My most worn handmade garments

If you set a resolution for 2017 to build/expand your handmade wardrobe, this list is for you!

With almost 3 years (!!) of sewing garments under my belt, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on my most-worn, most-loved patterns. I have learned a lot along this journey. While some garments were fun to construct [or maybe not so fun], they may not have turned out to be as loved in a day-to-day way.

My goal with this list is to provide you a few pattern recommendations that will surely be worth your time!

handmade-wardrobe

Disclaimer: The list is purely subjective and recalled from memory; not from actual daily tallies of use [but wouldn’t that be a fun experiment?!].

Being that I have avoided adding closures of any kind to a garment thus far {no zippers, no buttons, no problem!}, I would say that all of these patterns are beginner-friendly.

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Along this journey to build my handmade wardrobe, I have discovered “my style.” It’s eclectic {code word for: comfortably weird}.

My style moves on a continuum between dressing like a tween to dressing like a 90-year-old. To be honest: it’s not much a continuum – I mostly cling to one end or the other without much that fits in between. But I think that’s the beauty of sewing your own clothes: You have the freedom to choose exactly how you want your garment to look. You want a dress to match your dachshund? Girl Charlee’s got you covered. Need bright green leggings to make spin class more appealing? Imagine Gnats has you covered.

You’ll see both extremes of my style throughout the list below. I can’t promise my style is in style, but it’s mine. And I’m embracing it 🙂

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Handmade Garments I wore most in 2016

TRANSITION PIECES

Below are pieces that easily transitioned from season to season [aka: just-add-leggings]. 

Sew Caroline’s Out and About Dress | pattern

out-and-about-dress

The 3 Out & About Dresses I’ve made so far – from L to R: version 3, 1, and 2.

This was the very first pattern I sewed {first dress ever} and it has remained my very favorite! I even turned it into a shirt once.

The dress transitions perfectly to fall with a few layers – just add leggings, boots, a sweater and your favorite scarf!

out-and-about-dress-2

During the cooler weather, I wear my long-sleeved version almost every week.

I just ordered some dark gray ponte de roma fabric from imagine gnats that I’m hoping to turn into my 4th Out & About Dress – stay tuned!

{Read all about version 1 & 2 here and version 3 here.}

Sew Caroline’s Tank Dress | pattern

tank-dress-2

When this pattern was first released, I didn’t think I’d jump on that bandwagon. I thought the hemline was “too trendy” {I’ve already confessed my inner 90-year-old}, BUT I love it. It’s actually really easy to construct since it can be made with a woven [non-stretchy] fabric.

My second version [pictured here] is my most-worn because: I raised the elastic casing on the back of the dress about 2 inches [I think]. I’m petite which often requires altering (usually raising the waistline in dresses works for me). In my first version {mentioned in this post}, I was having some bunching in the back above the elastic because it was sliding up to my waist. It was such a simple alteration that completely changed the comfort and fit of the dress for me.

I wear this dress to work with a simple black cardigan and platforms in the summer and transition to fall/winter by adding leggings and boots. I love the versatility of the dress – easy to layer from season to season.

Fancy Tiger Craft’s Fen Dress

fen-dress

My first version of the Fen Dress [pictured here] is my favorite.

{Read all about both of my Fen Dresses in this post and see my 1st Fen Dress in action in this post.}

Shwin Designs’ Day Tripper Top | pattern

day-tripper-top

I got this pattern a long time ago as part of the Pattern Anthology “Just Add Jeans” collection. Embarrassingly, it’s the only pattern I’ve sewn from the collection so far.

For my version, I accidentally omitted the shoulder tabs and waist band which shortened the top (perfect length for petite frame FYI).

