What I’m Lovin’ in June

It’s true. I completely missed the last Friday in June (why does June feel like the shortest month of the year?!). So, you are receiving what I’m lovin’ in June on the last day of June instead!

Read on to see the short list of what I’ve been lovin’ this month!june

1. Supporting Handmade Shops

When you make a purchase from a local artisan, you are doing more than purchasing the item. You are inspiring them to follow their passion. I always air on the side of buying whatever I’m lusting after when I’m at craft fairs because I know what it feels like to have someone walk past your booth, mumble “I could make this” to a friend or mindlessly pass by your booth like your creations aren’t worthy of their time to browse. I also know what it’s like when a customer is as excited about your creations as you are and makes the purchase that keeps your dreams afloat.

If you’re looking for an excuse to treat yourself, browse the artisans I discovered at Made South and send them a little inspiration with your spare dollars 😉

Made South

2. This hilarious blog post…

70s moms

{Click the image to read the post}

…oh if only to live in the 70’s!

3. The Kindred Company’s Lavender Face Wash

kindred company

I discovered these folks at Made South and I’m totally hooked on the face wash! This is the best face wash I have ever used. It’s light and fluffy with the perfect balance of creamy that leaves your skin feeling perfectly refreshed – clean but not dried out.

4. Our annual Etsy Craft Party

craft party 1

My sister (left) and best friend, Caroline (right) crafting away at the party

Every year the team I co-founded, Cola Indie Makers, hosts an Etsy Craft Party. It’s such a fun event! {Wondering what it’s like? Check out this recap of last year’s event}

This year we had two upcycle-themed crafts. The first was a bucket made from paper grocery bags and duct tape. {tutorial info}

craft party 3

My sister picked a pretty stellar combination!

craft party 2

One of my finished bins {yes, holding sewing patterns of course!}

The second craft of the night was an upcycled gift bag made from a map. {tutorial info}

I am so grateful to my friend MaryAnn of Life is a Maker Faire who helped me plan this year’s event!

craft party

MaryAnn and I at the Craft Party!

The event is a lot of fun and something I take a lot of pride in planning. We incorporate a night of crafting with the community (the event is open to all!) and showcasing local handmade vendors which is another of my passions as you know 😉

You can browse all of the event photos here and be sure to follow Cola Indie Makers on Facebook and Instagram to hear about our upcoming events!

5. Quilting

quilt block

A few weeks ago I got the itch to start a quilt. There’s so much I want to learn so I dusted off a “how to build a sample block quilt” book I picked up at a quilt shop my mother-in-law recommended when I was visiting in Atlanta a while ago.

Being that my fabric stash has once again grown beyond my drawers, shelves and bins, I’m making this quilt using material I already have (aka: “scraps”).

I also registered for Quilt Con! February will be my first Quilt Con and I am so excited to see what it’s all about and soak up some quilt’spiration!

6. Farm Fresh Produce

I have the brownest of brown thumbs. I can’t even keep my succulents alive. Thus, I am so grateful to green-thumbers who share their wealth with me!

green beans

gorgeously colorful “green” beans from a recent Limited Edition Farms basket

Last year a friend-of-a-friend started offering her farm’s produce as a Crop Share program. I jumped on it! First, I love supporting local people doing what they love {see #1…} – and – second, everything I attempt to grow dies + I love fresh produce so this was perfect for me.

I meet the farmer once a week and pick up my basket. It’s so fun because I never know exactly what will be in there which forces me to be more creative with menu planning than I would’ve been.

This is my second year as a Limited Edition Farms crop share member and I can’t speak their praises loud enough. They are an all organic farm with very reasonable prices and wonderful selection. If you’re local to the Midlands SC area, check out the services they offer here.

7. Sun tea

Speaking of fresh produce, I got my hands on some super sweet peaches recently and decided to make a jar of sun tea. I had forgotten how delicious sun tea is!

sun tea

To make my tea, I threw a small handful of fresh blueberries (likely about 1/4 cup) in a glass jar with 2 peaches cut in large slices with 3 cups of warm water and 3 black tea bags. I set it in the sun for around 6 hours.

After the six hours, I poured it over a sieve and discarded all solids. The sliced peaches added enough sweetness for my taste so I did not add any sugar, but I won’t judge you if you do 😉

8. My new leather hole punch

Just before the Etsy Craft Party, I received the leather hole punch I’d ordered. I couldn’t wait to use it! I tested it on a few pieces of scrap leather I had gotten from my friend Amber.

