March 10, 2012

Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe Planning

(Oh, look at that! I made myself a fancy graphic.)

I'm jumping on the mini-wardrobe sewing bandwagon and planning a set of 10 (yep, 10!) pieces to make for this summer.

Now, I know you'd might ask, "Hey, Dixie, can you really make ten garments for this summer? Isn't that a lot!?"

But then I'd tell you "Well, two pieces are already made. And besides, summer in Texas means the majority of the year so it's March right now - I reasonably have about 8 months to make all of this stuff before I'll have to go back to wearing pants again." And then I'd give you a wink. ;)

That doesn't mean I'm limited to only making the things in this wardrobe plan. I'm still going to sew lots of other stuff for fun but I like the idea of a handful of clothes that can easily interact with one another and that I can wear all summer.

I'm calling this mini-collection my Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe because, as you'll see, it's all shirts and shorts with a couple extras. No, I don't hate dresses but dresses are outfits in themselves. There's not much mixing and matching going. And last summer I realized that nearly all I wore was a few tops and a couple shorts!

How to decide what to make: After doing my wardrobe catalogue earlier this year I figured out what I wear most, what I wear least, and what gaps I need to fill. Because I practically live in shorts in the hot Texas summer I'm making (or using) some versatile shorts. I also need solid color tops that aren't too plain. I need more blazers - ok, maybe I just want more blazers...

But I also wanted to incorporate some trends that I like - bright colors, bow blouses, chambray/denim, scallops, 70s vintage, and stripes. I also thought about what would be comfy in the summer - loose fitting, flowy tops that don't stick to my skin.

The Color Scheme: I'm going with neutrals mixed with brights - I've got one bright top, one bright pair of shorts and a bright printed scarf. The rest are pretty neutral - gray, black, white, navy, and blue. I love using neutrals as a base and then spicing things up when I want to with a little color. I definitely wanted to incorporate some of the Spring 2012 Pantone colors.

The Shorts

The Shirts
  • The tennis tee - in white seersucker, a vintage McCall's pattern from the 70s, #5526, I call it the tennis tee because when I first saw the image it reminded me of something someone would wear to tennis practice in the 70s.
  • The bow blouse - in floral rayon, self-drafted
  • The pearl snap button down - in gray chambray, possibly from BurdaStyle Magazine 3/12
  • The drop shoulder tee - in rayon knit stripe, also self drafted
The Extras
  • The printed scarf - in floral gauze, self drafted (probably just a big square)
  • The white blazer - in a white floral damask, haven't found a pattern yet

The Extras are like support staff - just in case I want to mix it up or I need a summer blazer for cool restaurants.

Fabric sources: Stripe knit for the drop shoulder tee, Rayon Challis for the bow blouse.

There are some rules: each item has to work with at least three other items or outfits. Most of the tops work with most of the bottoms. I probably wouldn't wear the scarf with the bow blouse because the bow is sort of a scarf in itself. Since I'm making the pearl snap button down out of a gray chambray I probably wouldn't wear it with the chambray shorts but it would work with all the other shorts.

What about accessories? Since I began making nearly all my own clothes the only thing I get to enjoy shopping for are shoes and bags! I plan on buying a couple pairs of shoes for summer to replace old worn out shoes and maybe I'll even make a couple bags?
Progress: I'm working on drafting the drop shoulder tee right now and if all goes well I plan on making a PDF pattern for it. Yay more patterns!

***I've been getting inspiration by looking at others people's wardrobe plans. Are you doing a spring wardrobe this year? Let me know and I'll check it out!

Also, a woman in my sewing group came up with the idea of doing a small workshop of sorts to plan a seasonal mini-wardrobe. Would you be interested in attending something like that and what would you want covered in the workshop?


  1. The colour scheme is really nice. I am never that organized. I just go from one fabric I like to another - which is why I have lots of nice clothes that don't necessarily work together! I know what you mean about ten month summers; we have ten month winters here in Canada. I still wear my winter coat until early May but most of the blowing snow is finished in March. Happy sewing!

  2. Oh awesome! I literally just finished making the sweet shorts - and I tell you what, the second you put them on - you'll realised why they named them the sweet shorts!!! I too love shorts (and am more likely to wear separates than a dress) so am really looking forward to seeing how you're other three work out so I can make them too!
    The tennis is is gorgeous!

  3. Love your plan and I'm excited to see it come together!

  4. So inspirational! There's not much that gets me as excited as a good list, so I think I'll be using this post to help me plan my summer sewing list. Thanks!

  5. I love reading everyone's sewing plans. I look forward to your reviews on the NL and PR shorts. I am wanting to make some shorts for this summer, as well.

  6. Great plans! I really like your mix&match approach, and those are some seriously cute shorts!
    I'm still working on my plans for spring and summer, since we're barely finishing up winter over here. I think it'll be mainly dresses, since I have started working last month and I like being able to just throw a dress on in the morning without having to think about it.

    1. Thanks! I think if I had a "real" job I'd make more dresses because they're more work appropriate than short. I love not having to worry about co-coordinating an outfit with dresses.

  7. How did your New Look shorts come out? I made a muslin of them recently and found them a bit frumpy even with a fair amount of tweaking. I feel like I wasn't doing something quite right, it'd be neat to see another person's version of them!

    1. The shorts were really long and kind of flared. They also came up to about my belly button. I must be way shorter than the envelope model. I had to shorten them by about three inches before even adding the cuffs. I didn't make the leg any more narrow but next time I'll at least narrow the inner leg if not the outter leg, too. If I made them as-is with no changes they would have been majorly frumpy.

  8. Great post! And HOLLA for making your own bags... I know where you can find a gazillion and a half patterns and books for bag-making. ;~)

  9. Love this! All of your colors and garment choices are great. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress

  10. Oh you might just have inspired me to set out to make some more clothing for summer.
    And have a plan for it all. - I need my colours to match :p

    If you do find a pattern for the blazer I would be interested as I love them but never can get shop bought ones to fit as I have weirdly wide arms it seems.