How to host a destash on Instagram

I recently hosted a destash on Instagram. While doing some research in preparation for the destash, I was surprised at how little information was out there despite how popular destashing is these days. That said, I’m hoping this post will be helpful to others!

This post is heavily based on hosting a sewing supply/fabric destash because that is my craft of choice. However, most of these tips are universal.

Steps to hosting a destash

 1. Do your research

Here are some places to start: this is a list of great tips for a successful destash, here’s a post with destashing tips that go beyond hosting a sale on Instagram, and this step-by-step guide is from a paper crafter but her tips are super useful.

Ask for advice

I have a friend who hosts regular destashes that I reached out to immediately when I decided to host one of my own. She gave me lots of good advice and was there to answer questions as they arose. If you’ve got a friend who’s hosted a destash before, ask for their advice! If you don’t, find someone on Instagram – I received a private message from someone I have never met asking a question because she was in the process of doing some research to host her own destash. I happily shared what I learned in real-time–and, to be honest, she is the inspiration for this post!

 2. Gather the items for your destash & determine a schedule

Limit on maximum posts per day

I was not able to find an official statement from Instagram, but according to others you are limited to 100 posts per day on the platform.

Take this into consideration when planning your sale – you may need multiple days.

Separate into categories

When the declutter bug bit me, I started gathering items I was ready to part with and quickly realized that everything fit neatly into 4 categories: Books, Fabric, Patterns, and Supplies.

On that note, I decided to break my destash into 4 parts to post across 4 days:

Alternatively [if you have fewer than 100 items], you could post them all in one day, but separate them into categories by creating “divider posts” announcing that one section is done and you are posting the next (similar to how I posted at the end of each day – example).

Post across multiple days

I highly recommend considering it if you have a lot to post. It creates some additional anticipation for your followers and also gives you time to catch up so you’re not too overwhelmed.

 3. Develop a shipping plan

First, decide whether you want to offer international shipping.

Due to my limited experience shipping overseas, I decided against offering international shipping for my first destash. If you are comfortable shipping overseas, go for it – it’ll immediately expand your pool of potential customers!

Second, decide WHO will ship the packages.

This goes back to your shipping experience. I have had great success using my local USPS for shipping packages so I knew they were the carrier I would use.

Third, decide HOW you will ship the packages.

Options:

  1. Purchase your own shipping supplies. You can do this on Amazon or reuse boxes/folders/envelopes you already have (just be sure to remove any labels from the previous contents or wrap in Kraft paper to avoid confusion).
  2. Use flat rate envelopes/boxes. You can have the USPS ship flat rate shipping supplies directly to your home for free (so convenient!). Then you just pay the postage when you ship the package(s).

I chose to use flat rate shipping. The legal flat rate envelope was my most-used size. It was great for fabric and patterns. If you will be shipping items more delicate items, you may want to get some padded envelopes and/or boxes (medium, size 2 worked best for me).

If you have a scale to weigh your packages, you can calculate the shipping online pretty easily. Honestly, if I were savvier, I would have done that. The cost of shipping deterred at least 2 purchases that I was made aware of. 😦

Flat rate shipping is more costly for the buyer but more convenient for the seller – there are pros & cons for each option.

Fourth, determine shipping costs.

Once you have decided on your carrier, search their site for a shipping cost calculator. Here are links to a few: USPS, UPS, and FedEx.

For reference if you are using USPS Flat Rate shipping:

     ** shipping costs noted are current as of the time of this post (October 2018).

Other options to consider:

  1. You could include shipping in the price you list for the item.
  2. You could add shipping estimates to each item individually (this sounds really time consuming, but you do you).
  3. You could provide shipping estimates based on the amount purchased (based on yardage if you are just selling fabric or number of items if you want to encourage larger quantity purchases, etc.).
  4. You could calculate shipping after the order has been placed (so you can combine all items the buyer requests then have one shipping estimate for everything they choose).

Whatever you decide, specify clearly either in each individual post, your profile bio, and/or in a separate shipping post – make the information easy to find and understand.

