Saturday, December 29, 2012

DBS Superlatives 2012

I really love reading blog superlatives! Thanks, Carolyn for helping me be motivated on this! I think it's a fun way to wrap up the year! I thought I'd have more time to "Finish What I Started" in 2012, but then, I landed a new part-time job unexpectedly to me, and I've been really focused on getting used to my new position at Creative Sewing!

My Most Worn:
My Chevron Banksia, pattern by Megan Nielson, is absolutely my most favored item in my closet, even above store bought clothing. I feel like I can vary it in lots of ways to make it cute, and I love that it's knit and super comfortable while still feeling stylish.

Cai's Most Worn:
Definitely the cropped jersey baggies that I made for him this summer. Even though it's cold right now, they were worn constantly this summer, and definitely a favorite for both of us (and you!).

Hart's Most Worn:
Well that was easy... I only made him one actual dress item this whole entire year! And that was this Negroni by Colette. He's loved it this Fall/Winter, and has worn it on lots of occasions since it's a nice warm flannel.

Most Asked to Make/Sell for others AND Most Likely to Melt This Mama Heart:
 The Matching Father/Son Flannels were labors of love, but for anyone out there that wants to make some money... try making Father/Son matching shirts. I've gotten lots of emails to do it, but you'd have to pay me like $300 for a set, at least for me to do this for you. LOL! Probably not worth it. They were made to "Melt My Mama Heart". And for our Christmas Card. (Cai's pattern was the Oliver + S Sketchbook Shirt pattern)

My Least Worn:

I refashioned a button down to become this summer top. I actually really did like it, but I forgot to wash the red bias tape separately and it bled onto the men's button down after the first wash. I could never completely get it out, and that was pretty much that.

Cai's Least Worn:
 I made Cai this Toddler Sleep Sack. I don't think he even wore it once that I can remember. I think I was thinking that it would keep him from climbing out of his crib, but then I didn't like that he couldn't move around if he wanted to. It's still hanging in his closet brand-new.

READER #1 Favorite Tutorial:
Carla's Hooded Towel Tutorial tops the charts as the most favored link on this blog! It's a great, easy to follow, cute hooded towel tutorial. It doesn't surprise me one bit! :) My friend, Carla, was the one that taught me the basics on a machine to sew, and I'm grateful she let me take photos of her making this towel to post on the blog! It is well loved by you all!

Runner Up READER Favorite Tutorial:
Naomi's little outfit here is the 2nd Top reader favorite this last year. I mean who can blame you? Those hand-made jeggings, Oliver + S Sailboat Skirt from Amy Butler fabric, and that Child Ruffle Scarf? I sure can't!

Most Pinned Party:
I made the mistake of pinning the Engagement Party that I helped throw for my brother and his fiance. I've gotten seriously too many emails to count on this one. I think that every engaged girl has pinned it for various reasons.

MY biggest Craft Fail (that was blogged):
I realize this vest looks okay in these photos, but it really is not in real life. I used embroidery thread to sew it together, because I had ran out of white thread. BAD idea for an article of clothing to be worn. I stuffed it with stuffing, and couldn't even do normal button holes on it. It's a piece of crap in my opinion. I had transformed it from a white sheet, tried my first hand at hand-dying (which I actually don't like I discovered!), and designed this vest. I'm sure if the design was modified it could be nicer, but I consider it a fail since it has hardly ever been worn, but for these photos. My other craft fails included me trying to make myself an Easter dress this last year, and trying to revamp a dress I found at a thrift store. Both did not turn out and I never even blogged about them. Whoops!

My 2012 Blogging Reflection:

This year has been incredible, as far as learning a lot more about myself. I went from "just discovering" this whole Blog World to being an active & contributing member in it. I made tons of blog friends all over the country. I sewed my butt off (because I wanted to!), worked with some pretty amazing companies for the first time, and also learned that there's a blog balance that's a must for me to have. Now, as this year has come to a close, and my first "REAL" year of blogging is ending, I can say that I'm becoming more focused in where I want blogging to take me and how the style that I want to blog in.

God allowed me to land a job working at a local fabric store where I will be using my blogging skills to start a blog for them in 2013, as well as, gain valuable knowledge in the sewing industry, in addition to the fun aspects of working in a sewing store getting to help customers with my passion. I'm getting to take "ALL OF THIS" and do it in other ways in 2013.

In ways, I feel like this blog was a bit schizophrenic this last year as I was trying to find my place where I fit in. Looking back, I spent time in places that could have been better in other areas of life and in other areas of sewing. I admit that I cared way too much about what other people thought of me, so much so, that I've had to take steps back to make sure I'm finding my worth in Christ alone. But at the same time, I have discovered more of what I want 2013 to look like on this blog. Less "commercially" and more "me", for one thing! I'm planning more quality wardrobe pieces to sew for MYSELF in 2013, and less "in between blogging", but shifting to more "quality" blog posts. Less is more in so many ways, and I think it will be true right here, as well.

