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451  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: need to alter backside of shorts pattern on: July 22, 2014 01:53:00 PM
Do you have a pair of pants that fit well?
Measure the crotch depth along the center back seam from waist to crotch central, where four pieces join.
Compare this to the measurement of your pattern piece, allowing for any difference in waist height (naturally, hip huggers will have a shorter measurement than high-waisted pants).

Turn the good-fitting pants inside out and lay them out as smoothly as possible along the center back seam.  Lay your pattern piece on top, and compare the curve.  If the waists are similar height, match the pattern to the pants there, and see how the two differ along the length and width.  Alter the pattern to match the pants (and sounds like you may need to repeat for the front), then test the pattern with cheap fabric.

Or take apart a pair of pants that fit, and use that for a pattern.  Be sure to add seam allowances, and be prepared for confusing differences.  Fitting pants is one of the more difficult challenges in sewing!
452  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Making 15 table runners for an event - tips needed! on: July 22, 2014 01:43:41 PM
If the fabric is stretchy--a knit or loosely woven fabric (like burlap)--you might get waves.  Tightly woven fabric, probably not.  Use the longest stitch length (that speeds up the process, too).  And, of course, test first!

My concern with straight stitching is that I would get waves and it wouldn't lay flat. Do you think that is a concern?
453  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Binding a fabric book (busy book)? on: July 22, 2014 01:36:49 PM
I did one for my nephew.  I made each piece two pages (a wide rectangle), stacked the pieces and stitched down the center to form the center of the book.  Note that the two pages on one piece do not wind up next to each other, except at the center.
454  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / problems with stitch length and cams on: July 19, 2014 10:44:39 AM
I hadn't used my Kenmore 158-1756 (I got it new around 1970) for several months, and now it's doing something wacky.  I cleaned and oiled, but it's still crazy; here's what it's doing:

1)  Stitch length is stuck at extremely short--I can adjust the dial, but it makes no difference.

2)  When I tried to use the stretch stitch (two stitches forward, one back), which is controlled by a sturdy metal cam, the machine decided to stitch backward instead. 
     Even when I changed the settings back to normal, it stayed in reverse.  Pressing the reverse lever didn't do anything (I wondered if it would make it go forward, but no luck).
     Fiddling with the mechanism that "reads" the cam got the machine to stitch forward again (and the reverse lever worked right), but switching back to stretch stitch got it stuck in reverse again.

Has anybody had this problem?  I suspect it's a build-up of aged oil; I've heard of taking the whole machine apart and soaking in solvent to fix this sort of thing, but I've never done it.
455  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Making 15 table runners for an event - tips needed! on: July 16, 2014 02:04:07 PM
A)  If you sew a lot or at least sew well, it might be fastest to hem them on a sewing machine.  Personally, I would fold and stitch as I go, without pressing in advance, but if you don't have a lot of sewing experience, that might actually take longer.

B)  consider glue.  Press the hems in place, then run a scant line of glue.  THIS WORKS ON HEAVIER FABRICS, WILL BLEED THROUGH ON THIN FABRICS.  TEST FIRST

C)  Price out the iron-on tape; it would save a ton of time over cutting strips (15 x 21 feet makes for a lot of cutting, then you have to manage all those tangled bits...)

D)  Fastest/easiest/cheapest:  leave the edges raw, don't hem at all.  If the fabric isn't prone to fraying, it will look fine for a single use.  test it out.

E)  Slightly nicer: press the hem in, but don't stitch or glue or fuse.  This would work best with thin cottons that crease well.

F)  Rustic option: zig-zag stitch the raw edges.  This will prevent fraying, but has a very casual effect.  VERY casual!

I would probably test in this order:  D, E, B, C, A.  I don't really like zig zag, so wouldn't do F
456  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Discussion and Questions / Re: Flower Pot Made From Pressed Aquarium Gravel on: July 13, 2014 08:32:08 PM
your post is nearly a year old, but it sounds like a fun project.

There is a type of floor finish that mixes pebbles with a clear binder.  That's applied in a thin layer and sets up into an aggregate floor. 

Find that finish (or maybe just use resin), substitute aquarium gravel, and figure out a way to mold it...

OR start with a pre-made pot, coat with thick resin, and roll in the aquarium gravel.
457  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Discussion and Questions / Re: Sculpting tools? on: July 13, 2014 08:28:38 PM
you may already know this, but enlarging and padding the tool handles can make a big difference.  Make the handles as big as is comfortable.  For a pencil, that may be as thick as your thumb; for a trowel, perhaps an inch or more in diameter.  Smaller hands need smaller handles.

I use self-stick craft foam for my table tools, then tape to secure it.  For concrete, you probably want something more durable.
You can buy pipe insulation at the hardware store that might work well; and there's a kind of coarse open-cell flexible padding sometimes used in shipping that might work well.  Look around your workspace/junkspace to see what you have.   zip ties might be good for securing it, too, but put them away from the grip area or they'll irritate your hands. 

Actually, you can buy specialty ergonomic handle padding, but I like to do it myself and save money.
458  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Discussion and Questions / Re: Paint Your Own Pottery: To Swap or Not to Swap? on: July 13, 2014 08:19:53 PM
I think it's a customized store-bought craft.  How's that for a non-answer?  If it were a flat plate, say, and you created an original design on it, that would be more handcrafted than if you bought something with a molded design and filled in the colors.

If the swap were for hand-crafted, I don't think this would quite be appropriate, but you could ask the swap group what they think.

I used to design projects for craft magazines, and the rule of thumb was that the item had to be 85% finished when the crafter walked out of the crafts store.  i.e., ready-made components assembled by the crafter.  Made me nuts, I like to start with raw materials and go creative.
459  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: Recovering a Vinyl Train Case on: July 11, 2014 06:37:32 PM
how about covering it with fabric?  You could get something with enough color and bling to satisfy even a 14 year old.  It will hold up better than paper, too.

Try to find a thicker fabric, and probably a synthetic (glue tends to bleed through thin cotton fabrics, and they get dirty and wear out faster than synthetics).  Read glue bottles to find the right stuff; a spray adhesive might work well.
460  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: wedding cards on: July 11, 2014 06:29:45 PM
scan 'em inside and out, store on a disk, then use the cards as you would other cards.  Might be nice to scan/include pictures of the people who wrote each card.  After 20 years, it's a hoot to see how people have changed.  And you might not remember who some of these people are.
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