And then a “Summer of Basics” make-along?

And then how about a #summerofbasics?

On the heels of the Sloper mini-knitalong I proposed for May yesterday, I have a make-along idea for the summer I’m hoping to get you excited about. There are serious basics my closet is lacking, both knitted and sewn, at least one of which is a bit of mental hurdle and skill stretcher for me (see below). I made a pact with myself to devote my summer to filling some of these key gaps and naturally thought I’d rope you in, too! So what I’m proposing today is the #summerofbasics — wherein we each make three basics in three months! Starting June 1st and running through the end of August.

They can be whatever garments you want or need, and by whatever your definition of a “basic” is. My Make Your Own Basics series makes a great jumping-off point (you can also see the whole thing at a glance on Pinterest), and you might find all the patterns you need there. Or you might be inspired to pick your archetypes from there but pick totally different patterns. Or go entirely your own way — whatever works for you! Your three can be all knitting, all sewing, or a combination of the two.

The only parameter is three basics in three months.

I’ve got a few of my favorite friend-brands on board — including Kelbourne Woolens, Grainline Studio and Fancy Tiger Crafts — so I’ll have some prizes to talk about as the date draws near. And I know there are other sewalongs and knitalongs that tend to happen in summer than you can very likely double-dip into. But the point, as always, is the camaraderie and support — and winding up with three great garments that you can be proud of and that will make your closet work harder than it currently does!

I’m not locking myself into this yet, but I think my three will be the following:

TOP: the grey half-textured pullover from my Queue Check the other day

BOTTOM LEFT: an Archer Button-Up shirt! This is the mental hurdle/skill stretcher one

BOTTOM RIGHT: a simple black linen dress of some kind, possibly a modified Fen

I have till June 1 to rethink that a hundred times! What will yours be?

Happy weekend, everyone! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on all this—


PREVIOUSLYHow about a mini sleeveless turtleneck knitalong?

86 thoughts on “And then a “Summer of Basics” make-along?

    • Oh, I missed their little teaser — can’t wait to see what they’re cooking up!

      Lauren Taylor and Andi Satterlund also do something called outfit-along in the summers, where they pick a few pieces that are meant to work as an outfit, so there’s a good chance of a double-dip with that one, if they’re doing it again. Plus the assorted summer sweater knitalongs that usually happen. Lots of possibilities!

  1. I’m so in! I just did a new mood board and really zoomed in on my key wardrobe pieces: Merchant & Mills’ Top64, Grainline Willow Tank, and Lotta Jansdotter’s Esmeralda Dress for sewing. Then Churchmouse Simple Tee, Quintessential Cardigan, and Better-Than-Basic Pullover for knitting… I think I’ll do my version of Summer of Basics making as many as possible of each! Thanks for the make-a-long, Karen!

  2. Haven’t sewn in a while but I just ordered the Fen pattern. It’s so sweet!

    • I’ve made a couple of tops and a dress-length version of the top, but have been wanting to do the proper dress since the pattern first appeared. It’s super cute.

  3. I was actually was thinking of pulling out me sewing machine. I want to make the Willow dress! And then a few basic crew neck tops!

  4. I look forward to taking part to this ! Somehow I think I sew and I knit only basics, because that’s the way I like to dress. I’ve got “basic” projects on the top of my to-do list : a black tamareck jeacket, another bantam tank/dress …. and a knitted v-neck cardigan too :-)

  5. I have an Archer button-up just waiting for me to be brave and tackle the buttonholes.
    This might be a good push!

  6. I love this idea! I need to sew up a tank top or three, and while I have the Wiksten tank pattern I am also very curious about Grainline’s Willow. I’d also like to knit up a tank top, and I’d also like to knit up a Lila pullover as I don’t have a good slouchy pullover in my sweater collection.

    Finally, I’ve been wavering forever about finally tackling PANTS. They terrify me, but I love Merchant and Mills’ 101 trouser. I’m pregnant now, so making pants may have to wait until fall but it is definitely in the queue.

  7. Love it! What to choose – so many sewing project, sew little time! I have made several Archer Button-ups – both the button-up and the popover variation. It is so comfy to wear! I am also attempting to knit a Berroco Pima top for the summer – we’ll see if I get it done. My closet is also lacking in a few basics – I need to figure out what exactly I need. Time to get to it!

