Linen Fen tunic, take one

Linen Fen tunic

It’s a funny paradox when your clothes are basically (or literally) pajamas and yet you feel overly dressy for your warehouse way of life. But that’s where I’m at!

The simple fact is I need more linen clothes for Nashville’s swamp season than the scant few I own. Everything else in my closet is unbearable in this humidity, and what I want is five or six linen sack dresses I can just wear on repeat, but what I have is the black linen pants I have worn nearly to tatters in only two years of nonstop hot-weather wear, and the natural linen-cotton Carolyn pants I sewed last September. So I’m trying to figure out how best to add more linen to my wardrobe and how to make any of it feel like me.

I had an idea for a slit-front sack dress with a kangaroo pocket (a mash-up of assorted other things I’ve seen and loved lately) and decided to test the top part of it using the Fen pattern I already own and some bright cyan linen that’s been in my stash for a few years to make a tunic that could be worn with pants and jeans. I’m quite happy with it comfort-wise — it’s probably as close as linen can get to that slouchy, cut-up sweatshirt vibe — but this particular outfit still feels like I’m wearing someone else’s clothes.

I’d made the Fen top in sizes 8 and 12 before, and for this one all I did is make the size 20, drawing out a straight hemline from the bottom edge of the original shirttail hem, and make a big kangaroo pocket for the front. This is the same neckline tweak I’d done before but somehow it seems bigger here, so on the next one (there will be a next one for sure), I’ll bring the whole neckline in and possibly shorten the sleeves a tiny bit, although I’m liking them rolled like I have them in the photo above.

But what I’m most eager to do is cut a dress-length version. So stand by for that.

SHOP NEWS: Speaking of linen, there’s a new Bento Bag in town: Eggplant! It’s stunning. We also have a new mini-scissor in the lineup, called Joji, and we’re retiring the Porter Bin in black — when our current stack is gone, that’s it for black. It will still be available in natural, army and butterscotch.

Happy weekend, everyone!


PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Smock vest with pocket

27 thoughts on “Linen Fen tunic, take one

  1. Take a look at Liesl and Co’s Gelato Dress. I’m just sewing it now (out of cotton) but it’s got that sack dress feel I think you are going for. I bet it would be nice in linen. And it’s got cool welt pockets. There’s also a cute blouse version with ruffles – I have read your blog and know that this may not be your jam!. But someone sewed it without the ruffles and it looks nice.

  2. I just adore this color, and you look amazing.

    I hope you’ll grow to love how you look in a vivid palette! (I know the shocking pink is coming post India trip, is it not? :))

    • I will confess to owning bright pink linen, but its fate is as yet uncertain.

  3. A great idea, and can’t wait to see your dress. I love that you’re wearing more colour. I’ve found that as I age (I’m probably 20 years older than you!) I need more colour. And linen is my go-to fabric year round for basics. We don’t have air conditioning so staying comfortable in the heat is important. My current hot weather “uniform” is the Willow Tank + the York Pinafore, both in linen. I’m inclined to think that the body acclimatizes to a lack of air conditoning and it’s easier not to have it at all than to go in and out of it several times a day. Plus our old house has a front porch, high ceilings, trees, and is on a hill above Lake Ontario. Stay cool!

    • I don’t know, all I can think is this would be a homerun for me if it were black or navy or instead of this bright cyan I can’t relate to. But I’ll like the color better with jeans when the humidity lets up.

  4. This color is gorgeous and would look great paired with black pants and those blush colored slides. As much as I love khaki, it just always feels so blah.

    • These natural linen pants are definitely blah — trying to figure out how to make them work for me, but pairing them with a top that’s not quite me isn’t helping either of them! I think it’s a perfectly cute outfit, just for someone or somewhere else.

      • For what it’s worth, I think the natural linen pants with the blue looks very summery and the blue color really suits you. It does seem to want an accessory, though, like a chunky bracelet.

  5. Does the dress you’re wearing in the Stowe shots feel like you? And does it work in swamp weather? I love the idea of sack dresses but at my height they need to be shorter than I’d like to seem right proportionally. I love that you jumped from a 12 to a 20 – whammo!

    • I do love that dress but it has shrunk up to where the armholes are a bit snug and it’s a couple inches shorter than I’d like. But I’m planning to make a variation on it very soon — more on that to come.

  6. Maybe it would feel more like you if it were in a different color.
    I’m so disappointed that the black porter bin is going, it is by far my favourite bag to keep my knitting projects in. I’d order more but I by far exceeded my knitting spending limit earlier this year, so I’ll have to find an alternative somewhere else. Unfortunately the other colour choices are just not my style at all.

    • Yeah, in black or navy (also in my stash, thanks to Eliz Suzann garage sale) it would be THE perfect thing for me. So I’ll likely do that.

      And sorry to disappoint you about the Porter! It’s my favorite of our bags, and I do love the black, but it’s been around the longest and needs to rotate out to make room for other things.

  7. The Eme Dress by Style Arc might be of interest to you (available on etsy). The top portion is a similar style to the top you made. The dress has side pockets but you could add a kangaroo pocket instead.

    • That’s cute, thanks, but I already own and have worked with this Fen pattern, and also own the Wiksten Shift, which would be another option. But I think I’m on track with Fen!

  8. That is a really beautiful color and design on you-especially in the summer. As you say, I do have a lot of navy and black as well, but I find on the summer I feel lighter and cooler with lighter colors.
    Anyway it is a very good color on you and I LOVE the casual roll up sleeve and wider neck.

  9. You could also check out the Cielo dress from Closet Case Patterns. Pockets and rolled sleeve cuffs!

  10. If the color still doesn’t feel like you after a few wears, you should dye it! That bright blue would be really beautiful popping through some sort of shibori resist with navy or black dye on top. I know that you’re trying to break out of your neutral comfort zone a bit, but if your clothes don’t make you feel good then what’s the point, right?

  11. Pingback: Linen Fen dress, take one - Fringe Association

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