Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Some 60's

Hey y'all! I hope you are having a lovely day! Here's what I wore to church this past Lord's Day.

This dress arrived from ThredUP Saturday and I LOVE it. It fits me absolutely perfectly and I love the retro feel it has. 

I've been working 'round the clock on rewriting and expanding Creating Custom Swimwear...like majorly. I'm super excited for next week here on Fresh Modesty... not only do I have TWO swimwear company reviews to share (for those who don't sew) but I'll be relaunching the eBook that has helped hundreds create their own modest swimwear. Prepare for Swimsuit Week! 

That is, if I can find an extra 36 hours in this week. Soooo much happening right now. 

// outfit details //
Dress: ThredUP
Shoes: ThredUP
Scarf: no idea
Jewelry: Charming Charlie's

I have a friend arriving in a few hours from out of town, so I'm going to go clear the cardboard boxes off the front porch and sweep the kitchen. Y'all have an awesome day!
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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Coral + White

Hey y'all! I wonder... does anyone else have issues "checking out" of life like I do? I get focused on a project, focused on one room of the house to clean, one sewing idea, one blog post, one person, one health issue, one business... that I nearly completely ignore the rest of what's going on around me. It's true that there are seasons of life which require intense focus and minimal distractions, but when "checked out" is "normal", problems arise. Lots and lots of unhealthy problems. 

Relationships need fostered. Laundry needs done. Emails deserve replies. Customers expect their products. Responsibility to duties and healing your immune system are not at odds. Life doesn't happen in neat clean blocks of time that you've scheduled out. It's a painting. There are layers, some blue, some white, some red, some green. It's a little here, a little there, a big can't-tell-what-that-is glob smack dab in the middle. It takes time to see the picture when it's just a bunch of little brushstrokes, sometimes seemingly random and disjointed. Layer after layer after later, sometimes starting a section over, sometimes turning a mistake into a bird. Only use one color and the painting isn't a painting. Only focus on a corner and the scene will be incomplete. This has been my struggle lately-- checking back in, re-establishing my own responsibility, dealing with reality-- all the parts of it.. I'm far from doing life well, but I hope I'm on the road to doing life again. 

This is a super easy outfit, featuring my favorite white skirt. I would wear it every day the entire summer long if, well, it weren't white. Thankfully it's a sturdy skirt, but it's color is cautioning. ;)

// outfit details //
Shirt: ThredUP
Skirt: Banana Republic brand, ThredUP
Shoes: ThredUP
Photography: Sofia Hilder

Do you have a favorite white skirt? How do you keep from getting too focused on one "thing" in life? 

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Cow In The Sunshine

 Hey y'all! I hope you are having a splendid week. Thought I'd share a black + white outfit I wore two weeks ago to my siblings' piano recital.

This is that shorter black skirt I ordered from ThredUP for spring (post here) and I absolutely love it! The leather boots are a little high and the skirt a little long to make them look super good together, but it works well enough. ;) I probably would have worn simple black heeled sandals with this outfit, but it was pouring rain and I had to walk through grass.

This cardigan is from Sweet Salt Clothing! They are a modest clothing company that is becoming one of my favorite on the web. The sharp black and white floral design of the Flutter Cardi Sweater is super pretty, but as I'm wearing it the print reminds me of a cow, lol. So we call this the cow cardigan. ;)

I thought I'd share 3 quick tips for "throwing together" a new outfit at the last minute.

1) Start with a favorite, no-iron, piece you feel super comfortable in. When you're not comfortable in an outfit, you constantly second-guess wearing it, which you don't have time for. 

2) Choose the practical shoes you can run in, because you'll be running out the door and into the event and you don't want to be curling your toes to keep the kitten heels on.

3) Don't be afraid to throw on a new piece or try a new combination even if it's time to be leaving. Going with your gut can sometimes result in better ensembles than thinking through an outfit thoroughly. 

// outfit details //
Cardigan: c/o Sweet Salt Clothing
Skirt: ThredUP
Boots: ThredUP
Tank: Forever21
Earrings: Charming Charlie's

I hope you all have a lovely day! What are your last-minute dressing tips?
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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What's Up | Hemming

Hey y'all! It's been awhile since I've checked in here! The main reason is the huge project of custom-hemming the 193 pre-orders of Errand #17 skirts for Fresh Apparel Denim Company. My friend Madeline came to help for five days and documented some of the fun: 

 We got these 80 done (stacked on the couch) in the time she was here. 

