Friday, March 23, 2018

Making Clothes with Stories: Spring cleaning, when friends and family give me things...

Happy Spring!

I've been swamped with freelance projects for about the last 2 months and have spent too much time away from creating and my sewing machine! As hard as it is to step away from my design work, I look back and see that it was a much needed break. I can sometimes get burned out and put too pressure on myself to turnover new work quickly. The reality is that that is not the kind of items I make. 

 When I'm away from my workspace, I day dream ideas with the fabrics I know I have waiting for me. By the time I actually can get back to it, my mind is overflowing with inspiration and I can't wait to begin. 

It's always about the fabrics for me; finding and collecting unique textiles that inspire me, and breathing new life into them. Here's a little spring preview of some of the materials I'm about to dive into.  

Friends and family give me old fabrics and discarded clothes when they clean out their closets, and I love it! I often receive materials in the mail. I love that the people in my life take part in the work that I do, making it seem even more sentimental and interactive.

My friend friend Jessica hunts estate sales with her mom in her native Iowa, and they send me lovely little curated boxes of goodies. I love every little piece in the most recent box!


She always includes notes. Handwritten notes are the best, I include one with ever order to my customers. A recent favorite from her was this little silk bundle they found at the estate sale of Lois Rayman, a fifties model and actress.
Picture courtesy of Cedar Memorial

My favorite is this painterly silk fabric 🙌. 

oh the ideas...

When friends clean out their closet and think of me... I love incorporating denim into my work, and these old Levi's from my friend William will find their way into some new spring ErinElsie pieces. 

While visiting my Louisiana hometown, I collect fabrics here and there. Sometimes from family, old neighbors, thrift shopping with my mom. It's often too much to carry back, so my mom sends little care packages and packs the goodies with fabric. USPS flat rate boxes are the best :)

These items below are from my cousin Jamie, perfect for spring.

I've been collecting a lot of beautiful vintage lace, and I want to try and work them into more modern pieces. This lace comes from a neighbor in my hometown. She owned a fabric store and has passed on a lot of beautiful items to me. 

The last care package I received from my parents came complete with a Rouse's king cake - it didn't last long!

These beautiful embroidered bits came a while back from my Aunt Delsie & Uncle Mike, and I've been anxious to incorporate them into some spring summer pieces. 

Finally time to get back to my lonely sewing machine!

Thanks for stopping by. Hoping you all have a lovely weekend and week ahead friends! Live in Color 🤗!


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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

For the love of Fabric!


On this Valentine's Day, an ode to one of my greatest loves, beautiful and unique fabric! 

And then I saw it - peaking out of a rack at a thrift store - this gorgeous, unique chunk of fabric. It was love at first site, a dress from the 70's I surmised. There was this beautiful, crinkled, watercolor fabric with so much potential! The existing dress was quite sad and falling apart at the seams. I had visions of possibilities in my head...!

I love working with denim, and I felt like it would be a fun way to make this piece more wearable and season-less. I envisioned someone wearing this piece as a wrap dress, a casually glamorous swimsuit coverup, or over shorts or jeans etc. 


I draped, and draped and draped...

Sewed, sewed, hand-sewed and hand-sewed....

I often get attached to the pieces I create and this one was no exception. I sold it as I am typing this post and so guess it is time to let it go to it's new home in Dallas, TX! The love story carries on... 


This piece is a little bold, but reminds me how we often get intimidated by clothes or just getting dressed, and we shouldn't be! Try rocking some bold colors and/or little glamour in an unexpected way! 


And as I cannot bear to waste beautiful fabrics, I handmade these pretty earrings out of the remaining remnants :)

Happy Valentine's Day Friends, if and however your celebrate - cheers!


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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Living in Color! - Textiles of Chile and at Home with Our Sentimental Souvenir

Living in Color! - Textiles of Chile and at Home with Our Sentimental Souvenir 

It's fall ya'll and I'm back from a blogging hiatus. This past spring, I did a road trip adventure through a region of Chile. Of course I couldn't get enough of the textiles and art. We've started a tradition of collecting fabrics from our travels to make throw pillows for our sofa. It keeps us surrounded in our colorful memories!    

