Jessie from Sweet Jessie joins our board as we prepare for a Scrap Happy October and our third annual Handmade Holidays this November! Jessie gives vintage fabrics a fresh, new direction, she embroiders, wraps her kiddos in quilts and she loves to create. Please help us welcome Jessie to the board, and enjoy our interview today!

SMS: How long have you been sewing?
Jessie: I have been sewing for about nine years now… My mom bought me a sewing machine as a gift while I was pregnant with my daughter, and I spent hours and hours figuring out how to construct whatever I wanted to make. One of the first projects I made was a Thai silk dress with layers of tulle for my daughter’s first birthday. I didn’t know how to follow a pattern, so to make the dress, I deconstructed another dress and figured out how to put it back together. I still don’t have the patience to follow a pattern!

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Jessie’s scalloped fabric garland.

SMS: How do you find time to fit creativity (sewing and any other creative loves) into your life?
Jessie: I feel like the need to create is as much a necessity as eating or sleeping… When the kids are in school, I can play all day in my studio; but when they’re home I just hope for stolen moments! I always keep an embroidery project with me to work on during down time; during their sports practices, while we wait to see the dentist, or while I’m waiting in the car rider line to pick up the kids from school.

SMS: Do you have a favorite sewing tip or skill that’s made things work better for you?
Jessie: My favorite sewing tools are: a rotary cutter and self healing mat, a Hera marker and a clear quilting ruler. Without those things, I don’t know how I’d get anything done. My best advice is to take your time and do things right the first time (this means cut precisely, use your pins, iron your seams, etc!); shortcuts always make the project take longer when you have to go back and fix your mistakes!

SMS: What’s a favorite thing you’ve made lately?
Jessie: I’ve been collecting vintage sheets for a long time now, and I’ve loved working with them this summer. I’ve made so many things with them: patchwork blankets, pajama bottoms for my kids (with matching eye masks!), tote bags… they’re the perfect summertime fabric!

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Jessie’s daughter and a friend in some jammies she made out of vintage sheets;
they’re on the couch next to a patchwork pillow she made out of vintage sheets too.

SMS: Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Jessie: A little more about me…. I’m a freelance graphic designer working out of my home in the suburbs of Chicago, IL… I’m a sub-par housekeeper, a happy wife and proud mama of my two darlings, Olivia (age 9) and Jack (7)… I love flea markets, NPR, patchwork, embroidery, costume jewelry, and polka dots. I have contributed to the following crafty books: Sweet Booties (Lark); Quilt it with Wool (out soon by Lark), and One Yard Wonders (Jan ’10). You can follow along with my misadventures in craft at www.sweetjessie.com.

You can visit Jessie and learn more about her work at Sweet Jessie, on Flickr and in her shop.