Sunday, 17 July 2016

A Handmade Holiday Wardrobe

If any of you follow me on Instagram you'll probably know that I've just got back from a little break to the French Riviera. I was staying in the town of Antibes which is just so drop dead beautiful I couldn't resist filling all your feeds with holiday spam! For that I apologise. It was a bit of a last minute decision and booking to visit a friend but I realised that my wardrobe is severely lacking in clothes for real hot summer weather, the likes of which we don't really see in the UK. Of course I like to cause myself as much stress as possible before a holiday so I planned to sew myself up a storm over the few days off I had before I departed! It was actually a very enjoyable few days as for once I didn't over stretch myself and made some simple but fun to sew and new to me things.


I was only taking cabin baggage with me as the trip was just for four nights but I needed outfits appropriate for the beach, exploring the local area and long lazy evenings of wine and food along with possibly a spot of yoga. I endeavoured to take just what I needed and to be prepared for every eventuality whilst wearing as much handmade as possible. I was really chuffed with my case of 60% me made clothing when I left and thought it would be fun to look back on that now and see how it worked out. A fair few of these garments were whipped up just before the holiday and so haven't made it to the blog yet but full reviews of the patterns and fabrics will be following.

Day One

Luckily it was a nice day in London when I departed so I didn't have to worry about wearing anything warm. I chose my recently completed Mustard Viscose Midi Skirt and grey cotton lycra tee to wear on the plane. Both are super comfy and were perfect for arrival in sweltering hot Nice being breezy and breathable.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Midi Skirt & Renfrew Tee

That evening I just chose to swap the top for a RTW (ready to wear) black cami to freshen up a little before watching the final of the Euros on the streets on Antibes. The mustard viscose does wrinkle up quite badly with wear but in quite a nice soft way so I stuck with it!


Day Two

The second day I headed straight down to the beach. I made two bikinis for the holiday and I really couldn't wait to wear this watermelon version of the Named Beverley Twisted Bikini. Over it I put on my hot off the machine Navy Sallie Romper. This was the real star of the holiday wardrobe but more on that later!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Navy Sallie Romper and Watermelon Print Beverley Bikini

My fair British skin doesn't deal well with all that sun it's not used to so I made sure to escape the beach before midday. It was super hot so I threw on a shop bought trapeze dress which I bought recently in American Eagle for a mooch around the beautiful little streets and big port of Antibes.

That evening we went out for dinner and wine and I went for casual evening style with my new Tropical Shorts (posted yesterday) and my Black Silk Sutton Blouse which is a total wardrobe staple of mine. I wash it in the machine and over time it has developed such a lovely sand-washed quality.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Silk Sutton Blouse & Tropical Holly Shorts


Day Three

Another baking hot day and I headed in to Cannes to explore so needed something suitably on trend for arguably one of the most glamorous spots on the Riviera. I thought my Tropical Shorts were a great little combo with my self drafted Off The Shoulder Top and I was really comfortable in it, although a little concerned about the risk of shoulder sun burn! Lots of sun tan lotion required!


Returning to Antibes and a dinner which mainly consisted of amazing French cheese the glamour of Cannes most have got into me and I pulled out my new By Hand London Holly Palazzo Pants. I paired them with my trusty black cami tucked in to show off the lovely high waisted style.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Blue Crepe Holly Palazzo Pants


Day Four

The aim of my final full day was pure relaxation. I headed down to an almost empty beach mega early and went with my plain black version of the Named Beverley Twisted Bikini this time. Again I popped my Sallie Romper on over the top and stayed in that all day with the exception of a change of bikini for sun bathing later in the afternoon! That romper is a real trooper. Easy to dress up or down I felt great in it on the beach, at the market, in the Picasso Museum and on the little train round to Juan les Pins. I even felt good in it when I had it on back to front by accident on my way down to the beach!


That evening we had a leisurely dinner on the terrace of the house my friend Izzy is staying in and then wandered down the the beach for fireworks. My Tropical Shorts made another appearance, this time with the the top that I had made to wear with them; the Named Inari Tee with back cut outs which I posted yesterday.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tropical Holly Shorts and Black Inari Tee with Cut Out Back


Day Five

To make the most of my morning before heading to the airport I headed down the the beach early, Black Beverley Bikini again with the second RTW sundress I had packed. After this the Inari Tee made it's second appearance with my Mustard Midi Skirt again. I wanted to have a last look around the shops before catching my flight so I needed a cool and comfortable outfit which wouldn't be too chilly when I got back to London. I thought shorts might be a little optimistic for the UK despite it being mid July!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Midi Skirt & Black Inari Tee with Cut Out Back


So all in all I'm pleased to report that I wore mainly handmade all holiday! I didn't wear the RTW bikini I packed nor a pair of H&M palazzo style trousers. I did fall back on a couple of super easy RTW summer dresses though, I seem to make dresses too fancy for the beach! The only handmade garment I didn't get around to wearing were my favourite Pacific Leggings which I packed for yoga as the day we had planned to go was exceptionally hot and I decided I just couldn't face any exercise after a day of wandering around Cannes in the heat. (I was much more in the mood for wine!). I was intending on pairing them with the grey Renfrew tee from earlier in the trip.