Fifth, decide WHEN you will ship packages.

If you are hosting a multi-day destash (like I did), I would recommend shipping after the final day. So, my destash was Monday through Thursday with posts each night. To give enough time for customers to shop and for me to sort/package orders, I shipped the Monday after my destash began.

If you are posting your destash all at once, you may want to ship within a certain time-frame (example: within 3-5 days of payment received).

Last, draft your shipping “rules” to post.

Options:

  1. Include brief shipping information in your bio.
  2. Draft a separate post only about shipping (if you have a lot of shipping details you want to provide, this is a good option).
  3. Include your shipping information in your general rules post (this is good if you want to keep the important/pertinent information condensed to one post).

If you have an iPhone, use the “Notes” app on your phone to draft your shipping rules. Alternatively, you could use Canva or a similar program to create an image with your shipping rules listed (like this one).

 4. Create your RULES

Every destash needs rules so customers know what to do to claim the goods.

Take a look at destash accounts you already follow and/or find some to check out – examples:

  • MINE (pictured below)
  • @whatkatiesews_destash – she posted multiple images to flip through for the rules. I really like this idea – it’s so creative and really great for visual people/people who refuse to read long posts 😉
  • @kelbysews_destash
  • You can list your rules entirely in one image like @iamlunasol_destash.

This needs to be THE FIRST post so be sure you have it drafted and ready-to-go as soon as you create your account.

Create an image that stands out so that when followers visit your profile, they can tell immediately that it’s not a post of something for sale. I created a graphic in Canva and included “READ ME” in the image so it was obvious.

 5. Organize and track your inventory

Create a method that works for you to track your inventory/destash items. I created a Google Sheet for ease and accessibility, but an Excel spreadsheet or even a paper notebook (just don’t lose it) would work just fine.

Below is a screenshot of my “inventory” spreadsheet:

I created columns for the category, item for sale, description, price, buyer’s info, and dates.

If you have receipts from your original purchase of the item, reference those for pricing. While you hope to generate money from your destash, do not expect to profit. You are reselling items not selling brand-new inventory. Price your items to reflect that.

If you are not sure about how to price an item, do a quick google search to see what it’s selling for online. For fabric, you can find information about the designer and collection on the selvage so use that information in your search and again in your post (i.e. listing for the customer).

 6. Take photos of your inventory

Try to use natural light – if you have a table or clean space outdoors, that’s a great option. You could put a white sheet on some grass or your driveway to protect the item and provide a neutral backdrop. Or if you have a well-lit room/clean space by a window, that’s a good indoor option. Just do your best to accurately capture the color of the material and condition of the item (take close-up/detail shots of any “blemishes” and convey in the listing).

Include identifying information in the photo (optional)

Not only does this help the customer, but it will help YOU when you start drafting your posts.

I used pieces of scrap paper – below is an example:

the note beside the fabric includes the dimensions for reference

Take detail shots

If you have an item with a special detail (or flaw), take a close-up photo and include it as an additional image (Click here to learn how to share multiple photos in one post on Instagram).

A “detail shot” to show off the metallic print

PS: You don’t need a fancy camera for photos – I used my iPhone. While you want to take the best possible pictures, you are not opening a professional store. This is a DESTASH – think of it as a sophisticated garage sale 😉

 7. Create your account

Choose your handle

Most people just add “destash” to their current Instagram profile name so that it’s easily identified with them. Add a period (.) or underscore (_) before “destash” to separate visually.

My personal account has a somewhat long handle (@jordanslicemet) so I condensed it a little for my destash handle and just used my first name: @jordans.destash.

Write your bio

Information to include in your bio:

  • Who you are (name/personal IG handle) – You can link your personal account so people can click over and get an idea for your aesthetic.
  • What you will be destashing (i.e. “sewing supply & fabric destash”)
  • Basic rules and shipping information (there’s a character limit so keep it short)

 8. Promote your destash!

Share about your destash on your personal Instagram account and with all of your sewing friends. You may even want to share on Facebook or other social media platforms.

