This week, I'm doing things a little different. I've dropped a few hints about my vacation to Rarotonga and the vacation wardrobe I created for the trip, and now that I'm back (and no longer head down at the sewing machine trying to beat my own self-imposed deadline) I want to tell you about everything I made!
I have seven new makes from the trip to share with you and each one definitely deserves its own post, but the most important thing for me with this set of projects was how well everything worked together as a cohesive wardrobe for my trip. To that end, I've decided to skip to the roundup and then go back and write detailed posts about the sewing of each garment in the next few weeks. Stay tuned if you see something you like!
The Packing List.
My new items:
swimsuit (see the first photo), linen kimono, fanny pack, ombre dyed maxi dress, tie waisted shorts, swing dress, and feather shirt
were accompanied by some yet-ublogged makes:
rash guard top, grey linen pants, merino leggings*, and cropped cardigan*.
and a few familiar favorites:
*leggings, tee, and cardi were only for wearing on the plane. I get so cold on planes.
**things I never ended up wearing. More on that if you keep reading :)
My original plan - when I decided for sure that I'd be going on the trip - was to sew five new items. The swimsuit was a must, as was the linen kimono, the fanny pack would be nice, the wrap dress was easy because it was also a wearable muslin, and the maxi dress was the lowest priority, only if I had time. I ended up finishing the maxi dress with six days before departure, so I added three things to the list! The tie waisted shorts were made from leftover kimono fabric, the feather shirt and the swing dress were both remnants I had living in my stash. Each will get its own blog post, I promise!
I wore my purple maxi dress over my swimsuit (it was a SUP day) with my linen sun kimono over the top. Note: I really loved the kimono as soon as I put it on. This feeling didn't fade over the week. THOSE POCKETS. I twisted and tied the side of the maxi dress into a knot to keep it from getting sandy and wet, and I'm pleased it didn't look weird when worn this way.
Morning - Rashguard top over swimsuit, with linen pants. I intended to go SUPing that morning, although it ended up too windy. I also get these things I call half-colds sometimes where I feel like I'm getting sick, I have a bit of a sniffle, a really really low fever (just enough to feel a bit under the weather) and then I get incredibly hungry like you wouldn't believe and eat three times as much as normal (you think I'm kidding but I'm not!) and then it's all over in 24 hours. I had one of those on this day - I think it was most likely airplane related. It would have been a great outfit for SUP but I felt a bit under dressed for the lounging on the beach that I actually ended up doing. Unrelated: these linen pants (yet unblogged) look fantastic in every single photo we took of them. Magic.
Afternoon: I swapped pants and top for the Sari wrap dress, but left the suit on underneath. Topped with the kimono again. I'm pleased that even though it was windy, the wrap dress didn't end up causing any wardrobe malfunctions.
Morning - Feather shirt (tied) and tie-waisted shorts. I felt amazing in this outfit, though I didn't have time to go to the store for a trouser clasp for the shorts before the trip, and I did feel that they sat a bit lower on my waist than they do with the clasp. It's the sort of thing only I noticed, but it led to a bit of extra bagginess under the butt.
Afternoon - Took to my board in my swimsuit, finally!
Morning: My white silk pleated dress for a quick walk up a hill for some views, plus the linen kimono. And hiking socks. I swapped back to Day 1's outfit in the afternoon as it started raining and I wanted leg coverage, but forgot to grab a photo of that.
Morning: Green linen shirt and tie-waist shorts, over my swimsuit again.
Afternoon: SUP in my swimsuit again!
Morning: Swing dress, over swimsuit
Rest of the day: Swimsuit! I felt I was getting too much sun, so I added my rashguard top as well. It was way too hot the whole time to consider the leggings. I LOVED the rashguard top. The fabric is SPF80 so no need for sunscreen, and I could dunk my arms in the water whenever I needed to cool off.
My last day! I had to clean up my paddleboard so it had ample drying time before my flight, so we went for a hike and wander during the day. I wore my linen pants because they were all I had that were long and I didn't want to end up completely riddled with mosquito bites, and my succulent crop top. I was hot, but I was also not bug bitten. I didn't really bring more appropriate hiking clothes but that's okay.
Overall, I'm incredibly pleased with how well my new items worked together - the linen kimono went with everything, kept the sun off, and provided the kind of Mary Poppins Pockets I strive for as a sewist and also as a wearer of clothing. My Ombre dress was perfectly breathable and temperate - total secret pajamas, but super elegant. I loved the tie shorts and feather shirt, even though both were unplanned last minute additions to my sewing list.
I also want to give a special shoutout to the sari wrap dress, which made a perfect beach cover up. The polyester dries quickly, doesn't wrinkle, and the chiffon made it breathable enough to keep me cool. I still don't love synthetics for daily wear, and I'll always follow a synthetic project with a natural fiber palate cleanser but hey - they can be good for some things, I'll admit.
The non-garment, fanny pack/bum bag turned out to be positively wonderful - over the shoulder as a bag, or clipped around my waist for SUP and hiking. It held my phone, money, ID, sunglasses case, and an emergency granola bar, hands free. Delightful! I think I'm going to make a less of aggressively fluorescent version to use more regularly.
There were a few things I didn't wear - The silk cami I think I just ran out of outfit days for, after prioritizing wearing new things first. The feather dress (originally made for a Hawaiian vacation) potentially felt a bit too dressy, though given an extra day, or a night out at a restaurant, I definitely would have worn it. Finally, my SUP leggings. I'm still glad I brought them as a backup, but it was too hot to consider wearing them out on the board for the weather I had while I was there.
The swimsuit - I LOVE, first of all. My complaint lies in the fact that I only made one. I made two for my Hawaiian trip - a tie-back bustier and a one piece - but both were kind of difficult to get in and out of, so this one's front clasp and separate bottoms are meant to be easy to peel off at the end of a long, hot day at the beach. That said, because of the amazing weather and the fact that I just love SUP so freakin' much, I wore the same suit basically every single day. I should have brought a backup. I was originally going to make two bottoms which would have worked really well, but decided not to because I wanted to test drive my new leghole/butt cut (honestly, the things I write on this blog) before committing to a second pair. Note to self for next time - Multiple swimsuits if you're planning to spend every day at the beach, guys! Some days, the nights were too humid for things to dry out before I put it on again the next morning.
I completely recognize the absurdity of creating almost an entire new wardrobe for a one week vacation, but honestly I just had so much fun! Also, the only pieces of non-stash I bought for my seven items were the fabric and zips for the fanny pack (under $10!) and the linen for the kimono - which ended up yielding enough scraps that I was able to make the shorts as a bonus! I suppose the next test will be seeing how well my new pieces will fit in with my normal life this summer (The feather shirt and swing dress are both work appropriate for me, which is a bonus!) or whether they end up relegated to vacation-only wear.
Like I said, each of these new items will get its own blog post to discuss construction and individual thoughts, so stay tuned if you want to hear more about anything in particular - and in the meantime I hope this little roundup has given you some vacation ideas of your own!