The main thing I've learnt about trying to pack light and for various eventualities is that separates are great! Being able to mix and match means getting more wear out of each item. I think it was really good for me to sew for a purpose like this and it made me make good choices. I've also learnt a thing or two about some holes in my self sewn wardrobe, namely that I need to make some simple, neutral camisoles. I might just copy the black vest pictured above as I really like the shape of it but can anyone recommend a good cami pattern? I'd also like to make myself a couple of draped cardigans with slim sleeves as the Zara one I took with me was very useful for taking off the chill, which was pretty much only on the plane and the journey to and from the airport in the London! I've got some delicious bits of merino stashed away which might work for this but perhaps for a more summer appropriate one I could try a linen knit.

The only trouble I have is that I've returned with (as well as the ambition to make perfect macarons) the desire to sew a whole new summer wardrobe as I was so inspired by the fashions of the super stylish French women around town! They sure know how to look super chic in the heat.


I'd like to finish up by saying that after five gorgeous relaxing days in the area I was stunned to wake up to the news from Nice the morning after I flew home. It seemed impossible to relate that tragedy to the peacefulness and beauty I had experienced in that part of the world during my break. My thoughts are with everybody affected by this kind of unexplainable cruelty anywhere in the world.
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22 comments:

  1. Great post. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad your holiday sewing all worked well. You have a great handmade holiday wardrobe! Now, I've been trying to talk myself out of making a mustard/yellow midi skirt, but I think you've just swayed me back again! I have no foreign holiday planned though, so not sure it would get quite as much wear as yours.

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    1. Thanks Helen, I was really chuffed with it when I had it all packed in my case and was pleased to have something for every eventuality while I was away. You must do the mustard midi skirt! I wasn't actually totally sold on it but I've been wearing it CONSTANTLY. It's a great colour, especially away from the face.

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  2. Wow what a great holiday wardrobe you sewed yourself! Really impressed by the bikinis too!

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    1. Thank you! I'm really proud of it! The bikinis were so much fun to sew. I actually only planned to make the one but loved the first one so much when I finished it that I went straight on into the next!

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  3. Those palazzo pants and mustard skirt are an absolute dream. Love a summer bright. A very chic summer wardrobe.

    Bloggspot

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    1. Thank you! I'm normally all about the prints in the summer but this year I'm definitely been drawn to bold solids for some reason! Hopefully going to get them posted soon.
      Chic was the aim for the south of France!

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  4. Where did you find such perfect watermelon fabric?!?

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    1. Haha! Isn't it AMAZING?!
      I got it from Spandex House in the Garment District in NYC when I was there earlier this year. It's such a bonkers shop, they have literally everything you could imagine printed on to stretch fabric. I was nearly too overwhelmed to buy anything but then this leapt out at me!

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  5. It looks like you put together a great holiday wardrobe! So satisfying to have such successful handmade clothes.

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    1. Satisfying is exactly the right word. It felt so good to be comfortable on holiday in clothes that I had made
      Thank you

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  6. New reader here, just want to say thanks for posting the Sutton Blouse, I've been looking for a pattern like that. I've made a few nice cami tops by lengthening the bodice of the Seamwork Catarina dress - haven't worn the dress at all yet but have used the tops a lot funnily enough.

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    1. Hello Gina!
      The Sutton is great. I made a few little tweaks to it as it's very oversized but now my two versions I wear constantly. If you search sutton in the search box in my sidebar you'll find my post detailing how I made them.
      The Catarina is a great idea thank you, I think I actually may have it already but hadn't even considered it as a cami!

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  7. What a well thought out wardrobe. Great stuff! Re cami pattern - Iconic used to have a free one for stretch knits - don't know if it's still there - and pauline alice has a bias cami for wovens, also free:).

    I hear you - what a sad sad world.

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    1. Thanks Francesca! I thought I was pushing it a bit to get it all made in time but was so determined as I knew it would give me everything I needed!
      I had totally forgotten about the free Pauline Alice pattern, that might be just what I need!

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  8. I love your watermelon swimsuit!

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    1. Thanks Claire, so do I! I couldn't believe my luck when I found the fabric

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  9. Amen. To the senseless violence. Love your vaca wardrobe! I live in northeast US and just went to Florida for 5 days. I (also) try to pare down my carry-on luggage. I lay the possible items on a bed and mix-and-match and ditch! Proudly only 2 thin items were not used!

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    1. Ah good for you Melody! It's really hard to strike that balance between over and under packing isn't it?
      I made a list of the things I most wanted then tried to see how many outfits I could make out of them!

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  10. What a perfect holiday wardrobe! You've really inspired me... now I just need a vacation! :D You look so cute in these looks!

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    1. Book yourself a vacation right now Sonja!
      I'm so pleased I had a bit of time to sew before I went away. I feel like I've got summer sorted now

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  11. I want to steal that mustard skirt! It's perfection! :D

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    1. Haha! Thank you! I really love it and it's been getting a tonne of wear. I like the fabric so much it took me ages to decide what to make with it. I'm glad I kept it simple and let the fabric do the talking.

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!