Vintage Charlotte

{Brace yourself for a long post chock full of love for handmade + vintage businesses and loads of holiday gift ideas – explore the links and images that will take you to the shops!}

glasses

Glasses from Dress My Room Interiors – click the image to be taken to her site.

At this point, you’re probably familiar with my love of all things vintage.

Well, this weekend I discovered Vintage Heaven!

Vintage Charlotte at The Fillmore

Vintage Charlotte at The Fillmore

Over the summer, my friend Emily of Butterfly Vintage participated in the Vintage Charlotte pop-up market. In the months leading up to the summer event, I started following Vintage Charlotte on Instagram and Facebook and actually won the giveaway via social media (but I forfeited the gift since I couldn’t make it to Charlotte that day…le sigh).

After hearing how amazing the summer show was and drooling over all the pictures, I made sure my calendar was marked for the Winter Market!

I talked my sister into taking the day trip with me early Saturday morning.

Here we are just before skipping inside - can't even hide our excitement!

Here we are just before skipping inside – can’t even hide our excitement!

We happily paid the $5 early bird fee to get in at 10am (admission is free after 11:00) – and let me tell you: that’s a definite recommendation! When we left the market around 12:30pm, the line was wrapped around the building – there had to be 200 people waiting to get in! And inside it was elbow-to-elbow.

We grabbed a Yelp tote…

yelp bag

…and a scavenger hunt worksheet (yes, we’re total nerds who can’t resist the enticing challenge of possibly winning a prize!)…

Yep, that's right: we got ALL the stickers! AND we were the first to turn it in. #TeachersPets

Yep, that’s right: we got ALL the stickers! AND we were the first to turn it in. #TeachersPets

…and off we went into #VintageHeaven!

We quickly found Emily to give her a good luck hug and check out her booth.

I'm always excited to see what Emily's mannequin is wearing because she has such great style! You can't see it here, but the behind me that mannequin is wearing a long sleeve floral print dress with a calf length fur vest - tres chic!

I’m always excited to see what Emily’s mannequin is wearing because she has such great style! You can’t see it here, but the behind me that mannequin is wearing a bright, long-sleeve floral print dress with a knee-length fur vest – tres chic!

After greeting Emily, we started our first loop. It wasn’t long before I fell in love with this bag from Sans Maps:

sans bag 3

{Photo credit: Sans Map – click the image to be taken to the shop}

As a gal who loves sewing bags, I am usually pretty good at resisting buying purses, but this bag really got me. The design is absolutely brilliant – the top flap is a fully functional (and very spacious) zipper pouch, the adjustable strap allows you to convert from a shoulder bag to a cross-body / messenger style with ease, and there’s even a clip on the inside to hook your keys so they don’t get lost in the pit!

The exterior of the bag was made from a vintage wool skirt (there’s even the hint of what used to be a pocket on the back) with remnant leather accents.

sans bag 2

{Photo credit: Sans Map – click the image to be taken to the shop}

The interior is made from vintage floral print linens and Marimekko fabric.

sans bag 1

{Photo credit: Sans Map – click the image to be taken to the shop}

The abundance of pockets and storage solutions prove this to be a very thoughtfully made bag.

One of my favorite things about going to pop-up markets is being able to meet the maker and hear their story. Corey’s husband is French and in their time together they have lived in several different countries. She named her company “Sans Map” as a nod to their life without borders. I enjoyed chatting with Corey and was so excited to support her handmade business. This bag is going to be the perfect travel companion for my trip to England – it’s big enough to fit my essentials with room to spare for souvenirs while still being comfortable (& stylish!) to tote around town.

Speaking of my upcoming trip, I found this very fitting travel journal (well, that’s what I’ll be using it as!) at Vintage Concord‘s booth:

england

You know my love for snail mail so it should be no surprise that I stocked up on cards at the market!

Sable & Gray‘s booth caught my eye with their quirky-yet-lovely prints.

sable & gray

And how perfect is this sweet postcard?! Kristin snuck 2 in my bag without me noticing – such a sweet surprise!

Here are a few cards I picked out from Sable and Gray:

s&g thank you

{Click the image to be taken to Sable & Gray’s shop to buy this card for yourself!}

happy bday

{Click the image to be taken to Sable & Gray’s shop to buy this card for yourself!}

Looking for a birthday card for the ladies? Check out this pretty one – I bought one of those too 🙂

And my personal favorite:

cool card

{Click the image to be taken to Sable & Gray’s shop to buy this card for yourself!}

While completing the VTG CLT scavenger hunt, I stopped at Shannon Newlin‘s booth for a sticker and spotted this gorgeous scarf:

s.newlin scarf

No, I didn’t buy it, but I almost did! Isn’t it lovely? I wish you could feel how soft it was. The print is just gorgeous.

