Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Hey y'all! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! 

This is what I wore to two parties last night. I was very overdressed, but I am unapologetic on New Years Eve about wearing outlandish sequins. :D 

It was a chilly evening and both parties were in barns, so I layered for warmth. 
I concealed carried my new M&P Shield in a compression-style holster I made; that was my first layer. Over that was a long-sleeved Halftee, a burgundy tank from JCPenny's, my fabulous sequin cardigan I bought on ThredUP just for this holiday season, and an elastic/leather belt I found in the closet. I think my skirt is a hand-me-down from a neighbor. I settled for comfort and wore my brown HushPuppies brand boots. And F21 leggings, because Tennessee finally decided it's winter now. 

I've gotten away from wearing waist-defining belts just as a personal style preference, but it really worked this evening to reign in the floppy sequin thing. I braided a section of my hair and tied a gold sparkly fern to it for even more fun. It looks weird/super obvious in the pictures but it wasn't in person.

I'm super excited about what 2016 is going to hold. I've been in a funk the last few months, but something clicked this week and I think I'm finally coming out of it. :) 

How did you ring in the New Year? Do you dress up? Did you get anything super awesome you're just dying to tell everyone about for Christmas?! haha update me ladies! 

{p.s. I'll be sharing more about the holster I made once I've had a chance to test it/train with it/etc, so hang tight on the concealed carry questions. I'm just recently renewing my resolve to carry daily.)
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Monday, December 7, 2015

Cashmere + Pleather

Hello! I hope your Christmas season is off to a wonderful start! 

This is what I wore to church yesterday. I jumped into the Christmas spirit by pairing a shiny cranberry pleather skirt with my gold pumps and a cozy cashmere sweater. 

I made this skirt in October as a sort of challenge to myself. I bought the fabric at the thrift store and it's closer to the texture of a vinyl table cloth than it is to a cotton fabric... so of course I wanted to make a pleather-look skirt! I used the "Never-ending pie slice" technique from my How To Sew Denim eBook to get a pattern for the high-waisted skirt. I also took out several inches of fullness by slicing the pattern and bringing the sides in. Four gores, fully interfaced, side zipper. :) It was a fun couple-hour project.

My sweater was ridiculously soft... and sadly I won't get to wear it again. It got put in my closet instead of my mom's by mistake and she wants it back. :P 

I FINALLY got a floppy-brimmed hat! I've been trying to find the perfect one for about 18 months and on Black Friday I got this one for $15 at Charlotte Russe. The brim is just the right size to be super cute but not too dramatic for church. 

Necklace is from Charming Charlie, gold shoes are Jessica Simpson brand from Goodwill. :) 

And, it's kind of hard to tell because of the hat, but I got a haircut! I had Kitty put a gazillion layers in and I'm SO happy with it. My hair was getting really hard to deal with and now it takes no time at all to add a swirl to the ends of the layers and run out the door. Staring at these pictures I see my hair was looking a little messy (blame it on the cashmere) but I hadn't done annnnnything to it in 4 days  and that makes the style a winner in my book. ;) 

Alright, I've gotta run and hem and ship a bunch of orders, so I'll catch y'all later! Have a wonderful week!! 

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Autumn Turned Winter

Hey y'all! It's now officially cold more days of the week than it is warm, so something cozy for church this morning was a must! 

Y'all remember my perfect dress from Autumn Trends | Day Two? Well, throw a cozy jumper sweater over it and voila-- it's winterized. 

This is a Ralph Lauren cable-knit sweater from ThredUP. My Gianni Bini brand black boots are also from there. Hat was Target a few years ago and the long earrings are from Charming Charlie's. 

If the day had been slightly warmer, I probably would have worn the gorgeous gold heels again, but I'm really starting to move towards comfort over fabulousness in my old age. ;) 

 These two verses of Dear Lord and Father of Mankind stuck out to me while we sang them this morning:

Dear Lord and Father of mankind, 
Forgive our foolish ways; 
Reclothe us in our rightful mind, 
In purer lives Thy service find, 
In deeper reverence, praise. 

Drop Thy still dews of quietness, 
Till all our strivings cease; 
Take from our souls the strain and stress, 
And let our ordered lives confess 
The beauty of Thy peace. 

