Summer time, and the sewing is easy! No need to swelter under heaps of heavy material. It's time to break out the floaty fabrics, bright colors, and fun projects for camp, road-trips, and more. Check out these 18 ideas for projects to get your summer started right.
1. Citrus Coasters
These are a great project that even the kids can help with. Cut circles from sheets of brightly colored felt, using a large drinking glass as a template. Layer on a slightly smaller white circle. This represents the pith in you citrus slice. Another, even smaller circle in another color should be cut into even segments. Cut around the edge of each segment to round the corners and give it a more natural look. Arrange the segments on top of the "pith" layer, and pin everything in place. Use regular thread in a coordinating color to invisibly join your layers, or, if you prefer a handmade look, use a bold decorative stitch, like blanket stitch, to attach the layers with embroidery floss.
2. Sheer Beach Cover Up
Some sewists might feel a little intimidated by working with sheer fabrics—they easily fray, they're often heat-sensitive and easily scorched, and can be unexpectedly stretchy, especially on the bias. But they also make some of the most amazing summer outfits, like an easy beach cover up. A simple oversized rectangle of your chosen fabric, slit from one narrow edge to the middle, is all you need to get started. Use a narrow-hemmer foot to hem all the edges of your cover up, including the interior slit, and it's ready. Get creative and show your style by adding tassels, trims, or other embellishments.
3. Sunglasses Cases
Ever tossed a pair of sunglasses into your bag only to retrieve them later scratched and damaged? Keep them in an easy to sew sunglass pouch and you'll never see those scratches again! Go as simple or as fancy as you like, from felt pouches to satin-lined and rhinestone-encrusted cases fit for a diva.
4. Beach Bag
A wide-bottomed bag of sturdy canvas is the perfect beach accessory. Square cut so it stays open, there's plenty of room for towels, sunscreen, beach blankets, and all the other accessories to make your day in the sun a little extra fun.
5. Elastic-Waist Skirt
On days when it's just too hot for shorts, pull on one of these easy skirts. Loose and flowing, they're flattering on just about every figure, and with an elastic waist band, they're oh so comfy! Make a few and hem them to different lengths to try out different looks!
6. Easy Drawstring Backpacks
Kids heading out to summer camp, or off on a hike? Help them keep important things close with easy drawstring backpacks that they can even help to create! All you need are squares of fabric, grommets, and a few lengths of ¼" cord. This will form both the drawstrings and the straps of your bag. Stitch the squares together, forming a pouch, and add a channel at the open end for the draw strings, leaving the channel open at the seams. Set grommets into the bottom corners, then run one loop of cord through the channel from left to right, tying it closed at the left-hand grommet. Run the other cord from right to left, anchoring it at the right grommet. That's it! Your bag is ready to hold sunscreen, water bottle, bug spray, and all the other summer essentials.
7. Sleep Shorts
Comfy as boxer shorts, but a tad more feminine, these adorable shorts are so easy you won't believe you ever bothered to buy them before. You don't even need a pattern to work from, just a pair of shorts or pants that already fits. Check out this how-to guide for full instructions. For maximum comfort (and cuteness!), choose soft, breathable fabrics in your favorite colors and patterns.
8. Road Trip Duffle Bag
No road trip is complete without a bag packed full of all the essentials, from socks to snacks. Don't forget plenty of pockets to stow the souvenirs you pick up along the way! This design covers all the basics, plus you won't even need to worry about stitching in a lining, or covering raw edges with bias tape.
9. Net Beachcombing Bag
What a fun project! The open-weave mesh lets sand drain away from all your beach-going treasures, like stones, shells, and driftwood, while the cotton edging fabric provides extra durability and support. It doesn't take much time or material to make. This tutorial will show you how it's done. Make a few, and personalize them for all the beachcombers in your life!
10. Summery Table Runner
Planning a summer barbeque? Don't forget to add a little something special to the table. From Fourth of July fireworks to simple summer blooms, a pieced fabric runner turns a simple cookout into a party. As always with table decor, choose fabrics that are easily washable, like cotton, and avoid anything that could be damaged or scorched if a hot pot or pan were set on it.
11. Bohemian Embroidery Art
Hand made embroidered artwork is all the rage once again. You can purchase a kit that comes complete with all the embroidery floss you'll need, plus a pre-marked pattern, or you can get creative and freehand your own design. Need a bit of inspiration? Check out mandala patterns online for simple shapes with big impact.
12. Sun Hats
Not only are these hats a great summer fashion statement, they're also a good way to help beat the heat and keep off the sun. Even better, this design is reversible! Use fusible interfacing to keep the brim from being too floppy, and be sure to clip your curves to keep them from being lumpy and bulky as you assemble the finished product.
13. Kids' Summer Rompers
With summer comes outdoor playtime, especially for the littlest members of your family. Rompers are a great way to make outfits quickly interchangeable when it's time to go from puddle jumping to indoor activities. These easy on, easy off outfits can even be made using old pillowcases! Experiment to see what works best for your little explorer.
14. Sleepover Roll
Whether the kids are heading out for an evening under the stars in the backyard, off to sleepaway camp, or just spending the night at a friend's house, this lightweight sleepover roll is the perfect accessory. It's a quick and easy project, but since it does involve larger lengths of fabric and batting, make sure you've got enough workspace—the floor will do in a pinch! Check out this tutorial for a detailed how-to!
15. Lightweight Summer Quilt
We usually think of blankets as fall and winter projects, but there's no reason why a lightweight quilt can't be the perfect summer project. Use light colors or bold patterns paired with pale neutrals like white, ivory, or light grey to highlight your favorite piecing designs. Use thin batting and be sure to secure your layers well before starting to quilt—quilting pins, safety pins, basting spray, or hand basting are all good options. Try a few and see what works for you!
16. Cell Phone Protectors
Keep your phone safe from sand, sun, and surf, with this easy project! Though it looks like any other accessory bag from the outside, a vinyl layer on the inside keeps your phone from being damaged by poolside splashes, while a layer of batting makes it easy to toss in your bag without worrying about scratching your screen or denting your case. Use your favorite type of closure to keep everything secure—zippers are an easy option, and magnetic clasps can make the whole thing look like a mini clutch purse!
17. Reusable Snack Bags
Want to make those summer picnics a little more eco-friendly? Whip up some reusable snack bags to store all those tasty treats! These washable pouches are lined with water-resistant fabrics like vinyl to avoid leaks and drips, but they're completely reusable and easy to toss in the wash between uses. Make up extras to have on hand once the school year starts again.
18. Loose Fit Summer Slacks
Summer just isn't the season for skin-tight. Enjoy the breezy, chic look of loose fit slacks made from natural fibers like linen or cotton. A fitted waistband keeps them from looking oversized and baggy, but the wide-cut legs provide the drape and flow of a maxi-skirt, plus added mobility! Play with colors and patterns—if you're feeling particularly ambitious, you can even dye your own!