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Best of Etsy: Summer dresses

Say goodbye to heavy coats and hello to cute dresses, because summer is here! If you’re on the hunt for unique pieces that will have you feeling flirty and fabulous, these handmade creations from Etsy’s talented designers are definitely worth considering.

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Chic handmade summer looks

If you’re on the hunt for unique pieces that will have you feeling flirty and fabulous this summer, these handmade creations from Etsy’s talented designers are worth a look.

White lace dress

White lace dress

Looking for a piece that’s as beautiful as it is versatile? This gorgeous white lace dress made by Teaka Ritz at Teaka Marie is equal parts whimsical and sophisticated.

SheKnows Canada: What inspired you to start designing and selling your pieces?

Teaka Ritz: I knew while attending a few years in a fashion design program that I wanted to sew from my home, yet the town I’d be moving to didn’t lend itself to many unique customers. In the end I decided that Etsy would be my perfect outlet for allowing me to sew the designs and styles I love while still connecting with buyers around the world. I love very simple, girlie looks, and since I enjoyed wearing garments like this, I thought maybe others would too. My shop still is young (not even a year old yet), so I’m still learning what sells and [what] doesn’t. I still want to design what I love, but I’m learning to respond to what customers want too.

SK: What do you think sets your designs and creations apart?

TR: There are so many talented and amazing designers on Etsy that sometimes it’s hard not to get lost in the ocean of garments for sale. It’s easy to be inspired by other designs, but I believe it’s important to maintain [sic] to what you know and love so your items don’t look like everyone else’s. For myself, I love when my garments are simple, vintage and yet wearable today. I hope my pieces can be worn for years to come and be a constant staple in others’ wardrobes.

Eco-fashion colour-block draped tank dress

Between the high-low hem and the elegant colour blocking, this eco-fashion tank dress by Michelle Maynard at Simone’s Rose captures so many of the great trends going on this season.

Eco fashion colour block draped tank dressSheKnows Canada: What inspired you to start designing and selling your pieces?

Michelle Maynard: I spent several years working in the fashion industry and saw so many things about the business of large brands that I was not particularly fond of. I eventually decided to make a move and start a brand that was more personal to me and that had meaning! I was inspired to design with the environment and social consciousness in mind — using organic, vintage or locally purchased fabrics and making everything here in Canada, supporting the local economy.

SK: What do you think sets your designs and creations apart?

MM: When a customer purchases a Simone’s Rose piece, it’s not only about the chic design; it’s also about the thoughtfulness that goes behind it. Knowing each piece is handmade — with excellent quality — and designed with a purpose makes a difference to my clients. My pieces are meant to make women feel good about themselves and how they’ve spent their money. If you happen to look super fabulous and feel great in a Simone’s Rose piece, well, that’s just icing on the cake!

Pastel pink and yellow dress

For those sweltering-hot summer evenings, you’ll need a sleek little number that can keep you cool. That’s where this artfully created pastel pink and yellow dress made by Eugenia Catroppa will come in handy.

Eugenia Catroppa dressSheKnows Canada: What inspired you to start designing and selling your pieces?

Eugenia Catroppa: I studied visual art at York University, and once I graduated, I started working on a variety of art projects and was waitressing in my free time in order to fund my personal art practice and the various projects that I was undertaking. I met by chance with a brilliant priestess, Tamarra James, who advised me to undertake a more commercially oriented application of my visual studies and research. We discussed our mutual love of unique and dramatic fashions and lamented the lack of flamboyance in mainstream, mass-produced products. From that point forward, I pursued studies at George Brown College’s fashion design program and, immediately [upon] graduation, started implementing conceptual fashion design projects. I’m fascinated by the infinite artistic possibilities in fashion.

SK: What do you think sets your designs and creations apart?

EC: My designs are inspired by art history, contemporary costume, the tensions in the philosophical distinctions between art and craft, with a strong focus on comfort and socially/environmentally sustainable production processes.

Purple jersey dress

Every woman needs a convertible dress that can be switched up to suit her exact needs on any particular day. If you don’t have one yet, check out this sexy purple jersey dress by Pavlina Dadakova.

Purple summer jersey dressSheKnows Canada: What inspired you to start designing and selling your pieces?

Pavlina Dadakova: I was born into it, as my mom was a designer. I went to fashion school and worked in the business for a couple of years. In 1999, I started Pavlina Dadakova Inc. We are a mother-and-daughter team working out of Montreal, and we love what we do.

SK: What do you think sets your designs and creations apart?

PD: We pride ourself on creating coats that are nicely tailored, intricately detailed, well lined and handcrafted. We also enjoy making dresses that work for every body type. No one likes categories — plus sized, maternity — so when we design a dress, it must fit everyone. That way whether a woman gains weight or becomes pregnant, she can still wear it. We like to focus on classic cuts that can be easily accessorized and dressed up or down so they are very versatile.

Racerback tank dress

If you’re looking for a vibrant, colourful and distinctly feminine dress to add to your wardrobe, this racerback tank dress by Carissa at Copious Fashions is sure to fit the bill.

Racerback tank dressSheKnows Canada: What inspired you to start designing and selling your pieces?

Carissa: I was creating pieces at a young age. My mother and grandmother did lots of sewing, quilting and knitting, so I was surrounded by a passion for creating something of your own. Upon graduation from IADT, I worked for several other companies before starting my own. I think every designer at some point decides that creating your own designs is far more rewarding.

SK: What do you think sets your designs and creations apart?

C: My fabric choice, for sure. Truthfully, my pieces are not very avant-garde. I design for the everyday woman, and I design pieces that can be worn for several different occasions. Therefore, I like to choose interesting fabrics to set it apart. Every woman has that piece in their closet that is their go-to outfit — they know they will always look stunning in it. I want that to be my piece!

Teal maxi dress

Getting dressed up in the summer for a stroll or a night on the town is always easier when you have a cute maxi dress in the closet. If you’re still on the hunt for your go-to summer dress, check out this teal maxi dress by Heidi at Heidi-and-Seek Boutique, which is made entirely out of repurposed fabrics.

Teal maxi dressSheKnows Canada: What inspired you to start designing and selling your pieces?

Heidi: In college, I started out by creating skirts out of pillowcases, basically because I loved the retro patterns I could find at local thrift stores. I then received my first sewing machine for Christmas, along with the book 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt, which is filled with ideas of how to use up old T-shirts. This started out my love for turning something old into something new, and ideas just started coming to me. My friends and family encouraged me to do something with my creations, and then I found Etsy!

SK: What do you think sets your designs and creations apart?

H: Everything I create is made from repurposed materials. The maxi dress featured is made from a pillowcase and a bedsheet! I think it’s important to think about how much waste we are creating in the world and what we can do to help. I love the method of using something someone didn’t want anymore and turning it into something new and beautiful.

Sleeveless dress with pockets

Looking for a sexy but casual dress you can throw on for a multitude of occasions this summer? Then check out this sleeveless dress with pockets by Cathy Landry at Tangente.

Sleeveless dress with pocketsSheKnows Canada: What inspired you to start designing and selling your pieces?

Cathy Landry: I started sewing and designing almost 10 years ago, since I really wasn’t finding anything inspiring at the mall. My friends and family encouraged me to start selling my designs. I started off selling to local boutiques and then transitioned to e-commerce once it grew popular.

SK: What do you think sets your designs and creations apart?

CL: I think having unique designs and using quality, eco-friendly fabrics, such as bamboo jersey, Tencel or vintage fabrics, set me apart.

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