What a reminder! The lines in italic especially encouraged me that taking the time to reevaluate and strive for more ordered lives IS a God-glorifying activity. This applies to so many areas of life! But of course I immediately smiled realizing my closet is not confessing the beauty of His peace right now. ;)

I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend! I'm off to play games with friends. Blessings!
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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

5 Fall Outfits I Blogged And Now Wonder WHY

Hey y'all! It has been a crazy crazy last couple weeks! I've really wanted to post some outfits, but my main photographer has had a nasty cold and I just couldn't drag her out of bed to grab some shots.... and now I have the lovely bug and I'm considering doing a post on 5 reasons why every girl needs a pair of Nike track pants... #1 being so you can look decent while laying around on a Tuesday swallowing garlic cloves every few hours. ;)

Instead of a classy post like that, today I'm going to share "5 Fall Outfits I Blogged and Now Wonder WHY" because in the time I haven't been blogging recently, I've been watching documentaries, reading books, listening to lectures, and talking to friends about good art, beauty, identity, math, and excellence-- and how they should not be compartmentalized in our lives as Christians.

There are elements and principles of design that should be followed in our wardrobes with similar attitude as when composing a piece of music or planning brushstrokes for a work of art. Obviously, our outfit of the day will not have the lasting impact or significance as The Last Supper by Di Vinci, (thank goodness) but because "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence", (1 Peter 1:3, emphasis mine) we should use the fundamentals of aesthetics to evaluate our outward adornment. Elements of design are pieced together to create principles of design in good art.

Here are the 3 elements of design I'm focusing on learning currently (definitions from ArtsEdge website):
  • Line is the most basic building block of formal analysis. Line can be used to create more complex shapes or to lead your eye from one area in the composition to another.
  • Color differentiates and defines lines, shapes, forms, and space. 
  • Texture is the surface quality that can be seen and felt. Textures can be rough or smooth, soft or hard. 
And the 3 principles of design:
  • Balance is created in a work of art when textures, colors, forms, or shapes are combined harmoniously.
  • Emphasis is created in a work of art when the artist contrasts colors, textures, or shapes to direct your viewing towards a particular part of the image.
  • Unity is created when the principles of analysis are present in a composition and in harmony. Some images have a complete sense of unity, while some artists deliberately avoid formal unity to create feelings of tension and anxiety.
Now, to evaluate some fall outfits I have blogged over the years and now realize were not well done.

Line: The top's tuckage and the skirt's fly bring your attention to the widest, most awkward part of the outfit: the hips. So very bad.
Color: The monochromatic color scheme of the outfit is fine and harmonious, but (and maybe this is just the lighting of the picture or the contrast of the wall behind) the gold shirt detail really clashes with the bleached highlights of my hair that year. 
Texture: The texture of the light knit shirt and cargo denim skirt go fine together, but the skirt obviously didn't wear well because of all the wrinkles which are distracting and messy.

Balance: The balance is off due to the awkward lines and distracting textures of the outfit combo.
Emphasis: Certainly not on the face where it should be!
Unity: Theoretically this should have been a fine outfit, but when even one element of design is off (line), it ruins the whole thing!

Line: Top-half is fine, bottom half... fluffy then chicken bone ankles. Not good. 
Color: This shade of lime green with burnt orange is very jarring. It's confident, but not cohesive. 
Texture: The texture of the shirt does go with the skirt, but the skirt is just a bad look due to the wrinkles and odd gathering.

Balance:  The balance is fine, because the skirt has a little more weight to it than the shirt, keeping the proportions okay.
Emphasis: Because my hair is down and I have some braids to add texture, I think your eye is drawn to my face... but just barely.
Unity: Due to the lines, colors, and textures, this outfit just is not excellent.

Line: The shawl's angled hem combined with the long gored skirt does create a flattering line.
Color: Orange and brown are great colors together, but the pink shirt underneath totally throws the whole look. 
Texture: Linen is a great fabric to go with knitted shawls as it goes with the easy breezy feel. The feather earrings also go with the look.

