Here in Colorado, spring has been late in coming, but it's not stopping us from thinking about spring and summer sewing. Although the Stitch editors are looking ahead to fall (designers, check out our submissions guidelines for the fall issue), we're all yearning to sew sundresses, summer tops and skirts, and home-design projects for casual summer living.
Stitch editor-in-chief Tricia Waddell is so busy that she's made an art out of sewing with discipline, yet even she stops to do some strategic planning when spring arrives. "I always do a bit of a seasonal changeover at this time of year, when I admit I'm not going to finish all the things I had planned for winter sewing projects," she says. "Then I go on a summer fabric-buying binge to start my warm weather projects. I get out my cottons and chiffons, start looking at summer dress patterns, and brainstorm ways to update things in my closet."
While it's hard to admit that a few winter projects won't get done, it's best to bag them for now; you can reconsider those projects when cool nights arrive. Go through your closet and make a list of the things you need most for spring and summer. Think about events: do you have weddings, graduations, family reunions, vacations planned? Do you need outfits that will take you from an air-conditioned office to an outdoor cafe? How about a few chic wide-brimmed hats to keep the sun from your face, or easy full skirts that are perfect for adding trims or embellishment? Look through magazines and catalogs for inspiration and trends, and go through your pattern stash to see what you can use and what's missing.
Summer-weight cottons, linens, and rayons are often less expensive than fall silks and wools, so you can really have fun. This is the time to indulge in bright colors and prints, too; save the sophisticated solids for fall (though a well-accessorized black linen sleeveless dress can get you through many a summer event). For a splurge, make something lovely from one of Liberty's Tana lawn prints, like the hat at right. (If you'd like to know more about this legendary fabric company and instructions for the hat shown above right, see Stitch Spring 2009, page 18.)
Don't forget to plan for casual summer entertaining. I've been thinking about making a new set of napkins for my house, with each napkin in a different but related color; a group of Kaffe Fassett's shot cottons (four colors are shown above) would be perfect for this. If you buy half-yard cuts, you'll have some fabric left over to add to your stash, use as trim for a little girl's dress, make a set of easy zipper bags for travel, or save for a quilt.
Let the relaxed pace of warm days inspire you, and drop us a comment about your summer sewing plans.