In Chile, we were on the hunt for an authentic Mapuche textile. The Mapuche are one of the most native indigenous inhabitants, and are best known for their wool textiles. Chile is home to some of the finest wool in the world and the Mapuche have long woven this wool into fine ponchos and home furnishings. 

I love that this shopping instantly made us dive into the story of these native people and their craft. It gave us an appreciation for these artists and the lands they inhabit. There's a strong chance you and I have seen copies and reproductions of their work pop up in mass market chain stores without even knowing it.  
We found a great market in Pucon, Chile selling Mapuche textiles. They are not cheap, but as a maker, I totally understand needing to be compensated for your work. 

So many beautiful things, I wish we could have bought them all!  

Ponchos and high quality wool everywhere! 

Color inspiration overload!

Another fun shopping stop was a cultural center and local artist collective in Licanten.

We were excited to also find an awesome coffee stop next door after being on the road all day. For a girl who enjoys a proper coffee moment, they don't really offer to-go options, hehe. You have to sit and have your coffee! They served ours in a pottery native to Chile, mostly produced in the village of Pomaire; which we later learned eating and drinking throughout our trip. 

We picked out this beautiful green Mapuche textile for our pillow.  

Floor time! I am a total floor person, so I made this pillow big and full to double as a cozy floor cushion. 

 We are loving what this tradition adds to our home. Live in color friends!

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a lovely week!

*Check out this old post about our sentimental souvenirs :)

P.S. Shop great new items in my ErinElsie online shop, created with special bits of reclaimed vintage fabrics, recycled denim, and leather remnants. Save 15% off  these totally one of a kind items by using code FALL15 at checkout or the shop link below!  

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Monday, February 13, 2017

A Sentimental Notion

A Sentimental Notion

I thought it appropriate for the first blog post of this new year to be a sentimental one. If you are new to my ErinElsie online shop or this blog, then this very much captures the core of who I am as a designer, maker, and person.  

ErinElsie items are clothes and accessories with stories. The nostalgia and sentiment paid to the items I make are also extended to the tools that I use to create them. I have tools that were my grandmother's, and I love staying connected to her memory by using them. Most are not fancy or ornate, but it keeps her alive to me. 

In the past couple of years, friends and family have often handed down materials to me; Sometimes vintage fabric found while cleaning out their mom's closet or sometimes old jeans they're ready to discard. Even better, they have started to give me tools and notions as well. These are often from their mom or grandmother. It means a lot to me to inherit such a sentimental item from someone else's family. This only adds to the joy and inspiration of creating for me. Now I have notions with stories too!


I rarely buy thread. My last big refill of thread was a box that my mom sent me from a neighbor. This beautiful array of thread pictured above is from my dear friend Lisa's family. 

This is a tape measurer I found in the drawer of my grandmother, Elsie's sewing machine. It's falling apart, but I tape it, mend it, and keep on using it!

How beautiful are these? Bits of antique lace, trims, and embroidery from several different friend's grandmothers. 

Scissor sisters. The pinking shears on the right were my grandmother's. Those on the left were from a friends grandmother. 

Blooming sequins...another from Lisa's family. 

Even hand sewing needles from my friend Aimee's
 grandmother. The packaging is pretty great.

More sequins! Shine on friends!

Everything from hooks, to snaps, to belt buckles, and buttons...
I'm so grateful to friends for passing along these sentimental notions and memories. Thank you!!! 

What cherished sentimental items have been passed along to you? 

Okay, back to work in the home studio for me. Hoping you all have a lovely week ahead friends!


P.S. There are new bags in the ErinElsie online shop! Created with special bits of reclaimed vintage fabrics, recycled denim, and leather remnants, these are totally one of a kind 25% Off for my blog followers! Use code ERINELSIE25 at checkout.

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