Balance:  Due to the see-through shawl, the hip line isn't destroyed by the scarf, but the v-neck t-shirt underneath is just confusing.
Emphasis: If the undershirt was a color that blended, it would drive the eye towards my face. But as it is, the emphasis goes towards the tight shirt and dark tank under the shawl.
Unity: One distracting point of an outfit can ruin the whole look. :P

Line: Okay-ish. The proportions are right, but the contrasting colors definitely break up the eye-line.
Color: Whyyyyyy that orange? Way too obnoxious to be paired with muted gray and given as much space as the black. Bright colors should be in pops, not large percentages. 
Texture: Eh, not going to complain about the textures except to point out again how bad wrinkles are.

Balance:  The colors definitely throw off the balance of this outfit.
Emphasis: The v-neck and large hair-bow help draw the eye to my face, even with the distracting skirt lol.
Unity: Overall, the outfit's not that bad. But it's not good either-- and I'm striving for great.

Line: Just bleh. Those sleeves are not flattering on my skinny arms and the jeans are ill-fitting.
Color: Lavender was a fun color for a while, but did not blend with my red hair or brown purse. 
Texture: Corduroy and knit goes great together. Corduroy badly stretched out is a terrible look though.

Balance:  The shirt's print gives more "weight" to the top of the outfit, but the length of the shirt cuts at an awkward length.
Emphasis: The first thing I see when I look at the image is a poorly defined midsection. O.o
Unity: Of the 5 outfits I've evaluated today, this is the most unified, just working with weird pieces.

The purpose of this exercise was to train my eye to evaluate my own clothing based on objective concepts so that in the future I can better combine for a cohesive, excellent looks.

I do remember WHY I chose to wear and blog these outfits, but my thinking has shifted and I disagree with my past self that those were good reasons lol. I'm not "being hard on myself" just acknowledging that growth and learning should always be happening. :) 

So, I realize not everyone has the advantage of 5 years of their outfits being documented to help evaluate, but how do you think you can apply these elements and principles into your daily dressing? 
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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Let's Talk | List for Teenage Girls

Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg
Seen in Nashville yesterday.

Dear Teenage Sister-in-Christ,

I turned 23 last week, which means I've had a few years to process some things that I did- or did not- do right while I was in my teens. I wish I could go back and encourage myself that life is short and tedious, but to not grow weary and take every moment captive. I can't though, so I'm writing you, hoping that maybe you'll learn from my perspective things that I wish I had studied or skills that I've been so grateful I've developed:

  • Learn food photography. There WILL come a time you need to do it well. 
  • Go the extra mile in math. You may need to figure out how many pounds of sand you need to buy to level out under the swimming pool someday.
  • Learn good housekeeping habits, even if you're not naturally inclined towards tidying up. 
  • Don't use Bath and Body Works products. The smell of Twilight Woods is not worth the toxic load on your skin. 
  • You probably won't get married young. 
  • Learn house/table/product staging. Like food photography, there WILL come a time when you'll need that skill. 
  • Read the classics. Read the poets. Read about art. Learn about your city. 
  • Learn how to sew with excellence. 
  • Learn web design, even if you're not "techie".
  • Learn how to do hair.
  • Redeem your time with audio books. Still one of my fondest times from my teenage years was listening to Augustine's Confessions while sewing Reformation Day costumes for my sisters and me. 
  • Loosen up on the eyeliner. It doesn't make you look older. 
  • Acquire a basic understanding of needlework, even if you don't have the patience for it. 
  • Study the golden ratio. 
  • Don't ignore "the little kids". Some of my best friends now are younger girls I had to grit my teeth and "put up with" when I was 15 and they were 11/12. The older we get, the easier it is to forget that there's an age difference. 
  • Learn Photoshop, video editing, and typography. You may not plan to ever have a business, work as a graphic designer, or blog, but the chances of you being asked to make a flyer for a church event or help your husband with t-shirts for his company, etc. are preeeeetty high. 
  • Explore your interests. Draw, paint, sculpt, sing! Economics, politics, theology-- it's all profitable. 
  • Invest in your siblings. They will be your best friends. 
  • It is better to be quiet than to fill silences with meaningless flirty chatter. 
  • Enjoy family time, but making the effort to hang out with friends will also be a big blessing in your life. 
  • Learn to read sheet music.
  • Don't say derogatory things about guys. Build them up with your words and actions.
  • Learn some pop culture. 
  • Pinterest is great! In moderation. 
  • In social gatherings, relax. 
  • Keep a journal. 
  • Learn the art of story-telling. Whether it's entertaining company, sharing a life-lesson at a Bible study, or simply making small-talk, being able to tell an interesting (and not super long) story will serve you well. 
  • Instead of filling your hopechest, simplify your stuff to leave time, energy, money, and space in your life for ministry, hospitality, and friendships. 
  • Cook a real meal at least once a week. Cooking is a muscle that has to be exercised. 

