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Share some summer sewing highlights

VictoriaNorth | Posted in General Discussion on

In our latest issue, Threads #143, we asked our contributors what they enjoyed most about summer sewing. Their responses focused mainly on the fun of being outdoors and using summer fabrics.

What do you like best about summer sewing? Are you planning any summer sewing projects?

Edited 5/29/2009 3:57 pm ET by vicky_north


  1. sewslow67 | | #1

    Good question, Vicky!  I enjoy summer sewing for a number of reasons.  I have more natural energy when the weather is sunny during the day and cool breezes blow gently in the windows at night, and that contributes to a deeper, more satisfying sleep.  I also especially enjoy the spring and summer fabrics, as they generally take less tailoring, and are lighter weight (easier on the shoulders when sewing).

    My goal right now is to make a new wardrobe for our family reunion in July.  And, to make it interesting, I plan to use only fabrics and notions (except for the odd notion, here and there) from the stash I have on hand.  Therefore, I can justify that it was all "free".  Chuckle ... You see, if I didn't buy it in the last budget year, I don't count the cost.  ;-)

    One additional motivation to "get a move on":  DH told me that he would take me out to dinner for every new outfit I completed.  That means less cooking when it gets warm ...and more time to spend doing what I love to do most; i.e. SEWING!

    1. MaryinColorado | | #2

      Oooooooooh!  You are blessed with a husband who appreciates your creative talents!  What a lucky lady you are!  You get to enjoy your love of sewing and then go out to celebrate while wearing your unique creation.  That's like the icing on the cake!!!  woohoo!  The compliments you get are the cherry on top!

      1. sewslow67 | | #3

        Good Morning Mary!  Yes ...I am lucky, huh?  That's been a good inspiration along with some beautiful spring/summer weather.

        I got several of Marcy Tilton's patterns on sale some months back ($33.00 Canadian for $4.45 American) and I am in the process of starting to make muslins to see how they fit.  I've done only one pair of pants so far and absolutely love them.  I met her years ago (she is a fellow Oregonian) at a sewing fair and have enjoyed watching her career spiril upward ever since.  If you haven't seen her Website, I think you would enjoy it.  Like Kayla Kennington (also an Oregonian), she is very creative.  It is:  http://www.marcytilton.com/  I hope you have fun exploring her Website.

        Are you working on any projects that excite you? 



        1. MaryinColorado | | #6

          Thanks for the website info!  I have one pattern that I bought when I met her at a sewing expo.  I will check out the website too.  So glad to hear that you were able to make some pants that fit and you love!  Way to go!!!  That is fantastic!  Wish you lived close, I'd ask you to come over and teach me how to fit some for me too!  (I'm still avoiding the fitting issues for now, will take it on when I catch up on all my current projects.)  Thanks for sharing!  Mary

          1. sewslow67 | | #8

            You are most welcome.  I hope you enjoy exploring here Website as much as I have.  She's just full of creative ideas ...just like you, I might add.  ;-)

        2. lou19 | | #27

          Thanks for the link to Marcy Tilson website

          I am collaging jackets and vests. Using for inspiration "art of fabric collage " by Rosemary Eichorn. I have a couple of Marcy Tilson pattern which I'm thinking of collaging.........one in black and white prints with  green stitching and green and black binding........... 

          1. sewslow67 | | #39

            You are most welcome.  Oh ...please do post a photo of your jacket when it is completed.  It sounds wonderful.  I just finished a muslin of Marcy's pant #8397, view c, and it fits great.  I rarely wear pants with elastic waist, but these don't have so much fabric bunching around the waist.  They are both comfortable and attractive.

  2. GailAnn | | #4

    I'm wondering if I am the only one who uses the extra time in the Summer to plan and make my Fall/Winter wardrobe????

    My Summer wardrobe is ALWAYS limited.  I HATE getting the sweaty pit-stains on clothes of fabrics I adore!   2 dresses, a modest jumper, 2 wrap around or elastic waist skirts, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of kakhi pants, along with all the t-shirts I bought at the end of the previous Summer, plus whatever "cut-offs" salvaged from the jeans of Summers' past, pretty much has to see me through to the end of September.  Most of it gets "pitched" out, by the second week-end in October.

    And I never want to see them again.


    1. Teaf5 | | #7

      When I lived in a more temperate climate, I sewed for Fall/Winter in the summertime, but now I find I hate working with the heavier fabrics or styles while it's hot and don't enjoy sewing clothes for work while on my precious summer break. 

      Now, I just try to make a few lightweight tops for the first few months of the new school year, when it will still be hot but I will want something fresh to wear, and I do more home dec and embellishment projects that can be done in small increments in the cool of the mornings.

    2. MarieCurie | | #40

      Not having any problem planning/executing a fall wardrobe this summer since we're giving summer a pass this year--it's 60 and rainy.  I'm absorbed with twill skirts and long sleeved dresses.

