Make Your Favorite Summer Sewing Patterns Work For Fall

Happy Monday, everyone! It definitely felt like fall in Vancouver this weekend, with cooler temperatures, rain, and grey skies – almost as if someone flicked a switch from ‘Summer’ to ‘Fall.’ When this happens, I have the urge to reorganize my closet, putting away the sandals and bringing out the boots and tights. Time to push the lightweight dresses to the back of the closet, and bring out the warm wooly scarves!

Which got me thinking about sewing patterns. Some patterns instantly make you think summer, but that doesn’t mean they won’t also work for fall! There are many ways to make a favourite summer pattern transition into fall. If you’ve worked to get a pattern to fit just right over the summer, why not make a fall version as well? And on that note, if you’ve sewn something that you love over the summer, why not try to get as much wear out of it as possible?

Here are some ideas I had – I’d love to hear your suggestions too! Have you used the same pattern for summer and fall sewing?


Your fabric choice can easily make a summer style work right into fall. Think wools and tweeds, corduroy, flannel. Even velvet, if you’re up for a challenge! Texture and warmth are key elements of fall fabrics, that’s what comes to mind when I think of fall and winter sewing. Picture the Crescent Skirt in corduroy or tweed – now all of a sudden it’s a wintery skirt! Your favourite sleeveless dress pattern done in wool makes a great winter work dress. Consider adding lining or layers of underlining to make a simple garment even warmer for the winter!

fall textures and fabrics


Mustard, olive green, rich plum and chocolate brown: rich, warm, autumn hues automatically make people think of fall! Even if the silhouette or style is summery – and maybe the temperature hasn’t dropped yet where you live –  choosing a fall colour palette for your projects is one way to get into the Fall sewing spirit. While I love bright summery colours, I gravitate to warm, autumn shades when it gets colder. Makes me feel warmer just thinking of fabrics in rich chocolate browns and deep plums!


Plan to layer! Tights, sweaters, scarves all help transition a summer outfit into cooler weather. A sundress layered over tights and worn with a cardigan and loafer-style pumps is a great Fall outfit! Layering is an easy way to extend the wearability of your summer sewing projects. Plan a second sewing project to bring your summer skirt into fall, by making a coordinating jacket or top. (If your skirt is brightly coloured, choose a rich autumn colour for the second piece so it looks more like fall.) A sleeveless blouse like the Pendrell may have you thinking spring or summer at first, but it’s a great layering piece with trousers and jackets. (And if you end up somewhere that has the heat cranked, you’ll be able to unlayer and stay cool.)

Here’s my first try at layering the Lonsdale dress for fall – I’d like to try something similar in real life, as I think it would be really pretty! (Plus, adding a floppy hat or knitted cap makes any outfit feel more like Fall.)

lonsdale dress for fall

lonsdale dress for fall by sewaholic featuring thick socks

Do you have any other ideas to add to the list? How do you transition your summer sewing patterns or finished garments into cooler weather? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

13 Responses to Make Your Favorite Summer Sewing Patterns Work For Fall

  1. puu September 19, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    i am all about the layering for bringing a good summer pattern into the fall, especially here in the early fall when some of the brighter, lighter colors aren’t a complete faux-pas…yet! :-) fabulous and timely post!

  2. Stephanie September 19, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    I was *just* thinking about how to transition my dress patterns into fall… hurray! You’re a lifesaver! I have a couple of questions, though…

    1) Is silk suitable as a fall/winter fabric? I seem to have a glut of silks in my fabric stash, and although they’re more summery colors I can get away with wearing them with cardigans for the cooler months… BUT, are they even season-appropriate? (Underlining, perhaps?)


    2) In your opinion, what coat styles go well with full skirts? I’ll be making one this fall (!!!) and I’d like to be sure it coordinates with as much of my existing wardrobe as possible. Good thing I tend to favor neutral shades anyway, but just in case =)

    • Tasia September 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

      @Stephanie: Hi Stephanie! Silk is suitable as a winter fabric, it’s more breathable than polyester and synthetics as a layering piece. A silk blouse or camisole is going to feel wonderful under a cardigan! I had a lovely silk cami that I wore to death and it felt so soft and luxurious as a base layer.

