Making a Midi: Lessons Learned

www.gluewhenitsizzles.wordpress.com (3).png

Tomorrow, I begin my senior year of college. Today, I’m sitting here wondering where on earth all that time went! God has blessed me with so many growing opportunities throughout the last three years, and as fun as it’s been, I’m so excited to be that much closer to graduating and being a nurse.

But before that begins, I needed a sewing break.

I’ve been wanting to put together a midi skirt for a while, and it took me a while to not be intimidated by working with a non-jersey fabric. My grandma bought me this amazing piece before I started my summer semester, and when I finished, it was a great opportunity to slow down and exercise some good ol’ fashioned treat yo’self.

Box pleats and invisible zippers can be a little intimidating for any novice sewer (I still need to work on zippers. A lot.), this tutorial is really clear cut and made it much simpler for me to test the waters. Here are a few things I need to remember for next time…

  1. Box pleats require buying at least two yards of fabric, especially for wider pleats
  2. You can never go wrong with investing in an invisible zipper foot
  3. READ THE INVISIBLE ZIPPER INSTRUCTIONS.
  4. Don’t cut said invisible zipper. Not even that “unnecessary extra lining” at the top.
  5. Make sure both sides of the fabric line up before installing the zipper.

IMG_8787

Practice makes perfect, and I’m excited to give things another go in a later project. I’m also looking forward to crafting and creating more often once I’m done with school in less than 9 months!

Did I really just say that? There’s light at the end of the tunnel, y’all!! Cheers to senior year!

Thanks for learning with me!! 🙂

-Jessica

Blooming In Adversity

Perhaps it’s the fact that Lent just ended and the Easter season has me feeling pretty dang inspired, or maybe it’s just the nostalgia that has come with today, but lately I’ve been deeply contemplative of where I have been the last year and how the Lord has worked in my life. I’m not about to sit here and tell you that I know the ins and outs of the Lord’s plan- only He knows, and they’re His best kept secret. We never truly know what will happen until we’ve been there, done that.

A year ago today, I got a letter saying I wasn’t accepted to nursing school.

A year ago today, I felt devastated. I felt betrayed.

A year ago today I was sitting in the chapel on campus, asking God why the heck he would give me such a burning desire to do something, only to not see it through? My only response was a sense of overwhelming peace.

I published an article on my thoughts at the time, and it was all hopeful stuff. And though I knew all of it to be true, and I felt peaceful, it was still a dark time for me. Nursing is hard, and it is competitive. You learn to work under extreme amounts of pressure for really high stakes, because you aren’t studying for a simple degree- you’re studying to save someone’s life someday. You’re studying for a passion- a vocation. And much like the job, the process of getting into nursing school is not for the faint of heart. Over time, the competition becomes engrained in you and if you can’t keep it in check, it can really overtake your personality. I had let it get to that point, and the only thing I felt from that rejection letter was crippling failure and incompetence. I wasn’t the best.

But those were lies. Now, I look back and see just how far I have come.

I feel like the Lord needed me to deepen my trust in Him before I got into the program. In leaving San Marcos, I would be cutting some roots that had grown very deep. After becoming independent and finding my footing, I would be leaving a life that had become so enriched by the people and experiences that I surrounded myself with and returning to a place that suddenly felt barren with just school. My relationship with the Lord would be the only thing that was definitely going to carry over, and He needed to deepen that. He needed me to trust Him more, because going through a program so intense and so far away from many of my closest friends was going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. So why not hit where it would hurt the most, and build from there?

I wasn’t one of the 100 that was originally accepted to St. David’s School of Nursing. My call didn’t come until over the summer. So what? I’m here now, and I’m thriving. I’ve been given the opportunity to be president of an amazing group of people, and I’m doing better in school than I ever have before. There was a period when I really doubted my abilities, but God pushed me through. He let me lean on Him through the hardest “no” I have ever heard, and He created a path for me.  Though I’ve learned to tame the competition, comparison can still creep up on me when I least expect it. I need to stop believing the lie that I’m not capable; the Lord proved to me this last year that I am MORE than capable- and He continues to prove it each and every day.

A year ago today, I thought my dream had reached a very sudden end.

Today, I feel that the Lord was simply asking me to give a little more.

In a year, I’ll be closing in on graduation, and I can hardly believe the path behind me and the journey still before me.

