Each May, Spoonflower employees have the option to participate in Me Made May and create a garment. This year, participants had four new substrates to choose from: Cotton Silk, Essex Linen, Seersucker and Sport Stretch Woven! Choosing what substrate, garment and design to use is not only a fun challenge, but it also means time to share sewing skills, knowledge and ideas with coworkers. Since it’s about to heat up in the Northern hemisphere, here are some of our employees’ newest additions to their summer wardrobes. Keep reading to learn all about what they chose, what they modified and what they learned. You might just discover your new favorite sewing pattern and Spoonflower design along the way!

Dresses

What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? I absolutely love Belgian LinenTM for home decor and am thrilled to now have a lighter cotton-linen blend too. Essex Linen has such a natural feel to it and will be a such a go-to to wear during hot North Carolina summers! Sewing with it was lovely—it’s structured enough to be easy to work with, yet light enough to be malleable. The dress I sewed is full of gathers, which Essex Linen worked really well for. 

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? The design is from one of my favorite Spoonflower artists, Roberta of apostrofodesign. Many of her designs are inspired by different print techniques, such as block printing, and she strikes an incredible balance between organic and colorful. For this design, I loved the specific shade of blue and its textural look. 

Did you make any pattern modifications? The Box Top from the book “How to Sew Clothes” was really the building block. Then I followed directions for suggested hacks to turn the top into a gathered dress by 1) adding sleeves and 2) adding an extended ruffle to make it a dress. This pattern was perfect for a beginner sewist (me!). It gave me so much confidence by starting with something simple and extended a lot of freedom through building upon a simple base. 

Katherine wears her finished garment and stands in a yard full of green grass. Green bushes are behind her. The dress is in a design featured blue flowers growing up and through a white background.
A close up of one of the sleeves of Katherine's dress. The dress is in a design featured blue flowers growing up and through a white background.


What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? I was excited to make something with our new Essex Linen. I don’t think I’ve ever made a garment with linen before, and I wanted to come up with something summery and fun to showcase this great new Spoonflower fabric. 

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? I searched for vases on Spoonflower—not sure why. The bright, fun color combo of house_of_may’s design Vases III caught my eye and that was that! 

Did you make any pattern modifications? I got about 90% done with my original garment, an Elodie Wrap Dress, and realized the linen was a bit too structured for the bodice of this dress. I took it apart, finished the skirt with a waistband and ties, and pivoted to a 2-piece look with a simple tank for the top. I chose the Ashton Top from Helen’s Closet to make that happen, and it’s the perfect choice for my new vision. 

Sarah wears a tank top with a matching skirt with a wrap belt. She is sitting on and in front of a light purple background. Her left hand is down on the ground behind her and her left wrist rests on top of her head, with a toy plastic white, purple and pink flower in her hand. Yellow, blue, purple and pink flowers on long green stems are on the floor around her. The design on her outfit features light yellow vase on a mint green background.
Sarah wears a tank top with a matching skirt with a wrap belt. She is in front of a light purple background. She is holding yellow, blue, purple and pink flowers on long green stems in her right hand held down by her side. The design on her outfit features light yellow vase on a mint green background. The image is a close up of the mid-section of the dress.


What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? As a grandmillennial fan girl, Seersucker has stolen my heart! I love how the subtle texture adds dimension for an extra touch. Pressing seams and ironing it was a breeze, and I was super impressed as I sewed with this crisp, high-quality fabric.

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? I think Claude Monet said it best when he said, “I must have flowers, always and always.” Wildflower Stripe – Gray Blue by k_hackl first caught my eye in our Summer 2023 Lookbook, where it was used to wallpaper an entryway. I love the block-printed nature of the flowers and the simple wave of the dotted lines. This design truly speaks to my combined style interests of grandmillennial and Japandi Farmhouse. 

Did you learn anything new for this project? I certainly learned a lot while making this dress. It’s the third garment I’ve sewn, so I’m still a beginner. I learned the value of a basting stitch to make the gathers (something I hadn’t done before)—it’s not just a regular ol’ stitch! Thankfully the pattern maker, Sydney Graham, has extremely helpful tutorial videos on her YouTube channel, which share all of her tips and tricks for the Syd Tie Top and Dress. The only alteration I made was shortening the sleeves. A special shoutout to Aimee at @sewing.something.pretty for her advice after I saw her short-sleeved version on Instagram

Katie is looking to the right and smiling. She is wearing a gray dress with small white flowers. She is on and in front of a white background with white and yellow flowers on green stems at her feet, and holds a sprig of large white flowers in her hands in her lap. Her feet are on a small round footstool.
A close up of Katie, who is wearing a gray dress with small white flowers. Her hands are held at her waist and hold a spring of small white flowers on long green stems. The photo shows her neck down to her waist to highlight the two bows tied at the top of the dress.


