Design notebook: Summer clothing!

Yesterday I handed in my final paper of the school year and went straight from that small victory to running some errands, cooking a duck, cleaning the kitchen, and finishing up a small bit of painting I started three weeks ago (turning the ironing board door in the kitchen into a magnetic chalkboard).

As promised to myself – I also went to the fabric store, bought the pattern for the swim dress, and then came home and ordered the fabric online. In case you were wondering, the poll was tied for the lotus flowers, the cherries and the seashells. Because I wanted to order from one particular company, I ended up going with the lotus flowers:

The bathing suit will be mainly black, with the lotus flower fabric taking up the center panel front and back. I also bought bra cups and swimmers elastic at the store yesterday. I have to admit, this is no cheap endeavour – the materials have come to about $100. This would be cheaper if I could have sourced bathing suit fabric at Fabric Land but it’s too early in the season – so I went with ordering which made for steep shipping fees.

I started two other sewing projects yesterday as well: a set of linen napkins (like the ones I made for my friend in Brazil), and a simple black rayon shift that I am experimenting with as a base pattern. One thing I love to have in the summer is easy clothes and I’ve been looking for the perfect dress pattern – the one I’m working with right now is just two pieces! Well, plus some facing pieces – but the body is just a front and back piece sewn together at the sides and the shoulders. I’m pretty sure this won’t be super-flattering in the end – it has no shaping – but a simple dress to wear in the garden, or as a cover-up at the beach, etc.

I’ve also got a hankering to make a denim skirt, and to that end I am considering drafting my own pattern. I’d like to make a six panel skirt, with a zip in the back and a rough hem – but with a little swing to it, so not just the straight A-line. Plus, I’ve got some black fabric with machine embroidered flowers that I picked up a couple years ago on sale and I think that’s about to become a summer dress as well.

It seems a little funny to be on such a tear making clothing when I’m also trying to lose some weight – but the nice thing about sewing my own is that I know how things are constructed which means I also know how to take them apart for alteration. And besides, I want to look good now! Which means nice things 🙂

Coreopsis Dress: Photo taken in the bathroom at SFU.

I haven’t really posted my most recent sewing projects here – among which are my favourite two items in rotation at the moment:

1) A skirt made of Liberty fabric, underlined for extra stability, interfaced with denim and featuring a bound denim hem (see picture below for an idea). I hand-sewed the zipper on it, and without a doubt, this is the best zipper I have ever managed into a piece of clothing.

2) The coreopsis dress, also fully underlined and featuring french seams, and top stitching. I omitted the zipper on this one, so it just pulls on over my head and I love it! (Same pattern as the Roses for February dress – I’m also planning on using this pattern for the black with embroidered flowers fabric).

What these items have in common is that 1) I bought higher-quality fabric and 2) I took my time with them in order to get the fit perfect, and use more advanced finishing techniques. And am I ever pleased with the results!

Even with the extra financial and time commitment neither of these items took me more than a week or cost more than $35.

I am looking forward to more of the same over the next few weeks as I get my summer wardrobe sewn up – including the (admittedly expensive) swimdress project!

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