Though our hearts desire, God really is the one who writes the plan. Not everything is going to work out the way we want it- but it will all work out, in the end. Trust is a hard concept to master, but every day is a lesson and I’m so blessed to be learning.

Mulan Quote

 

Swanky Shift Dress

Happy New Year, Sizzlers!! I hope it’s started in a blessed way for all of you. Before the craziness of the semester starts, I decided to treat myself to one last big project with my sewing machine.

I’ve been wanting to create a shift dress for a while now, because they’re so cute, so versatile, and SO comfortable! The problem is that when it comes to clothes, I can be so picky. A lot of the shift dresses I’ve tried on made it look like I was wearing a bag- and however fashionable, I prefer to stay away from wearing those.

One of my favorite bloggers posted this tutorial  on creating her own shift dress, which was perfect for taking the guesswork out of things! I followed the tutorial exactly, and changed up just a few things to fit my novice-level knowledge and equipment. Without further ado, here are some tips and tricks for whipping up your own.

DIY

-When choosing materials, take into consideration how tight fitting and stretchy you want to be. I chose a ponte knit fabric because I wanted the material to be a little thicker, but I forfeited some stretch with that choice.

-I always wash my panels of jersey fabric before I sew with them; this shrinks the fabric. The original fabric suggestion was 2 yards. Now, I wanted my dress to be about mid-thigh, which worked perfectly, but if you want a longer dress, then buy more fabric accordingly.

-When I was tracing the tank top onto my fabric to create the pattern, I followed the shape of the tank top a little bit past the armholes. This will give it a bit of a closer fit around the chest.

-This was my first time trying sleeves, and I’m really happy with how they turned out! I switched the directions up a bit for my own peace of mind. I sewed the front and back of the dress together at the shoulders, and then opened the panels and laid it out on the fabric to trace the tops of the sleeves. This way, I could see that the pieces would match.

-I sewed all the panels together with a 1/2 in seam allowance and a zigzag stitch. This gives the fabric a bit of added stretch.

-In the original tutorial, she recommends using a double needle to hem with, and a blind stitch at the bottom of the dress. Being without a double needle, I set my machine to a regular single stitch as WIDE as it would go, and used that to hem everything. Depending on how tight you make your sleeves, this method does increase the chance of the stitches ripping, but if you give your arms some breathing room, it should be just fine. The bottom of the dress I did the same way for consistency throughout.

IMG_6951

Overall, I’m so happy with the results! This dress is fun and just swingy enough to be worn two-stepping without a risk for any Marilyn moments. It also pairs perfectly with fleece-lined leggings in the winter. I just bought my first pair this week and I’ve done myself a great disservice by just now coming to own them. If you don’t have any, RUN to your nearest clothing retailer and buy some in every color! They’re life-altering!

I hope these tips help. If you have any questions, let me know!! If you attempt your own swing dress, send me pictures because I’d love to see your own results and learn right along with you!

 

Happy Crafting and many blessings!

~Jess

A Quilted Vest

 

Consistency is a difficult thing in the life of a student. I apologize for my recent lack of posts, guys! Over the summer, I was offered a spot at Texas State’s nursing school, which was quite different from what I had planned in one of my last posts. Even though nursing school is single-handedly the most difficult and time consuming thing I have ever done, God is so good to me for opening those doors and giving me this chance to fulfill my dream!!

Between papers and exams and everything else, it’s been hard for me to sit down and have a real craft session of any kind. But, now that I have a bit of a break, I decided that it’s high time I learned some new things. This quilted vest was inspired by my J. Crew obsession and meager bank account. I mean, who really needs J. Crew when you have a sewing machine anyway?

This project was full of many firsts for me. First time creating a pattern, first time sewing princess seams, first time making clothing that wasn’t out of jersey fabric, first time with a zipper.. the list goes on, but I’m super happy with the results and will definitely be experimenting in these areas more! But enough talk. without further ado, let’s get to stitching…

CASTLE

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Pattern
  • Pre-quilted fabric (or quilt your own)
  • Flannel (OPTIONAL. I added it as lining for extra warmth)
  • Matching thread
  • Extra Wide Double Fold Bias Tape for piping
  • Zipper

DIRECTIONS:

1. Create your pattern. I had a lot of luck following the basic directions on this tutorial from Sweet Verbena. Because my vest had princess seams, I traced each individual piece! If you’re not gutsy enough to create your own, use Simplicity pattern 1499 and you’ll get the same results.