Unless you have a large following on your destash account already, I would recommend sharing and promoting your destash for a few days before you launch the sale (I wouldn’t wait any longer than a week because people will lose interest/forget).

Share about your destash AFTER you have 1) created your account so you can link to it, 2) posted your RULES, 3) posted your shipping “policy.” I would also add a photo after your rules & shipping with information about WHEN the sale will start or include the dates/times in your bio. (I recommend separating your rules post and your sale dates so that when the sale is over you have the option to delete the post with your dates but keep the rules posted.)
Share sneak peeks

Leading up to the start of your destash, try to share sneak peek photos (example: I shared the photo below of my daughter with some of the fabric we were measuring in preparation for the detash).

To stay “relevant” (aka: active/in your feed), you could post related quotes, memes, etc. Just make sure they are relevant and [obviously] not offensive (stick to your topic at hand – no politics or opinions about things other than how great your destash items are).

Example: I shared this post in the days leading up to my sale.

 9. Load your posts as DRAFTS before your sale

Mega-time saver!

After you have your photos, start loading them into your Instagram account as drafts.

Click here for the official instructions, but below is the jist:

  1. While logged into your account, click on the + icon in the middle of your screen to start a post.
  2. Select your photos and proceed.
  3. Enter your caption then click the backward arrow in the upper left corner of the screen.
  4. Click the arrow again and click “Save Draft”

As you navigate backwards, you will get the option to: Save Draft (which saves the post as a draft), Discard (which deletes the draft), or Cancel.

I have not been able to find a limit for the number of drafts you can have loaded at one time. However, I’ve had over 20 at a time with no issue. To note, only 4 drafts will show when you click the “+” button to post. If you click “Manage” (see image below), you can then access all of your drafts – this is helpful if you are trying to post in a certain order.

Include relevant hashtags in your posts!

When drafting your posts, be sure to include destash-related hashtags. Below are a few I used:

 10. Post your items

The moment you’ve been waiting for!

I advertised that I’d be posting at 8:00pm EST (I picked this time because I could guarantee my hands would be free since it’s after Andy goes to sleep 😉 ). I set a reminder on my phone to go off at 8:00pm to remind me to post for that day (I also set one to remind me to construct the draft posts).

Because I already had my posts saved as drafts, I had everything posted within minutes (no staying up late for me!). HERE are official instructions on how to share posts saved as drafts.

I highly recommend creating a post to notify followers when you are done (so they’re not waiting around to see what’s coming next).

Because my destash spread across multiple days, I posted an “end” photo each evening (example). This was also good as a visual separation since the days were chosen by the type of item – so, followers could go to my profile and scroll between each of the “end” images (they were consistent visually) to see a particular group of items.

Include information in your “end post” relating to when buyers will receive invoices (or if they already have) and when to pay, when to expect packages to ship, or any other remaining information (you could even offer a discount on anything that is still available).

Click the image to view my “Thank You” (end post) in Instagram

 11. Track purchases.

I created a second spreadsheet within the same workbook I used to track inventory called “invoices” where I tracked information for items that sold.

In this worksheet I tracked the buyer’s name, items for their invoice, costs (I built formulas in some of these cells to sum/total for me), PayPal email address, dates, address, and tracking number for the package. I have blanked identifying information in the screenshot below. The yellow cells indicate information that I needed/did not have.

At minimum, I highly recommend tracking purchases including all information for the buyer that you need for invoicing and shipping. This is good to have on hand if you ever need it for reference (at least until the package has been confirmed as delivered).

 12. Send invoices & collect payments.

PayPal is the most popular method for destash payments. It’s very easy to “request money” from someone as long as you have their email address.

I sent the invoices as requests for payment and included a list of the items they purchased in the notes area for reference. Alternatively, you could create a more formal invoice.

PayPal does charge a small fee so take that into account with your pricing. Despite the fee, I think it’s well worth it for convenience.

