Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: A Practice in Productivity.

This weekend I decided to make some time for my own projects, as I have been very busy catching up on projects for others.
Remember those gaming cushions I made? Well I finally got around to making the larger cushions to go with.

I had to order the Star Trek cotton on Etsy because the shop where I work at doesn't carry it... and I have a hunch the owner wouldn't order it; she's a Star Wars nut, and her and my husband like to gang up on me with that, heh.

She, of course, carried varieties of Star Wars cottons I have never seen in all my searches through fabric stores.

It glows in the dark
I admit, I am probably beaten on the cool factor this time on my pillow, simply because his glows in the dark and mine does not... so in order to draw some attention to mine, I appliqued a command logo onto mine... I think my mini pillow wins between those, though... bah!

Overall the cushions were a fairly quick afternoon project-- the thing that took the most time was making the bias tape, and then making it into piping to sew in. I made them into envelope covers so it would be easy to wash them.. I wish I would've done that with the mini ones.

Afterwards I sunk the rest of my afternoon into Guild Wars 2; I decided to get back to it after hearing of all the updates that have been made. I am not pleased about the whole dyes not dropping anymore, and still not please about the lack of a trinity system... but the other changes were enough to rekindle my interest in playing.
The problem with playing an MMO is that you never realize it's late until it's really late... but you're not tired and you still have so much energy leftover!

I decided to tinker around with a bin of 20 year old legos my husband brought in from the garage. Leftover pieces of his childhood years.
So what would a grown woman do with legos?

That's right. Sit down and make an extravagant mess on the ground. It was all inspired by something I saw on pinterest, and oh so worth the cleanup:


You might notice I also had to put a mascot on my mini lego sewing machine... that is a must. No sewing machine I've ever owned big or small goes without one. Unless of course it's an antique... that's a mascot on its own! It wasn't all that easy creating this from a bin of random parts... I was half expecting to get nowhere in this endeavor. There were remnants of ships, star crafts, and houses... pirates and dragons and ronins...
but like any quest, I persevered, in a manner of speaking. I did try starting off with black, but failed.

You might also be wondering where I got a small wooden spool of thread. It was luck, pure and simple.
Several years back I bought a vintage travel sewing kit with most of its tools still intact. It's rough around the edges but something that I've always had on my to-do list to restore and just never got around to even planning how I'm going to do that.

Anyway, it came with mini wooden spools-- a big reason why I got it in the first place. The rod detaches so you can keep refilling the spools with thread to use. Quite handy, and awesome not to mention cute as hell.
It was the perfect final touch along with a tiny scrap of fabric to go onto the "machine".

All in all, a very productive day I would say! 
How does a productive day look like in your life?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Bat Sh*t Crazy Shopping Haul.

You know those moments in crafting when you're so stumped about what to do, it's hard to recognize where to begin?
Well, now imagine what that's like when you multiply it by a hundred. That's what happens when you're in a middle of a crafting crisis, and find that your favorite craft store is having a massive sale

Last week, I was heading to El Paso to renew my green card. Since we were going to be there for a couple days, and our hotel was conveniently located a few minutes away from a Joann's, I figured I'd go in and buy a pattern I was thinking of ordering, and maybe browse what they might already have out for Halloween.

The "excuse".
I step up to the doors and notice a small letter sized paper taped to it with the words "Store Moving Sale!"... dread took the heart of my dear husband, my friends, for he knew then that the beast within me would tear out and run rampant, wreaking havoc in her wake.

My eye twitched a little as I tried to collect my body from lunging, but once that waft of fabric, and notions and crafty goodness all on sale hit these nostrils-- indeed, it felt as though I went bat shit crazy.

The "aftermath".
 It felt like minutes, but was likely several hours... I snapped back to reality when the car door shut, and the deed was done. I may have went in to browse and purchase one item, but reality is hardly true to expectation.

More graphic images.
I think more than anything else, the patterns were definitely the best buy, because they were a whopping 99 cents a pop-- pretty insane considering that just one of these is $19.00. I bought 15 of them.
I even bought a reusable bag, because the images on it are worthy for consideration in my inevitable tattoo. Ok, so it's a little weird that when I look at this bag I don't just think "that's cute", I think "that would make a great themed sleeve"... but sew what!

A little irony to back it up-- whomever gets this, gets my utter respect.

