Fashion Revolution Week & Deadstock Silk Pauline Dress

It’s Fashion Revolution Week! Since 2015 I’ve been talking about this week – and encouraging others to join in the fight. Fashion Revolution started in response to the deadly Rana Plaza Factory collapse in 2013, killing 1,138 and injuring many. This week encourages people to ask where their clothes came from, who made them, and challenge fashion industry standards to be better both ethically and ecologically.

Being a maker in the Fashion Revolution has given me a different perspective. I’ve been able to create a small bubble, surrounding myself with like minded makers and stories of sustainability, rather than the negative effects of the fast fashion industry. My fight has been focused on encouraging sustainability, and letting others fight the bigger picture, and larger corporations. But this past year I’ve been deep diving back into the fashion industry, introducing myself to new resources and reading materials and realizing that there’s only so much audience I can reach in my bubble.

I consider myself a quiet activist, which is kind of an oxymoron. I don’t like to push too hard that my way of thinking is right, and I don’t believe in shaming people for the choices they make. I prefer to take a gentle approach to inspiration and education, but that doesn’t really work when facing CEO’s of fashion brands. I’m not sure where this new calling will take me, and I’m certainly not giving up my normal eco-sewing content, but right now I’m focusing on re-educating myself and researching better ways to be involved, all which I hope to share in the near future. I get a lot of joy and feelings of purpose when sharing informational posts, and always hope that they reach more people who can benefit from the content.

If you would like more insight to my sustainability journey, and more about my connection to Fashion Revolution, you can read about it in this post from two years ago.

Along with this post about Fashion Revolution, I also wanted to share my latest handmade garment. While this garment is me in my handmade and eco focused “bubble”, it also encompasses many of the practices I’ve been working towards in my own wardrobe. And to be honest, there’s nothing like a new sewing project to bring in an audience!

I’ve had an itch to sew another garment, specifically a formal-ish dress. I had a wedding coming up, and another event on the way, and a dress pattern that’s been on my make list since it’s release. I fell in love with Pauline from Closet Core Patterns when it came out. Pauline is a really beautiful pattern and comes with several options to help build your dream dress, with many of the current trending styles, including puff sleeves and tiered skirt.

Part of my sustainable sewing journey is being aware of the material I make with, and I was happy to find this stunning black floral fabric (currently sold out!) from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabric. It’s designer deadstock silk, which hits a few sustainability points for me; deadstock and a natural fiber – also shopping/supporting a small business! It was more expensive than I normally spend on fabric, so I wanted to be sure I put in all the effort I could into this garment.

Stonemountain & Daughter is also a fabric resource on my Reclaimed, Deadstock and Vintage Fabric List (view here)!

I fit almost perfectly into the 6 on Pauline’s size chart, and cut my toile in that size. (Side note, my toile was made from a pair of my retired bed sheets!) I made View B, with the shorter puff sleeve and tier skirt, but didn’t like how the skirt looked on me. It felt a bit too trendy to become a dress I would wear for years to come. I was also a bit surprised when the bodice came out too big, but didn’t account for my measurements when wearing the correct undergarments. (I have a shapewear bodysuit that I wear under all my formal wear). I cut my final dress in a size 4.

I decided to change the skirt to an flare with some added flare and made new pattern pieces out of the provided skirt pattern. Here’s what I did:

I used my college book, Principles of Flat Pattern Design by Nora M. MacDonald, 3rd Edition (which, at the time of writing this, is available used from $5-$30 online!), and the original View B skirt pattern. I first extended the skirt pattern by 9.5″ in length, then slashed and spread the pattern – as shown in the book and my final pattern pieces. I repeated this for the back pattern pieces. As explained in the book, for the skirt to fall evenly, the slashes need to be evenly distributed throughout the pattern piece, not just added to the side seams. I also converted the curved waist to straight lines. Because I made this from silk, I didn’t add pockets due to bulk, and having the straight side seams laid the skirt better on my body.

The rest of the dress came together, although I did have a few trouble spots with the bodice. The neckline took a few tries to get my seams just right, and I did re-stitch the bust darts a few times. Years ago, I would have left my improper stitching the first time, because I was more focused on quick sewing, but I’m now taking extra time to fix mistakes. I used to think this was a form of perfectionism, and maybe it is a bit, but I prefer to think of it as quailty control, and ensuring proper fit/construction.

I lined the dress with lining fabric from Stonemountain & Daughter. (I used Bemberg Rayon, but Stonemountain also offers Deadstock Silk Lining, which I didn’t see at the time of shoppping – progress over perfection, Trish!) To line the skirt, I cut the bottom off my revised skirt pattern pieces. (Sorry I forgot to iron the skirt lining, I didn’t think I would take photos, but you can tell this dress was well worn!)

I absolutely love my dress! I am so proud of it, and it’s a really beautiful addition to my wardrobe. I wore it to my friend’s wedding a few weeks ago, and forgot to take photos until we were all sweaty from dancing the night away. But, the dress held up beautifully all night long, through lots of dancing, some sitting and even some sprinkles of rain! I’ll be wearing it again in a few weeks so maybe I’ll be able to get an event photo then!

Are you a maker looking to get involved in the Fashion Revolution? Start by checking out their site here! Looking to share on social media that you are a maker? Download an “I made my clothes” poster here!


Dress to Skirt Refashion – Rosari Skirt

I’ve been re-assessing my wardrobe, and filling in with a lot more thrifted pieces than handmade! I haven’t been spending so much time on making clothing, and over the past few months I’ve spend a lot of time away from my studio to enjoy Drew being home. But since I’m home I’ve been trying to cut back on my fabric purchases to sew through what I already have. It’s been making me dive deep into my fabric stash and my refashion stash. I found this dress that was hidden away, already partially seam ripped, ready for a second look.

I wore this dress quite a bit in my early 20s. It was a great work dress, but I grew out of the cutesy style of it (and it was getting a bit tight and short!). I still love the print so I was happy to turn it into something else! Originally I was going to turn it into a high waisted gathered skirt with a zipper in back but I have a few skirts like that already in my wardrobe. I remembered I had the Rosari Skirt from Pauline Alice in my pattern collection and thought it would be a great style!