Less than an hour before the party I whipped up this chevron necklace with a printed floral leather to raffle off at the party.

necklace

I plan to make several more since they were so easy to make! Stay tuned – I might even post a tutorial 😉

9. These fabulous tips for being productive via Afford Anything

simple-habits-that-create-success

{Click the image to read the post from Afford Anything}

10. My new name!

After four years of marriage, I finally changed my last name.

name change

Surprised the Hubs at work with the news

I thought I’d be a Lucy Stoner forever, but I got the urge recently and ran with it. Being that I am called by my middle name this proved to be a little more difficult than I had envisioned so I settled for hyphenating my name which means I now have an incredibly long name, but at least it isn’t too far from what it’s always been 😉

I hope you’re all staying cool and enjoying the summer sunshine! – Jordan

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

Handmade for the Holidays Blog Hop

I’m so excited to be kicking off my very first Handmade for the Holidays Blog Hop!

Today I’m going to be sharing some DIY tutorials you can use to make handmade holiday gifts this year. And for those you feeling not-so-crafty, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite handmade businesses (and local events that support them) with some ready-made gifts for those on your list.

hh blog hop image2

Remember to follow my fellow participants who will be sharing more gift ideas on their blogs this week – read all about each of them in last week’s introduction post!

DIY Gift Ideas & Tutorials

1. Upcycled Sweater Pillow Covers {tutorial}

sweater pillows

A few months ago a friend-of-a-friend asked me if I could make some pillows for her. Her brother had passed away and she had an argyle sweater vest of his [right] and a cashmere sweater that he had gifted to her [left] that she wanted made into pillows. We ultimately decided on pillow covers so she could remove them to dry clean – if you look close you can see silver ribbon tying the cover shut at the bottom of the pillow. The tutorial I followed had some great tips for sewing with sweaters – not for the faint of heart (only because sweater material can be tough to sew on your machine), but worth it in the end if you’re looking for a functional, sentimental gift for someone you love.

I did some pretty extensive research before making these pillows so I’ve got quite a collection of other pillow tutorials on my Pillow Talk Board on Pinterest if you’re interested in browsing. 

2. DIY Lace Necklace {tutorial}

lace necklace1

You’ll be shocked at how easy this is! If you’ve ever framed a picture, you have the skills to make this necklace. I made two of these for my sister’s 1st wedding anniversary [and kept one 🙂 ] using lace from the train of her wedding dress. You could use any lace or scrap material [even paper!] you have on hand that you think your recipient would like. You could even cut out additional inserts so she could change them up depending on her mood or outfit.

Looking for more DIY jewelry ideas? Check out this board on my Pinterest page.

3. Fabric Statement Necklace {tutorial}

Pink teething 1c

This is one of the first projects I made with my sewing machine. It’s actually a tutorial for a teething necklace, but I really liked the style so in my book it’s a statement necklace 😉 I made it using material from a sleep shirt I never wore, but loved the fabric too much to toss.

After making my statement necklace and loving how bohemian the frayed edges of the braided loop looked, I was informed that the stray strings could be a choking hazard to babies – so please be cautious if you decide to make this an actual teething necklace!

4. Infinity Scarf {tutorial}

scarves

I recently saw a scarf where someone had used furry material for the inside which I thought was just brilliant! With all the cold weather we’ve been having in South Carolina recently, our scarves are going to have to be more than just fashionable this year 😉

I had some bright green minky fabric left over from a baby blanket I made recently so I decided to pair it with some knit and cotton prints I had.

If you want to use minky or faux fur for the “inside” of the scarf, just split the recommended width in half plus a half inch for seam allowance. Stitch one long side of the minky to one long side of the cotton or knit (right sides facing) and follow the tutorial like normal.

Handmade Businesses I Love

For those of you feeling a little less crafty this year, I’ve gathered some of my favorite handmade businesses below with links to their shops so you can browse what’s available for the holidays.

I hope you'll join me on a mission to support handmade businesses this season!

I hope you’ll join me on a mission to support handmade businesses this season!

1. Sup-Dog Co.Collars for your furry friends

{Click the image to be taken to this collar in the shop}

{Click the image to be taken to this collar in the shop}

Don’t even think about forgetting to buy your pooch some new neck bling this year! I absolutely love Ashley’s handmade collars and so do all my pets (even Norton the cat!). Browse all her available collars in her shop on Etsy.