It's been an amazing year. I'm truly thankful for all of you out there that have read this blog, commented, encouraged me, prayed for me, and held me up when I needed it. God has been so good to me! I thank you guys big time!
My Most Worn Shorts
Here's to 2013!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

Praying you each have a beautiful day in Christ!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cai's Christmas Jamas 2012: Mini Tutorial

I did not have specific "jama" making plans this Christmas season, but then my 2 year old decided he hated his fleece zippered all in one pajamas. And I mean HATES them.
I mean, I can't say I blame him, but at the same time, they were so easy, and I didn't have to worry that he won't keep his covers on during the night. 

Well, there's this slight new problem that I have....

it's that I sort of work at a really cool fabric store AND I get a pretty nice little discount.

What's a girl to do when she sees such adorable fabrics and notions that must be sewn together?

After my first day, I literally dreamed about this jumbo ric rac.... I MUST HAVE IT! So I went back to work the next day to buy it. I'm not sure how much money I will be actually bringing home... (that was a joke...husband).

 Fabrics all purchased at Creative Sewing Machine Center (where I work):
-Cherry Christmas by Aneela Hoey for Moda (outside fabric)
-Michael Miller Ta Dot Polka dots (lining fabric, this is jersey knit)
-Red Jumbo Ric Rac

So, I made some Christmas "jamas" for Cai.

I sewed two pairs of pants together making the inside lining just 1/4'' smaller in seam allowances since they were jersey and a lining, and then inserting them wrong sides together.
I serged the bottom of the pants together.
I folded the pants up a couple inches at the bottom.
I pinned my jumbo ric rac so that you wouldn't see the serged seams.
If you trim the ends of your ric rac and then run a lighter over them, it seals the edges, just like ribbon. I like to do this so that it won't fray.
Sew your ric rac down, being careful to cover the exposed seams, and tuck your ends under.
I inserted an elastic waist band, by just folding my fabric down 1/4'', then 1 inch and sewing shut.
Add some extra ric rac so you know which way is back. This helps when getting dressed.
And you have some merry Christmas jamas! Ta Da!
Isn't jumbo ric rac amazing? I really love it! For the record, my husband things these pjs are not very manly on Cai. I, however, think they are Christmas pajamas, and Christmas pajamas are supposed to be CrAzY.... right?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Birthday to ME!

It's my birthday and I'll dance if I want to! Dance if I want to! You would dance to if it happened to yooooou! 

That was me dancing and singing if you didn't already know....

Guess what I made myself this 27th birthday? Na-Na-NOTHING... wanna know why?
Because I've probably already made myself ENOUGH! Jeez louise.... why don't you, people stop my creating addiction? I may need an intervention, because that is just sewing for ME this last year.

Shh! I don't even think that's the complete "list" from this last year either. 

Anywho... you have probably gotten to know pieces of me this last year. How about some more fun facts maybe you wouldn't "know" yet!?