The original skirt of this dress was heavily gathered, so after removing the gathering, there was quite a bit of material to work with. I was able to cut the new skirt front, back and waistband from the original skirt. The pocket pieces were able to come from the bodice. I had to use extra cotton for the button placket facing and the waistband lining, but it all worked out well! I opted for gold snaps instead of buttons for a cleaner finish.

This was my second time making the Rosari Skirt, and it’s a really cute pattern. I had previously cut a size 36, and used the same pattern.

Over the years I have been taking a critical eye to my wardrobe and getting rid of styles that no longer suit me. I was really inspired by Marie Kondo’s method and Kondo’d our house last year. Every so often I go back over my wardrobe to upcycle/donate the pieces that no longer “spark joy”. Doing this has also very much inspired my sewing! I used to want to sew basics, and thought part of my sewing journey was creating the perfect handmade t-shirts and jeans. But now that I don’t have as much time for personal sewing projects, I don’t want to spend it sewing pieces I find a little boring. I love prints – especially floral prints- and that’s what gets me happy to sew. But with my wardrobe still needing basics, I’ve turned to secondhand shopping for everything I don’t want to make. ThredUp has made my secondhand journey so easy during this quarantine when I haven’t felt comfortable going to thrift stores. My shirt and shoes in this post are from ThredUp!

I’ve posted about ThredUp before, and it truly has become my go-to source for all things secondhand. If you are interested, you can get $10 to shop using this link! (My personal referral link, purchasing through here will give you $10 & I’ll get $10 to shop as well!)

And with so many thrift stores turning away donations during COVID, you can order a clean out kit from ThredUp for some extra cash or shopping credit for your clothes: link here.

I have a few more projects I’m working on, a new bag pattern (+ tutorial!), and another refashion that’s taking longer than expected. So hopefully my blogging will be back on track soon!


Clothes Are Not Trash – Where To Recycle Your Old Clothes

One of my new favorite outfits, a refashioned top and secondhand jeans from ThredUp.

ThredUp recently came out with their 2020 Resale Report, which is a wealth of information about their company and the world of secondhand.

A few stats that were mind blowing right off the bat were as follows: in the next five years, the secondhand market is set to hit $64 billion in revenue, and by 2029 will be a bigger industry than fast fashion. These numbers are huge – and world changing.

There’s a lot about the fashion industry I don’t talk too much about here on the blog, but it’s something I am continuing to learn about every day.

I fight for sustainable fashion by refashioning and hand-making my wardrobe. I share this with the world in hopes to inspire others to do the same. I don’t have a refashion to share today, instead I wanted to take a moment to talk about one other piece of information that still makes me mad.

1 in 2 people are throwing their unwanted clothing directly in the trash. It has also been discussed in previous years that the average American throws away 80 lbs of textiles in a year. Now, let me start by saying, I am guilty of throwing away old underwear, socks, and old camisoles that lost their elasticity. While its been awhile since I’ve done this, I am not perfect in my sustainable journey but I’m on a mission to do better – and want to give you some resources to do the same!

(Please note: Each company may have different procedures and re-opening schedules for donations amid COVID. If you have questions or concerns, contact these companies directly)

Companies That Take Their Products Back

Companies that take their clothing back (and may give you something in return!)

  • Eileen Fisher: a brand that has already been making incredible leaps in sustainable fashion. They will take back your Eileen Fisher pieces and resell, mend or refashion. (And give you a $5 credit to their Renew Store). Check out the Renew Line and their Zero Waste art initiative Waste No More.
  • The North Face: works with a company The Renewal Workshop (more about that below) to upcycle their returned garments and gear. The North Face gives you a $10 credit and their renewed items come with a one year warranty. Check out The North Face Renewed.
  • Patagonia: is taking back gently used Patagonia apparel and giving you credit in return (see the trade in values here). They accept clothing through stores or via mail. Patagonia created Worn Wear for repairing and recycling the returned clothing and gear, which I highly recommend following if just for inspiration.
  • For Days: this company has a very interesting plan to keep the circulation of their clothing under their brand. For Days will swap out your old For Days shirts for new ones, you can read more about it here. For Days works with the recycling partner, Recover, who turns their returned shirts into new ones, making their company a closed loop system. They also offer “Take Back Bags” which you can purchase and fill with any old (clean!) clothes you want to be recycled.
  • Coyuchi: is leading the way in sustainable bedding and closing the loop on their products in the process. You can send your Coyuchi linens back to the company to be repurposed by The Renewal Workshop, and in return get 15% off your next order. You can shop these 2nd Home textiles at their Point Reyes Store. Read more here.
Baggu reusable bag made from recycled sails
  • Baggu: is recycling any nylon or canvas bags by recycling, repurposing, donating or selling to secondhand markets. Unfortunately, they don’t break down the percentage or qualifying factors for each distribution point, but it is an option to recycle some bags. Their site also says to email once sent back to the store and they will send you a discount for a new bag. More info here. In other news, they are currently selling reusable bags made from recycled sails!
  • Uniqlo: takes back their clothing and distributes it as follows: Clothing in good condition goes to refugees, disaster victims and others in need. Unwearable clothing gets recycled into refuse paper and plastic feul pellets for fuel. Read more here! According to their 2019 Sustainability Report, as of August 2019 they have donated 36.57 million items.
  • REI: is taking resale into their own hands by offering used outdoor clothing and gear online and creating a trade in program. REI has an extensive list of no-go’s, and there is currently a wait list for the program, but if your items are accepted, you can get an REI gift card for up to 20% of your items retail price. Hopefully with time this program will do even more, but it’s a great option for gear! Read more about it here.
  • Girlfriend Collective: is a brand I have purchased from and LOVE. They make leggings and other active wear out of recycled water bottles and have a program (ReGirlfriend) where you can send back your Girlfriend apparel to be properly recycled. You will have to pay for a shipping label ($7) but you do get $15 towards your next Girlfriend purchase.

