Sew for your Suitcase
A long read for the weekend...
It's with such great excitement that after 2 long years, a holiday might just be possible this year. Whether you're jetting off somewhere exotic or staying local, I hope you have a few days to take it slow and relax.
With holidays comes the inevitable pre-holiday shopping list. But how about sewing instead of shopping for those holiday pieces?
This newsletter is for you if you're going to be packing a suitcase in the next few months. And especially if you're giddy at the thought of buying flip flops or suncream for the first time in 2 years.
I find summer garments really fun to make for a combination of reasons.
The designs themselves tend to be lighter weight and require less fabric so they can be quicker to sew and cheaper too. And the choice of fabrics is so freeing. I can easily spend hours choosing summer fabrics, lusting over uplifting linens, airy cottons and luscious silks.
Enjoying this process so much I knew I'd be taking mostly handmade garments with me to Greece. Having selected only a small suitcase to take to Greece I had to think carefully about what to pack.
To make the cut into the suitcase I had a few requirements to meet. Each piece had to be:
1. Flexible enough to wear in both the day and evenings
2. Feel breezy while still covering enough skin to protect from the sun
3. Made from 100% natural fibres to avoid over sweating
4. Interchangeable to wear with different outfits
5. Completely and utterly comfortable
Having boasted to my family that I nailed my packing, I thought it was only right to share some tips and ideas for what to take away with you.
I'm 5'10 and wearing a size 10 in all photos. My Mum is 5'7 and wears a size 14.
Sizes: 4 - 28
Fabric: Mine (and my Mums) is a super fine, lightweight cotton. I particularly like the sheerness of the fabric as the button stand, neckline and cuffs really pop with the extra layering and fusing.
This piece also works beautifully in any other fabric that drapes well - soft linens, silks, tencels etc...
Features: Tailoring details such as a front button stand, cuffs and extra long plackets so you can roll up the sleeves really high.
Thoughts: This style is super oversized and is a dream to wear. It just floats over you and lets the air move through the garment - no pulling, tugging, sweaty armpits or tight neck. It also covers the chest which I find prone to sunburn so it's my number one piece for the beach.
Mum also enjoying her Leila Shirt!
Worn here with Worker Trousers made into shorts!
Sizes: 4 - 28
Fabric: I brought 2 pairs away with me - the yellow silk one above and another pair in blue linen. The linen pair were great for the days and travelling and the silk pair felt a little more special for the evenings.
Features: A wide leg, front pleats, zipper fly, deep side pockets and a semi-elasticated back
Thoughts: These trousers were probably my favourite thing that I packed (both pairs, the linen and the silk!) For years I've wanted a pair of simple linen trousers with a chic feel and I've finally found the winning combination: keeping the zipper fly and having an elasticated back. The full fly helps it to feel smart and more tailored and the semi-elasticated back makes them the most comfortable trousers in the world.
Worn with the Unisex Shirt as a light jacket
Sizes: 6 - 28
Fabric: Cream twill with a brushed back
Features: All the features of a fully tailored shirt but with workwear detailing
Thoughts: It's one of those wardrobe staples that doesn't need much explanation. My sister brought her trusty Over Shirt with her and wore it every evening.
Sizes: 4 - 28
Fabric: This is a blue linen/cotton mix. This is one of those rare pieces that could work in almost any fabric. Options include denim (this would be delicious), silk, tencel, linen, twills and even a wool suiting!
Features: Two-piece sleeve, back yoke, lapels, gathering details, side pockets and a tie belt.
Thoughts: I hadn't realised the colour would be quite so fitting for Greece! This dress was great for the evenings and for the days it was cloudy. It would also be very helpful for staying covered in the sun if you chose a super breathable fabric!
Sizes: 6 - 28
Fabric: These are a cotton canvas. I have been asked a few times if they would work in linen and the answer is it's all about durability. I recommend doing a strength test (if you can) on a small piece of fabric. Sew a seam, topstitch it flat and then pull the seam apart. If the fabric starts to really split (as it can easily do with linen) then it would be best to use a stronger fabric.
Features: A slight 'balloon' shaped leg, concealed button fly, side pockets, waistband and belt loops
Thoughts: I couldn't go away without my trusty Workers! They were perfect for the rainy day and for airport travel. I also made a cream shorts version - as shown in the top picture with the Leila Shirt!
I hope that provides some inspiration and advice and perhaps tempted a few of you to sew instead of shop for your holidays! And if you've read to the end, thank you and well done.
If you have any specific questions about fit, fabric or anything at all just drop me an email.
Have a lovely rest of your week,