While at Shannon’s booth taking in all of her beautiful paintings, I spotted a holiday card set I just had to have:

cards

I mean, how cute are these penguins?!

penguins

You know I couldn’t stop at just one booth for cards! So if anyone is looking for a pen pal, I’m in the market for one! 😉

One thing I always buy at craft markets is soap. Long ago my Mom got us hooked on handmade soap. That was always the souvenir she’d bring us when she had to go out of town for work. It felt like such a luxury! I’m so happy that more and more soap artisans are popping up so getting my hands on a little slice of sudsy luxury isn’t so hard anymore!

There were 2 shops whose soap collections we liked so my sister and I split the bulk sale at each – a compromise while still getting a deal: win-win!

The first soap shop was Kitsch and Fancy.

I WISH there was a scratch-n-sniff option for WordPress because these gals nailed the Pumpkin Spice scent in this soap! If you love fall, you need to order some and hold onto to this little slice of fall for as long as you can 🙂

kitsch p.spice

{Click the image to be taken to this soap in Kitsch and Fancy’s shop}

My second choice from Kitsch and Fancy: Peppermint of course!

kitsch peppermint

{Click the image to be taken to Kitsch and Fancy’s Etsy shop}

Since there’s no scratch-n-sniff options, here’s a list of other scents from Kitsch and Fancy that I recommend: Fresh Linen, Lavender Basil, Maple Pecan Streusal, and Holiday Berries.

The second soap artisan we loved: Whispering Willow.

From Columbia’s Crafty Feast to Asheville’s Bele Chere festival, I see Whispering Willow everywhere! And I don’t hate it. Not one bit. In fact, I swear by their mint lip balm – it’s amazing.

I couldn’t decide whose peppermint soap smelled the best (peppermint is probably my favorite scent) – so I came home with another peppermint soap! 🙂 I can’t wait to end my day with a long shower filled with the scent of the Goat Milk Lavender soap – such a sweet, soothing scent!

whispering willow

{Click the image to be taken to the Whispering Willow’s shop}

While stalking perusing the feed from the summer market, I discovered Ferris Wheel Vintage on Instagram and fell in love with her style. I knew I would find something great at her booth, and I did!

I found this great navy knit dress – a perfect winter work outfit – at her booth for only $15! What a steal.

{Click the image to be taken to the Ferris Wheel Vintage shop on Etsy}

{Click the image to be taken to the Ferris Wheel Vintage shop on Etsy}

Even the tag for this dress was adorable!

fw tag

{Click the image to be taken to the Ferris Wheel Vintage shop on Etsy}

Katherine’s tagline for Ferris Wheel Vintage is “beautiful, affordable, hand-picked vintage gems for all styles and sizes” – I couldn’t agree more! Her Instagram feed is drool-worthy and I definitely recommend giving her a follow.

ferris wheel

{Click the image to be taken to the Ferris Wheel Vintage shop on Etsy}

One thing that I do at every craft fair / pop-up market that I go to is collect business cards from all of the vendors selling goods that I like. While I’d love to buy from all of them, my budget just won’t allow it.

biz cards

My collection of “favorite booth” business cards from Vintage Charlotte.

Once I’m back at home, I sort through the business cards and look up the shops on social media.

Tips:

  • If you have an account on Etsy, add the shop to your favorites so that your followers will also see the shop – this helps share the love with some free marketing for your new favorite shop while also saving the shop so you can easily find them later.
  • Build a secret “Gift Ideas” board on Pinterest to collect links to items you think would make a great gift for so-and-so. As you are browsing the shops (on Etsy or otherwise), “pin” the items so you can refer back as holidays/birthdays approach.
  • If you have an Instagram account (let’s be friends!), search for the shop and give them a follow. Lots of handmade businesses are starting to do exclusive flash sales and promotions on Instagram so this is a great avenue to keep up with your shops (and score a great deal on something you wanted to buy anyway!).
  • Remember to support handmade businesses this holiday season! By purchasing from a small, creative business you are fueling the artists fire and keeping them inspired – they rely on your support! As a handmade business owner, I know how special these sales can be – and I never regret supporting another artist. [I can’t say the same for big box purchases..]

Vintage Charlotte is one of the best craft fair / holiday market / vintage-anything I have ever been to! I absolutely cannot wait until the next VTG CLT!

What are some of your favorite handmade businesses? I’d love for you to leave a link in the comments so I can check them out for the holidays!

