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.

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-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.

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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

The 2-Seam Skater Skirt!

It has been too long since I’ve been able to sew.

TOO LONG, YOU GUYS.

So today, when I woke up and thought, “I don’t have anything to do this Christmas Eve,” then asked myself, “what am I gonna wear to Mass tonight?”, I decided that my sewing machine and I were gonna spend some much-needed time together.

The 2-Seam Skater Skirt

This skirt was so easy to make, and if you use jersey-knit fabric, it literally takes just two seams because don’t have to hem the edge, unless you’d like!! Let’s do some sewing, shall we? 🙂

YOU WILL NEED:

-1.5-2 yards jersey knit

-thread to match

– Tape measure

-scissors

-tailor’s chalk

THE WAISTBAND:

1. Measure the part of your waist where you want the skirt to sit. Mine sits at the smallest part, which measures about 26.5. Then, decide how wide you wanted your waistband to be. I knew I wanted mine to be about 1.5 inches, so I cut the fabric about 4 inches wide to give room for the seam allowance.

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The tape measure is sitting at 4 inches right now, and because of the angle I took the picture at, it doesn’t look very straight. But it is. I promise!!

**SIDE NOTE: Apologies now for my lack of pictures. Once I got into the groove, I forgot to stop and show you guys what was happening!! I’ll explain as best I can!

2. You should have a waistband that is as long as your waist circumference and as wide as you want. For example, mine was 26.5in long and 4in wide. Now, I laid it flat and trimmed off about 3in so that it would add some tension and not fall off when I wore it! Fold this trimmed product in half longways (hot dog-style for those of us who are still 1st graders at heart!) so that you can’t see the wrong side of the fabric.

3. Fold in half hamburger style and sew the short edge together using a zigzag stitch!

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You’re done with the waist band for the moment. Get those scissors ready- time for the fun stuff!

THE SKIRT:

1. Take the huge piece of fabric you have and fold it in half one way, then the other so that it’s in fours. If that wasn’t confusing enough, here’s a picture:

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2. Now we’re going to measure out and cut the skirt! You’ll want to cut from the corner where you have NO RAW EDGES on your fabric. Use the diagram here…

circle skirtAnd use the tailor’s chalk to draw out the shape of your skirt. to give you an example of the math (blech), 26.5 (my waist) / 6.28 =4.2in. My trick to getting the perfect circle is by pinning my tape measure to a set point and holding my tailor’s chalk at the measurement I need. Hold the tape measure taught, and you’ll end up with a pretty close-to-perfect circle.

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okay, it’s a pencil. I left my tailor’s chalk in San Marcos, then found some in the middle of making this.

3. Do the same as you did with the waist to cut out the length of the skirt. I wanted mine to be about 18in long, and 18+4=22, so hold your tailor’s chalk at 22in and draw!

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4. Cut along your lines

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5. Carefully lay your skirt out with the right side of the fabric towards you and carefully pin the waistband to it. The three raw edges should match up. You’ll have some extra room because the waistband is shorter than the circumference of your waist. I promise, it’s going to be okay!!

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6. Now it’s time to sew the waistband to the skirt!! Make sure you use a zigzag stitch to allow for stretch. Carefully stretch the waistband as you sew it to the skirt- this will take care of the extra length we have in the waist.

That’s it!! You’re done!!

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I think my favorite part about this skirt is how twirly it is!!

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I’m hoping to try another one soon, with some cool patterned fabric. If I want a fuller result, I’ll probably try it again with a cotton fabric. If you have any questions, let me know! And if you make your own, I’d love to see the results! 🙂

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Sizzlers! The King has come- let us all adore Him!!

Sincerely,

Jessica

Long Time, No See!

I’ve officially decided that 16 hours worth of pre-nursing prerequisites is too much!!

I’m so sorry that I abandoned y’all the last few months, Sizzlers! I’ve missed crafting and blogging so much! I plan on actually sticking to blogging now- NO MORE LONG HIATUSES. Especially not three month-long ones. I missed crafting too much. But, after a very long ride on the study struggle bus, I’m hoping the fruits of my labor will pay off because it’s officially time for me to apply to TXST’s nursing school (real life? What?).

