how to embroider flowers on your winter hanky

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I started a little tradition during my last cold that inspired todays DIY tutorial. When my sniffles first started to surface, I made myself a quick hanky out of our bleige silk noil (soon to be retired, by the way) scrap fabric and embroidered some simple roses on it. I thought it would be cute to embroider more flowers on it every time I get a cold. Sort of funny looking back (perhaps the fog of the impending cold was setting in), but I think I’ll stick to it! So today I wanted to show you how to embroider your own flowers on our recently launched zero waste hankies! You can do this on any fabric…think a vintage backpack, sweatshirt or denim shirt! 

tools needed
1. fabric to embroider on (might I suggest one of our hankies made from scraps?)

2. embroidery floss (available online and in craft stores, but I recommend picking some up at Fancy Tiger Crafts if you’re in Denver)

3. scissors

4. hand sewing needles 

5. water soluble fabric marker (optional, but recommend for embroidery newbies)

6. an embroidery hoop (optional, but recommend for embroidery newbies)

7. an iron

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how to embroider flowers

1 - Iron your hanky so that you have a nice wrinkle-free slate to work with. 

2 - Cut a length of embroidery thread about 13” long. You don’t want to use too long of a thread because it can get tangled easily. There are six strands of embroidery thread in a single length of floss and we’re going to separate out three of them to use for the flowers. You can play with how many threads to use depending on how chunky or delicate you want your flowers to be. When you’re separating the threads out, sometimes things get tangled. Go slow and be patient and you’ll get it! Use your finger or a pair of scissors to separate out the threads. 

here I am separating out 3 threads of the 6 thread embroidery floss

here I am separating out 3 threads of the 6 thread embroidery floss

use your finger or your scissors to separate out the threads. go slow as it’s easy to tangle.

use your finger or your scissors to separate out the threads. go slow as it’s easy to tangle.

3 - Thread your needle and tie a knot at the end. You’ll have one end of your embroidery floss hanging a few inches below the needle eye and the other end is knotted. Set aside. 

4 - This is a great step for beginners. I like to draw my design with a water soluble fabric pen. When you’re done with your embroidery, you can use a little bit of water to remove it the ink. We’re going to be drawing a wheel shape, so a circle with five “spokes.” You want an odd number of spokes and I like to group a few wheels together in different sizes for visual interest. 

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5 - Affix your embroidery hoop to the fabric by placing the smaller circle underneath your drawn design and then place the larger circle on top and tighten it. The keeps the fabric nice and taut while you work.

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6 - Take your needle and thread and come up through the center of one of your wheels from the back. Take the needle across one of your wheel spokes and down through the fabric. Continue until all the spokes are embroidered over. 

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7 - Now you’re going to do some weaving. Come up with your needle through the fabric near the center of the wheel in-between two spokes. You will go over the first spoke and under the next. 

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8 - Continue all the way around while alternating between going over and under each spoke. Don’t pull too tight. You’ll now start to see your flower grow.

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9 - If you run out of embroidery floss and you want your flower to be fuller, simply bring the thread to the back of the fabric and tie a knot. Begin the same steps above with a fresh length of thread. If you’re satisfied with your flower, bring the thread to the back and tie a secure knot. Trim the excess thread. 

10 - Repeat the above steps with different colored floss with your other wheels. I went rogue and bunched my flowers closer together than my original drawing. When you’re done, dampen a cloth and dab the ink so that it disappears. Remove your embroidery hoop and press your hanky once more and voila! Your next cold with be slightly cheerier. Imagine how many flowers you could get on there after many, many years of colds! Your ancestors will surely treasure your beautiful snot rag.

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diy not your thing? you can also purchase this already embroidered hanky  here .

diy not your thing? you can also purchase this already embroidered hanky here.

layering dress 2 for fall

I wanted to share an outfit with you all that’s been in my head for months now. When I pattern drafted dress 2, I had summer in mind. But if you’re anything like me, you don't tend to swap out your entire wardrobe when the seasons change. I wear mostly the same things year round give or take a layer or two. And although dress 2 is oversized, I definitely imagined being able to layer it. Think pullover 3, a handmade sweater (cropped or oversized) or smock 1 as pictured below. Also imagine tights and boots and a warm wool jacket with a scarf when things really start to crisp up. September and October can’t come soon enough.

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dress 2 in navy stripe hemp organic cotton (os 1), smock 1 in deepest blue hemp organic denim (os 1), shoes like pottery sneakers purchased second hand from Poshmark

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dress 2 in tea stripe hemp organic cotton (os 1), smock 1 in foam organic cotton (os 1 ) and martiniano glove shoes

clothing has a soul

Something that gives me a total sense of wellbeing: seeing people in their Eli & Barry clothing. I call that sensation soul warming. There’s also something so wholesome about a well-loved item of clothing. It feels even more special when you know that the garment was made with care and by someone in a safe work environment, whether that be by you or by someone else. Clothes tell a story and they gain plot twists in the form of worn-in fabric and rips. Patches are like scars: they’re badges of honor of a life well lived. So I want to tell you a story today about the original pant one and how I now have a new pair to add into the mix.