Advertisements

What I’m Lovin’ in October

October is my favorite month of the year! I’m sad to see it go, but man was October good to me 🙂

{Image via Pinterest}

{Image via Pinterest}

There are so many things that I’m lovin’ this month, but here’s my short list!

oct

Since October is my birthday month, you’ll have to forgive the fact that almost all of my favorites this month revolve around that 🙂

Oh, well – Cheers to being one year older!

1. the watercolor family portrait by Rachel Tenny my sister had made for me

If you've ever met me, the Hubs and our pets, you know how very SPOT ON this painting is ;)

If you’ve ever met me, the Hubs and our pets, you know how very SPOT ON this painting is. 😉

Y’all know how much I love my sister and when it comes to birthdays, she never disappoints! She’s also been pushing me to get some family pictures taken (no wedding = no fancy couple pictures) so this was the perfect solution! 😉

A few months ago, I discovered Rachel on Instagram through some common friends. Her posts are so thoughtful and uplifting – not to mention beautiful. Of course, I had told my sister all about how much I loved her work.

When I opened the portrait (which my sister had framed beautifully…upside down!), I almost cried. It was beyond thoughtful and something I will cherish forever.

My sister says that Rachel was amazing to work with! I’m shamelessly encouraging you to support this super talented local artist by ordering from her shop, but secretly I want to hoard all her time because I have about a billion family portraits I want her to make for me! 🙂

2. the Lavender Mocha at Drip

Lucky for me, my birthday fell on a Saturday this year which means I talked my sister, brother-in-law and the Hubs into going to The Good Life Cafe for brunch followed by a stroll through the Soda City market which ultimately landed us at my very favorite coffee shop, Drip on Main where Rachel aka “the Best Barista in Town” (as confirmed by Free Times) treated me to an iced Lavender Mocha {to.die.for. – for real, go grab one now!}

The Lavender Mocha is to.die.for!

Thank you for the treat, Rachel!

3. Learning new tricks to make my snail mail even fancier!

After learning the calligraphy basics (read more about that here), I’ve been diligently practicing and sending obnoxious amounts of snail mail (this month brought on a great excuse for thank you notes!). I was thrilled when I ran across a tutorial for “5 Unique Ways to Address an Envelope” on The Postman’s Knock.

{Source: The Postman's Knock - click the image for link}

{Source: The Postman’s Knock – click the image for link}

The best part about the post is that she includes styles that you can do without any “real” calligraphy training (aka: faux calligraphy).

4. Flowers

The morning of my birthday, the Hubs said he was going for a run. An hour later he arrived home carrying a vase full of beautiful flowers! Not only were they gorgeous on their own, the story of how they got to my house paints quite a comical picture: The Hubs arrived at Publix, picked out pink roses for sentimental value (the first flowers he ever bought me were pink roses), baby’s breath because they are my favorite and yellow because who doesn’t love yellow?! Then bought a vase, scissors and a bottle of water [which must have come from a cooler because the vase nearly slipped out of my hands from all the condensation!]. He cut the stems in the parking lot and arranged them all by himself in the parking lot of Publix. I can only imagine what this looked like to the grocery shoppers that morning!

flowers

I think we’re all familiar with the fate of most plants that end up in my care (remember the Dutchess?), but my sister insisted on sending pansies home with me last weekend.

After a bit of resistance, I gave in and took those pretty purple flowers home to adorn my porch for as long as I can keep them alive.

pansies

I have to admit, being greeted by colorful little flowers after a long day of work sure is splendid. 🙂

5. Any excuse to shop for vintage clothes!

One of my favorite local vintage shops is having a sale on Saturday, November 8th from 12-4pm at the Conundrum Music Hall. The Thrifted Sisters are two super sweet sister-in-laws who have a knack for finding the coolest vintage apparel (and other neat vintage goodies) and making them generously available to you (and me!).

thrifted sisters

Aside from the event on Nov. 8th (which you should definitely go to), you can find their goodies on Instagram (you get first dibs there and you’re the first to hear about sales!) and Etsy.

My friend Shanika and I attended the  last party the gals threw and we had a blast trying on some super cool vintage outfits – like this awesome faux fur wrap Shanika found:

shanika

This picture makes me feel regret for not snatching this for myself!

And last, but not least: I’m lovin’…

6. All of you who made me feel so special on my birthday!

If you're not following Kid President on Facebook, you need to! {Click the image for a link to his page}

If you’re not following Kid President on Facebook, you need to! {Click the image for a link to his page}

I love birthdays – not only because they’re full of delicious treats (like homemade cupcakes from my sister!), but because they’re a reminder of the fact that people care about you! My heart is so full from all the birthday love this month. Thank you to everyone who made me feel so stinkin’ special!