List of patterns:
Fabric (click to enlarge):

1 yard purple foil on purple jersey
2 yards spider web with bats lace

2 yards velvet flocked jersey
1 yard black mesh with purple foil ribbon

2 yards velvet flocked stretch denim

At least someone other than myself is enjoying my purchases!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Spooky Basket: Sew Much Fun

A couple months back my brother had purchased for my birthday two items which I haven't been coveting for long, honestly. You could say I was in a way, though, since 'vintage sewing' is the quintessential term used to describe the entirety of my invisible wishlist.

Perhaps the inspiration to NBC's Sally's name?
This is a sewing book(let) written and printed in the format of a comic book, it has no date nor the name of the real author but it's safe to estimate it was printed in the 40's. It has inspired the likes of Alexander Henry to create a fabric from snippets of pages within it, and by the looks of the pen name might've inspired Sally Stitches from the beloved Nightmare Before Christmas movie (who knows, that's just my guess).

You wouldn't think it, but this little booklet is packed with more useful information than many actual sewing  books printed today. The information is so organized and well written, with just a touch of humor and imagery to help the beginner feel at ease... it is a wonder how so few of these were actually printed as to warrant its rarity status. The impression I get from reading it is what I imagine what it might've been like to have been taught by someone you love.

If only all spouses were so encouraging towards a sewing addiction.
With information this useful in something so fragile, I wanted to ensure the continued survival of this comic book. So I opted to scan it, and then frame the original copy to hang in my sewing room.

I found this frame at Family Dollar for $5, not bad considering similar to it at Walmart is $15 to $20... it is glass and wood as opposed to plastic on plastic-- I was quite surprised by that.
So now it sits right beside the second treasure my brother purchased for me.

It's a vintage KAYanEE Sew Master toy sewing machine circa 1940's made in Germany; unlike many of its type, because of the color and the decals. Perhaps the minty green wasn't as popular, because it doesn't come by as often as the red or the blue in this model, and certainly not in the almost mint condition this is in-- minimal rust, needle and screw top for thread stand intact.

The new focal point of my room brings me pride, but not as much as telling someone that it was all thanks to my little brother.

Tell me! What gifts were you given that blew your mind completely 
and you could not resist being completed elated about?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Leisure In Work. (Photo Heavy)

I have spent a lot of time in my creative laboratory lately. More than usual, even when I feel I am at my most craftiest. I feel like the influence of being around so many choices of fabrics daily has something to do with it, hehe.

One of the perks of being someone who loves to sew and so happens to work at a fabric shop, is that every so often I'll be asked to make something for the shop to showcase a finished article from patterns that we sell, and I get my pick of the crop... well, to a certain extent. As much as working only in Halloween or otherwise dark prints is appealing to me, it's not so much to the patrons who frequent this establishment (consisting of retirees, for the most part).

I have a collection of patterns they've allowed me sew, but it must be the amount of choices I have for fabric that makes the decision process go a lot slower than I really care for. My first work project was a blouse; not one I wished to post about on my blog, because the fabric wasn't all that appealing to me. It had moths, but they were printed very small and the color is a blue I am not overly fond of.

This next one, though, really inspired me.

The company for this pattern I am about to show is relatively unknown, but their claim to pattern fame is growing from a sole design; the company is Sister's Common Thread, and their pattern the Caddy Pad.
Without further ado, here is the completed iron tote which I have sewn for the shop:

It's not much to look at it, but this little tote is really quite neat. One of those things that elicits the 'Why didn't I think of that?!' response.
It's a very simple project that doesn't require a lot of your time, and earns its keep afterwards in usefulness and prettiness.

Start unbuttoning it, and it starts revealing the neatness factor...

Until finally, it all becomes apparent.

If you haven't guessed by now, it's an iron tote that doubles as a portable functioning ironing surface. If you're a sewist and don't think this is neat, then I do believe you're doing sewing incorrectly because where ever you feel like you need to take your machine with you, you must also take your iron to do anything truly worthwhile in sewing. It's logic.

Now the surface doesn't fully protect the table from moisture, so one must always remember the HitchHiker's moto: don't panic and carry a towel.

The fabric chosen for this is a new one we received a couple weeks ago. One that I fully intend on purchasing more than a couple yards of...

The problem with it is that its a one way directional print, and as you can see, without a lot of planning and piecing, no print will appear completely upright. I did make a small attempt, but it failed in doing what I hoped... but it did add a nice touch to the side of the bag.

I had hoped that by slashing the center of the main body piece and rearranging the print with a coordinating strip in the middle, it might help that directionally challenged issue.

