Thursday, July 19, 2018

Winter Wear All Summer Long

I needed a swimsuit cover up. I hadn't had a decent one in years. So, when Suzanne Winters of Winter Wear Designs announced the theme of Winter Wear summer blog tour would be "Pool Side", I knew just what I would make for it.

I had a length of nearly sheer, light and drapey, mystery knit in my stash. White, with big blue roses. Pretty and airy. Honestly, I have no idea where it came from, but it was clearly perfect for a swimsuit cover up.

Suzanne suggested her Amuse Boho dress pattern for a cover up, so I took the idea and ran with it.

My fabric draped perfectly for the gathers under the front yoke, and was light enough to make the 3/4 length sleeves comfortable - perfect for providing sun protection when I'm not in the water.

The pattern offers two different options for the back of the dress; one straight, sold piece from neck to hem, or a separate yoke, like on a button down shirt, with the remainder of the back cut a little wider and gathered on to the yoke. For my cover up, I chose a combination of these two options.

In the left hand corner of the above picture you will see the pattern piece for the back of the dress. If you are making the plain back, you would cut down the gray and black line on the right, from neck to hem. If you chose to make the yoked and gathered back, you would cut off the very top of the pattern piece along the solid black line corresponding to your size. You would then cut out  two separate back pieces for your dress; the yoke and the lower back, cut wide to be gathered into the yoke. I trimmed off neither of these sections and instead opted to add a little extra fabric by cutting the back out as one solid piece, the same width as the gathered lower back piece would have been. I then pleated the extra fabric at the very top to make it the same width as the yoke would have been. This gave me a solid, one piece back, with the fullness of the yoked version.

I top stitched down my pleats and was thrilled with the effect they gave to the finished garment - perfect for throwing on over my swimsuit to head to the pool!

My cover up turned out just as I wanted it to, but I decided it wasn't good enough. Or more accurately, it was good enough, I just needed more. I needed a second cover up that could double as a normal, every day looking, dress for those pesky errands that sometimes must be run on the way to and from the pool. The slight sheerness of my new cover up prevent it from being that. 

Enter, the Magnolia Dress! When I first saw this dress on the Winter Wear website, the back caught my attention. 

That fabulous triangular back insert! It was just so much fun! I couldn't resist asking Suzanne if I could sew up this dress too for the blog tour. She very kindly agreed and I went fabric shopping.

Both a length of blue floral double brushed polyester jersey (one of the softest fabrics ever!), and a coordinating plum colored rayon jersey, came home with me from the fabric store. I printed off the pattern to begin on my dress, and was thrilled to discover there were pattern pieces for pockets!! For once I didn't have to add my own pockets to a dress pattern!

Pocket, and a fun back? Oh yes, I quite like this dress. It works very well as both a swimsuit cover up and an easy wearing summer dress for those days I don't feel like picking out an outfit (or finding a non-wrinkly cotton sundress in my closet). It's been worn probably twice a week since I finished it last month!

So, it would appear, I am now set when it comes to garments to wear over my swimsuit. However, when I get stuck on a theme, I just have to continue with it. Thus, when Suzanne offered all of the blog tour participants a chance to sew her latest pattern, the Endless Summer Shorts, I jumped on it. 

After all, I justified, some days you just don't wanna wear a dress and shorts are more practical to throw on over your swimsuit. I did need some new shorts. . . and, I already had fabric in my stash I could use to make said shorts.

The shorts came together easily one evening, and I had fun trimming the pockets with rick-rack. The finished shorts fit beautifully! This is quite possibly the first shorts pattern I've made that hasn't required any sort of pattern alteration to look good and be comfortable. I'll be using it again next time I need to add shorts to my wardrobe.

Now, if you give a seamstress a shorts pattern, she's going to want a tank top pattern to go with it. One that's loose enough to throw on over a swimsuit. None of the tank tops I've recently sewn met that last requirement, as they're all pretty form fitting.

Thankfully, Winter Wear Designs has a nice, basic, quick and easy to sew, tank top pattern, the Trendy Tank. (and it's even free if you join their Facebook group!) So, I downloaded that, and made one out of a green rayon jersey remnant I picked up at Joann's. 

The tank top turned out cute and comfortable, and was easy to make, So, I thought "Why not make a second?" I pulled out what was left of the thin white and blue knit from my swimsuit cover up (the garment that started this whole craze, turning this into a very long blog post), and made one more tank top.

To avoid see-through-ness, I decided to make my second trendy tank double layered. I cut my pattern out twice from the left over fabric, one layer slightly longer than the other for a fun look, then proceeded to sew it up using the burrito method - an amazingly easy way to construct a lined sleeveless garment. The final tank top almost feels too elegant to wear over my swimsuit, but I like it just the same! 

I suppose I can no longer say I'm in need of clothes to wear over my swimsuit. After this blog tour my closet is stocked full! A swimsuit cover up, a comfy summer dress, a pair of perfectly fitted elastic waist shorts, and 2 new tank tops.  I think I'm all set now! Which is good, as I've still got a few more weeks of taking this kids I nanny to the pool every other day, and then I have a beach vacation coming up in a couple weeks! With this haul of summer clothes, packing should be a breeze!

Now, if you want to see more options for Summer clothes from Winter Wear Designs, here's the rest of the tour!

Pull up a lounge chair and a cold drink, and don't miss a single stop on the Poolside Blog Tour:
Jackie Burney for Winter Wear Designs
Meriel of Elli and Nels



Diane of Sewing With D

Livia of Liviality
Patricia of Sew Far North


  1. These all look amazing! They are all so cute! Love your Magnolia dress especially :)

  2. I'm putting my swimwear sewing off until next summer, but you're so inspiring and makes me wish we had goats again. Check out my currently :( goatless blog

    1. I bought fabric and a pattern for a swimsuit two years ago, and I still haven't made it! lol I did however make a couple different swimsuits this summer and they were easier than I thought they'd be!