God has really come alive in me throughout the semester, as well. I had developed mild depression and anxiety over the summer, and it got much worse during the beginning of the semester. But, through many blessings both big and small, he has come to show me that I deserve so much better than the place I was at during the beginning of this year! It was very hard for me to see in the beginning, but he has built me up so much and really shown me what it means to have childlike faith. I don’t recognize who I was when I started my sophomore year, and it has been a remarkable journey: my depression is completely gone and I’ve never felt happier! My anxiety is still sliiiightly there, because nursing school is stressful. But that’s tolerable, and He’ll give me the patience and grace to work through it…hopefully. On top of all of it, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful new group of friends who raised me up and stood by my side during all of it!

I’m a proud active member of Mu Epsilon Theta Catholic Service sorority and am so blessed with the girlfriends and sisterhood I have there!

My lineage!! My "twin" Sabrina (aka Mario here) and I are littles to our Big Natalie, who is above us. Our Grandbig Mari is on the very top!

My lineage!! My “twin” Sabrina (aka Mario here) and I are littles to our Big Natalie, who is above us. Our Grandbig Mari is on the very top!

My family went on a cruise (my very first one) over Thanksgiving, and it was grand! I can’t wait to go on another one. I spent most of the ship days studying for my nursing exam, but I passed with flying colors (and got to see Jamaica and Cozumel) so it was all worth it!!

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The final thing I wanted to tell you all about is the beginning of my essential oils business!! If you’ve never heard of essential oils, let me tell you: they are a wonderful thing. They’re a holistic alternative to healthcare, and they work wonders!! In my experience, lavender and peppermint oils stop a headache almost immediately as opposed to popping an Advil or Tylenol. And that’s just one example!! I’m a Wellness Advocate for a company called doTERRA, so if you’re interested in learning more about essential oils, you can contact me and visit the essential oils page in the menu up top, which contains a link to my essential oils website where you can purchase your own oils. There’s an oil for everything- feel free to ask me for advice!

I’m ecstatic to be back in the blogosphere, Sizzlers! Thank you for bearing with me during my break, and I’ll be back to sending tutorials your way very soon! ❤

Room In the Making: DIY Kate Spade Canvasses

I think it’s safe to say that Kaitlyn and I have very different decorative tastes when it comes to our future room (7 days to move-in! WHAT?!). When she politely turned down my washi tape wall , I began scouring pinterest to find us some common ground.

That’s when it came to me.

In the inspired form of Kate Spade.

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YOU WILL NEED:

  • 2 Canvasses
  • Paint or paint pen
  • Something shiny to make your confetti circles out of
  • Projector (or other fancy stenciling gear)

HOW TO DO IT:

1. Play around with fonts in microsoft word. Once I found a combo I liked, I hooked up the laptop to the projector. Then, I projected it onto the canvas.

2. Trace the letters with sharpie.

3. Cut circles out of whatever shiny thing you got! I found some insulator tape that my dad has in his workbench.

4. Fasten circles to canvas!

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It’s as easy as that! I’m super excited to hang them up when we get back to campus!

More tutorials to come soon- it’s been a busy week for me!

Sincerely,

Jessica

Fun With Canvas

I was a bit bored last week, and decided to try making a few small canvas decorations for the dorm next year.

0509142246 Here’s number 1! It was my very first experiment with crayon art, and I’m really happy with how it turned out! Number 2 has a bit more sass to it, as well as a short tutorial.

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YOU WILL NEED:

  • Canvas of you choice. Mine was from a standard 2-pack from Walmart.
  • Crayons/paint for the background. I used crayon as to give the words a bit more POP
  • A chevron stencil. I made one out of a piece of paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Puff paint or normal paint for words

HOW TO DO IT:

1. Cut out your stencil and trace lightly onto canvas in pencil. It will look somethin’ like this when you’re done.

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2. Carefully use the eraser to erase MOST of the pencil park. I did this so that I had lines to color in between, but I also didn’t want the pencil marks showing much if people look at it closely. Color in the stencil however you choose! I really liked the faded look that the crayon had on the canvas.

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3. Carefully write your words in pencil on the canvas. I freehanded mine, but feel free to use a stencil.

05091422084. Trace your stencil with puff paint, and enjoy your final product!

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You can see (if you look REAAAALLY closely) that I had a few blips with my puff paint. Oh well, it was late and I’m still happy with the finished product! I do think it will be going by my door for some morning motivation 🙂 What do you think of these? If you try them out, I’d love to see how the finished products look!

Until next time!

Jessica

Room In the Making: Wooden Word Art

I’m happy to say that I finished my first year at Texas State with a bang! Dean’s List status! Woohoo!

Of course, that also means that after being locked away for weeks of studying, I had to move back home for two weeks before I move BACK to San Marcos to be an Orientation Leader this summer.

