Sewing Classes and Lessons

Monday, July 17, 2017

Casual Summer Shorts and Tops


I hope that you are having a great summer!  Here in the northern hemisphere, our summers can get really hot and humid, so everyday clothing that is lightweight and loose fitting is ideal.  I really needed some new tops and shorts that I could wear while doing housework, running errands, and just day to day stuff.  After picking out fabrics from Fabric Mart's awesome cotton selection, the first thing I did was to search for the perfect shorts pattern.  For me, pockets are a dealbreaker-  they have to be big enough to hold my cellphone without worrying that it will fall out! I decided to go with Butterick 5504, a Connie Crawford pattern.  It's no longer available from Butterick, but you can get it directly from Connie's website.  Here's the line drawing:


I made mine about 4" shorter.  This pair was made with a cotton/tencel denim which was heavenly soft after washing.  The pattern only calls for drawstrings, but I found that I needed elastic as well to keep them in place.  So, these shorts all have both 1/4" wide elastic and a drawstring at the waist.


Here you can see just how deep the pockets are from the inside view- they are very generous- I could fit a small paperback book in them!


I wanted the drawstrings to be different colors, so I cut white cotton cording to the length that I wanted, and started playing with my Rit dyes.


If you've never tried dyeing, you are in for a treat.  It is so simple and much like dyeing Easter eggs.  For something small like the drawstring, just put a splash of the dye in some very hot water in an old ice cream bucket, and stir it around for a few minutes.  If you want the color to be lighter, take it out early.  The longer you leave it, the darker it gets. Then, rinse, rinse, and rinse some more until no dye comes out in the water.


I decided to do a bunch and be ready for future drawstring needs as well!  Here they are drying on my patio.


I also dyed a piece of pale peach linen into a deeper shade of coral, along with the drawstring, and that's what became my coral pink shorts.  I knew that I wanted to make "camp" shirts, and for my first one, I used this poplin shirting print and Butterick 6070.  I took extra care with this shirt to match the design, and flat felled all of the seams.



It seemed to be fitting perfectly during the sewing process, but once I sewed the sleeves on, it was too snug.   As soon as I raise my arms, it pulls across the bust.  I think that the armholes are more suited to a sleeveless top, so I might cut off the sleeves and see if I like it better.  The fabric is wonderful, so I hope that I can make it work.

For my second shirt, I went looking for a more 80's style camp shirt with lots of room, and found this old Stretch and Sew pattern that had just the type of fit I was looking for.  Interestingly enough, this pattern comes with a separate template for a sleeveless armhole, which is exactly the shape of the armhole on my first shirt, solidifying my belief that if I cut off the sleeves, it might work! 


This pattern is for a dress, but I cut it at 26" long, instead of dress length to make it into a shirt.  I used a beautiful cherry blossom cotton poplin for the shirt, and the shorts are from a double gauze.  (Both are now sold out).  I love this print, it is so pretty.  The double gauze is a stripe on one side, and solid blue on the other.  These shorts feature the striped side.  This is my first time using double gauze, and it's very soft.  Maybe too soft for shorts!  It probably is better suited to shirting, but I will see how they hold up.


This shirt has a lot more ease, and I can raise my arms freely!  I'm very happy with this one- it's just the epitomy of a camp shirt in my mind.


Here's a close-up of the stitching- I used my new coverstitch machine to do all of the stitching around the front band and pockets.  I love this machine!  It makes my topstitching look 1000 times more professional!


For my last top, I went with a printed cotton gauze and Butterick 6455.   This fabric is a single gauze and was surprisingly very easy to work with.  Even though the arms are covered, the fabric is so lightweight that you don't feel too hot. I like the cinnamon color in this one- I think that it will transition into fall well, which is great because we still have lots of hot days all the way through September.



So, I'm all set for this summer for my casual shorts and top needs!  I love making all types of clothes, but there is something extra satisfying about sewing things that you know you can wear everyday.   Do you agree?

Happy Sewing!
Ann



6 comments:

  1. Everything looks fabulous - especially you! Such lovely makes! I am going to try dyeing - just struggling with a self fabric drawstring - your idea is so much easier and more fun, too! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, turning those self fabric drawstrings is what prompted me to purchase a roll of cotton cording!

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  2. I don't know if you like PDF patterns, but I think you would love the patterns by Kennis Wong of Itch to Stitch Designs: http://itch-to-stitch.com/

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    1. I have made a couple of Itch to Stitch designs and love them. In fact, her shorts pattern was in serious consideration for my shorts this year, but in the end, I opted for no zipper.

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  3. A lovely collection of summer outfits.

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  4. Soooooo many clothes to steal when I get home <3 <3 <3 <3

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