I remember the feeling I had when I finally perfected the first pair of pant 1. It was in the mushroom hemp organic cotton canvas and I remember feeling that same sense of soul warmth that I described above. I had just sized down one size to make everything slightly more snug and I then ended up lopping 2” off at the bottom hems in favor of a shorter inseam. I want to demonstrate why that is and also why I have a new pair of pant 1s in mushroom in a longer inseam.

Why and when I wear a 23” inseam pant 1 (I’m 5’ 6” for reference): WINTER. A bit of a contradiction, I know, but hear me out. You might have noticed that I’m a bit Blundstone obsessed (Exhibit A, B and C). I realized while making the original pant 1 that I wanted an inseam length that allowed me to have a tiny gap of skin or handmade sock to show between the pant hem and the start of my Blundstones. I’m demonstrating this styling choice below.

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Admittedly, the 23” inseam feels a little short as soon as I want to wear flats or sandals. Enter my newest pant 1 in mushroom, which I call my summer pant 1. It’s actually still the 23” inseam, but I took them down a 1/2”. I still love a slightly cropped look and the length feels perfect for me with flats.

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Both pants feel beloved to me. The canvas of my winter pant 1 is now soft and worn-in. That pair has a patch on the inner leg from a “mistake” a made while sewing them. They’be been worn and washed and worn again. My summer pant 1 is new and crisp and doesn’t have the that sense of story quite yet, but I’m sure that will change in the coming months. It feels a little extravagant in the sense that I already have a pair, but a pant that’s worn this much might just require duplicate pairs with different seasons in mind.

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My new summer pant 1 in mushroom (back) vs. the original pant 1 that I wear in winter (front).

My new summer pant 1 in mushroom (back) vs. the original pant 1 that I wear in winter (front).

january 2019 clothing launch

Hello friends and Happy New Year! I can’t tell you how much December refreshed me. I opted out of all pop-ups and events (thanks to you, dear customer, for making 2018 such a successful year) and we intentionally slowed down the online shop orders. I’ve never actively taken that much time off in my five years of business and I will do it again, for sure. I haven’t circled back with my team (because, you know, that whole “vacation from work” thing), but I’m hoping they are refreshed and ready to start cooking again.

And what a joy working on this next clothing launch has been. After my last launch, I knew I needed to change things up. Even though I had already switched to a more intentional process of releasing pieces when they’re ready (as opposed to pushing to create a whole collection as such a small team), there were still some kinks to work out. It mostly had to do with not allowing myself enough time once the garment was ready to get things organized for the launch of the piece. So there was still an unnecessary amount of stress stemming from my lack of planning and self inflicted deadlines. This time, I’ve allowed myself much more time which has paid off in terms of my wellbeing and the wellbeing of my team.

So, with that being said, what’s the deal behind this launch?

One night a few months ago; I had burst of creativity (it happens from time to time). I sketched out what I’m now calling a “t-shirt re-vamp.” This sprang out of a wish to simplify and clarify my t-shirt offerings. I felt like I wanted to have the styles be different enough from each other so that it would be clear why you’d pick one instead of the other (i.e. “I like drapey fabrics so I’ll go with t-shirt 2” or “I like sculptural tops, so t-shirt 4 is for me.”) I also have learned that I prefer canvas tops to be a bit longer, while shorter tops are great in fabrics with a lot of drape. Overall, I knew I wanted to increase the length on most of the shirts because if you want any of these pieces shorter, that’s an easy fix with your tailor (more on that here).

So what’s on tap for the next launch? Like I said above, I have a t-shirt re-vamp (outlined below) along with a few new styles. Here’s what to expect (with some sneak peeks thrown in the mix).

What will be new?

  1. Pulllover 3 in hemp organic denim in “deepest blue”

  2. Pullover 3 in hemp organic cotton canvas in “cinder”

  3. T-shirt 4 in hemp organic cotton canvas in “stripe”

  4. T-shirt 4 in hemp organic cotton canvas in “tea”

  5. T-shirt 4 in hemp organic cotton canvas in “cinder”

  6. T-shirt 4 in organic linen cotton in “tea”

  7. T-shirt 2 v. 2 in silk noil in “bleige”

  8. T-shirt 2 v. 2 in hemp organic denim in “deepest blue” (more on what t-shirt 2 v. 2 means below)

Some thoughts behind the design process:

Pullover 3 - I felt very strongly that we needed to be able to offer a longer pullover length. What I also felt strongly about was this pullover needed to ooze simplicity (ew?) I knew I wanted no shoulder seems (the pattern is just two pieces: one for the front and one for the back). The simplicity of the top is finished with faux flat fell seams which create a workwear vibe and added durability. I’m over the moon with how this style turned out and I know this top in any of the fabrics/color ways will carry us through the colder months quite nicely (you can already purchase this top in hemp organic canvas cotton canvas stripe and tea hemp organic cotton canvas.) And, I mean, can we talk about the denim pullover? Come on. So much more denim to come.

pullover 3 in hemp organic denim in “deepest blue”

pullover 3 in hemp organic denim in “deepest blue”

t-shirt 4 in hemp organic cotton canvas in “stripe”

t-shirt 4 in hemp organic cotton canvas in “stripe”