2. Tiny Quiltingbeautiful framed, hand-sewn mini-quilts

tiny quilt

{Check out this framed log cabin mini quilt in Audry’s shop by clicking this image.}

I’ve long been admiring my friend AJ’s (aka: Audry) amazing quilts on Instagram. Recently she opened an Etsy shop, Tiny Quilting, where she shares her beautiful, hand-sewn tiny framed quilts with you! They’re absolutely gorgeous and would make the perfect gift this season.

3. Rachel Tennybeautiful cards & custom watercolor paintings

Click the photo to find these cards in Rachel's shop!

{Click the photo to find these cards in Rachel’s shop.}

How awesome is this card? I think it’s the best way to tell someone just how much you really love them! 😉 Rachel’s shop is stocked with beautiful cards and custom watercolor paintings. Remember that family portrait my sister had painted for my birthday? Yep, that was from Rachel! She’s so talented and her custom portraits are sure to make an unforgettable gift this season.

Looking for more handmade businesses? Check out my recap of Vintage Charlotte – full of gift ideas from local artisans!

Local Events that Support Handmade Shops

1. Crafty Feast – Sunday, December 14 from 12-6pm at the Columbia Convention Center

  • Local indie craft fair [wall-to-wall handmade businesses!] just in time for the holidays!

2. Soda City market – every Saturday from 9-1pm on Main Street

More Handmade Gift Ideas

Don’t forget to follow along the Blog Hop for more crafty gift ideas!

Read more about each blogger in last week’s introduction post.

Continue to support handmade businesses by following Columbia’s Etsy Market Team on Facebook where you’ll stay in the loop with upcoming events and all things crafty in Columbia.

resliced party recap

It may have snowed in Columbia (well, Lexington) Saturday morning, but it was nice and cozy at my house for the resliced party! Thank you to everyone who ventured out in the blizzard to kick the holidays off with me!

While my house didn’t actually get any snow (sadly), I made sure to have hot coffee on hand!

I'm kind of smitten with my new World Market coffee jug - I'm already looking for excuses to use it again!

I’m kind of smitten with my new World Market coffee jug – I’m already looking for excuses to use it again!

sugar

Yes, I made calligraphy labels for …everything! #Obsessed

Aside from the fact that there was cheese (isn’t that always the best thing on the table?!), I also baked up some pumpkin chocolate chip mini-muffins that were quite a hit!

Thank you to my sister for owning such things as a cupcake tree ;)

Thank you to my sister for owning such things as a cupcake tree 😉

Confession: I cheated and made these with Trader Joe’s boxed pumpkin muffin mix and a bag of mini chocolate chips. As my grandmother confirmed, it still counts as homemade! 😉

do have a fantastic recipe for pumpkin + dark chocolate muffins that is amazing and I promise to share just as soon as I find where I hid it.

flowers

Any excuse for fresh flowers, I’ll take it!

As an introverted Type-A sharing her four walls with 3 dogs, 1 [fiercely anti-social] cat, and a Husband who insists on playing the stinkiest of sports (have you ever been near an open hockey bag?!), I usually avoid hosting parties like I avoid the plague. But I had weeks to prepare for the party so that I did! 🙂

So, Sunday was spent visiting my grandparents in the morning followed by an afternoon cuddling with my pup.

Sun

I really can’t think of a more perfect Sunday!

See that glimmer of pink plaid?! I’m so in love with it – I might just live in it this winter! It’s a lovely vintage Diane Von Furstenberg (fun fact: she invented the wrap dress! #genius) pink plaid shirt I snagged from Butterfly Vintage at the Soda City market a few weeks ago – just in time for this amazing weather!

Also – my sister made that fun mug for my birthday {our Gammy used to call everyone “shug” while drinking loads of coffee}

AND – don’t you just love Twitch’s British collar? Shortly after the Hubs and I started to officially plan our #BritishChristmas, we saw the collar on Sup-Dog‘s table at the market and had to get it! Ashley always has the best collars – don’t forget to treat your fur babies this holiday season 😉

