Every year for the last few years, I have declared “This summer, I am hitting the beach!” And every summer until now, I have been too lazy/disorganised/lackadaisical to bring it to fruition. However the summer of 2015/2016, in large part thanks to my friends and family for bring more motivated and better organised, I have finally made it to the beach. And man, has it been lovely. Reading on the beach, splashing in the waves, kayaking, snorkelling, soaking up the warmth of the sun and the sand – I have been enjoying myself a lot 🙂 It’s been excellent for another reason, too: it has provided the perfect justification for my sewing up the flimsiest, delightfully frivolous and most impractical clothing. Jeans at the beach are, in my belief, just wrong; sadly, so are my beloved full-skirts and petticoats. So what’s called for? Playsuits and co-ords, of course! So here’s my last bit of frippery for the summer: a crop-top version of ByHandLondon’s Anna dress, and my own self-drafted shorts.
As much as I do love my two playsuits, they do have one inherent flaw – one-piece clothing makes bathroom visits that little more inconvenient. So I decided it was time for another co-ord, seeing as I really do love them and I haven’t made one since this time last year. When I made the Anna dress a few weeks ago, it occurred to me that the pretty bodice (by far my favourite part of the pattern) could possibly be hacked into top of some kind. Particularly easy would be a crop top, which would merely require not sewing a skirt on to it. Now that’s my kind of pattern hack! I decided to pair it with my self-drafted shorts pattern, the same one I used for my champagne satin co-ord, but this time adding a side pocket, because now that I’ve started putting pockets in things, I can’t stop 😛
Construction was reasonably straightforward – I decided not to line either piece, as it’s only casual warm-weather wear, and I used my french seams, my favourite finish, throughout. I do like to try and incorporate an element of learning/skill development into each project, however – so this time I made my own bias binding to finish all the openings (except the shorts legs, they were just turned up and hemmed). It gives a great look and a lovely clean finish, but I think next time I will at least invest in one of those little bias-makers (the little metal ones that fold the strip for you) to speed the process up, because manually ironing the folds in got tedious very quickly.
Another new skill: a little hand-worked button loop! The separating zip I bought for the top was a little too short, but I decided I rather liked the idea of having a gap and a little button closure at the top – it’s a very pretty effect 🙂 So I dug this little beauty of a button out of my stash, and found a quick little tutorial on working a button loop for it. I think it’s a nice little detail that adds to the vintage character of the ensemble.
Speaking of vintage, this fabric is a bit special – another piece from my great-grandmother’s stash, gifted to me by my grandmother last year. I had originally hoped to make Simplicity 1880 out of it, but sadly there just wasn’t enough fabric. Happily I picked up some very nice cotton lawn for that one in the Spotlight sale (and maybe a pattern or six…) – expect to see that one soon!
I really am pleased with how this little outfit turned out – it’s so cute and comfortable, perfect for all manner of summer fun 🙂 These photos were taken on our holiday to the Cook Islands (which turned out to be a very me-made holiday!), and I definitely couldn’t resist having that kind of scenery for my photoshoot.
Well, it’s back to sewing smart and sensible(ish) for me now, that my summer break is over – but I’m pretty well relishing the change; I’m quite excited about the chic things I’m currently sewing up for placement! What’s everyone else working on at the moment?
Until next time,
Miss Maddy xx