Pregnancy Tips and Tricks from a Total Novice

I finally announced my pregnancy on social media {and in What I was lovin’ last month} so cat’s out of the bag! 😉

I’m now more than half way through this pregnancy and fast approaching my third trimester. I’ve been reflecting a lot on what has gone well so far, what I’ve discovered, and what I have found immensely helpful.

On that note {and the fact that I have found reading about the experience of other moms-to-be oh-so-comforting}, I have decided to share some tips and tricks with you!

*Disclaimer: This is my first pregnancy and I am very far from what anyone would call an “expert” so please take all advice with a grain of salt. Additionally, find a good doctor and remember that their advice trumps anything I [or anyone else] can tell you! 😉

Lessons to Learn

aka: What money can’t buy you

Just a few things I have learned (or am learning) along the way.

1. Slow down

Good gracious that first trimester was exhausting! {I can only imagine what the 3rd trimester…or the rest of my life chasing a tiny human around will be like.}

Forgive yourself when you can’t get everything on your to-do list done. Take some time to rest… nap if your body wants to! I hear you can’t get a lot of those after the little one arrives so soak it up.

I knew I wanted to sew something for the announcement and I finally settled on a pair of shoes in some coveted Liberty of London fabric. I had sewn the pattern before {see them in this post} which was comforting during a time when I wasn’t sure I’d have the energy to tackle something unfamiliar. I worked on the shoes little-by-little for several weeks {I wasn’t in any rush to share the news 😉 }. They turned out beautiful and I felt really great after finishing them.

Slowing down and taking the pressure off of myself was what I needed.

2. Find a friend who recently had a kid

Gold mine! The experience is fresh for them so they can answer all of your questions. Additionally, they’re going through baby clothes like hot cakes so they can hand-me-down more relevant clothes (rather than dusty bins from their attic). Bonus: If they’re similar to your size, they might be willing to share maternity clothes with you!

My sister (right) and I at her baby shower in January 2017.

My sister just had her baby in February. Regardless, I knew she’d be super supportive, but she’s also been an amazing resource!

Almost every time I see her, she has a bag of clothes or accessories that baby Guy has outgrown and is ready to share with his cousin. I really appreciate this – baby stuff is endless and can become a real bummer when you start to realize how short of a time the things you’re buying will be used.

If you’re already a mama – share the love! Pass along your maternity clothes, baby clothes/accessories & all that random equipment they require.

3. Do some meal prep

Start thinking of freezer-friendly meals. I have heard stocking your freezer with some easy-to-pop-in-the-oven meals for postpartum is a good idea. I plan to compile a few in the month or so before my due date.

Here are a few posts I found with vegetarian-friendly freezer meal ideas:

If you’re short on freezer space, dry-ingredient jar mixes like Spicy Three-Bean SoupChili Mix , Pleasing Pasta Soup (sub veg bouillon for vegetarian version) would also be good time savers. And this cheerio snack mix would be a good idea beside your nursing chair.

Here are 101+ meals in a jar recipes you can browse!

4. Switch sides of the bed

At the beginning of my pregnancy, the nurse recommended that I start trying to sleep on my left side (this seems to be more important further along in your pregnancy). When I mentioned it to my doctor she asked whether I slept facing inward or outward. Then she quoted a study that said regardless of which side of the bed you are physically sleeping on, if you typically face inward you will continue to do that or if you typically face outward you will continue to sleep in that position. So, figure out which side of the bed would allow you to continue to sleep facing the direction you prefer (in or out) while laying on your left side. Switch with your partner if necessary – I promise the adjustment isn’t so bad!

Things to invest in

aka: What money can buy you

There are a few things I’ve purchased and/or [mostly] been gifted/hand-me-down’d that have made pregnancy much more comfortable. Below are a few of those.

1. Body Pillow

This one on Amazon is similar to mine.

If you know someone who had a baby recently (or who holds onto things like this), they may have a pillow you could borrow. I have also seen several for sale on a local Facebook sales group {another great place to look for maternity & baby stuff since it’s where all the hip mamas hang out}. Most have removable, washable covers so if you can find a gently used one, that’s a good idea! I also got a coupon for one from my doctor after my first “I think I’m pregnant!” visit.

If you’re feeling up for it, you could even make your own – here’s a tutorial.

OR if you’re not loving the idea of investing in a weirdly shaped, very large pillow – you can build your own pillow fortress! This video from babycenter is a must-watch. It’s titled “How to sleep like a baby when you’re expecting one” and clearly the creators of the video totally get it. Honestly, even if you have a body pillow, watch it. It’s great if you’re traveling and don’t want to lug that heavy, awkward thing around with you.

