Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Hot, hot, hot!

Wow, what gorgeous weather we've been having this week! Sun, sun and… oh, OK then, just a little more sun, please! I am not good in excessive heat, but I am keen to avoid complaining about it because it’ll be over before I know it. It’s so rare to have several consecutive days of such lovely weather, that I will find a way to cope. Thankfully the evenings are cool and our house generally doesn't get much direct sun during the day, so we've had no problems sleeping.

And what a difference it makes to our lives. I feel like I'm on holiday. Meals are eaten outside. I take a lunch-break at work. My mood is just generally better. When it’s warm, my favourite part of the day is first thing in the morning. If it’s warm then, and I'm wearing something summery, it takes me straight back to our family holidays as a child. Pretty much every second year we’d go camping in France (the alternate years, we’d go camping in England). 

Butter wouldn't melt - my sister and I in our tent
Camping obviously meant being out and about in the fresh air first thing in the morning: sauntering to the showers, strolling over to the campsite shop to buy baguettes and croissants, eating said baguettes and croissants (followed by reluctant ambling to the central dishwashing area to help Dad clear up), getting organised for the days’ activities. There is something about the smell and feel and the stillness of the air, early in the morning that is completely different to the rest of the day. Add in some warmth, and I’m straight back in a campsite in the Dordogne eating raspberry jam on baguette, smelling my parent’s coffee, listening to the sounds of the other campers and caravaners starting their day, and very probably fighting with my brother and sister.

Clearly not breakfast, from the bottles of beer on the table
Unfortunately the lovely weather has highlighted some serious gaps in my wardrobe. I have no summer clothes! I have my bird dress, my recent refashioned Venice skirt, one RTW dress* and um… that’s it. Evidenced by the fact that today I am wearing the RTW dress, and it’s the third time I’ve worn it since Saturday!

 *I have just realised that this RTW dress is technically a refashion, so I will blog that some time.

I’m not sure what happened. I used to have a summer wardrobe. But then, I used to go abroad on holiday. I haven’t been abroad for 4 years now. A pregnancy, maternity leave and subsequent limited funds have ensured that. And since then, I’ve changed shape, gained and lost weight, changed my style and my preferences and had some clear outs. As such, I have a few “holiday” skirts that no longer fit me properly and very little else. I do have shorts, which are fine for kicking about the garden, but are far from work appropriate. I do have plenty of summer blouses – my Violet, my Sorbetto, my kimono sleeve linen tee and my pink sleeveless blouse, not to mention other RTW blouses and tops, but I don’t have anything really summery to pair with them! And while we’ve had some lovely “staycation” holidays over the past 4 years, the UK has just not had enough consistent good weather to justify either buying or making summer dresses, skirts or trousers!

There is no shortage of lovely summer appropriate skirt and dress patterns out there to tempt me, but I am conscious I don’t want to spend limited time and money making items that I won’t really wear. My answer? I don’t really have one. I guess it might be sensible to make more dresses and skirts that can cross seasons. My bird dress, which I really must write a post about, is a good example. It’s a light cotton and a bright colour, so definitely works as a summer dress, but it has sleeves and is a colour that doesn’t look daft with tights (with a slip underneath) and a cardigan, and can therefore equally work for a spring/autumn transitional look.  Of course, if I’d stuck to my summer sewing plan, I’d probably have a much larger selection of summer and work appropriate items to wear, but I haven’t. Too many distractions!


Another problem I’ve encountered is with my underwear, specifically bras. I chucked out all my old bras and went shopping for more back in May. I am ashamed to admit that the bras I was wearing up until then were ones I’d bought before I was pregnant (Small Boy is now 3, remember?!). Due to limited funds, and the fact that underwear is so blooming expensive, I bought 3 new bras: one white, one black and one nude. I’ve not really owned nude bras before, mostly because the nude colours on offer were horrible. This one is a nice almost peachy shade and, oh my goodness, it is useful! I rarely wear the white one because it’s just a colour (technically not a colour!) that I wear. The black will get loads of wear once the weather cools down, but the nude just goes with everything summery (all 3 things! :))! Previously I had specific bras bought to wear with specific sheer blouses, or I chose colours that worked well within my wardrobe, or occasionally it just worked by happy co-incidence – a burgundy one went really well with my lace collar pink blouse, for example. But it seems that nude goes with everything vaguely summery, and, as a result I need more!!!

