Summer Beachwear…with or without the beach!

By Sarah Connell, from Sewing with Sarah

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One of my favorite things to do as a sewist is to take a fabric designed for one thing, and make it into something entirely different.

When I saw the Tori Richards Striped Shirting on the site a few weeks back, I was desperate to order a few yards and dive into a shirt-making frenzy, with a popular pattern like the Grainline Archer Shirt Dress or the Hey June Cheyenne Tunic, both of which have been in my queue for ages.

But, as I evaluated my closet in anticipation of MeMadeMay, I realized that what I really needed were bottoms. Not jeans, which get too hot to wear about a third of the way into May, or skirts, which aren’t practical for our summer camping shenanigans, but a pair of those breezy lightweight summer pants that beg for a day spent by the ocean, walking along the sand, feeling the waves wash up on my toes (the nearest sand is about 4 hours on a long, winding road away from me, but I wasn’t about to let reality get in the way of my fantasy!).

I decided to take a chance, and see if I could take my fabric crush and mash it with the Pattern Emporium’s Coco Wide Legged pants pattern to achieve my vision. The print on this fabric runs selvedge to selvedge, but to achieve the look I wanted, I needed to cut the pants on the cross grain- something I was also nervous about, and had never done before (I tend to be a bit of a compulsive rule-follower, when it comes to sewing).

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Did I mention this was also my first time sewing a Pattern Emporium pattern? Yup, I was taking lots of chances here, and I held my breath in anticipation with every seam. I’ll save you the suspense and share that they came out perfectly- and I even enjoyed experimenting and learning a few new techniques along the way (such as how to create a smocked elastic waistband with my cover stitch’s chain-stitch function! So fast!).

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They even have pockets, which is pretty much the first thing I check when I go to buy a pants pattern- #pocketsarelife!

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After I was finished, I knew I needed a little summer top to match, so I used the lightweight Light Blue Heather Jersey Knit for a Striped Swallow Designs DayBreak Tank, halter style.

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If you’re new to sewing binding on knits, I highly recommend this pattern- the technique makes it easy to get a great finish with a simple sewing machine (no serger or cover stitch needed!) The low back is also a great way to show off a cute summer bralette- or a great tan!

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The tie front is a cute detail, and the faux button placket meant no stress over making buttonholes (I’m not the only one who gets hives just thinking about them, am I?)

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Choosing buttons was my biggest challenge- but I went with these faux wood ones, because they reminded me of finding pieces of driftwood along the shore (I was deep into the ocean vibe at this point!).

I wish I could tell you that I was able to make the trek to the beach to live out my fantasy, but between school/work/kids activities, that hasn’t yet been possible. We did get a fantastic family evening in the park though, during which I was blissfully comfortable and able to chase after my three kids with ease.

Rest assured the beach is on my summer bucket list though- along with a few more variations of this outfit, and maybe even that collared shirt I originally wanted to make (so many more great shirting fabrics available to choose from!).

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What are you sewing for summer? Do you have a favorite summer trend you’ve been wanting to try?


Sarah Connell

Hello Cali fabric loving friends! I'm Sarah, and I love to sew and blog at Sewing with Sarah.

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