Summer Makes

I know its weird to be reading about summer fashion in December, but bear with me OK? I had a productive sewing summer and it must be shared!

There seems to be a phenomenon among garment sewers, where an upcoming trip inspires us into a kind of sewing fever: everything we've been wearing all season simply will not do and an entirely new wardrobe must be made. Stat! It's weird, but we all seem to do it. 

Case in point: I made these five garments in the month before I left and I was halfway through a sixth when I came to my senses and decided there were more important things to attend to before leaving home for a month than making another sundress.

On the upside, a large portion of the clothes in my luggage were handmade. I want to say 80%? I'm so proud of that, I'm tempted to repack just so I can count. I had big dreams of photographing them in various beautiful locales throughout my trip, but obviously this didn't happen. I quickly fell into vacation mode and I forgot that I even had a blog. Haha! So these photos were all taken post-trip. At least you can see that they all held up to a month of backpack travelling really well!

Sallie Dress by Closet Case Patterns
I hate to play favourites, but I think I can call it on this dress. It's my favourite make of the summer, maybe even of the year. It's so flattering and travels really well. On this trip, I brought it as my dress-up option. Paired with a statement necklace, a wedge sandal and a red lip, I was comfortable in the fanciest of restaurants.

This pattern is actually for a jumpsuit and a maxi dress, both of which aren't really my style, but I loved the shape of the top and elastic waists are most definitely my jam, so I kept it in the back of my mind. Then I saw Helen's shortened version and, bingo bango, the pattern was in my cart.

I sewed a size 6, with no alterations besides length. A lot of the construction could be done without a serger, which is great, because me and my serger don't always get along. I also learned that there are some cases when a straight stitch is perfectly fine to use with knits, which was a revelation to me!

It's a beautiful fit from the front, but there is excess fabric above my tush (as you can see in the photos) and it's a little tight around the middle back, showing off how my bra is digging in back there (look at this photo from my trip... eek). Maybe a size up with a sway back adjustment would be sufficient? I've only just started noticing this sway back issue. I think it's always been there, I'm just more critical of fit now. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. Ignorance is bliss?

I also wasn't crazy about the pockets. Normally I love pockets, often going to great lengths to show them off, but I like them to be invisible, a secret thing that needs to be pointed out... "Look! Pockets!" On this dress, if I wasn't standing just right, I could see the bulky outline and that bugged me. They'll be gonzo on version 2.

Southport Dress by True Bias Patterns
This cute little sundress gets the "most worn" award for this summer for sure. It's loose and comfortable, perfect for those sweltering days of August, and the high, gathered (adjustable) waist was perfect for my penchant for overeating. It would be great as a maternity dress. That's not a hint, just sayin'.

I made quite a few modifications to this pattern. I cut a size 4 for the bodice and a size 6 for the skirt, grading to a 4 at the waist. I also made a sloped shoulder adjustment. After wearing the dress for a day, I noticed it was gaping quite a bit in the front, enough to make me uncomfortable when sitting, and the armholes were a bit tight. So I ended up shortening the shoulder seams and lowering the armholes by about 1/2" or so for each (I forgot to write that down. Doh.). Yes, this involved removing all of the binding. More evidence of my perfectionism. But when you think about how much I wore this dress this summer, it was totally worth the effort. And I look forward to making this dress for many summers to come.

I also made three new tops: a Wiksten tank in rayon, a sleeveless Hemlock in jersey, and a cuffed Hemlock in polyester. Two were a dream and worn on a very steady rotation before, during and after my trip, while one of them was only worn once. Can you guess which?

If you guessed the polyester, ding ding ding! Sure, that print is super cool, but polyester is the enemy of summer, guys. And if sweaty pits isn't enough to deter you, it didn't sew up very nicely either. Look at those puckering seams. Ugh. I keep thinking I'll wear it now that the weather is cooler, but the colours are so summery, I haven't gone for it yet. And, news flash, polyester isn't warm either! It's so disappointing. You know how excited I was when I bought this, only to have it sit in my closet unworn? Next time you find yourself in the polyester section of the fabric store, do yourself a favour and walk away. Go find the rayons. You'll be much happier there.

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