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? ūüėČ

 

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 ūüėČ
  • 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 Рand 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 ūüėČ

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?

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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 ūüėČ

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

Day 1: My 1st Tank Dress

Day 2: My 1st Fen Dress

Day 3: Refashioned Housedress

  • Pattern: none – This is an altered housedress I found at a thrift store.
  • Fabric: It’s a cotton-almost-seersucker fabric
  • Blogged: here – read all about the alterations I made to this housedress (so easy!). Also on¬†My most worn garments of 2016¬†list!

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 ūüėČ – 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 ūüėČ )

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 ūüėČ }

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 ūüėČ ).

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.

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.

beautiful-things

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 ūüôā

iris-apfel

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 here, here 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!

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! ūüėČ

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 ūüėČ

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

I¬†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 ūüėČ

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!}.

group

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. ūüėČ

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.}

Sew Caroline’s Newest Pattern: Parkside Shorts + Skirt

While in Charleston a few weeks ago, we stopped by the outlets and I popped into Loft. It’s been¬†quite a while since I’ve gone shopping for clothes. There’s a reason for that…

As my husband noted on this very trip: “It’s easy going shopping with you now that you sew because you never buy anything.”

Nailed it.

Sewing has changed how I shop (aka: I don’t). If I find myself in a store, I’m mostly just gazing – trying to figure out¬†what’s trendy (although we all know trendy isn’t something I’m any good at – as I confessed in my Instagram reveal of the very shorts I’m telling you about today!).

Rather than hours spent in a dressing room sifting through clothes that don’t fit right and passing¬†a lot of judgement on my own body for not fitting into ready-to-wear clothing as perfectly as the mannequin, I browse. And browsing for inspiration takes¬†far less time than trying on clothes. And involves¬†far less¬†self-shaming.

So back to Loft: It is¬†my favorite store to shop for ready-to-wear clothing {hats off to Loft for having a legitimate Petite section!} The day we were at the outlets was one of the first warm days this season and I was realizing I don’t have many shorts (and among those I¬†do¬†have, I don’t feel comfortable in any that I could think of). As I walked into Loft I saw a lovely display of the cutest little drawstring shorts.

Yes! I love comfy clothing and these were¬†the perfect balance of you-don’t-look-like-you’re-wearing-pajamas-but-feel-like-you-are. I was all set to try them on until I looked at the price tag. Spending $50 on drawstring shorts was not something I was prepared to bring myself to do that day.

Maybe some other time.

So, I headed back home with zero bags from the outlets (seriously: I bought¬†nothing at the outlets. I think that’s a new world record and you should all take me out for¬†coffee to celebrate).

A few days later a call for testers popped up on Facebook from one of my favorite designers {remember my love of the Out And About Dress 1 + 2, & 3?!¬†And I’m working on #4}. And guess what! The call was for elastic waist shorts –¬†sign.me.up!

ParksideShortsandSkirtCoverSquare

{Image via Sew Caroline}

I was so excited to be able to test Sew Caroline‘s newest pattern: The Parkside Shorts + Skirt. The great thing about the pattern is it’s a two-for-one: You get both a skirt¬†and shorts pattern. #winning

I knew this was going to be my new favorite pattern and it totally is.

parkside shorts 1

My stepbrother’s wife’s mom had a collection of fabric in her attic from a relative who had passed away. She covered my parent’s¬†garage with bags of fabric for me to plunder through. It was like winning the vintage fabric lottery! I immediately filled 2 giant plastic bins with my choices and headed to the laundromat. I am thrilled to say all of the fabric survived the wash. I plundered my pile a second time and took some of it to my last quilt guild meeting to share with the ladies.