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


Thrifted Thursday: Sailor Skirt

A few weeks ago I hit the jackpot while thrifting. I found this super 80s (though I have no idea which decade it’s actually from) sailor dress that was in perfect condition and just screamed “take me home tonight!” So I did.

It's like I'm a life-size version of how my Mom dressed me at age 4.

It’s like I’m a life-size version of how my Mom dressed me at age 4.

I know what you’re thinking: “Jordan, why on earth would you even consider refashioning this dress? It’s like 11 shades of all things perfect!”

Well, friends – here’s my defense:

1. Long dresses are a short girl’s worst nightmare (is it possible for my legs to look shorter?! Oh yes, it is.)

2. My sister’s birthday was fast approaching and I had not even started on that bag I’d promised her (new designs are fun to dream up in your head, but extremely intimidating to actually start so I’d caved to the intimidation…for now). I knew I wanted to make her something special. She loves sailing so obviously she loves anything nautical and THIS was IT.

In addition, my sister had recently started a new job (being that myself, my sister and both our Hubs started new jobs this year, we’ve declared 2014 “The Year of the Slices” – which includes spouses 😉 ). She was transitioning from the classroom to take on the role of a “Reading Coach” at the same school where she’d been planting her roots for the last 5 years. Since she’d be out of the classroom and in meetings a lot more often she’d already started the hunt for more “grown-up” clothes. So I thought: “I can help with this!”

My definition of “grown-up” clothes is a little skewed. Rather than being defined by suits of any kind [I. will. not!] I believe in cardigans. Lots of cardigans! And this was about to be a “just-add-cardigan” outfit!

While trying on this beauty, I realized the back zipper stopped just above the skirt. Meaning: I could easily chop off the bottom and preserve the top without struggling around removing a zipper. Win!

One last chance to truly appreciate this beauty..from the poof sleeves to the square collar with bow embellishment, it's just too stellar.

One last chance to truly appreciate this beauty..from the poof sleeves to the square collar with bow embellishment, it’s just so stellar.

Like any thrifted outfit, I started by washing (because duh) and drying – a recommendation for all fabric you work with. Whether you are chopping cloth off the bolt or refashioning, always wash and dry so that you don’t end up with an outfit for a toddler after it’s first wash.

I used some washi tape to secure the sides of the dress to the door I’d hung it on. It’d probably be better to cut on a flat surface, but I like to bend the rules for my convenience.

Since I’d decided this would make a super easy (did I mention my sister’s birthday was fast approaching?!) elastic waist skirt that would be a perfect gift for my sister, I started by cutting the skirt off just below the gathered top/waist of the original dress.

taped edge

Snip snip!

This pretty much ends my photographed steps – I’m not so great at documenting my visual progress. However, I loosely followed a tutorial I found a while ago that worked for me – it’s this one from Extra Petite.

I adapted this tutorial a little: I omitted the pockets because my sister always complains they make her hips look too big. If you love pockets and have little hips like myself, include them – they’re fun! I also decreased the width a bit because the first skirt I made following the tutorial was a bit too full for me.

Once I had inserted the elastic waist band, I had my husband stretch the skirt to it’s full capacity. Then I went around it and vertically pinned a few places about 6 inches apart. I used those places to stitch vertical lines so that the skirt wouldn’t bunch unevenly at the waist. Bonus: you can’t see the stitches because of how they fall between the bunching.

pinned elastic

Here you can see the pins – they are a bit closer (maybe 3 inches) once the elastic is “un-stretched”

And – tada! – the final product of this simple skirt:

skirt

Makes for a pretty cute skirt, right?!

While it is cute on my door and all, it’s way cuter on my sister!

Excuse the wrinkles (though you probably didn't even notice because of all the cuteness!), I made her try it on as soon as she opened the present!

Excuse the wrinkles (though you probably didn’t even notice because of all the cuteness!), I made her try it on as soon as she opened the present!

Seriously! How cute are these two?!

Seriously! How cute are these two?!

TIP: I have several skirt tutorials pinned on my Seamstress Dreams Pinterest board where I collect all the clothing tutorials I’ll probably never try, but dream about conquering one day. I usually read several tutorials before starting a project like this and combine little pieces from each until I get what I want.

I hope you enjoyed this #ThriftedThursday post!

PS: I’m still working on finishing up the matching top. Keep an eye out for that one – coming soon!