2. With your lining laid over the quilted fabric, cut out your pieces and pin them together. Try this on and adjust the pins accordingly.

3. Stitch the vest together, and zigzag or serge the raw edges,

4. Cut out your collar. I cut out a big rectangle, folded it in half, then serged it together right-side out. Pin it to the neckline, sew, and zigzag or serge the raw edge. Take a length of bias tape and sew it over the seam to cover it when your collar is folded down.

5. Fold your bias tape around the edges of the vest and the armholes. Pin and sew with a straight stitch.

6. If you want to add pockets like I did, cut out your desired shape. I traced a Blu-Ray DVD case and trimmed them down from there. Add the bias tape, and sew!

7. Attach your zipper, and you’re done!!

Glue When It Sizzles (1)

For a third of the cost, that’s a pretty good looking vest.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact me. Thanks for reading, sizzlers!!

 

Much Love,

Jessica

Jewelry Box Revamp

School is finally coming to a close! This means I’m two years done with college, and when I re-read that, I can’t help but wonder where in the heck time went. With the school year wrapping up and my hardest exams behind me,  I found a bit of time to craft this Mother’s Day weekend!

As you may have seen in my Room Reveal for this last year, I had my jewelry hanging up in my closet on a pretty blue board. While I did love it, I noticed that my jewelry was tarnishing much more quickly than it had been in the past because of its exposure to the air. Since the goal for this coming year when I move into my first apartment *insert mega happy dance* is to minimize the amount of things on my walls, when I found an old, unused jewelry box in my mom’s closet,

IMG_4020_2

I was ecstatic.. though not so much about the appearance of the inside and the lack of storage space for bracelets and rings. Sizzlers, I had a little bit of work to do.

THE UGLY

YOU WILL NEED:

-A jewelry box, preferably vintage

-Fabric to cover any ugly inside panels

-ribbon (mine was courtesy of Tiffany & Co. because I don’t waste satin ribbon, especially if it ties up a pretty blue box)

-hot glue gun

-lighter

1. Once you’ve cut your fabric to fit, you can either hem the edges, or be really daring like me and burn them for a more vintag-ey vibe. CAREFULLY hold the heat against the edge. If it’s satin, it will melt nicely. If it’s cotton, it will catch on fire. Don’t panic, just blow the flame out. Probably don’t tell your parents if you use this method.

2. Hot glue the fabric to the panel.

IMG_4022

3. Cut desired lengths of ribbon and hem or burn the edges to prevent fraying. Fold in half, and hot glue along your fold. Then stick in desired spots.

IMG_4025_2

4. Once all ribbons are glued, loop bracelets/rings etc. onto them and tie tightly to the lid of the box!

IMG_4026

5. Place remaining jewelry inside and enjoy your new creation.

IMG_4027

Yay! I’m super excited to have a practical place to store my starting big-girl jewelry collection. I hope you found some inspiration here, and let me know if you decide to try your own take on this! 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!! I hope you’re spoiling your moms silly. Lord knows they deserve it!

Sincerely,

Jessica

A Bad Case of Perfect Timing

“This Hays county morning is glowing like a Carolina rose// and it’s warming all the station trains and cars, but I’m as cold as any stone…”

-Blue Water Highway Band, Hard Time Train

Two years of working towards nursing school finally culminated in a denial letter. And a 3-year-old-style temper tantrum.

My advisor and I pored over my transcripts. Everything was right, and the only duck that was slightly out of place was my science GPA: a 2.9 out of the necessary 3.0. So. Frustratingly. Close. He told me, “Everything looks great. But there’s something holding you back just a bit. The timing just isn’t right for you this year, Jessica.”

So what to do when your well-laid, hard-worked-for plans come undone?

