Capsule wardrobe: sewing for your summer holiday!

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We’re all going on a summer holiday… well, if that’s you this year, then we’ve got your luggage allowance issues sorted with this perfect recipe for a me-made holiday capsule wardrobe! Below we’ve picked out a selection of patterns to cover all the various outfits you might need, whether that’s sunning yourself on the sand, enjoying sunset cocktails, strolling around shady cobbled streets or throwing on a jacket because you’ve opted for a good old staycation. What’s more, many of these are quick and easy sews that’ll have you holiday ready long before school’s out for summer…


Beach Kaftan – The Maker’s Atelier

Paper, from 8 UK / 4 US to 22 UK / 18 US

A kaftan is a must-have for any holiday in the heat; it will keep you cool and protected from the sun. This versatile pattern from The Maker’s Atelier has the classic deep V-neck and loose flowing fit but with two different variations: a pull-on with a centre-front seam or a version open down the front with a tie to secure, making it a really easy and useful beach cover-up. It’s a perfect pattern for using very lightweight, airy fabrics such as cotton voiles or cheesecloth, guaranteed to keep you feeling and looking cool!


Charlie Caftan – Closet Case Files

Paper and PDF, from 2 UK / 0 US to 24 UK / 20 US

The Charlie Caftan from Closet Case Files has been a huge hit thanks to its versatility; this glamorous pattern is just as suited to city streets as sandy shores. The kimono sleeves and roomy fit means in a fabric with structure, such as linen, the garment will sit comfortably away from your body. But in a silk the Charlie Caftan becomes a sophisticated maxi dress of dreams, destined for heady nights. The three variations and the different fabric options mean you could make half your holiday wardrobe using this pattern alone!

Check out Instagram for more inspiration.. #charliecaftan

Beach Dress

Claudia Dress – Tessuti Fabrics

Paper and PDF, from 6 UK / 2 US to 16 UK / 12 US

Look edgy and on-trend strolling down the beach in the Claudia Dress by Tessuti. A stylish neckline, striking top-stitching, roomy pockets AND side slits (on both sides) – there’s everything to love about this deceptively simple-looking pattern. Make up in a splashy print for a tropical destination, or pair it with soft linen for a visit to the south of France.

Check out Instagram for more inspiration.. #claudiadress

River Dress – Megan Nielsen


Paper and PDF, from 6 UK / 2 US to 16 UK / 12 US

The River Dress by Megan Nielsen is another super versatile pattern: it not only comes in both dress and top lengths, with an optional waist tie, but it’s reversible AND you can make it using woven and knit fabrics! Its relaxed yet stylish fit makes it the ideal garment to throw on after a hard days’ work at the beach, to see you back to your hotel in style. Switch between the round neck and v-neck options by reversing the dress to avoid any unfortunate tan lines. Not going anywhere baking? Well, the River pattern has sleeves and pockets, making it an easy winner for any relaxed day out.

Check out Instagram for more inspiration… #MNriver

Dress for cocktails!

Ariana Dress – Style Arc


PDF, from 4 UK / 1 US to 20 UK / 16 US

The Ariana Dress is a classic, slightly vintage sun dress – with princess seams and a shirred bodice back you’ll find it both easy to fit and forgiving. Its button-down front is on-trend and and yet the overall shape is beautifully classic. This dress is your chance to play with prints; it would look fabulous in floral cotton lawns, gingham or a pastel-striped seersucker with wooden buttons. Perfect for sightseeing – including the sort that goes on well into the evening!

M7716 – McCalls

Paper, from 6 UK / 2 US to 22 UK / 18 US

Every holiday wardrobe should have one showstopping outfit and this could be it! Jumpsuits are really in right now and with this pattern you can mix-and-match between the fabulously wide-legged trousers and three skirt options, along with four cold-shoulder bodice variations. It will work best in drapey fabrics, such as crepe, rayon or soft linen – bearing in mind of course that in hotter climates natural fibres will keep you coolest.

Simple Tops

Jily Top – Ready to Sew

PDF, from 4 UK / 1 US to 18 UK / 14 US

The Jily top from French company Ready to Sew is a flattering combination of fitted across the shoulders and then loose below the bust; it features a waistband with optional (but very cute) tie-front that you could even make in a contrast colour for a blocking effect. A pattern that will work well in a very wide range of fabrics owing to its chic simplicity. Finishing at the natural waist it would look fab paired with high-waisted shorts or trousers.

Check out Instagram for more inspiration… #jilyreadytosew

Ruffle Sleeve Top – In the Folds (free)

PDF, from 6 UK / 2 US to 24 UK / 20 US

If you like your summer tops to have a little more sleeve coverage the Ruffle Sleeve top from In the Folds is just the pattern for you. With its lack of closures and its boxy shape it is simplicity itself, but its elegant neckline and those sweet sleeve ruffles keep it far from boring. It would be easy to lengthen if desired – Izzy (see below) made it into a dress! Oh, and did we mention it’s FREE? Save those pennies up for ice cream…


Check out Instagram for more inspiration… #peppermintrufflesleevetop

Ogden Cami – True Bias

Paper and PDF, from 0 UK / 00 US to 18 UK / 14 US

The incredibly popular Ogden Cami pattern from True Bias is a classic camisole with a dartless bodice, flattering v-neck and slender straps. Designed for lightweight, drapey fabrics, you could quickly run up a week’s worth of these and they still would only occupy a tiny corner of your suitcase! It’s a versatile top that will work just as well tucked in or left hanging loose; it will sit comfortably under warmer tops – or you could wear it with a t-shirt underneath for a very on-trend take on layering. Made in silk or a patterned crepe it’s the perfect way to turn daytime jeans or shorts into evening-ready outfits.