Companies That Accept Clothes from Other Brands

  • Levi’s and Madewell: Both these companies work with the Blue Jeans Go Green denim recycling campaign from Cotton. They will take back any denim in any brand and give you 20% off one item in return (Levi’s) or $20 off a new pair (Madewell). The denim is used as insulation (read article here and here for Madewell), however there is currently no specific program to reclaim the denim into new items. Levi’s is encouraging garment longevity by creating Tailor Shops to repair and customize your jeans. Madewell also does repairs and customization (read more here), but are putting in more promotion towards jean resale by partnering with ThredUp and offering secondhand jeans in select stores. (I should note: I asked Levi’s if their recycling program would accept denim scraps and they currently do not)
  • H&M: has had recycle boxes in their stores since 2013 for easy textile recycling of any brand clothing and condition (but please don’t donate anything wet or moldy) and even accepts scraps. Years ago, I donated a bag of scraps because I didn’t know where else to turn. Now, this is not my favorite company because it is the epitome of fast fashion, but H&M has taken strides to answer consumer requests for transparency and more sustainable practices. In 2019, H&M collected over 29,000 tons of garments (that’s over 145 million t-shirts) and according to their sustainability performance report, it was an increase of 40% from 2018. On page 50 of their report I found the following stats for where the recycled textiles go:

— 50–60% are sorted for re-wear or reuse.
— 35–45% are recycled to become products for
other industries or made into new textile fibres.
— The remaining 3–7% that can’t be reused or
recycled are destroyed (prioritising incineration
for energy recovery where possible). Sending
textiles to landfill is not an option.

When a company says re-wear or re-use, this usually indicates selling in bulk to another country. While that can help the economy in other countries, part of the problem is drowning other countries in the textile waste we created. There are pros and cons, but my personal takeaway for this program is to choose another option. The further along the world gets in our goal for sustainability, the more options there are. If you choose to drop off at H&M you will receive a 15% discount card.

Marine Layer ReSpun Shirt
  • Marine Layer: this brand will take your old t-shirts, as many as you want to send them, and they will turn them into new ones. For helping them get inventory, you get a $5 credit per shirt, up to $25. Cotton Tees are ideal, but they will take anything as long as it isn’t activewear. Just request a kit to recycle your tees! (And totally not encouraging you to shop more but their Re-spun collection is pretty amazing) .
  • Knickey: Remember when I said I’m guilty of throwing away old underwear? Well, Knickey knows this is a common problem and they are solving it! Request a shipping label and send in your old intimates! (This includes bras, socks and tights, for men and kids items as well!) They will get recycled into insulation, rug pads and rags, and you’ll get a free pair of underwear in your next order with the company! Read more here!
  • Harper Wilde: is also a company focused on intimates, and when you buy a bra, it comes with a recycle kit to send in your old bras for proper recycling! Some materials become yarns and fabrics, and some materials are downcycled into filling stock or padding. More info here!
  • Fair Harbor: is the place to send your old swimsuits to be recycled! This is a fairly new program so I’m not finding too much information about the recycling process, but you can send in any swimsuit for recycling – just request a label!
  • Nike: has had a shoe recycling program in place since 1990 called Reuse-A-Shoe. Their stores will accept any brand of used athletic shoes to be recycled into Nike Grind – which becomes new Nike products, track and playground surfaces, basketball and tennis courts, and indoor synthetic and wood courts. This is just for athletic shoes (without cleats or spikes with metals).
  • Ten Thousand: has a campaign called, One In/One Out (in partnership with 2ReWear) to recycle used activewear from any brand. While you will need to make a purchase from this site to recycle old activewear, you will receive 10% off a future purchase! Nice Laundry, an underwear and sock company, does the same for socks and underwear.
  • Love Woolies: is a great place to send your old sweaters! This incredible company is taking unloved sweaters and turning them into hats, mittens and scarves, and has already saved over 10,000 sweaters! Send your sweaters here!

Recycle Textiles:

  • Terracycle: this is #1 place to recycle anything you can imagine, but it comes at a cost. Terracycle sells zero waste boxes that you can fill according to category (i.e. bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc) with items that some town recycling cannot dispose of. This is definitely a pricey option for recycling waste, but an option for those harder to recycle items.
Shoddy made from recycled textiles through Fab Scrap
  • FabScrap: for those of us working with textile and textile waste, FabScrap is the best source for recycling. You can recycle cuttings, headers, mock ups, samples, overstock bolts, production remnants and scraps. For those with a lot of waste, you can sign up for Fab Scrap’s pick up service. However, if you are a small hobbyist or just don’t have much to recycle, you can drop off your waste at both their retail shop and warehouse and it will be recycled for $1.50/lb. (Retail store will take up to 10 lbs, warehouse accepts more). I plan on using this service, and I am lucky enough to live within an hour to drop off my scraps (and shop at the same time!). The fabric is sorted by volunteers, some is re-sold, and unsellable material becomes shredded to create insulation, carpet padding, furniture lining, moving blankets, etc. (Currently, this recycling is in New York, Fab Scrap hopes to expand soon.)

Resale Platforms:

I’ve talked previously about platforms where you can sell your own clothes, like Poshmark or Depop, but when you just want it gone, turn to people who will sell it for you.

ThredUP: this is my favorite second hand resource. But I also want to share more of what your clothes can do. When you choose to send clothing into ThredUP, you can choose to get cash or credit for your items that sell, or you can choose to donate whatever your clothes make to charities like Feeding America, Girls Inc, Wardrobe for Opportunity or Help a Mother Out.

ThredUP is quickly becoming a go-to partner for brands who want to work on their sustainability. They are working with brands like Reformation and Madewell to resell the brands products. And they created a program for companies that want to get a piece of selling secondhand in their stores like Macy’s, and Walmart. ( Resale as a Service ) Select Macy’s have small sections in their store filled with curated secondhand pieces that have been sent to ThredUp.