{Catch up on all the Thrifted Thursday posts here.}

Thrifted Thursday: Housedress Refashion

I’ve already confessed to you my love for the ReFashionista’s blog on July’s What I’m Lovin’ post so it should be no surprise that I’m attempting to put that inspiration into action!

Today I’m showcasing my first refashion which I’m excited to say was a total success!

I tried my best to take pictures of the steps, but I encourage you to browse through the ReFashionista’s blog for tips and inspiration! She’s been at this refashioning business far longer than I have and she’s much better at taking step-by-step pictures.

My favorite outfit from the ReFashionista so far has been the seersucker house dress she revamped a few weeks ago. As I admitted in July’s What I’m Lovin’ post, I’ve been in search of a house dress to do the same! If you’ve ever tried on a house dress (or a muu muu), you know exactly why. Comfort is THE reason these fabulous things were created. Fashion or figure flattery (is that a word? Spell Check thinks so. I’m running with it!) were not the intention here.

My mission to find the perfect house dress to refashion journey began as the thrift racks parted and out jumped this wonderfully wrinkled seersucker linen blend house dress right into my arms.

It barely covered my sneakers :)

It barely covered my sneakers 🙂

Yes, it was long. And wide. And super unflattering on someone of my height.

But the sleeves!!

Despite your assuming the square front pockets were my initial attraction, it was actually the fabulous sleeves!

Despite your assuming the square front pockets were my initial attraction, it was actually the fabulous sleeves!

These sleeves reminded me of the April Rhodes Date Night Dress pattern I’d bought and told myself I’d make this summer, but of course I let fear (and a lack of time..) drive me away from tackling that project (yet!).

In addition, these are the kind of sleeves that every Southern lady appreciates. They’re flouncy enough to let a little breeze in so you’re not a total puddle of sweat when venturing outdoors in this swamp-like heat.

This one made me so giddy to tackle! So, I decided to make it my first refashion. Ever!

I started by trying on the dress inside out (so I could make marks) and pulling it in on each side to get an estimate of about how much I would need to take it in.

Then I turned the dress back to it’s right side and gently started ripping off the square pockets from the front of the dress. I would’ve loved to keep them (because I love pockets of all sorts and kinds…even though I never use them), but upon trying it on I realized the pockets would get split down the middle and be useless anyway when I took it in.

housedress_seamripAfter successfully (and painstakingly slowly..) ripping the pockets off, I turned the dress inside out and tried it on again. This time I placed pins along the sides of the dress until the fit was roughly what I wanted.

I think this dress may have been handmade because there were no tags in it. That being said, I kept having trouble telling the front from the back so once I figured it out, I stitched in one of my old fabric resliced labels so I’d easily know the back of the dress now.

Plus, we can say this dress has officially been "resliced"!

Plus, we can say this dress has officially been “resliced”!

I then drew a few marks with my vanishing ink fabric marker (highly recommend getting one of these!) in the arm pit / bust area. This is an area that can make or break your dress so be sure to mark carefully (give yourself a little extra “wiggle room”). After the pins are placed, be very careful when taking the dress back off so your pins don’t fall off and you lose your measurements (you could make marks with your marker where the pins are just in case. If you do this, be sure to mark both sides of where the pin is placed).

The door to my craft room + one of those hangers with the swivel hook on top has become the best set up for alterations. If I had one of those fancy dress making mannequins that’d be a good substitute, but I’m workin’ with what I’ve got!

So, I hung up the dress & used washi tape (it’s just fancy painters tape, but I found some cute rolls for only $1 at JoAnn’s!) to secure the edges of the skirt to my surface (in this case: my door).

housedress_before 1

I taped this area so that I could cut the bottom of the dress easily while it was hanging. If you have room on the floor, you could get fancy and use a cutting board or even a table, but again – I’m workin’ with what I’ve got!

See this cute washi tape! I love that it won’t rip the paint off and it’s easy to rip off the roll. Great for crafting!

housedress_washi

 

Here you can see the pins along the outer edge of the dress (turned inside out). If you look close you can even see my purple marks.housedress_sleeve & pins

I cut quite a bit off the bottom of the dress. This material is great weight and very sturdy so I’m looking forward to using the scraps to make a purse.

housedress_scrap

 

From here, I basically straight stitched along my marks from the edge of the sleeve to the bottom of the dress (where the edge was still raw).

Before cutting the excess fabric, I tried on the dress one more time to make sure it fit. After confirming the new seams worked, I cut the excess fabric from each side of the dress.