Suggested Fabrics:
Light weight woven fabrics such as crepe, rayon challis, voile, and lightweight linen.

Check out Instagram for more inspiration… #ogdencami


Maisa Jacket – Named Clothing

Paper and PDF, from 4 UK / 1 US to 20 UK / 16 US

The Maisa Jacket from Named Clothing is a classic denim jacket, with all the panels, top-stitching, pockets and buttons that one would expect. Blue denim makes for great holiday garments – we all know it’s hard-wearing, goes with everything and, let’s face it, hides travel grubbiness well. Maisa’s slightly longer length, finishing at the upper hips, makes it a great companion piece for a wide variety of outfits – go double-denim with jeans, add an edge to a sweet summer sundress, or embrace nineties cool by pairing it with a midi dress and chunky trainers. Plus the back of the jacket is the perfect home for a touristy fabric patch!

Check out Instagram for more inspiration… #maisadenimjacket

Victoria Blazer – By Hand London

PDF, from 6 UK / 2 US to 20 UK / 16 US

When denim won’t cut it – it’s too hot, or you’re headed somewhere too swanky – a casual blazer is your friend. The Victoria is a great option because it comes in two length variations – chic and cropped or long and relaxed. It’s a relatively speedy make for a jacket, its loose fit covers you up without heating you up, and with recommended fabrics including cottons and cotton lawn for the lining, it’s really earning its spot in the suitcase.


Check out Instagram for more inspiration… #victoriablazer


Jenna Skirt – Seamwork

PDF, from 4 UK / 1 US to 30 UK / 26 US

With your top half taken care of it’s time to tackle the bottom. A simple, breezy skirt such as the Seamwork Jenna is a must – pair with a loose boxy top or a tucked-in Ogden Cami plus some espadrilles and you’ve got a surefire way to keep cool whilst looking like a modern-day Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Just make sure you don’t have any unwanted Marilyn moments – make Jenna in something medium-weight like a chambray (and avoid air vents).

Check out Instagram for more inspiration… #seamworkjenna

Ultimate Culottes – Sew Over It

PDF, from 8 UK / 4 US to 20 UK / 16 US

Culottes are everywhere right now and these really are the ultimate – they’re so simple and classic that you can dress them up or down and make them really work for you. The darts counteract the volume in the trousers by keeping things sleek and flattering around the waist. The pattern comes with two variations – one has a waistband with belt loops, perfect if you’re dreaming of a smart city break; the other version has no waistband but instead a facing, great if you’re planning on wearing longer tops. Of course the great thing about a simple pattern is its easy adaptability – lengthen the Ultimate Culottes and you’ve got a pair of easy wide-legged trousers; shorten them and you’ve got, well, shorts!


Check out Instagram for more inspiration… #soiultimateculottes

Calyer Pants – French Navy


PDF, from 6 UK / 2 US to 18 UK / 14 US

Speaking of smart city breaks, if sophisticated is the look you’re going for on holiday then the Calyer Pants will be a great addition to your case. Their structured pleats (although there’s also a flat-front option) and tapered legs with twisting side seam give the impression of utmost chic but wait, what’s that – an elasticated waistband?! Yes, the Calyer Pants really do offer the best of both worlds: practical comfort and elegant style. In a denim chambray they make a great alternative to jeans.

Check out Instagram for more inspiration… #thecalyerpants


Vernazza Two-Piece Bikini – Friday Pattern Company

PDF, from 8 UK / 4 US to 18 UK / 14 US

A holiday capsule wardrobe wouldn’t be complete without a swimsuit, whether you’re scuba diving in the Maldives or braving Tooting Bec Lido. The Vernazza Two-Piece from the Friday Pattern Company is a relatively new release that’s already garnered a lot of attention for its flattering, practical and yet glamorous silhouette. The bottoms offer the amount of coverage that’s so hard to come by on the high street but often so desirable, whilst the top features a crop-top style with a tie-front that manages to be sexy without suggesting it might come off the minute you start your front crawl. Try making two versions – one in a print and the other in a complementary plain and then you’ve got enough to effectively create four different bikini looks!

Check out Instagram for more inspiration… #vernazzatwopiece

Sophie Swimsuit – Closet Case Files

PDF, from 4 UK / 1 US to 24 UK / 20 US

After the huge success of the Bombshell Swimsuit, Closet Case Files are back with another winner in the Sophie Swimsuit pattern. This pattern was released to coincide with Heather Lou’s ‘Sew Your Own Swimsuit’ online course, which is a great resource if you’re feeling nervous about tackling swimwear and cups. The panelled body and the three-piece cups allow you to get a really great fit and feel both supported and sassy in the water. The pattern instructions include how to add optional underwires and foam cups to the balconette section, making this pattern a great skill-builder as well as a sensational design!

Check out Instagram for more inspiration… #sophieswimsuit