T-shirt 4 - it’s like t-shirt 1 and t-shirt 3 had a baby. We have the longer hem length of t-shirt 1 and the longer sleeves of t-shirt 3 with a nice 1” hem to ground the whole thing in. I adore this style in the more structured fabrics like canvas. It creates a sculptural look while also feeling totally wearable (this top is 20.5” long so it should work on those who have a longer torso, too). The canvas t-shirt lives on!

t-shirt 2 v. 2 in hemp organic cotton in “tea stripe”

t-shirt 2 v. 2 in hemp organic cotton in “tea stripe”

Here’s what’s getting re-vamped:

  1. T-shirt 2 v. 2 in hemp organic cotton in “tea stripe”

Some thoughts behind the re-vamping:

There really isn’t much to change with this top because I truly feel like it’s the perfect length for more of a cropped look (this top is 19.5” in length). I did want to add an extra element of a slightly longer back (just 1/2”) and I think it just adds to the swingy-ness of the whole thing. The fabrics with the most drape will be assigned to t-shirt 2 going forward (silk, hemp organic cotton and denim).

So what’s retiring and why? Let me get into the why, first, since the reason is same for both styles: the cropped length was limiting for some and, for those who love it, the length of t-shirt 2 or t-shirt 4 can easily be cropped by your local tailor.

  1. Pullover 2 in all fabrics/colors

  2. T-shirt 3 in all fabrics/colors

I’m so sorry if this is a bummer to you! But you do still have a chance to orders these tops starting now until January 11th. These sales will be final sale since the style will be discontinued and I won’t be able to re-sell the tops if they were to come back to us.

So when is this all going down? 1/15/19. Get ready, because I have a fun surprise for you all on top of everything else. Sheesh!

2018 year in review

So…what were some of the standouts for Eli & Barry in 2018?

We made lots of clothes. This year blew 2017 out of the water as far as financial growth goes. It seems as though things clicked into place (they say the magic starts in year 5). We did 4 times the sales this year compared to 2017. It has me contemplating the future of the business and where I’d like things to go. It’s fun and scary to think about the years to come! I’m balancing between creating the business that lets me lead the life I want to lead (one where I’m not always working) and being willing to push myself out of my comfort zone. I’m really looking forward to what’s to come, but mostly feeling grateful at the moment for what’s transpired. Past Lily could have never imagined future Lily’s life. It’s a full life, for sure.

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You might also be wondering who “we” are, since for a long time, it was just me running this show. These days I have so much help and I don’t know what I would do without the folks who keep things rolling smoothly around here. I now work with three seamstresses. Amanda had been with me the longest, but we also have Anna and Amber on board. They are all contract seamstresses for me and work on their own schedule. I also have Emma helping a couple of hours a week by packaging orders, cutting fabric and assembling bundles for the seamstresses to pick up. We’ve all grown together as a group and I’ve been pretty amazed that I was able to bring in such great help. Yep, still feeling that lucky, grateful thing.

We moved spaces. Twice. I made the leap this summer of renting my first official studio space. There were a few reasons for the move. For one, I didn’t want the girls who help out tp have to come to my home studio. It required a lot of last minute cleaning on my part and the scheduling would get tough. Now the girls can go to the studio whenever they need to for pickups or to package. The second was because construction on a new basement bathroom has started at our house and I knew I would want a place to escape the mess (so muuuchhhh dust and NOISE). The third was simply because we grew and needed more space to work in. I found a local space in Denver that houses 80 different artist studios with lots of options for price points and sizes. Initially, I played it safe and chose a space that was very affordable, but ended up being too small from the start. I then came across another space while I was walking around and knew it was the one. It’s quite a bit more expensive than the old space, but if things continue the way they have been, we’re going to need it. It’s open and beautiful and I simply love it.

the new bigger and better studio

the new bigger and better studio

the original tiny studio space

the original tiny studio space

seating area in the new space

seating area in the new space

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I did it all while being injured. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, then you already know that i’ve been working with an overuse injury in my dominant arm since the beginning of the year. Practicing yoga five days a week, knitting sweaters, sewing garments for myself and pattern drafting for my business were the main culprits. It’s like this brave little arm finally gave out. It’s much better these days, but I’m coming to accept that there might just be some level of pain associated with my line of work. I’ve found the treatment options that help and I’ve forced myself to slow a down a bit and not do as much. These things initially felt like obstacles that made me weep with anger, but I’m understanding all the lessons a little more clearly now. There’s a lot more to life than making things and I had to rediscover old and new worlds to remember that. I also don’t think I would have welcomed as much help as I did if I hadn’t been injured. Having so much help available meant I could focus more on the creative and managerial aspects of my business and I think it all really helped the growth.

I learned the value of actively resting. Being injured will do that, but I find that taking time for myself isn’t about being lazy or unproductive (the language my mind can use from time to time), but an absolutely essential part of being a healthy, balanced person. I’m no good to this business if I don’t take time when I can, so it needed to be a new way for me: sleeping in on days when I can, curling up on the couch in a blanket with a good show and a knitting project, baths (so many baths) and sewing garments just for myself. The times that I give myself space often lead to big design discoveries, so it’s pretty much working when you think about it that way.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this immense year. I felt so much love and I grew a lot. I couldn’t have done it without you all! Thank you.

how we're finishing out 2018

Our newest model, Julia, petting my dog, Winston, during our recent shoot. This is also a little sneak peak of t-shirt 3 in hemp organic cotton denim in “deepest blue” which launches mid-January.