In short, my life is chaos. My family’s front room is full of unpacked boxes that I can’t bring myself to touch right away. But, in the midst of all this craziness, Kaitlyn and I have finally gotten DIY room decor projects FULLY UNDERWAY! AND THIS IS THE FIRST ONE! 🙂

Let me warn you- we are two best friends in college whose hearts were formed by Disney. This project exudes that formation, both in the words on our wooden planks and in the inexpensiveness of the project (can I get a what-what from all my broke college peeps?!). And this project can go SO MANY different ways. Let me explain to you how we did it, then I’ll be sure to list some suggestions for you guys at the end.

Now, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO…

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YOU WILL NEED:

  • Paint and brushes. We used acrylic craft paint in our dorm colors.
  • Wooden signs cut to desired size. Ours were 1’x3′, cut thanks to my awesome Dad!
  • Sandpaper (if you are using wood)
  • Primer (if you are using wood)
  • Microsoft Word
  • A printer with paper
  • scissors
  • glue
  • Mod Podge
  • something to cover your work surface (like a large canvas or a tarp)

 

HOW YOU DO IT:

1. (not pictured) Sand down your board on the edges and faces. Get it nice and smooth. You do NOT want to risk getting a splinter right at the beginning and have to stop later on to try digging into your finger and pulling it out. That didn’t happen to me…pshh.

 

2. Lay the board on a protective surface and prime it. Kaitlyn and I only used one coat of primer because we wanted the wood grain to show through a liiiiittle bit. If you don’t want it to, use two coats. Let dry.

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Pardon the garage… it is old and very, very messy. Just focus on Kaitlyn. Dont tell her I put this up here! 🙂

3. Now it’s time for the fun. Kaitlyn ended up creating a board that was more abstractly painted, while I used the wood grain for a “color in the lines” kinda deal. They both turned out awesome! Do what you please!

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4. (not pictured) While you let the paint dry, you can work on your letters. Open a word document and type in your wording. Choose a font and play with the size until you like the result (we used Desdemona in size 620 font for huge letters).

5. (not pictured) Print your document and cut the letters out carefully.

6. (not pictured) Glue the letters in place on your board.

7. (TOTALLY OPTIONAL!) We found the little guy below on Clearance for about $3. It was perfect for adding a little dimension to the letters by giving them a slight metallic pop. If you like it, try outlining your letters in a contrasting color like this.

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8. Seal everything. If you have never heard of Mod Podge and you are an avid crafter or you just really like decoupage, go buy some. SERIOUSLY. It rocks. It acts like a glue and is a sealant all in one. Mine has a gloss finish to it, but you can also get a matte finish if you so desire. It looks like this.

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Best $7 you will ever spend, I promise.

After we Mod-Podged the canvasses, they looked like this. Ignore the fact that they are most definitely out of order.

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If you used white printer paper like we did, it may look like the paper is turning transparent and the paint below it is gonna show. Don’t worry, it happens! It will dry perfectly white, I promise. If the paper bubbles up or wrinkles in some spots, it might be a sign that you have a bit too much mod-podge on. Just try to brush it out evenly and it should dry perfectly! And be sure to brush it on carefully. You don’t wanna pull up your carefully glued letters!

9. The Mod-podge should dry fairly quickly, and you can enjoy your new wooden signs 🙂

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In all, this project probably cost us around $12-$15. We had some of the stuff already on hand, and it was a good few hours worth of work. But time is always best spent with your besties, right? 🙂

Just as a side note, this project can go so many ways. You can use different paint, or something other than wood. We had originally wanted to use painting canvasses, but we couldn’t find any that were the right size (or price- $30 for one smaller than this? EEK!). Also, you could play around with different materials for the letters. I’m in loooovvve with this canvas here.

Anyway, that is it for my first room decor tutorial. I hope you enjoyed it. Have a question? Leave a comment! I love to hear from y’all!

See ya again soon, sizzlers!

-Jessica

 

 

Bargain Hunting

I’m obsessed.

I found out about this site that is essentially an online thrift store, only the majority of the clothes are legitimately wearable. It’s got TONS of bargains- real bargains. I’m talking bargains like 3-5 shirts for $15. And they sell everything. Forever21. H&M. Target. Anne Taylor. Gucci. EVERYTHING. 

And sizzlers, if you use THIS LINK you can get a free $10 in store credit. 

Try it out and let me know what you think!! I promise you’ll like it, or your money back (which is easy because blogging is free 😉 )

Happy Shopping!!

Jessica