If you’re thinking it’s late for me to be getting serious about summer clothes, I would just like to let you know it’s approaching 7pm as I’m typing this and the heat index is still 100°. Summer here has decided to get much worse before it gets better. And besides, I’ve realized these are great summer-into-fall pieces! They’re two of the five items from my master summer sewing plan, plus clones thereof: 3 modified Lakeside Pajamas camisole tops and 2 Fen tops. And between them, I feel like I have a whole new wardrobe!
I sewed the first of the camisoles — the light indigo one — on the last Saturday of July, and for the next week all I could think about was making a whole pile of them. One in every fabric on my shelf! Not only are they quick and simple and fun to make, but it dawned on me how great they’ll be hanging out from under all my sweaters this winter. It was a one-week addiction, seriously. I would find myself, late at night before heading for bed, bent over my worktable cutting out another one. I started calling them “my bonbons.” It was true love. By the end of the week there were three, and I decided that might be enough for the moment.
Regarding my major modification on this, I replaced the crescent criss-cross pajama back (which is darling) with a regular back. Jen mentioned to me that, on that pattern piece, the grainline marking is at the center back, so I used that as the fold line and fudged the bottom and side lines based on the front piece (with the dart folded closed). Thankfully it occurred to me that most of the width of this top is in that swingy back — if I were making it as per the original pattern, I’d probably make a 6. But with my mod removing that back panel and its swinginess, I started from the size 10 in tracing/making my pattern pieces. And it worked out perfectly.
The other thing I did is to vary the side and hem treatment on each one. Indigo has a split hem and slightly lower back. Ikat has a longer, curved hem which I just freehanded and wish I had traced to repeat! And greenie has a plain hem because I was sewing in public and forgot to leave the split at the sides. And the fabric is too fussy for ripping and redoing anything. For ikat and greenie, I also cut the back with the pattern piece an inch or two from the fold line, adding inches of width to the back, which I then gathered back down to size. I completely adore all three of them.
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Then last weekend I wanted to make the intended blue-striped Fen but felt really unsure about the size and fit, given the shape of this pattern versus my shoulders. So I cut a straight 8 out of a hunk of natural linen I had left over from my dress. Now, the thing about my sewing a Fen (or two) is it was me having a whole big discussion with myself about how it’s ok for there to be some clothes that only work in summer — that aren’t suitable for layering over or under, due to their width and length — and that it’s a good thing. Not wearing the same clothes all year means having some variety to look forward to! But it turns out I love it layered over the Lakesides! The 8 is really cute on me but pulls a little across the shoulders. So I went up to a 12 for the blue stripe, and also modified the hemline — I lowered the front and raised the back so the difference between them is not quite so severe. I love them both, but I think the 10 is probably the ideal size for me. And it will be no hardship to make another.
The only other mod I made on the Fens is the neck. I freehanded a round neck and then finished it with bias instead of the prescribed neckband. I love the band from Fen (and have used it repeatedly on other garments since first trying it) but felt like if I was going to do it here, I’d want to give it the full double-needle treatment, which I wasn’t in the mood for on the linen one! When it came to the blue one, I didn’t want to use any of my remaining yardage cutting bands on the bias, so I used a strip of bias left from my striped sleeveless top and turned it to the inside, so it’s a tiny bit of hidden contrast.
Pattern: Lakeside Pajamas by Grainline Studio (used less than 1 yard fabric)
Fabric: Hand-dyed linen-hemp given to me by a friend
Cost: $18 pattern + gift fabric = $18
Fabric: Black and white ikat purchased from Fancy Tiger Crafts for $13.50/yard
Cost: reuse pattern + $13.50 fabric = $13.50
Fabric: “Seedlings” India-loomed cotton by my friend Anna Maria Horner, purchased at Craft South for $14/yard
Cost: reuse pattern + $14 fabric = $14
Pattern: Fen by Fancy Tiger Crafts (used approx 1.5 yards fabric)
Fabric: Bought half-price last year at JoAnn, I’m guessing about $6/yard
Cost: reuse pattern + $9 fabric = $9
2. Blue stripe
Fabric: Unknown Japanese cotton remnant bought for $5/yard
Cost: reuse pattern + $7.50 fabric = $7.50
So that’s a grand total of $62 these five tops cost me! (Including one new pattern I’ll get lots more use out of.) The natural denim jeans are Willies from Nashville’s Imogene+Willie (made in LA from Japanese denim), bought on clearance. The Salma sandals were the deal of the century from Jane Sews. Feeling pretty good about all of this!
PREVIOUSLY in 2016 FOs: Adventure Tank and Seneca Skirt