      1. sewslow67 | | #41

        Where are you from, that it's "sew" wonderfully cook today?  I just got a note from a friend in my old home town of Portland, OR and she said it is 95-degrees out in the shady part of her deck.  Ouch!

        1. MarieCurie | | #42

          Upstate NY, near Fort Drum.   The forecast is for 40s tonight.  Good thing I never packed away the kids' flannel pajamas. 

  3. Tatsy | | #5

    I love sewing summer clothes because they're lighter weight and take less construction. The temp has already been over 100 degrees here so who needs sleeves or collars? Self-made bias binding goes on fast with the serger and looks neat. I'll probably sew up five or six summer tops and at least four pairs of shorts or pedal pushers. They will fit me far better than ready-made clothes and be in styles and colors that flatter.

    Another thing I like about summer is sewing tablecloths and napkins to use at home and give as gifts. A rolled hem on the serger transforms inexpensive fabric into an excuse for a party.

  4. mar32428 | | #9

    I'm 81 years experienced so I don't plan as much as I used to.  My puppies have me up at 6:30 and I go right out to work in the yard in the cool morning as needed.  Then three days a week I head for water aquatic exercise at the fitness center.  A little time spent to tidy the house or do some planned cooking.  Then I have the whole rest of the day to make new garments for the fall trips my friend and I take.  Also work on Christmas gifts.  Then there's the quilts to be done on my quilting machine.  All this is done in a lovely air-conditioned home in the 90 degree heat of Florida.  Ah yes.  The golden years.

    1. MaryinColorado | | #12

      You are living my dreamlife!  It is wonderful to hear that you are able to live life to the fullest and enjoy each day.  What a blessing!  And in beautiful sunny Florida!  One of my friends recently moved to Sarasota, Fla.

      I imagine you really enjoy dreaming up your travel wardrobe, shopping for just the right fabrics, sewing and pressing.  All the while anticipating another exciting Fall adventure with your friend.  What wonderful times the two of you must have together!  And then you have such wonderful memories and stories to share!

      I've just been quilting for about two years now and love it, though it takes me a long time to fiish each one.  The art quilts don't go any quicker than a bedquilt because I like to hang them up and "consider" what to add and where to proceed with them.  I even did a bit of beading on one.  What kind of quilting machine do you have?  Mary

    2. sewelegant | | #13

      I love it!  I hope I am sewing when I am 81 and enjoying the aging process as much as you seem to be doing.  Good for you.

  5. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #10

    My summer sewing is the fast and easy stuff. Whip it up quick, and wear it to death for one season only! No worries about perfect fit, easy fit and comfort is the key in the humid heat. Loose and easy wearing! Shorts and cool tops, bathing suit cover ups, and lots of easy slip on dresses. I use up the cheap stuff and weird stuff in my stash for fun and funky clothes. Cathy

  6. Ceeayche | | #11

    I like sewing in the summer because I can hear the neighborhood children playing and there is natural daylight longer into the evening.  I work through the summer, so this extra daylight makes a difference in my mood.

    It would be great if I had the discipline to sew for fall/winter during the summer. Alas, I don't.  My projects lean more towards the creative long term items that I kept putting away because I thought I didn't have time. Or new techniques that I want to try before I use fashion fabric.

  7. User avater
    adairent | | #14

    Maybe I am a little different, but I look forward to summer sewing because I get to have fun making costumes for Vacation Bible School.   This year, I am going to make Pharoah.  I plan to base it on the King Tut deathmask design.  

    Later this summer, I will be doing some new fall separates.  These days, I rarely do what is "in fashion".  I have more fun when I can make something unusual.  My last project was mid-twentieth century swing jacket in leopard print fleece.  I'm looking now for my next design inspiration.  THAT is summer fun!

  8. gailete | | #15

    Summer sewing, HMMmmm, we had to turn the heat on one day this week as it was too cold for hubby to work in his shop (self-employed). What I love about summer sewing is my sewing room is on the second floor and has a big 5 foot square window that looks straight into a walnut tree and past that my in laws back yard and then woods. I feel like I am in a tree house when I'm sewing and get to watch the squirrels and birds playing.

    Every year I say that is the last time I'm going to wear these summer clothes, and the next year finds me wearing them again. Right now I have on shorts I bought 14 years ago and a top I made 10 years ago (very baggy mind you as I lost 40 pounds since acquiring them). I just can't whip out the clothes as fast as I used to, but I would like to make some summer dresses and a few more tops and skirts as I rarely wear pants or shorts. I also like to get started on Christmas presents.

    I have three pairs of new, never used blue jeans that I would like to be able to convert into at least one skirt, has anyone done this or know where there might be instructions? Particularly for working with the crotch area. A blue jean skirt can go year round and that is the kind of thing I like to make--4 season clothes.