But most importantly, memorize Scripture, talk with Jesus, and share your joys, hugs, and struggles with your mom. She can be pretty great.

Do you have any advice/skills you would add? I hope this has encouraged a few of you to take life by the horns and enjoy the day. :)
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Monday, October 12, 2015

Autumn Trends | Day Three

Hey y'all! I hope you're doing well! I've had a full day of visiting, cleaning, photoshooting, and then celebrating this evening! 

None of our clean laundry has been put away for what seems like a month, so today's outfit is the simple outcome of things-I-can-actually-find. I also had to choose something in brown/denim/khaki for our photoshoot. This dress seemed casual enough to wear on a Monday. ;)

Dress: Borrowed from my 17 yo sister
Jacket: Also borrowed from Willa
Flipflops: ThredUP
Earrings: Charming Charlie's

This evening we had a small celebration to commemorate my Aunt Jill surviving brain tumor surgery two years ago this weekend. God was so good to leave her here on earth with us and He has done many incredible things in her recovery. 

L-R, Aunt Jill (dad's sister), Emma, Willa, Mother, me, and Elsia's horizontal. ;) 

We stayed up late last night watching "African Queen" with Catherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart-- such a good movie! I hope you've enjoyed the #AutumnTrendsBF event as much as I have! Blessings!  

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Autumn Trends | Day Two

Hey y'all! I hope you're having a wonderful day! Today for #AutumnTrendsBF I'm wearing a 1970's inspired drop-waist dress that I made while testing out patterns for Camp Stitches

There are so many things I want to say about this dress. It encompasses so many aspects of that identity crisis I've been hinting at in my last few posts. ;)

  •  It's handmade to fit me perfectly. Well-tailored clothing has something about it that just makes my heart sing. 
  • It's made from vintage thrift store fabric. Win with the eco-friendly + win with the price. 
  • It's navy blue and gold, my favorite (and most flattering) colors to wear. 
  • It's kind of an upholstery-brocade-inspired print that I've been finding great happy depth to lately. 
  • It's a very classic silhouette and has the longer sleeve length I've been trying to migrate to in my wardrobe as I "grow up". 
  • It's washable and doesn't need ironed. 
  • It's ridiculously versatile. I've worn it three times so far-- once with black boots, once with a green cloche, brown "vintage" shoes, and a green scarf for a WWII look, and then today as you see (with a denim jacket in the air conditioning). 
  • I top-stitched all the seams, which reminds me of quality clothing and makes me super happy. 
I used Simplicity 1103 for a pattern and adjusted the front and back necklines to meet my modesty standards. I really wish I had a term for the type of fabric I used because I want to search for more. This was 60" wide and I got the whole dress from just one yard. 

My beret is from Target a few years ago and the Jessica Simpson brand gold heels I bought at Goodwill last Saturday for $2.50. woooooot! Nails are Butter LONDON "Queen Vic" shade and my bracelet was my grandmother's. 

It's so funny how elated a piece of clothing can make us sometimes, isn't it? Have a wonderful day! Be sure to visit Ashley's Day Two post for more autumn fun! :)

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Autumn Trends | Day One

Hey y'all! It's been way too long since I've taken "real" outfit photos (and my iPhone remote broke, so that's made even quick image grabs more complicated) and Ashley's Autumn Trends Blog Event seemed the perfect excuse to get back in the habit! 

It is such a gorgeous day, so we spent a few extra minutes pretending to have a picnic just because we could. ;) 

Two weekends ago, super sweet longtime readers of Fresh Modesty stopped by on their way home from vacation to meet my family and me. The internet is such a wonderful place and has facilitated opportunities to connect with such incredible people! And... oh my goodness, y'all, Mrs. M made me this basket. 

She literally weaved me a basket.

How cool. is. that. 

According to ELLE magazine, "Bling is back! After seasons of oversized jewelry with minimal design, we've made a return to very feminine, sparkly jewelry..."

