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 🙂

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 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

Yes, I’m a total slacker. I’ve skipped a few What I’m Lovin’ posts, but I’m trying hard to get back on track! I hope you didn’t miss these super fun lists too much 😉

sept

Here’s the short list of what I’m lovin’ in September:

1. My Day Tripper Top

day tripper

Lately I’ve been really focused on building my handmade wardrobe – and trying to finally tackle some of the patterns in my “to make” pile.

Boy am I glad I tackled the Day Tripper Top because I love it! You can read all about my love for the pattern here.

2. Our shed

shed

We got a shed!

I know, the fact that this is so exciting just goes to show how very old I am. The dogs love it – they think we bought them a giant playhouse. The Hubs loves it – finally somewhere to store his stinky hockey and lacrosse gear that will help quiet my complaints about the smell. And I love it because it has become the new man cave – and the old [indoor] man cave has simply become “The Cave.”

Upon evacuating The Cave of all smelly sports gear, my sister and I promptly painted it purple! It’s my new favorite room.

man cave

3. Making my own veggie dogs

veggie dog

This sounds ludicrous, but it was SO easy! And tasty. And now I know what liquid smoke is.

I followed Brewing Happiness’ recipe for Baked Veggie Dogs and I was so impressed with how quickly these came together! And how many people can say they not only know all of the ingredients in their hot dog, but can pronounce them too?! Very worth it. {Pin the recipe here.}

To go with the theme [of faux “grilling out”], I made this recipe for Extra Crispy Oven Baked French Fries – delightful! {Pin the recipe here.}

4. My first Tank Dress

tank dress

The fabric is a quilting cotton print from Anna Maria Horner that I snagged during Sew Charleston‘s fabric destashing on Instagram. The pattern is the Tank Dress by Sew Caroline – she had a sale last week that I couldn’t deny (you should sign up for her newsletter so you’ll be the first to know when she runs another sale!).

I didn’t alter the pattern at all – I usually shorten them, but I was worried that the curved hemline would make it seem too short. I’m glad I left it as is 🙂

I also opted for the elastic casing in the back and I love how it gives the dress more shape.

5. Seeing others enjoy something I’ve made them

Remember how I made my Mom a Beach Quilt? Well, a few weeks ago she sent me this sweet picture of her enjoying it on the beach:

mom quilt

I’ll treasure this sweet picture forever!

6. Podcasts

Podcasts might be the best thing to happen to me in terms of training (because remember all the other thoughts I have while running?) – podcasts are perfect for long runs!

They are probably the worst thing to happen to everyone around me because after almost every run, I send a billion links to everyone I know telling them they need to listen to this podcast…and this one!

Here are a few of my top picks (click the image to be taken to the podcast’s site for more information):

So Money with Farnoosh Torabi

so_money_logo

My favorite episode so far was with Mrs. Frugalwoods (listen here!).

I loved hearing about how the Frugalwoods stay frugal and focused on their goal of retiring by age 33.

 

 

The Anxiety Podcast

anxiety podcast

I find myself listening to this podcast beyond just the long runs (like on my lunch break, on my way home from work, while sewing). Tim JP Collins shares true strategies you can use to get through stress (I love that I can use what I’m hearing).

This episode about how natural movement can help with anxiety made me want to go for a hike and jump on rocks (you know, that thing that people call “play” which we mistakenly think is only for children 😉 )

 

The Millennial Podcast

millennialLogo

Speaking of quarter-life-induced-stress, I’m also thoroughly enjoying listening to the Millennial Podcast. I so appreciate how totally honest Megan Tan is with sharing her story and her struggle. Start from the beginning to follow her story (go ahead and subscribe because you’ll definitely want to continue to follow her journey!).

 

NPR’s Fresh Air

fresh air

I’m not always near the radio in the evenings so I love catching up on Terry Gross’ interviews on the weekend while sewing.

 

 

NPR’s Story Corps

story corpsThese short insights into other people’s life stories are so powerful.

Most powerful to date: Traffic Stop – listen here.

 

 

 

7. Craft Fairs

You can tell fall is on its way when all the holiday craft fairs start popping up. I love craft fairs (as you should well know from this post) and I love going with my sister!

Earlier this month, we attended Martha’s Market Preview Night and it was so much fun!

martha's market

As my sister said, the floating hat and crooked sign are proof that we had a l-o-n-g week!

And then we went to the Indie Craft Parade in Greenville!

indie craft parade

And then we stumbled upon the Farm Fresh Fair in Fountain Inn – it was literally a giant craft fair on a farm! It was fabulous (despite the heat).

farm fresh

Next up (THIS SATURDAY!): The Thrifted Sisters party – shopping vintage clothes while sipping Loveland Coffee?! Talk about dream selfie date (yes, I’ll be going alone. My sister has something planned with her husband. And my husband will be cheering on the Gamecocks [I don’t allow him to waste his spare ticket on someone who could care less about football…aka me]). If you’re local, you should stop by and shop with me!

thrifted sisters

Follow the gals on Instagram for SNEAK PEEKS! {Click the image to visit their IG account}

And only a few more months until Crafty Feast!

8. It’s National Sewing Month!

So obviously I’m planning to finish the month by sewing all.the.things.! Actually, this weekend I’ll be moving all the goodies from my sewing room into our spare room (aka: “The Cave”) temporarily so that the contractors can come and eliminate the MOLD growing in one of the closets. Why didn’t someone warn me how LAME being an adult is?! #IdRatherBeSewing

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, stay tuned because I may be posting some purge items that will be up for grabs (as I’m not sure what I’ll discover hidden in the nooks and crannies of my craft room). If we’re not Facebook friends, shoot me an email (ejslice@gmail.com) to let me know what kind of gently used (perhaps even UNUSED – who knows!) craft supplies you’re interested in. If I find some, I can send you an email to arrange shipping.

I hope you all had a magnificent September and STAY TUNED because my birthday is next month and I’ve got some super duper fun things planned to celebrate with you!!