2. Ginger Turmeric Tea from Trader Joe’s

 

Luckily I wasn’t very sick which I am very grateful for! But I had a lot of nausea in the first trimester. The Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea from Trader Joe’s was amazing – it usually bought me some extended time of feeling more normal/less nauseous.

In fact, when we traveled to Canada {and climbed Mount Royal!} I was 9-ish weeks pregnant and was SO happy I’d packed this tea! It came in handy in the morning and evening (and anytime in between if we were back at our flat).

I still have a bag or two in my lunch box, drawer at work, purse…anywhere I might find myself in a pinch and not feeling so hot.

3. Comfortable Nursing Bras

A well known fact that can be quite awkward: Your boobs grow a lot (pretty quickly) and they get quite heavy. Do yourself a favor and go ahead and buy a comfortable nursing bra – that way you can use it after the baby arrives!

This one from Motherhood Maternity is so great – I bought three immediately and am considering more (keep an eye out for their sales!). Since your breasts can be really tender, I found that soft cup (no wire) bras with back hooks (no sliding overhead) worked best. I was also told this particular bra can “grow with you” to accommodate multiple sizes as you fluctuate before and after baby.

4. Buy skin products from the baby section

I tried to research lotions that were safe to use during pregnancy and had little luck. One of the best hacks I’ve discovered is – when in doubt, purchase from the baby section. If it’s safe for an infant, it should be safe for pregnancy (at least in terms of lotions, body washes, sunscreen, etc.).

I’ve been using The Honest Company’s Face + Body Lotion in ultra-calming, dreamy lavender and I love it! It’s light and the scent is not too strong.

5. Body Oil

Whether or not it actually prevents stretch marks is still debatable, but why not make your stretched skin feel a little more luxurious? My sister gave me some Bio-Oil in the beginning that I used up pretty quickly. I really liked it!

Out of convenience, I bought Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Nourishing Body Oil and I love it! It’s packed in my gym bag and I use it daily. I will warn you that it’s quite messy! No matter how you try to contain the bottle, the oil still gets everywhere so be warned.

6. Pregnancy-friendly clothing

Go ahead and make yourself comfortable. Don’t bother squeezing into your pre-pregnancy clothes in hopes of avoiding the expense of maternity wear. Check out your local thrift stores, consignment shops, and online for gently used maternity clothes. Better yet – find a friend who’s just had a baby & is willing to let you borrow her stash (ask her to put her initials in any of the items she wants back so you don’t have to rely on #BabyBrain to remember what to return).

My sister and her friend gave me 2 bins of maternity clothes which was wonderful! Their pregnancies were a year ahead of mine but lined up seasonally. However, they both wear a lot of separates and I’m more of a one-piece (dress) gal. So, I have purchased a few things myself. My favorite: LuLaRoe’s Carly Dress! If you have a friend who sells LuLaRoe, ask if you can attend her next party to snag some super comfortable dresses (they usually have good deals at the in-home parties!) that will last you through your pregnancy and beyond.

{PS: If you want to see more LuLaRoe maternity-friendly styles, check out this post from See Kate Sew for Gugu Guru.}

In a LuLaRoe Carly Dress just a few weeks into my 2nd trimester – Swing dresses are your best friend!

I had high hopes of sewing my own dresses but that didn’t work out {have I mentioned growing a human is exhausting?}. If you still have the energy, here are some recommendations:

Resources to check out

aka: What to read that won’t make you paranoid

In the beginning of my pregnancy, I asked a few trusted mom-friends what books I should read. One of them gave me some really great advice: don’t try to read everything. There are a billion ways to parent and trying to read about them all can be overwhelming.

I have been pretty reserved on the books I’ve read {though my sister passed down a copy of Your Pregnancy Week by Week and I have enjoyed reading that}, but I have found loads of articles around the internet to be quite informative and helpful.

1. This post from Motherly about whether you’re ever really “ready” for a baby. Over the years, I’ve struggled a lot with feeling like I’m not ready (I still feel this way most of the time). Reading this post made me feel much better!

2. This is a really comprehensive, practical list of what to pack in your hospital bag – and it’s written by a Labor & Delivery Nurse!

3. I appreciate the honesty of this list – 10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Becoming a Parent.

4. Some of the smartest hacks I’ve found – 31 Incredibly Helpful Tips And Hacks For A New Baby.

5. A great list of 25 Things to Do Before Your Baby is Born.

6. I like to over-plan and over-prepare. It’s a weird and obsessive thing that brings me lots of comfort when I’m feeling anxious. While planning for a natural delivery is great, preparing for all possible outcomes is ideal (at least in my mind). This “Be Prepared Guide to C-Sections” is a good read for all moms-to-be.

