Summer Wardrobe 2011- Phase 1

(Tops to the left, bottoms to the right.)

I assembled the fabrics for my summer wardrobe today.  Some came from my stash.  Earlier this year I decided to quit buying fabric and sew down what I had.  Like any sewist, I had many odd pieces of “What was I thinking?” fabric, as well as basics.  Most of that is gone now.   I did buy some fabric while going through this “de-stash” but it was always for a particular purpose.  That taught me to buy fabric with a precise plan for its use.  That meant I said “no” to more fabrics than I care to count.  I know that doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for me.

Some of my fabrics were generously cut, so I can use the extras to make “free” simple pants and sun-tops for Lila, though she and I have very different coloring so we can share few fabrics.

That’s a large amount of recalcitrant hemp to the left, from stash.  It’s actually a bright optic white.  I like hemp, both the ethics and the wearing, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with this fabric.  It’s a medium weight, rather stiff though I know it will soften over time.

This is the skirt from Vogue 1172.  It’s basically a 4-gore skirt with the CB and CF seams eliminated, and 1/4 circle gores placed at each side front and back area.  I’m working with a client on a dress made from this pattern, and it seems to me the structural cut of the skirt calls for the hemp.  It will require a serious waistband.  I’d like this to be long-ish and I would wear it without a petticoat.  (I think…)  I may also start the gores at my hipline (just above?  just below?) rather than at my waist.

The red fabric above is linen, intended for another pair of Wearing History’s Smooth Sailing trousers.  I’ve been dying to make a red version of them for about a year.  When an idea won’t leave me alone, I know I should acquiesce and be done with it.

The guipure above with some flocked cheesecloth will make a blouse much like the white blouse on the pattern envelope, sans bow.   I’m working out the engineering to cut the yoke all in one piece.  If I cut the guipure carefully, I’ll have a lovely scalloped edge with no loose threads or hemming.   I’m excited to be playing with such a fine piece of lace, which I picked up for a song at a sale.  If you ever see guipure at 1/4 the original price, snap it up.  This is one of the prettiest fabrics I’ve ever handled.

100% cotton seersucker, perfect for steamy summers.  This will be a version of one of my favorite patterns, though I want to alter it to button up the back.

I may also draft a slightly more daring keyhole at the neck.  I own this pattern but lazily borrowed the image from vintage pattern wiki.  Doesn’t the model look like she has a mustache?

The top is a fine batik cotton, don’t you love the print?  The middle is a cotton shirting with woven stripes,  previously intended for a pleated shirt until I changed my mind.   The third is a micro-houndstooth pink and red from the Sophie range. (I bought the last of it.)  I have enough extra to make a sun shirt for my girlie.  I don’t yet have precise plans for these three.  Sleeveless shells most likely (great under my newest sun jacket), taking inspiration from elements of these lovely patterns:

I want to keep them simple, no more than a few hours’ sewing.  Once I sew the “must” pieces, I’ll know better what should be done with these simple tops.  Most likely a lot of back-buttons, and I’d like to have some sort of backwards collar like the third from the left on the bottom.  At the same time, I want the print of the fabrics to do all the talking, rather than fussy details.  We’ll see.

The aqua is a lightweight cotton voile.  I think it will be a simple floaty skirt, perhaps with a scallop hem.  I saw a girl wearing a similar skirt the other day, middie length.  It was both simple and fetching.  The dark blue is a yet-to-be-blogged corduroy pencil skirt with architectural lines that I’m hoping I can still wear over the summer.

What about that Umpire fabric?  It’s a cotton interlock.  The other white woven fabric is a tencel/linen blend.  Together they will (probably) make this, one of my favorite outfits from Casablanca:

I want to use a half-circle skirt for the bottom, though I think hers is a slim 40’s gored skirt.  I’m toying with the idea of making the top button into the waistband of the skirt, so I have the options of pinafore/jumper and skirt.  I think the red shells especially will look well with this.

That’s more white than I usually wear.  Last summer, I made a few white blouses and discovered I like wearing white.  It POPS in the bright summer sun, and it’s relatively easy to care for.  The sun bleaches my whites to dazzling purity without chemicals (or effort).

This type of planning helps my sewing progress, as I know that my pieces (should) all look well together.  If I have a season of sewing this-n-that like I did this past winter, I don’t sew.

I’m a little iffy on the black and white knit, but I figure it will look ok with the bottoms, or at least look interesting.  I’m happy with the red(dish) tops and the red linen pants, and I’m really digging blues and reds together lately.  I’m aiming for clean simplicity while avoiding both boredom and fussiness.  Something like that.

Deadlines are helpful, so let’s shoot for Thanksgiving.

I’d be pleased to hear any thoughts or advice, from those who are facing the beginning of summer (and what to wear) and from those who are just finishing their own hot time of year.