  8. Okay, so I’m going to sign my crafty soul over to you. How can I resist? I know that one or two of my basics will be pants – I have the urge to make the Birkin flares (in both regular denim and white – yikes!) as well as some khaki cropped pants (kind of culotte but not; I’m already committed to the Girl Friday culottes although the fabric I’m going to use would not really be called “basic”). All this to say, I’m down with this challenge. Thanks!

  9. What a good idea again !
    My skill stretcher would be a pair of jeans. Thinking about Morgan by Closet case patterns. I like the relax fit and i know i can find denim made in France, with no stretch in it, which grow my motivation too. Maybe a simple sweater too, knitted. Because more and more i feel good in jeans and pullover but i definitly don’t have enough. I also have the linden pattern waiting for attention !
    And starting with three things is not too overwhelming !

  10. I’m in. Grainline Moss skirt which has been on my to-do list for ages. Several t-shirts–my fave right now is Named’s Geneva Raglan Tee. And a lightweight, neutral colored cardigan. Okay, I said it. It has to happen now, right?

  11. Yes, love this! I see a Linden shirt & Farrow dress from Grainline, in my future and some sort of raglan/three quarter sleeve summer cardi….yet to be determined. I can’t wait to see your Archer Karen, I agree, it’s a mental hurdle :-)

  12. I can’t admit how long I’ve owned the Archer pattern and have been too chicken to cut. This adventure will do the trick.

  13. So interesting! As part of my “only knitting designs that I want to wear” I am working on a collection with a working title “new basics”. I might just have to tag along…

  14. Yes!!! I really need a 3/4 sleeve Featherweight Cardigan in a pretty, sunny color and two sundresses (maybe one from a light vintage Indian chintz that I found at a thrift shop in Palm Springs and one from Alabama Chanin’s New Leaves A-Line DIY Kit because I honestly have dreams about that dress). Oh, I am so excited about making and wearing and watching and learning and supporting and…

  15. I love this idea! I’m planning a big move to the Southern Hemisphere later this year, which means two summers in 2017 and therefore a need to fill in summer basics. I have lots of wool sweaters but very few summer layering pieces in my handmade wardrobe, so a summer make-along sounds perfect to me.

  16. Hmmm…..this has me pondering about several basics needed. Think this may just be the challenge I need to get it done! But the decision on which…..oh boy, most of the fun has begun :). Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. This is so perfect! I have been trying to gear myself up to finally finish a sewed garment and try some more (I desperately want to get myself to make my own clothes). I want to aim for a simple tank top to start with, and then probably the Lark tee, abd then hopefully a cute dress!
    Thanks for the push, Karen! :)

  18. Forget about my modification comment from yesterday – I’m in for this one! I need a three-quarter sleeve summer-weight cardigan (have the yarn already for Hakone), a patterned skirt (have the 100-acts-of-sewing pattern and three yards of cotton lawn), and some sort of silky, blousey top. Hurrah for make-alongs!

  19. Oh! This is great! I’m planning to sew a Wiksten Tova as my first sewn garment 😱 And I also need a simple cardigan – so maybe a Tincanknits Knits Gramps. I’ll have to think about the 3rd piece, but maybe a knit tank🤔

  20. I’ve been on a basics kick for a while. I’ll think this one through…I’ve been losing weight, though, so I haven’t wanted to try making pants yet. Maybe I’ll be ready by then!

    • aaaaand it took me all of 10 seconds to name my basics: Carrie Hodge’s uniform (knitting), Lou Box top, AND a linen version of Lotta Jansen’s Otto pants (already have made a pj version).

  21. I’m in! I am new to this…I haven’t made any clothing yet, but have been wanting to for awhile now, just to chicken to jump in. Now, to figure out what to make.

  22. I am so in! I’m a fast sewist, , but I am a new and fantastically SLOW knitter, so that will be the challenge for me. Now to start plotting… Deer and Doe Goji shorts, Lark tee, and a tilted texture shawl, perhaps?