To secure the bottom hem of the dress, I used fusible hem tape.

hem tape

Sew Caroline introduced me to this stuff in her Out And About Dress pattern. Basically, you just roll the tape out and stick it to the edge of your seam. Then remove the paper so that both sides of the tape are sticky. Flip the edge of the fabric so that the tape is sandwiched between your hem. Iron it in place so that it fuses to the fabric. If you’d like, you can leave it like this because the tape is supposed to be permanent. I don’t trust it, so I always top stitch over it to secure the edge. If your raw edges fray, you can use a tight zig zag stitch or serger if you’re fancy like that.

Here’s what my final product looks like!

housedress_after

I picked the dress up for only $3 & found the belt for 50 cent! Win, win.

And here – a side by side before and after!

housedress_before after

So what do you think?

This refashion was oh-so-easy and super fun! I’m definitely going to be doing more of these in my new Thrifted Thursday series (I’m using “series” loosely here since I may not have a new refashion every week, but when I do – I’ll post it on Thursdays!).

 

Thrifted Thursday: Getting Started

This is the first of [*hopefully*] many future posts that I’ll try to save for Thursdays. I can’t promise I’ll have enough for every Thursday, but wouldn’t that be fun?

Long ago I worked at a thrift store which ignited my passion for thrifting. I’ve never been afraid to dig through trash to find treasure because I have seen the reward! One time someone donated a brand new (tags still on it!) mustard yellow “The Lauren” Hobo wallet. At the time I didn’t know it was as valuable as it was I just knew I loved the yellow leather and all the pockets (I’ve always had a thing for functional bags) so I snagged it for myself. A friend googled it and informed of the value so of course my dog ate it a few weeks later.

I’m going to use these posts to tell you all about what I found while thrifting – be it really stellar furniture, weird knick knacks or vintage clothes! I hope they’ll inspire you stop by your local thrift store for an upcycling project.

Last Friday I dropped my dog off for a bath and shots (a double whammy – I did not get elected for Mom-of-the-year that day) and headed in the direction of the craft store to pick up a few pieces of hardware for a purse I am planning to make for my sister.

Welp. Next thing I know my car had skidded (literally.. it was a snap decision plus it was raining..) into the Goodwill parking lot. Brian Williams did a Nightly News report not so long ago about how little Goodwill was paying their disable employees (they found a loophole in the Fair Pay Act and decided to exploit it) so I’ve been on a Goodwill strike. I’m ashamed to admit that’s where I ended up for thrifting, but I’m trying to be honest here. At least the staff at this store were super friendly (thus, I’m justifying that I like supporting this store’s staff 😉 ).

First, I saw this amazing vintage love seat sized sofa:

Even with the ceiling fan cluttering my picture, you can tell this is a BEAUTY!

Even with the ceiling fan cluttering my picture, you can tell this is a BEAUTY!

The green crushed velvet literally made my heart skip a beat. {I admit that I petted it for a minute or two…} I so wish I had a good excuse to take that sucker home with me because it was only $55. Aside from the slightly droopy cushions, it was in perfect condition. It was even a sleeper sofa with a fold-out mattress inside.

I’m sinking into not-buying-guilt so let’s proceed on.

Last week my friend and former (if we don’t work together can he still be my current? Because he’s awesome) Work Hubs sent me an email titled “6 grandma trends you want to try TODAY” (he knows me SO well!). Enclosed was a link to a Refinery 29 post justifying my desire to become “old lady chic” as Markessce (Works Hubs) puts it.

My favorite quote from the list of Old Lady Style Tricks: “One important style lesson worth learning is old folks sacrifice their comfort for no one” – YES.

My closet is primarily made up of elastic waist skirts and loose dresses so I’m half way to living this fashion rule in my mid-twenties {and I don’t hate it.}

I was so inspired to embrace my inner old lady I almost went for it with this polyester stretchy workin’ girl outfit:

suit

Imagine this: shoulder pads & lace collar embellishment removed. Plus, my promise to never wear the top & bottom at the same time. Wouldn’t be so bad, huh?

The black and white floral print was a little busy, but the super soft light weight fabric, elastic waist of the skirt and sweet scalloped bottom of the blouse had the pair riding around in my buggy until I decided at last minute to leave them for the next lucky shopper.

I did take home 2 dresses that won’t require much (if any) refashioning.

The first is this mint polyester, stretchy dress with a slouchy bust line.

I think my tennis shoes really bring out the color. Don't you?

I think my tennis shoes really bring out the color. Don’t you?

I appreciate the fact that this dress came with a matching tie to add some jazz to the waist. (And I love bows.)

I’m trying to get behind the slouchy neckline, but it’s possible I may have to figure out how to change it because I’m still not totally feeling it.