Some skirts had 90" hems, which can feel like forever when you're trying to make even, straight stitches in light thread on dark thick fabric. The smaller sizes had narrower hems, obviously, and were much easier to get right.  I had to re-do about 1/4 (or more) of the hems I sewed because the stitches looked wonky.

 There are about 18 different sizes, so I had boxes everywhere separating the sizes out. I ran out of boxes so I pulled empty dresser drawers from the guest rooms and used those for some sizes with fewer quantities. :P

 For all the adventure this endeavor has been, I get a healthy swell of pride when I see the "Made in USA" and "Fresh Apparel" tags in each skirt. 

 My super trusty Singer Confidence machine (read my rant about it here) did pretty awesome plowing through all that heavy fabric hour after hour. I changed needles every so often and used a stick from the tree outside to hold the big spool of thread from the factory. I don't feel like my machine is any worse for the wear! O.o 

The work is still far from over, since I have over 100 skirts in inventory (also to be custom-hemmed) that will be available as soon as I finish fulfilling the pre-orders and handling exchanges. There are already plus-sized skirts ready to order on FreshApparel.us if you'd like to get one! 

Thank you all for your patience with me as I let some things slide while getting this project under control. :) I hope you enjoyed this peek "behind the scenes" of Fresh Apparel!
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Saturday, April 25, 2015

12 South Street

Hey y'all! I hope your week is going wonderfully! 
Madeline is here visiting with me this week and helping hem skirts! The evening I picked her up at BNA we walked around 12 S Street in Nashville for a while. There are cute shops, a bazillion healthy restaurants, photo ops galore, and we stopped at a flower stand and ooo'd and awww'd over the succulents in the gorgeous spring sunset weather. :)

Madeline is a wedding and lifestyle portrait photographer in the Minneapolis, MN area, so of course we had to grab some outfit photos.  Click here to visit her website!

// outfit details // 
Dress: Tiana B. brand: ThredUP, $9.99
Cardigan: Mossimo brand, handmedown
Purse: JustFab.com, $39.99
Shoes: Payless, $12.50
Bracelets: Gifts and Gracewear Collection
Necklaces: Charming Charlie and Groupon

Y'all may remember this dress from the How To | Shop for Dresses on ThredUP post I did last summer. (Here's the first and second post). It's just one of those super simple summer dresses that I'm glad I have in the closet. I paired it with a black cardigan because I don't really have any other colors and it was just the perfect weight for the evening. 

I adore bright green succulents, so of course I had to pick one up along with some chocolate mint. They're sitting here all happy on the counter while our fingers turn blue from steaming denim. :D 

Y'all have a great day, okay? Have you been exploring anywhere lately? 
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Business Casual

Hey y'all! When this post goes live I hope I will be furiously hemming away at the Errand #17 skirts. But now, as I'm editing these pictures and avoiding going to bed because it means morning is coming, I have some thoughts to share about being a young lady in business for herself. 

First, I LOVE IT. Last night I attended a small group meeting with friends from church on how to create a business plan and how important that document is. We covered a lot of ground, the men discussing everything from LLC vs C Corp to advisory boards and 5 year plans. My head was spinning with so many ideas/to-dos/plans that I could hardly sleep and when I finally did I had a notebook of lists beside my head. I love creative thinking. Enterprise. Hustle. 

I love being a Christian in business, having the potential to minister to people through economic connections. And being able to provide resources (both in eBooks and skirts right now) for women to encourage them in their Christian walk? Pretty awesome. 

 But, honestly, it's really, really hard sometimes. Not just the workload, although that is a burden. The stress of the numbers, the decision making that falls on your shoulders, the prioritizing and the constant pressure... that's the challenge. I was not prepared for the enormous learning curve (I expected a hill, not the Alps) or the cross-eyed feeling that comes when taxes eat your bank account and there are invoices for supplies coming in.

Just like any new uncomfortable experience or physical challenge, I'm learning and growing. Learning to breathe deep while I pace for hours thinking and praying through tough decisions instead of holding my breath. Learning that taxes bite hard. Learning that bookkeeping is more important than sleep. Learning that when people who have gone before you in this entrepreneur thing suggest making a business plan, you should probably do it before you jump in head-first. 