  23. nice, I have the fabric and the pattern for archer but every time I look at the cutting layout I’m like “hmmm….NO” lol

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  25. Love this idea! I’m in as well. All the comments on this blog post are a treasure trove of new things to look at so I am excited about falling down that rabbit hole as well. Thanks everyone!

  26. I’m in in spirit.

    I’ll have at least three projects sewn or knitted this summer, but only one of them is for me. Maybe two for me, depending on how quickly I get the kids’ clothes sewn.

    That’s the downside to having a new generation of little ones in the family: there’s too much cute stuff to make!

  27. I might be in – despite that it’ll be winter down in this corner of the world. I have a desperate need for a warm, loose woolen cardigan, that I can pull over anything I own, so I might aim to make that one of my htree things. And then – do pyjamas count as basics?

  28. So fun! Let’s see, I think I will finally getting around to making a pair of Grainline Maritime shorts this year, as well as a slouchy buttondown like the Style Arc Blair shirt. For my third item, I’d like a classic marinière. This should be fun!! :)

  29. I’m in! I am repeating my Instagram post but in case anyone is interested, my three will be a silk camisole (Ogden pattern), a short-sleeved black blouse (in a pretty black cotton eyelet), and a lawn sundress using a vintage pattern I’ve had for a while (basic ’70s sundress with a buttoned bodice, straps, and moderately full skirt). Maybe not the most obvious of basics, but the two tops will be very versatile in my closet and the dress will be the kind of thing you can throw on any summer day with sandals and be dressed in something pretty with nearly no effort, so that’s why I think of it as a basic.

  30. My closet sorely needs this, but I don’t know whether I will be biting off more than I can chew! I’ll have to think about which basics I can make.

  31. This is intriguing. Your blog has had me thinking about sewing for myself again and I recently had my machine tuned up. I’ve been pondering a linen tunic and have about 10 summer sweater patterns in a Ravelry bundle. Hmmmm. More thinking over the next few weeks. Thank you for the challenge and inspiration.

  32. Fantastic idea, I’m in ! And it’s great that we have some time to think it over, plan ahead and get everything sorted out before the official start. This summer is going to be fun.

  33. This is a great idea and much needed for my closet. I need so many basics. I know one will be a white Pamela’s Patterns pencil skirt. I have them in other basic colors so the white will start my summer off well.

  34. I love this! I keep looking at my clothesline thinking” gee, tank top-jeans- sweater/flannel/over shirt, I bet I could make this stuff! ” as much as I adore the artsy wear, I’m super basic. I’m totally on board for this! Don’t forget all the lovely Alabama Chanin books for project inspiration! My wheels are turning lol!

  35. I’m in, in a modified fashion. I’m going to re-knit my Cap Sleeve Lattice Top (Purl Soho), refashion a summer dress I bought a while back so that I actually wear it, and alter a linen skirt so that it fits. I’m taking an alterations class at Fancy Tiger at the end of the month, so I’m hoping that all these things can actually happen this summer!

  36. I’m so in. With 0 ideas but the stipulation they have to be comfortable and hopefully can double as maternity wear and not maternity wear because I’m not making preggo clothing I won’t wear again (plus maternity clothes are so gross). I’m excited!

  37. I’m not sure on patterns, but I’m thinking a tunicy top (maybe Blueprints Patterns Cabin?), a dress for work (has to be comfortable enough to ride my bike to work and then sit all day), and a sun dress. I’ve got a slubby blue and white linen-rayon blend that is just crying out to be a simple sun dress.

  38. I’m definitively in, what I will do is still uncertain because I need a lot of basic! LOL!
    Thank you Karen to lead this “Summer make-alone”

  39. In for this! I’ve been trying to commit to making more clothing this year anyway and this seems like a great time to start with Me Made May and Lauren/Andi’s project and yours, and now Andrea & Shannon.. a lot of inspiration and encouragement!

  40. I’m in! This is the nudge I need! I know there will be Wiksten Tovas, as I have been saying I need to sew at least 3 more since I made my first one a few years ago (and of course, never made again–le sigh!). I have a linen cardigan on the needles to help me prepare for my soon-to-happen move to a different climate. I would like some skirts or sundresses, so I’m pattern searching. Thanks for leading the way, Karen!

