Summer of Basics Make-along starts now!

Summer of Basics Make-along starts now!

Happy June 1st, also known as Summer of Basics day! I’ve been really impatient for it to get here and know from the #summerofbasics hashtag that many of you have too! It’s been fun seeing all of the assorted knitting and sewing plans that have cropped up so far.


• The idea is to simply spend the next 3 months making 3 basic items for your wardrobe — putting those extra daylight hours to good use!

• Your 3 can be all knitted/crocheted, all sewn, or any combination thereof. Totally up to you! It’s an excellent chance to tackle the projects you’ve been wanting to but maybe haven’t had the nerve. We’re all in it together!

• It’s also up to you whether you do literally one garment per month, or 3 over the course of 3 months. (For instance, my sweater will likely span the whole season.) All that matters is that you finish 3 by August 31.

• They don’t need to be summer clothes — whatever you consider to be basic items that your closet would benefit from, whatever season(s) they might be for.

• Apologies to our friends in the Southern Hemisphere: I realize June/July/August are not summer for you, but I hope you won’t let the name stop you from joining in!

• If you’re blogging, feel free to leave links to your post(s) in the comments here. On Instagram, use the hashtag #summerofbasics for everyone to see.


I’ve teamed up with my friends at Kelbourne Woolens, Grainline Studio and Fancy Tiger Crafts, who’ve offered up some great prizes (see below) as well as being excellent resources. If you’re looking for ideas and/or patterns, see my Make Your Own Basics series (or the Pinterest board for the at-a-glance view). Also Kelbourne Woolens has put together a list of sweater patterns to consider, and of course Grainline Studio and Fancy Tiger are both awesome pattern sources. And I would also suggest Improv and Sloper as excellent, highly adaptable sweater patterns. See also: Pullovers for first-timers and Cardigans for first-timers.

Check out the kickoff posts on everyone’s blogs today/tomorrow to see what they’re planning: Kelbourne, Fancy, Grainline.

And see what the whole community is up to by following (and posting to) the #summerofbasics feed at Instagram for the next three months.


To be eligible for any prize, you need to have completed 3 garments within the June 1-August 31 time frame. (Please do not enter garments you’ve previously finished.) To enter any of the categories below, use the appropriate pair of hashtags when posting your finished garments. Please only use the prize tags that your garments qualify for:

Best Modification/Alteration
PRIZE: 4 skeins of Fibre Co’s new yarn for Fall from Kelbourne Woolens
The winning garment might be either knitted or sewn, but the prize is yarn so only enter if you’re into that! Be sure to tell us what changes you made from the pattern(s) you started with.
HASHTAGS: #summerofbasics + #sob17bestmod

Best First-Timer
PRIZE: 4 sewing patterns + $50 gift certificate from Fancy Tiger Crafts
It’s cool if you’re a knitter entering your first sewn garment or sewer entering your first knitted garment, or it can be the first garment of any kind you’ve ever made!
HASHTAGS: #summerofbasics + #sob17bestfirst

Best Combination of Garments
PRIZE: $100 gift card from Grainline Studio
We’ll be looking for 2-3 pieces that work exceptionally well together. They might be sewn, knitted or a combination, but the prize is sewing patterns, so only enter if you’re into that!
HASHTAGS: #summerofbasics + #sob17bestcombo

Random drawing
PRIZE: $100 gift certificate from Fringe Supply Co.
I’ll draw a name at random from all qualifying posts!
HASHTAGS: #summerofbasics + #sob17finisher

All prizes will be announced at the beginning of September, so make sure to post by August 31. We’re all very excited to see what you make!


MY THREE: My plans have evolved since I initially proposed this. (Or even since my Queue Check on Monday!) But since this post is already quite long, I’ll post all about that tomorrow!

Patterns pictured, clockwise from top left: Archer Button-up from Grainline Studio, Adventure Tank from Fancy Tiger Crafts, Sloper from Fringe Association, Echo Lake from Kelbourne Woolens


PREVIOUSLY in -alongs: Sloper knitalong

114 thoughts on “Summer of Basics Make-along starts now!

  1. From the Southwest Hemisphere I intend to work my “winter of basics” till August 31st! As a manter of fact, we may have some real cold weather in São Paulo beginning this evening. Good work for everybody!!!

  2. I have been putting off Instagram but guess I will need to join in order to join the fun. I would also like to know about something previously cast on – I have a summer sweater about half done.

      • I set up an account and have completed a skirt. I don’t know what to do now! I may have to wait for my daughter to come home – she will be visiting at the end of the week. I’m pretty good with technology – just don’t get this one yet.

  3. Another question I thought of as I was reading through the prize categories : do we enter garments as we complete them or wait until all 3 are complete?

    • Either way is fine — we’ll be keeping an eye on those feeds along the way but will definitely check back through everything that’s been entered by the end of Aug.

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  5. Hiya!!! I’ve been anxiously awaiting the official start day for summer of basics. Yay! Question: would a “first time completely improvising a pattern” fit into the first timer category? Thanks!

    • That category is designed to encourage people to make their first garment, so if you’ve done that before then you’d be welcome to enter yours in any other category it applies to!

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  7. I was glad to see that it could be three garments over the entire three months because I don’t know if I’ll nail the Birkin Flares in one month. My three are the Birkin Flares, the Seamwork Paxton top (kind of a sweatshirt), and the third keeps changing, but I’m thinking of the Liv cardigan in – wait for it – black! I will also go back to my woefully un-updated blog to document my progress. Karen – see you at Squam!

  8. Very motivating! I really want to finish up my pant sloper soon so I can sew myself a pair of breezy, comfortable trousers for the summer.

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  11. This is great – it would be nice to see some plus size examples.
    Nevertheless, I am excited, this was just the motivation I needed to start sewing again!

