Friday, September 20, 2013

This stuffs for Babies

Baby goods may become my favorite thing to sew if I'm not careful. There are so many bonuses. Cuteness for one. Nice soft fabrics to work with. And it's incredibly cost effective since you need such a small amount of fabric! Plus there are endless ideas out there and with babies popping out left, right, but the majority center, being able to whip up a gift in a couple hours is pretty convenient.

For example, the items below were for a dear friend of mine's baby boy. I think he appreciated the dinosaur as he was biting/throwing it in no time.

A dinosaur! Who likes parsley maybe? I found
this pattern online as well. Who knows where?
I might be able to find out if you're interested.
This is a simple lil' bib that I found on online
pattern for. It has a contrasting fabric on
the back and a simple loop and button to
attach it.

So many visiting babies this summer! These two gals have
been given away to new owners who are no doubt
thrashing them about and getting them covered in pureed carrots

Hightlights and braids.

These dolls are pretty up to date with their hairstyles.
I've made some baby booties out of leather in the past and some little cotton ones recently too but I like the idea of getting into toys instead of wearables. Giving the babies what they want cause that's the kind of lifestyle they're used to.

a very Anne summer

It's been a hectic season, the summer especially. I'm used to being gainfully unemployed in the summer so being a manager in a place that was busier than it was used to, made for lots of distractions from other projects. I did manage to get some things done, before, during and after though so here's a glimpse at what I was doing in the spring, before the chaos began.

I was, and still technically am I guess if you check the programs, Wardrobe Assistant for Anne and Gilbert the Musical! Coincidentally, I was also the Box Office Manager for the summer at The Guild where it is playing. Kelly Caseley is the Head of Wardrobe so I was very fortunate to work alongside her and learn many things over long hours.

Of course, the busier you are the less you document so here are just a few shots of finished pieces which I either added to or made from scratch.

I added black trim by sewing on twill tape
design by hand and then reinforcing by
Detail of Mayan inspired twill tape trim

Twill tape trim that goes from the collar in
front, down the back of the jacket.
There was originally a corduroy collar and
cuffs which I removed and added black
twill tape trim in a mock collar design.


I didn't make much from scratch; a gathered walking skirts for Josie Pye and one for a Redmond girl, a fresh looking mint green tie for Gilbert, a mutant dress that was the combination of two dresses and a few other small things. Most of the work was fixing garments, sizing them to the actor and replacing zippers and buttons with larger zippers or velcro. The outfit on the left and right below, has not been worn yet but is for a few future shows. I had a pattern for the bolero jacket and just winged it on the skirt, getting every inch out of the material I could in order to make it wide enough to walk in. The crossover in the front enables it to be widened for future wearers, something I never had to keep in mind before when making clothing. Lots of eye openers working in theatre. You have a lot more to think about when making the garment, but in the end you're able to fudge a lot of details and easily disguise your mistakes.

We spent a lot of hours on a lot of small finicky things. We also managed to pull off some pretty wonderful things like Kelly's ballgown for Anne, or the ballgown we made in a day since the one in the show was quickly falling apart. I've never been more attentive or devoted to a job though and it was incredibly satisfying ticking tasks off the list, even if the list had doubled since last time I looked at it. It was easily the best job I've ever had. Partly because it was so suited to my interests and abilities but the other big part was the company. Always enjoy who you work with, I'm learning it makes all the difference.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

a responsible project

Lately I've worked on a pretty broad range of projects; costuming, carpentry, design, a lot of baking. I love it and hope I can keep this momentum. Working on one thing until I figure it out just in time for the next project to begin. Last summer I worked on Elderflower Organic Farm, making veggie burgers off of a sprout room. It was hot and sweaty and incredibly satisfying. Hard to not feel good at the end of the day when everything you've done has been so wholesome, efficient and productive. I had to leave this job in order to take a full time job offer from The Guild, a local non-profit theatre and gallery. I'm incredibly happy there and my job always comes with new challenges, but I did miss working at the farm...and eating the lunches at the farm. Fresh veggies, and homemade tortillas and veggie burgers...I hope to eat that well again someday! Margie, the owner of Elderflower farm (and probably the hardest working person I've ever met) contacted me in the fall to help her out with a project. She wanted some thermal sprout bags to keep sprouts the perfect temperature after people would purchase them from her at the Farmer's Market. She had loads of plastic mesh bags that she received bulk dry goods in and wanted to use them up. So, together we devised a design and I made a mock up before arriving at the final product.

First, I chose some bags in good condition and cut down one side and the bottom to flatten it out.

We wanted to use the bags for all of the fabric I needed, so I cut some of them into strips, folded the edges into the middle and sewed up the side to form them into straps.
This is her logo. I added text at the bottom and then printed them out on transfer paper. A lot of fabrics that I assumed I could iron this onto, did not want to work. I think I was working with too heavy of a weave, like canvas or linen like fabrics, where as it responds better to cotton knits, or t-shirt like materials. All it all, it worked about half of the time and I ended up using several different fabrics.

Front of the bag with patch, straps and velcro

bubble wrap layer

inside pocket made from plastic lining in the bulk bags
To aid in insulating the bags, we came up with idea of including a layer of bubble wrap between the plastic layers.  

And to make the process more efficient, I sewed the straps, patch with the logo, a velcro piece for a closing strap, as well as an inside pocket for an ice pack, all in one go!      

All of the bags were made using an assembly line method to speed things up. Margie (as well as most business owners, especially those making their own products) is always thinking of new ways to be more efficient. Always prepare for the next step and condense tasks as much as possible. I try to do this myself just because I'm impatient so seeing it applied to a livelihood that really depends on it really showed me how valuable this skill can be. In the five minutes it takes to saute some veggies, I could have several other tasks completed! We CAN do it all! But make sure to sleep and eat and shower and things too.

                                                                      Finished bag!

Side note! Check this out! This is the first time that I bent a pin this badly. The picture on the left shows it sticking out of the needle plate. It was pretty much wrapped around it and took me quite a while to dig out. On the right is how it looked when I finally yanked it out.

My book, Stay-Stitched, is on etsy! Simple projects that teach you the basics of sewing as you work.