Other Resources:

  • As mentioned above with Patagonia, Eileen Fisher and REI, companies want to take back their brands and resell on their own terms. These companies and others are using Trove to power the resale aspect of their businesses. It is an interesting company and just for educational purposes, I encourage you to check them out. As fashion companies continue to look for more sustainability (and more profit) options, I think we will start seeing more companies integrate resale on their own platforms.
  • The Renewal Workshop is one of the companies leading the way to help brands become more sustainable. They take discarded clothing and turn it into new products, recycled materials or recycling feedstock. As mentioned above, they work with The North Face and Coyuchi and here’s a list of the other brands they work with. They also have an online shop selling re-newed items.
  • While brands want to become more sustainable, they are turning to partners that have already been creating the technology to get there. Several companies are working with big and small retailers such as: Evrnu, Worn Again, and Renewcell.
  • Do you have LEGO’s that need a new home? With Give Back Box you donate used LEGO’s!

Recycling old textiles can feel overwhelming when they are in bags taking over your home. Whatever the item may be, there is probably a resource to properly recycle it and I hope this list helped if you were looking for a solution.

There are many project ideas for old textiles, and so many places that will gladly take your donations. I encourage you to do you own research when the time comes to de-clutter or discard. Check with your local charities to donate gently used clothing, and ask your local animal shelter if they can use old bedding and towels.

I plan to set up a small basket/box in our basement with clothing that is past its prime so I can easily fight the urge to “just toss it”, even if it’s one lonely sock who lost its mate. It is great to see companies taking responsibility and helping to keep clothing in circulation or properly recycle, but real change also starts at home with millions of families doing their part as well.

If there’s a company you believe should be added to this list, let me know!

sewing · Uncategorized

Striped Anni Jumpsuit

Happy Thursday! Over the past few weeks it’s been really hard to get motivated and stay motivated . I find myself having good days and bad days, but am fortunate to have a great partner who frequently tells me it’s ok to have bad days. We’ve been playing a lot of ping pong and UNO, making sure we take time to just relax and breathe.

At the end of March, beginning of April, I made 80 masks for friends who work in hospitals, and for family working in grocery stores. If you’ve made masks, you can know how time consuming it can be, but more than that, how exhausting. While it was hours of labor, it was also mentally exhausting for me thinking about who would be using them, and the guilt for not making more or not going fast enough. It became a little too overwhelming and I had to stop. Last week I took some time for selfish sewing and made a project that’s been on my list for a few weeks.

I picked up this stripe fabric on my last trip to Fab Scrap, and originally planned to make some sort of dress, but the more I looked at Pinterest, the more I was attracted to striped jumpsuits! I had bought the Anni Jumpsuit Pattern for a different project that I didn’t have enough fabric for, but I had just enough striped material to make this jumpsuit.

What really attracted me to this pattern was the unique bodice design. I fell in love with the diamond shape and the options that came with the Building Block Bundle. This pattern was a little pricier but with several options, it was a price that made sense to me, and a pattern I could see making multiple versions of.

Now, if you want to make this bodice option, I do not recommend this as a beginner pattern. I don’t consider myself a sewing expert but I do have experience, and I wanted to throw these instructions out the window. The instructions and photo representation for this bodice pattern were not enough for me. I spent hours sewing seams, then directly ripping them out. It was frustrating. But eventually I got it, and it was one of those “ah-ha” moments. Once it was actually sewn, the instructions made sense. I could see how it worked, but couldn’t explain it to someone else. While it was frustrating at first, I would make this bodice again in a heartbeat. I don’t say this information to scare you away from making it, but as a warning that it may be difficult to get it at first.

Pattern details: I made Anni Size 4, shortening the bodice by 1” and shortened the pant length. I forgot to save the bottom of the pants to confirm how much I cut off, but my full length pant pattern measures 37”. After sewing the pants, I shortened the top rise by 1.5” as the crotch was just too long for my torso. I also tapered in the pants by 1” as well. I spent so much time making sure my stripes were as matched as I could make them, the last thing I wanted on this jumpsuit was a poor fit.

The last step I did was insert the zipper – and then found another fit issue. After sewing in the zipper, it felt like the jumpsuit back was too long. I went back in and removed 1/2” from the center back, under the waistline to eliminate some of the sloping. Seeing the photos made me question what was actually wrong – and I figured it out. The belt is tied a little too tight causing the zipper to puff out and the butt to look a little more sloped than it actually is. I have since tried it on with the belt tied looser – and no belt- and the fit is great.

I had just enough fabric left over to make a fabric belt to complete look. The pattern does not call for a belt, but I really love defining my waist, and think this striped version looks cuter with the belt.

I love this jumpsuit! I’ve been spending a lot of time defining my style, cleaning out my wardrobe and re-thinking my look, and this fits right in with how I want to dress! Floral prints are definitely still my style, but I love adding in stripes as well.

For anyone interested, the pattern I used for my masks was from Instructables – for a nurse, by a nurse. For family I have been making the pattern from Mimi G.


My Future With Refashioning

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for the past 5 months, and every time I write something out, I am overcome with fear. Fear that people won’t like me, fear that people won’t “get” me. It’s a similar fear I had when I first started posting my sewing projects over 13 years ago. And then I was greeted with a rush of encouragement and love on what I made, even if it was a simple dress. And that’s what I love so deeply about the sewing community. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been sewing for a day or most of your life, you will find someone like you- someone who gets you and wants to love what you make. But here I am, back at the fear again, feeling like I will be met with a different result.

For the past few months I’ve been in a pretty dark place. As you can see, I haven’t posted much and I haven’t done much sewing at all. Because I don’t want people to misinterpret my intentions in the upcycling world.

There has been a lot of talk over the past months within the sewing and refashioning community about people buying the wrong size clothes in thrift stores to refashion. I’ve seen a lot of judgement, a lot of hate, and a lot of education.

The first thing we do when we are criticized is we defend ourselves. I do not intentionally buy larger clothes to refashion. I’m 4’9″, and even clothing in and around my size look large (long) on me because I’m short. But this isn’t an excuse for how people see things online. I understand the criticism, and want to strive to be a better role model.