Our newest model, Julia, petting my dog, Winston, during our recent shoot. This is also a little sneak peak of t-shirt 3 in hemp organic cotton denim in “deepest blue” which launches mid-January.

I wanted to pop-in and give you all an update on the Eli & Barry shop plans for December. We have room for just a few more made-to-order garments this month and then the made-to-order shop is going to go on a brief hiatus. We’re doing that now so that Emily (who packages your orders and cuts your fabric), Anna (seamstress), Amanda (seamstress), Amber (seamstress) and I can truly take a couple of weeks off at the end of the year. I can’t tell you much I’m looking forward to a bit of a break. It’s always something I have a hard time allowing myself to do, but as soon as I do it I come back to work totally refreshed and excited to get back into the swing of things. The girls have rolled with our growth this year so beautifully and so deserve some time off! So what does this mean for ordering this month? Well, let me tell you…

Like I said, we have space for a couple of more made-to-order orders that are scheduled to ship out on 12/21. Once we reach that limit (which could be any day now), I will be updating the website with the inventory that we have in stock. In-stock garments will also ship out by December 21st. And, of course, gift cards will stay put so you still have a gifting opportunity there. We will then be officially out of the office from December 22nd and we will be returning on January 7th, 2019. I expect to be able to re-open the shop to all orders on December 26th and orders will then be shipping in our typical four week lead time.

The last bit of news that I’ll share with you all is that I’m planning a larger clothing launch in mid-January. I’ll be publishing a whole blog post before the end of the year about what’s launching and which garments are going into retirement.

Thank you for such a fantastic year!

karen templer's summer of basics challenge

As many of you know, I’ve been dealing with an overuse injury in my dominant wrist. What started as pain and a lump at the base of right pointer figure ended up being a 6 month journey towards healing. Fast forward to today, my wrist is far improved. I was able to add back in knitting and sewing to my routine about two months ago while adding 1%-10% time each day as long as my arm felt okay. I’ve finally reached a good balance that seems to be helping the wrist heal. It includes: tracking and limiting the activity my hand gets, yoga 4 days a week instead of 5 or 6 days a week with modifications to care for the wrist, work with my chiropractor, acupuncture, Epsolm salt baths, self-massaging techniques and a whole mental component that I’ve talked about on Instagram. With all of this being said, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to participate in Karen Templer of Fringe Supply Company’s Summer of Basics challenge. But I did it! I made three basics for my wardrobe! I mean…technically the deadline was August 31st (I think), but I finished the following three garments before the Fall Equinox, so I’m counting it! The only rules of the challenge were to make a small capsule wardrobe of 3 items that you think will get a lot of use. So here’s what I made…

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When it came time to deciding what to make, I already had a section of my wardrobe on my mind that was seriously lacking. That would be my loungewear wardrobe. As someone who loves lounging as much as I do, my wardrobe options for my favorite activity were very shameful. Think sweats purchased on vacation (complete with tiny holes forming in the seat), old t-shirts from thrift stores or events, and maybe 1 or 2 handmade items. What I really wanted was a loungewear capsule that reflected my personal aesthetic and that was verrrry comfortable. Like, comfortable enough to nap it. It also would be a bonus to be able to walk the dog, answer the door, run to the store in any of the items without feeling like a crazy lady. I mean, I’m definitely a crazy lady, I just don’t want that to be revealed in the way I dress. :)

Eli & Barry pullover
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I purchased some gauze on a recent trip to Taos which I doubled up and made this oversized top and pants. The pants are pant 1 with a looser waistband. The top features a raw edge pocket and neckline. I also made a highly altered Orton Bag from Merchant & Mills (not loungewear) using some linen that I had avocado dyed. I made a custom pocket on the inside of the bag that fits all of my everyday essentials. I’ve already done quite a bit of lounging in the pants and top. I can’t promise that the top won’t make it out into the world…I can see it pairing very well with my Jesse Kamm sailor pants.

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The fact that I had to mind my wrist and go slow with these items felt limiting at times, but, essentially, I really enjoyed stretching out these makes over the course of a few weeks. Going slow and enjoying the process is one of the biggest lessons from this injury. It’s sort of brought my joy back of making.

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That’s all for now, folks!

shop happenings fall 2018


Hello all! It’s been a bit since I checked in with you on the blog and I wanted to take this space to write a little more extensively on the season I’m in. Quite literally, this transition in seasons from summer to fall is always one that shocks my system. I think everyone around me is feeling it, too: the difficulty in accepting the shorter days, longer nights, cold temperatures and the end of summer. So take care, friends. Go a little slower. Let yourself sit in the muck of mourning the sun and know that summer will be here again. Even more than the change in weather, there’s been a lot on my mind and I wanted to start the discussion about those things here.

