part 2 of a summer wardrobe

Thanks for all the great comments on my new summer clothes! I’ve been getting quite a lot of use out of them recently – though each time I wear a new piece to the beach, someone asks if it’s something I’ve made. I suppose that means it looks homemade… though I think I’ll pretend that it must just mean that they saw it here on the blog!


So while I had the Socialite pattern out, I also made a second out of one of my favorite prints from Heather Ross’s new line –


I love those roses on the gray background! And I love making this dress because it fits perfectly, each and every time!


Something that doesn’t fit quite as nicely is this new shirt made out of gorgeous Little Folks voile –


This is based off of Simplicity 2593. I kind of guessed at the size, and then ignored most of the directions, so I’m fairly certain that it’s not put together correctly. I added to the length and added a casing for some 3/8″ elastic at the bottom hem. I like that part a lot, so I might have to make some modifications and try something similar again.


Next up was another Anna Maria Horner pattern… the Evening Empire Dress. I kept it simple and just used the solid voile in river rock and followed the pattern for Option A. I loved making this dress because I followed all the steps (though I made thinner straps) and ended up making something that looks pretty professional. I feel like I also learned some new dressmaking skills in the process.


I forgot that I needed extra fabric for the lining though, so I ended up having to buy another piece so I could finish it up. The solid brown voile wasn’t available, so I went with a patterned voile instead, and I actually think it’s kind of a fun surprise.


If I made it again, I’d need to modify the top portion a bit. It doesn’t fit as closely as I’d like under the arms, and now that it’s all complete, I’m not sure how I can fix it. I guess I’ll just have to keep my arms by my sides so no one can take a peek down my dress!

And lastly, another dress…


I probably shouldn’t be counting this as ‘new’ summer clothes, since this is one I made last summer. I finally finished it this summer though, so now I can actually wear it!


No pattern on this one – I made it up as I went along, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. So happy that I’m thinking about trying to make another… (if only I could remember exactly how I made it!)


Thanks for taking a look at my new summer wardrobe!

(and thanks again to my sister for being the perfect model!)

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56 Responses to part 2 of a summer wardrobe

  1. 1
    Heathir says:

    I totally want the pattern for that last dress!

  2. 2
    Beth Lehman says:

    seriously??? it took me HOURS the other day to “whip” something up – and then it didn’t fit… i learn something new every time, i guess – but you can really crank them out!! they are all lovely, really – i’ll try not to be jealous!

  3. 3
    Ruth says:

    oooo, love that last dress! you’re inspiring me to try making clothes too! 🙂

  4. 4

    I need to get the pattern for the socialite dress…it has pockets!! Too perfect!! Love it!

  5. 5
    Claire says:

    I LOVE THE LAST DRESS!!! not sure what i love more, the fabric used or the style….i think you should try to make another one and write down the directions as you go and then sell you very first dress pattern….i know that I would definitly buy it and I think others would too! Don’t you guys agree!?!?!

  6. 6
    Jenny says:

    Amazing. I can’t imagine completing one piece of clothing let alone a whole new wardrobe.
    Your last two posts have inspired me so much I’ve ordered Simplicity 3835 and as a complete novice to making clothes I’m hoping I’ll find it quite straight forward.
    Enjoy the summer

  7. 7
    Anna says:

    those are so pretty! i love all the fabrics you used, and the dress you made without a pattern it just beautiful and it fits great! Agree with Claire, sell the pattern! 🙂

  8. 8
    Natalie says:

    I especially like the last dress you made, and am super-impressed that you designed it yourself! though I have to say, I was a little disappointed when I saw that you didn’t use a pattern, because that means I can’t copy you quite so easily 🙂

  9. 9
    janet says:

    OOOOH oooh ooh!!!!! If you make that last dress again, will you do a tutorial for it?! I am new to sewing garments, but that looks like something that could be feasible for me! I also love the pockets 🙂

  10. 10
    JulieFrick says:

    You know, I’m not sure I would have thought to use FFA for the socialite dress, but it would really help it not bunch or wrinkle as you wear it to have that extra weight, wouldn’t it? Hmmm. (plotting, plotting…)

  11. 11
    kelly jo says:

    Loving the fabric on the dress you made up! Beautiful clothes!!

  12. 12
    Sara says:

    i love the last one with the shirring in the back. thanks for the inspiration!

  13. 13
    Nancy says:

    I think they are asking “did you make that” because it is unique and not something they have seen in shops anywhere. Take it as a compliment. My grandmother was a wonderful professional seamstress who made most of my clothes and all my “special” dresses for prom and such. EVERYONE always asked if she made it because they knew they hadn’t seen anything like it when they shopped…

  14. 14
    Stephanie says:

    I have to say I’m a bit envious! After taking time and reading directions it always seems like the fit is off a little bit. Time to give it another try!