I would LOVE to hear your tips & tricks for pregnancy and beyond. Share them in the comments! 🙂

*Disclaimer: Because pregnancy is exhausting and staging photos is quite a task, most of the photos included in this post are not mine. I have linked the original sources so if you click on the photo, you will be routed to the website I borrowed it from.
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What I’m Lovin’ in September

Perhaps we should call these “when Jordan remembers to post” posts instead of “monthly” 😉 I’m behind again, but here are a few things I’ve been lovin’ this September!

1. A big announcement!

I announced last month on social media, but have been delayed in announcing here {I blame it on the fact that my energy was completely zapped for that first trimester 😉 } – we’re expecting a baby girl in January! It’s our first baby and though the journey has been nerve-wracking, we’re thrilled.

PS: I made those booties {using the same pattern I used for the booties in this post} with some coveted Liberty of London fabric.

2.  hey, girl podcast

I am loving this podcast so.so.so much! I saw Laura Miller post about her interview on the hey, girl podcast and immediately downloaded it to listen to at the gym the following morning {look for episode 15 to hear Laura’s story}. Obviously it did not disappoint because I have now binge listened to the entire first season. If you have ever (or do currently) struggle with anxiety, depression, balancing self-care and life demands, etc. hey, girl is for you! With every episode, I feel like they are speaking directly to me. I love hearing about other women’s journeys.

3. Taking time for myself

With a baby on the way, I’m trying hard to slow.down. This was a good reminder.

4. Mr. Bunny is done!

When I started Mr. Bunny at QuiltCon in the spring, I didn’t know exactly what adventures were ahead of him. After sharing him with my quilt guild, they suggested submitting him in the upcoming two-color challenge [since he’s only one color: green]. The challenge entries will be displayed in an exhibit at our local library in the coming weeks.

This was my first wall-hanging and once he’s completed his time at the library, he’ll be hanging in a very special little girl’s nursery 🙂

5. This quote…

I saw this on Facebook and it hit me. Sometimes my anxiety can take over and make everything feel like an emergency. Truth is…it’s not! I’m trying to take this to heart.

I’m hoping to have more makes to share with you soon – I’m finally feeling more energetic and have been getting back to my sewing machine. I even took a free motion quilting workshop with my local guild last weekend – the wishbone pattern was my favorite!

One thing I whipped up recently was a changing pad – I didn’t take a picture, but here’s one I made previously. These are so easy to whip up as gifts – I used the tutorial in this post from Sew In Love {a great post to check out if you have any baby sewing to do!}.

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

What I’m Lovin’ this summer

Oops. I missed June’s what I’m lovin’ post so I’m combining it with July for a post packed full of summer lovin’!

Did you just start singing “Summer Nights” from Grease? Me too…

Ok now that we’ve got our singing out of the way, read on to see what I’ve been lovin’ this summer!

1. Kimberly of Straight Stitch Designs just released this free swing dress pattern that made it onto my summer sewing list!

I whipped up a version before vacation. I had to take it in a few inches after I finished but once I did I fell in love! I hemmed it [which I should not have & I don’t think Kimberly does] which made it too short for work but I’ve been wearing it steadily on the weekends 😉

I really like the gathers on the back – they add such a sweet touch. And the neckline is the same from her Montlake Tee pattern which I love!

2. This post with 3 Reasons Kids Should Never Open Gifts During Their Birthday Party. The author raises some really interesting points. I think this concept goes beyond children’s birthdays and could extend to baby/wedding/engagement showers too. I always feel so incredibly awkward opening gifts in front of people and I’ve been on the other end of that – feeling insecure about the gift I brought as the recipient opens all of the other far more fabulous gifts.

3. This beautiful post from Little Lamb Studio appropriately titled How Sewing Helped Me Find a Home in my Body.

The more I sewed for myself, the more time I spent unfazed by trends or the fast fashion market, the more myself I felt when I looked in the mirror. I would look at myself and see a girl whose clothes fit, a girl who could express herself, and a girl who had a million possibilities.” – Mary Ethel

Abby Glassenberg shared the article in her newsletter and my heart just exploded as I read it. Mary Ethel is a lovely writer and so perfectly captures why sewing your own garments can be so life changing.

4. becoming minimalist’s post To Declutter Any Room, Ask These Two Questions.

We just relocated my sewing room and in the process I gained work space but lost some storage. I knew I had a lot of sewing stuff but there’s nothing like moving it around to realize how very much I’ve collected (even since our recent move..). It was embarrassing! I started to pare down the fabric & sewing stuff during the transition. It was so tough!

Luckily I have a friend who appreciates fabric hand-me-downs so I was able to send some of my excess to a loving home.

I feel like I do a pretty decent job avoiding hoarder status in most aspects of our home, but when it comes to sewing and crafting I can’t say the same. After the first round of “paring down” [and filling 10 bags with fabric & other sewing/crafting supplies for donation], I put these 2 questions into practice. Very helpful!

