Summer clothes and colours are super fun to make and wear, so why not try and make them work all year round?
We all know it, Summer weather takes up a surprisingly short portion of the year when you’re living in the UK. But a lot of the time, there are some items of clothing that you really can’t face packing away, knowing that it’ll be about 9 months until you’re reacquainted, or that you’ve only just finished making and then coming to the saddening conclusion that it’s not really the right time of year to actually wear it.
In the sewing world, an awful lot of patterns are ones that we automatically associate with summer – jumpsuits, camisole tops and short sleeved dresses often totally ignored when it gets to autumn and winter sewing. So I thought I’d write a post for you today about how to bring some of your summer clothes into the chillier months. I can’t guarantee that this will work for every item in your summer wardrobe, some fabrics are just too chilly or impractical for winter – and of course, it’ll vary a lot depending on the temperature where you are living!
Obviously, layering is going to be the key here. So grab yourselves some basic t-shirts and polo necks and we’ll get started.
Sleeveless dresses and jumpsuits can easily be brought into the winter – the other day, I wore one of my favourite summer pieces on a day that it was snowing. Granted, I stayed inside, but the fact that I wasn’t chilly and it didn’t look out of place is what we’re focusing on here.
The neckline and sleeve situations are what will determine how to style the item, and it’s really down to personal preference with what you decide to do. I think that anything with a v-neck looks really great with a relatively close-fitting roll neck long sleeved top- no matter how deep the v is. And before you say that you can’t work a roll neck, you totally can; especially when it’s under something else. As an example, here’s a Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress that I made and reviewed recently for The Fabric Fox, which I’m wearing with a white turtleneck from H&M.
While the colours of the dress are really quite summery, the weight of the fabric meant that it’d work perfectly layered for winter too. I changed the neckline into more of a v-neck rather than a scoop, because I was making it with the intention of popping it on over a turtleneck.
If long sleeves aren’t your jam or you would be too warm, throwing a short-sleeved top on underneath something is equally effective. Short sleeved tops really are indispensable, and can go a long way in keeping you toasty. Sometimes (and I’ve learned this from experience) it’s better to spring for a short sleeved top underneath and then a cardigan over the top rather than commit to wearing just a chunky jumper on its own – especially if you’re going to be popping in and out of shops that all have their radiators on full throttle. That way, you can take something off when you get inside and put it back on when you brave the cold, rather than feeling like you’re slowly becoming a roast potato and can’t do anything about it.
Skirts are another thing that you can easily make work all year. Whack some higher denier tights and tuck in a jumper, and you’re in business. This very unflattering photo illustrates my point nicely (except for the tights) so just glance at it quickly before you scroll down to see my favourite patterns that, in the right fabrics, you can wear come rain or shine.
Here are a few patterns that I think you can make or adapt so that you can frolick about in them all year. You’ll need to keep in mind whether the fabric weight that you choose will be warm enough when its layered though! If you think I’ve missed any, please feel free to comment any suggestions down below so that we can all get involved!
Elsie Dress – Sew Over It The uber-sophisticated Elsie dress is great for parties on its own, but can also be dressed-down with a top underneath (which works splendidly because of the v-neck) and flat shoes. Perfect for a day-to-night situation!
Lilou Dress – Tilly and the Buttons (from Love at First Stitch) –The dress that inspired this post! I changed the scooped neckline into a pointed one just because of personal preference, but I’m sure that it’ll work just lovely either way.
Francoise Dress – Tilly and the Buttons. Pop it over a long sleeved top and tights and you’re in business.
Sabrina Dress – By Hand London – The button down slip dress version of this dress I think would look A.MAZ.ING layered over a turtleneck. Can you tell I’m a recently converted turtleneck gal?
Marigold Jumpsuit – Tilly and the Buttons – Made in a cotton, this is really easy to layer. I’ve made two so far, but only ever wear them over a top!
Ogden Cami – True Bias – this is the camisole pattern that I used for my prom outfit. You could go for a super 90s look by layering it over a short sleeved t-shirt and jeans!