What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? I chose Essex Linen—I was excited to see how it draped, and I love the texture of linen! 

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? Since I chose a maxi dress I wanted to pair it with a large-scale print, and these sunrise swans in AURORA SWAN SUNRISE – Peach Fuzz  by holli_zollinger were just right! I tend to wear a lot of greens and purples, so this color combination really spoke to me.  

Did you make any pattern modifications? This is a pattern I’ve made before but this time I went with a longer sleeve. No new skills learned here, but if you have a method you love for how to quickly turn fabric tubes inside out (like I did here for the waist ties) please share it with me in the comments—that part took forever! 

Theresa is wearing a long wrap dress with elbow-length sleeves and standing on and in front of a light purple background. She is holding a plastic toy purple flower on a long green stem up to her nose and in her right hand. On a small white stool in front of her to the left is a small yellow vase full of plastic toy flowers in yellow, white, purple and blue. The fabric features large peach swans with purple accents against a mustard yellow background.
Theresa is wearing a long wrap dress with elbow-length sleeves and standing on and in front of a light purple background. The fabric features large peach swans with purple accents against a mustard yellow background. Both of her hands are held down to her sides. The image is a close up of the mid-section of the dress, which features a wrap belt.


What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? Essex Linen. I wanted a durable fabric for my first Me Made May! I’m not a sewist really, but I found a great no-sew tutorial on YouTube by The SILEM. The idea of wearing a cute dress I made out on the town this summer made me swoon. Plus, Essex Linen doesn’t wrinkle easily and holds up against my clumsy self! 

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? I loved that it seemed easy! I’ve never made my own clothing before, so I needed to take baby steps. And while even this was a challenge for me, I really liked the design of the handkerchief dress—especially with summer coming up.

Did you make any pattern modifications? I have a short torso but am long legged, so I changed the neckline to be a halter to adjust for my torso. I’m so thrilled to have a me-made dress in my closet!  

Stephanie's handkerchief dress is on a white hanger that is hung up against a black dresser. A thin dark brown belt has been wrapped multiple times around the dress's waist. The fabric design features bright orange poppies growing on dark blue stems on a white background with gray flecks.
A close up of Stephanie's handkerchief dress. A thin dark brown belt is around the dress's waist. The fabric design features bright orange poppies growing on dark blue stems on a white background with gray flecks.


What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? I picked Cotton Silk because it has the best features of the two fibers. It’s luxurious, smooth and has the lovely subtle shine of silk, while being just as easy to sew as cotton. 

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? I’ve been seeing a lot of vintage botanical prints in spring-summer 2024 trends, and I’ve been feeling particularly inspired by dresses from the latest Agua Bendita collection that mix these vintage drawings with a graphic rectangular layout. I was looking for a Spoonflower design with these elements and fell in love with the watercolor effect of Botanica Jade by vk_studio. I was tempted by the indigo colorway, but I’ve been leaning more and more toward greens lately. I went with jade instead and it looks stunning with the sheen of the Cotton Silk. 

As for the pattern, the Charlie Caftan is so good for summer. It’s loose fitting enough to be comfortable in the heat and I like that this version can be cinched in with the ties. It’s a simple design that’s quick to make but there are so many lovely details, like the V neckline and the slits on the side. 

Did you make any pattern modifications? I didn’t make any modifications except for grading between sizes and lengthening the pattern for my height. 

Camille is wearing a caftan dress and looking down to the right. The fabric design features small sage green flowers on a cream background. She stands in front of a white background with white and yellow flowers on green stems at her feet, and a spring of small white flowers in her right hand.
Camille is looking at the camera and wearing a caftan dress while sitting in a brown chair. The fabric design features small sage green flowers on a cream background. She is in front of a white background with white and yellow flowers on green stems at her feet, and holds a sprig of small white flowers in her hands in her lap. Several small wooden crates are stacked to the right, with several stems of large flowers on top of them.


What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? I love seersucker in general, so I’ve been intrigued to see how this fabric type would interact with our printing processes. Plus, I just wanted something super light and airy for summer! This fabric was so easy to work with. It stayed in place without a ton of clipping, the color looks lovely and the hand feel is soft and flexible.

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? I was first turned on to athomewithashley’s designs through our collaboration with The Home Edit. I love a good rainbow! The gingham has such a classic spring vibe that I knew it would pair well with the breeziness of Seersucker.  

