My Summer of Basics plan

My Summer of Basics plan

Ok, so I’ve thought and rethought (and rethought!) what my 3 garments will be for the Summer of Basics Make-along. This whole event grew out of my desire to push myself to sew an Archer button-down shirt, and wanting company in taking that leap, but it’s not the only thing my closet is lacking that I never get around to. (Hence, let’s all make 3 basics over the next 3 months!) So I really want to choose wisely. Let’s face it, I’ll almost certainly make more than 3 things in the next 3 months, but I want my publicly-declared SoB-3 to really challenge me and hold me accountable. Of course, I also want to make things that will be truly useful in my closet. So here’s where I’m at:

BUTTON-UP SHIRT: I’ve been saying for awhile that my beloved pale denim workshirt (which I wear for some part of almost every day — and look, I’m even wearing it in my avatar pic to the right!) was headed for a breakdown. That has now officially happened: both sleeve caps are in shreds. So that’s what I’m replacing with my first Archer, and that one was already a replacement for a nearly identical shirt before it. Between the two, I’ve had some version of that shirt for at least a dozen years. For the next generation, though, not only will it be handmade, but I’m planning on light blue chambray instead of the denim. (Gettin’ crazy over here!) But I still want it to have some of the character of the denim workshirts so, inspired by this J.Crew photo, I’m planning on slightly darker stitching (as happens to denim shirts as they fade and the thread doesn’t) and bone buttons (a nod to the pearl snaps on my old friends). I’m scared and excited.

SWEATER: I’ve been saying my SoB sweater would be the grey pullover I really truly need. But A) I’m a little leery of the idea of casting on a grey mostly-stockinette US6 sweater when I already have a grey mostly-stockinette US6 sweater on the needles. Plus why would I not use this opportunity to focus on the one sweater I want most in all the world — the whole reason I learned to knit in the first place — the fisherman sweater of my dreams. So I’m doing it. Since I plan to chart out the written directions from the vintage pattern, and likely do some tweaking, I’ll start with the swatching and charting right away and hope (hope hope hope) to be able to finish the whole thing by the end of August. I am elated over this decision.

PANTS???: I’ve got pants on the brain. As in, I’ve never made pants and I’m signed up for a jeans workshop in September, and it seems like maybe I should have made some semblance of a pants-like thing before that. Right? My very favorite old pajama pants have also passed the point of no return, and while I was taking them apart this weekend and trying to trace off a pattern to replace them, I was also thinking how much I love my simple elastic-waist Florence Pants (I seriously wear them at least 4 times a week) and about this Idea Log and that striped fabric on my shelf, a pair of striped Ace & Jig pants I almost bought last year … you get the picture. However, part of me also wants to reserve the third slot and not commit right this minute. So as much as I want and hope to do this, it’s currently ever-so-slightly tentative.

I’ve got a lot to do still in preparation for Squam next week, but am eager to get started on some part of this over the weekend! What will you be starting?

(Fashionary sketch templates from Fringe Supply Co.)

Big news from Fringe Supply Co!

SPEAKING OF SQUAM: There’s some really big Porter Bin news over on the @fringesupplyco IG feed. Hint: army green is coming! If you’ll be at the Squam Art Fair on the 10th, don’t miss your chance to snag one — check the Instagram post for details.

AND IN CURRENT SHOP NEWS: We’re temporarily out of the wildly popular Lykke interchangeable sets (more coming mid-month) BUT! we finally have spare tips and cords for sale! EDIT: And now the new Pom Pom is here!


PREVIOUSLY: Summer of Basic Make-along starts now!

47 thoughts on “My Summer of Basics plan

  1. Archer is a great shirt to make! I will warn you that if you make the long sleeve, the cuff has a huge circumference for some reason. I now make my own jeans and won’t go back to store bought – they are not hard – once you find your fit. I will be teaching a jeans making class for the first time at a local store in Ohio where I also teach Rigid Heddle weaving. I am considering linen pants myself.

