5 Ways to Make Your Sewing More Eco-Friendly

After stumbling upon #plasticfreejuly, I’ve been feeling super inspired to decrease my family’s wasteful behaviors. {Easier said than done when you have a baby in diapers.}

Since I can’t control how often my husband buys bottled water at the gas station, I started reflecting on things that are in my control – what can I do to decrease my impact on the planet?

Because sewing is my self-care and something that I do a lot of, I felt like it was the perfect area to focus on improving.

“Zero waste” feels completely un-achievable (for me), but I am a firm believer that small steps add up to a big impact. So, today I’m sharing 5 totally-manageable, realistic ideas to help you become a more environmentally-friendly sewist.

FIRST, what do I mean by “eco-friendly”?

According to Dictionary.com, ecofriendly is…

having a beneficial effect on the environment or at least not causing environmental damage

I like this! It feels achievable – don’t we all want to live a life that benefits the environment?! (If you answered No, this may not be the post for you! 😉 )

Like with just about anything, there is always room for improvement – sewing is no exception.

Below are 5 environmentally-friendly ideas to influence your sewing habits.

1. Sew reusable items

Is there something disposable that you use regularly? Is there a way you could make a reusable version?

Example: I pack my lunch/snacks everyday for work. I like to wrap my silverware so they stay clean. For a brief time, I was using paper towels for this. Then it occurred to me that I could (DUH) make some reusable napkins to wrap my silverware. So I did. They were super easy to make and opening my lunch box to find fun fabric peaking out at me makes me so happy. Win-win.

There are loads of tutorials out there for sewing napkins – this is the one I used.

The utensil holder below by @greenindyblog is way fancier than mine – the flap can be used to set your food on! Genius.

{Click the image to read how this can be made!}

More ideas of reusable items to sew:

  • My friend Shanika recently shared a tutorial for making your own produce bags.

2. Alter and repair your existing garments

I can’t tell you how many garments I have made (or purchased) that just don’t fit right. I love the fabric or the style, but there’s just a little something off that’s preventing me from enjoying wearing the item.

I have a bad habit of finishing sewing a garment and being done with it forever. Rather than taking the time to take apart the garment and/or alter it so that it fits better, I either try to make it work/get used to the imperfection or hang it carelessly in the back of my closet to collect dust.

A better idea would be to take the time to alter it. And if the finished product is too small to alter to fit, you could wrap it up and gift it to a friend or rip it up and make something new (like an outfit for your little one, a bag, some coasters or any other small project) with the scraps.

Just a wee bit obsessed with how fun these mended leggings look {source}

Additionally, as garments become well-worn, take the time to repair them. I’m guilty of wearing garments with holes in them or with buttons missing because I’m lazy. I’m on a mission to love my clothes more and I need to pour the investment of time into a few of them so that they will serve me longer.

Inspiration for repairing garments:

  • This slideshow from Martha Stewart has some really great tips for how to mend knit sweaters.
  • If you have a garment with a grease-stain that has already been through the dryer, try this to remove the stain so it’s wearable again.
  • To make mending more fun, you could use fabric scraps to DIY this mending kit!
  • This mended butt.
  • Cover a hole with an embroidered patch – like this.
  • This post has some great resources to get started.
  • Visible mending is less desirable in the crotch area, but let’s be honest: if your thighs touch (hello, everyone), it’s the first place to go. Here’s some inspiration.

3. Upcycle with material you already have

I love the challenge to refashion existing garments! As proof (& hopefully inspiration): check out my Thrifted Thursday posts!

One of my very favorite upcycled sewing projects was an old t-shirt from my Grandpa that I turned into a Montlake Tee. You can read more about it in this post from Me-Made-May 2017.

Top right: My Grandpa’s original shirt | Bottom right: My freshly sewn Montlake Tee.

Taking apart a garment to then reconstruct it into something new is so much fun! It’s a challenge to fit pattern pieces into a limited amount of space, but what results is a re-purpose of something that would have become trash and very little fabric waste/scraps {look at the video in Trish Stitched’s recent post to see what I mean!}.

