, as I have no idea who these Seven people are. I love love love this dress! The fabric looks gorgeous on you! I love it with the purple cardigan too. What hasn’t been my favourite pattern of the summer? I love them all….but I really fell hard for the Alder and see many more in my future. Oh and the Hudsons, and the Washi, and…and…and….LOL.

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    1. Now I’m so curious – maybe the Group of Seven are really only icon in Ontario and perhaps Quebec? They definitely painted “our” scenery… Are there any iconic painters of the west?

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  6. I love this. Reminds me of monet (my mother loved his paintings.) I haven’t (yet) got the comino top but it sure looks good!

    I think as I have only been sewing again the past few weeks I have to say my summer is the old Tiramisu. I just find it’s so easy to make once you have it down.

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    1. Tiramisu is just so great! I have a million of them, and sometimes I don’t wear them for a while.. but when I do, I wonder why I don’t wear them every day!😉

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  7. I love this fabrics print and it perfectly represents the painting! Wouldn’t that be a great theme for Project Sewn? Or maybe they already did that…? If a pattern works for you…why not repeat it? Too bad the cardigan didn’t work out as you had planned but it still looks great in the pictures!

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  8. I haven’t heard of the group of seven, thanks for intoducing them. Love your dress and the fabric looks so good with the paintings. What a lovely way of remembering those summer sunsets, with a gorgeous dress to wear.

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    1. Do people have cottages or summer houses in your neck of the woods? (rich people, that is…😉 Cottages cost a fortune here if you didn’t inherit one!

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  9. Aww, it’s lovely! Great colours and I love that you’re inspired by art.😀
    My summer pattern of the year was definitely the summer dress bodice from Gertie’s book, even though I only made it twice… But such a great bodice, I need to make more next year!

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