One of the shoulders has 4 buttons and hoops that hold the dress closed. Only one of the buttons still maintained the original fabric cover so I picked up a pack of 4 plastic pearl colored buttons to replace them. A few of the hoops were a little loose so I’ve got a bit of repair work to do, but otherwise this dress is not in dire need of refashioning.

Second up is this adorable mint colored house dress!

mint house dress 1

Mint is fast becoming my favorite color (and all these years I thought it was pink…).

If it has a zipper down the back, is it really a house dress? That seems a bit fancy for something one lays around the house in. Doesn’t matter either way because I’m going to pretend it’s fancy enough to add a belt + a few snazzy accessories and wear to work. 😉

The sweet ruffled neckline and cinched shoulders are my favorite part! (Of course they are because there’s really not much else to this simple number)

Here's a close-up so you can appreciate the ruffled detail :)

Here’s a close-up so you can appreciate the ruffled detail 🙂

If you follow me on Instagram, I already ruined the surprise of my first refashion.

BUT – next week I’m going to reveal the [almost] step-by-step on how I performed the surgery (err…I mean: refashion).

Plus – I’ve got another refashion coming down the pipe line that involves one dress and TWO totally revamped closet staples.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Melly Sews Favorite Purse {and mine too!}

In July I visited Baltimore for work. The trip snuck up on me and backed right up to our annual trip to Asheville.

As usual, I had about a bajillion sewing projects running through my head that I was determined to make before leaving. At the top of the list was Melly Sews’ Favorite Purse. I knew this would be the perfect travel bag – it has ample pockets and is larger than my usual cross-body pattern.

And so, I spent the Friday evening before leaving for Baltimore cutting out and taping the paper pattern pieces followed by cutting the fabric. Since I wasn’t going to sew until Saturday, I pinned the paper pattern pieces to the fabric pieces so I could easily locate pieces for construction.

I had bought the pattern when Melly was running a killer sale for Memorial Day weekend (you should sign up for her newsletter so you can get in on those and see all the free patterns & tutorials she offers – and check out her blog).

I was feeling a little intimidated with all the zippers involved with constructing the Favorite Purse, but I’ve been practicing with simple zipper clutches lately (here’s my favorite tutorial!) and was feeling more confident.

Melly includes great instructions in her pattern with lots of helpful pictures.

I even learned how to make my own bias tape which was very exciting after I had looked at fabric shops to see if I could find a cute package of patterned bias tape a few weeks ago (in an effort to save time) and was super bummed to discover only solid colors 😦 I knew I wanted the main fabric to be solid for versatility, but wanted the bias tape to add a little pizzazz. So, I taught myself! It was much easier than I thought.

I’m really excited at how my bag turned out AND how it perfectly matches my Noodle Head Super Tote (which I used as my carry on bag).

favpurse

matching handmade bags for the WIN!

One thing to note about my version of the Favorite Purse is that I excluded the oval shaped side tabs. I had originally cut out the pieces and fully intended to add them (because they looked so cute!), but attaching the bias tape around the curved edges almost killed me. I had little time to spare so I just nixed them from my design (since they weren’t essential) and it turned out okay! 🙂

I also added a magnetic clasp to the front pocket (behind my label on the interior). I did not add a magnetic clasp to the back pocket (which looks the same as the front without a label) because it would be lying flat against me so would likely stay shut (and it did). I appreciated the back pocket not having a clasp because it actually made it more convenient for holding my plane tickets.

My zippers are a bit mismatched because I decided late Friday night that I’d spend the whole day Saturday constructing the purse. I knew if I went to the craft store for matching zippers in the morning, I’d be there for hours buying all sorts of other things and lose precious construction time. {I needed to be up early Sunday morning to drive to Charlotte to catch my flight. And I still hadn’t packed. Time was of the essence.}

The black zipper at the top is from The Zipper Shop on Etsy, the interior zipper (I used a 6 inch zipper and added fabric zipper tabs on each end so it fit the area I’d cut in the interior to attach) is from The Zipper Stop on Etsy, and the light blue zipper that you see on the front is a vintage zipper I picked up at an estate sale (never underestimate the goodies you can find at a garage or estate sale!).

On similar note, I recently ordered zippers from The Zipper Shop on Etsy. I love the selection and the quality of these zippers. The shop is located in North Carolina which also makes me happy (we Carolinas like to stick together 😉 #GeographyJoke) and the shop owner is super fast with shipping!