    1. Teaf5 | | #16

      There are many, many sites for jeans-to-skirt and several books on refashioning denim that include different options.

      Back in the day, we just took the inseam out all the way, pressed the jeans open, and placed a triangular piece in the space and topstitched it.  However, it always looked exactly like a pair of jeans made into a skirt and was very heavy. 

      Some of the newer options include cutting the jeans just above the crotch seam to use a yoke and then adding layers of pieced fabric (denim from the legs or different fabrics) to the bottom.  The bottom part can be like any other skirt; I especially like the slightly flared, 6- or 8- panel style or the 6-piece swirled panels.

      Jeans denim is very heavy, so a knee-length skirt is more wearable than a longer one, and one that combines woven cotton fabrics with the denim is even lighter and more comfortable to wear.


      1. gailete | | #17

        Thank you. I was thinking just below knee length (I try to hide my knee surgery scars). Last week I was able to score a bunch of old sewing books and one of them actually had details about how to do it. It seems like it should be easy enough, I wasn't sure what bits of weirdness I might run into--fabric weight is one thing I needed to know.


        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #18

          I love to make my favorite old jeans into skirts! Take the top part of the best pair that fits as the yoke. Cut it off below the zipper, leaving a small seam allowance. Cut the legs off the other jeans, and open only the inner leg seam, leaving the flat felled seams intact. Arrange the pieces and flat fell the legs together, trimming and cutting to make new fabric as on grain as possible. Cut a new skirt bottom to fit the blue jean yoke. Add a slit or pleats or gentle gathers as you wish. Embroidery and bits of lace add some pizzazz.
          If you have flared jeans, just cut the bottom flared parts off, and you can sew the opened inseams together on several pairs for a kicky short skirt. Even the ragged hems look great. A slightly longer ruffle on an underslip looks great if you want it a bit longer. Cathy

          1. gailete | | #19

            Thanks for the ideas, although I can't imagine myself in a short kicky skirt, a little too old and have rather strange looking legs which tend to be covered with black support knee socks all the time. I can only find mens socks that fit me and they only come in black. I do wish companies would realize that there are woman in this world that are tall and have large feet besides. I have two pairs of corduory pants that are also falling off of me that I should try to do something with. I'm just about down 50# now so everything is baggy! I don't think I ever thought I would lose this much weight. Told hubby the other day that I wished I could SEE the weight loss and he said he had been looking at pictures from before we were married and it is very evident. I think I could deal with the clothing situation better except the weight loss is because I'm sick so often which doesn't leave much time for sewing new clothes. But the jeans idea I definitely want to try.


          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #20

            :) I understand how the kicky little skirt might not be your thing. Could add those legs to a longer length tho! A longer kicky skirt with a flared hem! Never too old or to Reubanesque to have some fun clothes. Those are the clothes we end up wearing to death, not the plain ones, in my experience. I understand about the weight loss issue. Since I was sick this winter, I have dropped quite a few lbs myself, and am having problems with saggy sack clothes. I am fortunate in that my daughters have passed on stuff for me to wear. It will do until I can really hit the studio. Some of the "younger" styles were a surprise when I tried them on. Not bad for an old girl. Going to relook my pattern collection....... :) Cathy

          3. gailete | | #21

            I think that is why I was so happy that my dress fit and with a bit of room to spare. I should be able to whip it up again in summer fabric and take in the sides a bit more. I had needed a Sunday/funeral/wedding appropriate dress for a while and the blue one will do the trick, but I also want some dresses that I can wear around the house. I can make skirts pretty quickly, but tops take more time and my favorite pattern just bags on me so it needs some adjustment. Currently a quilt in progress is taking up my cutting table. Where to put sewing priorities can become a real question at times, but I felt the need to work on a quilt and so that is what I'm up to, but once I get past a certain point, I should be able to sneak some clothes into the sewing line up. Why in the world can people be bored with all the potential sewing projects to be made?


          4. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #22

            Ha ha ha, bored? no way. I am always looking for a new idea to spark something, if I am not actually working on something.
            I actually prefer dresses to tops and skirts. It is just as much work as a blouse or top, but easier to wear, and more flattering. I just change them up with a scarf, jacket, cardigan or vest. All the fun stuff that keeps old faithful patterns going. Cathy

          5. gailete | | #23

            Cathy, I think I mentioned already that I got a stack of sewing books at our library sale last week and they have been giving me lots of ideas. One thing I have noticed are those detachable collars that can me made with French machine sewing, applique, etc. I realize that they are probably out of fashion, but now that I have a dress with a nice plain round neckline, I might try something like that to change the dress. I've also been seeing different kinds of scarves in my nightly Threads reading, so there seems to be a lot of things that you can do to make one dress look different depending on the occasion. I hate to spend a lot of time on one garment that may or may not fit in a year, but an accessory it seems, should be worth the effort as it is smaller and should be able to be used with different outfits.