The first is that you might have noticed a slight price increase this week. Boy, the reality of this strange political climate we’re in brings up so many questions, emotions, and goals for me. The price increase stems from new tariffs that Trump has placed on fabric manufactured in China. I’m told by my distributors that we could see as much as another 25% increase in tariffs on 1/1/2019. This new challenge has brought into stark relief the reality of globalization. For my purposes, I’m hit with the fact that most fabric is made in China. And, as much as I would love to be able to source my fabric from my own fibershed, fabric production in the US isn’t quite there yet. I’m hearing rumblings from my peers that Colorado is on the brink of producing hemp fabric, but we’re not there yet. And as much as I hate increasing prices, I’m glad it’s only adding $2-$3 to your bill. There’s not much more to say other than, “onward and upwards, friends!" Also, as a side note, many of your other favorite brands are likely dealing with this very same reality. Many of us have very small profit margins and a change like this can be devastating. If you feel inclined, send some extra love towards your favorite small brands. Whether that be a note, a comment, a like, a purchase…it will mean the world. Promise.

There’s been another pressing matter on my mind in recent months. I’ve been going back and forth on this for a while since, in my heart of hearts, I want to be able to make magic clothes that fit every person’s mind and body. The truth of the matter is, I’ve been trying really hard and it can’t be done. I’m talking about customizations to my clothing. For a while, if someone asked for one of my styles in a different fabric, or for a garment to be shortened, or for an elastic band to be lengthened, I could do it. I could do it and be glad that I had made a sale. But a problem started to arise. The clothes weren't mine anymore. I’ve put a lot of thought into the proportions of a garment. I put a lot of thought into which fabric will be chosen for which style. And, on top of that, I try to be inclusive to a variety of bodies. I’ve been hit with the reality that I simply can’t. do. it. all. But, wait, there’s a solution! Hear me out: you can order my clothing exactly as you see it on my website. It will be made by loving hands with your life in mind. And, if you receive it and love it, but want to tweak it a little bit, I encourage you to take it to a local tailor. They will make your wildest dreams come true! Shortened elastics! Lengthened elastics! Shorter hem lengths! Wider, skinnier, pockets made out of extra fabric! Look at you, you clothing designer, you…go on with your bad self.

Until next time.

- Lily

summer 10 x 10 wardrobe challenge

It's that time of year again, my friends! It's time for another 10 x 10 challenge. In case you don't know what the 10 x 10 challenge is, it was created by Lee Vosburgh of Style Bee as a way to challenge herself to style 10 looks over the course of 10 days with just 10 items from her closet. It's totally in line with my own values and the vision behind my business: we can do more with less. It does seem like a lot of the folks who participate in this challenge are a part of the slow fashion movement, as well. They support brands who consider the social environmental impact of the garments they're wearing. Pretty cool. Oh and Caroline of Un-fancy is co-hosting the challenge again and I've already heard from quite a few of you that you'll be participating (I'm looking at you Brianna and Leslie.) I remember feeling totally inspired and connected to my community last time I did this challenge, which made me want to do this all over again! 

Once again, and to no one's surprise, I have created a simple color palette with my 10 selections from my closet. The stripes make this mini capsule feel full-on summer. And, just like last time, I'll be sharing day-to-day reflections and outfits on my Instagram during the challenge and I'll do another round-up post when everything is said and done. If you're curious, you can check out what I selected for the winter 10 x 10 challenge here. I'm so excited to participate again and I can't wait to see what you all put together! Without further ado, here are my 10 items.

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1. eli & barry tank 1 in "foam" linen (launching 8/8/18).

2. everlane cotton crew.

3. lotta from stockholm braided clogs (discontinued style).

4. beatrice valenzuela sandalias in nude (maybe my most worn shoe besides my Blundstones).

5. state the label smock.

6. me-made japanese linen cotton dress.

7. eli & barry pant 2 in "tea stripe" hemp organic cotton (launching 8/8/18).

8. eli & barry pant 1 in "tea" organic linen cotton

9. eli & barry dress 1 in "tea" organic linen cotton.

10. elizabeth suzann harper tunic in ivory linen (arrives to my doorstep by TODAY so this is an image from ES's website.)

Good luck, all! 

meet Amanda (and happy Fashion Revolution Week)

I wanted to take the opportunity during this very special week, also known as Fashion Revolution Week, to tell you more about what goes on behind the scenes at Eli & Barry. What's Fashion Revolution Week, you ask? Well, the movement known as  Fashion Revolution (or Fash Rev) was born after the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh. Rana Plaza housed five buildings that were manufacturing clothing for major brands. An estimated 1,138 people were killed and many more were injured. The Fashion Revolution movement encourages consumers to ask brands the question, "who made my clothes?" While also sparking dialogue about the ethics of fashion. Eli & Barry would love to participate in this conversation.

So, with all that being said, I'd like to introduce you to Amanda, seamstress extraordinaire. She is the one responsible for sewing most of Eli & Barry's online orders these days. I asked Amanda few questions about her sewing journey. Read on below. 


Eli & Barry: Where did you learn to sew?

Amanda: My mom taught me at our kitchen table. I was fascinated with the process. In general, I think I love knowing how things are made. I made my first dress from a pattern in 10th grade. I've done every craft since then including ceramics, beading, stained glass, quilting, and crochet, but sewing always felt right for me. And lately, it serves to keep me sane, provides a creative outlet and allows me to give back to myself.

