I asked Faith if she would be willing to be a guest on my blog due to the nature of her business. Faith’s sews, crochets, and creates upcycled products from thrifted and donated goods. Her makes range from sustainable scrunchies to shirt-sleeve pants to crochet crowns to satchel bags. She also offers alterations and repairs in her home studio.Faith is a genius when it comes to making something both practical and beautiful out of something that would otherwise be thrown away. Her passions for educating and caring for our planet are apparent in her work, and I learned so much about upcycling and reducing waste from my conversation with her.
Today is the day, friends! At 12 pm CST, I am officially relaunching my handmade clothing shop–Elsie James Clothing. For those of you who have been following along for some time, you probably know most of the story behind my brand. But if you’re new, I wanted to provided a brief synopsis of the who, what, where, when, why, and how of this passion project of mine.
Last year, I remember staring at closet overflowing with clothing that I didn’t like and didn’t wear. I had just given birth to my son a few months prior, and a lot of the clothes that I had worn before no longer fit well or were nursing friendly. We were also several months into covid, and I found myself living in oversized shirts with holes and stained sweats with pilling fabric. I didn’t feel put together or confident and even though I really wasn’t going anywhere, I wanted to feel not only comfortable but also classy in the clothing that I owned.
I had the privilege of “meeting” Fausthyara via Instagram a little over a year ago. She is someone who I look up to in so many ways–as a follower of Jesus, as a mom, and as a person in general! Fausthyara and I got connected because of our mutual love for small shops. She has a lot of experience as a brand rep for several handmade clothing shops, including my own. She is an incredibly talented photographer and has an eye for design and pairing pieces of clothing together–both old and new.
It took a lot of frustrating moments at naptime, bedtime, and on weekends, but I slowly got the hang of it. And I quickly became addicted to learning everything there was to know about sewing. I made a lot of mistakes and wasted some money on cheap products that broke after a few uses. Here’s what I wish I had when I first learned to sew:
I’m a part of several online sewing groups, and I was always amazed by the beautiful capsule wardrobes that other moms were making for their kids. Yet, whenever I tried to plan one for my own son, I got overwhelmed by all of the fabric options, pattern options, and the combination of the two.
I decided to come up with a plan and process to not only help me build his current capsule but to refer back to for future seasons. If you sew, I hope that you can take some of these ideas and tweak them to make them your own. If you don’t sew and have no plans to start sewing, don’t stop reading! You can still follow these steps to plan out a capsule, you just will replace the sewing part with shopping! In the past, I did a combination of new, thrifted, and handmade items for my son each season. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to make a cohesive seasonal capsule!
So you want to start pursuing sustainable living but you are overwhelmed because you feel like you need to throw out everything in your home and start completely from scratch. Did you know the most sustainable thing you can often do is to use what you already have? Throwing out all of your clothes that aren’t made of sustainable fibers… ditching all of your plastic products… throwing away full bottles of personal-care products–that is a tremendous waste. Now, I understand the desire to get toxic chemicals out of your home once you learn about the harmful effects; however, I personally don’t recommend throwing everything away and starting from scratch. For one, who can afford to do that!? Certainly not me. Here are some simple swaps that you can make to get started!
Something that I don’t love about our culture is that there seems to be this pressure to know exactly what you want to do and to have it all figured out by the time you are 18. It’s as if you go to school for all of those years and then you pick something and focus on it and learn it really well and then you’re too old to learn anything else. And yes, I know that was a horrible run-on sentence, but you get the point.