            I participate on several different discussion boards from time to time and it appears that many people unless they can spend all their time in mindless shopping, eating out, running around, don't know what to do with themselves. A good hobby will keep you occupied whether actively doing it or as you mentioned just thinking about it. I sleep so much better at night now that I look through a sewing magazine every night before bed. I can go to bed thinking about the next project, #48,981, as I drift off to sleep.


          6. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #24

            It is my opinion that the things like the collar and small details will outdate a good classic faster than anything. Removable collars, that can be made and changed up to go with an out fit are like scarves, an accessory. They often need so little fabric, they can be cut from scraps. Why not use them to coordinate? They would be easy and fun to work on in small time snatches as well. A unique detail is never out of fashion. You might have to adapt the points or width to current trends, but that is all. :) Cathy

  9. MarieCurie | | #25

    Summer?  I had all my summer sewing planned, then realized my parents need a huge beautiful scrap quilt for their 50th anniversary at the end of August.  It's almost assembled, and truely lovely.  I can only manage to work on it a little at a time since summer is finally here, and the kids have to play outside in the sun while we have it.  Heaven knows we have plenty of winter in NY to stay inside.  Anyway, I'm trying to come up with a clever title for the quilt that somehow encompasses the idea of scraps of fabric and scraps of time (50 years) that come together to make something wonderful.  Any suggestions?

    1. sewelegant | | #26

      scraps of love, but make love a big red heart

    2. MaryinColorado | | #29

      I cannot find it, but somewhere there is a poem about families and quilts that is really nice.  Will look for it.  Something about pieced together with memories and stitched with love.  Mary

      1. MarieCurie | | #30

        Thank you.  That would be awesome.  I have an embroidery machine to make the poem part of the label on the back.

        1. MaryinColorado | | #31

          I looked for it last night and couldn't find it...yet.  I sure hope I can find it in time for you to use, if it's right for the quilt.  I keep trying to remember it too.  I think it starts out saying families are like quilts...The end is something about being "bound with love".   It's on a tiny  piece of paper and I wish I'd put it on my bulletin board now!  Mary

          1. Teaf5 | | #32

            Is it the Renee Baker poem, "Families are a patchwork of love"?

          2. MaryinColorado | | #33

            Do you have it?  That sounds possible!  Mary

          3. MaryinColorado | | #36

            Thanks, that's what I call: synchronicity!  wow!  That is the poem!  I found the little scrap from the magazine right after I read your post.   Now my clean desk drawer is cluttered again with a zillion little clippings with quotes and sayings.  Now I will absolutely put them in a notebook so I don't lose them again.  I'm glad to have found so many of them so it was well worth the search.  Mary


        2. MaryinColorado | | #34

          I found it!  "Families are like quilts, lives pieced together, stitched with smiles and tears, colored with memories and bound by love."  Renee Baker 1989

          In a few minutes, I will post a few more that I found too.  Gonna eat my pecan buster parfait now...giggle!  Mary

          The family is a circle of strength and love.  With every birth and every union, the circle grows.  Every joy shared adds more love.  Every crisis faced together makes the circle stronger.

          The family quilt was started generations in the past.  Designed with love, it's pattern's rich in values that will last.  Each person sews antoher square of memories that endure, while chalenges add strength that makes our family life secure.  And stitching it together-threads of closeness, warmth, and caring.  Make it cozy and more comforting with every year of sharing.

          Family Ties are precious things, woven through the years.  Of memories, of togetherness, of laughter, love, and tears.  Family ties are treasured things and far though we may roam, the tender bonds with those we love, still pull our hearts toward home.


          Edited 7/1/2009 5:33 pm by MaryinColorado

          1. sewslow67 | | #35

            Sounds yummy.  I just made a strawberry rhubarb custard pie ...and had a piece.  It was delicious too.  tee hee  Now what to have for lunch to go with it?  tee hee

          2. MaryinColorado | | #37

            Yum, I'd love to have that recipe!  My neighbors hate rhubarb so they give it to us.

            I had left over pork stew from last night, yum.  Then the treat.  Hey, my headache went away too...sweeeeet! Mary

          3. sewslow67 | | #38

            You got it, Mary!  Please send me a PM so I know where to send the recipe, OK?  Thanks.

  10. sewelegant | | #28

    I used the word "scraps" because that is what she used:

    "I'm trying to come up with a clever title for the quilt that somehow encompasses the idea of scraps of fabric and scraps of time"

    Anyone who loves quilts would not think to apply a negative to the word.  Especially when you have gone to so much trouble to assemble your fabric scraps into one just for them.

    Edited 6/28/2009 3:52 pm by sewelegant

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