Luckily for me, no one snagged the lightweight denim. It’s not typically a fabric I have on hand or would purchase so I was very excited I had it for testing these shorts. It has great drape and isn’t too heavy so it’s perfect for summer.

parkside shorts 2

I used some vintage floral scraps (also from the attic stash) for accent pockets. The fabric was really thin so I cut¬†double¬†what I needed for¬†the pocket pieces. To make my double-lined pockets, I lined the mirrored pieces up right-sides-facing and stitched along the bottom curved edge. I used my pinking shears to cut around the curves then flipped the pockets right-sides-out and pressed. The perk: my pockets are equally as pretty when the pants are inside-out ūüôā

parkside shorts 7

I’ve never sewn pants of any kind so these shorts were a little scary at first. However, the way you set one leg inside the other when connecting reminded me of constructing a bag (when you set the exterior inside the lining to connect before flipping). These were a great confidence builder!

parkside shorts 4

I’m pretty sure I’m going to be wearing these non-stop all summer!

The two-inch elastic waistband provides optimum comfort with the ability to pull your shorts up high [like this shameless old lady] or low around your hips. Either way, it’s a winner.

parkside shorts 3

parkside shorts 6

I wore these to brunch for Mother’s Day. The Hubs and I even went for a walk around town while waiting (note to all: if taking your Mom to Cafe Strudel for Mother’s Day, arrive an hour and a half early to get your name on the list…). I’m happy to say: they performed well!

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I was pretty excited that my sister showed up wearing the Date Night Dress¬†I’d made her for her birthday last year! It looks amazing on her – especially with that snazzy belt I hand-me-down’d her from Butterfly Vintage.

parkside shorts 9

photoshoot blooper #1

We’re hoping to work on sewing a Date Night Dress together soon – the pattern is great for beginners and the flutter sleeves are amazing for our incredibly humid summers.

date night dress

Pretty sure my sister could wear a trash bag and still look AMAZING! She’s so chic

We had a lovely Mother’s Day brunch! Proof:

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I might make sharing photoshoot bloopers my new thing…

parkside shorts 10

Typical: everyone looks great and then I sneeze.

Moral of this story: hop on over to Sew Caroline’s site and purchase yourself a copy of the Parkside Shorts + Skirt pattern and get sewing! These are perfect for summer. You can even add a drawstring (like on¬†this skirt¬†that Caroline made) for a more professional look. Once I figure out how to sew a buttonhole (yep, still on my “learn how to do” list..), I’m totally adding a drawstring!

parkside shorts 5

UPDATE РYou can see my Parkside Skirt in this post. 

Out And About Dress #2

I gave you a peak at my new Out And About Dress in my¬†What I’m Lovin’ in October post and, as promised, today I’m going to share¬†all the details with you!

When I was first dreaming about garment-making, I started examining my closet. I wanted to see what styles I gravitated towards so that I could be intentional with the styles I was going to attempt to sew (no need to waste my time tackling a pattern I won’t enjoy wearing). This is actually a great practice even if you don’t sew – find out what styles you like to wear that¬†make you feel good. Use that knowledge to decipher whether you really¬†should buy¬†that clothing item (especially in terms of “but it’s only $5!” sales which can lead to closet overload).

I quickly noticed that my favorite dresses had a cinched, elastic waist (I’m a sucker for comfort – and I don’t like for clothes to hug my midsection ūüėČ ). I also like sleeves. I certainly don’t mind sleeveless (and very much appreciate sleeveless in this year-round incredibly humid climate that I call home), but when I have even a little sleeve I feel less obligated to add a cardigan (although, next to scarves, cardigans are my favorite accessory!).

At the time, I had been following Sew Caroline and a few other clothing bloggers on Instagram and falling madly in love with their handmade styles. When Sew Caroline released her Out And About Dress pattern, I knew I had to give it a try!

It was quite a bold choice for my very first garment pattern. In general, knit fabric can be tricky to work with because of the stretch (though there are¬†tons of great tips out there – Addie K’s post about twin needles totally changed how I sew with knits!). The cinched waist is definitely the hardest part of the pattern. Caroline has really great instructions to walk you through it (step-by-step instructions with pictures = why you should use indie sewing patterns!).

