holiday (beach) sewing

Shelley, @lightningmcstitch, shares her holiday sewing.  If, like me, you’re in the Northern Hemisphere hopefully the sun and sand in this post won’t distract you from the variety of beautiful and functional Liesl + Co garments Shelley features!

Happy holidays everyone! Quite what that means depends on where in the world you are and what holidays you’re celebrating….
4 kayaks on the beach on a sunny day
Here in Australia it’s summer, so holiday sewing is all about beach wear and keeping from getting sunburnt. But it’s also Christmas, of course, so there are gifts to sew as well.

We recently had a family holiday to Fiji where we spent a week sea kayaking and camping in remote villages, and then a week at a very luxurious resort. If you’re in the northern hemisphere and it’s cold, I hope these pictures will warm you up. If you’re downunder, then what follows might be the inspiration for some easy, last-minute sewing gifts, or maybe to book a holiday!
neckline view of 4 t-shirts stacked atop one another

First up, we all needed lightweight, long-sleeved Ts to wear while paddling. This is the Metro T made for myself and my daughter using the women’s pattern and my son and husband with the men’s pattern. The fabrics are all “athletic knit” – the kind of lightweight, breathable, synthetic stuff your gym t-shirt might be made of. To surprise (read: annoy) the kids I used my Silhouette Cameo cutter and some heat fusible transfer to put our names and kayaking images in the back neck. Less scratchy than a label and no confusion about whose is whose.
girl wearing swim shirt and shorts navigates a pool of water at the beach

It struck me that the Wynwood shorts pattern would make perfect swim shorts. So, I made a pair each for Audrey and me using sueded, polyester microfibre fabric, which is light, quick drying, and the type of fabric that boardshorts are usually made from.
woman wearing hand made swim shirt and swim shorts approaches a kayak on the beach

The boys’ Metro Ts looked equally at home at the resort as they did in the kayaks. As an aside, I was taught to play backgammon in my teens by a Turkish neighbour and my family hates playing me because nobody ever beats me.
teen wearing board shorts and a long-sleeved red t-shirt stands in a beach resort setting man wearing long-sleeve blue t shirt plays backgammon on the beach

Though I didn’t make it for the holiday, my Sintra dress that I took along turned out to be the perfect thing to wear for pre-dinner cocktails and a game of pool. (I learnt to play pool during my university years and almost thirty years later I remain useless at it. Qué será.)
woman wearing a blue halter dress stands with a pool cue behind a pool table in a beach hut

While the Sintra dress worked in the resort, back in the villages there is a more conservative dress code. Nobody wears hats or head coverings of any sort, and women are expected to keep their shoulders and knees covered. I had forgotten about this, but luckily, I’d packed my Cinema dress and it was perfectly modest in its design, yet cheerily loud in its print.
two women stand in the grass in front of a thatched roof cottage. The woman on the left wears a colorful 3/4 sleeve long dress. The girl on the right wears a t shirt and long skirt

Our kayaking guides were a Fijian local, Semi, and a hilariously good-fun Canadian, Russell. I’d decided I needed to send them a gift each after the trip and set about making them a kayaking Metro T each.
group of people stand on the beach

Semi knew everything about the local area, the islands, the villages, the tides, everything. He quietly steered us through the island chain, spotting turtles and picking the best beaches for lunch. Out at sea, he wore a hat that his mum had made for him that was woven from coconut palm fronds. Somehow it stayed on his head even when the wind picked up and the sea got choppy. I was quite in awe of that hat, and had Semi’s mum run workshops in hat weaving I would have been signed up already. I made Semi a Metro T and cut and fused a stencil to represent his awesome hat.
blue pocket logo of a straw hat on a darker blue shirt

In contrast to Semi’s quiet efficiency, Russell was everything else. We discovered he could do pretty much everything so long as it was adventurous, barely a good idea, and guaranteed to raise a smile. In the eyes of the kids (and us adults if I’m honest) he was too awesome for words. At least, that was, until the last night’s dinner where dessert (a tinned pear on a biscuit) was meant to be served with whipped cream. And it turned out that Russell couldn’t whip cream. In his defence he didn’t have a whisk, let alone an electric beater, but that didn’t stop us from ribbing him about his failure as a guide and host.

So, Russell’s metro T has a white water kayaker with an egg beater instead of a paddle! Lest he forget he couldn’t “whip it”. I added a self-drafted hood to his long-sleeved T as when he was paddling he wore a hood to keep the sun off his neck and a baseball cap to shade his face.
green hooded, long-sleeve t shirt

The last bit of sewing happened after we’d got home, and it’s currently wrapped and under the Christmas tree… the Fijian word “Bula” is an all-purpose greeting. It’s said with a friendly enthusiasm that’s infectious. We also heard Bula used to describe a party shirt. The colourful, printed “good” shirt that would be worn to a Kava ceremony or a Lovo feast. On our last day in Fiji, I popped into a market and bought a cut of fabric to make my husband a Christmas Bula shirt
black and white print short-sleeve men's dress shirt
This will join his growing collection of short-sleeved, straight-hemmed All Day Shirts. It’s quite a quick sew without the sleeve cuffs and there’s a blog post showing the short sleeve modification.

From our family to yours: Here’s wishing you a happy holiday season, whatever that may be.
family wearing swim gear and hats kayaks in the ocean

Thank you Shelley for sharing your Fiji holiday with us!  I hadn’t thought of using the metro t-shirt or Wynwood shorts patterns for swimwear, and I’m inspired to look at how to use my Liesl + Co patterns in new ways in the coming year.  Where are you wearing your me-made garments?  Tag us on Instagram #lieslandco; we love to see what you’ve made and how you’re wearing it!


Labels: , , , , ,


  1. Teresa

    This is awesome,! Thanks for sharing

    1. You’re welcome Teresa, it was a fabulous holiday!

  2. You are incredible, Shelley. All those beautiful clothes! By the looks of it it seems to have been a fantastic holiday.

  3. Deeni

    I love everything about this!! The sewing, the adventure, the humor – thank you for sharing your holiday, and for all the inspiration it brings!

Post a comment