Sewing the Classic Summer Wardrobe (Part 1)

There are 5 quintessential pieces that every classic summer wardrobe needs; A button-down shirt, white jeans, flowy pants, a knit t-shirt dress and a shirt dress. Of course, you can just buy them, but sewing your own pieces ensures you get the best quality fabric to stand the test of time and the best fit for your body shape.

Living here in Texas, my summer wardrobe is basically my year-round wardrobe, so I've sewn quite a few of these basic pieces. Here are the top 5 pieces that I think make up a classic summer wardrobe.

1. A button-down shirt

Sewn in lightweight cotton, linen, chambray, poplin, cambric or even rayon challis, a white shirt is a must-have.

Although it is called the Cheyenne tunic, This sewing pattern has 2 views and the classic button is the one I use a lot. The collar is larger than standard, which is great if you want to make that collar stand out, which I never do, but I like the way it looks on others.

Then there is the Top Gilbert from Helene's Closet which has a camp collar so is less traditional but has the perfect summer look you need. The construction of the collar is so clever and you do this kind of “freaking thing” all in one that blows my mind every time. I made 5 in different fabrics and I'm not finished yet!

And then to turn your classic white button, there is the Sew.LaLa Alea Shirt. This model has so many options that you will have a hard time choosing one. In this example, I chose the cuff of the gathered sleeve and sewed it in a very fine, almost transparent cotton. Perfect for sweltering days.

A pinstripe button will give you that classic “She's a Lady” feel. It's the Love Notions Aria Buttoned. Officially it's buttoned up for women and buttoned down for men, but I like to stand up so that's what I call them haha!

I must have a denim shirt! I haven't been able to find the type of denim they use for the ready-to-wear shirts. But you can't go wrong with a blue chambray! Here is this Cheyenne tunic which once again looks expensive and chic. Superb model of Hey June handmade.

2. White jeans

Yes, even if you're 50 like me, you can wear white jeans. You just need to have the right fit – not too tight. And as far as fit goes, I love the Lander pants. I used the optional zipper fly instructions to create these bull denim jeans. With a slightly cropped length, they are a perfect alternative to shorts. I don't do shorts!

Naturally, a wide-leg style should be on the list of classic summer jeans. I achieved this look using the famous Ginger jeans sewing pattern from Closet Core.

Do you know? I never noticed it was a stretch jean pattern until I went to look for the link. Ha! This would explain why I had so many problems with the fit. Too bad. We're good to go as long as I don't have to sit for long.

Finally, there is the Style Arc Carlisle jean. These are my favorites. I sewed them in a cream cotton twill so they wouldn't be too hot. These have a slight boot cut and work great for both summer and winter.

I hope this article has inspired you to create your own classic summer wardrobe. Be sure to subscribe to my blog to be notified of Part 2 where I will share issues 3-5.


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