Need some inspiration? I got you covered:

Another idea: The other day I bought new sheets for our bed. I saved our old worn-out sheets to use to make muslins for new garment patterns I’m trying. When I create a bodice muslin, I save the fabric to reuse for a smaller project to keep reuse of the material going.

Speaking of bed sheets, if you have cool printed sheets, here’s a tutorial on how to turn them into a dress. Or if you’re like me and have boring white sheets, you could try dyeing them!

4. Make use of your scrap fabric

It’s very tempting to toss your scrap fabric because at some point you’ll run out of storage {and if you’re a neat freak like yours truly, storing scraps is a bit annoying}.

BUT Meg of @sewliberated recently shared a Metamorphic Dress that Jen made from scraps of rayon fabric that blew.my.mind.! I’m already working on a Metamorphic dress, but I may be incorporating patchwork into a future version!

This makes my heart go pitter-patter! {more photos here, here, here}

Below are more ideas for using your scrap fabric:
  • Make fabric twine – a member of one of my quilt guilds showed us how to do this and it’s super easy! The twine is great to have on-hand for gift wrapping embellishment.
  • Use knit scraps to make a headband & woven scraps to make a neck scarf.
  • Find someone willing to use your scraps. Maybe you have a friend who sews or is learning to sew and could use scraps. Maybe you know a teacher or childcare center worker, etc. who could use scrap fabric for art projects. I have a friend who is crazy creative with scrap fabric so I pass mine on to her and at some point I will see a bag, fabric planter, shirt, etc. that she has made with fabric I recognize from my stash.
  • Make a scrunchie. {I heard they’re coming back in style so pack up your judgement and leave it at the door}
  • Make a mug rug – these are great for gifting with a coffee mug, some tea, etc. {You can download my free printable tags in this post}

Mug Rugs are perfect for fabric scraps & make great gifts!

5. Pre-wash new fabric with sheets or towels

It’s tempting to toss your new fabric by itself in the washing machine to pre-wash, but try washing it with sheets or towels that you wouldn’t mind if the new fabric bleeds/stains them. This will cut down on water waste and be more efficient overall (plus, we all love a lower water bill, right?!).

Photo borrowed from my recent purchase of the Metamorphic Dress Kit from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics

For the safety of your fibers, try to wash your new fabric with similar material (i.e. try washing light weight / delicate fabric with bed sheets instead of towels).

What are some ways you make your sewing practice more eco-friendly? I’d love to gather more tips!

My new Parkside Shorts and thoughts about the postpartum body

As you all know from Andy’s Birth Story (and other musings), I’m still trying to “get to know” my postpartum body. I can’t sew as fast as I’d like, but I’m working to build a wardrobe that makes me feel good…and I’m excited to say I finally finished making my first piece of clothing post-baby!

My first postpartum handmade wardrobe staple: A pair of Parkside Shorts in Essex Linen

Due to the fact that I live in a climate that is ridiculously humid and HOT in the summer (our city is nicknamed “Famously Hot”) + my sweet, squishy baby has caused all of the shorts I enjoyed last summer (and the summers prior) to no longer fit (at least not comfortably), shorts were at the top of my sewing priority list.


Before discovering Sew Caroline’s Parkside Shorts {read about my 1st pair here}, I thought I wasn’t a “shorts person.” Turns out – I just hadn’t found shorts that fit right. Knowing this now, I knew it would be worth the effort to construct a pair of Parkside Shorts based on my new measurements so I could comfortably get through summer.

PLUS POCKETS! I love the pockets in these shorts – they are in a comfortable position so you can rest your hands there and they’re large enough to actually hold stuff.

As you know, I had a cesarean birth which means not only do I have a pretty wicked scar, but my stomach is also still numb and tender in certain areas. That said, regular waistbands and fitted pants are not comfortable (I’m okay with that considering I don’t really wear pants all that often and loose-fitting clothes are what I gravitate to). The thick elastic waistband & the slightly higher rise of these shorts make them super postpartum friendly (I read somewhere that elastic shorts with a drawstring are a good postpartum investment so that they can continue to be worn as you “shrink” so adding the optional drawstring may have been a good idea, but I really didn’t want any negative body-talk/desires-of-bodies-past going into these shorts 😉 ).