E&B: I know that you make clothes a lot outside of our work together! What is your favorite thing about clothing making?

A: For me, sewing is the perfect blend of art and science, utility and magic. It requires both sides of the brain and challenges me to be in the moment, sometimes to just watch my hands do their work. I love that it's practical; to use something I've made is deeply fulfilling. Also, garment sewing is my favorite and only post-zombie apocalypse survival skill. 


E&B: Is there a garment you’re striving to make one day? A sewing pipe dream?

A: My next set of goals involve outerwear (anorak, trench, jean jacket, wool coat). Maybe I'll tackle one of them this fall? I sewed my first pair of jeans recently and I'm still riding that high!

E&B: What do you do when you’re not working?

A: I have three young kiddos who keep me quite busy, but my favorite ways to relax include sewing (of course!), hiking, tending my garden, playing in creeks, weekend thrifting, dog snuggles and porch sitting. 

E&B: Do you have specific inspiration you look to when creating clothing for yourself? Other clothing makers in the community or brands you love? How do you choose what to make?

A: I'm inspired very much by indie sewing pattern designers including True Bias, Grainline Studio, Hey June Handmade and Closet Case Patterns. I try to do a good bit of seasonal planning, as well, to keep things as cohesive and intentional as possible. Learning what I like and what I'll wear has been a long process.


Be sure to follow along on Amanda's self-made wardrobe journey on her instagram, @ac_makes. Also, follow the Fashion Revolution movement here. I'll be posting more Fashion Revolution related content this week on my Instagram

a shift

I don't know about you all, but my own personal wardrobe is pretty season-less. Meaning, most of what I have in my closet is worn year-round. I tend to layer things up in the winter and keep things linen-filled in the summer. Realizing this about my own wardrobe has had me thinking about a change I want to make with Eli & Barry. I will no longer be offering seasonal collections. I want the pieces that I've worked so hard on, the pieces that I wear deep in winter with a hand-knit sweater or alone in summer, to stay. I don't want to let styles go that are working just for the sake of adding something new and "exciting" to the shop. I want Eli & Barry to exist much like an old friend: there for you consistently no matter what stage of life you're in. 

But that doesn't mean that things won't continue to evolve! I have a launch planned in the next three weeks that will include a few things: current styles in new fabrics, returning styles and a few new styles. Moving forward, I'm looking to add tighter collections of 2-3 pieces when the time is right. That might be as a season transitions or it might be when a piece has been perfected and is ready to be out in the world.

There's a couple of reasons for this change. For one, I'm just one person. And while I have help with sewing online orders these days, I'm still the only one in charge of moving this business forward. I feel like it's a real stretch for me emotionally and physically to push myself to keep up with the traditional fashion calendar. A recent overuse injury in my right wrist has further validated this choice. I also feel like this will promote a slower model of consumption. Meaning you don't have to rush to buy something in case it goes away, but you can really take your time before you make a purchase. Less noise, less clutter. 

Let me know what you guys think and thank you for your love and support! 

dress 1, a style I had available last spring, will be coming back in an organic linen cotton

dress 1, a style I had available last spring, will be coming back in an organic linen cotton

10 x 10 winter wardrobe challenge round- up

As I mentioned a couple of weeks back now, I decided to participate in the winter 10 x 10 challenge. This exercise was created by one of my favorite bloggers, Lee Vosburgh of Style Bee. To recap, we took 10 items from our wardrobe and styled 10 different looks to be worn over the course of 10 days. 

I was a little nervous to do this challenge. I was worried that I wouldn't have time to style and document 10 looks and it was also super nerve-wracking to share videos/photos of myself on Instagram. But, boy, am I glad I did this. 

Things I learned over the course of this challenge:

- I feel a lot better when I get dressed. A lot of times since I work for myself and from home, it's easy for me to stay in my workout clothes all day. This challenge made me get dressed after my morning work out and I felt fantastic! Taking the time to get myself ready felt, in the past, like a waste of time. Like I could be spending that time on getting more things done. But taking the time to get dressed just felt like I was putting my best foot forward.

- You can style some many looks with ten neutral pieces. I know you math-oriented people probably could have told me that, but I sort of felt like I could keep going with this challenge after the ten days were up! I think the key there was to select styles I'm loving right now and keep with a neutral color palette. 

- I'll never look at packing for a trip the same way. I've gotten better in recent years, but I used to be a notorious over-packer. I feel like for my next trip I would limit myself to ten pieces. If the trip was a short one, It could cut a few things out. And I believe I could fit all of these items in a carry-on suitcase. Then I'd feel impossibly clever and chic with my pared down wardrobe. 

-I'm not much of an accessory wearer, but they can totally change a look. On the days I felt like an outfit I was wearing wasn't super different from one I'd worn before, I'd just add a bandana or a hat! 

To recap, here were the 10 items I chose...


10 x 10 items

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I ended up making a swap in my original selects a few days in to the challenge. I had included a wool jacket in the mix (pictured bottom right), but realized that I was photographing these looks indoors. So, instead, I included a navy jumpsuit. 