    • With my big shoulders, shirts are the hardest thing for me to fit, so I’ll definitely be making a muslin first. I’ll make sure to check out the cuff size while I’m at it!

  2. I’ve been hoping to restock my wardrobe for a while–this is an excellent incentive! I’ve also been trying to add more color in my wardrobe. I’m also thinking pants–Clover or Moji, from Colette Patterns; PurlSoho’s Circular Yoke Summer Shirt; and a skirt or two.

  3. What pattern do you think for the Florence-style pant? I have been debating disassembling my one precious pair to trace a pattern and have thus far been too afraid. I’m very excited for this concept! I’ve been trying to take the plunge and get back into sewing. I’m curious and amused by how nervous I’ve made myself. Should be fun!

    • I’m just planning to see what happens with the pajama pant tracing I’m working on. They’re wide leg, elastic waist, super simple like Florence, but with a much lower rise. If I can figure it out, I’ll probably do something in between the two — not quite as high-waisted as Florence — and definitely with the same pockets I added to my Florences.

    • Check out the 100 Acts of Sewing pants pattern. It’s elastic waist and simple, just two pieces. I’m tracing it off the weekend and will be making a “muslin” in blue & white striped seersucker as my practice pants.

      • In a case of something that simple, the only difference between a muslin and a finished pair would be the hemming of the legs. So yeah!

    • You don’t have to disassemble to trace. There are probably tutorials on You Tube. And you may have to have someone hold the elastic stretched open so the fabric is flat at the waist or use a piece of rigid board to pin out the elastic scrunch – bulletin board, rigid foam?

      • Oh no, in this case they disassembled themselves! They’re so old and worn they were literally coming apart at every edge and were well beyond any further wear. So it was worth it to go ahead and cut them apart and be able to trace them precisely.

        • That’s how I got my favorite jeans pattern! I had worn the things to death – they were so easy to take apart and trace a pattern.

    • Thankfully you don’t need to take your favorite pants apart in order to make a pattern. The craftsy class Patter Drafting from Ready-to-Wear is an incredible class. It doesn’t take much to get started and the teacher (Steffani Lincecum) does an incredible job of teaching you what to do. It’s amazing. Check it out.

  4. I’m gonna do a cotton flannel archer!! I’m also gonna try pants too, I have the pants no 1 pattern from sonya phillip. I’m just struggling to figure out what kind of fabric would make good pants? the striped cotton duck is a good idea, I’ve been trying to find a linen canvas in black, preferably

    • 1. KT silly question but what material are you going to make your archer muslin out of?

      2. I’m planning on just following the grainline archer sew along posts lol

      • Not silly actually, but when I say a muslin I mean it literally. There’s a lot of talk of “wearable muslins” these days, which really means sewing something out of less precious fabric first, I guess. A true muslin is cut from muslin and is very crude — you’re really just stitching the main pattern pieces together to check and adjust fit, not doing any of the details or finishing work. It’s quick and dirty and definitely not finished or wearable!

        • thank you, you’re always so forth coming when it comes to answering questions :)

    • I’m right there with you on the pants no. 1 pattern. I’m in the “make a fake-muslin out of not precious stash fabric or a thrifted sheet” camp.

      • that’s a good idea, I’m hoping to make shorts first so I can make sure that I’m doing the whole waistband and fly thing right before diving into 2 yards of fabric for pants.

  5. It took me way too long to figure out why you were so mad at the sweater you were calling it an SOB. But Summer of Basics. I get it now.

    (Also, I heartily endorse the pants. I made a pair using Closet Case’s pajama pant pattern with a higher waist, and I wear those things at least twice a week. Those stripes are gonna be great.)