I'm stressed, but blessed. This is a season of stretching and failing, jumping and gaining. 
I'm telling myself this after I spent two days figuring out self-employment taxes for the first time.
After two weeks of sleeping at the office so I can spend every moment hemming skirts. 
On the eve of a 12 hour trip to the factory where I really really really hope they have skirts in the right sizes for me and not 5" too big. 
And I'm sharing here because I know you girls have got my back and are rooting for me. 

That knowledge (and Honeycomb cereal) is what's keeping me going. 

This is the outfit I wore to that meeting the other night. I wanted something nice and classy, but casual because I knew there'd be guys with muddy jeans there. I had about 4 minutes to get ready and I was SO EXCITED to pair this combo up. I've had this sequin + sweatshirt knit/drawstring shirt for most of the winter hoping I'd find something to match with it. I tried camo and denim, but neither worked with the busy front. It also isn't very form-fitting, so my broomstick brown skirts also didn't work. I'm so glad I threw this brown skirt into my ThredUP cart at the last minute when I bought my new spring items and ahhh it's my new favorite. It fits perfectly, doesn't need ironed, doesn't show awkward lines, and is so comfortable. And goes with this fabulous shiiiiiirt. :D 

My shoes I bought from ThredUP last summer but didn't wear very often because I felt like the ankle strap made my legs look shorter. With a maxi skirt they're perfect because the ankle strap keeps my foot connected to the shoe so the hem of the skirt doesn't get stepped on. ;) The slight heel also helped make me feel less awkward standing around a bunch of 6' guys and the bronze accent complimented the sequins perfectly. 

Lol, I know nobody else would notice all these details, but the joy of throwing on an outfit that just works is pretty great. 

And heeeeey, if starting a fashion line is something you're interested in (whether home-produced or factory-made), consider joining me at the Modest Fashion Guild conference this July in Austin, TX! :) Visit ModestFashionGuild.org for more info.

// outfit details //
Shirt: ThredUP
Skirt: ThredUP
Shoes: ThredUP
Earrings: Gift 
Necklace: Groupon, $10
Purse: Just Fab: $40

Well, I'm going to schedule this post now and head to bed because 3:30 am is fast approaching. How do you cope with stress? Have a wardrobe success from this week you'd like to squeal about? I'd love to hear! 

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Wardrobe | Shopping

Hey y'all! A few Saturdays ago I set off on a shopping trip with my sister Willa to find some fabric for those skirts that I put on my list to make when I evaluated my wardrobe. The closest Jo-Ann's is an hour and 20 minutes from my house, so this wasn't a quick errand. ;) 

Here's what was left on my skirt list after my ThredUp purchases:

Short denim skirt that fits nicely (my Destination skirt is wearing out)
Long denim skirt with belt loops
Bright maxi skirt (new twill leaf skirt?)
New linen skirt
1 casual shorter skirts

I'll be honest here: I was in Jo-Ann's 3 hours. I was having the hardest time making any decisions! Plus, the selection was much more limited than I expected. Our store is very special-occasion and home-decor fabric heavy and has a poor apparel fabrics selection. But, I made it work. :) 

I found some lovely bright pink twill suiting type fabric (little stretch) in the clearance section, so I picked that up for my "bright maxi skirt". 
This was just about all of my store's linen selection. I was hoping for some more muted tones, but they just didn't have any. I wanted maybe something with a print or a color with deep undertones so dirt wouldn't show as much, but there just wasn't anything like that.

The linen on the left was on sale for $10 a yard and the purple and green linens were on sale for $5 a yard. I was torn between making a cheaper, brighter skirt that I may be harder to match with (purple or green are not common in my wardrobe) or splurging on two yards of the gorgeous natural linen with navy blue embroidery. I asked Willa her opinion and she gave me a "that repulses my very soul" face when she saw the purple and green, soooo I splurged on what will be about a $25 skirt. I'm hoping to get a lot of use out of it, though. 

 Here are the three fabrics I ended up with: Linen for church skirt, double sided knit for a tunic, and pink twill for a maxi skirt.

We also went to Hobby Lobby hoping they might have some denim since that was the only fabric I was lacking, but alas, their fabric selection was even dinkier.