  15. 15
    becky says:

    Love it all! You lucky girl having such an awesome summer wardrobe!

  16. 16
    Colleen says:

    I love all of your fashions! I think one of my favorites is the dress you made without a pattern!

  17. 17
    Laurie says:

    Love the without-a-pattern dress. I’ve thought that perhaps I would try the Evening Empire dress but I’ve never sewn clothes before and I’m not sure I could do it well. Then I saw your last dress and thought I definitely need to make that one. I would for sure buy the pattern if there was one!

  18. 18
    krista says:

    Lovely! The socialite dress is beautiful in the FFA2, and I am amazed you made that last dress without a pattern! Wow!

  19. 19
    Nikki says:

    I also had some trouble with that simplicity pattern. It ended up too big, which I fixed easy enough. But I think the binding I used on the neck was too tight because the shoulders pull. And I’m also going to remove the neck piece and reattach it. Tho I guess it doesn’t look too bad, because I’ve been wearing it for 2 seasons now. 🙂

  20. 20
    Amber H says:

    Looking at your clothes made me smile this morning! I love them all and I especially love how you used voile… hehe.

  21. 21
    Islay says:

    Wow, it all looks FABULOUS! I seriously need to make myself some summer clothes before we run out of summer, but I can’t put down my hand pieced quilt top until it’s done, so it’ll have to wait another couple of days.

  22. 22

    It’s all so gorgeous. After your post yesterday, I ordered some AMH voile to make the shirred tank top for me and my daughter. I’ve never worn anything like that, so not sure I will (maybe I’ll skip the elastic thread at the bottom and let it hang loose). I’m jealous that you get to hang out at the beach with your sister all summer! Are you at a family cottage? It looks like paradise.

  23. 23
    Dawn says:

    Holy Cow! You’re one prolific sewer. I’m envious. Where do you find the time? I would also love to know more about the last dress pattern. The smocking in the back is too cute!

  24. 24
    Sarah says:

    Great clothes! As I’ve said several times before, you are such an inspiration with your great taste and productivity.
    As for the fit on the empire dress, you can just sew some darts from the top of the side seams if it fits n the bust but is too loose at the very top.
    It’s like sewing a diagonal line downwards, make sure you follow the edge for about 3/4 inch towards the end before you just move the needle OFF of the fabric instead of backstitching.
    Did that make sense?

  25. 25
    Holly says:

    GORGEOUS! I love them all. I think the dress with the tiny roses is my favorite.

    To fix the gaping armhole problem, put the dress on inside out and pin (I prefer safety pins – no pokey then) it close to your body. One at the top where you want to bring in the arm hole and keep going towards your waist until you don’t have any extra to take in anymore. Take it off and use a magic erasing pen and a ruler to mark the angle. Check the measurements on both sides to make sure it’s somewhat symetrical. You should have something that looks like a long triangle. Then get to stitching. Depending on how you finished the piece on the inside you can either take in the slack using a french seam or just do a regular one and either pink the edges or serge/zig zag the seam allowance. Try it on first before you do any cutting though! I have used this method on all sorts of shirts to fix giant arm holes and gaping bustlines. Easy peasy!

  26. 26
    Susan Ingle says:

    Here all this time I was thinking it was you modeling your new clothes….love them. My favorite is the last one that you started last summer and finished this summer. It’s really lovely.

  27. 27
    Jessica says:

    Your summer wardrobe is gorgeous! I agree, I think I like the dress with the tiny roses the best … or maybe the same dress in the other AMH fabric.

    Re: people always asking if your clothing is handmade, that happens to me too once people know that I craft. I think they just get excited by the fact that you could make ANYTHING [in their eyes, anyways] … and start to think that you do just that ;-).

  28. 28
    sariroo says:

    Wow! Love all of them!

  29. 29
    Tammy says:

    When I ask someone if they made what they are wearing its becuise I assume the gorgeous fabric used in that particular item could not be mass produced! Its something I see originality and beauty in. Your new clothes are all lovely!

  30. 30
    lauradodson says:

    Your wardrobe is lovely…and if that’s Lake Champlain, I swam there once when I was a little girl visiting my Aunt and Uncle. ;o) Oh, and rode the ferry across to NY.

  31. 31
    Amy Grant says:

    Love your new clothes. Perhaps people are asking if you made them because they know your style 🙂 Look great!

  32. 32
    Nova says:

    love your rose socialite dress 🙂 love them all actually!

  33. 33
    Terri says:

    Wow, you must have a lot of time to make all these clothes! I love them all, but my favorite is the empire dress! I have that pattern and look forward to finding some time to make it.