    • Do you mean with regard to the patterns featured in Make Your Own Basics? The patterns would each have their own size ranges, some wider than others, so you’d need to take a look at whichever ones you’re interested in to see what their range is. Several of them are shown on plus size models.

      Let me know if that doesn’t answer your question!

  12. I’m going to work on a basic sweater for myself but need to think of a plan for the other two! Probably my first sewn garment or two!

  13. I’m super excited about this make-along! Now I just need to decide what to make. I kept a list of what I wore during Me Made May which lead me to way more than 3 basics that would help my wardrobe. I just need to decide how hard I want to work (should I learn to make classic pieces that are pretty difficult like jeans and button-ups? or stick with equally classic not-so-difficult pieces that I could also use more of, like skirts and tees?). But the thing I’m most terrified about is that I’m going to attempt my first sweater! Karen, I’m tempted to use your top-down recipe but I’m also attracted to written-out patterns that will give me a little more hand-holding. I’m looking at Purl Soho’s Classic Raglan and Ankestrick’s Heavenly. But mostly I’m just scared I’ll mess up (yarn is expensive! way more expensive than the old sheets and tablecloths I use to make my my sewn muslins!). Any thoughts? And in general, I’d love some advice about making knit basics from knit-oriented sponsors of the make-along… and I’m sure beginning sewers probably would love similar advice from sewing-oriented sponsors, too!

    Whew, I just wrote a lot! But I’m very glad to be joining in — thank you so much for this swell idea!

    • The beauty of yarn is you can’t really mess it up! If the sweater isn’t working out or doesn’t fit or meet your expectations, you can always unravel it, no harm done.

      Purl’s raglan seems like it could be a great place to start, although I’ve never looked at the details of it. I do recommend Jane Richmond’s Classic Ladies Raglan (something like that?) as a good first top-down.

  14. Oh, this is so exciting! I am definitely going to try to complete three by August :). The timing is just perfect, because I’ve just finished my first sewn dress and got a major confidence boost after completing it! Now I want to sew everything!

  15. Oh I need basics and so glad us from the Southern Hemisphere can play along with our winter basic clothes that I have suddenly realised that I need now the cold winds have started.

  16. I am starting a test knit today that is due by the end of June, first garment. I have another sweater planned and time to find my third project. Great make along ! Thanks for organizing this.

  17. This is a great challenge, both because I’ll be focusing on new skills but also because I’ve been focusing so much on “Stashdown” and “Stash Less,” both physically (purging the actual stash, giving away things I don’t need, using things up rather than hoarding them) and mentally (do I really have a plan for that lovely skein? just because someone is offering me something that has value, do I really need to accept it and find room for it?). The hardest part right now is determining what actually makes sense for me to make. I have plenty of clothes, and I don’t live in a climate where my constant knitting is all that helpful to building my wardrobe, so this will be a great exercise in conscious making and wardrobe planning. If anyone is interested in checking out my initial thoughts about what I might make, my post about it is here:

  18. I am so excited – I’m planning on sewing a skirt, learning how to sew with Jersey and make a Tshirt or Tank, and knitting another cardigan – my wardrobe is sadly lacking wear-able sweaters despite my constant knitting.

  19. Question! If I’m sewing something, and it’s not my first garment ever but my first sewn skirt (for example), would that qualify for #sob17bestfirst ?

    I’m so excited that you’re doing this! I’m planning to focus on sewn garments (I’ve been a knitter for a number of years, but wanting to push myself to sew my own clothing). I’m definitely going to make some lounge shorts, underwear (so excited!!), a Lark Tee, and I’m hoping also a lightweight summer robe and a Mabel skirt.

    • If it’s your first sewn garment, then it would count. If you’ve sewn a garment before, then you’d be welcome to enter any other categories that apply. But it does have to be either your first time sewing a sewn garment or knitting a knitted garment.

  20. Can self-drafted patterns land under the Modification umbrella, by any chance?

    • That one’s intended for people who are modifying or altering a pattern, rather than working without one. Maybe next time we’ll have a patternless category! But do enter it into any of the others it qualifies for!

  21. I am going to start with Improv in a Cestari wool, and figure out the other two as I go.

  22. I’m extremely excited buy this Sew amd knit opportunity.
    Could I participate more then one time in different categories?
    It’s that count if I made cloths for differents persons in the same 3 trio?

    Thank you for this nice event and the wonderful prizes!

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  25. Yay I’m so excited to get started! (I got confused and thought we’d started already, so I’m glad it’s now official haha) I’m planning mostly sewing, oddly for me, since I’m primarily a knitter. Hopefully everything goes to plan… I wrote a post about my plans and I’m planning to document progress on Instagram, looking forward to following the hashtag! :)

  26. Yay I’m so excited to get started! (I got confused and thought we’d started already, so I’m glad it’s now official haha) I’m planning mostly sewing, oddly for me, since I’m primarily a knitter. Hopefully everything goes to plan… I wrote a post about my plans and I’m planning to document progress on Instagram, looking forward to following the hashtag! :)

  27. I am so excited for this make-a-long! I finally got around to picking out my three pieces. I have been wanting to knit the Hyannis Port Pullover for a while now. This gives me the push to finally do it!

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  32. I wasn’t sure if I was going to participate–the real basic that I’d like to work on is pants, and given that I’m 7 months pregnant now is not the best time to start working on fitting them! And there’s a sweater I’ve been waiting to make, but picking up wool in this week’s heat sounds just awful.

    BUT I just discovered a lovely skirt pattern that I’d like to alter into something I’ve been dreaming about for awhile! I’ve never really altered a pattern before, so it will be a fun exercise. I’m also hoping to learn how to copy a pattern from an existing garment that I have. Fingers crossed I can complete three things before my little one arrives in August!

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