While resliced will be shutting down for the holidays (this gal has got to get working on my handmade gifts so they’ll be ready before our flight leaves for England in mid-December!), I encourage you to shop handmade this holiday season! There are tons of awesome shops on Etsy – if you’re local (to the Columbia, SC area), follow the Columbia’s Etsy Market Team on Facebook. I am co-captain of the Etsy team with Emily of Butterfly Vintage and we’ll be posting on the Facebook page where and when to find our team members (local Etsy shops – both handmade & vintage) around town this holiday season! When you make a purchase from a handmade business, you’re helping keep the fire within that artist going – you’re inspiring them to keep on creating. Remember that when you find something you like at a Craft Fair or local market – just buy it 🙂

Another opportunity to support a local Etsy shop is this Saturday: my friends of Thrifted Sisters are having a party at the Conundrum Music Hall from 12-4pm. I’ll be running by after I finish the Governor’s Cup half marathon (pun intended) and hope to see you there!

thrifted sisters

Be sure to follow Thrifted Sisters on Instagram for a sneak peek at what the gals will have up for grabs this weekend!

Have a great weekend, friends!

 

It’s party time and you’re invited!

With the holidays approaching, I’m planning to host my annual resliced holiday party and sale! If you’re live in or near Columbia, South Carolina, I’d love to have you join me on November 1 from 11:00am to 12:00pm! {Sign up here so you’ll receive the location details}

party1

Missing in action – For those of you who have been following resliced, you may have noticed I haven’t been around town as much as I have been in previous years. At the beginning of this year, I decided to scale back and let myself breathe. Working full-time during the week and spending my weekends at the market was a tough balance. I was feeling a little suffocated with re-creating the same items in an effort to “stock up”. I wanted to give myself time to play around with new designs and improve my skills. I’ll admit I’ve spent a lot of that time “selfish sewing,” but I’ve tried hard to improve my skills and extend what I have to offer.

Last week, I sent the first announcement to my resliced email newsletter subscribers (interested? Sign up here), but I wanted to extend the invitation to all of you lovely blog readers! 🙂

I also wanted to share a little more info about what this party is all about.

party2

Last year, I hosted an “exclusive” party for my friends and family. I had so much fun chatting with friends and sharing my creations with them just in time for the holidays. This year I wanted to extend the invitation to any and all local resliced supporters!

So, what will I have at the party?

Oldies, but goodies – I’ll have all the items currently in my shop online available at the party.

Like these…

zigzag

Green ZigZag Shoulder Bag [Click the image to see additional pictures in the listing on Etsy]

Copper bird nest necklace with genuine opal stones.

Copper bird nest necklace with genuine opal stones.

green paisley

Green Paisley clutch [Click the image to see additional pictures in the listing on Etsy]

Gold bird nest necklace with genuine Tigers Eye stones.

Gold bird nest necklace with genuine Tigers Eye stones.

AND I’ll be recreating some past designs.

Like these…

wristlet

Remember the Tribal Wristlet? I’ve got enough fabric left over to make a similar replication. [Click the picture to check out my blog post about the original!]

Brown bird nest necklace with genuine blue jade stones.

Brown bird nest necklace with genuine blue jade stones.

Reduce, reuse, recycle – In addition to the items in my Etsy shop, I’ll have first drafts and gently used items for sale at a discounted price. When a new design hits me, I’ll construct it, try it out for a few weeks, come up with improvements and recreate a new / improved version or move on to something different. The original (gently loved) piece is thrown aside and often not used again. Instead of letting said pieces gather dust in the bottom of my closet, help me give them a new loving home!

Here’s an example of one gently loved bag that will be available:

purple

Magnetic clasp clutch with hand painted dots on vegan leather, super soft purple upholstery fabric exterior and fun floral interior.

NEW skills – As you may have caught on, I love learning new crafts. My love of snail mail + the calligraphy craze (is it just me or is it everywhere?!) led to me taking a Modern Calligraphy class recently. I ordered some blank cards and got to work last weekend on some holiday cards. While I don’t plan to offer these cards in my shop (maybe one day..), I will have them available exclusively at the party so come stock up!

birthday

This card already has a recipient, but I’ll have similar ones available.

IMPROVED skills – I learned how to add zippers! 🙂 I’ve played around with them before, but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it!

Proof:

Brown patterned zip-top clutch with vegan leather bottom.

Brown patterned zip-top clutch with vegan leather bottom.

Crafty sharing – For those of you Pinterest addicts like myself, I’ll have some crafting supplies available too!

