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(WIP=work in progress)

Brand new!  Hot off the pr . . . uh, sewing machine!

I just finished this late this afternoon, and I’m feeling all ready for summer now.

I’ve been a little bit grumpy about how gray and wet it’s been here lately, so I pulled out a bunch of my most summer-y fabrics and patterns and pondered what I could make that would remind me of sunny, hot days.

I started with this fabric, a remnant that I picked up at SCRAP a while ago–great colors, nice, crisp feel to it, but only 7/8 of a yard (53″ wide), which isn’t much.  It’s actually a Waverly home decor fabric and “dry clean only” (HA), but it came through the wash fine, wasn’t stiff like most home decor, and Google told me it was 100% cotton.  I’m not at all a plaid sort of person, but I love the fresh look of this print.  It was probably meant to be pillows for a chair on the deck of a beach house in the Hamptons, but, hey, I can do soft and pillowy, no problem.

Here’s the pattern I came up with–dated 2001, but actually still in print.


View B on the far left only requires 7/8 of a yard for 60″ fabric, so that was what I made.

I was worried it was going to be boring, though, with such a simple design, so I used the pocket included in the pattern and bound the neck edge with a bias binding.


Arm holes are finished with some bias tape that I made some time ago and accidentally cut too narrow.


This fabric had a huge selvage on it and I just barely had enough width for the two pattern pieces.  I wound up having to sew one side seam with a little bit bigger seam allowance, just so the selvage wouldn’t show.


Doing French seams doesn’t work well with vents, so I finished the side seams by turning the seam allowances under and stitching.


Sewing this got me thinking about preppy style, which I’ve always liked.  Not the pastels or the polo shirts, but the straight skirts, button-down shirts, and little cardigans.  There’s just something so neat and tidy about that stuff, you know?  It was a socially-acceptable way for girls to dress that wasn’t frilly or fussy (in other words, I could get away with wearing it while still living with my mother, even though it edges a bit closer to androgyny). It occurs to me that if clothing is a language, we sewing people can use our hobby to explore the facets of what we’re trying to communicate, why, and to whom.  Like lots of things, a simple little tank top can be the start of an interesting meditation.  🙂

This was a quick and easy project–not the 2 hours promised, but are they ever?–and a nice basic pattern to have around.  It’s sized for wovens, but I might try this in a knit just to see how it works.  I spent the winter replacing my oldest fleece tops, but I could stand to do the same with my tee shirts.

I hope you’re seeing signs of spring where you are and having lots of sunny summer dreams.  Here’s some sweet summer music for you to listen to.  (I really like this band–try this and this, too!)