Quilt Market 2013!

Sunday, November 24, 2013


I'm late to post this, but I have to share my fun times! Now, as you may or may not know, I am not a quilter. I have never made a quilt. I want to. I just haven't done it, yet. I know that when I bring up something like Quilt Con or Quilt Market with excitement in my eyes I get some eye rolling sent my way. I was able to go to Quilt Market this year and Oooh and Ahhh at all the pretties. Even if you are not a quilter, any sewist would appreciate all there was to see and do here.

First of all, the amount of fabrics blew my mind! Michael Miller, Alexander Henry, Free Spirit, and so on just to name a few. I totally went full goober when I wore my Amy Butler dress and had my picture taken in the Amy Butler booth.


So much goober is happening in that picture, you don't even want to know. The displays were great ,and some didn't even really have anything to do with quilting.


Angry Birds!


 A kitty for each season!


 A Polaroid quilt! I love this so much!


 So much pretty, I could die.


My awesome new pincushion!


A ninja octopus sushi chef holding paper ninja stars. We all need one of these on our homes.


I loved the way this stitching was layered.


This is all thread. All of it. I was so impressive in person, I just...I can't even...wow.


These were all placemats made by different artists depicting different meals. Really cool.


Anna Maria Horner's mood board. Hearts all around!


There was even a doll display that was so amazing. There was SO much more, you guys. So much. I couldn't even take pictures of most of the quilts on display because of copyright laws and such, but WOW. It was fancy. I was so glad I went, and I hope to go again next year!

Halloween 2013 - Pharaoh Mummy!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

So Halloween has come and gone, and I have loads of candy in my house. Yet, I have to sneak it away piece by piece from Elvis bc he is being a little greedy. Hah! He received tons of compliments on his costume this year:



Pharaoh Mummy! This was actually a super easy costume to put together. I just happened to have a yard or so of muslin just lying around. I just tore it into strips on the grain using the same method you would to tear a straight edge on some new fabric yardage. (Snip about a 1/2 inch into the selvage and rip it all the way across.) This gave me plenty of strips with soft edges and extra stringy bits hanging off. 

Then he just put on some long PJs and I started to wrap him up. I just messily (for effect of course, hah!) stitched the ends down onto the PJs. I will note that he did have to be unstitched from his wraps, at least in some places because muslin does not stretch to be taken off easily at the end of the night. 

His pharaoh hat was a square of gold fabric that I sewed a ribbon to one edge (with enough hanging off the be able to tie around his head. I put it on him and just cut off the bottom edge to go in a straight line around his shoulders. The sash is just a strip of the gold fabric tied around his waist. We could have gone so much further with this costume, but I was in a time crunch this year. I think we still did pretty good, though. He was happy, which is what really matters.

In the end, we got a great costume that was inexpensive and easy to put together!

Where Has Tessa Been?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Whew!! I have been a busy, busy bee since the last time I posted here!

I didn't mean to leave anyone hanging, and I will do my best to be back on the ball. Oh, what's that? What did you ask? What have I been up to since we last saw each other? Well, since you asked...

Teaching Classes!

I've been teaching all sorts of classes at the shop these days. I had so much fun teaching some Beginning Fashion Sewing classes where we made Colette Truffle dresses from the Colette Sewing Handbook.







I had a few more kid classes that were amazing. I love the contrast between older and younger sewists. I wouldn't be able to pick a favorite to teach/work with if I had to make a choice. With the kids, one thing is for sure: Do not hover! They are so capable! I had 8 year olds putting zippers in lined bags with ease (yes, wash away double-sided tape does help). 

She wore a hat she made herself. I love that!

Speaking of zippers, I taught a zipper class, too! I showed 4 different ways to insert zippers: Centered, Lapped, Invisible, and Exposed. I decided that I wanted to tackle people's common fears in my classes. Zippers were on the list, followed by sergers. The most recent class I did was a serger class. I was nervous about this one, because a beginner on a serger is a broad term. Everyone was at different levels! It all turned out well, and everyone left confident with their new skills. 

Teaching these classes have been so much fun, and I'm excited to keep doing more classes. On top of these classes, I also have been doing a lot of one-on-one machine lessons where I help people with their new machine to get to know all the ins and outs.

On top of all that I have been taking pictures and posting on the shop's website: www.NwSewingCenter.com

I guess that answers the question of my last post. I got a new camera for my birthday! I have several sewing machines right now, and while I do need a nicer/higher-end one, I need to pare down my collection first. The camera was something I didn't have (other than one that is 8 years old, my phone takes better pics than that camera). With all the work I was doing, and all the work I want to do the camera was a necessity.  

My new camera is the Nikon D3200! I am so happy with my choice! 

This is my first DSLR, and I don't know why I waited so long. Wait, yes I do, this thing is huge! I'm not used to having such a large camera, but now that phone cameras have come as far as they have I don't feel the need to take this beastie everywhere. I have it for my photo shoots and I take it on outings, but for day-to-day point and shoot, my phone fills the hole still. 

Whew! That's probably enough information for now. Don't worry, I have been sewing in my blog-cation. I need to post those soon. Plus, it's about time for Elvis' regular Halloween costume reveal! One of my favorite times of the year. I might even add a tutorial for this one. (That means it's an easy one.)

One final thing!

This weekend I am headed to Quilt Market!!! I will there Sunday and Monday, so expect lots of tweets and pictures soon! (You can follow me: @TessaMelissa ) I get to look at so many pretty things! Wooo!


Okay, that's all for now. :) 

My Birthday: New Camera or Sewing Machine?