 13. Provide high quality customer service.

You are technically running a shop of sorts so treat your potential buyers/customers how you like to be treated when shopping.

  1. Respond promptly to comments and DM’s. Your efficiency at answering customer questions can impact your sales. {PS: Be sure to check your message requests in case you are not following the sender – here’s how to}
  2. Provide updates to buyers via DM. Keep your buyers updated throughout the process (i.e. let them know when you send the invoice, when you receive their payment, when you ship the package, etc.).
  3. Upsell, but don’t be pushy. Because I was using flat rate shipping, I was motivated to stuff the packages as full as possible (I always want to get my “money’s worth” 😉 ). So, I messaged customers after they chose their initial items to ask if they wanted to add anything without increasing their shipping – particularly for orders that had a lot of extra space in the package. This was helpful both for me (it helped me “move more inventory”) and for them (spreading shipping costs across multiple items is more economical). Be careful with this: Try to present this offer softly with an easy way for them to decline kindly and respect their choice.
  4. Include a hand-written note. I used to do this when I had an Etsy shop. It’s always a nice personal touch to receive a hand-written note when you order something online.

I used my pinking sheers to cut strips of fabric scraps and an old needle to stitch them onto scrap card stock. I included the buyer’s name on the front and a note on the back. {similar to this tutorial}

 14. Remove posts as you ship them.

Nothing is worse than opening a destash account, falling head-over-heels for something they have posted only to find that it has already been snagged by someone else in the comments.

This isn’t so bad if the item hasn’t shipped yet (i.e. your sale is still open/has just begun) because a person could comment to be a back-up in case the original buyer passes on the item).

Once the payment has been received and the package has been shipped, ARCHIVE the post. Archiving the post (rather than actually deleting the post), will remove the post from your feed (i.e. it will no longer be visible to potential customers as they view your profile and posts). You can do this by clicking the 3 dots in the upper right corner then choosing “Archive”:

Archiving a post is handy because you don’t lose the original post information – including comments. So, if you ever need to reference that information in the future, you have it!

To view a post after it has been archived and/or to add it back to your feed: click on your profile then click the clock circle icon in the upper left corner. When I did this, I was confused because I didn’t see the posts. If you click on the arrow at the top of the screen, you will be given the option to switch to archived posts (it appears to default on stories):

HERE is more information about archiving a post on Instagram.

Phew! I know that was a lengthy guide, but I hope you found it helpful.

If you are hosting a destash, leave a link to your account where others can shop in the comments below!

 

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My 2018 Sewing Goals

I realize we are now 2/3 of the way through the year so I’m just a weeeee bit late setting annual goals, but I have been feeling a real pull to set goals lately. This was sparked by a combination of binge listening to the Love to Sew podcast (specifically the episode on Planningand feeling very scattered (both emotionally as well as physically in regards to the fact that I have many works-in-progress collecting dust).

It’s also Libra “season” so naturally (as a Libra) I’m seeking balance 😉

 1. Sew my stash

I heard about this on Episode 30 of the Love to Sew podcast, but I have had this idea (to some degree) for a while.

Over the years I have really decreased my fabric-purchasing-sprees and tried to focus on buying only when I didn’t have the right substrate for the project. However, I was inspired to push this goal further after hearing about #makeyourstash.

Goal: For the remainder of 2018, I will sew only with fabric already in my stash – no new fabric will be purchased.

2. Finish sewing my current works-in-progress

I have several projects that I’ve started and abandoned (temporarily). I would like to save these WIP’s from dying a slow, quiet death in the dusty oblivion of forgotten fabric. Even if they are never worn (but they will be), they deserve to be complete.

Embarrassingly, I have more than the 2 listed below, but these are the 2 I’m forcing myself to finish.

Arenite Pants

At first I wasn’t sure this pattern was for me.. until I saw Meg’s version!

Arenite pants inspiration from Meg

I made it as far as sewing the leg panels together before realizing I cut the front seam incorrectly after sewing (I trimmed both seams preventing me from creating the felled seam in the instructions. I have a French-seam-ish idea + sewing a smaller seam allowance to finish the sides of the pants that will hopefully allow the pants to still fit #fingerscrossed). That said, I was frustrated with my irreversible mistake so they have been sitting in time-out.