I can’t take back certain pieces I’ve refashioned from the past, but I can continue to do better.

I will be deleting what I can of those posts. Not just for my own well-being, but so no one will be inspired by those makes. I apologize to anyone I’ve upset by those posts, and appreciate those who are kind in their education about the topic.

And now, I will be getting back to creating. Because I need to for my own mental health. And going forward, I am keeping in line with the intentions that I’ve been setting out for myself over the past years. I want to use pieces from my family. I took clothes from my grandma after she passed, and have quite a few from my mom when she cleaned out her own closet. My grandmas clothing is filled with the smell of 50+ years of smoking. Unsuitable for donating, but to me they are still special. I also want to use pieces that have problems (holes, stains, etc) and need love, or those that are on their way to the landfill. There are so many old, worn out clothes that are tossed every day. I will be extremely mindful of size when thrifting pieces to refashion, as well as true vintage pieces that should be put into the right hands for repair.

Thankfully now there are resources like Fab Scrap, and other shops all across the world and online for sustainable sewing. And I’ve been shopping reclaimed textiles much more recently to make projects that require more materials. Refashioning isn’t, and shouldn’t be, going away. I am so happy to be part of a community that wants to say goodbye to textile waste & slow down fast fashion. It’s been my fight for years, and will continue to be.

I cannot tell anyone how to shop, but I can (and will) encourage a better philosophy when refashioning.

One more note that I have to mention. We are a world full of many different opinions. There are so many times in a single day when we can disagree with someone. You may not agree with what I’m saying, or what others have to say on this subject, but please be kind. There is no need for harsh language or eye rolling emojis when disagreeing with people. Sometimes the best results come from people who speak thoughtfully on their position, without shaming and name calling. I want our world to be better, and I strive to make myself a better person every day.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, I hope you will join me on my journey to a more sustainable future.

And with that, I want to share some facts!





For more information and resources please check out the following sites:





If you have some more time, you can watch a few documentaries :

Unravel: The Final Resting Place of Your Cast-off Clothes (short documentary)

The True Cost


Thrift Haul! Second- Hand Shopping

If you guys follow me over on Instagram (@trishstitched), you may have seen I did a huge closet clean out earlier this week. I had a bunch of handmade and store bought pieces that I was saving for no reason. They weren’t getting worn, but I just couldn’t part with them until now.

I really went over my wardrobe and looked at what I need and decided to do a little shopping to fill in the gaps. I need more basics, but don’t have time to make everything for the upcoming spring/summer, so I thought I would try a little second-hand shopping! I shopped with ThredUp and at my local Salvation Army. Of course, I didn’t find everything I need, but I found a few great pieces to add to my wardrobe!

You can watch my entire haul here:

ThredUp is such a wonderful resource for shopping second hand online, and I will definitely be shopping there again! (This haul was my second order from them, I’ve also sent in a few closet clean out bags in the past) I truly believe the company is doing amazing things and if you want to do some second hand shopping of your own, you can get $10 off by using the code below! (I also get $10 if you use this code, but this post is not affiliated with ThredUp, I just really love this site!)

Shop ThredUp!

And we are rapidly coming up to Fashion Revolution Week! So if you are looking for a more sustainable way to shop- check your local stores, online sources like ThredUp, Ebay & Poshmark before hitting the mall!

sewing activewear · Uncategorized

28 & Feeling Great

Happy Monday! Today is a happier Monday than most because it’s my birthday! I don’t usually talk about getting a year older, but I am looking forward to a really great year!

Today’s post is about a subject I’ve been super nervous to share. I’m always having an internal debate with myself if I should overshare parts of my life or not but I’m finally in a place where I want to talk about what life has been like the past couple years.

{If you don’t care to know about what’s been going on with me personally, you can scroll down to my active-wear sewing inspiration, I won’t be offended! :p)


Living a creative life isn’t always fun. It isn’t always designing and sewing and taking pretty pictures. It can be lonely, terrifying, and if you aren’t careful, you can get sucked into the black hole of self doubt. I’ve dealt with these feeling for years, but for the last few years, my mental health has taken a huge toll on me and started affecting my physical health.

When I get into these dark periods, I tend to shut down. I get into a vicious cycle of telling myself I need to work harder, produce more content for my blog, make more bags for my shop, get more wholesale orders, post more on Instagram, forget to eat, and what business woman has time to workout? I tell myself that I’m not good enough, and it can get really hard to see other makers getting more followers and “likes” and then looking at your own content and feeling depressed.

Being a full time maker is hard. Working from home, sewing all day, browsing pinterest, wearing pajamas, fabric shopping, all sound like great things right? And they can be. But when you add in things like, spending every day by yourself with no one to talk to, handling every aspect of a business alone (making, photographing, listing, shipping, customer service, SEO, marketing, blogging), having creative blocks,  to-do lists a mile long, and don’t forget you have to make enough money to pay your bills. Sometimes it gets very overwhelming. And sometimes the last thing you want to do is read a nasty comment that was left for you on a blog post you worked really hard to create. (yes, it’s happened, yes I ignore them and delete the comments).

I try to push these feeling away when I’m with people, or when I write blog posts because you come here for inspiration and sewing projects, not to hear about how low I’m feeling that day. But at this point, I think it’s important to share my feelings because I’ve been working so hard to get to a good place and I finally found something that is working for me.

Flashback to earlier this year: I had an event to go to, and was reaching into my handmade wardrobe to pick out a dress. Five minutes later I was sitting on the floor crying surrounded by the contents of my closet because not one of my handmade dresses fit me. I spent years building pieces for my body, and they no longer fit.

I never wanted to admit that I was gaining weight. But it’s pretty hard to hide when you are 4’9″ and gain an extra 5-10 lbs. I could see it in my face, in my arms and definitely in my gut. What’s worse is that I could feel it. I was tired all. the. time. and I kept loosing motivation to do something simple like go outside.

My mental problems were finally interfering with my outward appearances and I couldn’t ignore the problems anymore.