So, I opted to wear a simple gold blingy costume bracelet from Charming Charlie's to compliment the  Old Navy gold-toed flats.

As much fun as chunky sweaters, blanket scarves, and wool are, it is just not cool enough to wear those looks here in Tennessee yet. So today for a casual Saturday visiting with out-of-state family, I'm wearing super comfy Ann Taylor corduroys (thankfully nice enough for those) in what I guess is called "Marsala" this autumn. ;) 

My tunic I got on ThredUP (click here for $20 off your first order) and it's been a super versatile, easy tunic that was perfect for summer and is now taking me into fall. The brand is Lush. 

Apparently 1970's and flared jeans are finally back in style (that's my favorite fashion decade!) just as I was finally adopting skinny jeans into my wardrobe. I will have to search a bit to find flares in the back of the closet. :P 

Ulta Beauty had an online-only sale on the carcinogen-free Butter LONDON nail polishes a fortnight back so I picked up this gorgeous shade called "Queen Vic" and didn't realize it would match these pants so well. ha!

I'll see y'all again soon-- be sure to click over to Bramblewood Fashion to see Ashley's outfit and get links to others'! Blessings!

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Recap | Camp Stitches 2015

Hey y'all! Last week I hosted a 4 day sewing bootcamp for 8 students and boy was it fun

My heart in creating this event was to share my love of sewing with excited girls and provide a joyful week of fellowship around a learning experience. The Lord greatly blessed the entire week and worked out every detail amazingly! 

 The first big answer to prayer was that a long real estate transaction finally closed just a few days before the camp began which opened up this incredible space for us to use!

Day one we made denim bags (from Fresh Apparel scraps!) with pleather accents. This project was a doozy for even the advanced seamstresses but everyone did amazing! (and vowed to never sew a bag again, lol) 

Day two we learned how to sew knits and used Simplicity 1198 to create tunic shirts. They turned out so beautiful! Everyone persevered with such grace through misbehaving machines, lost fabric pieces, and weird piecing techniques. 

To say we had a good time is a major understatement. :D 
"Everybody clap your hands! Clap clap clap clap clap clap clap"
 This is a pretty good summary of everyone's personalities and effectively shows the level of drama this group constantly had. :D

Back left to right: Tori, Katie, Emma, Katy, Anna Grace.
Front left to right: Kiera, Lia, Abby. :)  

 Hard at work. 

I love all the artsy shots Katie took! 

Day 3 and 4 we tackled dresses! Lia brought a few of her completed sewing projects and Tori fell in love with this red and white striped one, so she used Lia's pattern with this gorgeous olive fabric and crafted a darling dress. 

 Tori, Katie, and Anna Grace traveled from North Carolina to attend Camp Stitches!

Lia also brought her tailor's ham (that thing on the ironing board) and it made pressing so much easier! I've now ordered myself one because the quality difference in ironing is amazing! Here's a link to the one I picked up.

Anna Grace utilized the dress form to pin her sleeve and neck bindings to the bodice.  


 Katyyyyyyy! (She totally blew me away with how quickly she picked up reading and using a pattern!)

Magnetic pincushions for the wiiiiin.

Poor Tori did a lot of seam ripping when her pieces got mixed up with someone else's. :P

Kiera was such a joy to be around! She took her time and it really paid off! 

Hand stitching the lining.

Examining a sleeve hem. 

Laughing and seam ripping. :D 

Winging a pocket for Abby's dress big enough for her phone. 

We discovered that invisible zippers are SO much easier to install and make look good than regular zippers! Love how they turned out. 

What an incredible gift to spend a 4 days and 5 nights with these girls!

 Everyone went home talking about their next project and I'm so amazed by how much they learned in the week. I'm re-inspired myself and hope to share some more about getting started in sewing here on the blog.

  • If you are interested in attending a future Camp Stitches, click here to sign up for the camp mailing list. 
  • If you're wondering about what I recommend for sewing supplies basics, I've created an Amazon store with the products I've found to be the best/most useful. Click here to see that (there are two pages and two categories, so click around) [affiliate link]
  • The Modest Fashion Guild is hosting a really, really cool challenge in November to raise awareness about the injustices in the fashion factories, check that out here, seamstresses! 

 Thank you for reading about the good time we had! I hope you are having a productive week! Blessings!
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