  34. 34
    Margaret says:

    Hi. I love your blog and choice of colours for your quilts and clothes, so don’t take this as a critical comment. Is it only me that finds that the text/ads on the right side of your blog are often overlaid by the photos? Maybe it’s just my computer, but it is like that every time I log in. Don’t worry, it doesn’t stop me enjoying!

  35. 35
    randi says:

    nice! i love that last dress. so cute!

  36. 36
    Diane says:

    I *love* the last dress too. I would totally buy the pattern. I love the crossover in the front! You are inspiring me to make some clothes too, even though I usually stick to stuff that isn’t so fussy (and is completely made with straight sewing lines!)

  37. 37
    Wendi says:

    @Margaret. Do you have your text enlarged to read better? That will alter how you are seeing the web site.

  38. 38
    KerryQ says:

    Great duds! I love the brown dress, and the Nani Iro top. That would make a great dress, too.

  39. 39
    Bec says:

    so jealous!!! and I love the surprise lining in the brown dress! the neckline in the grey heather ross…ohh i cant choose.. they are all my favorites!

  40. 40
    Randi says:

    I love the river rock fabric and Anna Marie Horner dress. Just lovely. I think your surprise lining rocks! ;-0

    If you remember how you made your last dress, do share. I love the way it looks!

    Thanks so much for sharing. Now, I want to sew something for me!

  41. 41
    savvy stitch says:

    darling, darling, darling

  42. 42
    aimee says:

    I sure wish you had used a pattern on the last one b/c I’m wearing one almost identical to it (the only differences being that mine is plaid, where the skirt joins the top is not frilly on mine–I like yours better–, and mine isn’t handmade) and would so like a couple more because it’s just the greatest!! Maybe a tutorial? 😀

  43. 43
    Rita C says:

    Love, love, love the last dress. Please….can you put a tutorial together, and sell us a pattern? 🙂 I’m going to start making some clothes now that you have me completely envious of your wardrobe. Rita

  44. 44
    Alex says:

    You are inspiring. I haven’t liked anything I see in the stores for the last couple of I am tempted to try making my own clothes instead because of your 2 posts of handmade clothes! Thank you. Is there a nice simple pattern that you would recommend? Thanks and have a great summer!

  45. 45

    Everything is so darn cute! My favorite is the grey dress with the blue, orange, white and cream roses. soo adorable. You are a serious sewer! I need to get back into it. I used to sew clothes, but not so much anymore. You are inspiring me to do so. I worked at JoAnn Fabrics for 5 years. Being around fabric so much, it was always so inspiring. I always had big plans of what I would make when I got home, but then by the time I got home I was so exhausted, I didn’t have the energy. But then I’d go to work again…we’d get in new fabric, and I’d have to buy more!!

  46. 46
    April says:

    I love your photos! It’s a fun photo story to read. And yeah, that last dress is pretty cool. Esp. the fabric. If I had tried to invent a dress pattern in my head it would end up being a sack. haha.

  47. 47
    Kelly says:

    Absolutely adorable clothes! I love all of them, especially the brown dress and blue top. May I ask where your sister got her swimsuit? It is cute as well!

  48. 49
    elizabeth c. says:

    wow! great wardrobe 🙂 i will just chime in and say that i also adore the last “without a pattern” dress!

  49. 50
    Stephanie says:

    Oh my goodness! I am brand new to your site, but I absolutely LOVE LOVE that dress without a pattern. I agree with everyone else, I would love to have the pattern for that one!!! Everything else is beautiful too and now I’m inspired!

  50. 51
    Regina says:

    All of your clothes re beautifully inspiring. THanks!!

  51. 52
    pbach1 says:

    how-to fix your evening empire dress? how about slitting the side seam on the inside at the top just enough to slip in some elastic, then stitch the ends down and restitch the seam right over the elastic on your machine (instead of by hand). just don’t make the elastic too short. should pull in those side seams very nicely for only a little bit of effort . . .

  52. 53
    Holly - binkwaffle says:

    Okay, I agree. WE WANT THE PATTERN for the last one!! How can you do such a thing to us??? 🙂 I love them all, but that last one is awesome! Get cracking on that pattern for us, will ya? 🙂

  53. 54
    Erica says:

    OK….. seriously jealous of your skills. Absolutely beautiful!

  54. Pingback: FITF: A shirt or two… | Film in the Fridge

  55. 55
    Tainuki Girl says:

    Hi Ashley – Your Socialite Dress looks fabulous! Did you alter the pattern in any way? I’m only asking because I’ve seen the dress so many times, and it always looks much more baggy and shapeless. I’m tiny and love the way yours fits, and can’t decide if I want to get the pattern. Thanks for any input you can give me!

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