Summer of Basics: Inspiration and Planning

Last summer, I made a feeble attempt at completing the Summer of Basics, created and hosted by blogger Karen Templer of Fringe Association. In a nutshell, it involves making three pieces of ‘essential’ items to add to your handmade wardrobe. Although I started off strong with sewing a lovely Kielo wrap dress, my goal of completing two other pieces by the end of August soon fizzled into nothing as I became obsessed with the idea of sewing and dyeing a bridesmaid dress for myself in time for my sister’s wedding (which, thankfully, was a success!).

Here’s what I’m doing differently this summer, to improve my chances of success:

  1. Keep things simple. I’m still fairly new to sewing so that means no “intermediate” patterns. Easy, beginner patterns only!
  2. Use what you have. I already have a lot of pretty fabric that is taking up space in my tiny one bedroom apartment, so I’m going to try to make the most of it rather than going out and buying up more fabric.
  3. Experiment! I want to try out new techniques using natural dyeing, embroidery, and lace to keep things fun. I have the hardest time finding diy sewing patterns that actually appeal to me, so the more I can be creative, the more I’ll stay motivated to see the project through!

Here’s a sample of what’s inspiring me. Think colourful basics, light and breezy tops, comfy sweatshirts, wrap dresses, lace skirts, cut-off jeans, cozy shawls and knitwear, embroidery and natural dyeing.

Tops and Dresses

As Shown: 1. Colorful tops on Pinterest  2. Pinterest (original link not found) 3. DIY Circle Top from A Pair and a Spare DIY , 4. Sweater and Skirt on Pinterest 5. DIY Cross Back Dress from A Pair and a Spare DIY


As Shown: 1. Ludlow Shawl by Julie Hoover 2. Redshift Colorwork Triangle Shawl by Jared Flood 3. Helmut Lang Cropped Sweater 4. Void Shawl by Melanie Berg, 


As shown: 1. DIY Lace Skirt by A Pair and a Spare 2. Pinterest embroidered skirt 3. Scalloped mini skirt on Pinterest

The photos shown above are more for a general sense of inspiration than an actual reflection of what I might make this summer. There are a few raglan sewn sweater patterns (two classics here and here, and a slightly funkier one here) that would pair perfectly with some grey sweatshirt fabric I’ve been looking to use up. I love the idea of sewing a super simple and classic grey sweatshirt, and then adding on some subtle patches of embroidery near the shoulders, a la Tessa Perlow (who, if you haven’t heard of her, is an incredible embroidery artist!).

Then there’s also the Kielo wrap dress pattern that I purchased last year to use for my bridesmaid dress – it turned out perfectly, and was so easy, that I’m tempted to make another one in a luxurious hand dyed silk fabric! Who knows, maybe I could even try my hand at eco dyeing with flowers or shibori!

What are your favorites? Are you planning on joining in on the Summer of Basics this year?