Here’s Something Crazy: Sewing Out of Season

After thinking about Fall sewing, and hearing about everyone’s fall sewing plans, I had a crazy thought. What if instead of sewing for fall as the fall weather approaches, we started sewing for spring instead? I figure I’m never going to be early for Fall while it’s still summer, so if I start sewing for Spring now, think how prepared I’d be!

Would you rather sew in advance for the upcoming season, sew during the season so you remember what it’s like to need warmer (or cooler) clothing, or sew completely off-season so you’re not rushed?

Here’s what prompted this post – I accidentally clicked the ‘You may also like’ links at the bottom of each posts while I was editing a blog post, and ended up on this one. This is what I’d written:

I’m making up Simplicity 3965 first, I love – well, the simplicity of this dress. And because I don’t have a purpose to wear it, and it’s getting cold and gloomy out, I’m not rushing to the finish line just to be able to wear it. I’m going to take my time and perfect the fit, and sew it with extra love and care.

Ever read your own words and think ‘I wrote that?’ I actually think this is a great idea. I learned to knit over the summer, when there’s no need for wooly knitted things. And therefore, I wasn’t in a rush to wear any of the things I was working on, so I could sit back and relax and just enjoy making them! The dress I was talking about back then was the Twin Spruce Dress, which I made slowly and carefully, and then wore happily all spring and summer long.

I also made the Picnic Dress in late fall, and when it came time for summer wedding season, I had a great dress all ready to wear, no rushing to sew something last-minute!

It seems like a good idea in theory. Relieve the pressure of rushing to finish and wear your garments right away, by sewing completely off-season. You might even save money, buying summery fabrics on sale at the start of fall! Kind of like shopping the sale racks at the mall, you’ll get a great deal on summer sandals now, but pay full price for winter boots. When I worked in the apparel industry, you’re always working off-season. We’d start producing Spring product in early fall the year before, selling next Fall’s collection in early spring. You’re almost never designing for the season you’re in!

So I’m curious – do you sew in advance of the season and start off Fall with a lovely set of sewn items? Do you wait until Fall starts and sew what you need? Does anyone sew out of season? I’d love to hear your theory on seasonal sewing!

PS. In the photo above, the snowy one is taken in Whistler, BC last winter. That’s how high the snow was! The second one was taken in Hawaii. No snow there – over 30 degrees and sunny the whole time we were there!

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38 Responses to Here’s Something Crazy: Sewing Out of Season

  1. Bri September 12, 2011 at 7:01 am #

    This is something I also often think about, but never seem to follow through on. I can never catch up on all my projects to work ahead like that! I thought I was doing great by setting a challenge of sewing some fall/winter clothes and making a deadline for myself!

  2. Mary September 12, 2011 at 7:04 am #

    Brilliant thinking on your part :-) Yes, I am trying to do this.

  3. Emilie September 12, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    First of all… Hawaii looks fabulous, and I’m sure it will look even better in a few months when it gets really chilly and we get buried in snow here (in Canada).
    I actually just purchased a pattern for shorts!! (Seriously, I don’t really know what I was thinking). They just looked so cute, but I know that I will not have time to make them and wear them (on the last few days that I CAN wear shorts here) before it gets too cold. However, I’m actually thinking : maybe I can wear them with tights if I make them in a more heavy-weight fabric? I love wearing skirts in the fall, but I don’t think I’ve ever worn shorts with tights although every time I see someone wearing that, I always think it looks cute! I’m still thinking about it.

  4. Barbara September 12, 2011 at 7:14 am #

    What a great idea – I still have so much summer sewing to do. I’m going to try your suggestion. THANKS

  5. Marie September 12, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    Excellent post Tasia and in theory this is such a good idea! I’m still failry new to sewing and I never seem to have an actual plan when it comes to what I make. Something I’m not proud of and something I suspect makes me less productive. I’d love to give this a go thoug…maybe I’ll give it a go as soon as I finish off what I’m working on now. How exciting!

