By this time of the year, Southern California is usually clothed in a slew of warm heat broken only by the occasional breeze. But the evenings are cool. Sometimes even a little cold. Yet, in my first year of living in Southern California, there have been endless rain and thunderstorms.
Even as June comes to an end, it seems the gray skies will continue to linger on. It has been so for the past three months. Not just patches of gray skies, but a complete blanket that extends as far as the eye can see.
I keep saying, “It’s cloudy with a chance of meatballs!” Except the meatballs never come.
Only cloudy skies.
Today, those cloudy skies actually turned into a few hours of lovely, pouring rain. Now that the rain has stopped, the sun is finally out, full and bright. I bet there is a rainbow somewhere, too.
I sit at my dining table writing this in front of the open window. The oven clock blinks 6:30 PM. The fountain on the ground floor below replays the sounds of the rain as though it were a recording. Birds chirp excitingly in the trees above.
The sun sits low behind me. But I can see its reflection on the window of the apartment across the walkway. The skies micmic its warmth, lit in its entirety with an orange glow.
It gives me lazy, summer day vibes. I wish you could see it.
Inspiration Behind the Two-Piece Set
This two-piece matching loungewear set was inspired by such lazy summer days. The base pattern is a simple combination of a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. But a few little details make this two-piece set more than just a t-shirt and pair of shorts.
I like to incorporate small details that add a little flair to each piece of garment I make. The top has a boxy shape, but a small knot on the front adds definition at the waistline. Likewise, the hem of the shorts curve up at the front of each leg. The curved hem lends a flirty vibe to the shorts. Lastly, the white binding at the bottom hem of both the shirt and shorts provide a break against the gray background of this matching two-piece set.
As a two-piece set, each piece can be worn together or separately. When I’m out and about, I like to dress up the top by pairing it with high waisted shorts or jeans. A pair of heels completes the look effortlessly!
Choose a Sturdy, Stretch Knit Fabric
What do you see yourself doing a lot in this matching two-piece set? Maybe sitting in it all day? Or moving around a lot? Regardless, this two-piece lounge set was made to be lounged around in.
I chose a stretch knit fabric that offered both structure and comfort. The threads of the fabric are thick. I can tie the shirt and sit in the shorts all day without worrying this two-piece set will lose its shape. The thicker knit also provides enough structure without being transparent. It allows me to be comfortable at home without having to put on multiple layers. All at the same time, it is soft and cool against the skin.
That’s what I call, a matching, lounge set.
For this project, you’ll need the following sewing materials:
- 1 yard stretch and breathable fabric
- 2 yards 1/4 inch double folded bias tape (1/4 inch wide)
- Basic sewing tools
Create the pattern.
Trace out the t-shirt.
Create a boxy shape by increasing the width of the shirt by 1-2 inches.
Blend the sleeve right into the shoulder.
Connect the sides of the shirt to the sleeve using a slight curve. There will not be a separate pattern for the sleeve.
Create the knot. add seam allowance.
On the front, curve the hemline down towards the center. Snip up the center. Stop 1-2 inches above the hemline of the shirt. This will become the two tails of the knot.
Add 1/2 inch seam allowance to all raw edges.
Cut the pattern pieces.
Cut one piece of the front and back on fold.
Cut out 1-inch strips that will be used to band the raw edges. A total of three strips will be required: one neckband and two armbands. The neckband should be 1 inch shorter than the total circumference of the neck.
Sew the bodice together.
With right sides together, match up the front to the back. Sew along the shoulders and sides.
Band the raw edges.
Take the 1-inch bands. Sew the ends of each band together.
Fold the band in half lengthwise. Attach and sew the folded band to the raw edges of the neckline and armholes. Remember that the neckband is shorter than the actual neckline. So stretch the neckband slightly while sewing.
For a clean finish, fold the seam allowance towards the shirt. Topstitch 1/8 inch from the seam.
Finish the raw edges.
Attach the double-folded bias tape.
Open up the double-folded bias tape completely. With right sides together, line the shorter fold of the bias tape against the edge of the shirt. Sew along the first folded line. Try not to stretch the shirt while sewing.
Pay special attention to the corner.
The corners of the tails can be tricky to cover with the double-folded bias tape. But with a little bit of work, it is possible to have a flat bias tape at the corners!
When you reach the bottom of each tail, stop a quarter inch above the tip.
Pivot at the corner. Bring the bias tape down. Smooth out everything under and around it. Continue to sew along the fold line.
When you reach the inner corner between the tails, pull the remaining tail towards you. This will pull the corner into a straight line. Sew along as normal. Try to catch this inner corner with the thread.
Sandwich the raw edge inside the bias tape.
Sew almost all around the hemline. Stop 1 inch before the end. Do not finish sewing the bias tape yet.
Fold the first end of the bias tape up towards you. Line up this fold with the side seam. Remove any stitches if necessary to fold the first end of the bias tape up.
Lay the second end of the bias tape over the first end. Sew right over the first end of the bias tape
Inspect the new seam between the bias tape and the hemline. Remove any extra fabric that is peeking behind the bias tape. This will reduce bulging inside the bias tape when the raw edge has been sandwiched inside the bias tape. This is especially crucial along the end of the tails.
Following the original fold lines, fold the bias tape up, and then once and twice on itself over to the wrong side of the shirt. The raw edge should now be encased in the bias tape. Sew inside the first folded line.
At the end of the tail, fold the bias tape in on itself. If it’s easier, hand-sew this part in place.
Pivot at the end of the tail and straighten out the inner corner just like before. Make sure to smooth out the fabric and catch both sides of the bias tape while sewing.
Add definition to the bowtie.
With right sides together, fold the front in half.
Following the vertical line of the center fold, sew a straight line down the bias tape. This will create a smooth inverted “V” between the tails.