Summer Sewing List: How to Keep Your Goth and Your Cool When Things Get Hot

Even though the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere is in mid-June, Americans start the season unofficially with Memorial Day, the last Monday in May. From then on, thoughts are on lazy days at the beach, weekend afternoon cookouts, and light clothing to combat the heat. I don’t want to sound like a goth cliche, but summer is my least favorite season. I have lots of sun damage from a time when I was a beach rat (yes, reader, I must admit that in a previous life, I LOVED sunbathing covered in concoction of baby oil and carrot juice—I will spend the rest of my days apologizing to my skin). These days, it is give me sunscreen or give me death.

Image of an empty beach
My Favorite Type of Beach: Empty

That does not mean I cannot enjoy a day at the beach, but I only do it when I am back home (Brazil) during Winter time (still sunny but not so hot). I hide under an umbrella with UV protection after performing the applying-of-the-sunscreen ritual. I enjoy adult beverages from quiosques (restaurants of varying reputation and cleanliness built on the sidewalk facing the ocean that go from one end of the beach all the way to the last urbanized spot). And when I know beforehand of the quality of the AC in a club, I’ll go out for some goth fun.

With the right patterns and fabrics, it is not hard to create a summer sewing list that takes into consideration my love of goth and spooky things and my absolute terror when faced with hot weather

By Hand London Tamzin Dress

I’ve had the Tamzin Dress since it was released. The square neckline won my heart the moment I saw it. To make it more summer friendly, I’m replacing the 3/4 sleeves with short ones, but I am keeping the tucks. I have cut a muslin out of some 90s floral polyester—a summer fabric in print if not in fiber—and plan to use my birthday Black Cat rayon batiste from Mood. The more cats, the merrier!

Another Seamwork Meg Dress

Image of a woman wearing a black peasant dress with elastic empire dress, flowy sleeves, and black boots.
Black Rayon Meg Dress

Oh, how I love my black Seamwork Black Meg Dress. I made it with rayon, making it the perfect way to keep the goth going on hot summer days. I was so excited with the first one, I immediately went online to find another fabric suitable for the glory of this dress.

I found this gorgeous cotton voile from Mood Fabrics. It is appropriately named Summer Nights—so meant to be! It is washed and ready to go. I think it will make a dreamy dress.

Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit

Image of line drawing for two versions of the Ipswich Swimsuit, a one-piece swimsuit with a contrast waistband or a high-waisted bikini with piping detail.

I have sewed a few swimsuits in my lifetime. I made a Closet Case Bombshell Swimsuit more than a decade ago. About five years ago, I sewed two Maison Fleur Halter-neck Swimsuit. Last year, I finished a Seamwork Maggie Swimsuit. They are all very cute, but none gives me the chest support that I need. 

I selected the Ipswich based on the positive reviews, with many of them highlighting how supportive the swimsuit is. The pattern is designed with big-bosomed humans in mind—there is even an option for underwire foam swim bra and boning. I don’t think I’m going that far, but it is nice having the option.

I wanted a super goth print, but as hard as I tried, I did not find the right one for this project. I did find a few awesome prints, and these two are my top choices. The first one is this black spandex with big floating green eyes. The other one is (surprise!) a bunch cat faces with big, bright green eyes. Not gonna lie—the cats are winning.

Elbe Textiles Wide Brin Hat

Who does not dream of a big, black hat to protect you from the dangers of the sun? This pattern is perfect for this statement hat. I want to make it reversible with two denim prints from Mood, one with skulls and one with cherries.

Helen’s Closet Costa Tote

Line drawing of two versions of a tote bag, one with an asymmetrical pocket with dividing lines to create a total of four pockets, the second a simple tote.
The Costa Tote

I admire people who can go to the beach with nothing but some money and their ID. I need an assortment of items—sunscreen, glasses case, hair elastic, wallet, water bottle, canga (large piece of colorful rayon fabric to be used instead of a beach towel), a book, and my phone. I’ve made do with whatever old bag I can find, but it is time I have an official beach bag.

The Costa Tote is a simple solution to the beach bag conundrum. I can use many of my fabric scraps to create a spooky version. Heck, I have so many scraps that I can sew everyone back home their own Costa Tote.

What Goths Get Right about Summer

One thing that goths get right—the sun can really mess you up. After my beach rat phase, I avoided it for years. Adulthood and a lack of vitamin D have taught me to have a balanced approach. I now enjoy summer days under an umbrella and lathered in sunscreen. Summer nights are for wearing flowy dresses in air conditioned spaces. And always wear waterproof eyeliner.

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