{Read all about my Day Tripper Top in this post and see it in action herehere and here on Thanksgiving.}

 

SUMMER

Sew Caroline’s Magnolia Shorts | pattern

magnolia-shorts

These shorts got some serious wear this summer. In past summers I have lived in my black Patagonia elastic waist shorts. The fabric is great for the heat (light and quick-drying/nearly-sweat-proof). While I love them so much, they make me look like a soccer mom (but not the kind that dresses up to sit on the sidelines. I’m the soccer mom wearing big sunglasses trying to hide the fact that she’s napping in her bag chair).

The Magnolia Shorts helped my summer wardrobe appear slightly more pulled together. I used a crepe fabric that had been donated to my stash from someone’s attic. The fabric was perfect for the shorts – drapey and breezy. It made my version morph into a skirt visually {thus, taking my wardrobe up 10 notches}.

{Read all about my Magnolia shorts in this post and see them in action in this post and here on Instagram.}

*PS: If you’re looking for shorts with pockets, check out the Parkside Shorts {read all about mine here}! I made 2 pairs – you can see the second pair in action at the bottom of this post.

My Refashioned Housedress

housedress_before after

This was one of the quickest, easiest projects so far. It was an easy-breezy hack-and-hem into the most comfortable dress ever saved from a landfill.

{Read all about the project in this post. I’m feeling inspired for more refashions – hopefully I’ll find some fun ones for 2017!}

 

WINTER

Blank Slate Pattern’s Tulip Top | pattern

leopard tulip top

I found 2 versions of the Tulip Top particularly inspiring: Sewbon {I love the textured knit and really like how she lengthened it and omitted the sleeve cuffs & neckband for a whole new look} & Sew Charleston {I loved the short-sleeve hack – we’re both in the always-hot-state-of-SC so short-sleeves get a lot of wear}. I actually copied Sew Charleston’s short-sleeved hack in this version, but unfortunately this version hasn’t been worn as much as it should be.

Fun note about the Tulip Top – it was just re-released with a cross-over back option.

Also: I was recently shopping for my adorably preggo sister at Motherhood Maternity and saw a nursing top (similar) that made me think this pattern might be a fun modification for maternity (cross-over in the back) and nursing (cross-over in the front). I’d love to say I’m going to make one for my sister, but my sewing list is so long my nephew might be walking by then!

{Read more about my leopard print Tulip Top in this post.}

I hope this post has inspired you and given you fresh ideas to build your handmade wardrobe. I’d love to hear what’s on your “to make” list for 2017 – share in the comments below!

What I’m Lovin’ in September

Despite the fact that 80+ degree, humid temperatures are still lingering here in South Carolina, it’s finally [officially] fall! My favorite season.

I’ve got some great things to share with you this month! Read on to hear what I’ve been lovin’ in September…

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1. Craft Fair Season

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you are probably well aware that my sister and I love nothing more than hopping around to the local craft fairs and markets to stock up on handmade goods and discover new local artisans. Fall brings more of these shopping opportunities with the holidays nearing.

We kicked off the season with one of our favorites: Martha’s Market (last year was our first time and we loved it – evidence here).

marthas-market

My sister & I heading to Martha’s Market. {PS: I’m wearing my Magnolia Shorts & Katie is wearing the Date Night Dress I made and hand-me-down’d to her}

Unfortunately it looks like we’re going to miss several of our favorites this year (or have to go separately #AllTheTears 😦 ).

Upcoming local craft fairs we’re looking forward to:

2. My Magnolia Shorts

As evidence in the photo above {and in this photo from our weekend getaway to Charleston}, I have been wearing these shorts all around town! They are so comfortable and stylish. I may never take them off […until fall weather actually arrives].

style

My Magnolia Shorts styled here with a thrifted shirt and gemstone flops from Loft.

Can I make a confession about the photo above? I posted it as my “Signature Look” for the #SewPhotoHop. At the time of posting, I had never worn the outfit which made my husband laugh when I told him. As I confessed in the post, my true style is leggings and a t-shirt but that is so not Instagram-worthy! 😉

Due to guilt, I wore the exact outfit the following week to Martha’s Market! 😀

3. This rug:

rug

The Hubs and I bought a new house over the summer. There is not an inch of carpet anywhere which is great (because dogs), but my sewing room needs a floor with cushion. I spend a lot of time on the floor tracing patterns and cutting fabric (wish list: wall-mounted fold-down cutting table…). That being said, I was in desperate need of a rug for the room.

