Monday, March 30, 2015

More hints....

Much of my time prepping this project involved a seam ripper. I think I've finally got all the pieces cut out, and couldn't help but pin a few together to get an idea of what it would look like.... because we don't have enough of these laying about the house, I've got to have more of them. Actually, this one is going to be for my husband.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


As is prone to happen, uniforms having been decommissioned are being called up once more to serve another tour of duty, but with a new mission. Can you guess what this will be?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sheet dress... I hate zippers

New dress, left
previous dress, right
Both repurposed bed
I've been reading negative reviews here and there of other crafting merchants, and it's getting to me a bit. Now I scrutinize my projects, nit picking till I no longer feel they're worthy of value to anyone other then my own children, who love their twirling dresses. A fellow angoras rabbit, spinner, knitter, and crafting enthusiast (who passed away last year) once told me to stick to making things I'll be able to use myself, because nothing ever sells very well. She made some lovely hand spun, angora wool hats, gloves, and sweaters and they would sit on her little website for ages. I try and keep her advice in mind when prioritizing my sewing and knitting projects, because it's very sage. My kids will grow up wearing a lot of handmade.

Not being prone to giving up entirely or wallowing in failure, I've decided that I could certainly use some instruction on sewing zippers. I've sort of winged it for years, but honestly, hate how they always look, and am certain there's a better way, I just haven't figured out yet. My attempts a hidden zippers never work out the way they should. The instructions on the zipper package just don't make any sense to me. I'm going to have to google this and see if I can find some tutorials online or something. I get frustrated with folks who never try or choose to turn away from the lessons they could learn. So what if that first knitting project looks awful! Try again, and the next will be better.

 There's also got to be a way to keep more seams tucked and hidden. On my dress I have almost all the major visible fabric seams turned and topstitched, but not all of them. Like the shoulder sleeve seams, and the bodice to skirt, while all on the inside, are still finished off with a tight zig zag because I couldn't figure out a way to have them hidden. A lot of garments just utilize the finish of a serger for these sorts of things, but I don't have one of those, so I zig zag the edges.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Recycled sheet dress

This weekend's sewing project is operation clear out the sewing closet supplies by doing the project stacked up in my mind. Two worn out sheets are being turned into a dress. The purple Egyptian cotton sheet will be the lining and the butterfly print cotton sheet will be the outside.

Cutting fabric is kind of tedious, but perhaps the most important step. Tomorrow we'll see how much I can get done.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Baptism Gown in a new medium

Usually I knit these with my yummy stretchy cotton, but alas, I couldn't find any in white. Instead I decided upon a 50/50 Merino/ Bamboo sport weight blend called Galileo by Knit Picks. Both being very fine and silky straight fibers, there's not much crimp, and the only elasticity is created by the ribbing effect of the cable patterns. Befitting a spring time baby, this is short sleeved, and hopefully won't be too hot or heavy. It's no lace knit, but it's certainly not worsted either. I purchased 6 skeins for this project, but only used four. I could make booties or a hat, but neither would be worn. My last Baptismal gown had a matching hat, but it was worn for like a minute and was practically a waste of time and energy.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

My Bernina is back!

It's like a brand new machine! Excepting that it's actually quite vintage, it's running smoother than ever. Before I dove into my major wrap conversion project, I did a quick recycle t-shirt into bamboo lined, side snap, fitted diaper. I forgot to give the Lastin a little more clearance on the legs (which would make a cute little ruffle around the edge). Opps. It's still works, just not as cute. While the boys bathed I used my little snap pliers to add snaps to the diaper and the suck pads for my new soft structured wrap conversion carrier... which is a one-of-a-kind (Ooak).

Recently, I went through my oversized diaper stash to decided to cull the herd. I could literally diaper triplets at any age! I plucked out diapers I hadn't even used for the last baby and some I decided I wouldn't be using for the next, and began listing them for sell on a diaper trading site linked on Facebook. First I sold things in smaller, but like groupings and lost a lot of money on shipping cost. Some of the packages I shipped cost me more than I had charged total. To keep things simple I included shipping in all my listings, making many of them practically free for shipping (or in some cases it didn't even cover that). So I decided to make even more cuts and listed some or my more prized items, like all my newborn kissaluvs, and most of what remained of my Clover collection...neither of which have seen much use since child number 4... as 5 was too crabby to let me do anything and I turned to disposables for a good amount of time. Then 6 had health issues that caused me to stop using cloth for a considerable time. So honestly, I thought it was prudent to pass them along. Still not wanting to just "give them away" I listed them for a price I felt was fair, but not quite a bargain. If they didn't sell, it wasn't going to break my heart, because they were still good and I "might" still use them. Perhaps they would be the perfect diaper for number 7? 

