Inspiration - The Long Summer Dress

It's the time of year to start thinking about warm days and outdoor living (at least in this hemisphere - I know you Aussies are looking to sweaters and cozy things just about now!) Where I live, summer is short and warm weather fleeting, so we spend every moment we can outdoors when weather permits. I love the idea of the long summer dress, flow-y and dream-y, perfect for outdoor music festivals, afternoons at the park, evening barbecues and days at the beach (lovely as Lake Michigan is, it is always too cold for me to swim in!)

Inspiration: courtesy Anthropologie, Pieced Gauze Dress by Wendy Katlen. Somewhat Bohemian, but not too much. Flow-y, but not in a "is she pregnant?" sort of way.

And some ideas for make-it-yourself long summer dresses:

Simplicity 2642 looks like the perfect fun, flirty long summer dress, although I might worry about the waistline on this being too puffy. It would, however, be perfect with the new Nani Iro Fuwari 2009 double gauze fabrics (found at Matatabi). The different patterns on the fabric would look really cool with the tiers.

Although not flow-y, this Simplicity 2587 by Cynthia Rowley looks like a perfect long summer dress. The pattern calls for woven fabrics and it would be a great opportunity to use some of the fun new prints just hitting fabric stores now. Above left is Pucci Flower in Kiwi by Anna Kennedy for Timeless Treasures (found at fabricworm Etsy) and above right is Medallion in Spring by Josephine Kimberling for Robert Kaufman (found at Fabric Supplies).

McCalls 5624 looks so breezy and light! Pattern calls for faille (definition from Mill Outlet Fabric glossary: A somewhat shiny, closely woven fabric of silk, cotton or synthetics, characterized by flat, crosswise ribs. It can have a stiff or a soft finish) or lightweight broadcloth (definition from Mill Outlet Fabric glossary: A fine, tightly woven fabric in a plain or twill weaves with a slight horizontal rib). Above left is Beijing Dots silk faille (found at Vogue Fabrics). Above right, lightweight cotton floral (found at Gorgeous Fabrics).

Vintage patterns could be fun, too, like this McCalls 5564 from Your Pattern Shop. Pattern calls for lightweight cottons like London Calling Cotton Lawn SunFlower (found at and Marimekko Leaves and Roses (found at Fabric Fairy).