I briefly considered making myself a gingham shirt but thought better of it. ;)

 While we were in Franklin, we stopped by Our Thrift Store to look for some of the shirts on my list, which you will remember were:

2 nice white shirts 
4 church/ fellowship worthy tops (green, mustard, and light purple/pink preferably)
2 casual tops that fit properly 
A gingham button-up
Green or pink tunic to go with my plaid capris
Printed cardigan

 Willa and I each grabbed an armload of things to try on. She came away with 5 or 6 cute tops! I tried on a lot of things, but asking myself "Would I actually wear this more than once?" brought my final choices to just a few items.

We had to swing by Walmart on the way home for some items for the family and stopped by their clothing section. I used to shop there for most of my clothes but now I hardly ever need to go in there, so I shop elsewhere. I was pleasantly surprised to see lots of maxi skirts and cute, relatively modest dresses for sale! They were about $15-$20, so if they weren't out of my size I probably would have gotten one or two.

This is my final haul for the day: Two tunics, two casual shirts, one nice-casual shirt, and a pair of blue skinny jeans.
The shirt on the left there is from Walmart and I've already gotten a lot of use out of it. I wore it to the post-office the the other day. The chambray tunic isn't quite long enough, so I plan on adding crocheted lace to the bottom. As far as why I bought those pants... just one of those things that I can't quite explain, except that I love challenge pieces and I've wanted a pair of BRIGHT jeans and these were only about $5. :D

It was an almost-successful day of shopping. ;) It can be really difficult to reconcile our ideals in our head with what's actually available/within our reach, but it's a skill that can be learned and carries over into every area of our lives. I still have quite a few gaps and "needs" in my wardrobe, so I'll keep y'all updated as I work on it!
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sponsors | April

Hey y'all! I wanted to highlight some of this month's amazing sponsors for ya in one place. There are a few new ones (including my sister, Willa!) and a few with specials this month!

Hello Awesome
Hey beauties! I’m Jacy, the owner and designer behind Hello Awesome. It’s an online based ministry and small business with a passion to uplift hearts, inspire minds and encourage every Christian young lady that God's love is enough. I create positive handmade products for your body, mind, spirit and home. The Hello Awesome goal has always been to inspire young ladies to pursue God with their whole hearts, lead holy lives according to His Word and embrace the gifts they've been given.
What started as a creative outlet for me has branched into something totally amazing! Only God can do that. It’s a blessing to be a work-at-home wife and mama on top of using my talents to further the Kingdom. I love to create modest fashion illustrations, some thing that is very rare to find in today’s world. One of the things I want my products to do is glorify God and the principles He has set for us. That doesn't mean we can’t have a little fun. It just means doing it in a classy way.
I would love to connect with you all! Follow me on Instagram to join the growing Hello Awesome community, and on Facebook or Twitter. Also browse a large range of Christian art and gifts in the Hello Awesome shop! God bless!

Droplette Jewelry
Hello all! My name is Willa, and for several years now I have been making and selling jewelry. I recently opened this Droplette Jewelry Etsy shop and am excited to start providing cute, fashionable, but affordable jewelry to girls striving to be modest for the Lord. For the month of April, all earrings in my store have free shipping. Like my page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/droplette?fref=ts) to get exclusive deals.

Kerem Creations offers unique Messianic Judaica made by Daniel Sayag, born and raised in Israel, and a lover and teacher of God's Word. Kerem Creations was born out of a love of the Word of God and working with wood. There is power in the Word of God, and many promises of hope and encouragement. As we surround ourselves and our loved ones with these promises, our spirits are uplifted, and we gain new strength. Kerem Creations is located in Israel, and all wood products are printed and/or engraved in Israel in Hebrew, sometimes combined with a second language.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any special verse that you would like engraved/printed for you or someone you would like to bless. 

Shalom from Israel!" 

Here you can find modest fashion clothing for women – Dresses, Skirts, tops, headcoverings and headbands – all beautiful, stylish, romantic chic, suitable for everyday wear and special occasions. This month, in order to welcome spring. I offer all Fresh modesty readers a special 20% discount on all the items on my Etsy shop.
Enter the code: FRESH20 when you checkout.

Wish you all, happy spring, full of blossoms.

Handcrafted headcoverings, hair scarves, & accessories for women and girls! Our products are the results of sisters who enjoy working together from home to provide quality, handcrafted items for the glory of the Lord. We are always busy inventing, renovating, and exploring to find new twists to put to old favorites.