So there you go. My summer wardrobe, or lack thereof, in a nutshell. I’m currently just finishing off a skirt, which I hope to show you soon, which will work for summer. The next project I am planning is a Peony in some fabric that I bought back in February at the quilt show (below), which should make a nice summery dress (although almost definitely won’t work with tights). And I am loving By Hand London’s new dress pattern. I also have a “do” at the end of this month, that I am considering making an outfit for, but that’s a whole other post. Busy, busy, busy!

Fabric to make my Peony



  1. The camping pictures are great! My parents took us camping exactly once - they were born and raised in the city so it didn't really work out! I love the fabric for your Peony. I have the pattern, but it's way back on the list for now so I can't wait to see how yours turns out. Isn't BYH's Anna dress lovely? I may have to get that one. I love your bird dress (yes please post about it). Our weather has been wickedly hot and humid with thunderstorms every day. I hope your good weather stays!

    1. Thanks Shar. Yes, I guess camping is a required taste and not for everyone. Having said how much I enjoyed it, I haven't gone back to it as an adult, but maybe I should think about that?

      Yes the Anna dress is gorgeous!

  2. It's amazing what a difference the sunshine makes to the working day isn't it! It makes me remember to leave my desk and take a wee walk outside and I always feel better for having done so. I'm coming back to Scotland in a few weeks so I'm keeping my fingers crossed the sunshine stays!
    If you'd like new patterns without having to pay for them have you seen the Pattern Runway free gathered skirt pattern ? You just have to sign up for their newsletter and they email you the PDF. I'd also love to try Gertie's Dirndl skirt tutorial sometime, have you seen that?

    1. It really does make a difference!! I hope the sun does stay for you, that would be really lovely!

      I haven't seen the Pattern Runway skirt, or the Gertie one (although I do follow her blog) so will take a look at them. Thanks for the tip off!

  3. I know exactly what you mean about the stillness in the morning. My family went camping every year in Ireland, and the cool, quiet mornings always remind me of those summers, If only I wasn't dying with hayfever so I could actually enjoy them!
    Have you tried this simple gathered skirt? It's a good stash buster and really quick to do so might be a good option for filling some gaps in your summer wardrobe. Also, the elasticated wait is handy for those big al fresco meals ;)

    1. Oh poor you. I have never suffered from hayfever thank goodness!

      Haven't tried that skirt either. Thanks. I will have a look! Like the sound of a comfy elasticated waist. Is that bad to admit?!!!

  4. I love being out in the early morning. I leave for work at about 7.30am to walk in and it is perfect on a sunny day! I'm not surprised to see that many of us are struggling with summer clothes, we haven't really had prolonged sun for a few years. I've been trying to find quick makes to fill the gaps. I'm loving the fabric for your Peony!

  5. There's nothing like a early summer morning! Unless it's a clear, balmy summer evening...
    I have the opposite problem (discovered very early on in MMM) - 90% of my own-made wardrobe is summery! So I'm hard at work trying to build up my winter options.
    I haven't tried this, so I could be way off the mark, but would the Kelly skirt pattern adapt to a summer weight fabric? Something with a bit of drape could give it a really different look. And you've absolutely mastered that pattern, after all!
    Gorgeous camping photos too, by the way :)

    1. Our wardrobes say so much about the differences between our climates, don't you think? :)

      Yes, I think your Kelly suggestion could work. I'm pretty sure the pattern recommends lighter weight, as well as heavier weight fabrics - maybe even silk, although I could have made that up. My polka dot version is a fairly lightweight fabric, actually. I'd just need to make it a bit longer (not keen on having lots of bare leg showing). Good suggestion, thanks!


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