For my first version of the Out And About Dress, I used a sweet¬†fawn print cotton jersey fabric¬†from Girl Charlee (my choice is no longer available, but you can find similar versions here, here and here).¬†For my first time working with knit, this fabric was a good choice – it wasn’t super, duper stretchy which made it much easier to control.

I knew I would need to alter the placement of the waist because I am petite. Before I started, I found a dress in my closet with a cinched waist that fell where I wanted this one to fall. I measured from the shoulder to the waist and used that as a basis for how much I needed to shorten the front and back bodice pieces. I ended up shortening them by about 2 inches.

It turned out perfect!

outandaboutdress1

circa March 2014

While making this dress definitely built my self-confidence as a seamstress, it was a little more labor intensive than I was prepared for so I decided to stick with some easier patterns for a bit (aka: less sleeve-setting and waist-line-cinching Рlike the Canny Tunic Рstill an absolute favorite & closet staple).

I’ve been on a serious garment-making kick as of late and was feeling much more confident so I decided to dust off the pattern for a second try (because I still¬†love wearing the first one I made!).

I found some mint colored knit fabric at JoAnn’s and bought 2 yards on a whim quite a while ago. I had ear-marked it for a future Out And About Dress so I’d avoided using it with my other projects because I knew it would be perfect for this one. I can’t remember what the bolt said, but I think it may be a ponte knit – it’s super duper soft with a four-way stretch (which sounds much stretchier than it actually is).

outandaboutdress

circa October 2015

A few alterations I made to my 2nd Out and About Dress…

  • Elastic waist:¬†I inserted elastic when I made the waist (I’d tell you how I did it, but it was a total disaster the first time…then I had to shorten the bodice after construction and start all over again with the elastic so I’m not gonna go there ūüėČ ). I’ve heard the elastic will prevent the waist from drooping/stretching out over time. I knew I’d want to wear this dress constantly so I figured it was worth the effort.
  • Slightly shorter sleeve & cuff: To make the dress, I used almost every inch of the 2 yards so I didn’t have enough to make separate sleeve cuffs. I had planned to flip the hem up twice and stitch, but I tried the dress on before doing so and realized that the sleeves were longer than I wanted so I chopped them and used the excess to make a cuff (so in total: I cut 3 inches off each sleeve and used 2 inches of that to make the cuff. Had I realized I was going to cut 3 full inches off, I would’ve used all 3 to make the cuff…trial and error, y’all).
  • Finished the seams with pinking sheers (not so much of an alteration, but just a note): A few months ago I finally “splurged” on a pair of pinking sheers. Ever since, I’ve been using them to trim the seams in all of the garments I make (unless I use french seams like I did for my Date Night Dress). It makes the interior of the dress look much more professional (the perfectionist in me hates having uneven, jagged, raw edges of the fabric exposed…even on the inside).
  • Bound the neckline:¬†For the neckline, I followed this tutorial from Indie Sews to bind the neckline. Since I was using a twin needle, I have a double top-stitch line which looks very professional if I do say so myself!
  • Reinforce the shoulders: Because this knit was pretty stretchy and a little heavy, I knew the weight of the dress would put a bit of pressure on the shoulders. I had some twill tape leftover from the Finlayson Sweater I sewed for the Hubs (see the sweater on Instagram here!) so I just lined it up over the underside of the shoulder seam and carefully sewed into place from the top side of the fabric (lots of pins here to keep the twill from moving while I sewed from the other side for a cleaner look with the thread).

I have to admit, I’m quite pleased with how it turned out!¬†I’m glad I took the time to make the alterations – I know I will be wearing this dress a ton!

If you are interested in sewing your own Out and About Dress, Sew Caroline offers it as a digital PDF¬†AND as a printed pattern (to avoid hours of taping and piecing, I highly recommend this version! And it’s the same price – win!).