Even as a cradle Catholic, discerning God’s will purely and completely is something that I’m just beginning to practice, and in all 20 of my years I am nowhere even close to calling myself wise or well-versed in the heart of the Lord. He’s a big, fat mystery, that guy, and He has a knack for taking our well-made plans and tearing them apart. But that’s because He has something more in store for us. I’m reminded now of Mary, the Blessed Mother. At age 15, the angel Gabriel came to her and told her that if she said yes, she would become pregnant with God’s only son before she was married. This baby would go on to save the entire world. It’s hard for many of us to imagine how terrified she must have been, particularly at the expense of potentially being left by her fiance and shunned by her community. But she gave her yes to God in Luke 1:38 (aka my FAVORITE). And He handed over to her the fate of every one of our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that even if we have thoughts of terror and failure, He has thoughts of peace- not of evil. So no matter how much He tears our plans up, He’s going to rearrange the pieces into something so much more fulfilling than we can imagine-all it takes is our yes, and His perfect timing.

This is so much easier said than typed. Quite frankly, trust is a difficult thing, particularly in society today. As humans, we have the ability to be emotionally and spiritually broken because we are promised things that are never fulfilled. In the human anatomy, whenever something a bone is broken or a muscle is torn, the cells that help it to heal, heal it much stronger than before. But it doesn’t necessarily heal correctly, and it’s not exactly perfect like it was before. Our spirits aren’t metaphorically that different from bones or muscles. We heal, and we heal tough, but not always correctly. Often, after so much healing and so much toughness, we forget how to trust in anything except ourselves. This can be detrimental to having faith in God because not only is He outside of ourselves; we need to trust in His timing. By trusting in Him, giving Him our yes and doing His will for us, He heals us in the most wonderful way and fulfills every desire that lies in our hearts. Because of that reason, we can hand things over to Him and be more than okay. Control freaks, go ahead and re-read that.

I could go into so much detail about all the things that have happened to reassure me that I’m meant to stay in San Marcos for another year. Quite honestly, I’m very excited to pursue a minor next year. I’ll have one more year with my friends and sorority sisters, one more year to prepare myself for the grind of nursing school, and one more summer to be an orientation leader. I have no worries that next year, when I reapply to Texas State’s nursing program for Fall 2016, I will be accepted. There are still doubts in my heart for me to work through, but I’m doing my absolute best to not be a control freak and give God my purest yes.

I’m sure that down the road, I’ll see why I had to put off nursing school. Perhaps my minor will advance my career in a way that wouldn’t be available to me until later. Maybe God needs me to touch the heart of a specific peer, coworker, or patient. Or maybe He’s just teaching me how to grow in faith, patience, and trust. Whatever it is, I’m treating everything with a healthy dose of prayer.

“But those Carolina roses, oh they’re growing up the tracks of my despair…”

-Blue Water Highway Band, Hard Time Train

Thanks for reading, Sizzlers 🙂

Jessica

Jeremiah 29-11

The 5-Minute Duct Tape Key Fob

Fob.

It’s such a funny little word, isn’t it? I was in dire need of some kind of a keychain that wasn’t my Texas State lanyard (which I have loved to the point of rags). A bunch of my sorority sisters had gotten shorter lanyards for their keychains, and they were so cute! I decided I wanted a bracelet-looking keychain and began some pinterest research. The search bar didn’t like “bracelet keychain” very much, but when I saw the word “fob” and typed it in, they popped up everywhere. Whoda thunk it?

When I found out I would need to order supplies to make it, I had to take matters into my own hands. The following is what resulted.

5 Monute

YOU WILL NEED:

– Normal Duct tape (any pattern, texture, color, whatever)

– 1″ duct tape

-scissors

-keyring

1. Cut a strip of regular width duct tape that will wrap loosely around your wrist with a little bit of folding room. Mine was 12″.

IMG_32292. Fold the duct tape into thirds, carefully. It’s duct tape…so it’s sticky. And it will tear itself apart..which I totally didn’t have issues with. So I didn’t have to repeat this step 3 times.

Just kidding. Third time is TOTALLY the charm.

Just kidding. Third time is TOTALLY the charm.

3. Make a loop by folding the duct tape in half…

IMG_3231

4. …and fold the tips around your keyring.

IMG_3232

5. Taking your 1″ duct tape, wrap around the edges a few times to keep it in tact.

IMG_3233

Snip the end and finito!!

IMG_3234

I I love that it’s no-stitches-required. Don’t get me wrong- we all know about my love affair with my sewing machine, but this was just so much fun! If you try one out, post a picture in the comments!! 🙂

Much love, Sizzlers!

Jessica