And here are my 10 looks in the order that I wore them...

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day 1: me-made cardigan (it's the uniform cardigan by madder made), everlane t-shirt, vintage jeans from meek vintage, and troentorp clogs

day 2: eli & barry t-shirt 2 in hemp organic cotton (from last summer, but a similar version will be launching this spring), me-made cardigan, me-made jeans, thrifted beret, blundstones

day 3: me-made sweater (it's the knit wit x nido turtleneck), me-made jeans, see eyewear glasses, and blundstones

day 4: vintage jumpsuit from stressed, me-made cardigan, and blundstones.

day 5: eli & barry smock top (launching spring 2018 in a different color/fabric), vintage jeans, and troentorp clogs.

day 6: vintage jumpsuit (worn as pants), everlane t-shirt and troentorp clogs.

day 7: eli & barry smock top, me-made jeans and blundstones.

day 8: me-made sweater, vintage jeans, troentorp clogs, bandana from madewell (old) and slide (the bead around the bandana) from last chance textiles

day 9: vintage jumpsuit and troentorp clogs.

day 10: me-made cardigan, eli & barry t-shirt 2, vintage jeans and blundstones

I want to thank everyone who took the initiate to engage with me and follow along while I participated in this challenge! I felt super connected to my Instagram community and my only wish is that I could keep that kind of momentum and inspiration going. I guess there's always the next 10 x 10 challenge. :)

10 x 10 wardrobe challenge

I'm so excited to be participating in the winter 10 x 10 wardrobe challenge, which was created by Lee Vosburgh of one of my favorite style blogs, Style Bee. She co-hosts this challenge with fellow blogger, Caroline, of Un-Fancy. It begins this Friday, January 19th (tomorrow) and a few of my Insta-buds (Claire of @clairemadeit and Allison of @thethoughtfulcloset) are doing it, as well. I'm really looking forward to connecting with this community of conscious women and see everyone's styled looks!

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In this challenge, we'll be taking 10 items from our closets and styling 10 different looks over the course of 10 days. Accessories are unlimited and things like workout clothes and loungewear won't count towards our 10 pieces (whew!) 

It's that simple and I think it's a great creative challenge, as well as a practice in looking to what you already have in your wardrobe instead of buying something new. I love this idea because we live in a culture that encourages a "buy, buy, buy" mentality that often leaves us drained and hollow. I want to continue down this path of consuming less and coming up with more ways to wear what I already own. I also feel like this challenge will help me get dressed for the day. Since I work for myself AND from home, I don't always have the motivation to get gussied up. And I often get my morning workout in and end up in workout clothes for the rest of the day. I'm hoping this challenge will help me make the transition from workout gear to beautiful styled looks.

I realize this post is not good timing if you, dear reader, want to join in. BUT this challenge happens once a season, so if it interests you there will be more chances!

Without further ado, here are my 10 items...

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eli & barry t-shirt 2 in hemp organic cotton (from last summer, but this is another good option), eli & barry smock 1 (launching fall 2018), everlane striped long-sleeve tee, me-made knit sweater (the pattern is the knit wit x nido turtleneck), me-made knit cardigan (pattern is uniform cardigan by madder made), me-made wool jacket (berlin jacket from tessuti fabrics), vintage levis from meek vintage, me-made wide-leg jeans, troentorp clogs, blundstones.

After selecting these items, I realized that most of them are handmade or vintage! That feels pretty cool. :) I wanted to choose items that I'm feeling excited about, that felt practical in terms of the weather and my lifestyle (those were great tips from Lee and Caroline), and stick to a neutral color scheme. Although, if you haven't noticed, I rarely skew from a neutral color scheme. Hey, I know what works for me, you know?

I'll be posting my 10 outfits and spur of the moment reflections on the challenge on my Instagram, so be sure to follow me there if you'd like to see this unfolding in real time. I'll also be doing a round up post at the end of the challenge on this blog to see how it all went. 

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the season of cinder

I like fall and winter. When I tell people this, they sort of look at me like I'm crazy. But spring and summer are not the seasons that make me feel most at home. When the weather starts to get cold, I feel myself begin to turn inward. I'm someone who loves to be cozy; all curled up on our old couch with a cup of tea and my newest (or neglected) knitting project. I feel a little tension with this practice in spring and summer when the weather begs for us to be outside. In fall, I feel the first inklings of that grounding in, of the chance to inhabit our little home with my husband and dog and just rest. By the time winter rolls in, I'm fully ready to hibernate. My neighbors retreat into their homes until spring and wool socks rarely leave my feet. 

The colors "tea" and "mushroom" that I offered this fall are very reflective of the season. They are colors of the earth, of grounding in and getting ready to nest. "Cinder" is the color of winter. Maybe because it represents "death," but not in a traditional sense. "Cinder" means the plants and animals are curled in for the season, but they will be reborn. We can't have the rebirth of spring without the dark of winter. 

With this launch comes an exciting update. Pant 1 has two new sizes: open size 0 and open size 12. Open size 0 is a traditional 00, while open size 12 is a traditional size 22. This decision came from the simple fact that the models I work with needed those sizes, but it's also another step I can take towards inclusivity and challenging sizing norms. I hope you love these new "cinder" pieces as much as I do. May they bring you comfort during your winter hibernation and be a reminder that all things go and spring will come. 