Did you learn anything new for this project? I learned to shirr for this pattern! When I first selected the Carter Dress, I watched a couple videos to see if I wanted to take on a new skill. Once I actually got into it, though, it was a much more fussy skill than I anticipated. After several more videos, tutorials and Reddit triage, I was finally rockin’ and rollin’ on the shirring. It turned out really well, so I’m glad I stuck with it! 

Megan is leaning up against the back of a light gray chair. She is smiling and standing in front a light blue background. Her right hand is on her hip. Her left arm is held up in the air. She is wearing a short-sleeved dress with a shirred middle. The fabric design features a pastel gingham with stripes in orange, blue, green and pink on a white background.
Megan has her back to the camera and her face turned to the left. She is standing in front a light blue background. Her hands are held out to the sides of her hips. She is wearing a short-sleeved dress with a shirred middle. The fabric design is a pastel gingham with stripes in orange, blue, green and pink on a white background.


Skirts

What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? I chose Cotton Silk. I chose the skirt pattern first, and knew this fabric would be flowy and silky, making for a great lightweight skirt that would work for spring and summer. 

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? I’ve really been loving sage green lately and went searching for a pastel floral option that would work for a skirt. I found Sage, Sketchy Boho Floral by lr-studio, a beautiful daisy-like design that felt almost nostalgic. I immediately knew it would be a perfect choice for a summery skirt. 

Did you make any pattern modifications? One thing that I didn’t take into account when I chose the fabric and sewing pattern was how wide each skirt piece would need to be to accommodate all the pleats. I learned quickly that the skirt pieces needed to be cut vertically down the length of the fabric, as the pieces were wider than the width of the fabric. Fortunately, the design I chose worked in either direction. However, if I choose to make this again, I’ll just need to make sure not to choose a directional design. 

Kelley wears a gray pleated skirt with repeating white daises that have yellow centers. She is also wearing a white short-sleeved shirt and brown sandals. White and yellow flowers on green stems are at her feet. Her left hand is down by her side, slightly holding out her skirt. In her hands she is holding small white flowers on long green stems and a bunch of dried cream-colored long grass. She is standing in front a white background. Several small wooden crates are stacked to the right, with several stems of large flowers on top of them.
Kelley is shown from the torso down and wears a gray pleated skirt with repeating white daises that have yellow centers. She is also wearing a white short-sleeved shirt and brown sandals. White and yellow flowers on green stems are at her feet. In her hands, which are held behind her back, she holds small white flowers on long green stems and a bunch of dried cream-colored long grass. She is standing in front a white background.


What substrates did you choose and what was your experience sewing with them? I chose Seersucker because summers are quite hot here in North Carolina. I wanted an airy substrate and Seersucker delivered! I also chose Cotton Spandex Jersey because of its 4-way stretch. I’d never sewn with puckered fabric before, but the Seersucker easily zoomed through my machine. And CSJ is perhaps my new favorite of our knit fabrics. (Although to be fair, my favorite substrates of ours tend to be the last one I sewed with!) 

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? I loved the cut-out paper aspect of this hitomikimura design so much! It was very hard to choose a colorway (there are 24!), but I went with Lime because it’s so cheery and bright. The pink roselindmaroneyillustration birdies reminded me of watching flocks of birds fly across the sky and how it’s always the most delicious delight.   

Did you learn anything new for these projects? For the Seersucker pocket skirt, I watched this Sew Happy sew along. I find being able to watch how things are laid out and then sewn, especially when they’re new to me, like this pocket construction, invaluably helpful. Knowing that often I can search for a garment’s name and find posts and videos that walk me through their construction has definitely made me a more confident sewist!  

I also made the Atrax Top by Muna and Broad in CSJ after seeing a similar top in Leila Kelleher’s apparel picks post. Its center-back seam and funnel neck were both fun new construction elements to try out. 

Betsy wears a sleeveless pink shirt with white birds flying to the left and a lime green-and-white skirt. She is also wearing red shoes and holding half of a sliced orange in each hand. To her left are several brightly colored tall lampshades stacked together. To her right is a turquoise gooseneck lamp. She is on and in front of a light purple background.
Betsy wears a sleeveless pink shirt with white birds flying to the left and a lime green-and-white skirt. She is holding bulky light blue yarn, which she's knitting on wooden needles. She's holding the yarn in a large skirt pocket by her hip on the left. She is on and in front of a light purple background.


Tops

What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? Fun fact: Spoonflower had Cotton Silk once before, in the early years and it was one of my faves!! I was so excited to see the return of this beautiful cotton and silk blend. It is breathable and comfortable, with the most lovely drape and sheen. I am obsessed!  