The problems, unfortunately, didn't quite end there.
This pattern calls for two layers of insul-bright sandwiched between the main fabric and the heat resistant fabric, making this rather bulky and awkward to sew.

Just how awkward? ... I think this speaks for itself...

Holding it all together can potentially cause people headaches, as pining heat resistant fabric is ill advised, unless you don't particularly care about little pin holes that don't go away.
I rather do, so I enlist the aid of sewing gadgetry to make my life easier.

Light, convenient flat side... but expensive.

Some of you might've heard about these over-priced little clips; Wonderclips.
They are handy, but I'm going out on a limb here by saying not worth their current going price. I purchased them because I have a substantial discount at work-- and for no other reason but that I wanted to try them out and compare them to the ones I was using before Clover released these little guys.

Stronger, cheaper... but heavier and unforgiving.
I bought these at Dollar Tree (Formerly Dollar Giant in Canada), for $1.00 per 12 pack; can't beat that price per unit.
Combine these with an even-feed walking foot, appropriate needles, and suddenly struggling with layers becomes a thing of the past.

But the real question is, how did they compare? I like them. Their light weight  makes them easy to maneuver the machine and layers in unison, whereas my previous ones did hold a lot tighter (they are all metal after all), but because of the rubbery grips sometimes they stuck to the surface of the machine, and they are just overall bulkier and heavier... but they truly shine when you have to sew up a few layers of denim when a pin just won't go through. A wonderclip (at least the small ones) won't hold many layers of denim together, they're just not made for that.

Anyway, back to the pattern. Here is a quick list of things to consider when you find yourself in possession of this pattern and the desire to create it.

  • 1/4 yard of coordinating fabric is not enough for the binding and straps, especially so if you're planning on cutting them on the bias. Half yard is more appropriate.
  • It asks for 1 in. binding, but that is not enough to bind the ends with ease, and it would create a tight bind that will be too difficult to work with, especially when you have to sew over the straps and elastic loops. 2 in. is easier and appropriate if you'd like to show off the fabric of your binding, too.
  • Apply some interfacing to the straps, so that they will be strong and durable to cart your iron around in.
I will be writing a review of it on my Pattern Review account, soon enough here-- keep an eye on my widget if you wish to see more on this pattern and others I sew in the future.

Oh and in case you thought I wasn't going to sew this in Halloween fabric for myself,
Then you don't know me at all!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Lackadaisical Crafters Anonymous.

I am such a flake...

It's not that I don't care about the person, definitely not the case...
I prefer to craft and write at my own pace, this is the sheer and ugly truth-- ugly because if my heart is not into it, I take forever and a year to do it.
My actions do shame me, especially when a loved one is waiting for something... but every time something is requested of me, I can never seem to do it in a timely manner. I just don't know how to counter this, so it keeps happening. Ho-Hum.

A few months back, the same friend whom made me sully my hands and sewing machine with her Trooper Pinafore, asked me to make her a WW pilot wonder woman corset that I mentioned in that very post.
Well, I finally got it done. Her event has gone and past, but at first the delay was for the unfortunate business of not having a home and just a hotel room to live in. Then it was realizing the movers lost my package of zip ties I was going to use for boning; which by the way are incredibly hard to find in a 1" width.
So after a long time searching, I finally did find the boning... but more delay came from the loss of interest in wanting to work on it.

If it wasn't for my husband's constant nagging, it probably would've taken a lot longer to get it done, heheh. Love that man.

Reporting for duty!... finally...

She had sent me the Simplicity pattern 2067 to work with; I completely redrafted it to her custom size and my design details, so in other words, this made a pretty good sloper to start off. I have to say, this was the first time I had ever done such extensive tailoring for someone who couldn't be present. It took a lot of back and forth, but we got it right, and it's not too bad if I say so myself... doesn't look flattering on my dressform because it obviously wasn't made to fit me, heheh.

Original sketch

I think the most annoying thing about this endeavor was the binding... I hate making and applying bias binding-- curse its beautiful appeal! Second was drafting in those pleats... it took more time than adjusting the bust size to waist ratio.

While I was still living in Holbrook, AZ I had my neighbor help embroider one half of the gold stitching with me. It created a nice afternoon of cocktails and crafts.

All in all, I'm glad I was able to complete this.
There weren't as many tears as I would've expected...
She promised me that she'll take a shoot with the trooper and this corset, so you will all get to see them on whom they were made for!

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