Harrington Shorts

These shorts have been on my to-make list for years (literally. I promised them to Jeremy for his birthday 3+ years ago). I pulled the pattern out after Andy was born and cut into some Essex Linen I’d been hoarding. Sewing is my love language and my husband was incredible during those first few weeks having a newborn – I really wanted to make something special for him. He’s still wonderful so he still deserves these 😉

I’ve only found one completed pair of Harrington shorts in the blogosphere, but the review sounds like they’re worth powering through. I’ve got some minor adjustments to make before I hem them (they’re really close to being done!).

Goal: By the end of 2018, I will finish sewing my black Arenite Pants and the Harrington shorts for Jeremy.

 3. Purge my closet

I recently checked out a copy of The Curated Closet from my local library and have been reading through it…making notes and doing most of the activities.

Jenny posted a really great review of the book on The Curvy Sewing Collective if you’re wondering how this book relates to sewing.

Goal: Condense closet into 3 categories outlined in The Curated Closet: Basics, Key Pieces, Statement Pieces to identify gaps in wardrobe. Purge pieces that no longer fit my style.

 4. Make a PLAN for sewing in 2019

Sometimes I feel a little lost when I finish a project. I have so many ideas of what I want to sew next running through my head at all times that once I finally reach the point of being able to start the next project, I feel too overwhelmed to make a choice. Then I get stuck in the planning phase trying to decide what to make next.

Developing a sewing PLAN will help my indecisiveness and hopefully help me stay on track with my goals (and maybe even be more efficient!). Basing this plan off of what I discover based on Goal #3 above will be helpful to keep me focused on pieces I need and will undoubtedly wear and enjoy for years to come.

Goal: Use my Colette Sewing Planner to map out 6 garments to make in 2019.

Do you set goals? Do you stick to them? Share your tips with me!

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.

Pattern

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 😉 ).

Fabric

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!).

Process

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.

Sewing Wish List: 10 Patterns for Spring/Summer

There are so many patterns floating around right now that I’m lusting after! Today I’m sharing a few that are on my sewing “wish list” that I think would be perfect for spring and summer.

1. Highlands Wrap Dress by Allie Olson

I have been dreaming of a v-neck, wrap top dress for a while and haven’t found one that caught my fancy until Allie of Indie Sew released the Highlands Wrap Dress.

A flowy version – perhaps a large-print floral rayon? – is on the short list of dresses I’m considering for a wedding I’ll be attending this summer.

Highlands Wrap Dress inspirationThis long version is pretty sexy and has me wondering if I should try the maxi length. Also totally smitten with Leslie’s nani IRO version!

2. The Orla Dress – Free pattern from French Navy

Y’all know my love of a cinched waist dress so as soon as I saw this pattern I knew it was one I’d want to try!

Orla Dress inspiration: I am completely smitten with Rachel’s plaid version and her floral version.

3. Off-the-Shoulder Dress – Free tutorial from Megan Nielsen

I’m really not one for trendy attire and have been particularly detesting most of the cold-shoulder trends as of late, BUT one iteration of this trend has me swooning: a ruffled off-the-shoulder dress.

I absolutely hate strapless bras + have gotten pretty conservative in my dress-ware as I’ve aged so I’m not totally sure this is a style I’ll embrace…however, Megan Nielsen has what appears to be an incredibly easy tutorial for making this dress that I just might give a try because it looks so stinkin’ easy and I think it might be appropriate for that summer wedding I mentioned earlier 😉

4. Dottie Angel Frock / Simplicity 1080

I picked up this pattern on sale at JoAnn’s quite a while ago. The pattern looks fairly simple and I love a dress with pockets.