1. Surprise, surprise! I am a "Christmas" baby. My mom almost named me "noel". PTL she did not.
2. I am OCD about my kitchen sink. I even wipe out the water spots (thanks to FlyLady) and have a hard time sleeping if the dishes are not done completely the night before.
3. I like a clean house. It annoys me when stuff is everywhere it shouldn't be.
4. I do not have a colon (large intestine). Search for "my story" on this blog if that just freaked you out.
5. My wedding anniversary is exactly one day before my birthday, which is 4 days before Christmas. We call it "Annibirthmas" week around here. It's quite the tradition and one huge week long party.
6. I have very dry skin. I have to put on lots of lotion or I am an aligator. My new favorite is home-made "badger balm" which is beeswax and olive oil mixed and melted. It's amazing stuff!
7. I have bins of fabric stored under my bed, in my closet, and in my dining china cabinet. Not kidding. I just possibly should be on the show "horders" for fabric. Eventually this will annoy me though and I will get rid of most of it.
8. I like mint chocolate chip anything. My favorite is ice cream. I would eat it every night, but I don't always buy it that often, due to this slight problem.
9. I am a messed up sinner. Without Jesus I would be nowhere.
10. I have to force myself to "play" with Cai. When we are playing power rangers, I usually end up organizing all his toy bins without thinking about it, and then realize that wasn't really playing, so then I try to mentally act like a power ranger so he thinks I am cool. "Fight! Fight! Fight!"
11. I am a very loyal friend. I am a "friend" to whoever I meet, but I have very few BFFs and sisters at heart.
12. I am terrible at remembering other people's birthdays. It took me almost 3 years to really remember my husband's birthday. Due to this, I almost always send cards late or make presents AFTER the fact. It's like I don't remember UNTIL the person's birthday. People that are close to me don't hold it against me.
13. I can sew pretty fast. Especially now with a serger. I'm sorry to brag, it's just true.
14. Sometimes I feel like I'm the vainest person on the planet, because I have a blog. In real life, I don't actually show off everything I make. Okay, that's a lie. Maybe I need to work on being more humble, like Jesus.
15. We only have one car. It's amazing that we've survived for several months this way. We are very thankful for the people in our lives who have loaned us extra vehicles when we need it. We try to stay debt free as much as possible. Hence, we only have one car until we can save enough for a newer one.
16. I am a night owl. I would rather stay awake later than wake up early. I've tried to change this, because morning people get more done. I am convinced it will never happen.
17. As of writing this I do not have an iphone. This will change in January due to my husband's job needing to change our plan, but you should know that I'd rather give $40 extra to help starving children every month than raise my already expensive cell phone bill. This is a serious battle in my heart of reasons why I don't want and iphone. Reasons I do: include organization and instagram. My friends all tell me I'd love instagram... who knows. I probably will.
18. When I was in the 7th grade, I was a flyer for the cheerleading squad. Some of the girls dropped me and I fell and got hurt. My coach and all the girls huddled around me and she patted my stomach to see if I was okay. I farted out loud. (enough said).
19. I often times think of things in my head and then just blurt out whatever I am thinking, as if, my husband or someone around me actually heard what I was thinking. My bff in high school said she finally learned to speak "Vanessa's language". My husband thinks it's pretty hilarious and now that I sound absolutely insane, I'll stop right there. 
20. I can tap dance fairly well.
21. My husband says that I snore sometimes in the night. I don't believe him. 
22. I slept with my baby pillow between my knees until I was 20 years old until it got wrapped up in the sheets by some nurse tech and lost at Duke Hospital. I still sleep with a pillow between my knees, but it's just not the same.
23. I'm really terrible at remembering famous people's names and song lyrics. I just make up my own songs usually to the same tunes. 
24. My husband thinks I'm funny. I'm not sure I really am.
25. I am the firstborn child and only girl in my family, except for my step-sister who I didn't live with growing up. Because of this, I'm very girly and also a perfectionist. I'm very hard on myself when I don't do things well.
26. I'm a tree-hugging-hippie at heart. I pick out items out of our trash can that my husband just "throws away" that should be recycled. A part of me dies a little when people don't recycle.
27. It's my birthday and I'll dance if I want to! Dance if I want to! You would dance to if it happened to yooooou!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Sweet 4 years, my love!

I am thankful for my sweet husband and that we've known each other for 7 years, married for 4. Marriage has been wonderful with this man. He's my love and always will be.

He's got lots of little surprises planned throughout the day today that I don't know about! Can't wait!!! He already gave me our anniversary gift, which was a blown up canvas of the dipping photo from our wedding (top). I had told Hart that on our wedding day, I would love it if he would just grab me and dip me sometime. With how busy the day was, I had completely forgotten about this tiny request. We were about to run through all of our friends on a bridge holding sparklers leaving our reception for our honeymoon, and right before, he grabbed me and dipped me, and kissed me. It's my most favorite ever, because no one was expecting it, and it was like our little moment right before it all ended.

I'm thankful that he's always this thoughtful. I love you, my love!

DIY Foldover Clutch: Customized 2 ways

Don't you guys just love clutches? Little fabric clutches for your essentials are a must! Always trendy, always fun, and fast to make. If you are running around looking for last minute gift ideas, I recommend making a little clutch for the she-she in your life. 

I just recently made Kristin's, from Skirt as Top, Foldover Doily Clutch. It's a zippered clutch, but she walks you through adding the zipper (if you're scared) and it's so easy, you will wonder why you never did zippers! I promise you, they are just like sewing normal seams! Mine is a little fun ikat version that uses Amy Butler's Midnight Kasbah Blue fabric. I wanted to keep it terribly!  Especially since it matched these shorts!

Then, just recently I attended a Favorite Things Party where you bring 4 of your favorite things and by the end of the party you end up with 4 different favorite things that other people brought. My favorite things are "fabric and thread" but instead of just giving those items "raw" and risk them falling to those who do not sew, I just used my items and made 4 clutches to give out. I think they were well received.
The lace version is my favorite!

I'm going to go through some quick little changes of how you could customize some little Foldover Clutches. 