Just over two years ago, I ran my second half marathon, and it was the worst race I’ve ever run. It was raining for roughly 20 miles, and at mile 5 I could feel my body wasn’t into it. But I pushed myself across the finish line because I didn’t think I could look at myself knowing I just gave up. After that race, I stopped running. I felt like such a failure, and instead of working harder to be better, I quit. It’s like a mental block came over me and I let it effect all parts of my life.

I didn’t think about gaining weight because it’s something that never happened to me, but it’s inevitable when you get older! Once it finally caught up to me, and my clothes didn’t fit, I knew I had to make a change. Physically, mentally, emotionally, I needed a re-boot because I was so tired of being tired.

When we moved into our new house in April, we got a Peloton bike, because I had been looking into one for a few months. I really wanted a treadmill, but we decided to wait after hearing Peloton was coming out with one of their own.

I started riding a few times a week, but also started having those same mental spurts come up about needing to work instead of workout. Then I starting riding with one instructor, Christine, who helped me flip my thinking. Every class starts with the phrase, “Drop your shoulders, drop your baggage” and exercise started becoming a release for me again, not just something you “should” be doing.

I’ve been feeling incredibly stressful over the move, and working on my etsy shop, while trying to make wardrobe pieces that I really want to wear, and taking care of an entire house, and producing content for other sites, but as soon as I get on that bike, it fades away. And after my ride, I feel relaxed, clear-headed and ready to take on what I need to.

I had forgotten how much I loved being active. And how much the activity helped with my mental health. And every day I look forward to riding and feeling sore! But I knew that being active wasn’t the only part of my life that needed to change.

My life the past few years (actually the past 7-8 years) has been surrounded by coffee and energy drinks. In college I survived on energy drinks and the older I got, the more coffee I consumed. I always vowed to eat good food, and since my parents own a farm, I’ve always had access to healthy meats and produce, but didn’t always prepare myself to eat right. (I have a strange obsession with potatoes in any and every form!)

I had been wanting to go on a cleanse, or diet plan, but was really looking for a complete lifestyle change. After doing some research, I decided to go Paleo. For those that don’t know, Paleo is the “caveman diet”, where you cut out all processed foods, sugar, beans, dairy, grains, and you are left with raw ingredients.

I’ve been Paleo for two months now and it has been amazing. After two weeks I started feeling a difference in my energy level, and at two months in, I barely have the cravings I used to get.

Paleo has forced me to plan my meals, and spend time in the kitchen cooking. It’s made me read labels, understand nutrition, and look forward to new recipes. It’s been hard to go out to dinner, and finding new ways to make my coffee without sugar has been…interesting…but I feel wonderful, and don’t have plans to stop soon.

With these changes, I’ve also made it a really important point in my life to slow down my sewing. I used to rush through projects because I wanted new pieces to share. I thought if I wasn’t making new things every week, people wouldn’t want to follow my sewing journey, but in reality I wasn’t always making pieces I loved. I also found myself getting super frustrated when projects didn’t work out!

Now I’m taking my time. I’m enjoying the process of a project coming together, not just rushing it along, and if I can’t find the right fabric or pattern, I wait until I do – because loved clothes last and I want to be 100% happy with my wardrobe.

I’ve also decided to reach out to get help with my etsy shop. I am really bad at SEO and marketing myself, and it’s only hurt my business. I’m re-focusing on my goals and patterns and working towards creating a sustainable and profitable business. I’ve signed up to be part of an “Etsy Tribe”, and I’ve learned that spending money on a program is much more motivating to do the work than finding free tutorials online.

I’m also very excited about moving my workspace into our attic. It’s another slow process, but I’m taking time to plan where to put my machines, what sewing table I want to get, and the best place for photoshoots and a real shipping station!

I am still very new in my journey, and while I am no expert in getting out of that mental block, I found what works for me. And now that I finally got all that off my chest (WHEW!) I’m excited to share more aspects of my personal life. And if you don’t want to read those parts then just scroll to the projects! =)

If you actually read all of that, thank you! I hope if you are feeling similar, feel free to reach out, I’m always willing to talk! (and if you don’t want to leave a comment, use the contact page!)

But since this is a sewing blog, and that was kinda heavy stuff for me to talk about all at once, I want to share a few projects I hope to get to soon!

  1. Joggers (is this the right word?) : After my workouts I want to curl up in comfy clothes, but not pajamas. I bought a really beautiful knit from JoAnn’s a month or so ago and am looking to make a knit version of Seamwork Moji!


2. Sports Bras. I’ve made a few in the past but I’m ready to jump back on the wagon, and try out a few different patterns.

  1. Kaye (another Seamwork Pattern): I would be interested in adding cups to this one, but I love the longer length. The pattern also has a racerback variation which would be cool.

sw3078-kaye-01-large-fd603720b14733aa8030b941f5b1bb8e6ef374307dc97ca0a4df55196759fc6c2. I’m LOVING this design from Simplicity, and think the cropped top is cute too, but not sure if I would actually wear it!


3. Leggings. I love wearing shorts for running, but every time I ride on the bike, my shorts ride up really quick. So I need more leggings!

  1. See Kate Sew has a cute tutorial for lace up leggings.


  1. The Petite Sewist has a great pocket tutorial that I think would add an awesome design detail to a pair of leggings.


Do you have any active-wear sewing plans on your list? I’d love to hear about them!


Mental health is SO IMPORTANT. I also think it’s important to do something about it if you are feeling stuck. I’m thankful to have a great support system. A fantastic boyfriend and wonderful parent’s and sister. And today, on my 28th birthday, I had my 50th ride with Peloton in my handmade leggings, and I am so happy to be on this journey. 



#RefashionFriday · handmade wardrobe · inspiration · refashion · Uncategorized

#RefashionFriday Denim Jacket Re-mix

Happy Friday!

This refashion has been such a long time in the making, I am so excited to share it with you! The story for how this came about it a little long, so I wanted to share my photos in-between all that text!


