The “Summer Concert Tee” Downloadable Pattern

The "Summer Concert Tee"

Yep, that’s right, I’m launching another pattern download It’s launched! You’ve seen the variations of the shirt to get to this point and now I’m almost ready to release the pattern.

I’m calling it The Summer Concert Tee because it is something I’d totally wear to a music festival in the hot summer sun while jamming out to my favorite bands (in between complaining about $5 water bottles and telling the jerk in front of me to close his umbrella, uh, yeah…).

The "Summer Concert Tee"

The shirt is fitted at the shoulders but loose at waist and hip, cropped in front and longer in back (great with high waist shorts!), scoop neck (my fave style), dolman sleeves with longer sleeve cuffs that make for a fun look in a stripe.

The "Summer Concert Tee"

I’ll be releasing it for purchase next week for $8. It willl be in five sizes as usual and be available as a PDF download with instructions and pattern in one document.

Ok, readers, here’s the thing. This shirt, in essence, is a lot like another pattern I made previously. I know you all love free patterns but I’ve decided to take the old one down. It’s not just because I want to make money. I have other reasons:

  • I made that pattern over a year ago and since then I’ve learned much more about pattern making as well as the program I use to turn my patterns into PDFs.
  • This new pattern has better fit and construction with details like wider arm openings and a different way to attach the collar. The front piece is slightly wider than the back (because ladies are more curved in the front than the back).
  • The new pattern also has more accurate sizing(!!) because of tips and tricks I’ve learned on my software.
  • Better instructions, illustrations, and pre-sewing info. Having made more patterns I know what’s important to include – like properly labeling each pattern piece with all the info (duh, Dixie!). This one will have helpful graphics for some of the steps.
  • Better printable format and visual design.
  • While the design is similar I redrafted this entire pattern from scratch.
The "Summer Concert Tee"

This new shirt pattern is just a better product all around and I’m almost embarrassed by my old patterns. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever release any new free patterns in the future. They’ll most likely be simple, easy to sew designs for clothes and accessories. I have a clutch design that I’m working on and I intend to make a free pattern for it.

I’m leaving up my old shirt pattern up for one week so go download it now while you still can if you haven’t already! Once I launch the Summer Concert Tee I’ll discontinue that old pattern for good (even on BurdaStyle).

The "Summer Concert Tee"

Alright – back to the current t-shirt!

The Goal: This top is part of my Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe (my orange short were my first pair of shorts). The mix of orange and mint will be pretty daring but I’m not afraid of crazy color combos this season.

The Fabric: A gray and mint stripe from The Common Thread.

The Pattern: Version 4.0 and my final version of the upcoming Summer Concert Tee. You can see the second most recent version here.

The Changes: Version 3.0 was almost identical to this version only the back of that one was shorter because I ran out of fabric, oops. This new version doesn’t have the crochet back piece but you can easily add one to the design.

The "Summer Concert Tee"

The Results: Thumbs up! I love the colors. The collar sits nicely. And I’m proud of myself for not being lazy and changing the thread color on my serger so the inside stitches are gray instead of bright white. I’m giving myself a pat on the back for that one.

***And stay tuned, ladies and gents, I just finished my shorts that I’m working on for my next pattern. Yep, you heard right! I’m veering away from knits (which I love) and making a pattern for a pair of woven shorts! Will the excitement never end!?!?!

Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe: Orange Shorts

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Ok, readers, I know I owe you one more One Week, One Pattern shirt but my weekend has been busy and I haven’t taken photos yet, but I did wear it. These photos on the other hand were taken a couple weeks ago so I’m going to show you my shorts instead.

The Goal: As you read in my Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe planning post – one of my items to make were a pair of orange shorts. More specifically Tangerine Tango shorts – aka the Pantone color of the year for 2012. I like this color and wanted to incorporate it into my closet this summer.

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The Pattern: This is a new spring New Look pattern which I picked because I liked the cuffs on the legs, the tie belt and the ease of inserting an invisible zip rather than a front lapped fly. (Because I’m lazy, ya know.)

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The Fabric: No matter where I searched I couldn’t find any orange fabric that was both the right color and the right weight for shorts. Then Tempest Devyne in the Sew Weekly Sewing Circle suggested I use Rit Dye’s formula for the Pantone Spring colors. (Thanks!)

So I did! But being the first time I ever tried to dye anything that wasn’t just thrown in the washer, the color didn’t turn out quite as even as I would have liked. I bought the dye plus some white twill from Joann and did the stovetop method but even with constant stirring some spots had less color than others. But I went with it and turned mistakes into features. You can see the pocket insets are lighter than the rest of the shorts.

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I learned my lesson and next time my dying experience will be better.

The Changes: A couple people have already asked about the fit of this pattern. Firstly, while I should have taken the legs in a little at the thighs, I thought I could get away without it. Next time, though, I’ll shave a little excess off the sides.