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? This design by bound_textiles is the perfect large-scale floral in bright colors for spring and summer. The mix of palette and design style made it catch my eye. The colors also play nicely with my favorite jeans! 

Additionally, the Cielo Top is a great choice for Cotton Silk and a larger-scale print. I love a statement sleeve! This will be a great top to wear to Spoonflower events in the future and around the office. 

Nicole wears jeans and a long-sleeved top with billowy sleeves. The pattern on the fabric is large white flowers with burgundy and orange centers. Small purple and yellow flowers are also dotted against the dark turquoise background. She is standing in front of a light purple background. Her left hand is on her hip and her right hand is holding the blue receiver of a vintage rotary phone to her right ear.
Nicole holds her left hand up and out and stands in front of a light purple background. She is wearing jeans and a long-sleeved top with billowy sleeves. The pattern on the fabric is large white flowers with burgundy and orange centers. Small purple and yellow flowers are also dotted against the dark turquoise background.


What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? Cotton Silk. I’d never sewn with a silk blend (normally I stick to knit fabrics) and was interested to see how easy it would be to sew. I’m a novice (don’t look too closely at the shirt) but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to work with. It was a bit slippery, but nothing a few pins couldn’t fix, and the fabric was still very soft despite being printed with a black design. (Note: Due to our unique printing process, darker designs on some natural substrates can feel stiffer. However, after several washes, your fabric will loosen up and become softer over time.) 

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? I’ve been eyeballing those cats in various colorways for months, and this was finally the opportunity to pull the trigger. My daughter has so many great animal shirts—I’m just trying to catch up with her, the tiny style icon. 

Did you learn anything new for this project? I got to practice darts, and the Seamwork “how to” extra tutorials were so helpful for me. I still have yet to sew a hem that isn’t wiggly, but my darts and facing are pristine. 

Claire wears a short-sleeved black top with large orange-and-cream cats all over it and tan pants. Her left hand is in her pants pocket and her right hand is holding a black umbrella with a brown wooden handle. She is looking off to the left and standing in front a blue background.
Claire wears a short-sleeved black top with large orange-and-cream cats all over it and tan pants. Her left arm is bent and held up to her side and her right hand is bent and held up against her collar. She is laughing and looking down and standing in front a blue background.


What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? Organic Cotton Sateen is my favorite Spoonflower fabric for quilting projects. It has such a soft hand and because it prints at a wider width (56”) then Petal Signature Cotton® (42”), I knew it would suit my pattern better then a narrower fabric. 

What designs made the cut and what about it stood out? I felt inspired to make a rainbow ombre pattern with my quilt squares, but wanted something a little more muted and softer because it’s springtime. Holli Zollinger is a longtime favorite of mine, so of course a few of her designs were featured, but I had so much fun searching our site and using colorways to collect complimentary designs into the perfect collection. 

Did you learn anything new for this project? Oh my goodness, I learned so much! This was my first ever quilted garment and there was so much to explore and grow from. I was inspired by a Suzy Quilts quilt coat blog post and followed a lot of her guidance—mainly, I chose to go ahead and create a single pattern piece for the back of my coat like she recommended. If I do make another one (I’m already dreaming of a Halloween version) I think I’ll treat the sleeves differently and use a solid quilted fabric piece for them vs. piecing them together, which may help the sleeves lay a little better on this particular coat. 

Gina wears a long-sleeved quilted coat that goes down to her knees, along with jeans and black shoes. She is sitting on and in front of a white background with her hands held by her knees. Yellow and white flowers, also on long green stems, are strewn on the floor.
Gina wears a long-sleeved quilted coat that goes down to her knees, along with jeans and black shoes. In her right hand she's holding two yellow flowers with long green stems. Yellow and white flowers, also on long green stems, are strewn on the floor by her feet. She is standing on and in front of a white background.


Pants (and Outfits With Them!) 

What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? I was very excited to try out Cotton Silk, which is a luxurious addition to our lineup. It has a soft drape and texture that gives anything you are making an extra dose of fancy. I also used some Organic Cotton Sateen from my stash for the overskirt.  

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? I went looking for something soft and summery, and this large scale palm motif was it! The artist, juliaschumacher, has a beautiful collection of options. I also used a holli_zollinger design I already had because it matched perfectly. 

Did you make any pattern modifications? I made a full mockup with an old sheet to make sure the fit was right before cutting into my real fabric, but working with silk can be a little tricky because it behaves differently. Using a heavier interfacing helped keep a crisp edge in parts of the project that needed extra body (such as the collar or button plackets). 

