Summer ’17 wardrobe planning, part 3: The make list

Summer ’17 wardrobe planning, part 3: The additions

I’ve been working from my sister’s house in Florida for the past week — hanging with her and the kids while our husbands are on a fishing trip — and have spent all kinds of time working on this whole Summer ’17 Wardrobe series. The other day, right in the middle of it all (literally Fashionary panels strewn all about her house), we went out to lunch then to her favorite consignment shop and then to this little boutique nearby that is stocked almost entirely with very plain Flax Designs linen tanks, pants and dresses in nothing but ivory, black, natural, grey and an ivory/grey stripe. (The shop’s minimalist selection looks nothing like the website! So funny.) I had been in the shop before with her and knew of this tantalizingly simple solution to my dress problem, but all I knew about the clothes was what the tag said: made in Lithuania. I know that there’s a long tradition of linen production in Lithuania (that’s where pretty much all of the Fog Linen line comes from) and had been wondering if there was any chance Flax was a company I could feel good about buying from. There is literally no company information whatsoever on their website — no About page of any kind — so we did a bit of Googling on our way there and found this video a stockist had posted about them. It’s still not much to go on, but there’s an emphasis on lead-free dyes and the sewing is done in small woman-owned factories, and I obviously feel good about linen on all the levels. So it’s a somewhat smallened leap of faith, but combined with the fact that I knew how much love and wear they would get, I decided to buy two dresses. (And follow up with the company to see how much more I can find out, for future reference.) At the second-hand store, I found a full, grey, cotton-linen skirt much like I’ve been wanting, for 12 bucks!

So in a matter of minutes, my entire summer wardrobe situation changed and I had to come back and rework all of the posts! Yesterday was going to be about how I really don’t have the dresses I’d like to be relying on, and no skirt like I wanted. Today was about those items being top priority … but that all changed. And took a lot of pressure off my to-sew list, which was problematically long for someone who hasn’t managed to sew a single thing since last August. Here’s the current situation:

ROW 1 / WIPs: Sloper and Summer cardigan are both currently in progress. I also keep imagining an oversize, crewneck, cotton Sloper for wearing alone now and layering later, but we’ll see if/when that happens.

ROW 2: My dream in life is to be wearing my favorite outfit — jeans and a perfectly fitting grey t-shirt — and have made them both. I’m making the jeans in September (more on that later) and have been planning to make the tee sooner, but this is a long list, Everlane has a tee that looks pretty perfect (made in LA), and I have a store credit. So this one is looking like a purchase in the short term.

ROW 3: What I’m really feeling the lack of most is white tops, and these are both extremely quick and simple. On the left is a mod of the OOP Cynthia Rowley pattern I mentioned yesterday, which I’ll be making in both white linen and black linen. On the right is another version of my little self-drafted shell, this time in crisp white cotton and probably with some gathers at the neck. These are now the top priority to-do’s.

ROW 4: I think Liesl Gibson’s new Soho Skirt, on the left, might be the full skirt pattern I’ve been wanting, and I’m planning to make the first one in black linen, to wear with everything. Now that I have the thrifted grey skirt of similar fullness, though, I’m going to wear it for a minute and see if it suits me as well — and plays as nicely with my other clothes — as I think it will. In the middle is the Hemlock mod I made last year (and shrank and re-homed) which I want to make again in heather grey. I have some remnant bits of a wool knit that I’d love to use — if there’s enough. If not, I’ll either make it or Linden from regular sweatshirt jersey. This is an absolute must by Fall, but would be really useful at work if I can get it done for summer. On the right is the striped version of the Adventure Tank (view B) that I’ve been plotting since making the black one, and was in my plan for last summer, but never got done. I want it very badly, and have the hemp jersey already, but it’s non-urgent. When I get around to cutting it out, I’ll likely also make a heather grey version.

So that’s 6-7 sewing projects right there, most of them extremely quick. And all of them fold seamlessly into fall.

HOWEVER: First, there’s mending and refashioning to do to get a few of the inventory items to wearable status:
– shorten the black slip dress and add pockets
– mend the light jeans
– mend the camo pants
– dye the ivory I+W tee
– lengthen the black cardigan, which hasn’t been mentioned for summer yet but I was hoping would be useful!

And then there’s the little matter of the Fen (hybrid) dress that’s currently in my Summer of Basics plan. (June 1, y’all! Are you excited?) I still very much want this dress, but it will no longer be black linen, so I’m mulling alternate fabrics and maybe even a more fall-ish fabric, and making it the last of the three projects I start for SoB rather than the first.

With yesterday’s 34 Haves and WIPs, the above would bring my summer-edit total to 40 garments, which I have no doubt I can combine into an entire summer’s worth of work and weekend outfits, which I’m eager to do! I’m sorry to leave you on the edges of your seats over the weekend ;) but being in Florida and lacking some key garment photos, I’m going to do that as soon as I’m reunited with my closet. So I’ll have that to share sometime next week.

