Thursday, May 31, 2012

Secret to Sewing Sequins

First, I have to tell you about my worst sewing moment ever. No lie. This afternoon, I started sobbing in my sewing chair. My husband walks in knowing that I had had a rough go finishing these Dorothy Costume Aprons wondering what was wrong.
Sobbing crying I say in that tiny high pitched, way too serious-the-entire-world-has-gone-wrong, "I CAAAAN'T FIIIIIND THE SEQUIIIIINS!" Start sobbing more.

It was very dramatic and ridiculous, but it was one of those moments where the icing just went on the cake. I guess, lately, I have felt so comfortable at my sewing machine that it is actually like my own peaceful therapy, not something that ever frustrates me or something that I have problems with. It comes easy and usually fast and I get projects done and there aren't major hiccups.

Well, NOT today. I literally don't know what happened, but I broke all of my heavy needles, went and bought more and broke even more after that sewing this sequin trim. I sewed almost half of the outfits without any problems and then all of a sudden everything went wrong.

Thread got tangled. Thread got bunched. Thread came undone. A needle broke. Oops. Another needle broke. On and on. Problem after problem. On and on.

My husband looks around searching the house, finally comes back in my sewing room holding up the sequins he found on my chair in the living room. How did that get there? I get back to sewing and then he comes in and asks me, "If I'm pulling the fabric through the machine at all and if I'm using heavy needles." Maybe other wives might be annoyed at this, but for me, I just smiled, because I knew it was his own way of helping me and being sweet.

Finally, I slowed my machine all the way down to the slowest speed. Changed to some zig zag stitching on the longest length possible both ways and prayed to God I would get through the rest of the outfits.

And I did. By His grace.

I sewed the last 2 outfits and have now sworn off sequins forever. Originally I had thought, maybe I would do a tutorial for these because someone somewhere may want to remake a dorothy costume, but no, that won't be happening.

Lastly, besides several heavy 100/16 needles, going slow on the widest stitch lengths possible, making sure your sequins are all going "smoothly" in direction as you sew through them (not like rubbing a cat's hair the wrong way), I would add to lube that needle up with some oil! I had no fancy oil for my machine, so I grabbed some Olive Oil, and it worked wonders. Just use a Q-tip and dab some on and around the needle to let it slide through the sequins more easily.
And hopefully, just hopefully, your project goes a lot smoother than mine. For now, I will leave the sequins in the sidelines for awhile. I need sewing to be my "happy place".

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Myrissa Skirt

 The pattern I used for both the Myrissa and the Mia Skirt is a FREE downloadable pattern from my favorite children's pattern company, Oliver + S. It is the lazy days skirt pattern and it uses a super great technique at the bottom edge of the skirt. Tomorrow I will share in pictures how to add the bottom hem with bias binding and you will see what I am talking about, but it is easy peasy! This skirt is just a basic elastic waist skirt that is sewn from selvage to selvage and can be made into any length/size, which is great.
In sewing, I am constantly challenging myself to come up with cute stuff using what I already have in my fabric stash that I inherited from those before me. I have not bought fabric hardly at all since I began this site, because I want to use up what's in my closet first, even though it is pretty tempting with all that's out there!

I had this plain cotton purple and a coordinating lilac purple gingham check that I knew I wanted to use. The night before these two sister's birthdays, I asked another neighbor girl if she had a gift for either of them and she said she didn't, so knowing how much all of them liked my Colorful Felt Bib Necklace, I asked her if she wanted to craft and make some necklaces for them. She came up with a purple and hot pink color scheme for Myrissa and so that was the main inspiration for the skirt. I made it to match and I love how the hot pink bias binding (already in my stash, too) coordinated and made this skirt pop!
 I drew out the curved shape of a pocket, being originally inspired by Jessica's skirts that I saw in this Scalloped Shorts Tutorial. When in need of inspiration for girls, Me Sew Crazy is where it's AT!
 I used the same bottom edge technique with the pocket and added kelley green rick rac as the flower stems and sewed on the circle felt flowers, then hand sewed the pearls in the center of each flower. It didn't take much more time and totally transformed a rather "boring" skirt to something fun!
 Perfect for playing and riding in... which makes me happy. It also makes me happy that more than likely these two girls have never received anything hand-made like this and I could tell they felt so special on their birthdays!