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say hello to pant 1

If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that I've been working on my first pant design for quite some time now. There were a few reasons that I haven't offered a pair of pants up to this point. This first is that I'm pretty new to pattern drafting and I'm completely self taught. Tops and dresses came a bit easier to me, but everyone had told me pants can be really hard to fit. That might be true, but pattern drafting an elastic waist pant (compared to a fitted style) was less difficult than I imagined. But after I got my basic pattern done, then the real designing started. This new style is called pant 1, but there were many iterations of this pant before I reached the final style. I tweaked hemlines, fit, taper, rise, and pocket placement multiple times until I was happy with the fit and shape. Then I hand pattern graded (the process of making a pattern a smaller or larger size by cutting the pattern into strips and overlapping or spreading those strips apart) each size knowing that I wanted to offer a quite a few size options. Currently I offer 11 sizes ranging from open size 1 to open size 11, which is a traditional 0-20 sizing run. It's been a journey and a process and at times I felt like I wasn't going to get there, but the day has come and I'm so excited to share this design with the world!

I've talked about the design of the pants on Insta and within the actual product description, but I'll do so again right now. I designed these pants to fill a gap in my own wardrobe. I didn't have a pair of comfortable, elastic waist pants that had room to move in, but that came to a neat taper at the bottom for added warmth. I love wide leg pants, but I can't make those work as well in fall and winter because they're not warm enough. The pants feature a 15" rise, inseam pockets, and a cropped hem. The fabric is a beautiful mushroom-colored hemp/organic cotton canvas, which I'm so excited about offering! Hemp is an environmentally friendly crop since it grows in abundance and lends itself to sturdy, made-to-last garments. To me this means you won't be tossing these away anytime soon. And the presence of organic cotton means no pesticides and a softer hand feel. The fabric has a bit more drape than other canvas materials that I've come across. And I'm happy to say that these pants (and t-shirt 3 and pullover 2) will be coming in this same fabric in "cinder" later this fall. 

I hope these pants make you feel comfortable, safe, and provide the perfect vehicle for you to live your life in. Enjoy and purchase them here.

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shop happenings august 2017

Things have slowed down a bit for me after a burst of orders and prepping new pieces for fall. It's been tough to get used to the ebb and flow of running a retail business, particularly since I'm the sole employee. It's very exciting when orders come in and you feel like you're in the flow and then things slow down a bit and you sort of wonder if you'll ever get another order again (that's my anxious mind leaning towards catastrophic outcomes). But I try to take the busy times with gratitude and the slow times with gratitude. Slower times mean a quieter mind and more time for knitting and personal sewing. I still haven't had much of a chance to do a lot of the latter in recent months, but I'm so looking forward to showing you all what I've been working on for fall. I'm photographing some of those pieces this Thursday and I'm hoping to have them live next week.

I'm also in the process of hiring a contract seamstress. It was a huge decision for me that was riddled with excitement and doubt. I'm hoping having help means that I'll have more space during busy times to continue to offer new pieces, style and photograph my offerings and take on more opportunities that have been difficult to take on in the past. I will be introducing you all to my new clothing makers once things get finalized. 

One other thing I've been practicing with my business is visualization. I have a powerful imagination that can lead me to imagining very scary situations (see paragraph one), but I've realized that I have the power to imagine things going well for me. In recent months, I've been seeing myself standing strong, feeling confident and calm. What's crazy is sometimes those ideas become manifested and I feel fantastic, which has been an amazing feeling for someone who leans towards self doubt and fear. 

For you local folks (or anyone hoping to travel to Denver in the next two months) I have three events coming up. The first is the Longmont Block Party curated by Yore on August 26th. The next is Prism's Fashion Collective on September 2nd and the third is Renegade Craft Fair on the weekend of September 23rd. Flyers with extra details are below. I love these events because I get a chance to meet people that I never would have if I remained solely an online business. I will also have an additional stockist this fall (my current one is Goldyn here in Denver.) 

Hope you guys have a great week! 


the new

I can't believe this day is here! Today is the day that the new goes live and I'm pretty darn proud of what I've created here (if I do say so myself). I felt like my last website was lacking in a few ways. I wanted to have a simple layout that was visually beautiful, of course, but with slightly more content that what I was providing with my old site. I wanted larger product photos and an easier navigation. I wanted to BLOG again (feels like an old friend to me by now). But, most of all, I wanted to provide a larger backdrop (I've been using Instagram to do this up to this point) to discuss what being a sustainable business means. I want to provide more information on why I'm doing things that way I'm doing them. You'll see that I have an explanation of how my sizing works along with a guideline for how to measure yourself, coming soon will be more information on the fabrics I'm using (i.e. info about the actual plant/fiber used and where I'm getting my fabrics from.) I'm sure there are kinks to work out and I'm working on them, but for now, I'm basking in the glow of this accomplishment. And I'm excited to continue to evolve as a business and share with you all along the way what that's like! 

Below are some lookbook images I shot with lovely model, Emma Meeks.