My friend Caroline shared with me that Hendley Rugs (a local no-frills shop…with no website) was having a retirement sale so I jumped on it. I got a serious deal on this rug (A TOTAL STEAL! So good that Scott Hendley himself said “you have to send me $1,000 in business to make my money back” – SO GO BUY A RUG from him please).

Isn’t it so gorgeous? I can’t get enough of it. Scott has these ahhh-mazing rug pads (they’re like an inch thick and they kind of velcro [almost] to the back of the rug and stick nicely to the floor so no sliding. A great investment if you’re the kind of person who straightens the crooked frames of pictures at your doctor’s office…).

Bottom line: If you’re local to the Columbia area (or driving distance), you should go visit Scott at Hendley Rugs to celebrate his retirement and stock up to make your cozy (the store is located at 1919 Taylor Street in downtown Columbia. Scott estimates he’ll be open for another 6 months).

4. Wallet from the Braiden Manor

braiden-manor-wallet

A friend in my sewing guild [who is ridiculously talented and teaches me new tricks at almost every sew-in] has an Etsy shop where she sells some of the amazing things she makes – like burp cloths, diaper clutches, and wallets.

I snagged this wristlet from her at Martha’s Market. It’s sewn up in the Rifle Paper Co. fabric and some pink sparkle fabric. The best part about the pink sparkle fabric is that it won’t leave you looking like a toddler who spilled the glitter in art class. Kristy tested the fabric before adorning the wallets to confirm that the sparkles won’t rub off all over your hands (yay!).

I immediately switched over all my essentials and have been carrying the wallet non-stop since the market and love it. You can browse all of Kristy’s beautiful wallets and wristlets HERE.

5. My New Seam Ripper & Stiletto

fave-tool

Another gem I found at Martha’s Market! I have been using the seam ripper that came with my machine so I was way past due for a new one. I didn’t realize how dull it had gotten until I got my hands on this one!

The best part about this little tool is that the seam ripper and stiletto tuck right into the ends so no accidental stabbings or losing of caps.

fave-tool-2

This spiffy tool is handmade by a guy named Chester whose shop is called Pens and Turnings (he specializes in pens). If you are local, you can find a list of upcoming events he will be selling at on his website. You can find several seam rippers on his website (here!) if you are interested in ordering online.

I recommend the double-ended and request a stiletto instead of the large ripper. I had no idea what a stiletto was until my friend Kristy told me after she bought her seam ripper and got the switch (so of course I had to go back and swap). Not sure what a stiletto is either? Here’s a video for ya.

6. Quilt Block Challenge

Last month, my quilt guild launched a monthly quilt block challenge. Each month we are given a quilt block pattern to construct and bring to the next month’s meeting in exchange for instructions for the next block. The blocks will be used to construct our guild charity quilts.

Our first block was the Churn Dash which I had ironically already been practicing (remember?)!

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My “modern” Churn Dash block for the Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild‘s monthly block challenge.

We get special handwritten instructions (which alone should motivate you to join our guild), but you can find a tutorial for the churn dash quilt block here if you want to make your own.

I’m really excited to build my quilting skills and even more excited for the accountability. I plan to stick with these (because I’m very excited about the charity we picked this year!) so stay tuned and I’ll post my blocks each month.

There is a lot going on lately and I have loads to share with you as soon as I get the time to write the quality posts you deserve 😉 For now, you can follow the bread trail of my adventures on Instagram. I hope you’re all having the coziest of falls!

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

Sew Caroline’s Magnolia Shorts Pattern

Sew Caroline just released a new pattern and I was lucky enough to be a part of the group of gals who tested the pattern…and it’s so fabulous!