The Mia Skirt here!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Myrissa & Mia Skirts


In my neighborhood, there are two sweet sisters, Myrissa and Mia, and they live right down the street. They celebrated their birthdays together this past Saturday and invited our family to their little birthday party. Before this, they discovered that I like to make things, and so I knew they would like it if I made them some new skirts. I absolutely adore the kids that live in my neighborhood. I really do. Now, of course, all the other little girls in the neighborhood want a skirt, so we will see what I can come up with!

These two showed up to my doorstep this morning proudly beaming with their new skirts on and so I grabbed my camera and tried to take some cute pictures! I seriously love these girls and their cute skirts!  And they loved modeling... now I see why people with girls have such great blog photos. Girls are EASY when it comes to smiling for a camera and loving being in the spotlight!
 Who says I can't sew for girls!? You can too, maybe you just need to sew for the girls next door!
 They'd love it! 
 Believe it or not... this is Cai giving a "kiss". One of my favorite things about the kids where I live is that all of them get along no matter what age. It's like there is no gap at all from 20 months to 11 years old. No lie. It's awesome!

 I told you they were silly!
 And sassy... I mean, check out these high heels...
 But mostly, just sweet!
 Mia loves pushing Cai in the baby stroller.
 And this is what you see them doing most of the time! Biking up and down the street! So, go slow on our road people!!! What's the speeding deal!?!
I'll share a little more in detail about each skirt in the next couple days, but for now, I hope you enjoyed their little photo shoot! I sure did! Plus, it was a great way for me to prepare for Skirting the Issue! I'm so excited about that event! It could be the whole, we are adopting and will be partial foster parents when we first get our little DSS baby, but I love the cause and a real reason to make some precious foster girl's some skirts! If you haven't heard of it, be sure to check it out!

Find the Myrissa Skirt and Mia Skirt here! 

Scotch Greener Tapes & Dry Erase Board Upcycle

 I don't know about you, but pretty much anytime I do DIY painting projects I am using Scotch Blue Painter's Tape. My last major paint DIY was for our master bedroom and I redid our dress into some racer metallic stripes for a fun little design element using tape over the drawers.
So, when 3M Scotch Tapes contacted me about testing their new GREEN line, I thought it would be fun! I really like that it is made from 56% renewable resources, because I really feel bad throwing things like used tape in the trash! Please tell me I'm not the only one! I love that it is made with recycled materials and still works like normal tape! If you are interested in the press release about more "sustainable" info, I found this article great!

I tried out the Scotch Greener Masking Tape for Performance Painting and the Basic Painting version and both work amazingly! You can't even tell that they aren't the famous "BLUE" painter's tape, except for the fact that, well, they aren't blue!
In the spirit of using recycled materials, I found this entire Dry Erase Board in the trash on the side of the road! Are you SERIOUS PEOPLE!? A DRY ERASE BOARD!!! YES!!!
 And I know what you are thinking... Wow... Vanessa has a family SCHEDULE!? Okay, yes, I do. I may be a little psycho. Right after I found this dry erase board, I was feeling rather unfocused and felt like if I wrote down a huge schedule of a typical day, then maybe I wouldn't feel so unfocused, and while I haven't kept to it to a tee even one day since then, I can tell you that it has been amazing at keeping me on track, so yes, I have a family schedule! But that's another post... back to the board and tapes.
 The only thing I didn't like about my new board was the natural wood color, but that is a pretty easy fix with spray paint... I just taped some newspaper down, which my new fun tapes, and grabbed my paint!
 I couldn't decide, but eventually decided to do "hammered metal" black by Rust-OLEUM. It kind of gave it a cool bumpy texture.
 See?
 Then, I tried some other funky designs and Hart even helped tear paint tape pieces for and he said, "This is really nice tape." He liked that is was still so "sticky" like normal BLUE tape. So, there you go. It is really nice tape. Haha!
 But after I did the funky design, I hated it, so I went back to just black. I know... lame... like my family schedule.
But it looks so nice, all up on the wall, and ready for my crazy hyper-scheduling self to write all over it!

So, I hope you enjoyed that little Scotch Greener Tapes review & my Dry Erase upcycle! I really appreciate the fact that more and more companies are putting out eco-friendly lines of their products, and really love that they send me the free stuff to try out! I guess that is a fun perk of being a blogger! Thank you, 3M for the opportunity!

Other projects you are bound to see using my new tapes are:
-Cai's toddler table
-Our Hall bookshelf
-Built-in china cabinet

So stay tuned... whenever I can schedule those in! Haha!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

From our little red, white, and blue cuties to you! 