Monday, March 25, 2013

My birthday is right around the corner! April 15th to be exact. Let's just get to the point, it's time for an upgrade, people. First of all, I firmly believe that you do not need top of the line stuff to create amazing things. I have been happy with my machine for a few years now, but I've really just outgrown it. I will admit that working in a sewing machine store does have influence. (Singer 7462) When I look back at all the things I've done with this little beast, I am amazed she's still kicking. I do try to keep her in tip top shape, but she has her limits. Boy, does she have her limits.

On the other hand, I think I need the camera more than the machine, but its a tough choice. In the blogging world, pictures are everything. As a sewing blogger, I want to show details and colors that only a better camera will give me. I have a 6 year old Olympus Stylus 710 (now worth a whopping $40 bucks on Amazon!) that has served me well. However, when I looked up the camera specs for my iPhone 3Gs (totally rocking a vintage iPhone) they are the same! What, what? In fact, I think the phone is a bit better.

If I were to get a new sewing machine, I would get a Janome MC6600. Seriously, this has a built in walking foot! Not to mention, I am totally in love with Janome machines these days. They run so smooth! (not a paid advertisement, but hey I wouldn't mind it if was) I thought about higher end models, but this one really seems to be just enough of an upgrade, with a little growing room, but not so much that I get overwhelmed by extras I may never use.

If I were to get a new camera, I would get either the Nikon D3200 or the Canon Rebel. With a new camera, my pictures will look so much crisper AND I'll be able to make some video tutorials! Man.... why can't I have both?

I am open to suggestions, anyone got any?



Custom Creature Dolls

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I am totally hyped up about my Spring Break sewing camp next week! As I said in my last post, I started teaching at the Northwest Sewing Center and my first set of classes is for kids. I have four projects that they can choose from: A skirt, a pillowcase, a tote bag, and a "Custom Creature Doll". Apparently, the creature doll is winning since it's the project most signed up for (and its not a close race at all). So I thought I would share a bit about it on here.

It is so simple, so fun, and so... custom that kids naturally gravitate towards the idea. Here's the one that my son and I put together as a sample for the class:




He calls him "NoodleDork" or at least that's what it sounds like to me. The best part about this project is that YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT! In  fact, the more "mistakes" the more character. Look at NoodleDork here, he leans to the side, his arms are different lengths, and who knows what is happening with those legs. But, my kid loves this creature like no other. Another thing about it is that the kids have complete control. There is no pattern. They just start with a sheet of kraft paper where they draw an outlying of their design. Then they cut it out and place it on their fabric. The key is to add an 1/2 inch for seam allowance and another 1/2 inch for "puffiness" if you can. This can be eyeballed really. 

Once you have a front and back cut out, you can use sheets of felt for the mouth, belly patch, paw pads, and what-have-you. I use those 8x11 inch sheets you get in the craft aisle. Then, you zig-zag stitch around the edges of the felt being sure that one side of the zig zag goes into the felt and the other goes into the body. Basically, cover your edges with zig zag. You can either sew on buttons now, or wait until it's done being stuffed, but then you would sew right sides together (leaving a spot open to flip it) and stuff it up! Note: always stuff furthest from the opening first and work backwards. Just like when you mop the kitchen. 

We are using fleece as a body fabric, and I'll tell you why. When you get to the point where you are about to turn it right side out, with fleece you do not have to clip corners, notch curves, or any of that. When it's flipped back out, you just wiggle and the inside seam allowance stretches to accommodate. Neat!

Just whipstitch the opening closed, and enjoy!  This is so going to be a regular for my summer camps, also.

New Job! Teaching Sewing!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hey, I've been busy! I have a new job! I started working part-time at the Northwest Sewing Center here in Austin, and I'll also start teaching kid's camps and alteration classes there, as well! Right now, I'm putting together my:




I've taught kids before (at my home or theirs), but this will be my first real classroom experience. I am so excited! I found the hardest part of putting this together was trying to nail down the format. I gleaned a bit from previous camp teachers, and came up with something I think will work out well. I'm doing 3 days (Tues.,Wed.,and Thurs.) of Spring Break. Each day will have two sessions available (10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm). You can sign up for as many or as few sessions as you want for $20 each. Students have 4 projects they can choose from, and you do not have to sign up for a particular session to do a particular project. They also have the option to either bring their own supplies (fabrics, thread, etc.), or you can get a pre-made kit from me for an additional $15. That way, kids can either have complete design control, or if that is overwhelming they can opt for the kit.

Trying to narrow down all the projects I want to do with them was so hard! I'm glad I am also doing Summer camps so that I can change up the projects a bunch.

For Spring Break, the projects are going to be a cute tote bag with webbing straps, a pillowcase using the super easy "burrito" method, a simple elastic waist skirt (I mean it IS Springtime now), and a custom creature doll they can design and decorate themselves. All projects are designed to be finished in one session, so that they can take it home and be proud of their creation.

That is where I've been, and what I've been up to! I am still working on that dress. It still needs the skirt finished on it, and I hope to get that done this weekend. Whew! Back to work!


Finally!!!! Photos of the Wedding/Bridesmaid Dresses!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wow, people, just wow. I have been trying to get a hold of these pictures from the bride for months now after months of working on the dresses/wedding stuff. In fact, I first announced that I would be making these dresses a little over a year ago! I feel this has been a long time coming, and maybe so long that everyone gave up on seeing any pictures a long time ago.

But no more!!

A recap: I made all five bridesmaid dresses with Vogue V1102 (that's me in the blue one).  I was the maid of honor, and my son was one of the ring bearers. It was a beautiful October wedding in Brenham, Texas held at the Giddings Stone Mansion. Having grown up in Brenham (as did Jessi, the bride) this was the place everyone wanted to get married at. (or the Antique Rose Emporium)

Now on to the pictures. They are pretty self-explanatory.... (and, no, this first one was not staged at all)





















Oh, and yes, my son did catch the garter...

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