Anyway, despite my best efforts, nobody left any feedback, though some would e-mail me privately and indicate that they'd received their packages. It didn't bother me, till I had one gall contact me over my Clover diapers. She didn't like my price, wanted me to come down. I really just wanted to pass on her since she seemed to be very nit picky, and I just had a feeling she wasn't going to be happy with them.  I disclosed they were used. How old they were, and that they were indeed stained, though in my opinion still useable and elastic in good condition (because they're adjustable, the diaper will fall apart long before that elastic will be totally useless. I posted pictures inside and out, and hid nothing. I even sent a long letter describing my washing and household allergens for the entire lifespan of the diapers.  Still, she insisted, and insisted again she wanted them. I even knocked the price down when my washing machine needed to replaced and (it forced me to just let them go). So I sold them to her, shipped them off, and got on with life. A couple days after they were scheduled to have arrived, she writes to tell me how disappointed she is and wants a full refund, ect. I just had a feeling she was going to do that.  But how do you turn down a buyer...just cause you have a feeling they're going to come back and bite you in the butt? You really can't and not be decried as unethical or unfair or something. You can't say, "I just have a feeling you're going to be a pain in the..."

Seriously, they're just diapers, and if I don't use them I'm going to give them away to either a cloth diaper charity or see if one of my friends wants them.

The whole experience has caused me to think about all of my sewing and knitting projects in terms of my goals. While it's kind of exciting to think about maybe going back into business and making things for folks. I enjoy making things that I KNOW folks will want and will enjoy. However, I'm not thick skinned enough to digest the critics. And frankly, I've noticed that even truly awesome products receive a lot of hate from some folks. And sometimes these select few are down right mean and try to actually harm the seller/ maker. Very little credit is given to the time and energy the maker spends and puts into their product. It's usually so much more complicated than anyone realizes. And well... I could wax on and on about this all day.

For now I'm just making my wrap conversions because I'm curious. I want to know how it's done. Like a kid and a toaster, I want to take it apart and see how it works :) I don't know how many times I've read someone comment, "Oh I wish (said carrier maker) would make a wrap conversion," or "I wish they still made their straps puffy like they used to," or see them clamor for certain fabrics and such. I like seeing the various wrap conversions out there right now, and look to see innovations and hear what folks find comfortable. And of course I like trying to figure out ways to have it all in one carrier. I've done this with knitting, diapers, clothes, and many things. Usually, I do not churn out the perfect replica nor the new improved model. My stitches aren't perfect (my machine can only do so much) and I'm only so patient. I'm human and I have limitations. However, I'm going to keep trying. I'll enjoy my successes and learn from my mistakes, which is always better than never trying at all.

So with this second wrap conversion I learned that a bamboo cotton blend Ellevill is a very scrumptious and silky soft fabric. It has a bit of stretch to it which makes it very comfortable in the body and arm straps of the carrier. However, as a waist belt, it's a bit too stretchy and doesn't hold the firm foam padding in place nearly as well as the silk cotton Natibaby wrap (which was significantly thicker). I think that a quilted waist belt might have looked and functioned a lot better with this wrap. For this wrap I changed a few things.
1. Moved the arm strap buckles so that the buckle will stay on the padding even when the straps are adjusted. Sure they're one way adjust, but I like this better and find it easier if trying a side hip carry or crossing the straps.
2. The chest belt strap are sew with the webbing folds under, reversed from what I did with the last carrier, as it just looks nicer.
3. The hood has one seam, almost in the center of the inside (again my sewing is very human, sometimes things come out a little off center and I'm not going to rip out the seam in fear of destroying the fabric along with it). And I decided to add a little strip of lastin at the top sides of the hood to give it a little contour. Lastin is very stretchy and soft!