Both my dad and my brother are marines and I am SO thankful for their service and their duty to our country! And of course, so thankful to all of those who have fought and died for our country!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

How Thankfulness Changes Your Child

Cai woke up as a grumpy butt this afternoon. I put him down later than usual, because we were out with our family after church at a restaurant and he woke up crying and with an ugly attitude. I thought to myself, "Just wonderful! Just what I need! A grumpy child all afternoon!" And then, I remembered how thankfulness changes my heart's attitudes, how when I wallow over not having the nicest house, driving a car with no AC (still!), and why our adoption is taking so long, I forget the goodness in my life that already exists and it just breeds discontentment all around. But, when I start counting those blessings, my complete attitude of my heart changes, and then, I am so grateful that I have such a nice house, have a car that get's me around, and know that the timing for our adoption is in God's perfect timing.

Maybe thankfulness can change a toddler, too...

I decided to try it.

I went in and kept the lights off. He was mad and crying and upset that his blanket was on the floor outside of his crib. I scooped him up and sat down in his rocker and made him look me in the eyes.

Cai, what are you thankful for? He just looked at me with that grumpy face, kind of whined and pulled away.

Are you thankful for blanket? He just sucked his thumb starring at me. I continued to name things that he loves. Daddy. Mommy. Abe. Blanket. Mickey. Toys. Cars. Pixie the horse. Slowly, his entire disposition began to change. He became happy reflecting on his loves. Then, he started saying, "Khankful" after I would say something he liked and could be thankful for.

Milk?  "Khankful"

Room? "Khankful"

Daddy? "Khankful"

Yes, counting your blessings can even change a toddler's heart back to a right attitude, just like mommy's.

21. A "Khankful" toddler
22. Lunch with family
23. Spending family time together at the zoo
24. Sewing hand-made skirts for 2 precious girls' birthdays
25. the first Sew Classy going so well
26. a husband that loves me so wonderfully
27. watching Cai enjoy his friends
28. for a discontent heart that can be turned around when counting my blessings
29. seeing my husband play his instruments so well at church
30. living in our neighborhood, it provides me with opportunities to love & serve others that I wouldn't have other-wise

Counting my blessings...
11- 20

More on having thankful children here.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Teal Ruffle Tie Dress {a DBS Tutorial}

I have a new comfy knit dress to wear and it cost me pretty much nothing! Love that! I've had this teal ribbing in my stash that I inherited from one of my "old ladies" and thought I would use it for necklines and cuffs, but upon further inspection, I realized that it was one continuous piece of rib knit. I thought that was so unusual, but apparently you can buy it like this. What do I know!? I thought it would make a great dress (with no side seams) and I'm so glad that I finally got some selfish sewing done! It also goes great with my colorful felt bib necklace, which I had to make to add a pop of color to my outfit! I wanted to wear it to my first Sew Classy Class to inspire my awesome students! That was pretty fun!
Abe wanted in on the photo op...I mean, he is the prettiest golden you've ever seen, right?

So, this dress isn't hard at all, so I put together a little tute for you guys. You need a couple yards of rib knit material and the continuous kind, so that you have no side seams. I think my fabric was like 27'' across by 45'' long, but I can't exactly remember! Sorry! Just make sure it is long enough for YOU! Other than that, you just need enough elastic to go around the top of the dress. I actually used 1/2'' elastic, but probably should have used 1''. It holds me up fine with a 1/2''. Just make sure to try on the dress before you completely close the elastic casing closed.

Ready to get started?
I am experimenting with writing the text on the photos... let me know how you like that! I can go back to typed font if that is more user friendly!
A triple stretch stitch is the one with 3 lines, if you don't have that stitch a normal straight stitch is fine, just increase your stitch length to a 0.4 or 0.5.




 I had some excess seam and I just left it. You can trim it if you want.




I love that this dress can be dressed up or down. It's the perfect pool-side bathing suit cover up, but could be worn to a little party with fun jewelery, too!
I hope you enjoyed that little tute! I had the hardest time trying to find the best way to make the tie casing, but eventually inspected a dress in my closet and decided this was the best way! I didn't finish the hems on the bottom of the dress, but you can most certainly do it! And of course, I'd love to see any and all creations made by you added to my flickr group! {And can I tell you that flickr was completely and utterly UNHELPFUL at resolving my logging in issue. They only have email support and only half answered my first case and completely ignored my 2nd case. So, since I can't live without them, I made an entirely new account and created a new Designs By Sessa Flickr group and everything. It's just crazy that I can see my entire photostream, but can't log in and even more so that I can't call someone to talk to them!!! Moving on though, because it kind of makes me fume a bit... }

Now, go make a dress!  haha!
xo,
Vanessa