Source: Calvin Klein, Courtesy of Macy's
Whether you're a local enjoying the beauty of the landscape, or a city dweller retreating from the sweltering streets to the beaches of the Hamptons, proper summer attire is a must. Instead of dealing with crowds at Tanger on Memorial day, why not make your own summer essentials? There are three outfits for each gender, with difficulties ranging from beginner to expert, that can help pass the time in winter and look great in summer.
For the men:
Garment #1: Bermuda Shorts. These surprisingly easy to make! You can either make these from scratch using medium-weight cottons, linens, and tweed, or you can convert an old pair of jeans into them, depending on your desires and skill level. Great directions can be found for both at eHow. Bermuda shorts are perfect for a day at the beach or a backyard barbecue and are surprisingly comfortable.
Garment #2: Hoodie. Hoodies may seem more suited for fall and spring, but if you're at the beach or out on a boat it can get real cold, real fast. A hoodie is a "moderate difficulty" project, requiring a sewing machine and at least two yards of material (preferably fleece) for the hoodie, 1/2 yard of soft cotton for the lining, a yard of material for the zipper, and at least a yard of ribbed material for the waistband and cuffs, as well as a cotton t-shirt that fits the way you want your hoodie to fit. A high aptitude for pattern cutting is necessary, and it is better to use a standard zipper than an invisible one. Craftster has great instructions on how to do this. Hoodies are nice, because they can be solid or printed, and it is possible to even customize with embroidering a monogram on the breast.
Garment #3: Summer suit. Summer suits may seem to have gone the way of The Great Gatsby, but they are coming back and style. A suit should not be attempted unless the creator has a strong knowledge of patterns, cutting, both hand and machine stitching, and alterations. Unless you can find a great pattern, it may be better to find separate suit jacket and suit pants patterns. KWIK SEW has a wide array of patterns at great prices. Unlike your normal formal wear, summer suits should be in airy colors and made out of linen, seersucker, or worsted wool. These are very unique and perfect for a summer cocktail party or wedding.
For the ladies:
Garment #1: Sarong. A sarong is a perfect beach cover-up and is super-easy to make. Using a 5'x7' piece of lightweight linen, cotton, etc., hem the edges with a running stitch or even no-sew glue and you are done. These can be made in any color possible to match your favorite swim wear. If you need more directions, eHow has uses the same template.
Garment #2: Jean skirt from old jeans. This is a great idea if you have any jeans that are too short or are just about ready to go out of style. You will need: an old pair of jeans, a stitch ripper, a sewing machine, scissors, thread, and tailor's chalk. Use tailors chalk to mark the length you want your skirt to be. Wikihow has full directions, and although they may seem complicated, they are actually unbelievably easy if you take it slowly. This is a nice pattern because it is Eco-friendly and allows the wearer to choose what length they want the skirt to be.
Garment #3: Sheath dress. Like it's male cousin, the summer suit, the sheath dress is a perfect choice for any formal summer event. McCall's has a beautiful sleeveless pattern (option B) that is perfect. Pick a linen for the exterior, and a light, breathable lining. Also, black is unacceptable for summer events. Pick a less harsh neutral, such as navy, tan, or olive and accesorize as desired. The hard part of making a sheath dress is with the darts and lining, so once again, a strong knowledge of tailoring is needed.
Now that you have some great patterns, pick an outfit, shop for some great fabric, and spend the next harsh months of winter thinking of how great that garment is going to look come June!