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Everything I'm Planning to Sew This Summer

I'm taking a big risk with my sewing plans this summer. Want to know what it is?

Posted in: Creativity & Mindset, Style & Wardrobe • May 1, 2024

Today, I’m going to share everything I’m planning to sew for my wardrobe this summer.

This is the first time we’re hosting a summer session for Design Your Wardrobe—and it starts on May 6, so there are still a few days to sign up.

I love making plans for the summer, because I love sewing dresses. Watch the video below or keep reading to get a peek at my summer sewing plans.

The first thing I did was print out my planner and put it in a binder (you can get this planner for free here).

Next, it’s time to clear off my corkboard with all my projects from spring and start building my mood board for summer.

Last season, I had a really restrained color palette of mostly white, black, cream, and blue. I’ve decided to take that a step further this season and have a REALLY restrained palette, but we’ll get to that soon.

Now it’s time to start planning!

I always begin by looking through images I’ve saved on Pinterest. I start collecting them into a new board for the season, adding whatever inspires me.

I also like to go through my own patterns and fabric at this point. I’m just looking for inspiration, and I think it’s good to have a combination of digital and analog images. I also like to use what I already have as much as possible, and sometimes just looking through my stash gives me new ideas.

This season, I noticed that I’d collected many white and cream dresses with interesting heirloom-type details. I’ve always been really interested in the techniques of heirloom sewing, so maybe this is my chance to explore that a little more than usual.

I also noticed some bright red, especially in the form of accessories, which is interesting for that splash of color.

Now it’s time to start working through my planner. This really helps me to process all my thoughts and feelings at this point, and start the foundations of a plan.

I begin with my goal.

My goal for this season is really simple. It’s to make some beautiful summer dresses.

The reason this is important to me is twofold. First, I’ve always really loved to wear dresses and the color white in summer, so I want to really lean into what I love to wear.

Second, I want to explore some heirloom sewing techniques this season, like lace insertions, tucks, and other sort of victorian-inspired details, and I think this will be the perfect opportunity.

The words I chose are romantic, soft, and ethereal. I decided to name my collection “summer of white.”

Giving the collection of designs a name really helps me to visualize my goal and keep it in mind as I create and make decisions in the coming months. This summer, I’m going to really focus on just a few elements in my sewing, and go deep on those.

Now let’s talk about context. This is where I decide what parts of my life I’m designing this collection of clothing for. It’s a chance to get practical and think about the actual activities I’ll be doing in these clothes I’m making, which pays off later because I actually end up wearing them more.

The contexts I chose are: socializing outdoors, at home, and walks and picnics.

For socializing outdoors, I’m imagining having dinner with friends on my deck or just hanging out outside somewhere.

For that, I need clothes that will keep me cool, that are layerable for cooler nights, and that feel pretty and summery.

When I’m at home, comfort is key. I need clothing that feels light and is easy to throw on.

Finally, there are activities that involve walking, like my daily dog walk, going to the farmer’s market on the weekends, or checking out a flea market. I can definitely wear dresses to do that, but I need to be able to wear comfortable shoes with them, like my Birkenstocks, which I pretty much live in all summer.

Now that I have this foundation in place, it’s time to have fun building a new mood board for the season! I really like to work analog and have my moodboard on the wall, so I can see it and refer back to it throughout the season. Some people prefer a digital one, this is just my own preference.

The first thing I do is start to edit that Pinterest board. I go through and pull out any themes and see what I notice.

For this season, I mentioned that I noticed heirloom details, the color white, and red accessories. I also noticed a lot of longer-tiered skirts mixed in with shorter and simpler shapes. There’s also a mix of loose and fitted shapes.

This tells me that I might want to play with a variety of silhouettes and details, but keep my fabric and color choices more limited. I’m planning to look through my heirloom sewing books for more details and ideas throughout the season.

This also really helps me to edit around those themes I noticed. Editing can be a real challenge, so if that’s something you struggle with, you might check out the Seamwork Radio podcast, where we have an episode all about editing with some really good tips from me and Haley.

Once I’ve edited things down, I print and cut out images for my mood board and start pinning them up. I make decisions as I decide what to include to build the mood I’m trying to achieve.

I really like the romantic details here, but it still feels wearable and modern to me.

Now it’s time to build out the palette for the season. To do this, we use actual swatches of fabric. I don’t always have all the fabric I’m planning to use, of course, so I often just pull something similar to start and then replace it later when I have my final fabric. You could also use color swatches, paint chips, or even print images of the fabric you want to get later.

I always start by looking through my stash. I pull out the fabrics I think I might use, and often refer back to my inspiration and the themes I’ve noticed.

For this collection, I pulled out my white linen, lots of different eyelet fabrics I already have, and some white silk. I have so much eyelet already, it’s getting me thinking about how I might mix and match them together into garments.

I like to stack up all my fabrics for the season where I can see them and access them quickly for sewing later.

Now it’s time to sketch.

I start by sketching out some of the outfits I want to create. I like to think about both the general types of garments I want to make and the clothing I already own and how I might wear it. It’s fun to incorporate garments I sewed the previous season sometimes.
I like to sketch this digitally, but you can also do it on paper with the croquis that comes with the free planner.

If you’re interested in sketching digitally, I have a video on how I do this with Procreate and an Apple pencil. Once I’ve sketched them, I print them 4 to a page.

Normally, I’d go through each outfit with you before we talk about the projects, but honestly, these are dresses, and it’s summer, so the dress really is the whole outfit in most of these cases.

If you want to see all these projects, be sure to watch the video above.

I can’t wait to sew these projects with you this summer, so stay tuned if you want to see these projects come to life.

Have you started thinking about what you’ll make this summer? In the comments, let me know one project you’re really excited about tackling in the next few months!

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