  6. Becky September 12, 2011 at 7:20 am #

    I’ve thought about sewing off-season before, but I’m usually more inspired to make things for the season I’m in so I can wear them right away when they’re done. The one major off-season sewing effort I made was when I made my winter coat that I mentioned on your recent post about those– I was sewing it together in August, and that was a bit uncomfortable to be working with so much quilting and long sleeves in the sticky hot weather!

    That being said, while I am going to be focusing on fall/winter things for awhile due to my participation in the Fall Essentials Sew-Along and a newbie sweater knitalong, I have a plan forming in the back of my mind to tackle my first Lonsdale dress sometime this winter. After all, the stash fabric I have in mind to test it out has a tropical-type print on it, and I think it’ll be a great antidote to January-February blahness!

  7. Ida September 12, 2011 at 7:20 am #

    I sew somewhat “anti-cyclical” – started the fall / winter projects four weeks ago. I don’t like to sew them in summer because it’s too warm to handle with wooly fabrics. I start with spring / summer projects in march or april. So there is always a litte forerun but I like to wear my sewn things when they are finished.

  8. Rachel September 12, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    Fun fact: many knitters make all of their holiday gifts during the summer to avoid the [stressful] last minute rush!

  9. Liz September 12, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    Somehow I do always sew more for summer-season, no matter which season we have. I don´t know but to sew nice summer blouses are definetely easier than to sew coats or so. So that´s why I do sew completely off-season ;) For my sewn items click:

  10. arlene f September 12, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    I like to sew when the excitement of a new season is at it’s peak…..that being said, it would be nice if I could finish it before the end of that season.
    Hee, hee!!
    eg. I started a linen jacket back in March? and I’ve had to make so many changes in the fit – every step along the way… is still sitting waiting for the lining to be put in…


  11. Sasha September 12, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    This is actually a great idea! As you said, the fashion industry works ahead like this, and all the inspiration you could need for the next season is available in the form of the Spring Runway shows from this Fashion week. Hmmmm….might have to think about this one!

  12. Ellen September 12, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    This sounds like a great idea in theory for me, but in practice, I don’t seem to do it. The spring/summer/fall here in the southeast US is pretty mild though, so I don’t really have the need to even consider some of the more serious Winter (with a capital W) items. That leaves me with clothes for the heat, and clothes for transitions.

  13. Lenora Jane September 12, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    My sewing seems to follow no seasonal pattern whatsoever…mostly because my wearing doesn’t either! I spend a lot of time in sundresses that have been completely hidden by giant sweaters and multiple layers of wool socks (well maybe not hidden by the socks…) to survive Montreal winters, and desperately trying to legitimize cardigan-wearing in mid-August. I like to sew things and put them straight on…but because I’ll put anything on at any time of year this doesn’t put too much calendar pressure on me, which is nice.

  14. Caroline September 12, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    He he, I get so behind, that I’m usually sewing for the season we are in or that just finished … maybe one day I’ll be organized enough to sew ahead (though I guess I could consider what I’m doing sewing waaaay ahead, like three seasons.)

  15. Stephanie September 12, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    I try to sew about half a season ahead but that can be hard. I don’t even want to think about pants when it’s 90 outside. I just love getting to wear a finished piece as soon as I’m done with it, but I think I may try and do one or two spring/summer pieces over the winter. I did have quite a few cute dresses that didn’t get sewn this summer. (Especially since I can stash bust!)

    I’ve only been sewing for about a year, so maybe next year I’ll have enough me made pieces to be a bit more strategic about sewing instead of on an as needed basis.

