My Summer Wardrobe

I was a little late on the Me-Made-May train this year, because other pressing work deadlines were in line first. Then, I saw Fringe Supply Co. was having a Summer of Basics  Make-along, and I thought this ended up being perfect timing for me! ‘Cause also, since in the summertime my kids go spend a week with their dad, I decided to use the time to finally sew up a bunch of projects that I’d been hoping to have time to get to. 

It’d been over 2 years since I pulled out my machine, since I had my physical store front over at the Shoppes on Fatherland in East Nashville. But, with my trip to Japan and Korea quickly approaching, there were some things I was wanting to sew, and I finally had a week to tackle them. 

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My plans were to sew items that could be my “Summer Travel Wardrobe”, since I’d not only be traveling, but also be at a lot of different work events. I was wanting a group of about 5 items that could transition well between wandering the streets of Osaka, Kyoto and Seoul to being comfortable but stylish at my work events. 

I made a rough plan, including an ideal goal of being able to finish a pair of the adorable Jenny Overalls by Closet Case Patterns as well. However, when I actually got down to it, I ended up cutting five projects out! My list had grown and was as follows: 

  • 1 denim Jenny Overalls…plus maybe time for a pair of pants as well? and maybe a version of the shorts for Bridget? 
  • 1 Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt in their Silt Grey European linen
  • 1 Alder Shirtdress from Grainline Studio in a really nice linen/rayon blend that I found at JoAnn’s 
  • 1 Scout shirt from Grainline Studio in a striped Japanese cotton
  • 1 Washi Dress from Made by Rae in a stunning handwoven cotton that I’d been holding onto since I closed my shopfront, by local weaver Alison Volek Shelton of Shutters and Shuttles
  • plus….if I had time, finish the Emery Dress I began 2 ½ years ago out of a really lovely, chambray colored Japanese double gauze

Whoa. Haha! So…I spent a few days just cutting everything out first, so that I could streamline the sewing process later. 

Sidenote: It was interesting to approach sewing again after a few years of only knitting. When I knit, I go into with the understanding that I’ll not be finished that day, that it’s ok to put the project down, pick it back up, work on it again, etc. etc. etc. until it’s finished. It’s always had a meditative aspect to it, that sewing had never had for me. With sewing, I worked hard and fast until I finished, usually burning out by the end. However, as I worked to cut all these projects out, slow by slow, listening to music or watching a movie on my computer or whatever else to keep me company, I realized that I was a lot more relaxed in my approach than I would have been before. I found myself rushing less than I used to, knowing that it was ok to just finish it tomorrow. I think that the meditative aspects of knitting overflowed into my approach to these projects for sure. 

Ok…so back to my projects. Haha! 

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So, this is the finished version of my Washi Dress, from Rae Hoekstra! I LOVE LOVE this pattern. I made a version a few years ago from a bright, colorful Korean fabric that I had for sale when I had my storefront, but I’d always thought this handwoven cotton would be really, really nice. Plus, for summertime it’s cotton! Perfect! The shirring on the back makes it ridiculously cozy. I’m imagining this layered over jeans, with some cozy sandals, walking around Seoul….wandering and having some 팥빙수!

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**A few notes on working with a handwoven fabric….it frayed a bit more than a machine woven fabric, which I definitely expected. So to finish the edges, I did a zigzag, and then topstitched the seam allowance about 1/4″ in towards the seam allowance edge, to give extra durability. 

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I worked on the Washi Dress and this Merchant & Mills Dress Shirt (pictured above) since I was familiar with the patterns and able to knock them out pretty quickly. So, this was the 2nd thing I tackled. It’s a super easy-breezy, linen dress that’s designed to be quite oversized. Both times, when I’ve made this, I baste up the side seams when I get to that step, then fit it more throughout the bust and waist area, so that it gives me more shape. Since I have a larger bust, to keep the full oversized shape of this is a little unflattering in my opinion, so I take in the sides a good 1″-1 1/2″ around my natural waist area. It still leaves tons of room, and gives more definition at the top where I need it. This is a timeless silhouette, and the linen that I used is just - so beautiful! 

I’m thinking that this will look good on it’s own, as a dressier option for during my work events, or also paired over some loose jeans and comfy walking shoes for wandering around. So, 2 down, 3 to go! 

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So, this Scout shirt pattern from Jen Beeman at Grainline Studio is really, really essential. It’s the perfect, quick shirt solution. Takes a minimal amount of fabric, time and sewing skill! I had some nice, lightweight Japanese shirting fabric leftover as well from when I had the storefront in East Nashville, so I made up one of these quickly. It probably took 30 minutes for cutting, 1-2 hours for sewing. I think, I might try to put a few darts in my next one since I have a larger bust, like I mentioned before, just for a little extra shaping. But even as is, it works really well with jeans, and I’m wondering if it’ll layer well under my overalls…or perhaps I’ll look a little bit too much like a train conductor? We’ll see! 

I have some more extra fabric laying around, so I may try to make up a few more of these before we leave for our trip….if I have time. 

I’m nearly done with another Grainline pattern as well, the Alder Shirtdress (below). I’ve gotten it all done aside from the armhole bias tape binding, the hem and the buttons. I’m thinking that I might take it to a nearby alterations shop and get them to put the buttons on for me, just since that tends to be where my machine messes up a lot.

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I was so happy to come upon this fabric at JoAnn’s when I was grabbing some random stuff for my sewing projects. It’s a machine-washable, linen-rayon blend, and I think that it suits this pattern so well! I decided to just not worry about the pockets, and leave it as is. I love the collar detail not his one. Even though there are still a few threads are still sticking out. 

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I’m hoping to finish this one up this week! But, alas, my week of sewing came to end already. But, I got a surprisingly huge amount done! 

I did actually finish the Jenny Overalls, as well, but I’m gonna wait to do a separate post about those!! Can’t wait to give these all a test run during our trip in a few weeks! 

xo

Nutmeg