5. This article about Toddler Grandma Style is so perfect. I found the post linked in Seamstress Erin‘s newsletter and loved it!

I feel like Toddler Grandma might accurately represent my style and certainly after reading the articledo feel like it “set me free”!

6. This Vegan Chilaquiles Recipe is super tasty and easy to prepare. A nice summer recipe!

We got tomatillos in our CSA basket early in July and I whipped up this recipe. I’ve never had chilaquiles and didn’t know what to expect. Upon tasting, the Hubs proclaimed they’re basically soggy chips but actually really delicious! This recipe will likely be on repeat this summer especially if the tomatillos keep coming through our CSA!

PS: CSA is “Community Supported Agriculture” – basically you buy a “share” from a local farmer to receive weekly boxes or baskets throughout the season. If you have the option in your area, give it a try! It’s a great opportunity to support a local farmer while receiving high quality, in-season produce. It’s also a great way to add variety to your diet – last year our farmer grew Jerusalem Artichokes which I had never even heard of. With a quick google I found an easy recipe & discovered I really liked them!

Find more information about CSAs here!

7. Homemade salsa

PSA: Trader Joe’s sells unsalted tortilla chips & they’re delicious!

Summer + homemade salsa go together, right? We got a giant bunch of teeny tomatoes (differing varieties, but cherry-sized) with our CSA recently and I used them to make this salsa recipe. Delicious!

I hope you’re all having a lovely summer! xoxo

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

Me-Made-May 2017: Week 5 recap and Final Reflections

It’s over! I made it. I can’t even believe it. I repeated a lot of outfits (shamelessly) and cheated a little with quilting or bags rather than clothes, but I feel like I fulfilled my pledge:

I, Jordan Slice-Metcalfe, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavor to wear, use, or accessorize with at least one thing I’ve made with my own two hands each day for the duration of May 2017.

I’m including the final 3 days in this post but the bulk of what I’m sharing are my reflections – what I learned this month. So keep reading beyond the pictures 😉

Day 29: Tammy’s Tulip Shorts

A repeat from Week 2.

I had plans of making another pair from a Lilly Pulitzer dress I thrifted {you can see it if you swipe to photos 2 & 3 in this post} but tragically I cut the legs the same rather than mirrored. I barely had enough fabric to get those cut so unfortunately those shorts are a bust.

  • Pattern: Ladies Tammy’s Tulip Shorts by Sew Caroline {affiliate link}
  • Fabric: donated from someone’s attic with self-made bias tape trim.
  • Blogged: not yet!

 

Day 30: a new Parkside Skirt

I made another Parkside Skirt from what was left of the crepe attic stash fabric (although I think I still have leftovers…this fabric haul was awesome. It’s lasted me so long!).

I wanted a “neutral” bottom for work. I don’t have a lot of tops but now I have more flexibility if I want to make some {because this skirt will go with anything!}

  • Pattern: Parkside Skirt by Sew Caroline {affiliate link}
  • Fabric: black crepe fabric donated to my stash
  • Blogged: not this particular version since it’s hot-off-the-sewing-machine, but you can read my thoughts on the pattern in this post!

 

Day 31: my refashioned Housedress

Another repeat from Week 1 & Week 3.

  • Pattern: no pattern – just an old house-dress taken in and hemmed.
  • Fabric: cotton
  • Blogged: here!

Me-Made-May/Sewing-related resources I’m lovin’ this week:

1. Christine Haynes’ tips for Perfecting the Travel Wardrobe in the latest Seamwork Mag issue – These are really great tips! The Hubs & I have a roadtrip to Canada planned in a few weeks and I’ve been mentally browsing my patterns trying to prioritize what I need to make for the trip.

2. From Becoming Minimalist – 3 Steps to End Closet Chaos – these are actually really great tips regardless of whether you have a handmade wardrobe or a ready-to-wear closet. I have clothes hidden all over my house that I know I should get rid of. I’m thinking of taking the plunge and dumping them all on my bed like the post recommends to force myself to purge.

 

#mmmay17 posts I’m lovin’ this week

Week 5 / FINAL Me-Made-May Reflections

This was my first year participating in Me-Made-May and it was quite a challenge! I started the month off worried that I’d run out of clothes to wear (which I quickly did). After a few moments of “oh no…what if I wear the same outfits again?” I realized 1) there was no way possible I wasn’t going to repeat outfits and 2) did it really matter? Clothes are meant to be worn more than once. That’s the point.

My major take-aways:

1. We should be proud to repeat outfits. 

I felt a bit insecure (particularly in the beginning) about the amount of times I repeated my handmade outfits this month. In a perfect world, I would have liked to have worn totally different outfits every.single.day. – but why?

I was worried that my “followers” would get bored if I didn’t share a variety of outfits. Why does that matter? It doesn’t…and shouldn’t. My life is not a TV show. In fact, it’s incredibly un-glamorous. I repeat outfits a lot.

