Last week, Mike and I slipped away from Chicago, winter and the grey that promises to consume the city until spring arrives. We boarded a plane flying south. Destination: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. This isn't a travel blog. I do my best to keep subject matter limited to the things I make; primarily knitting & sewing and related content (fabric, yarn, patterns, etc....). But, sometimes, there's overlap. For instance, I like to find yarn shops and fabric stores whenever I stop in a new city. And, sometimes, I sew a vacation wardrobe to wear during my trip.... OK. That's a first, actually.
As part of my New Year Resolution to build a better and more purposeful self-stitched wardrobe, I set mini-goals to keep me motivated and on track. One way I thought I could assure success was to pledge participation in Me-Made monthly challenges (March, May, September), and I added the proposition of applying the same concept towards vacation. After all, if the goal is to have a wardrobe of clothes I made myself, I need to wear the things I make.
As soon as Mike and I agreed we were going to take this trip, I started planning the things I wanted to sew. I pulled out patterns for really adorable 50's sundresses, skirts, coordinating blouses, and vintage play suits. I rummaged through my stash and started matching fabric with patterns. I gave each of my projects a level of priority and decided in which order I would sew them. I planned A LOT. And, then, it was a week before we were scheduled to leave, and I hadn't sewn a single stitch.
I started to re-evaluate my situation. I dove headfirst into this resolution at the beginning of the year; I cleared my closet of every item of clothing I didn't deem essential. And, trust me, in January, in Chicago, summer clothes are not essential. Consequently, I have almost no store-bought warm weather clothing. I started to panic. I briefly considered running out to purchase all new attire. But, the thought of doing that was so incredibly contrary to the plan I had set for myself, I couldn't do it without conceding failure.
I considered packing some of the spring/summer dresses I made in years prior. That's when it occurred to me. The types of clothes I wear during summer in the Midwest, aren't the type of clothes I want to to wear while I'm near the beach. Tailored, fitted dresses with frilly details and full skirts are marvelous in Illinois; lots of seams, buttons and zippers aren't much of a burden when you spend most of your time in a temperature controlled building. But when you apply those elements to sand and sun, the narrative changes.
Words that come to mind when I think vacation clothes: breezy, nonrestrictive, comfortable, easy. Using my new template, I returned to my patterns and chose designs that fell within these parameters. Fortunately, I have a decent number of patterns that fit the bill and I was able to get to work immediately. When I finished my first dress in one sitting, my confidence and conviction were restored.
Excluding the play suits (which I am bummed I ran out of time to make), none of the original patterns I intended to sew for my trip would have been what I wanted to wear. I got so caught-up in the daydream of planning, I completely lost sight of practicality and reality, and I nearly needed to reroute to a nudist colony. This process has opened my eyes immensely. I can't wait to evaluate my daily attire in the upcoming month(s) and apply some similar concepts and lessons to future projects.
Since these are all new makes, I intend to give each outfit the proper post it deserves. But, before I got caught-up in the overall success of this endeavor, I wanted to start with an explanation of the whole process, how it nearly was a disaster, and how I needed to revamp my plans. I think it's important to share and document it for future reference. I hope you don't mind the photo tease. I have more where those came from and pattern information for you as the week progresses.