With the confirmation of a trip to Florida at the end of March, I suddenly had a legitimate sewing goal: beach wear! Traditionally, I’ve shied away from beach wear for several reasons:
- My clothing tastes run utilitarian; I often will throw a cotton tank and short over my swim suit because I can wear them later.
- I don’t think about buying ready-to-wear beach wear, I’d rather spend my money on everyday garments. While there are 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, it’s only warm enough for three months of the year to swim in them.
- Ready-to-wear beach wear is often expensive yet made from cheap-feeling fabrics
However, beach wear is also low stakes. Flowy caftans, elastic-waist pullovers, blousey tunics; those are approachable projects from a sewing perspective. Especially for beginners or for the anxiety-ridden. Fucking up is all right – you’ll shed them at the beach anyway – and there are no advanced fit challenges as long as you can measure your bust.
My internet search history took a drastic turn. There were many visits to the Big 4 sewing pattern sites and perusing of fabric stores. There were so many choices and so many poorly styled/drawn pattern covers to choose from.
I initially dismissed McCall’s 7158 on account of it being a maxi dress – too much fabric to deal with wearing – and the eye-searing pattern they used on the cover.
On a second pass, I took a closer look at the line art. Views A and B were mid-thigh and knee-length, respectively. Four major pieces. Depending on the fabric choice, possibly a multi-tasker; that is, I could wear it outside of going to the beach. This last part appealed to me, since I plan on traveling light.
McCall’s 7158 description: Pullover dresses (close-fitting through bust) have shoulder strap and upper back variations, and narrow hem.
Recommended fabrics: FABRICS: Challis, Crepe de Chine, Linen, Gauze.
I’d been slowly collecting cuts of flowy, summery fabrics like rayon challis for an earlier beach wear contender, Colette Pattern’s Mojave dress from their Seamwork magazine. That project didn’t turn out – more on that later – but it gave me a springboard to start on this new project.