At first I was ashamed, but then I started to reflect more and came around to the realization that repeating outfits is a good thing. It means that I really like the clothes I’ve spent hours making for myself – they make me feel good and I enjoy wearing them.

By the end of the month I felt like I was really being myself – being real. It felt like a badge to repeat my outfits and I was proud – proud that I have clothes I want to wear and proud that I actually wear what I make (vs. making impractical “unworns” or ill-fitting clothes).

2. I learned a lot about my style.

  • Separates for weekends, dresses for weekdays – I tried to incorporate some “separates” into my rotation {see Week 2} but quickly realized that those aren’t my favorites. I like wearing separates on the weekends, but for work I really prefer dresses. Now I know to focus on casual pieces if I’m making separates and dresses if I’m in need of work outfits.
  • I hate working with thin fabric – I had some really thin rayon spandex knit that I was working with at the end of Week 3 that reminded me of how much I hate thin fabric. That is also the reason I still have not finished my Darling Ranges dress – I was making it in voile and it was making me crazy. I’m not even sure I can tell you that I really enjoy wearing thin fabric (so perhaps it’s really not worth the headache).
  • If I like it, I’ll wear it a thousand times – I already admitted this, but it really came to light. I was not successful in “forcing” myself to wear handmade garments that I didn’t truly enjoy wearing. Proof: My sister brought me a bag of clothes I’d made for her (which were mostly first-drafts of patterns I’d later make for myself after adjusting the pattern). Despite my asking her if I could borrow them for “variety,” they never made it out of the bag she sent them in. I knew they didn’t fit me like they should and I would not enjoy wearing them so I didn’t try. Some people care about the variety of clothing they wear. Others like me care only about comfort. I can’t help it 😉
  • I really prefer uncomplicated patterns – There were tons of sewists sharing on the hashtag with some really impressive outfits. I realized that most of what I sew is very uncomplicated (which I already knew). I tend to steer clear of closures and patterns with lots of separate pieces requiring lots of additional seams to sew. I like the loose fit of garments without closures, but I also like that they do not take me any longer than they already do! I have limited time for sewing (and I’m very slow). Tackling a more complicated garment means I wouldn’t be able to create as much or as often and would likely become impatient and frustrated. Knowing this allows me to avoid purchasing patterns that may collect dust in my stash.

3. I am surrounded by really supportive people. 

Several people commented on my posts on Instagram, a friend sent me a text, and a few people told me in person how much they were enjoying seeing the posts each day.

Hearing this really made me feel so supported! Posting about myself every single day made me feel very self-absorbed. It was nice to hear at least a few people out there were enjoying them 😉

3. Me-Made-May is the perfect way to discover new patterns.

While browsing the hashtag this month, I found several patterns I’d not heard of. It was also neat to rediscover some I’d heard of, but had not seen “in action.”

4. I would participate again.

I really enjoyed being a part of Me-Made-May and now that I’ve taken the plunge and overcome my fears [mostly of outfit repeats], I’m willing to participate again! I’m excited to see how my handmade wardrobe will change from year-to-year.

This was truly a fun experience. It was very introspective and has given me confidence to love the clothes I’ve made {and not stress about how much I haven’t sewn yet}.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following along on my Me-Made-May journey! In case you missed them, you can catch up on the previous week’s recaps here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4.

Me-Made-May 2017: Week 4 recap

Now we’re really on the downward slide! The month of wearing me-mades is coming to a close.

Catch up on Me-Made-May recaps: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 – read on to see & hear all about what I wore for Week 4!

 

Day 22: my peachy Fen Dress

Trailer Stash Fabrics visited one of the Quilt Guild’s I’m a part of {see the adorable trailer here} and it was amazing! I’ve been admiring this mobile fabric shop for a while and was thrilled for the chance to check it out and shop in person.

I picked up The Dress Shirt pattern by Merchant & Mills along with three of the Essex Linen colorways: olive, blue & black. Y’all know from Week 2’s reflections that I’m trying to build more basics into my wardrobe and have been digging the “linen” looks. I can’t wait to give this pattern a try with some of my new fabric!

 

Day 23: my 1st Tank Dress

Repeat from Week 1.

 

Day 24: my 2nd Tank Dress

This is the 3rd time I’ve worn this dress this month – it’s a repeat from Week 1 & Week 3. I shared my feelings about this and my coffee spill in my post on Instagram.

 

Day 25: my 2nd Fen Dress

I’ve completely given in to the three’peats. I love the clothes I’ve made and I want to wear the ones I love most. So, I’m wearing this dress for the 3rd time this month because I love it {worn during Week 1 & Week 3}.