CUTTING: All versions, cut 14'' x 10 '' twice. You will need a lining fabric and an exterior fabric. One of those should be a heavier weight fabric (home dec, canvas, denim) to give it some sturdiness. If using two very lightweight fabrics, use a piece of heavyweight interfacing between the layers. If doing the lace verision cut one piece of lace 10 x 14'', as well.

This section will walk you through the basic construction of making the clutch, but it also shows how to add the lace overlay. After fabric is cut. Place lace piece over your exterior fabric and keep these two fabrics together. You could baste them if you feel like they are moving all over the place. Turn your exterior fabric and your lining fabric right sides together and pin around the exterior. Your lace piece should be in the middle.
Sew around the perimeter and leave a 3 inch opening somewhere along the side, so that you can turn this out. Basically you are sewing a little pillow, essentially right now.
Turn right side out through opening. Clip corners diagonally, so they are pointy when you turn. Trim to 1/4'' around the edges. Tuck the frayed edges under towards the inside and sew around the perimeter closing this hole up as you sew.
Next iron flat and fold the bottom 1/3 up. Pin sides. And sew the two sides down. While the top flap is open, add your button hole to the middle center. Sew your button to the bottom where you want your upper flap to button.

 If you would like to make the ribbon closure tie, you will need to make two button holes, wide enough for your ribbon to fit through.
To add the ribbon, pin your ribbon down in the center and slowly work around sewing a little square, being sure not to sew over your fabric. You could also do this step BEFORE you sew down the two sides.
Sew a little square where you have your pin to secure your ribbon down. Note, you should have two button holes next to each other at least 1/2'' apart. I added another one after this photo. I also have the most trouble sewing button holes on this cheetah print than all the rest.... no judging, please. lol

Tie in a bow and TA-DA! You've got a cute little bow clutch!

To make curved edges for your uppper flap, follow these steps before you sew your interior and exterior fabrics right sides together. Grab something with a rounded edge like a bowl or a coaster. Trace around it on both upper corners with a pen or chalk and cut. As you sew, sew around this curved seam.

And there you have a couple different ways to customize the typical foldover non-zip clutch! They are quick and easy. I made all 4 of these super fast, which is probably why my sewing was a bit sloppy, ha!

Happy sewing makes a happy heart! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Best of Fall: O + S "dragon" mittens

***This blog post originally appeared over at the amazing Caila of Caila Made's Best of Fall Pattern Series! Every little boy needs some dragon mittens, right?!***

Hi! I'm Vanessa from Designs By Sessa! I'm a sewing/craft blogger that loves to sew, make, and do for God's glory! I'm so happy to be on Caila's blog! YOU HAVE NO IDEA! We've only been friends for a few months, but I seriously feel like I found someone after my own heart in her! I know if I flew to Cali (which I will do one day) to meet her, that I'd find a true friend. I'm so thankful to the Lord for her! For her emails, texts, and phone calls that lift me up exactly when I need it!

While I live 3,000 miles in the opposite direction from Caila, we have pretty similar weather, except for a few colder cold months here in SC where everyone needs.... MITTENS!
I've only been sewing things you could wear since last fall, but I found out quickly that on cold mornings or cold days when you want to go on a stroller walk, those babes need toasty warm mitts and they are so easy to sew! While I have made my own tutorial on how to make simple baby mittens (pictured top right), my go to pattern for mittens is found in one of my favorite sewing books, Oliver + S Little Things to Sew.

This mitten pattern is deemed "easy" with just one "scissor" difficulty level. The first pair I made were for my niece last fall. I love the endless combinations with your choice of wool felt or fleece and ribbon.

I knew I wanted to be prepared this year when my son needed some mittens. I had just ONE tiny problem. I knew he wouldn't wear them for long. At 2, they needed to be practical and warm, but also FUN for them to last. That's when my thought went to making him some "puppet" mittens. If we could make them "ROAR!" We would probably be good!

To make these awesome dragon mittens check out the photos below when adjusting your O + S mitten pattern. All you need is some different colors of felt. My felt is from Purl Soho... this felt is unbelievable, but pricey, but unbelievable in quality!  
Button eyes, felt spikes, and some teeth made these perfect for my sweet boy.
 This time around, I left off the ribbon, and hid the elastic inside. It worked well for a boy.
To add the elastic inside, I sewed them right sides together on one side (like the directions in the book say), then stretched my elastic as much as I could as I sewed across the INSIDE. Also, I increased my stitch length to 4.0 as I was sewing.
animated gif maker
And believe it or not, someone dumped out  some ice we had the smallest patch of snow, so I took some pictures of it... lol
My inspiration for these mittens came from Martha and Mme Zsazsa

Thanks so much for having me, Caila!