This will include:

  • Bags of beads and stones for jewelry-making
  • Fabric scraps in many different sizes – including upholstery (mostly), cotton prints and knits
  • Other craft supplies as I find them [which could include anything from blank canvases to fold-over elastic]

…because I believe in you!

makers

I hope you’ll be able to make the party! I’m looking forward to kicking off the holiday season with you!

If you’re in the Columbia area (or driving distance!) and would like to attend the party, be sure to sign up for my VIP newsletter list (by clicking here!). I’ll be sending location details to this list when the party gets closer.

In the meantime, follow resliced on Facebook and Instagram (@reslicedsc) – I’ll be posting sneak peeks of items as I make them in the coming weeks for the party! 🙂

If you live out of driving distance but are still interested in stocking up on resliced for the holidays, sign up for this newsletter. I’ll be running a sale after the party on anything left in the shop.

Thrifted Thursday: Sailor Skirt

A few weeks ago I hit the jackpot while thrifting. I found this super 80s (though I have no idea which decade it’s actually from) sailor dress that was in perfect condition and just screamed “take me home tonight!” So I did.

It's like I'm a life-size version of how my Mom dressed me at age 4.

It’s like I’m a life-size version of how my Mom dressed me at age 4.

I know what you’re thinking: “Jordan, why on earth would you even consider refashioning this dress? It’s like 11 shades of all things perfect!”

Well, friends – here’s my defense:

1. Long dresses are a short girl’s worst nightmare (is it possible for my legs to look shorter?! Oh yes, it is.)

2. My sister’s birthday was fast approaching and I had not even started on that bag I’d promised her (new designs are fun to dream up in your head, but extremely intimidating to actually start so I’d caved to the intimidation…for now). I knew I wanted to make her something special. She loves sailing so obviously she loves anything nautical and THIS was IT.

In addition, my sister had recently started a new job (being that myself, my sister and both our Hubs started new jobs this year, we’ve declared 2014 “The Year of the Slices” – which includes spouses 😉 ). She was transitioning from the classroom to take on the role of a “Reading Coach” at the same school where she’d been planting her roots for the last 5 years. Since she’d be out of the classroom and in meetings a lot more often she’d already started the hunt for more “grown-up” clothes. So I thought: “I can help with this!”

My definition of “grown-up” clothes is a little skewed. Rather than being defined by suits of any kind [I. will. not!] I believe in cardigans. Lots of cardigans! And this was about to be a “just-add-cardigan” outfit!

While trying on this beauty, I realized the back zipper stopped just above the skirt. Meaning: I could easily chop off the bottom and preserve the top without struggling around removing a zipper. Win!

One last chance to truly appreciate this beauty..from the poof sleeves to the square collar with bow embellishment, it's just too stellar.

One last chance to truly appreciate this beauty..from the poof sleeves to the square collar with bow embellishment, it’s just so stellar.

Like any thrifted outfit, I started by washing (because duh) and drying – a recommendation for all fabric you work with. Whether you are chopping cloth off the bolt or refashioning, always wash and dry so that you don’t end up with an outfit for a toddler after it’s first wash.

I used some washi tape to secure the sides of the dress to the door I’d hung it on. It’d probably be better to cut on a flat surface, but I like to bend the rules for my convenience.

Since I’d decided this would make a super easy (did I mention my sister’s birthday was fast approaching?!) elastic waist skirt that would be a perfect gift for my sister, I started by cutting the skirt off just below the gathered top/waist of the original dress.

taped edge

Snip snip!

This pretty much ends my photographed steps – I’m not so great at documenting my visual progress. However, I loosely followed a tutorial I found a while ago that worked for me – it’s this one from Extra Petite.

I adapted this tutorial a little: I omitted the pockets because my sister always complains they make her hips look too big. If you love pockets and have little hips like myself, include them – they’re fun! I also decreased the width a bit because the first skirt I made following the tutorial was a bit too full for me.

Once I had inserted the elastic waist band, I had my husband stretch the skirt to it’s full capacity. Then I went around it and vertically pinned a few places about 6 inches apart. I used those places to stitch vertical lines so that the skirt wouldn’t bunch unevenly at the waist. Bonus: you can’t see the stitches because of how they fall between the bunching.

pinned elastic

Here you can see the pins – they are a bit closer (maybe 3 inches) once the elastic is “un-stretched”

And – tada! – the final product of this simple skirt:

skirt

Makes for a pretty cute skirt, right?!

While it is cute on my door and all, it’s way cuter on my sister!