  41. Oh I love this idea! My winter wardrobe is much better than my summer wardrobe due to my knitting – I am woefully short of tanks and T-Shirts. Plus, I am a fairly new sewer, so this would be a great opportunity to be pointed towards good sewing patterns. I’d love to sew a pair of wide-legged linen trousers, knit a linen tank or Tee, or mybe even sew a linen top of sorts… in any case: the main theme appears to be: linen. 😃

  42. Oh, yes! April is bringing me back-to-back trips where I’ve realized I only have a very few shirts. I layer them and change combinations, but I’m realizing there’s a bit of a hole in my closet that I don’t want to fill with more cheap items. Like many knitters, my winter wardrobe is pretty well rounded, but not my summer one! So looking forward to this!

  43. I love this idea! I’m good about knitting garments, but want to get better w/sewing. I have on my list to sew a couple more skirts and (hopefully) brave sewing w/knit fabric so I can start perfecting my dream t-shirt… A girl can dream, right? I get so intimidated by sewing as opposed to knitting because if I cut it wrong I’m out of luck, whereas I can always unravel a handknit….

  44. Yes!!! I am with you! No idea yet what the final Three will be, but one will definitely be a Chanin skirt or poncho, with lots of embellishment. Plenty of time to pick the other two, and a lot of great inspiration from you Karen, as well as in the comments above. Looking forward to a fun summer make-along! Thank you for inviting us along with you!

  45. I am so in! James pullover has been on my list since I saw Felicia at the craft session make it (twice). I have some madelinetosh for it all ready just need to do it.
    Then I want to make a simple woven shirt..maybe with buttons. (maya pattern by marilla walker)
    And last but not least…a dress with drawstring waist. No pattern yet but think I will use the top of Vogue 1503 because I like the overlap shoulder detail.
    Is it okay if I am not on instagram?

  46. Eep, this sounds awesome and the push I need to finally sew the Fen pattern. I have some perfect chambray that I’ve been saving and just haven’t been motivated to cut into it yet! I also want to finally make a Lottie top from Christine Haynes and the Maya top from Marilla Walker. And knit a gray cardigan which is sorely lacking from my wardrobe.

  47. Hi! New to this blog and can’t get enough it! I’m working on my second archer button down. I tried one as a muslin to fix the pattern for me and also to practice, never worked on a button down before. As a pattern maker, when I discovered the archer I couldn’t but buy it! I was going to draft a button down from scratch but then why waste my time? I’m also working on Julie Hoover’s Addison crew neck sweater in flax down yarn and knocking off your black and white top down sweater in Arbor yarn. Those are my three! I’ll also try to do a couple of tank tops if I have time. Since I work in this, sometimes I don’t feel like coming home to do more patterns… and the sewing ladies we have at the studio are so good that every time I sew something these women can make it so much better! Is not that encouraging :(
    So how do I participate in the sew-along? Looking forward!

  48. Thanks for such an inspiring blog. I’ve been reading it for close to a year but haven’t commented or participated until now. I love this sew-along theme … so purposeful. I’m always short on easy summer shirts, so my plan is to sew one simple shirt in three different fabrics. Super basic. I plan to use the Camber Set Tee as my pattern and to (maybe) modify sleeve length in each variation.

  49. I love this sew-along idea … so purposeful. I’m always short on easy summer shirts, so my plan is to sew one simple shirt three different ways. Super basic. I’ll use the Camber Set Tee as the base pattern and make three variations using different fabrics and (maybe) different sleeve lengths. Can’t wait to start. Thanks for such an inspiring blog.

  50. Would love to do this. Will definitely be making tees for the summer. would like to make black linen trousers and will be knitting a simple tee made from Shibui linen.

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  55. I’m in, I love the sound of this! I’d love to make some culottes this year and need to replace my worn out Me-made tshirts. Thanks for the inspiration, and hopefully push to get it done!

  56. I love this idea! I want to make a scout tee and possibly a hemlock tee. Then I need to decide between a willow tank dress and a Kiomi top or dress. I’ll have to give the knitting a bit more thought…

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