What I love most about this dress is the peek-a-boo vintage floral fabric detail ensuring this dress is the only dress in the world quite like it 😉

 

Day 26: a new Fen Dress!

Can you believe I have something new to wear?! I have been working on this dress for a few months. I ordered the woven fabric from Fabric Cadabra last fall in hopes of making a dress to wear to Anna Maria Horner‘s workshop {because this is from her Loominous Yarn Dyed fabric collection & I am nothing short of teacher’s pet – proof}, but that didn’t happen.

Originally I’d planned to make the entire dress from the woven design but I cut the bottom pieces wrong and instead used some leftover crepe from the attic donation {I wish I had a ton more of this fabric because it’s so easy to work with and has great drape. It’s probably my favorite from the attic stash}. I’m happy that little mistake happened because a full dress with the woven design would have been a little too much. I think it worked out 😉

  • PatternFen Dress by Fancy Tiger Crafts
  • Fabric: top – “Seedlings in Black” from Anna Maria Horner’s Loominous Yarn Dyes collection for Freespirit/Westminster Woven Fabric + bottom – black crepe donated to my stash from someone’s attic.
  • Blogged: not this one since it’s fresh-off-the-sewing-machine, but you can read about my other 2 Fen’s here!

 

Day 27: Hand-quilting

Cheat day! 😉

I made some hand-quilting progress on my Palmetto Modern Quilter’s Guild challenge project {due in June and since I’m the planner of the challenge I better get working!}.

We spend Saturdays visiting our local market and going for a long walk around town. It was a hot day so I wanted to wear some dry-fit shorts – they were RTW and I spent most of the walk reflecting on how much better my handmade shorts fit.. 😀

While quilting, Charlotte & I had the luxuriously air-conditioned view of the Hubs mowing the lawn 😉

  • Pattern: <> Quilt from Anna Graham’s Handmade Style book {Side note: This is one of the most-used sewing books I have – I’ve made several of the bags from it and love all of the projects. If you enjoy following Anna’s blog or if you’ve ever tried one of her patterns, you’ll love the book}.
  • Fabric: it’s all quilting cotton from my stash so my final quilt will look totally different than the crisp design in the book 😉
  • Blogged: not yet!

 

Day 28: Parkside Shorts

I love the Parkside Shorts because – pockets! I wore them on Sunday as a swimsuit cover-up to the lake with family.

  • Pattern: Parkside Shorts by Sew Caroline {affiliate link}
  • Fabric: fabric donated from someone’s attic – mostly a lightweight denim.
  • Blogged: here!

 

Me-Made-May/Sewing-related resources I’m lovin’ this week:

1. Tailor Made Shop is having a 2nd year anniversary sale {details here}! The Watson Bra is still on my sewing list. I have a kit that I picked up from Mercer’s Fabric while visiting Boston last year…but I’m totally considering buying another kit from Tailor Made!

PS: I’ve never purchased from Tailor Made, but I’ve heard great things and really like her blog!

2. This encouraging post about why experienced quilters should encourage and support the newbies. The insight in the article can really apply to any adventure. I posted it on my guild’s Facebook page and it got a lot of traction. Many of the more experienced quilters shared it which made me happy. I always feel so encouraged and supported by the members of both guilds I’m a part of – both of which contain far more experienced sewist than myself. I think it’s so important to encourage others – particularly on adventures in which you may be more experienced with 😉

 

#mmmay17 posts I’m lovin’ this week

 

Week 4 Reflections

This week has been mostly outfit repeats which has brought up a lot of feelings about clothing. Outfits are not meant to be disposable and there should be no shame in wearing them repeatedly.

I’m working to invest in higher quality fabric and material to better ensure my clothing will last (because clearly I love to wear my clothes a lot). It takes me HOURS that sometimes stretch over the course of a few weeks (..or months) to finish a garment. After all the time I spend making it, I expect to enjoy wearing it for a long time.

Having the skills to make my own clothing in styles and fabrics that I enjoy wearing is a true honor. I have spent A LOT of time building this skill over the years. I did not grow up sewing. This is something that I adopted as an adult. My stepmom showed me the basics of how to operate my initial machine, but after that I relied solely on tutorials I could find online. I’ve since taken a small handful of classes, but the blogosphere is still my go-to.

I say all of this because people tell me all the time “I wish I knew how to sew” or “I wish I had time to sew”…

  1. The former is a myth. You CAN sew. You can find a cheap machine (or ask around – I bet you know someone with a machine that’s been gathering dust that they’d be willing to let you have); you can find tutorials and videos online; and you can even reach out to your local fabric shops about classes or contact your local quilt guild to see if there are members who offer private lessons.
  2. The latter is so offensive. Please stop acting like because I sew I have WAY more time on my hands than you do. I assure you I do not. The sewing community is full of some incredible people who work incredibly hard. Many of us work full-time jobs away from our sewing machines and squeeze sewing time in on the weekends or evenings. I can’t speak for the parents out there, but there are loads in the sewing community and I know they’re wickedly busy balancing children, a family, and their sewing adventures. The bottom line is: If you love something, you will make time for it. And the fact is: We value different things. I spend my time sewing. And you spend your time doing whatever it is that you find valuable. I don’t judge your choice so please don’t pretend mine is inferior.