Excuse the wrinkles (though you probably didn't even notice because of all the cuteness!), I made her try it on as soon as she opened the present!

Excuse the wrinkles (though you probably didn’t even notice because of all the cuteness!), I made her try it on as soon as she opened the present!

Seriously! How cute are these two?!

Seriously! How cute are these two?!

TIP: I have several skirt tutorials pinned on my Seamstress Dreams Pinterest board where I collect all the clothing tutorials I’ll probably never try, but dream about conquering one day. I usually read several tutorials before starting a project like this and combine little pieces from each until I get what I want.

I hope you enjoyed this #ThriftedThursday post!

PS: I’m still working on finishing up the matching top. Keep an eye out for that one – coming soon!

{Catch up on all the Thrifted Thursday posts here.}

Cartoons and Data: the perfect match

Before I launch into talking cartoons, I’m going to tell you a little story about how this blog got started.

A few months ago, Susan Kistler (former Executive Director of the American Evaluation Association and now evaluation guru and leader of The Smarter One) reached out to me asking if I’d write a blog about how crafting helps me to be a better evaluator for aea365. After nearly fainting from being star struck via email (and feeling extremely honored!), I quickly replied YES.

I have to admit I’m quite proud of the post I wrote. In fact, that very post is what got me started with blogging – I had so much fun writing it and it really allowed me to finally realize how my two worlds were so interconnected.

After reading somewhere that Susan was a whiz with WordPress, I asked for some advice on starting a blog. You see, I had been tossing the idea around for months (maybe years..), but I was torn because I wasn’t sure if I wanted it to be a crafty/DIY blog or a blog for evaluators (#DataDivas if you will). The only thing I had landed on was that I wanted to use WordPress as my platform. Susan & I quickly became virtual friends and I’m still blown away by her kindness. Susan is extremely busy (at the time she was in the midst of launching her new initiative, The Smarter One) and not only did she email me some tips, she even hosted a Google Hangout so she could screen share and walk me through a few essentials!

Human kindness, you guys. It’s just the greatest thing.

Aside from telling you how much I adore Susan (and how this blog got started!), I’m actually writing to tell you about a super useful webinar I watched last week. In addition to running a great tip-a-day blog for evaluators, AEA also offers Coffee Break webinars a few times a month. They’re brilliant 20 minute webinars – just long enough to include the most pertinent details but short enough so you don’t miss too much work time.

I discovered Chris Lysy’s evaluation cartoons (found at Fresh Spectrum) via Stephanie Evergreen’s blog (aka: the data visualization queen!) a while back. Chris’ illustrations literally make me laugh aloud every time I see them. Why? Well, they’re evaluation cartoons (I mean, c’mon – nerdy cartoons! – that’s hilarious!) plus he brings humor to the frustrations evaluators know all too well. When I saw that he’d be hosting one of the upcoming Coffee Breaks, I jumped on registering!

Chris also wrote a great post on his website as a teaser for the presentation. He outlined reasons we should stop wasting data and how we can do that through the use of interactive dashboards (you know my love for Tableau, thus I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the presentation!).

Here are a few of my favorite cartoons from Chris’ post:

report

A personal favorite: Nobody wants 500 page reports.

Perhaps because I’ve watched too many of my colleagues be driven crazy with the pursuit of a PhD or maybe because journal articles seem so archaic to me, but long reports are really not my thing.

Avoiding becoming long winded (be it in an email, report or…blog post!) is something that could be applicable to anyone in any field.

{Please forgive the fact that this post is so long. As my mother would say: “Do as I say, not as I do”}

So I leave you with my favorite of the cartoons…

Because bedazzled charts mean people will understand it, right? Wrong.

Because bedazzled charts mean people will understand it, right? Wrong.

Head over to Fresh Spectrum so you too can appreciate Chris’ use of cartoons to encourage simple, usable evaluations.

Melly Sews Favorite Purse {and mine too!}

In July I visited Baltimore for work. The trip snuck up on me and backed right up to our annual trip to Asheville.

As usual, I had about a bajillion sewing projects running through my head that I was determined to make before leaving. At the top of the list was Melly Sews’ Favorite Purse. I knew this would be the perfect travel bag – it has ample pockets and is larger than my usual cross-body pattern.

And so, I spent the Friday evening before leaving for Baltimore cutting out and taping the paper pattern pieces followed by cutting the fabric. Since I wasn’t going to sew until Saturday, I pinned the paper pattern pieces to the fabric pieces so I could easily locate pieces for construction.