Before this refashion, the only denim jacket in my wardrobe was from middle school. I feel like I’ve mentioned that before here on the blog, but it’s true, my Gap Kids denim jacket is still getting its wear in my wardrobe. The sleeves are way too short, and the body looks awkwardly short with pants and shirts, so the arms always stay rolled, and I only wear it over dresses. I don’t wear it all that often, but I haven’t found a RTW version that I liked to replace it.

So when Seamwork Audrey came out, I knew it was a pattern to go on my “make list”. My initial thought was to make it out of recycled materials, because there is a crazy amount of used denim in the world! The only old jeans I had in my stash were a mix of light and dark denim and I just didn’t want that much shade difference to make it look super upcycled. Not having the proper pieces, I decided to wait to make it.


A few weeks ago I was thrifting for some jeans for another project (I’ll share soon!) and had some leg remnants left over – as well as an extra pair I didn’t end up using for the other project. So I finally had a good amount of fabric to play with!


The plan was in place, the materials gathered, I was ready. Then I saw this beautiful photo on pinterest and a little lightbulb went off in my head. I would finally be able to use this fabric remnant I’ve been dying to use!

We all have those pieces in our stash that you have a general idea for, and even though it doesn’t feel 100% right, there is an eventual purpose for that fabric. No, just me the hoarder? Alrighty then.  Well, I had this remnant I got from a friend and the print was so beautiful, I wanted to make a shirt for myself to enjoy the print. I was struggling with finding the right pattern and fabric to mix with it, and (if you zoom in on the photo) there were grommets on each panel, so the only true usable piece was the top corner. So this piece sat until I could spend more time on it. (I should also mention it’s similar to a quilting cotton)



After seeing that inspiration, I knew this fabric was destined to go with my new denim jacket.

I have a huge problem when it comes to sewing projects, because even if I have a whole pile of unfinished things, I need to start new ideas to constantly keep my mind flowing. So I left behind a dress due in a few weeks and cutting out new backpacks to make this jacket.

Seamwork’s goal has always been about quick projects you can finish in a few hours, and I’m not sure why my mind accepted that to be true for something like a denim jacket. They shifted their pattern’s a few months ago to be a little more detailed, so this project took way longer than expected. I was hoping to finish last week, but I really wanted to take more time to make it perfect, so I waited to share and I think it was worth it.


Audrey has a lot of pattern pieces.  And since I’m tiny, my jeans are tiny, so I had a lot less fabric to work with – and I really had to stretch my thinking when cutting out the fabric. I used one pair of remnant jean legs, one full pair of jeans, and had to make the sleeves and a few other pieces out of fabric leftover from my handmade jeans, as well as using the fabric remnant for the back piece and pocket linings.  If you want to make your own recycled denim jacket, I would suggest to get 4-5 pairs, to be safe.


I have seen versions of recycled denim jackets (scroll down to see more inspo!) and knew I wanted mine to have symmetry and purpose, not just a bunch of scraps thrown together. I made sure each side “matched” denim (ex. each center middle panel were cut from the same pair of jeans). When it comes to using multiple pieces to make something new, it really comes down to fabric placement to create the final look.


Details about Audrey:

Cut: Size 2

Modifications to pattern: Added 1″ to the sides of Back Center Panel & removed 1″ from Back Side Panel.

Problem Areas: The welt pockets. I’ve made welt pockets before (Refashioned Bomber) but they are not commonly on my radar. Once I read the directions about 10 times to let them really sink in, it all clicked. Seamwork does have an article about Welt Pockets, which is a great resource as well.

Everything else went together smooth. I also ran out of topstitching thread, so not all areas have the pretty gold stitching, but I think it works out well that way.


Details about my back modification: My fabric panel had this beautiful border and I wanted to use at least a bit of it on the back. To make this happen, I extended the back center panel 1″ on both sides, and took 1″ from the back side panel to account for the modification. I also quilted my back fabric to give it a little more body. It was a simple quilting, but adding batting and a backing, definitely gave the back a sturdier feel.

I added this lace leftover from my refashioned kimono right under the panel. Originally I had it going cross the entire back, but re-did it to go across just the panel as it looks cleaner.


My hope for this jacket is to rough it up a little. It does have a worn in feel since it’s almost all used jeans, but taking some sand paper or a razor to a few sections is something I’m looking into. I also wouldn’t mind adding more trim if I come across cohesive trim I like. I really feel like this could turn into one of those pieces that stays in my wardrobe until I’m old and grey and my kids want to borrow it for a “retro feel”. I’m excited to see what adventures there are for this jacket in the future.


This etsy shop is filled with “festival style” denim jackets and it’s huuuuge embellishment inspo!


Add a little colored denim for a more unique look.


or mix light and dark denim like this:


The Pin that started it all.


The next jacket isn’t super related but I have to share because it’s amaaazing!

A girl after my own creative heart: Once Upon A Lauren was featured on Hoboken Girl awhile ago and I’ve been in love with her work since! Tell me this hand-painted leather jacket isn’t drop dead GORGEOUS! Thrift Upcycling at it’s finest!


If you spot a great denim or leather jacket at a thrift store, or have one gathering dust in the back of your closet, I hope this inspires you to have a little fun!


Janome Skyline S9: Mother’s Day Tea Bag Holder

I’m back with another project using my amazing Janome Embroidery Machine! I wanted to share something quick and simple, with so much room for customization! You can download and print out the Janome PDF instructions HERE.

I’m usually pretty good at gift ideas. There are a ton of things I want to buy for people, but usually way out of budget. Over the years I’ve been doing well with handmade gifts and my ultimate go-to is this tea bag travel wallet.

It started with needing a gift for my mom. She is an avid tea drinker- like 4-6 cups a day tea drinker. She gave up caffeinated tea a few years ago and has been hooked on only specific kinds of herbal. If you are a tea drinker, you know that most restaurants and diners have unlimited supply of coffee but can really lack when it comes to tea. My mom started carrying her own tea bags wherever she went, in a little plastic baggie. It was obvious she needed a home for her stash.

I made her a little tea holder, then started getting some requests for more! My sister was next, her tea bag holder was a Christmas gift. I have one in the queue for Drew’s sister and decided to make his mom one for Mother’s Day!