Are you participating in Me-Made-May? What are your reflections as this month comes to an end?

What I’m Lovin’ in May

Read on to hear all about what I’ve been lovin’ this month!

1. Me-Made-May

Have you noticed? The recaps have basically taken over the blog this month! 😉

In case you missed them, you can read my #MMMay17 recaps here: Week 1, Week 2Week 3 – stay tuned for Week 4!

2. Avocado Dye

Somehow I ran across the photo below from Ute on Instagram and fell head over heels for the hues created by Avocado dye.

Top to bottom: cotton gauze, linen, raw silk, raw silk 2x, stretch cotton. {source}

Ute recommends Rebecca Desnos’ eBook and I’ve since found a few other sources:

Have you ever used natural dyes? What was your experience like? Any tips?

My friend Shanika uses natural dyes quite often so I’m hoping maybe I can talk her into holding my hand for some avocado dyeing 😉

3. Trailer Stash Fabrics visited my local quilt guild!

A vintage trailer full of fabric, sewing notions & patterns is my idea of heaven. Gina and her trailer visited the Devine Quilters of SC (a local guild I’m a member of) for our May meeting. I purchased a new pattern and 3 colorways of Essex Linen along with some other sewing goodies – stay tuned for my Me-Made-May Week 4 recap to see what I got 😉

I wish I had more photos of the inside of the trailer – it was fabulous! You can read all about Trailer Stash Fabric here and follow along on Instagram here.

4. The ability to “hide” old embarrassing Instagram posts

I was an early adopter of Instagram so there are some photos from way back when that don’t necessarily mesh with my aesthetic now. I haven’t put this into practice yet {so if you want to see those embarrassing photos, better go search now 😉 }, but I’m planning to!

If you want to learn how to hide photos from your profile on Instagram without losing them forever, check out this post from Refinery 29.

5. The Hubs

He’s pretty cool! And this week we celebrated our 5th anniversary!

Five years later, I still don’t regret not having a wedding {read more about that in this post}. I know some people love all the pomp and circumstance [I’m lookin’ at you Mr. President!], but the idea of everyone staring at us during such an intimate moment makes my skin crawl.

Instead we’ve invested in experiences together. Traveling with your partner to a totally unfamiliar place is something I strongly recommend. Better yet, go somewhere that you can’t rely on your phone’s GPS to bail you out {like that time we got off the plane in London and the Hubs thought I had researched how we’d get from the airport to our airbnb…HAHAHA. Seriously not funny at the time, but it taught us a lot about we’d navigate tough situations together}.

low quality vacation selfie because formal photos are not our thing 😉

We’ve got a trip back to Canada planned next month so follow along on Instagram for road-trip photos!

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

Me-Made-May 2017: Week 3 recap

We’re on the home stretch! Week 3 of Me-Made-May has come and passed and now we’re on the downward slope of a month full of sporting me-made garments. I can’t believe I’ve made it this far 🙂

In case you missed it, you can catch up on Week 1’s recap here & Week 2’s recap here. Read on to see what I wore for Week 3!

 

Day 15: My 1st Out and About Dress

This is the first dress I ever made! The seams are kind of embarrassing. It was before I knew how to use a twin needle so it’s all zig-zag stitch which is fine, but I’m pretty sure I used a larger stitch than I should’ve and the thread is starting to show in spots and I’m always worried it’s going to “bust at the seams:\ Nonetheless, I still love it.

  • Pattern: Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline {affiliate link}
  • Fabric: fawn printed jersey knit from Girl Charlee {my colorway appears to be out of stock, but here are 2 similar prints: rose & aqua}
  • Blogged: here!

 

Day 16: My 2nd Out and About Dress

Variety is not a trait I’m known for so repeating patterns on back-to-back days happened a lot 😉

  • Pattern: Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline {affiliate link}
  • Fabric: a luxuriously soft mint colored knit I picked up at my local JoAnn’s
  • Blogged: here!