  16. Lisette September 12, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    I always thought I’d be better off sewing ahead, when I was all eager to be in a different season. However, I just ended up making a lot of impractical garments because I wasn’t in the conditions (weather and work) in which I would actually have to wear it. My part time job is fine to sew for any season because I know what to expect, but my other jobs are freelance – for example last summer in June I was at a beach every day for a film. It was freezing in the morning and super hot in the afternoon. Right now I am doing an outside theatrical production. Usually it is still warm here, but this year it has been very chilly. Yet, we go out a lot after the shows so I need something I can wear to a bar, restaurant or nightclub and not be too warm in.

  17. Amy September 12, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    This year is my first real year of sewing, and while I intended to sew for fall and winter during the summer, I got side tracked by all of the fun Sew-Alongs that I joined. Since I’m still learning to sew, my priority has been to sew with others when I can, even if it means pushing my own projects to the side for a few months. I figure as I gain experience I’ll get faster and be able to step out on my own more. And then I’ll be able to get back into the sewing-a-season-ahead habit.

  18. Amanda S. September 12, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    When I was pregnant last year, I sewed for winter the whole year since I couldn’t wear any summer stuff and expected to be back to pre-pregnancy size by winter. (I forgot about the girls being bigger with the breastfeeding.) The hardest thing for me about that was seeing all the new patterns coming out for various seasons and not making anything new from them. That’s hard. So maybe if you sew mostly for spring and give yourself permission to make something for fall/winter every once in a while it will be more fun.

  19. Tasha September 12, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    I often do this with knitting, but then again, I think that’s because if I’m knitting in the summer, the odds are in my favor I’m not knitting for that season. LOL

    I think it’s a great question to ponder and I can see there being two possible benefits: not feeling rushed to finish and wear it, and/or being prepared for the season when the season actually starts. I started thinking about fall sewing about a month ago but admit I’ve been too busy to actually START any of it, so in the end I’ll be sewing for the same season instead of thinking too far ahead because I need fall essentials way more than spring essentials. But I kind of love the idea of either being ultra-prepared ahead of time or else just sewing for the sake of enjoying the project no matter the season!

  20. Katy September 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    At the moment I’m frantically sewing for autumn/winter, but it did strike me that most of the clothes I have in my ‘refashion’ heap are for summer, so I’ll maybe try and hit them in February to be prepared. Then again…

  21. sarah September 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    I’ve just touched on this in my last post ;
    I’ve been looking at New York fashion week for ideas and inspiration for next summers makes but whilst the idea is there and something I would like to do, I probable won’t which is a shame as I’m always rushing towards the end of summer to get things finished so I can wear them before summer has disappeared

  22. Amanda September 12, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    I had this exact idea in mind actually. I didn’t have much time this year for sewing so pretty spring and summer outfits never really happened. I’m going to work on them this fall and winter now that I have time. Although I will also sneak in seasonal sewing too. Just to mix things up!

  23. Amanda September 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    P.S. Good thought about you not rushing through a project since you can’t wear it right away anyway. I agree!

  24. Jeanne Marie September 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    I’m inspired by the season I’m in, which means it’s after Labor Day and I’m still finishing a summer outfit. Here in Northern California, I will probably have time to wear it before the weather gets rainy. I thought about sewing ahead, and although I love tweeds, I just cannot think about them when it’s hot out. But I’m not rushing to finish. I’m just plugging along. Better late and out of season than never.

  25. Jo @ a life in lists September 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Sounds like a great idea – I never manage to get ‘caught up’ enough to do it. Maybe I should accept skipping a season so I’m prepared for the following one. Like you say, it would be lovely to be able to focus on all the lovely finishing details.

    I am trying to be semi-sensible this autumn and sew a couple of pieces that will work all the way through winter and well into spring (a simple denim skirt with nice finish details, and a needlecord dress, maybe a shirt), so I don’t feel the need to sew in a massive rush so I get a chance to wear the garment in question before the season is over!

  26. Jane Elise September 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    Yes I usually need to sew off-season because I sometimes have weeks at a time when I can’t even sew a stitch so my projects drag on.