Emily is wearing a vintage playsuit, that has a short-sleeved top, high-waisted shorts and an overskirt buttoned at the waist. She holding one side of the overskirt up with her left hand, her right arm is down at her side. She is also wearing white sandals and standing in front of a blue background.
Emily is wearing a vintage playsuit, that has a short-sleeved top, high-waisted shorts and an overskirt buttoned at the waist. She is also wearing a gray-and-yellow headscarf tied below her chin and white sunglasses. She is sitting on a light gray chair in front of a blue background.


What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? I picked Essex Linen because I love linen and linen blends for summer. It is a breathable fabric with a really nice drape! Sewing with Essex Linen was a dream. I made a few mistakes that I needed to seam rip and redo (curse you invisible zippers!), but the fabric didn’t warp or fray too much, so I was able to fix my mistakes with ease.

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? When I was looking for a design for my pants, I asked my coworker what design I should use. After I showed her the pants pattern, she told me she knew the perfect design—and she was right! The first thing that drew me to this design was the colors. I love the darker earth tones that were used in the pattern. I also love that the design looks like painted color blocks! 

Sydney is sitting on the floor and looking up at the camera and smiling. She is sitting on and standing in front of a light blue background. She is wearing a black short-sleeved top and wide leg pants made from a fabric design featuring burgundy, black, cream and terracotta patches. Her left hand is on the floor by her hip, in her right hand is holding the receiver of a vintage black rotary phone which is sitting by her right hip.
Sydney is standing in front of a light blue background. She is wearing a black short-sleeved top and wide leg pants made from a fabric design featuring burgundy, black, cream and terracotta patches. Her left hand is her pocket and her right foot is held slightly up.


Erin portrait

Erin 

Garment: Self-drafted outfit 

What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? I chose Essex Linen and absolutely loved sewing with it! I found it very easy to work with and was especially impressed by how little it wrinkles, especially after washing it prior to cutting and sewing. I loved the perfect balance of structure and drape that this fabric gives for apparel projects. 

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? I love holli_zollinger designs and I especially loved this one. It reminded me of Scandinavian type designs (my heritage), and the colors are great for my skin tone as well. 

Did you make any pattern modifications? I was originally going to sew a jumpsuit but decided to create a two-piece outfit instead—it still gives jumpsuit vibes but allows me to style it in so many more ways. I created the pattern myself. My favorite tip for self-drafted patterns is to leave larger amounts of seam allowance in case you need to alter it to be larger or smaller. 

Erin stands on a rocky riverbed in her two-piece outfit with the river flowing to her right. She is also wearing a black hat, tan platform heels and has her right hand on her hip. The outfit features high-waisted bell bottom pants and a halter top that ties in the front. The fabric design has rows of repeating rust-colored sunbursts outlined in black on a cream background.
A close up of the middle section of Erin's two-piece outfit. The outfit features high-waisted bell bottom pants and a halter top that ties in the front. The fabric design has rows of repeating rust-colored sunbursts outlined in black on a cream background.


What substrate did you choose and what was your experience sewing with it? Seersucker. I really wanted a lightweight cotton fabric that had texture to it! Once I got my machine threaded correctly (ha!) it stitched up great. I ended up using a Microtex needle on my sewing machine and on a serger, and both worked well. 

What design made the cut and what about it stood out? I knew I wanted a colorful floral ditsy print with either blue or green as a main color—so I started there! I made a collection of all the designs I liked before picking the final one by schatzibrown. Even though it has a lot of colors, it’s also subtle, which I liked a lot. I didn’t want it to overwhelm the garment either, so it was a tricky balance. 

Did you learn anything new for this project or make any pattern modifications? Yes and yes! This pattern was my first time doing an elastic casing which sounded a lot scarier than it ended up being. It was also my first time doing a jumpsuit in a woven fabric, and now I want to make a million of them. I had to modify quite a bit; I ended up taking out 1.5″ from the top of the pants and almost 2″ from the bottom, shortening the pant by about 3.5″ overall. 

Alexis is standing in front of a light purple background, knitting with bulky light blue yarn on wooden needles with a blue vintage phone receiver held in the crook of her neck on the right side. She is wearing a capri jumpsuit in a ditsy design with small red, orange, blue and pink flowers and black sandals.
Alexis is standing with her back to the camera, with her left hand on her hip and her right hand down at her side. She is wearing a jumpsuit with a low-cut back in a ditsy design with small red, orange, blue and pink flowers. She stands in front of a light purple background.


Want to Meet Our 4 Newest Fabrics?

Say hello to Cotton Silk, Essex Linen, Seersucker and Sport Stretch Woven and dream up your next apparel project!
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