 

Day 17: Refashioned Housedress

My first repeat {from Week 1}! I have told y’all many times that this dress is one of my favorites…and it’s true. It’s so comfortable and I really do wear it almost weekly. #NoShame

I’m running out of steam for selfies (especially for repeats) so I shared a picture mostly of my pup Charlotte. She had surgery earlier in the week on her ear and recovery was rough. She’s doing much better now, but for a few days we were all kind of a wreck. The Hubs found her 8 years ago – she was in heat and appeared to have recently had puppies. I could go on and on about her, but I’ll just say: She’s the most amazing dog. ❤

 

Day 18: my 1st Fen Dress

Another repeat from Week 1! One of my projects launched this week so work has been a little crazy. It’s nice to be busy and it’s neat seeing something you’ve worked on so hard move out into the world. However, nothing ever goes as smoothly as planned. I needed my favorite outfits for comfort and reassurance which explains the repeats this week 😉

Also needed this week: yoga

 

Day 19: my 2nd Tank Dress

Another repeat from Week 1. It’s one of my favorite dresses. On this 2nd version, I moved the elastic casing on the back up to “petite-ify” it and it makes the fit just so much better!

Also, fun fact: My sister bought me this necklace when we were in high school. She got it from one of our favorite local shops that personalized everything which was all the rage in the suburbs where we grew up. I love it and still wear it almost every day. It’s so special and makes me think of her (and the sweet way she calls me “Jord“) every time I put it on.

  • Pattern: The Tank Dress by Sew Caroline {affiliate link}
  • Fabric: quilting cotton from my local JoAnn’s {I actually really love this pattern in quilting cotton}
  • Blogged: Not a stand-alone post, but it is a part of My most worn garments of 2016 list

 

Day 20: my navy blue Parkside Shorts

My friend Shanika just became a certified cycling instructor so I attended one of her spin classes with my friend Addie on Friday. I’ve forgotten how intense cycling is and I thought I would pass out several times (ha), but I loved it so much! I loved that my friend’s passion for this sweaty torture was contagious and that I had my other friend to my right willing to tell me stories about sewing and her latest research projects (and my new friend Jernell to my left who was singing along with every song which was pretty appropriate considering her latest podcast). They’re the coolest.

After class Shanika surprised me with a Lepidolite stone. It’s a great stone for anxiety and depression – something she knows I struggle with. My heart felt so happy that she thought of me and wanted to share her stone-love with me (and it’s really pretty!). She’s been talking all about stones on her podcast lately which I’ve been really enjoying – you can listen here!

  • Pattern: Parkside Shorts by Sew Caroline {affiliate link}
  • Fabric: some mystery fabric donated from someone’s attic. I don’t even know what to guess for it (I really need to learn more about substrates).
  • Blogged: not this specific version, but you can read my thoughts on the pattern in this post!

 

Day 21: sewing a Montlake Tee

Full disclosure: I spent the entire day indoors sewing {that’s what happens when the Hubs goes out of town} and did not wear anything cute or me-made. However, I did start sewing another Montlake Tee from some really thin, soft, super stretchy fabric that was kind of a nightmare to sew. My friend Addie reminded me about putting tissue paper under the fabric which helped some. I made it to the bottom hem before I ripped a hole in the shirt after it got stuck in my feed dogs. Then I chopped the hem off and it’s raw now (which I should’ve just gone with from the beginning to save myself the headache). I threw the shirt in time-out so I didn’t even try it on to see, but I’m afraid it may be a crop top now 😦

  • Pattern: Montlake Tee by Straight Stitch Designs
  • Fabric: Rayon Spandex Jersey Knit in mauve from Fabric.com {similar fabric}
  • Blogged: no, but you can see my first Montlake Tee in Week 2

 

Me-Made-May/Sewing-related resources I’m lovin’ this week:

1. Fat shaming is never okay & we can all stand to be a little (LOT) more supportive of each other

This Woman Was Shamed for Wearing Shorts and She’s Speaking Outwas shared in a sewing group I’m a part of as a post of gratitude because the group has been and is so supportive of all shapes & sizes.

In fact, I have found the sewing community at-large to be one of the most supportive groups I’ve run across. Particularly garment sewists – perhaps because we see our proportions as measurements for a pattern rather than size labels from big-box-shops?

Whether you sew or not, the post is worth a read. We could all stand to be a little more supportive. I find the outfit in question very flattering for this curvy chick. Personally, I think she looks amazing.

#mmmay17 posts I’m lovin’ this week

Week 3 Reflections

This week the Hubs said “I like seeing you in clothes you make. You seem so much happier wearing those.” (I can’t guarantee those were his exact words because I have the memory of a peanut so I’m paraphrasing 😉 ).

There are so many benefits to sewing your own clothes: 1) you can customize the fit – well-fitting clothing will naturally make you feel much better, 2) you can customize the fabric/design – aka: you can make a dress with peaches on it or any other print that tickles your fancy/makes you smile, 3) wearing something you made with your own two hands is a serious confidence booster.

So, he’s right.

Wearing clothes I’ve made makes me feel more like ME. They are a true creative expression. I’m looking forward to growing my handmade wardrobe and exploring where it takes me!