Flashback Friday: Jess from Craftiness is not Optional

Welcome to Flashback Friday! I can’t believe we’re already down to the last few flashbacks of this season. I’m not quite sure I’m ready for it to end, I’ve enjoyed it so much! Today’s guest is Jess from Craftiness is not Optional. As the mother of three ADORABLE little girls, Jess amazes me with all that she does, and how she does it all so well!

I love that I can often pick Jess’ projects out from just a glance on Instagram or Pinterest. I’m not sure what it is, but she has such a great style and always pairs her projects with perfect fabrics. She has a plethera of tutorials, from home decor to children’s clothing, to toys. The dresses she makes for her daugthers are always impecible with just the right amount of details added. The Madison Dress and the Penny Dress are two of my favorites. Today she’s sharing a fun flashback with us that I know you’ll enjoy. Take it away, Jess!

Hi! I’m Jess, from Craftiness is not Optional, and I’m so excited to be here for Flashback Friday.

So…I have been sewing all my life. Now, by all my life, I mean mostly, the last 5 years….stick with me though. My mom did try to teach me off and on throughout my younger years. I’d randomly come home from school/church/Taco Bell in a whirl of energy, determined to make a skirt because…well who knows why teenagers do the things they do? Anyways, I didn’t have a lot of patience for it back then but I really wanted to know how. Basically I would watch my mom make it for me, sewing the parts she insisted I sew…and then beg and plead with her to get out of doing the hem. (the worst part in my opinion) I really loved wearing things I “made myself”. ha, ha….thanks Mom for all the handmade clothes growing up…I know I did hardly any of the real sewing. Still, it interested me enough to keep sewing like that every so often.

Fast forward a few years….I am now married, and we are finally expecting our first baby, a girl. Nesting had me fully in it’s grasp, so I decided to make a blanket for the baby. My sister and I painstakingly shopped for fabric, cut it out, and then made a blanket in the. hardest. way. possible.  I won’t even try to explain how we made it. We had no idea what we were doing.

 I even quilted it with tiny stars. I was insane, I’m telling you. (well, and pregnant, but that excuse can get you out of practically anything, right?)

I had been bitten by the sewing bug, and this time, it stuck.

Immersed in sewing baby items for my new baby girl, I became obsessed with making things with my own two hands. Oh, and a sewing machine, of course. This little spot shown above became my haven, my escape, my sanity. (yes all the fabric you see was all the fabric I had…oh my how that has changed…) I have such good memories of this time in my life. It’s like I finally found a part of myself that had been missing.

I learned all I could about sewing, soaking up knowledge, trying out tutorial after tutorial online, making my own (kinda pathetic) patterns for softies (that cat had no tail!)…bibs, blankets, baby blocks, quilts, burp cloths. Discovering the world of sewing and craft blogs was the best day of my life. (Aside from getting married, giving birth, yada yada.)

Yet, I kept insisting that sewing clothing was “too hard”. (Yeah I know, I’m laughing now too) For some reason I resisted sewing clothes for quite awhile. I’m just a wee bit stubborn. Especially when it comes to fighting with myself. I couldn’t win! Oh, but I tried.

Eventually one day I said to myself, “Self. You should really try sewing clothing. It can’t be as hard as you think it is.” Guess what? It was at first. But it was fun, too. So I started sewing clothes for Sadie…little tops and dresses, skirts with raw edges left flapping in the breeze….shorts with absolutely no room in the bum for her diaper. I had huge failures, huge successes. Lots of projects thrown in the trash, and some put on baby to model before she had fully awakened from her nap. Zippers ruined and buttonholes botched.
 But I loved it. Every single second. I couldn’t get enough. Still can’t.

Thanks again, Jess! We can’t get enough of your sewing either :). Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

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  1. Great flashback, Jess!! I felt the same way – sewing never “took” when my mom tried to teach me as a kid, but once I started sewing for Em, it became an obsession. Loved your point about finding a part of yourself that had been missing – I feel the same way about it! Hugs!!

  2. I love that the first thing you worked out on your own was a baby blanket quilted with STARS! Too fun! I’ve always been the opposite way and thought that clothing is much easier to make. =)

  3. Sadie sure is a little cutie to inspire your creative talents! Don’t worry about mistakes–we all make them, it’s in the process of learning :-) I had an instructor in Costume School who always told us “Don’t worry about mistakes–there are no mistakes, they’re ‘Design Features’!”

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