Making a Midi: Lessons Learned

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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.

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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

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

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…

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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!!

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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

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

Makeover Monday: Glassware

This was a long, crafty weekend for me! The only thing that stinks is most of the stuff that I made is currently packed for the move back to San Marcos (WHICH IS IN 4 DAYS!), and so I can’t get pretty pictures of it all until I’m moved in :/

However, I did wanna share with y’all the wineglass and tumbler I made for Kaitlyn! She turned 21 last week, and of course that called for monogram glassware she can use on our trips back home.

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I won’t drag out the tutorial. All you have to do is doodle with some paint pens on whatever glassware you want and bake them to set the paint.

Set the glasses in a cold oven, and preheat the oven to 350. Once it has preheated, let the glasses sit for 30 minutes. Then, turn the oven off, and let them cool down in the oven. Pulling them out immediately could cause the glass to break!

As always, if you have any questions, leave me a comment! I’d love to see what designs you come up with if you try this out!

Sincerely,

Jessica

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

5 Uses for Coconut Oil

Happy Hump Day, friends!!

I’m taking a few moments today to share with you a miracle product that I have discovered within the last few months-Coconut Oil! It’s been life-changing in an I-can-afford-it-and-it-does-everything kind of way. Like, literally, everything. I don’t use near to the extent that I could. But today, I’m coming at you with 5 ways I use it and have really benefitted from! 🙂

Without further ado…

Coconut Oil

 

1. Oil Pulling- Let me tell you a secret: I HATE flossing my teeth. So, this little trick has helped my gums feel so much healthier. It’s basically using coconut oil as mouthwash. The health benefits are fantastic! Not only does it kill and clean bad mouth bacteria, but, like I mentioned up top, it is great for gum health. Another benefit that I’ve noticed is whiter teeth! I don’t know if it’s just me, but since I started swishing I definitely noticed that my teeth look nicer. On that note, DON’T swallow it. You’re cleaning out your mouth- you don’t wanna swallow all the bacteria you just gathered! I prefer to do my oil pulling in the shower, before I brush my teeth.

DIRECTIONS: Swish for 15-20 minutes a day, but I normally just swish for the duration of my shower. Use about two teaspoons, or whatever amount feels comfortable for you! I encourage you to experiment with it and try to keep on it as much as possible.

 

2. As a Facewash- I know. You read that and went, “Jessica, are you crazy? I’m not gonna wash my face with OIL!” But let me explain a few things. I felt the same way, but I gave the Oil Cleansing Method (or OCM) a try nonetheless. I was already breaking out a bunch- what harm could this possibly do? And it was literally the best thing I could have done for my face. My acne has cleared up considerably. It hydrates my eyes, so those awful under-eye I’m-an-OL-running-on-four-hours-of-sleep bags are nearly invisible. My skin is super soft! AND I’m saving money by not having to buy a facewash OR moisturizer! WHAAT?! The concept is like-dissolves-like, such as in chemistry. So, you’re using good oil to dissolve bad oils and other dirt. It’s a great makeup remover, too. (BAM. I just saved you like $15 there as well.)

DIRECTIONS: Gather about a tablespoon of oil, and rub it between your hands until it is no longer solidified. Then, massage into your face for about 1-2 minutes. I like to do this in the shower so that my pores are very open and the oil can penetrate deeper dirt.

***Side note: Much like makeup products, coconut oil will not benefit every skin type. This article is great for choosing the right oil for your skin type.

 

3. As a Deep Conditioner- One of the girls on the orientation staff has great, wavy hair. Like, the waves that are super hydrated and shiny all the time that people see in magazines and lust over. I had to ask her how she did it, and coconut oil is her big secret!

DIRECTIONS: To keep hair super moisturized, scoop up some coconut oil and run it through hair, then pull back and let sit for 30 minutes minimally, sometimes all day long!

 

4. As a Body Lotion- I personally have pretty dry skin (except for my face, which is why the OCM works for me). If you’re looking for a lotion that is SUPER inexpensive, and SUPER moisturizing, coconut oil is seriously the way to go!! It leaves me feeling super supple, and my skin doesn’t need lotion until after I shower THE NEXT DAY. It’s a miracle-worker, y’all!

DIRECTIONS: Use it after a shower before bedtime to give it a chance to really sink into the skin.

 

5. As a Supplement- A tablespoon of coconut oil a day has chains of good fat that the body can break down easily and use as a readily available energy source.

DIRECTIONS: Take a tablespoon a day! My favorite ways include dipping some M&Ms in it for a sweet snack (it tastes EXACTLY like an Almond Joy!)  or smearing it on a slice of homemade whole-wheat zucchini bread. SO GOOD!!

 

Let me know if you try any of these, and how they work for you!! What ways do YOU like using coconut oil?

 

Later, Sizzlers!

Jessica