This has become such an awesome gift I wanted to share a tutorial so you can make your own- or gift one!

You will need:

Scrap Fabric, 1 Button, Piece of  Ribbon, Water Soluble or Erasable Pen/Pencil, Embroidery Supplies

Embroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish Stitched

Step One: Cut 4 pieces of fabric 5″ x 7″, one will be your outer, and three will be inside. If you are adding embroidery, cut one piece stabilizer, otherwise, cut one piece interfacing. (The stabilizer/interfacing will go on the outside layer, attach.)

Embroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish Stitched

Step Two: Embroider your front piece. Fold your front piece in half width-wise and lightly mark the piece in half. This will show you roughly how much of the front piece will show in the front of the wallet. You will only be able to fit a small amount of embroidery, but have fun with it! I used small lettering and small butterfly design in the machine. There will be a button sew onto the front, so keep that in mind when designing your front.


Step Three: Take two of the interior pieces to become pockets. Fold each one in half lengthwise and iron. Topstitch both pieces.

Embroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish StitchedEmbroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish Stitched

Step Four: Measure 1″ up from the bottom of the last piece of fabric you have left. On this line, pin one of your pocket pieces. Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Embroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish StitchedEmbroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish Stitched

Step Five: Take your second pocket and line it up with the bottom of your interior piece, below the first pocket. Sew in place.

Embroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish Stitched

Step Six: Mark the center of your pockets. Sew this line from the bottom up to the top of the pockets.

DSC_0030-005Embroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish Stitched

Step 7: Cut a 6″ piece of ribbon or bias tape, pin to the center of your pockets. Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Embroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish Stitched

Step 8: With right sides together, sew interior to exterior, leaving a 3″ hole.

Embroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish Stitched

Step 9: Turn wallet right side out and iron wallet. Topstitch around wallet and sew the bottom closed.

Embroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish Stitched

Embroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish Stitched

Step 10: Fold wallet and position ribbon towards the front. Mark where your button should be sewn. Sew your button on, only going through first layer of fabric.

Embroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish Stitched

And you are done! Pair with a few boxes of tea bags, a cute travel mug and you have a great, easy gift!

DSC_0152-003Embroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish StitchedEmbroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish StitchedEmbroidered Tea Wallet Tutorial - Trish Stitched



My Sister’s Storybook Baby Shower

It’s almost October and I never shared the details from my sister’s baby shower! Sorry in advance for photo overload!

My sister has always loved reading, and is an English teacher, so books are clearly her thing. We thought storybooks would be a great theme for her shower, and as I recently learned, it’s a pretty popular theme. My mom, sister and I were all part of planning and I was the main maker.

Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched

Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched

Her invitations came from etsy, and they were adorable! You can find them here. We also chose to do the “bring as book” and “diaper raffle” at the shower, which worked out really well.

Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched

We had the shower at a restaurant so the only other thing we really had to plan were the centerpieces. We wanted to do a different book on each table and chose some of our favorites/most popular books for each table. I put together all the centerpieces with items from around our house, a little bit of crafting and some store bought items. I wanted each table to have a common thing so I made round place-mats in different fabrics. Here’s the breakdown!


Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched

Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched

The Eiffel Tower is a jewelry holder from Michaels, I covered a cardboard oatmeal box with felt to look like Madeline’s coat and we had a straw hat to which we added a simple black ribbon to complete the look.

2. Dr. Seuss (Cat in the Hat)

Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched

About a week before the shower I suggested we get real goldfish for this table. After the ok from my sister, we all thought it would be cute for each little girl to go home with a goldfish, so we bought three! (not too many kids came to the shower). For the vase, I glued stripes of felt onto a glass vase to look like Dr. Seuss’s Hat. We also found these cool pom poms at Michaels to use on the table.

3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched

 The caterpillar is made out of felt and glued into the bud holder. We couldn’t find fake fruit so we added some real pieces around the center to go with the story and a couple red flowers to the sides.

4. Alice in Wonderland

Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched

This is my favorite. My sister got me an Alice teacup from Disney years ago that we used as a mini flower vase. My mom had a vintage Alice in Wonderland book that we added to the table. And for the “drink me” detail, I filled small jars with pink confetti!

5. Winnie the Pooh

Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched

My sister loves Pooh so she contributed one of her actual stuffed animals to the table! For the small vase, I glued rope around the glass and glued a yellow ribbon on top. My mom found a small bee in our basement and it was just so perfect! The larger vase is decorated, although you can’t see. I hot glued yellow felt to the top to make it look like honey was dripping from inside.

6. Peter Rabbit

Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched

 I found everything for this centerpiece in our greenhouse. A small garden rabbit and tiny watering can made this theme fun! I made the felt carrots to add in a little crafting.

I worked with my mom to customize the flowers for each table to go with the theme. They all came from our garden and really brought everything together.

One of my favorite parts was the favor. I made bookmarks with our brand new Silhouette Cameo paper cutter  and attached candy boxes to each bookmark. I wish I got a better picture of the boxes. They were from etsy, and each box had a different picture of a children’s book cover on it! So cute! We filled the candy boxes with strawberry candies that my grandma always had in her purse and her house. It was really special to have a little memory of her at the shower.

Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched

Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched

Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched

Everything went smoothly, even though it was raining by the end of the shower. My sister received so many wonderful things for her baby.

I previously shared my shower gift to my sister but didn’t share her dress! I made her a knit tube top dress with the circle skirt. I had to make a few alterations because she grew right before the shower but it looked so cute on her. (Sorry I don’t have nicer pictures!)

Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched Storybook Baby Shower - Trish Stitched

In other news, I recently did an interview with Kollabora! For those who don’t know, Kollabora is an awesome craft sharing site that I’ve been posting on for years! I love seeing all the projects, it feels like a great mix between Instagram, blogs & pinterest.

Trish Stitched

We are expecting baby any day now, so I’m not sure how much sewing I’ll be doing! Have a great week!