I just ordered these beauties and can’t wait to use them!

zipper

[Click the image to be taken to these zippers on Etsy]

I skipped making my own removable strap. Thanks to my obsession with vintage purses and the fact that many of them have removable straps (and my friend Emily who brings me straps she finds while thrifting!), I had a few on hand so I knew one was sure to work. I had a shorter leather luggage strap that Emily found a few months ago that worked perfect (thanks Emily!)! Since the bag is a good bit deeper than my usual cross-body bags + I’m a good bit shorter than the average person, this shorter strap was a life saver (because I couldn’t find an adjustable strap in my stash to match!).

Excluding the time it took to cut out and piece together the paper pieces (which wasn’t too bad) and cut the fabric pieces, the bag took a full day to construct (if you eliminate my coffee reheating breaks and a dinner break [yes, I forgot about lunch], it was probably close to 6-ish hours). That being said, it was totally worth it! I know I am going to get a lot of use out of this bag – it’s by far my most useful yet (because of all the pockets and the depth! It’s got the storage of a shoulder bag, but the comfortable wear and functionality of a cross-body bag…win!).

From the airport to the streets of the Inner Harbor (shopping, dining, sight seeing and wandering), this bag was perfect. It easily held all my necessities and even a few small souvenirs. It kept my plane tickets, room key, conference badge and other essentials organized and easily accessible so I wasn’t awkwardly digging around trying to find something when I needed it.

Oh, and here I am taking shameless elevator selfies after arriving to Baltimore {I just had to get an “in action” shot so you could see how fabulous this bag is!}:

travel bags

Matching handmade bags & my weirdest wolf shirt make for great travel attire 😉

Interested in making your own version of Melly Sews‘ Favorite Purse? Find the pattern here.

What I’m lovin’ in June

Whatever happened to things slowing down when the weather gets warm? The only thing slowing down is my energy being zapped by this blanket of humidity that’s taken over Columbia!

June went by in such a flash my list of June-lovin’ wasn’t ready until July – I do hope you’ll forgive me!

june

 

1. Planning my imaginary vacation through airbnb’s Instagram feed.

There’s a such thing as #TreeHouseTuesday which led to me starting a “wish list” of all the treehouses I want to visit.

Like this one in Vermont:

treehouse

this one also makes me long for snow… 🙂

2. Vintage clothes.

This one should be pretty obvious by now, but as a short gal stuck between junior & adult styles who dislikes both, vintage clothing has saved my work wardrobe from looking very confused.

In addition, I love the way vintage clothes are constructed – sturdy, comfortable (and oh-so-soft!) and timeless.

I just got this fabulous shirt from Saint & Rambler Vintage a few weeks ago at the market:

S&R shirt

A few months ago after I made my first dress ever (the #OutAndAboutDress by Sew Caroline – you can see my picture here on Instagram), I found a tutorial for adding tulip sleeves which I added to my “make this!” list. Unfortunately, I haven’t made an Out & About Dress with Tulip Sleeves (yet!), but when I saw this shirt I knew I had to have it!

Aren’t the tulip sleeves just the best thing ever?!

sleeves

3. Succulents.

They’re everywhere right now! I see them all over Etsy in listing photos and on all the hip design people’s Instagrams.

Well I’m neither hip nor much of a plant enthusiast (after the time my cat knocked over my only indoor plant I vowed to never have an indoor plant so long as Mr. Norton is still alive & kickin’…literally). However, I saw this baby hens & chicks succulent at IKEA for $3 and fell in love:

theodore

I named him Theodore and took him to my office before Mr. Norton realized he had been in the house.

I’m happy to report that a month later, Theodore is still very much alive which is a significant improvement from the fate of Dutchess Jamie Lynn the orchid. Apparently hens & chicks are hard to kill (thank goodness!).

4. Garden fresh tomatoes!

The garden we planted at my grandparents is flourishing so of course, my appreciation for fresh produce goes beyond May. 🙂

There’s really nothing more tasty than a sun-ripened tomato sandwich on fresh baked bread (try Heather’s Artisan Bakery at the Soda City market!) slathered in Duke’s mayonnaise and sprinkled with a little sea salt & fresh ground pepper. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

tomatoes

Also lovin’ the fact that my sister is successfully growing lots of cherry tomatoes – and she doesn’t even like tomatoes! Thus, I have been getting little deliveries of tomatoes for the past few weeks 🙂

turtle

5. Light & fresh summer recipes from Cooking With A Wallflower.

Recently, she posted a recipe for a Cheesy Tomato Basil Quesadilla that I tried with a spin (I’ll post my spin on the recipe soon!) using the tomatoes from my sister’s backyard garden. It was heavenly!!

I hope you loved June as much as I did and Happy Independence Day!!

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