I don't enjoy dressing for the summer because I have quite as many body issues as the next American woman. I actually have a very large wardrobe of summery things to wear but I'm afraid that hardly any of them fit; I'm used to being somewhat smaller than I am currently.
This hasn't been an entirely bad experience. I spent my teens and twenties being a lot more vain and materialistic. Most of my pocket money went to acquiring more clothing and I looked at new outfits online almost daily. I always felt like I needed more. At the end of my twenties I gained almost 30 pounds and buying and wearing clothing wasn't fun anymore. I learned to appreciate other things about myself and began placing a lower value on physical attributes.
Today I'm taking much better care of my health and have lost 15 of those extra pounds. I still have a lot of work but I'm doing it for better reasons than I would have three years ago. In the meantime, I have nothing to wear!
So why not buy a few outfits? These days I have a real problem with purchasing things from the majority of ready-made garment manufacturers in my price range. First, as a petite and pear-shaped woman, well fitting items are very hard to come by and very little fun to search out. Second, I don't like the low-quality materials and construction methods these manufacturers are accustomed to employing. Third, I don't trust the manufacturing integrity of these companies and want no part in supporting the alarming working conditions found in the overseas facilities to which they contract out designs.
This doesn't mean that I never buy garments off the rack. It will take me years to grow a handmade wardrobe to the point that I am not regularly wearing a manufactured item. It will also take me as many years to develop the skills to replace articles like jeans, swimsuits, or bras, with garments of my own making, if I ever do. I just try to be selective about what companies I choose to financially support through my purchases.
All of these conditions led to me taking a sewing class at the Home Ec Workshop in Iowa City last summer. During the class, I sewed a muslin for the Grainline Studio Alder Dress pattern. Maybe a bit ambitious for a first garment, but that is kind of how I roll. Doing a muslin allowed me to feel free to make mistakes and to experiment. I learned a lot because I took stress and pressure out of the equation. My trial garment was a pretty big success (see above).
I've sewn a few more things between then and now, a Grainline Studio Linden and a Colette Patterns Moneta (pictured above), but now I'm getting serious, otherwise I'll be wearing the same three shirts everyday during the whole summer! I've created a summer wardrobe plan of attack and just as soon as I kick the upper respiratory infection that's rooting me to the couch, I'm diving in.