I hope you have an amazing and fruitful weekend—

(Fashionary sketch templates via Fringe Supply Co.)


PREVIOUSLY in Summer 2017 Wardrobe: Closet inventory

25 thoughts on “Summer ’17 wardrobe planning, part 3: The make list

  1. I have several Flax tank tops that I acquired via eBay. (I live in Florida, so…linen…obviously.) So that’s a good source, if you want second-hand and can’t find them locally.

  2. I’ve been wearing Flax clothes for years and years. I’ve never found any in a consignment shop alas, as they are WAY more than $12 new. They are very washable and hold up well. I’m glad you mentioned them as I have some pants and tops I’ll take to the U.K. with me this summer. I hope you discover that they’re a good company. They have been in business quite a while. I have some pieces that must be over 15 years old.
    Joanna Koss

    • The $12 thrifted skirt is not Flax — it’s some brand I’ve never heard of before. But I’m glad to hear your Flax pieces have held up well! One of my two dresses is a much heavier linen than the other, but hopefully both will wear well.

  3. My mother always wore FLAX! That brand has been around a long time and the clothes wear well and last forever. I have seen a lot of it in consignment shops (I’m in the northeast) and on eBay so if you’re more comfortable buying it second hand there’s that.

  4. I have bought Flax on EBay as well. Flax runs very large, so bear that in mind when buying it. I bought a beautiful orange linen blend dress in what I had thought was my size about ten years ago – still mourning it. We are doing our duty for the planet in buying used clothing, however.

  5. My friend told me about your blog and your discovery of FLAX items in a consignment shop. I own a store in Frederick, MD selling FLAX. It’s by far my favorite brand of clothing and Yes! FLAX is a quality product that fits ALL body types and the quality of the linen is stellar. I have FLAX items in my closet that are 20 years old and have been washed and dried 100s of times. FLAX linen is the coolest thing you can wear in the summer and the heavier linens can be worn year round. The relaxed fit and the natural fiber can spoil you quickly and turn you in to a “FLAX Junkie.” But we SHOULD be comfortable in our clothing and know that we look our best…That’s why people see the FLAX IS HERE sign in my store window and hit the brakes! Be happy and comfortable!

    • I got the Flax dresses new, not consignment, but do you know anything more about the company and whether they’re specifically committed to responsible production?

  6. I can attest to the longevity of FLAX, too! I have pieces I bought 20+ years ago, that are still going strong. The pants tend to wear less well…they wear thin at the inner thigh. (Caveat: my jeans do the same thing, so it’s probably more due to my curvy thighs than the fabric.) But the FLAX tops, jackets, dresses and skirts have worn like iron for me.

  7. I love the new Soho skirt pattern as well! I’m telling myself that I need to sew up their wrap skirt pattern first (sitting on my sewing table) before I buy that one. I’ll look forward to seeing your version.

  8. I’ve ordered from Knock Knock Linen in Lithuania via Etsy. Very nice quality linen and they hem certain garments to your length choice.

  9. I love the way the Soho skirt is full, yet sits flat over the hips. That’s a great silhouette! Can’t wait to see what fabric you choose.

  10. Ooooh, back when I was young and thinner in the early 1980s, I made a pair of jeans (with a Calvin Klein pattern). I even took the extra step of making a muslin–not because the denim was expensive (which it wasn’t even for my grad student budget), but because I really wanted them to fit, which they did. And I topstitched them with kelly green silk buttonhole twist. And I made the most wonderful skirt and camp shirt in a mostly navy and white madras plaid, with just a bit of kelly, yellow, and deep red. The camp shirt looked fabulous with the jeans, tucked in or left out.

    I loved sewing then–my part time job was in a really nice fabric store (that carried Liberty fabrics, Viyella, Pendleton wools, Anglo wools from Britain, Cone corduroy [the softest fabric imaginable, made by a company based in Baltimore, although the mill may have been in the South], Booth Bay tweeds from Maine, Harris Tweeds from Scotland; it was a heavenly place to work, and I made some wonderful model garments).

      • I remember that corduroy and it was wonderful! I dont know if it is still true but for many many years no corduroy was made in the US anymore. The death of fabric mills here was such a loss. I know it was not a pleasant place to work and it was a tough job but we did produce such wonderful quality cottons.

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  12. Would you consider your lovely handwoven and dyed fabric for the Fen? Or did it already find a home?

  13. Flax has an interesting history. Started life as Angelheart by Jeanne Engelhart. Then changed to Flax. There is an old Threads Magazine article about their start that even has a scaled jacket pattern. Anyway, she was very careful about sourcing and the people who made the clothing. Tou can still find the old labels and if they have her name, she was still in charge. However, she divorced and moved to Hawaii and sold the company to her ex who then sold it again. The quality went down for quite a while. Im not certain whats up with the name now but Jeanne is making clothes again on a small scale and sometimes sell the linen fabric she uses. I buy Angelheart and early Flax only. If you shop often you see the difference in the labels.

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