  1. The guypiere lace is beautiful and will be fantastic as a contract on the blouse. Your vintage pattern collection is very inspired.

  2. Thanks, Gail… I don't have a much of a vintage pattern collection because I tend to "release them back into the wild" once I sew them.I do have google images and a sloper, though. :)

  3. I like your plan! It's definitely cohesive – especially with the colour palette :-DMy plans for summer are not very formed. I've already knocked out a couple of dresses with a few more patterns that haven't been made up.I want to start making some more tops – and I only have a very basic 50's pattern so far. There's another one on the way to me which is a halter-neck. I've been eyeing off that first blouse pattern you posted actually. I really like those little 40s numbers that can be left untucked OR tucked in. Just need to get off my butt and buy some.(not having your skills, I definitely need the patterns!)

  4. It's a wonderful, wonderful blouse. Perfect for summer. You can't really ruin something cut like that with armpit sweat stains because the sleeves are cut low. Since it's a cut on sleeve, no one can see your bra and you look every inch the lady. The lady who is cool and comfortable, no less. If you can get your hands on that pattern or one like it, hold tight.(Also, I shirr the waist with elastic instead of darts and a side zip, having made it both ways. It works really well.) Review of the shirred version.

  5. Looks like a great sewing plan. While I'm loath to think about summer right now (it's still 90F here!), give me till December and I'll be quite jealous of your breeze tops and casual chic summer wear.

  6. Its fun to see you planning for summer, while I am gearing up for fall/winter. the lace is amazing! and I am most impressed by your organization…sheesh. Looking forward to seeing it come together as always.By the way my daughter is headed to Australia in a few days, she will be in Victoria.

  7. I made the move from Brisbane to LA – so the summers here are the same… decently long and warm… so we've got a couple good warm months yet. I was going to make a fall skirt out of corduroy but realistically I may not get to wear it until November or December. My one and only goal for the summer was to sew a vintage dress, and it's nearly done, but it puts me in awe of your many plans! Everything you've mentioned is beautiful and well thought out, so I'm excited to see it come together.

  8. After our furnace of a summer (which will still be around for another month), I think from now on I'm just going to include shorts in my summer planning from the outset. I've just cut 3 pairs as a late summer thing, such a great way to use leftovers… and practice trouser-making! I like the thought of red shorts with a nice blue 40s blouse?

  9. Looks like an interesting plan you've got here. Can't wait to see what comes of it.I take a similar approach with fabric, in that I only buy for specific project in mind. Of course, this means that I have a lot of projects waiting to be done, but considering my slightly in-transit lifestyle right now, I can't just buy any fabric willy-nilly. We'll see how that changes when I get a job and my own sewing room… :D

  10. Cat- Thanks for your words! Are you American or Aussie, or do you know anymore? I'm not the biggest fan of "perpetual summer" but if I can wear lovely, suitable clothes then it's ok. :)Amy- I like to make shorts to practice pants, too. I don't really wear shorts much, leaves too much leg exposed and I have to put on handfuls of sunscreen. :(Karin– Think of all the pretty pretty jackets you get to wear! And tights! Stockings! Hats and scarves and mitts! Lucky. Heather– Old wardrobe sewing buddy, I do hope you get a crack at another wardrobe soon. I find I learn so much every time I do one….

  11. I love the look of that Casablanca outfit, and I can just picture you in it already! I'm in great need of 'sewing down the stash' as well, so that's a lot of my summer plan. Will need to churn out a few t-shirts for my kids, especially.

  12. I'm sort of working on a Fall/Winter wardrobe plan right now. I'm a little uncertain about my fabrics, but maybe it's time to pull them all out again and have a look-see. :)

  13. Lovely fabrics. You'll enjoy playing with them. My first thought when I saw them? "Hurray for the red white and blue!" (Could your subconscious still equate "summer" with "Independence Day"?) It's still awfully hot in North Carolina. Won't be cold enough to put on long sleeves until mid-October, if then. Still, I dragged out the winter clothes over Labor Day. I am sick sick sick of my summer wardrobe — it all fits and is in decent shape, but I've been wearing it nonstop since March.

  14. Your planning is awesome! I spent most of my youth in the tropics, and enjoyed my cotton batiks this summer. One of my favorite blouses has short cut-on sleeves, like an abbreviated dolman sleeve, small buttons down the front, not too high a neckline–easy to wear, press, very comfy. For me, a looser fit is more comfy in summer. Also spent some time after baths or swimming in a cotton Japanese kubota(sp?)–simple robe, easy to sew and goes everywhere swimming, beach, or travel. You inspire me to sew down my stash too, and give away the "what was I thinking? part"… Kristina in Ohio

  15. Steph – I'm an Aussie… although a French friend of mine says that once you start making Mac-n-cheese for your kids on babysitting nights, you've assimilated. So maybe half and half? ;)

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