May 8, 2016

Thinking about summer

After about a week at the end of April in which winter seemed to be back, this week feels like summer is already here. Of course, the only thing you can really rely on about the weather here in the Netherlands, is that it's unreliable. So, there is no real reason to complain about either of these extremes. It's still a big change though. I went from wearing my winter coat a week and a half ago, to my 1960's summer dress today.

These few early hot days have made me think about my summer sewing. As you know, I'm quite fond of 1950's style dresses and separates most of the year but not so much in hot weather. No matter how summer-y the look or how thin and airy the fabric (lots of nice cotton) fitted bodices and big skirts are just not the coolest option out there. They are great moderate summer days but not for the really hot ones. 

I may not need a lot of true hot weather clothes but it is nice to consider what those should be, just in case I would decide to make more.

My ultimate heat wave outfits are two little cropped jumpsuits/playsuits. Loose, baggy shapes made from thin viscose/rayon which expose a lot of leg. The other one has a spaghetti strap top.

This little number comes in at a close second. It is also a jumpsuit/playsuit but the shape is very different. The top part is a tube top made from cotton jersey, the bottom is made from linen, using a culotte pattern. I tend to exclude jersey from my personal list of best fabrics in hot weather because it will always have more bulk than a woven fabric from the same fiber. However, it has never bothered me in this case. Maybe it's because of the bare shoulders.

And then, last year, I discovered 1960's dresses (this is the dress I am wearing right now). That is something I owe to the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge. I made two dresses from magazines in my collection which were both great in the middle of summer. Most magazines in my collection are from the mid-60's when skirts weren't quite as short as we would expect them to be. In cotton or linen, these are great for summer and I think I will make more this year.

Two years ago, I had yet another summer experiment: A bias cut dress. Made from thin and airy viscose, this one is wonderful to wear in warm weather despite the long skirt. I never thought I was quite finished with this topic so maybe it is time to try again. 

This is my existing summer line-up and I think I will add to the dresses this year. I may continue on the roads already taken, or try something new. Some floaty 1970's looks seem appealing or maybe I can try 1930's again? Or maybe something very modern?
As for fabrics, I am never fond of synthetics but really avoid them in summer. I like cotton but I think linen and viscose/rayon are even cooler to wear. I don't have a lot of experience with silk but I have some pieces hidden away in my stash. It's supposed to be great for summer wear. 


  1. I personally find silk to be terrible for hot weather wear. It's great for spring when its lightness feels great after heavy winter layers. But when it's actually hot, I find it gets kind of sticky and doesn't breathe well.

  2. I agree with Rivikah. Silk is cooler than polyester but much clammier than cotton, linen and rayon.

  3. I'm all about cotton dresses over the summer (I am postmenopause but still All Hot Flash) and much of the other seasons. Rayon ends up in the more complicated/layered makes. Those are very handsome work

  4. Looks like a great summer wardrobe. I love that black dress. Is it v shaped panels that meet in the center? It's fun,