I’ve been very slowly working on a pair of Harrington Shorts for the Hubs using some of the Essex Linen I got from Trailer Stash Fabrics many moons ago. I had enough of the green left over to cut out a pair of Parkside Shorts for myself! {SO.. one day the Hubs & I will have matching shorts #Nerds. Maybe I’ll even make Andy a pair of matching bloomers #FamilyOfNerds}.

The material is really breathable and felt great when I wore them last weekend. Being that they are my only currently-fitting shorts, I’m pretty sure I’ll be shamelessly wearing them every weekend (thank goodness I chose a neutral fabric!).


Over the past few weeks I’ve been stealing a few minutes here and there to work on the shorts. I could’ve rushed through the shorts, but I took my time to over-stitch all of the interior edges to prevent fraying and so that it would look a lot neater 😉 With sewing time being a little more sparse, I tried to relish every step when I got a window of time to sit down to sew.

More than ever sewing has truly become my outlet for self-care. The quiet time with my machine is such a gift. Utilizing my skills to construct clothing that makes me feel good in my body is such a blessing. When I have the time and the energy, those moments of sewing serve me in such an enormous way.

Andy watching me work on my Parkside Shorts.

On the weekends, we spend a lot of time in our lower-level (kind of a “basement”) where my sewing space is. While I sew, Andy plays on her baby gym or takes a nap in her seat. I love having her near me while I’m sewing. As time goes on, I hope she continues to enjoy our quiet, recuperation time – maybe one day she’ll have her own creative project to work on alongside me 😉

Andy enjoying a slumber while I finished my Parkside Shorts.

As soon as I finished the shorts, I tried them on and I could have melted. They fit perfect which felt incredible. It’s been a very long time since I have put on clothes that were made for me and fit in the way I wanted them to. It’s tough when your body changes (especially if it’s in the larger direction 😉 ). When you don’t feel comfortable in your clothes, it’s hard to feel comfortable in your skin.

My thoughts on the postpartum body

As we’ve passed the magical “4th trimester” and are approaching 5 months with Andy being earth-side, I’m being bombarded with “How to lose the baby weight” emails and diet marketing.

As someone with a degree in Public Health (including a graduate level nutrition course) and a strong attachment to my local YMCA, I understand the importance of physical fitness and nutrition. HOWEVER, I have zero tolerance for society’s pressure to “get my body back.”

Newsflash: My body never left. It may look a little different, but it’s here. And it has served me and my family pretty damn well.

In the beginning/shortly after Andy was born, I had some low points where I felt uncomfortable with the extra “fluff” my body had retained. Some of that weight has sloughed off, but some hasn’t…and I’m okay with that. When I talk about it with friends/family/coworkers, their reaction is usually: “Don’t worry, you’ll get your body back!” I know they are well-intentioned with this reaction, but the truth is: I do not desire my “old body.” Not to say I’d be sad if I woke up tomorrow and all of my old clothes suddenly fit perfectly again, but it’s not a priority of mine right now nor is it a concern.

For the better part of a year, I shared my body with another soul. My body nourished her until she was ready to thrive in her own body. That’s incredible! The extra padding in my midriff was the cushion that kept her safe. I can’t help but admire what what my body has been through. It has served me so very well. I continue to work my hardest to serve it well too (but Fridays are pizza night and I’m not willing to give that up 😉 ).

I refuse to cave into feeling sorry for myself and/or obsessing over what I’m eating or spending hours at the gym.

I am active every day. I try to eat real food as often as possible. I don’t judge myself when I want a treat, and I don’t judge myself when my old clothes don’t fit. I knew they wouldn’t. Maybe one day they will. Maybe they never will again. Maybe one day Andy can wear them. Maybe she won’t. Maybe they’ll be eaten by moths before then. Maybe not. Honestly, who cares. They’re replaceable possessions.