5. Darling Ranges by Megan Nielsen

I picked up this pattern from Five Eighth Seams on a trip to Charleston last year. I finally got the nerve up to start the pattern over my holiday break. I got about half way done and hung it in my sewing room closet where it has been gathering dust for a few months. This is such a bad habit of mine. I’m planning to get back to it very soon so I can wear it for summer (it’s made from a beautiful voile – see it here! – that’ll be delightful during those hotter-than-hot summer days that await).

6. Montlake Tee from Straight Stitch Designs

I’m in need of some basic shirts. I purchased the Montlake paper pattern from Straight Stitch Designs a while ago knowing it would be a staple. From the scoop neck to flowy body of the shirt, I love this simple flattering design.

I also have Kimberly’s View Ridge pattern. It’s not a style my closet is in dire need of right now, but it’s definitely on my to-sew-soon list!

7. Watson Bra by Cloth Habit

I don’t have this pattern in my stash yet, but I’ve been admiring it pretty intensely for over a year now. I bought a beautiful bra-making-kit from Mercer’s Fabric while visiting Boston last year that I’m planning to finally use 😉

Watson inspiration: this simple gray version by Kimberly of Straight Stitch Designs, this pretty blue lace version by Grainline Studio, basically all version on the #WatsonBra hashtag on IG. Very impressed with how Erin turned it into a Nursing Bra!

Other bralette patterns I’m loving:

Resources: Ohhh Lulu has a great post on how to take your own measurements. Cloth Habit has a sew along for the Watson bra that I will certainly utilize. According to Sarah’s FAQ video, bralettes are totally wearable for almost all bust sizes!

8. Shoreline Boatneck Dress by Blank Slate Patterns

I’ve already made a tunic and I wear it as often as possible because it is so stinkin’ comfortable.

Shoreline Boatneck inspiration: I really love the pattern because of its versatility and I’ve been dreaming of re-creating Melissa’s cinched waist version which reminds me a little of the Fen Dress, but I really prefer the comfort of a set-in sleeve so I’m leaning towards the Shoreline Boatneck for this upcycle plan…

My grandmother gave me a few of my grandpa’s shirts the other week and I have an idea bouncing around in my head that I can’t wait to get started on!

I’m planning to follow this Shoreline hack using his white linen button up shirt for the top of the dress and some army green rayon I found at JoAnn’s when testing the Auberley dress for the bottom.

9. Maxi Circle Skirt – By Hand London has a calculator!

I’m not huge on maxi dresses because 1) I’m so short, 2) I rarely have enough fabric, 3) the summer humidity where I live is best suited for uncovered legs 😉

BUT I have some Birch Floral rayon from Rifle Paper Company’s Les Fleurs collection that I think would be so lovely as a circle skirt! If I end up not having enough for a maxi, I’ll go with a midi or mini.

Maxi Circle Skirt inspiration: Mac of Harper+Lu made a gorgeous maxi circle skirt and has some tips for using By Hand London’s circle skirt calculator.

10. Sleeveless Auberley Dress by Blank Slate Patterns

I participated in the first round of testing for the Auberley, but unfortunately couldn’t move to round 2 because I was going out of town so I don’t actually have a finished version 😦 It’s been on my list for a while – the construction of the bodice was actually pretty neat and I enjoyed it quite a bit (it was my first time lining a bodice!).

Auberley inspiration: I really love Melissa’s sleeveless version! Plus, you know I’m a sucker for a cinched waist & pockets 😉 Also head-over-heels for this embroidered version!!

Limiting myself to 10 patterns was tough! There are loads, loads, loads more on my list. Perhaps this is why I have such a hard time focusing on / finishing a project?! Nonetheless, I hope you enjoyed the list!

Tell me what you’re sewing for spring/summer in the comments below {because – let’s face it – I need more patterns on my wish list! 😉 }

Sewing Wish List: Fall 2016

This month I’ve been participating in House of Pinheiro’s SewPhotoHop on Instagram. I typically stray from the pressure of posting daily, but this has been a refreshing routine. I have really enjoyed following the hashtag and soaking up inspiration from the other sewists participating in the challenge.