MagnoliaShorts-SquareCover

As you know, I love Sew Caroline’s patterns {proof 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7} so I always try to jump in when she’s in need of testers. I fell in love with the shorts when she first shared them here on Instagram.

Flowy, swingy shorts – yes please! {Also, you know my love of an elastic waist}

The construction of these shorts is even easier than the Parkside Shorts (which I still love). Rather than a separate front and back piece, there’s just one long piece that requires no side seam!

Less pattern pieces = less seams to sew = less time

shorts

Fabric

I used some vintage black crepe that had been passed on to me from someone’s attic {don’t you love when someone donates to your fabric stash and it’s just.what.you.needed?!}.

It was my first time working with crepe (I didn’t even know it was crepe until one of my fabulous quilty friends identified it for me at the last sew-in…sewing friends are the best!). I actually really enjoyed it! It’s got an amazing drape and wasn’t too slippery. It ironed like a beauty so hemming was a breeze.

Here’s a great post from IndieSew with tips about sewing and caring for crepe fabric. I confess that I did not read this article before constructing my shorts. Is anyone else guilty of always researching after the fact?! Anyhow, according to my post-sewing-research, it’s a good thing I already had thin pins (love them) and I probably should have used a walking foot (though I didn’t have any issues with snagging).

Size

I made a size small with no alterations and they fit perfectly.

The pattern calls for 1/4″ folds for the hem, but I have a hard time folding that tiny so I admit that my hem folds were closer to 1/2″. I don’t consider that a true alteration, but I like to be honest with you all so there ya go! 😉

You’re cutting the elastic to your own preference like with the Parkside Shorts so with little fit issues to deal with, these would be great for beginners!

Jordan Slice-Metcalfe - Magnolia Shorts 1

Shorts? Skirt? It’s our little secret 😉

Final Thoughts

With summer inching closer to an end {c’mon, Fall! I’m ready for you!}, why not make yourself one last summer wardrobe staple?! If you live in a climate that’s hot-and-humid all-year-long {y’all, one time I wore shorts on Christmas Day…CHRISTMAS DAY…in December}, these shorts are sure to make you feel fabulous despite the fact that you’re sweating in all sorts of unflattering places. And they’ll help you hate the heat a little less. Guaranteed.

Another fun feature if you live in fear of wearing flowy clothing on a windy day: there’s no chance of this beauty flying over your head and flashing everyone within eyesight. Win {unless you’re into the Marilyn Monroe thing}

Jordan Slice-Metcalfe - Magnolia Shorts 2

Bottom Line

Treat yo’self to the Magnolia Shorts pattern.

And keep an eye on Caroline’s blog – she’s going to post photos of the testers soon so you can see what the shorts look like on all shapes and sizes. For now, you can see her beautiful versions here.

*Update*

See how the Magnolia Shorts look on a variety of shapes and sizes in Caroline’s post of the pattern testers here.

You can also find more photos of my Magnolia Shorts in action in this post and in this photo on Instagram.

What I’m Lovin’ this summer!

Since I missed last month, I’m combining July and August for a big list of things I’ve been lovin’ this summer! If you’re wondering why it’s been so quiet around the blog lately, it’s because it’s crazy season at work {start of the school year is bonkers around the district office too!} which means I have zero energy to write at the end of the day and we just bought a new house {more on that soon!}.

So let’s kick off this summer lovin’ post!

july

1. Pattern Testing

shorts

sneak peek of pattern testing the Magnolia Shorts

love testing patterns! Perhaps it’s the evaluator in me, but I love the process of providing feedback to help someone improve a process (the evaluator in me loves when others return this favor #Nerd).

In July I got to test Sew Caroline’s San Francisco Swing Top+Dress pattern! From the moment I saw the call for testers, I knew I wanted in on this one. What I knew I’d love about this pattern was the flowy top. I volunteered to test the size small top with the full back (there’s a fun split back option too). The top turned out a little snug in the chest so it became a birthday present for my sister who loves it!