What I really need are clothes that fit and make me feel good when I wear them. I don’t need for clothing to be a reminder of the weight I’m still carrying.

Recently I read an article written by a personal shopper/stylist about how [before having her own baby] she was surprised at how many of her clients were new moms. One thing she said really stood our for me…

You can’t derive your self-worth from the contents of your closet.

What you might get though, is a little confidence in yourself. Confidence that you look like you which translates into feeling like you.

THIS. This is why I make my own clothes. THIS was the reminder I needed.

I think we need to stop pressuring new moms to get in shape. We need to stop complacently allowing big-box-shops to create clothing for one body type (aka: definitely not the new-mom-bod). We need more postpartum-friendly [affordable] clothing available. We need friends to share their closets with us. We need other moms to tell us that it’s okay to abandon your old body. We need our husbands to tell us they don’t give a $h!t whether our ass shrinks because that baby it made is pretty darn cute. And all those pregnancy/new-baby newsletters we signed up for in hopes of cracking the how-to-be-a-great-mom code have no right to repeatedly send emails titled “How to get your body back.” BECAUSE LADIES: Your body never left. You look amazing. Your baby is wonderful. And life is good.

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?

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!

Me-Made-May 2017: Week 2 recap

I’ve survived TWO Weeks of Me-Made-May which is so exciting! So far I’ve identified several holes in my handmade wardrobe (basic t’s, cardigans, work out clothes…). I have patterns already for the missing areas, but have yet to sew them. Finishing a dress for work is about a bajillion times more fabulous than sewing loungewear.

Check out Week 1’s recap here!

Day 8: my Popover Poncho

Plus, a pair of corduroys from Loft that had a gaping waistband until I tacked it – so does that count too? 😉


Day 9: Out and About Shirt

This might be my very-first-EVER [wearable] handmade garment. I was working on an Out and About Dress & had butchered a few already {word to the wise: don’t begin your adventures of garment sewing with knit…or maybe that’s the best part about being a beginner: You have no fear or knowledge of what you “should” fear. Whatever, just go for it}. I was feeling defeated until I was able to squeeze a shirt out of the leftover fabric. I’ll never forget the sense of accomplishment I felt afterward.

It took me a few months to recover from the experience, but I LOVED the Out and About Dress I finally [successfully] made {see it in this post}. I loved how it fit. I loved the fabric. I loved how I felt wearing it. I was hooked…

  • Pattern: Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline {affiliate link} – modified by lengthening the bodice (but I’m not sure by how much. This was light years ago. I barely knew how to turn on my sewing machine) & omitting the skirt.
  • Fabric: some kind of knit. I think I found it at my local Hancock Fabrics.
  • Blogged: of course not.


Day 10: Peachy Fen Dress

Have you ever tried to take a photo with your dog? Geez, Louise.

Charlotte dog really couldn’t care less that we were wearing matching “outfits” which is really unfortunate because Mother/Daughter outfits are the coolest.


Day 11: Upcycled Montlake Tee

May 11th would’ve been my grandpa’s 82nd birthday. It was our first celebrating without him. My grandmother let me browse his closet a few weeks ago and I knew I wanted to refashion a piece of clothing to wear in his honor.

I transformed one of his shirts into my first Montlake tee. This refashion was so fun…and very therapeutic! Ironing clothing really brings out the scent. I love upcycling family member’s clothes because the scent fills my sewing room and brings a flood of special memories. I’ll blog all about this one day, but for now, here ya go:

  • Pattern: Montlake Tee by Straight Stitch Designs
  • Fabric: entirely from my grandfather’s old shirt (it had little stretch like jersey but the feel of a ponte knit).
  • Blogged: not yet!


Day 12: my Parkside Skirt

  • Pattern: Parkside Skirt by Sew Caroline {affiliate link}
  • Fabric: mystery fabric that was donated to me from someone’s attic…I think it might have been a tablecloth at one point 😉
  • Blogged: mentioned in this post, but you can find a full review of the shorts from the pattern here!