Today’s theme is “Wish list” so I thought I’d share a little more detail of what’s on my “to make” list here on the blog!

sewing-wish-list

I have so very many things on my sewing wish list right now, but I’ve whittled it down to only patterns I have already purchased. {If you want to see all the other things I’m dreaming of making, you can browse my Sewing Garments Pinterest Board}

I would love love love to hear your vote on what you think I should make next! Leave your vote in the comments section. I’d also equally love if you share your advice or experience if you have made any of the patterns listed. 🙂

Without further adieu, here is the [very shortened and in no particular order] list of sewing patterns in my queue…

1. Florence Bra | Seamwork Magazine

florence2

Top: Florence Bra, Bottom: Geneva Panties – both patterns available via Seamwork Magazine.

While on our roadtrip to Boston last spring break, I picked up this beautiful bra-making kit at Mercer’s Fabric. I’ve been dreaming of becoming brave enough to cut into it. I’ve even claimed the Florence bra pattern with my Seamwork Magazine credit. Since this will be my very first attempt at lingerie, I’d love to hear any tips or advice you may have!

2. Harrington Shorts | Seamwork Magazine

The Hubs is probably my most neglected loved one in the sewing room! I rarely make him much and I’ve only ever made him one finished garment {the Finlayson sweater – see it in this post}. He’s one of my biggest supporters (tied with my sister) and endures quite a bit of sewing chatter and frustration troubleshooting.

I think he’s in need of a treat!

The Harrington shorts are meant to be swim trunks, but I think he’ll get a lot of use out of an everyday pair. I really like the linen version [pictured above] by Seamwork.

Since the Hubs is a pretty tall guy (6’4″..), I plan to lengthen the inseam of these shorts. The pattern reminds me a lot of Chubbies (which are basically booty shorts on my long-legged guy).

I suspect that construction will be similar to my Parkside Shorts which came together pleasantly. We both have a deep love and appreciation for elastic waists so I know these would be a closet staple.

3. Out and About Dress | Sew Caroline

Are you tired of hearing about this pattern yet?! It’s a tried and true (proof: here & here). I’ve been really wanting to make a sleeveless version {pattern hack here} – which I know might sound a little late considering fall is approaching, but it’s quite warm here all year andloooove an excuse to toss on a cardigan!

sleeveless

Isn’t this sleeveless version by Caroline gorgeous?!

I’m also in love with the tulip sleeves on Dixie DIY‘s version {pattern hack here}:

tulip-sleeve

4. Dottie Angel Dress | Simplicity 1080

I just picked this pattern up from my local JoAnn’s a few weeks ago while the Simplicity patterns were on sale. I’ve never made a Simplicity pattern but my friend Shanika loves them!

I’ve been smitten with the Dottie dress for a while. I’m torn between Versions A & B – I’m worried version A will be too long on my short stature, but I’m also worried version B will be too short to qualify as a dress (tunics are often dresses on me 😉 ). I may make a hybrid between the two lengths.

While I love big pockets, I think I will omit them from my version for the sake of making it a little less casual. My office isn’t super dressy (or at least I’m not super-dressy at work!) and I like to be able to wear the dresses I make to work since I do spend 5 out of 7 days there 🙂

5. Peony | Colette

When I saw this dress on sale [an embarrassingly long time ago], I immediately asked my friend Addie if she thought it was a pattern I could handle. With her confirmation, I quickly ordered it.

Then it sat and gathered dust while I have become paralyzed by the fear of installing a zipper {I know, I know…get over it}. It’s one of my favorite dress silhouettes: fitted bodice, pleated waist, flowy bottom.

I also love the pleated shoulders {pattern hack here} in this version:

peony

6. Handmade Style Tunic | Noodlehead

Ever since I got my hands on Handmade Style by Anna Graham, I have had this tunic on my “to make” list! I even had my friend Amber teach me how to use my button hole foot at our last sew-in.