But the bigger problem was the length. I’m 5’6″ and I’m convinced the model on the envelope cover was six feet tall at least because the legs were WAY long. The rise hits at about my belly button. On the model it comes up below hers.

shorts

I had to cut the length of the shorts by about three inches. Here’s a pic with one leg shortened with the cuff added and the other at the original length. Now, I know shorts length are a personal preference but the pattern’s length wasn’t working for me at all. You can even see how wide the legs were originally.

As for other fitting – because I had already done my crotch-analysis-of-doom I knew that I probably wouldn’t have to make any changes to the crotch line and I was right. It worked out pretty well as-is.

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Oh, and to answer your questions – I think those horizontal lines at the back darts are from me pulling the fabric by putting my hands in the pockets. I only took one non-pocketed photo and I didn’t really have that issue. And to answer your other question – yes, my legs are that pale.

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The Results: I like ’em. Comfy and fun to wear these shorts will put their weight this summer, I’m sure. With such a bright color I’ll need to stick to neutrals to balance the top but I’m glad I went out of the box and tried a super bright color on bottom.

I also posted these shorts on the Sew Weekly for their Pantone theme. Check it out!!

Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe Planning

(Oh, look at that! I made myself a fancy graphic.)

I’m jumping on the mini-wardrobe sewing bandwagon and planning a set of 10 (yep, 10!) pieces to make for this summer.

Now, I know you’d might ask, “Hey, Dixie, can you really make ten garments for this summer? Isn’t that a lot!?”

But then I’d tell you “Well, two pieces are already made. And besides, summer in Texas means the majority of the year so it’s March right now – I reasonably have about 8 months to make all of this stuff before I’ll have to go back to wearing pants again.” And then I’d give you a wink. 😉

That doesn’t mean I’m limited to only making the things in this wardrobe plan. I’m still going to sew lots of other stuff for fun but I like the idea of a handful of clothes that can easily interact with one another and that I can wear all summer.

I’m calling this mini-collection my Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe because, as you’ll see, it’s all shirts and shorts with a couple extras. No, I don’t hate dresses but dresses are outfits in themselves. There’s not much mixing and matching going. And last summer I realized that nearly all I wore was a few tops and a couple shorts!

How to decide what to make: After doing my wardrobe catalogue earlier this year I figured out what I wear most, what I wear least, and what gaps I need to fill. Because I practically live in shorts in the hot Texas summer I’m making (or using) some versatile shorts. I also need solid color tops that aren’t too plain. I need more blazers – ok, maybe I just want more blazers…

But I also wanted to incorporate some trends that I like – bright colors, bow blouses, chambray/denim, scallops, 70s vintage, and stripes. I also thought about what would be comfy in the summer – loose fitting, flowy tops that don’t stick to my skin.

The Color Scheme: I’m going with neutrals mixed with brights – I’ve got one bright top, one bright pair of shorts and a bright printed scarf. The rest are pretty neutral – gray, black, white, navy, and blue. I love using neutrals as a base and then spicing things up when I want to with a little color. I definitely wanted to incorporate some of the Spring 2012 Pantone colors.

The Shorts

The Shirts

  • The tennis tee – in white seersucker, a vintage McCall’s pattern from the 70s, #5526, I call it the tennis tee because when I first saw the image it reminded me of something someone would wear to tennis practice in the 70s.
  • The bow blouse – in floral rayon, self-drafted
  • The pearl snap button down – in gray chambray, possibly from BurdaStyle Magazine 3/12
  • The drop shoulder tee – in rayon knit stripe, also self drafted

The Extras

  • The printed scarf – in floral gauze, self drafted (probably just a big square)
  • The white blazer – in a white floral damask, haven’t found a pattern yet

The Extras are like support staff – just in case I want to mix it up or I need a summer blazer for cool restaurants.

Fabric sources: Stripe knit for the drop shoulder tee, Rayon Challis for the bow blouse.

There are some rules: each item has to work with at least three other items or outfits. Most of the tops work with most of the bottoms. I probably wouldn’t wear the scarf with the bow blouse because the bow is sort of a scarf in itself. Since I’m making the pearl snap button down out of a gray chambray I probably wouldn’t wear it with the chambray shorts but it would work with all the other shorts.

What about accessories? Since I began making nearly all my own clothes the only thing I get to enjoy shopping for are shoes and bags! I plan on buying a couple pairs of shoes for summer to replace old worn out shoes and maybe I’ll even make a couple bags?
 
Progress: I’m working on drafting the drop shoulder tee right now and if all goes well I plan on making a PDF pattern for it. Yay more patterns!

***I’ve been getting inspiration by looking at others people’s wardrobe plans. Are you doing a spring wardrobe this year? Let me know and I’ll check it out!

Also, a woman in my sewing group came up with the idea of doing a small workshop of sorts to plan a seasonal mini-wardrobe. Would you be interested in attending something like that and what would you want covered in the workshop?