Friday, October 7, 2016

Beach Vacation Basics

We realllllyy needed a beach vacation this year, I mean reaaalllyy.  Being in helping professions (my husband and I both fit that category) is a good thing but they MUST be tempered with retreat to keep them going.  This was the year that we decided to start a beach vacation trip tradition.  We chose our spot, held our breath and booked the house, drove the long drive with kids in tow, arrived, after a day began to breathe easier, let our hair down, put on swim suits and then three days later were told we had to evacuate due to hurricane Matthew.  Vacation cut short, but it will not be our last time to go to this beach, it was a perfect location for us.  Neither of us like a commercialized scene and we like a very slow pace when we vacation, we finally found the place, and we will be back!! 

All that aside, you are here for the sewing part of this story so here you go.  Of course I love a deadline and a beach deadline is even sweeter.  So I got to work creating some basics.  I have had a gap in my wardrobe of simple casual basics since beginning work a year and a half ago.  That was when most of my sewing shifted to creating work-wearable items.  This is a small collection of basics that I could live in while on my trip or off time.  

 Tee Shirts:

 This top is McCalls 7286 which is a raglan tee with a split hem.  I ended up making three versions all in different knit fabrics.  On this version I only hemmed the sleeves.  The white tee is a thick cotton spandex blend from Sew Sassy Fabrics in Huntsville Alabama bought almost two years ago.  If you are ever in Huntsville and can make it to Sew Sassy its a fun sewers wonderland.  They have so much elastic and truly every sewing supply you might need for sewing undies.  They were kind enough to let me wander around their shop even though they are predominately a shipping location.  Its a family business and I love that, I hope I can go back one day!

The shirt above was made using left over yardage from a dress made for Fabric Mart.  Its a cotton lycra blend that is thinner than the white one and it has a bad tendency to curl up at the finished edges.  I did not have this problem with the dress I made of this fabric so I think my hems just weren't deep enough.  Its a really good knit and I am glad I could squeeze one more make out of it.

 This tee was made using leftover yardage from a dress made last fall for the Fabric Mart Fabricista challenge.  It has little to no stretch recovery (no spandex content) so the neckline on this version stands a bit off of my neck but no worse than all of my tee's from Target.  I did not hem the sleeves or the hemline on this version, I just let them curl up.  The fabric was found on the bargain yardage table at Hancocks, again, before they went out of business.   

This is such a simple tee to make, when you don't have to set sleeves, the process is so much quicker.  One note on the split hem.  I serged the aztec print tee together and it changed the nature of finishing the split hem so I actually recommend zig zag stitch for this shirt if you plan on hemming it, the serger cuts off the seam allowance you might need to help everything turn up properly for the split hem. 


This kimono is a great show piece to top off plain tees and shorts.  It is Simplicity 1318 which was a Pattern Review Best Pattern of 2015.  I was unsure about how this might come together, would it look like a bath robe or overwhelm my frame?  I think it turned out perfect and had so much fun wearing it out at the beach.  I used two rayon challis fabrics from JoAnn fabrics.  I love contrasting prints like this. 

The pattern is a good one, my favorite thing about the pattern is the neckline area.  It is constructed in such a way that it sits so nicely up around the neck area and doesn't shift or slide off.  Its really subtly contoured to fit well and I so appreciate that detail.  I used a little extra care in constructing the facings, hand sewing them down for a neat finish instead of my usual stitch in the ditch.  I serged all the inside seams. 

After I made this kimono I was so excited to wear it before the beach trip that I threw it over my black maxi t-shirt dress and wore it to work.  Print mixing this kimono really makes me want to try out my hand at print mixing this one by McCall's designer Melissa Watson.   I would love to see this made up in all those pieces of silk I've salvaged from thrift store garments or other projects...

I also made swimsuits for myself and my girls.  I feel cautious about doing a full post on those here- too many wierdos on the internets these days.  So I posted it on Pattern Review, however I feel ok sharing the rash guard pictures.

My suit and the girl's suits were made using McCalls 7417. 

 A few notes on this pattern:
  • I made my top in a small at the bust grading out to a medium at the waist. I needed a smidge extra room in the bust line so I let that out a little at the princess seams on the suit with the blue inset.
  • I made the bottoms in a medium and let out the back princess seams a bit around the fullest part of my bum. 
  • Fabrics were from Hancocks and were nylon lycra swimwear with the exception of a few panels on the suit with a blue inset.  
  • I fully lined the bottoms and really recommend that you line them.  It adds extra support (tummy control) and feels more substantial. 
  • The top is unlined, I wore a bikini top under mine. 
  • I found the short sleeve more comfortable but the long sleeve definitely gives more protection against sun.
  • I did not hem the sleeves or bottom of the tops, just couldn't be bothered! 
  • The bottoms cover my belly button but don't touch my rib cage, that gives you some idea of how high they are.

I love this suit and had so much fun wearing it.  It stayed put perfectly, the bottoms felt like a huge accomplishment since they fit better than many of my ready to wear suit bottoms.  I was so proud to finally make a suit for myself, I've made them for my girls but this suit gave me a sewing high since fitting myself is a little trickier than fitting them.

That's my beach vacation basics, I was so glad to get so many of them finished for my trip and am especially proud of the swimsuits.  I was pretty scared that the suit would be a fail but gave myself a "have no fear of sewing" talk and it all worked out!  Now I feel like its time to tackle another sewing fear and get on with pant making....shudder.  Or in the near future jean making!!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!


  1. Sorry you had to evacuate. We are finally getting out from under all that water. Not sure which beach you visited, but if it was in SC I hope you come back. Beautiful most of the year.

    1. I am so sorry your home was in the water, a matter much worse than a vacation cut short! I hope life will return to normal soon for you. My extended family was hit terribly in hurricane Hugo (McClellanville) so I know that terrible damage can be devastating. We were indeed in Edisto Beach, SC and we will indeed return, I love that coastline.

  2. Wow! You've really been busy! I love your kimono, and hopefully you can have another beach vacation soon since this one was short.

    1. Thanks Helena! We are planning on returning next year so for now on to fall sewing plans!!