Each year, there comes a time when you step outside and an unexpectedly crisp breeze forces you to retreat back inside. Soon the smell of pumpkin spice lattes wafts through the air, stores begin putting out
Halloween Thanksgiving Christmas decorations, and you know fall has officially begun! But is your handmade wardrobe ready to make the transition into the cooler months?
What’s a sewist to do about all of those cute t-shirts, flowy blouses, and twirly skirts you just finished sewing for summer? You are definitely not ready to pack them up and say goodbye to them for six long months! Good news, fellow Thread Warriors—you don’t have to! Here are some of our favorite tips to help extend the season on your warm-weather makes! Not only will they show you how to get more wear out of your existing garments, but will also help you sew new seasonal favorites with confidence and intention.
1. Top Off That Summer Ensemble.
Layering 101 begins with that first layer you reach for on your way out the door right when you first notice the temperatures start to drop. That might be a classic jean jacket that goes with everything, a cozy cardigan to wrap around you like a blanket, or a versatile blazer for a bit of warmth and sophistication. Consider having a few of these must-have layers to mix-and-match with outfits for wherever you are headed throughout the year!
2. Undercover Layers.
Throwing on an extra layer is the easiest solution for stretching lightweight makes into the cooler months of the year! That might be a hidden cami or tank under a flowy blouse for just a bit of extra warmth. Or, for even more insulation, try a short or long sleeve knit tee under a button-up shirt or pullover. Having a variety of these must-have layering pieces in your key wardrobe colors will prove to be a major asset. Try black, vanilla, navy, and maybe a few seasonal favorites!
3. Leg(ging)s for Days!
Adding a pair of leggings (or tights) underneath anything from dresses and tunics, to shorts and skirts, instantly transforms these summer favorites into chic and cozy options, even for days with chillier temps. The best part? If leggings aren't currently part of your handmade wardrobe, they are a quick and easy sew, that use minimal fabric, and can be made in different solid and print knits to match just about any outfit!
4. Keep the Chill at Arm’s Length.
Unfortunately, tank tops and short-sleeved tees just won’t cut it when there’s a chill in the air. Cover up those goosebumps with some long sleeves! You probably won't even need to purchase a brand new pattern, either. First, check your tried-and-true patterns to see if they also include a long sleeve version—odds are, you will love that version too! If not, take your much-loved summer pattern, match it up to a similar pattern that does include long sleeves, and create your own hybrid. It’s pretty easy to create a new piece on some tracing paper, by utilizing the existing shoulder shape of your favorite pattern and combining it with the long sleeve piece, gently grading between the two freehand or using a French Curve Ruler.
5. Next Level Cozy.
Kick your favorite tee or pullover up a cozy notch by adding a turtle- or cowl-style neckline. It is easier than you’d think and immediately brings an extra layer of warmth and style to any crewneck knit top! Check the online resources for your specific pattern or find any number of tutorials online, like this one from Chalk & Notch.
Sew Smart! Type the hashtag #youcanhackit into Instagram and you’ll find plenty of inspiration and a ton of ideas for ways to transform existing patterns and garments into brand new versions of their former selves!
6. Get a Leg up on Fall Fashion.
When shorts weather is long gone, you can still make similar garments that will keep those gams toasty by adding some length! Again, check your patterns to see what other options they offer. Want to try something new? Take the fit adjustments you made to your favorite shorts, and use them as a starting point when fitting your next pair of pants. Experiment with different lengths, leg silhouettes, and hem styles to suit the season! P.S Don’t forget this applies to skirts, too!
7. Fabric Swap.
Perhaps the simplest way to make seasonal adjustments to your me-made garments is upgrading the warmth factor of the fabric you choose. A simple sweater knit cardigan serves as a light layer for a cool summer night but easily morphs into an ultra-cozy fall layer when made in a fleece or French terry. Or swap a warm-weather poplin for a toasty fall flannel to give a classic button up extra warmth and a totally different vibe.
Sew Smart! Keep in mind that if you are significantly increasing the weight of the fabric you’re using, you may want to consider sizing up to accommodate the increased bulk of a heavier fabric as well as to leave room for any additional layers you might choose to wear beneath your garment.
8. Expanding Your Palette
The changing seasons also bring a change in color. During the fall and winter months we tend to gravitate towards darker, warmer hues, but that doesn't mean it's time to stash away all your brights and pastels. Try pairing light and dark versions of similar or complimentary colors—aqua with teal, pink with evergreen, etc. And when wearing lighter prints, match layers or accessories to the darker tones to add more richness and depth. Don't be afraid to experiment with new color combinations!
9. Party On—All Year Long!
Summer may traditionally be known as wedding season, but there are plenty of parties to attend in the cooler half of the year. There’s no reason your fanciest me-made frocks need to hibernate! Try adding a velvet or sequined shrug, or a shawl that’s been jazzed up with with lace or fringe edges to take your strapless and sleeveless party garments through the rest of the year's fêtes!
10. Don’t Forget to Accessorize.
Complete a look with a cozy scarf or hat! Use remnants or large scraps for accessories such as beanies, scarves, and ear-warming headbands. Not only do they add a bit of warmth and style, they also expand the versatility of your wardrobe and bring additional mindfulness to what you make and wear. Get creative with the substrates you utilize – think of how beautiful those cool summer bucket hats would be in richly-colored wool or how easy it would be to turn them into fall staples using flannel or corduroy!
We SEW Want To Know! What’s the sewing pattern or hack you’ve tried that you find yourself using over and over again? Share what’s worked for you with fellow sewists!