The pandemic and onslaught of anti-blackness and police brutality continue to take its toll, but I am finding the strength to press on and do what I can. One of the ways I am able to show up for myself and therein for others, is to find little moments to practice self-care. This includes a gratitude practice and various activities that help me stay grounded and calm.

I am thankful to be in good health and to have sewing as a creative outlet that keeps me sane at a time when many ‘isms continue to weigh us down, all while doing our best to survive through a pandemic. Whenever I get a chance, I pick up and complete an unfinished project, or go into my fabric stash to work on something that will ease my mind.

Project Inspiration

Anderson .Paak’s discography has been in heavy rotation as of late. I have relied on Paak’s albums for a quick mood booster in the morning, a quick dance break between zoom meetings, or a pleasant segue from working at my coffee-table to sewing at my kitchen table. I can’t help but groove a little when I queue up “Am I Wrong,” to get my spirits up and prepare for a sewing session.

.Paak’s second album, Malibu is an amazing work of art, and might be my favorite .Paak album to date. Though the album was released in the winter of 2016, the album encapsulates summer goodness.

I was not only inspired by the album, but by the artist. .Paak rocks a mean matching set! To me, .Paak’s matching sets exemplify what I want out of a summer outfit. Often accompanied by a bucket hat, his sets are often bright and multicolored with psychedelic streaming prints.

Matching Shirt and Short Set

I bought this fabric last winter with SoCal summertime birthday vibes swimming in my head. I imagined making a jumpsuit that I would wear in Palm Springs or Venice Beach. Something that would fare well in warm temperatures. I decided to pivot and go with a matching set instead.

The matching set all its own is a simple garment to construct. But its the print, pattern, and texture can elevate something simple and plain into something fun, lively and dynamic. I tried to achieve the latter with these garments.

Front view of coral colored matching shirt and short set

I purchased coral colored Poplin from Mood Fabrics. The print features cute cartoon depictions of  trailers, palm trees, and ice cream. A great print and color for the summer months. At the time, I could not find a pattern that provided the length I wanted in a button down shirt so I modified Simplicity’s 1203 pattern to achieve the look.

Simplicity Pattern Packet for 1203 Misses' and Women's Sportswear Pattern

Instead of cutting out two different pieces for the button down view B, I taped the two pattern pieces together to make one long shirt pattern. Since I extended the length of the shirt by doing this, I also had to mark additional button holes in the placket so that the bottom part of my shirt didn’t just wave in the wind. I wanted the button down shirt, to be a true button down. The pattern instructions are straightforward, something I expected and appreciated from Simplicity.

The Finished Product

I appreciate how crisp the edges are, how the collar has just the right amount of firmness for me to pop it up, whenever I deem it necessary to do so.

I am excited to wear both pieces together as a set or rock them on their own. Though I may not be able to wear them with my SoCal loved ones, I will wear them whenever I long for some SoCal summertime goodness.

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