Because I had this vintage waxed knit {snagged from my local thrift queens, the Thrifted Sisters} lying around screaming to be a swing dress, I gave the dress a try (sizing up to a Medium this time). The dress isn’t really my style and may find a new home at some point, but wouldn’t you agree that this retro fabric is so perfect for a swing dress?!

swing dress

2. The Return of the Skort

Alright ladies…I know you’ve all missed the practicality of the skort as much as I have. It was all “hey, I’m fancy” in the front and “I’m actually quite practical” in the back.

I have great news to share: Sew Caroline has answered our unspoken prayers and upgraded this classic so there’s no awkward front flap.

Her latest pattern is the Magnolia Shorts. They’re so fabulous. You have all the benefits of wearing shorts while looking like you’re wearing a skirt. Plus, if you live somewhere windy (I’m so jealous of you), you can live without the fear of having your bottom fly over your head while flashing everyone in sight.

Caroline is thoughtful like that.

Jordan Slice-Metcalfe - Magnolia Shorts 1

Shorts? Skirt? It’s our little secret 😉

This was, again, a call for testers I was all-too-eager to join in on. Stay tuned – I’ll share all the details of my Magnolia Shorts soon!

 

3. Heart blocks and sewing to spread love

When news of the Pulse Nightclub shooting spread, the quilting community jumped in to help Orlando in the best way they could: by making quilts for the victims and families of the shooting. Our guild immediately recruited members to make heart blocks {see mine here!}.

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The ladies of Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild

We all made blocks and ended up with enough for two quilts! You can see the final quilts here and here and browse all of the beautiful #QuiltsForPulse on Instagram here.

Unfortunately, as the #QuiltsForPulse were underway for the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, tragedy struck again. This time in Dallas. Again, our guild collected blocks and shipped them to the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild for the #QuiltsForPeace {browse all the beautiful quilts on Instagram here}

hear blocks

My blocks for the #QuiltsForPeace

It’s times like these that are heart-warming reminder of how amazing the sewing community is. ❤

4. Humanity is still so wonderful

Just when I needed a reminder that despite all of the recent tragedy, humanity is still so wonderful, I stumbled upon Calvin.

humanity

It was a hottttt morning in #FamouslyHot Columbia, but that didn’t stop Calvin. In the heat of the day, armed with his cooler and the best message I’d heard all week, Calvin stood confidently in front of our state house on one of the busiest streets in town.

Thank you, Calvin, for bravely sharing this beautiful message at a time when we needed it most.

5. Peaches are in season

Who doesn’t love a juicy, sweet peach in the summer?!

One of the Hubs’ truck drivers has been bringing him farm fresh peaches which make me oh-so-happy! The first batch I ate just as they were and cut a few to freeze. The second batch I was feeling a little more adventurous with. I wanted to make a traditional peach cobbler until I saw all the effort that was needed {y’all know cooking isn’t my hobby of choice}.

I found this recipe for Tennessee Peach Pudding that sounded delightful and relatively easy to make (it was). I had plans to take some to share with my family, but before I could muster the kindness to pack them up a few slices, the Hubs and I had eaten the entire batch. #FatKidsFoLife

peach pudding

My peach pudding fresh from the oven

It was delicious and should I get my hands on fresh peaches again soon, I’ll try much harder to share. 😉

What I’m looking forward to in September…

sew along

My friend Amber is hosting a Sew-a-long for the Sew Together bag. I have been long admiring this bag {4 pockets + 3 zip pockets – can you imagine all the trinkets this could hold?!} but have been too afraid to try it out.

Amber is the president of our quilt guild and I love soaking up her advice at our sew-ins. She is an absolute genius when it comes to all-things-bag-making (she’s undoubtedly an interfacing expert). I know this sew-a-long will be awesome!

The sew-a-long starts on September 1st, but you can find all the details and prep information on her blog now.

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