Day 13: my Parkside Shorts

The Hubs & I got to spend Saturday with my sister and nephew which was wonderful! He’s now 2.5 months old and learning to smile which melts my heart {see a little grin in this picture}.

  • Pattern: Parkside Shorts by Sew Caroline {affiliate link}
  • Fabric: it was donated to my stash from someone’s attic, but it’s a lightweight denim & vintage floral scraps for the pocket accents.
  • Blogged: here!


Day 14: Tammy’s Tulip Shorts

I’ve been keeping these shorts a secret after testing the pattern a few weeks ago. They are a total favorite!! I wore them walking all around town on Sunday with complete comfort (to all my thigh-touching-sistas: there was no awkward riding up which means these are a total win). I made mine with self-made bias tape, but you can use lace or decorate trim for a little extra flair.

The BEST part about this pattern is that 1) it is one SALE – 25% off through midnight on 5/21 {shop here!}, and 2) you can buy the girls pattern too to make a matching set with your mini-me! In Sew Caroline’s collaboration with Simple Life Patterns, they released SIX ladies+girls matching patterns for Mommy-and-Me outfits which included these shorts. Shop the collection.

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


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

1. Repair inspiration

Found a hole in a beloved sweater and not sure how to repair it? Check out how Fiona used tone-on-tone embroidery for mend her sweater! This may motivate me to spruce up my embroidery skills.

2. Pipe-cleaners [yes, those fuzzy wiry things we all played with as kids]

Less of a resource, more of a tip: Keeping a pipe-cleaner in my machine’s “drawer” (is that what the little case under your machine is called?!) is my new favorite thing. A sweet lady gave a wonderful demo at my last quilting guild meeting on how to clean your machine. I took mine apart a few weeks ago {proof here} and was surprised at the dust I pulled off. I’ve been using the pipe-cleaner for dusting each time I’ve used my machine since.

3. Allie J’s me-made wedding dress

It’s PINK!! If I’d had a wedding {read more about that decision here}, I would’ve definitely wanted a pink wedding dress.

I heard Allie talking about her dress on the latest Maker Style podcast episode and had go to searching for a photo. It sounded lovely – and it is.

4. Wardrobe Edit – this is a great post from Becoming Minimalist with 4 easy-to-follow tips on editing your wardrobe. Not only is this handy in paring down your handmade wardrobe to give you a good idea of styles/fabrics you most enjoy wearing {aka: what patterns & fabrics are worth your time & financial investment}, it’s also useful for non-sewists – anyone who wears clothes & is interested in enjoying what they’re wearing!

#mmmay17 posts I’m lovin’ this week

Week 2 Reflections

While my ready-to-wear [store bought] dresses are banned this month, I have been reflecting on those I miss most. My RTW clothes are very neutral – lots of black. While I love a good floral print or bold design, I really want to incorporate more neutrals into my handmade garments. I have been admiring the look of loose-fitting linen dresses lately. Linen can be quite an investment so I’m keeping my eyes peeled for oversized thrift store dresses that I can cut up and use 😉

I also have a maxi dress that I particularly love. It has an elastic waist, an overlay with full lining and no closures. It’s also the perfect length for me (I can even wear it with flat sandals). It’s one of the most comfortable dresses I own that still looks fancy. Being that I know how to sew which affords me the opportunity to make a dress any length, I should really consider a maxi!

Are you participating in Me-Made-May? What have you learned/discovered about your wardrobe?

Me-Made-May 2017: Week 1 recap

It’s my first year participating in Me-Made-May and if I’m being completely honest, I started stress sewing on the last day of April because I was already worried I was going to run out of clothes.

THEN I remembered this post from Heidi Parkes (a hand-quilter / creative mender / yoga teacher I discovered through QuiltCon & admire very much). Clothes are meant to be WORN. They’re meant to be loved and repaired. Repeating outfits just means I love my clothes enough to wear them again and again 😉

This reminds me of the quote “all my secrets are hidden in my seam allowances” 😉 {source}

All that said, you’ll definitely see some repeats this month…

For those of you not following along on Instagram [and also for those who want to know more about the outfits posted], I’m going to try to share a recap of my Me-Made-May posts each week on the blog so stay tuned!