I had plans of following Anna’s sew-along for the tunic, but I fell off the wagon as soon as I selected my fabric (that’s as far as I got…).

noodlehead

Then I saw Anna’s finished version! It looks even more amazing than the gorgeous version in the book (possible?! Yes, Anna is that talented). It’s still on my list! I think I’d wear it quite often through the fall with leggings.

7. View Ridge | Straight Stitch Design

Terri of Blue House Joys (who was one of the testers) promised it the top wasn’t too hard to make so I jumped on ordering it while it was on sale with the release. I am totally smitten with the gathered ruffle in View A and the keyhole back! I have a bag of vintage buttons I am going to plunder in search of the perfect embellishment for mine.

8. Hazel | Victory Patterns

When I saw Sew Charleston’s version of the Hazel Dress I fell head-over-heels!

hazel2

Read all about Sew Charleston’s version here

My mother-in-law ordered this pattern for me from my wish list last Christmas. I even ordered the fabric to copy the cover version…

So which pattern gets your vote? What should I work on next?

I’d love to hear any tips you have if you’ve made any of these patterns. And tell me what’s on your sewing list! Clearly I’m always in search of more patterns to add to my stash 😉

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.

Flying Geese Pin Cushion

I’m really loving paper piecing! If you haven’t tried it out yet, you totally should. It’s much easier than you think (I was overthinking it until our quilt guild president de-mystified the process during a demo at a recent meeting. Here’s a tutorial with some great pictures).

After playing around with paper piecing with the basic diamond template Amber shared with us at the meeting, I started searching the internet for more templates to play with.

It didn’t take long to find a flying geese pattern that I loved! I followed these instructions and shrunk the pattern by 33% when I printed. It’s the perfect size for a pin cushion which is great because this month our quilt guild hosted a pin cushion swap!

pin cushion 2

My partner loves batik prints so it was a chance for me to work with a fabric that I don’t normally use. I found some fat quarters at JoAnn’s and used green for the geese and purple for the background pieces. I used a fun blue print for the bottom of the cushion.

I used some scrap batting to line against the goose block. Rather than quilt the geese (I really couldn’t figure out how to do that without ruining the design), I added a border and then stitched around the border with some fun blue thread I picked up at an estate sale.

I stitched the batting to the flying geese block then set it right-sides-facing on top of the bottom piece and then squared them up (cutting the edges) so they were the same size. Then I stitched all around the sandwich – leaving a few inches open at the bottom for flipping.

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the underside of the pretty blue stitches against the batting

Then I clipped the corners so they would be pointy when flipped (watch out for your stitch line so you don’t accidentally cut into it!).

pin cushion 7

I flipped the cushion so that right sides were now facing out and hand stitched the closing using a blind stitch {here is a tutorial with great pictures}.

pin cushion 5

Some people hate sewing by hand, but I love the control it gives you. I certainly wouldn’t want to do an entire quilt by hand {I absolutely do not have that kind of patience}, but I will say that taking the time to blind stitch is totally worth it! It’s great for closing an infinity scarf or the interior of a bag and leads to a much cleaner finish.

pin cushion 4

I happen to have a giant bag of plain ol’ stuffing {I think I had visions of making throw pillows or maybe some fun softies/stuffed animals…} so I used that to fill the cushion. Lately I’ve noticed that my pins seem to be getting dull. Next time I may try stuffing a pin cushion with steel wool to keep my pins sharp {idea here}.

pin cushion 1

After some advice from my quilt guild buddies at our last sew-in, I pressed my seams to the side rather than open when I pieced the four little goose blocks together to make the full circle of geese. This really helped seal the center of the block and align the pieces perfectly {I’m quite proud of that center intersection!}. Here’s a good run-down of pressing your seams open vs. pressing them to the side if you’re interested 😉

pin cushion 2

I hope my partner likes her new pin cushion! 🙂

{PS: If you’re anywhere near Columbia, SC and enjoy sewing of any sort-and-kind, you should check out the Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild! You can follow the page on Facebook to see when the next meeting will be. The guild hosts monthly sew-ins which are super fun – I love being able to pick the brains of fellow [far more experienced] sewists!}