The Head Covering Movement is a campaign that seeks to spark a return to the practice of head covering during corporate Christian worship. We post articles, sermons and video teachings on this topic. We also link to discussions around the web where people are talking about head covering and share testimonies of women who practice this symbol. To learn more about HCM you visit us at http://www.headcoveringmovement.com or watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dK0maTIKDk "

Modesty4me.com is a one woman company from Texas that makes and sells one of the only high neck line camis on the market. These high neck line camis fill the bill when other camis don't. If you are tired of tugging at your cami, or if you tighten the straps so much that it rubs under your arms; this is the solution you have been searching for. Two new modesty items will be introduced this year. Modesty4Me camis are made in USA.

You can read my review of Modesty4Me here.

If you've been reading Fresh Modesty for any length of time, you know I am one of Halftee's biggest fans. They have completely changed the way I can layer to make things more modest and have greatly simplified my closet. If you ever ask me a question about layering, my first response is going to be, "Well, do you have a Halftee yet?" ;)

Thanks for supporting Fresh Modesty!
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Spring Wardrobe | Evaluation

Hey y'all! Now that we have an idea in mind for what we'd like our wardrobes to hold, it's time to evaluate what we already have so we can identify gaps. My sisters and I keep our off-season shirts on a high shelf in our closet and over the winter it got a little disheveled. 

 I pulled out the shirts I think I'll actually wear this spring/summer and left the rest on the shelf for my sisters to decide if they want. ;)

Three things I evaluate: 
Quality-- Pit discoloration? Pilling? Stains? Not worth wearing.
Fit-- Why wear something you don't feel great in? The older I get, the more picky I'm getting about right fit.
Color-- As much as I love red and white stripes, I just don't wear them because red is too bright on me. Coming to terms with that helped clear my wardrobe of unworn-but-maybe-someday items.

 That left me with three stacks of shirts: Nice/ church shirts, casual/okay shirts, and to alter/make a pattern from. Of all these shirts, I only love about 4 of them and none of those 4 look good with skirts. No wonder I've had a hard time getting myself to wear skirts lately! And somehow, I have 6 nice black short sleeved shirts.

And here is a line-up of the skirts I have for spring/summer. The first and last I've never worn because I picked them up on clearance at the end of last season, so I'll have to see how I can incorporate those. Three of these I've had since I was 15 so they have seen better days but might still have a few uses left. My Errand #17 skirt was in the wash so it's not pictured. ;)

So, after looking through my closet, what gaps (needs and just wants ;)) do I see? 
2 nice white shirts (because one inevitably gets stained)
4 church/ fellowship worthy tops (green, mustard, and light purple/pink preferably)
2 casual tops that fit properly (the ones I have are too long/ awkward)
A gingham button-up (trendy/timeless piece that would be fun to have)
Green or pink tunic to go with my plaid capris
Printed cardigan

Short denim skirt that fits nicely (my Destination skirt is wearing out)
Long denim skirt with belt loops
Bright maxi skirt (new twill leaf skirt?)
New linen skirt
2 casual shorter skirts
Long church skirt 
Short black skirt
So, as is my first instinct, I went to see what ThredUP had to offer and purchased the following: 

Old Navy Gingham top... not exactly what I was looking for, but I've been wanting to try out orange so I picked it up for $7.50.
Short black skirt... Check! Just what I was looking for. Hope it fits.

Long white skirt... hoping it will work for church! I already have a long white skirt, but it's too casual to make a church staple. 
Short casual skirt with pockets... Check! Hoping this style is flattering on me. Need to look for tops to match. 

Shorter pretty taupe skirt... not on my list, but in the back of my mind I've wanted to try the "natural colors/slight military" style, and I think this might be a good way to do that femininely. 
Gingham tunic... although I'll still be looking for a gingham button up, I couldn't pass up this tunic! I think it'll work with white and blue jeans. 

As I went thrift shopping, I took the above list with me. But, as we all know, it can be really challenging to find what you have in mind in the stores, so I try to keep a super open mind. As nice as it is to have this grand vision of gorgeous wardrobes, we need to be practical and work within the parameters we are given. I find challenges to actually be the best way for me to be creative! 

What are some items you're looking to incorporate into your spring wardrobe?
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