My #MMMay17 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.

As I warned in my first #mmmay17 post, get ready for an abundance of work-bathroom selfies this month! Somehow the new YMCA does not have any full length mirrors in the women’s locker room [can you even believe it?!] and I’m too awkward to ask fellow gym-goers or coworkers to assist…and I’m too impatient to wait until I get home for the day in hopes the Hubs could assist {because let me be honest, my PJ’s come on ASAP once I’m through the door from work so evening pictures would not be a great plan anyhow}. So, forgive me for these unprofessional documentations 😉

Day 1: My 1st Tank Dress

Day 2: My 1st Fen Dress

Day 3: Refashioned Housedress

Day 4: My 2nd Tank Dress

  • Pattern: The Tank Dress with optional elastic casing in the back (moved up a few inches to better match my natural waist) from Sew Caroline {affiliate link}
  • Fabric: quilting cotton from my local JoAnn’s
  • Blogged: On My most worn garments of 2016 list

Day 5: My long-sleeved Out and About Dress

Day 6: My London Backpack

I KNOW what you’re thinking. I’m already cheating by posting bags I’ve made instead of outfits. BUT I was totally honest in my pledge 😉 – I USE my bags [and accessorize with them] daily! Plus, I LOVE this bag. It’s one of my most used – especially for traveling or walking around town on the weekends.

PS: This photo was taken in front of the new Indah Coffee shop. If you’re local, go visit! Their coffee is great {also served at the Soda City market} & the shop looks like a delightful place to hang out [we were only there briefly before heading to the market but we’ll be back!]

  • Pattern: The London Backpack by LBG Studio
  • Fabric: Mostly scrap upholstery from my stash along with this Cath Kidston fabric I picked up when we went to England in 2014
  • Blogged: I’m embarrassed to admit that I have almost an entire post drafted but for some reason I haven’t shared it. Le sigh. I’ll add that to my list of things to eventually do (so stay tuned 😉 )

Day 7: my Day Tripper Top

How cute is this mug?! My sisters-in-law got it for me for Christmas & it’s a definite favorite.

  • Pattern: Day Tripper Top {short sleeved without shoulder tabs & bottom band} by Shwin Designs
  • Fabric: floral knit from my local Hancock Fabric before they closed. I wish I had a thousand yards of it – it’s so soft & beautiful!
  • Blogged: here!

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

1. These tips for custom fitting a pattern / handmade garment

Straight Stitch Designs mentioned this post in her recent newsletter about Me-Made-May and highlighted the same quote that jumped out at me:

Ego has no place in a well fitting garment.

I have been doing a lot of reflecting on making more advanced fitting alterations to garments I’m making. After viewing most of this Intro to Fitting video from the Blank Slate Patterns team, I realized there are many more fit options out there that may be applicable in helping me love my handmade wardrobe even more.

2. The Reggie wrap dress pattern just released by Seamwork Magazine

I’ve already used a credit to claim it. My Spring/Summer to-sew list just grew by one very cute, loose-fitting wrap dress…those sleeves make the 90’s child in me so happy!

3. The Self-Created Podcast with Jernell & Shanika

One of my favorite things to do while sewing is to listen to podcasts. My favorite right now is the Self-Created Podcast. My creative bestie (Shanika) is a co-host and I could listen to these gals talk forever. They discuss some really interesting topics. Browse their episodes and find one that speaks to you – I think you’ll love it. {PS: I got multiple shout-outs in the last episode so it gets my recommendation 😉 }

Week 1 Reflections

I’m really enjoying participating in Me-Made-May. It’s giving me a whole new outlook on my handmade wardrobe and forcing me to take a second look at some of my less-worn handmade garments to think about how I can incorporate them back in or alter them to be a favorite (or cut them up for a new project 😉 ).

Posting pictures of myself day-after-day is pretty awkward. I’ve really appreciated all of the positive feedback and encouragement on Instagram. I’ve also loved seeing everyone else’s photos and browsing the #mmmay17 hashtag.