I had bought the pattern when Melly was running a killer sale for Memorial Day weekend (you should sign up for her newsletter so you can get in on those and see all the free patterns & tutorials she offers – and check out her blog).

I was feeling a little intimidated with all the zippers involved with constructing the Favorite Purse, but I’ve been practicing with simple zipper clutches lately (here’s my favorite tutorial!) and was feeling more confident.

Melly includes great instructions in her pattern with lots of helpful pictures.

I even learned how to make my own bias tape which was very exciting after I had looked at fabric shops to see if I could find a cute package of patterned bias tape a few weeks ago (in an effort to save time) and was super bummed to discover only solid colors 😦 I knew I wanted the main fabric to be solid for versatility, but wanted the bias tape to add a little pizzazz. So, I taught myself! It was much easier than I thought.

I’m really excited at how my bag turned out AND how it perfectly matches my Noodle Head Super Tote (which I used as my carry on bag).

favpurse

matching handmade bags for the WIN!

One thing to note about my version of the Favorite Purse is that I excluded the oval shaped side tabs. I had originally cut out the pieces and fully intended to add them (because they looked so cute!), but attaching the bias tape around the curved edges almost killed me. I had little time to spare so I just nixed them from my design (since they weren’t essential) and it turned out okay! 🙂

I also added a magnetic clasp to the front pocket (behind my label on the interior). I did not add a magnetic clasp to the back pocket (which looks the same as the front without a label) because it would be lying flat against me so would likely stay shut (and it did). I appreciated the back pocket not having a clasp because it actually made it more convenient for holding my plane tickets.

My zippers are a bit mismatched because I decided late Friday night that I’d spend the whole day Saturday constructing the purse. I knew if I went to the craft store for matching zippers in the morning, I’d be there for hours buying all sorts of other things and lose precious construction time. {I needed to be up early Sunday morning to drive to Charlotte to catch my flight. And I still hadn’t packed. Time was of the essence.}

The black zipper at the top is from The Zipper Shop on Etsy, the interior zipper (I used a 6 inch zipper and added fabric zipper tabs on each end so it fit the area I’d cut in the interior to attach) is from The Zipper Stop on Etsy, and the light blue zipper that you see on the front is a vintage zipper I picked up at an estate sale (never underestimate the goodies you can find at a garage or estate sale!).

On similar note, I recently ordered zippers from The Zipper Shop on Etsy. I love the selection and the quality of these zippers. The shop is located in North Carolina which also makes me happy (we Carolinas like to stick together 😉 #GeographyJoke) and the shop owner is super fast with shipping!

I just ordered these beauties and can’t wait to use them!

zipper

[Click the image to be taken to these zippers on Etsy]

I skipped making my own removable strap. Thanks to my obsession with vintage purses and the fact that many of them have removable straps (and my friend Emily who brings me straps she finds while thrifting!), I had a few on hand so I knew one was sure to work. I had a shorter leather luggage strap that Emily found a few months ago that worked perfect (thanks Emily!)! Since the bag is a good bit deeper than my usual cross-body bags + I’m a good bit shorter than the average person, this shorter strap was a life saver (because I couldn’t find an adjustable strap in my stash to match!).

Excluding the time it took to cut out and piece together the paper pieces (which wasn’t too bad) and cut the fabric pieces, the bag took a full day to construct (if you eliminate my coffee reheating breaks and a dinner break [yes, I forgot about lunch], it was probably close to 6-ish hours). That being said, it was totally worth it! I know I am going to get a lot of use out of this bag – it’s by far my most useful yet (because of all the pockets and the depth! It’s got the storage of a shoulder bag, but the comfortable wear and functionality of a cross-body bag…win!).

From the airport to the streets of the Inner Harbor (shopping, dining, sight seeing and wandering), this bag was perfect. It easily held all my necessities and even a few small souvenirs. It kept my plane tickets, room key, conference badge and other essentials organized and easily accessible so I wasn’t awkwardly digging around trying to find something when I needed it.

Oh, and here I am taking shameless elevator selfies after arriving to Baltimore {I just had to get an “in action” shot so you could see how fabulous this bag is!}:

travel bags

Matching handmade bags & my weirdest wolf shirt make for great travel attire 😉

Interested in making your own version of Melly Sews‘ Favorite Purse? Find the pattern here.