Breezy summer outfit

I was recently commissioned to create an easy summer outfit for a client. She wanted something lightweight, breathable and comfortable that will get her through muggy summer heat. Personally, I love a full skirt in a drapey fabric for summer. They move easy, are simple to wear and look flawless without trying. The client sent me this image from a catalogue as inspiration for the new outfit. You can see the back of the top in the lower right picture, which has a subtle v-shaped cut out at the back neck. She was open to variations but generally liked the colour scheme, style and overall feeling of the two pieces.

Sears inspo

So I went shopping at my favourite local fabric store and emailed her a few options. I had a love for the parrot print, as I am always drawn to the quirkier fabrics, but my client loved the navy and white print in the top right which is also lovely. It’s a rayon challis with excellent drape and is super soft against the skin. It is also an excellent choice for summer as it doesn’t hold creases and it floats around the body. As for the top, the client eventually decided against the coral and opted instead for pure white. I selected a lightweight stretch cotton jersey, same as the fabric in the bottom right, except in a soft snow white.

fabric montage

I drafted the skirt pattern myself as it was fairly simple and I could create what I knew the client wanted. The client likes a full skirt but was concerned about too much bulk around the waist and hips, so I opted for a narrow waistband and a series of sewn down knife pleats at the front. The knife pleats radiate out from the centre front and are stitched down from the waistband to a couple of inches down the pleat. This ensures the fullness remains, but is more flattering around the hips. Since the client wanted an easy skirt, I opted for an elastic back waistband versus any kind of closure. The back pleats were left open to accommodate the stretch in the back waist. I also added pockets, because in my world, everything should have pockets. All the seams, including the pocket edges, were finished with bias tape to help add stability to the floaty fabric.

The top is based on this free pattern from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom, but with a couple of alterations. I removed the extra tie bit at the bottom and replaced it with a slightly rounded hem. I then added the cut out detail from the inspiration top at the back. I used the method from the Deer and Doe Plantain t-shirt to finish the neckline, as it creates a really nice professional looking edge that is less prone to stretching out with use than the simpler fold and stitch technique.  On the shoulders I added a short piece of flat lace centered over the seam line before finishing the neckline and armholes just to dress up a plain tee, but without being too fussy.

I think the end result is rather lovely, and the client loves it! The all over print of the skirt is really flattering and could be easily paired with other items in her wardrobe. It would look great with a tailored jacket and button-down shirt. And a white tee is always a good investment, but this one has the added benefit of fitting her perfectly and with a couple of unique details.

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Cost
Fabric and notions $35
Labour $75

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