    I do find though, being in Australia, that if I participate in sewalongs I am usually sewing off season anyway. Point in case: the Lonsdale dress. I am about to sew in the zipper and hem it and I will have my first Summer project done!! :)

  27. Funnygrrl September 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    I sew for the season I’m in. I’m just dying to wear new items! But I don’t always get them done.
    The benefit of sewing off-season is the great price on fabrics. I just bought some summer weights for a great price.
    I should try to do this… Good topic!

  28. Suzi September 12, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    I’m currently living in Australia so the Lonsdale and Crescent sew-alongs were the perfect off season projects for me. That said, where I live (central Queensland) we really don’t experience a huge change of season or require warm heavy clothes during our winters – but i agree that it’s nice to not rush your projects and have soemthign to look forward to wearing!
    I also always find you pick up great fabric bargins sewing off season, however, the discipline to sew with them rather than add them to an ever increasing stash is often hard to find!

  29. Solange September 12, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    I start my Christmas decorations in July. I always start sewing ahead of the season, otherwise nothing would be ready in time.

  30. Corinne September 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    This has always sounded like a great idea to me and while I probably sew a half season ahead, I also have trouble handling tweed when it is 90 degrees here. My other issues are weight changes. I am always on a diet or two so my waistline changes accordingly. Mostly I sew 3 season clothes, so I guess I am always sewing in and out of season at the same time.

  31. K-Line September 12, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    I feel like I sew what I want, whenever. And that’s usually 3-season stuff like denim trousers or silk blouses or knits. Not so good at making true seasonal garments. But I agree about learning to knit in the summer – which I did too. It’s much more relaxing that way.

  32. Seraphinalina September 12, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    I suppose the issue is what motivates you to sew. For me, inspiration comes in a few places. Quite often it is a deadline, a gift to give, a trip we’re taking, an upcoming holiday. Time for sewing comes in spurts for me. I just don’t really have the planning skills for sewing at all. About every 4-6 months I make a list in my sewing journal of things I want to do. I don’t get through them all, either by the time I sew I’ve been inspired by something else (be it a blogger or fabric shopping) or the season is now long past and I’m onto something else.

    Generally, I sew the season I’m in, but I don’t beat myself up if I don’t get through a list of things to do. I also generally need incentive like wearing it or a deadline because finishing is my least favourite part of a project. I will often hem pants that have been on the pile for weeks at 7:30am because I decide that is what I want to wear. Now.

    Love the concept, pretty sure I would fail at execution. :)

  33. Elisabeth September 12, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    I always *intend* to make clothes/handknits for the next season before it arrives, but it never seems to work out that way. This is particularly true for knitting. In the summer, when it’s warm, I never much feel like knitting (especially not with wool, which is my preferred fiber for fall/winter things). Unfortunately, that means I never have my new wool socks when they’d really be useful! Nor do I get Christmas presents knit ahead of time, which is what I vow to do every year. Perhaps I should just turn up the air conditioning in the summer so I feel like knitting?

  34. dixie September 13, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    Luckily (or unluckily depending on how you look at it) for 80% of the year in Texas the season could be described as HOT. Most of my clothes are made for that season. But that means if I want to make something for winter (we tend to just skip fall here) I have to make it during the summer or else the two months of cold will pass by in a snap. I want to make a coat and jacket for winter so I really need to start on that now so I can actually use it this year.

  35. Jackie September 13, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    This is something I have thought a lot about recently. It’s an excellent idea and I had hoped to start sewing for fall/winter several weeks ago. Of course, it hasn’t happened. I still have time to get some things made up for when we really have to wear coats, etc.

  36. Janice September 14, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    I started sewing a season ahead last Spring, and it has helped immensely. I took my cue from the fashion industry (who are actually two seasons ahead), and I find that I’m not as rushed when I’m working on my projects. I can focus on really thinking through what pieces I want to make and set aside ample time for it.

  37. Jessica September 16, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    Planning on it! I design my handknitting patterns out of season so why not my sewing?


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