      Coats with full skirts? Ok, my personal preference is either a) a short, fitted jacket, like a blazer or b) a long, trench-style or dressy knee-length coat. A short fitted jacket keeps everything slim on top so the focus is on the fullness of the skirt. The long coat is great because there’s no hemline hitting at the hips or another bunchy part of the skirt – you want one about the same length as your skirts or a little longer! Those are my thoughts anyways – I hope that helps!

  3. Carlotta Stermaria September 19, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    Do you think corduroy would be drapy enough for the Crescent skirt?

    By the way, I made mine as a transitional skirt and lined the cotton veil with a pretty printed cotton/silk veil, and hemmed it with a scalloped stitch. Contrasting linings add so much more than just warmth!

    • Tasia September 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

      @Carlotta Stermaria: I think so! I’d choose a lightweight corduroy, with thin wales, and View A (with less gathers) is more suited to a thicker fabric. Hope this helps!

  4. Tasha September 19, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Oh yes, layering, layering, layering! I don’t have enough room for separate wardrobes for each season so many of my items transition with added layers when it gets colder. I also think about the color choices in the layering items. If the original summery item is light, I try and pull in something darker. A light-colored dress paired with navy shoes and a navy cardigan feels more suitable for fall.

  5. Marie-Noëlle September 19, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Same weather in France. Summer is almost over and fall on its way with rain and the first colds for the whole family. Perfect timing for this post. This morning I experienced layering too. I wore my summer cowl neck dress with black turleneck and leggings. It looked very trendy IMO and so different from the summer version.

  6. Andrea September 19, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    I think an open-necked sweater would look great over the Lonsdale. Would it work to just tie the back ties at the neck? That would look kind of like a coordinating scarf, and avoid tie making a lump under the sweater in the back..

    • Tasia September 19, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

      @Andrea: Yup, I’d either tie the back ties in a flat knot (as flat as possible) instead of the bow. Or, overlap the tie ends and pin them flat. (No one will see them!)

  7. Becky September 19, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Loved this post, Tasia! I will freely admit that warm-weather clothing patterns tend to inspire me more than their cold-weather counterparts. And being a person who gets cold easily, I’m all about the layering. I have an unfortunate tendency to get attracted to prints that often make it difficult to transition from one season to the next (or match with other things), so as I’m working on my stashbusting, I’m also trying to work on making pieces that work with multiple things. Or at least identify the holes in my wardrobe so I can start pulling things together more and make them work better from season to season.

    That being said, I do need to swap out at least a few things in my closet– I’m pretty sure that tropically-printed sleeveless tops are done for this year!

  8. Jessica September 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    One way I get more mileage out of my knit patterns, at least, is to try to make them up for spring and fall (like my sweaters with the leafy yoke, I made one in a green cotton with short sleeves and one in a deep red wool with 3/4 sleeves). I kind of like the added challenge. I am totally for all of your suggestions. I also like adding or lengthening sleeves as a way to transition clothing, or shifting hemlines (haha, I speak as though I know how to add or lengthen sleeves! ah well, a girl can dream) Often times my goal is that non-sewers will have no idea that I have two garments, different seasons, same pattern.

  9. Erika September 20, 2011 at 4:51 am #

    Here we’re well into fall, leaves are still mostley green and no red ones yet, but plenty of yellow in the trees. I’ve never really thought about any pattern as proper for just one season, but then I make my own patterns. Maybe it’s easier to think freely about a pattern when there’s no pattern envelope to “tie down” the imagination? Just a thought…

    Thin, floral dresses I don’t even try to work into my fall closet, but my solid coloured cotton skirts are a given during spring and fall. Same goes for silk blouses (or will when I’ve made some ; ) ), it all depends on what else one wears. Some things do get transitioned, like thights, gloves, scarves and hats. Eventually of course also the cotton skirts get’s put aside and the wool comes out. Sort of longing for that! I always miss my wool skirts during summer =)


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