  6. If you get tired of tracing your old pajama pants I HIGHLY recommend the Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas. I made a flannel pair this winter and LOVE them! It seems like it wouldn’t be too difficult to modify them to make those Elizabeth Suzann pants. Increase the rise, widen the leg, maybe modify or remove the pockets. Hmm, I may have just talked myself into a pair!

      • I heartily endorse what Kate said. I sort of frankenpatterned the Carolyn pj pants and the bottom of the Sallie jumpsuit so I could get a high-waisted, wide legged, woven pant with pockets and an elastic waistband. I really loved using Carolyn for the pockets and the faux fly detail, and Sallie helped me get a higher rise and the right leg width (with the back leg pattern slightly wider than the front – somehow that made it more flattering). When the weather’s cool I wear those things at least twice a week.

  7. My fave pants are my Sonya Philips grey linen ones. I’m living in them right now, although I’ve had to pair them up with wool socks (handknitted) because we’re having a freaking cold spring. I’m going to make Sonya’s Tunic #1 and her Dress #1, plus a cardigan (my own design) to wear with everything. And somehow I’m going to manage all this with a house move at the end of June, and my 20 somethings in the way. Yikes, I’d better get packing!

  8. You won’t regret the fisherman knit sweater. I made Kathy Zimmerman’s Plaits and Links Cardigan (don’t know how to create a hyper link!) after sitting on the yarn and pattern for five years and could not be happier. Wore it constantly after I finished it. It will never go out of style and never wear out (ha!), and neither will yours.

    • I made a fisherman cardigan a few years ago and it didn’t satisfy my lifelong wish for a big cozy pullover. I have no doubt I’ll wear it for the rest of my days.

  9. I have the same Bernat book (bought when it was new and 100% wool yarn wasn’t common in the Midwest), and I’ve also been considering this, or something by Alice Starmore along the same lines. I’m considering using some Jamieson Aran Shetland I have in stash.

  10. I’m thinking that my 3 basics are going to be a striped tshirt, a pair of black leggings (I somehow don’t own a pair that aren’t technical fabric for working out!), and I’m also stuck on my third item. I like the idea of a waterfall cardigan, but I’ve also got the Carolyn Pajamas pattern and some Liberty yardage that are waiting for me…

  11. Great plans ! I would have loved to tried a first sewed garment, something very simple, but I will stick to knitting this time. I cast on for my first sweater, a linen tee, yesterday.

  12. can I just say how absolutely thrilled I am that the needle tips are now sold separately? My husband got me the set for Christmas, and then the new puppy got into them and chewed up the case and some of the tips. Now I can have a full set again!

  13. Question – does anyone know of or have experience with a source for wool/wool blend knit fabric? Jersey or interlock and not too lightweight? I’d really like to sew some basic knit tops similar to RTW Ibex or Icebreaker, but with a little more style. No luck via local fabric stores and not sure about the online sources I’ve turned up.

  14. I live this whole project – it’s so doable for anyone! I’m knitting away on my Sloper-inspired tunic and plan to make a Salme Kimono Top in a gorgeous viscose poplin in my stash, and a Marilla Walker Ilsley skirt in yellow linen. Each item with coordinate with practically everything in my wardrobe!

  15. So my mother made me this exact fishermen’s sweater when I was in high school and…. yes, I still have it. Will dig it out and post at some point. Good luck with it!

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  18. I have a ridiculous question. One of the things that I absolutely cannot find is a button down shirt that fits right. My ample bust makes it damn near impossible. This is one of the few things I’d actually really look to sew on my own since I cannot find it in any ready to wear shops. Would it be insane, as someone who rarely sews, to try to tackle a button down shirt? I assume I’d have to take a sewing class with this specific project in mind, I wouldn’t try to do it on my own out of the gate, but is that insane?

    • I agree a class would be best (and a pattern with darts that you can learn how to adjust) but beyond that I think it’s just a matter of how much of a patient and determined person you are when trying anything new like that. Whether you are more of a baby-steps person or a dive-in-head-first person!

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