It’s summer, and the sewing is easy!

It’s a scorcher out there, my friends! And, there’s only one thing to wear at a time like this. A summer dress.  A person can’t have too many summer dresses, right? They’re so easy to throw on.
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Personally, when it’s hot, I live by the rule, less is more. I do not want heavy fabrics. I do not want my clothes to touch me. In fact, if naked was an option, I’d (probably?) go with that.  My less-is-more attitude extends to pattern choices as well. I want a pattern that has style without structure. (Yes, that’s asking a lot.) And if it’s ‘fast and easy’, that’s even better! Who wants to be inside, bent over a sewing machine, when it’s beautiful outside?
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This summer shift dress meets my very loose requirements. It’s a basic a-line with some soft tucks at the waist to give it a slight fit n’ flare shape. It’s made from a simple light-weight cotton, (purchased at Fabric Depot). I love this fabric because I can tell it will get softer with every wash. And it’s cotton. Sewing with cotton is always a breeze. I am such a fan…
For this dress, I used one of my ‘tried and true’ patterns, Butterick 5890, a top with tuck variations, sleeve variations and collar variations.
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I lengthened the tunic (view D), to make it a dress by adding 8″ to the length.
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Then, to add a bit of interest, I decided to try a v-neck version. This modification was made by drawing a straight line from the edge of the inside shoulder seam to the center front seam (view D has one, which makes this pretty straightforward). Then, I added a 5/8 seam allowance so that I could add a facing to that edge. Using my straight edge, I cut a matching front facing with seams allowances as well.
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For the sleeves, I used view A,  an option with armhole bands that are squared off. The arm bands are one of the reasons I love this pattern. They’re easy to sew, and they give the dress a bit of a vintage vibe.
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To be honest, this dress was so easy to sew, I almost feel guilty about not challenging myself. My excuse? It’s summer! Challenges are for when it’s dark and dreary outside, right? All told, this dress took only about 3 hours from start to finish. When Butterick says, Fast and Easy, they aren’t kidding. Gotta love that! I chose a print for this dress, but I think a solid would work too (maybe some yummy linen or silk).
Do you prefer ‘fast and easy’ patterns in the summer? Or does the sunshine elevate your mood, giving you the energy for a challenge?

Thursday tee: A froufrou floral…tamed!

Floral prints mean Spring to me. They always tune my mind into thinking, warm (!), a must after spending the long winter buried under sweaters and fleece. By the time May rules around, I have a hard time believing ‘warm’ exists at all!

I love the optimism of a good floral, but to me, wearing one is a bit tricky. The wrong floral can make me look like my grandmother (loved you granny, but…). And if the print is too pastel, it makes me feel fussy rather than fresh.  So, I tend to gravitate to florals that include bold colors or where the froufrou feeling is tamed by a bit of black.
When it comes to fashion, here’s the good news. This Spring, there are zillions to choose from! That makes it easy to give in to their Spring-y optimism because you can find one that matches your favorite color palate. I love the bold florals by Celine and how they paired them with black to balance out their sweetness.
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And the floral Antonio Marras used here is so fresh! It even has a cool seventies vibe.
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When I shop for fabric, I approach any floral with a bit of trepidation, which I toss aside willingly when said floral looks like it will go with my everyday staple– my favorite jeans. So, when I saw this floral tee-shirt knit, I just had to have it. It’s a print that includes my favorite bold colors; cobalt blue, black and fuchsia, with a back drop of gray. Instant love! A must have! (And of course, price is no object at a moment like this.)
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The pattern I used is Butterick 5890, a top with tucks to define the waist, and a number of sleeve variations. I used View C, a tee with a front center seam and two long tucks on either side. The pattern is designed for light weight wovens, but since my knit was stable, I decided it could pass as a woven in a pinch.
One great thing about this pattern – – It doesn’t require much fabric. Since I’m small/short person, it took less than a yard and a half to make this tee, a plus since I have many (many!!) pieces in my fabric stash that are about that size. Any project that contributes to my Stash Reduction Project gets bonus points from me.
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To balance out the floral’s intrinsic sweetness, I cut the sleeves from a contrast fabric, a black solid. I also used black binding at the neck, and at the hem to give the tee a bit more edge and shape.
The pattern went together quickly (an easy afternoon sew) and the tucks were easy once I had the fabric well marked. The trickiest part for me was raising the waist position, a must since I’m short waisted. Once I figured that out, it was a breeze. Oh, and because my fabric had a bit of stretch, I cut the pattern one size smaller to adjust for that.
It’s a comfy tee that goes well with dark pants, dark skirts, and (of course) my trusted jeans, which balances out the frofrou floral. But even with the black contrast, the tee still says Spring to me- – which is why this top belongs outside, swinging in the warm breeze….
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Are you wild about this season’s florals, or do you think they belong in the past?