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1  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Time to bite the bullet and buy a new machine or fix the old one? on: August 11, 2012 08:17:44 AM
I have a Janome My Excel 4023. It is a basic sewing machine, and has stood up well to the abuse I have but it through for many years. Many Halloween costumes, renaissance costumes, hems, repairs, and alterations have been made with this dear friend.

However. I am pretty sure it is at least 15 years old. The back stitch no longer works, and just last night I discovered that on the top side the stitch looked great, but the bottom stitch looked very messy. I tried playing with the different stitches and different pieces of scrap fabric to no avail.

My dilema is this: There is a local sewing machine repair shop that will fully service my machine, including fixing the backstitch, cleaning and oiling the inside, re-setting the tension, just basic over all tune up of my machine, for $60. If I invest money into this I would also buy a new manuel (My mother gave me this machine when she stopped sewing - I'm sure I had the manuel at some point but I have no idea where it ended up) for about $10.

My dilema is that a new basic brother machine (CE8080PRW) I've had my eye on is only $150, comes with a 25 year warranty, has way more stitches, etc. I showed my SO's parents how to use theirs, and it really is a nice machine for the price. All the reviews I've read have been good. So while the old machine has been tried and true, fixing it at this point would cost me half of a new machine. I will especially be kicking myself if something else goes wrong in the next few months.

Advice? Had anyone else had particular experiences with either of these machines?

Thanks!
2  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Wonderwoman Costume! on: October 14, 2011 02:05:29 PM
I worked really hard on this one!





The top is a 10 panel corset with spiral steal boning. The material was from an old raincoat I bought at a thrift store, I bought the gold trim from jo anne's and tacked on. I am over all pretty happy with it. It could have been more detailed with either the W logo or the bird, but I wanted to be able to take the gold detailing off after halloween and just have a red corset. The grommets aren't very even, but thats alright.

The shorts I made from a dark blue thicker knit fabric. The stars are just acrylic paint.

The crown is a double thick sheet of foam cut and painted with acrylics. There is a piece of elastic holding it in place.

The arm cuffs were stretchy swim suit material.

The boots are black stretch pleather boots I got from a thrift store. After an adventure in trying color stretch material, I ended up using a textile medium and red acrylic paint. The first time I put them on, no cracking or anything. When I put them on to take these photos, they started cracking along the back. I don't have any money I can spent on trying to fix these/make new ones, so I'm just going to not wear them until Halloween and hope they hold up.

I know its not perfect, but I think its turned out pretty well!


3  CLOTHING / Shoes: Completed Projects / Wonderwoman Boots! on: October 03, 2011 01:35:01 PM



This year I'm going to be Wonderwoman for Halloween!

My goal this year for my costume was to make everything myself and use as many recycled items as possible. I also wanted to keep this on the cheap, at least compared to what I usually spend. The goal was to spend less than $100 on my entire costume. That sounds like a lot, but as Halloween is my favorite holiday, sometimes I go crazy.

I bought these boots for $4 at a thrift store. They were completely black and flat across at the top. The first thing I did was cut the top into an upside down V. My first go at coloring included spray paint and tape to do the white part. They looked great . . . until I put them on! The red spray paint began to crack and chip off. Not okay! My next step was to ask all you crafty ladies for advice - which helped heaps. I ended up mixing bright red acrylic paint with a tiny bit of black paint and liquitex textile medium. I did two layers of a fairly dark red, and then decided I wanted them brighter, so I added another two layers of bright red.

Then came the moment of truth . . . I put them on and walked around. No cracking! No peeling! Even better, the top of the boots stiffened and stayed up, where as before they had slid down occasionally.

I took them off and painted the white on. I didn't use tape because I was afraid it might pull some of the paint off. It was a slow process, I was terrified of messing up.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with them. Considering the cost of the boots and cost of paint, they cost about $15 to make. The only thing I dislike is that the color is very slightly pinkish in real life, and there is a little bit of a funky texture to the paint. This was my first adventure in shoe alteration, so all things considered I think they turned out well!
4  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / HELP with Wonder Woman boots?! Dyeing/Coloring Stretch Pleather on: September 26, 2011 11:09:22 AM
Hey-o!

I am being Wonder Woman for Halloween, and have already managed to finish every piece of the costume but the boots! I bought a pair of knee high, black stretch-pleather boots at a thrift store, and cut the hem at the top to shape (an upside down V). For coloring I tried spray painting the boots red, and I painted the soles and heal white with acrylic paint. For the lines and boarder at the top I used white tape. They looked great . . . until I put them on. The material stretched and the spray paint did not stretch with it! This resulted in a lot of flaking and cracking of the red spray paint, showing the black bellow. Any ideas for how to dye the leather or make it red so that the color won't chip or crack when put on? Should I give up and go thrift store shopping for boots that are already red?

 Huh Huh Huh

Thanks!


EDIT!

I ended up adding a textile medium to red acrylic paint. The color isn't exactly how I wanted it to be, but its pretty close. I have put these babies on and walked around the house - no cracking or chipping of the paint! Lets hope they hold up - I plan on wearing these as part of my wonder woman costume for my band's first show on Halloween! Thanks for the advice and suggestions ladies!

5  CLOTHING / Shoes: Discussion and Questions / Dyeing/Coloring Stretch Pleather? Help with Wonder Woman Costume on: September 26, 2011 11:07:48 AM
Hey-o!

I am being Wonder Woman for Halloween, and have already managed to finish every piece of the costume but the boots! I bought a pair of knee high, black stretch-pleather boots at a thrift store, and cut the hem at the top to shape (an upside down V). For coloring I tried spray painting the boots red, and I painted the soles and heal white with acrylic paint. For the lines and boarder at the top I used white tape. They looked great . . . until I put them on. The material stretched and the spray paint did not stretch with it! This resulted in a lot of flaking and cracking of the red spray paint, showing the black bellow. Any ideas for how to dye the leather or make it red so that the color won't chip or crack when put on? Should I give up and go thrift store shopping for boots that are already red?

 Huh Huh Huh

Thanks!

EDIT:

I ended up using a textile medium made my liquitex mixed with red acryllic paint. I tried these bad boys on around the house - no cracking or peeling! Thanks for the help ladies!


6  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Lumpy Space Princess (LUMP OFF!) on: November 06, 2010 11:13:50 PM
A good friend of mine's birthday is a couple weeks, so I knew I needed to make him a gift on the cheap side that would still be fantastic. We are both maybe a little obsessed with the childrens' show "Adventure Time", and find Lumpy Space Princess to be pretty fantastic, so I decided to make him a lumpy space princess stuffed animal.

Note:
1. I have no idea what a 21 year old man is going to do with a stuffed animal of a princess
2. I don't care
3. I know she is not perfect, but I like her.

I used about 1/2 a yard of purple fleece and some black and yellow felt, as well as some cheap filling. All in all, this cost me about $8 to make, and I still have more than half the stuffing left as well as fleece and felt scraps that are big enough to use in the future.

It was a pretty simple process. I drew out her shape onto the purple felt, cut it out, hand sewed her face on, sewed and stuffed the arms, attached them to the body, and then sewed and stuffed the body. Her arms are pretty long because I wanted them to be able to cross in her typical lumpy teenage angst.

Maybe next I'll try a Marceline!


7  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Adventure Time Hat! on: November 06, 2010 10:43:15 AM
I'm a pretty big fan of the show Adventure time! I guess this could go in costumes, but I made this hat with the intentions of wearing it pretty regularly, not as a costume.

It's made out of off-white polar fleece I found on sale for dirt cheep due to small imperfections, which I could cut around. The pattern I used is from the Adventure Time blog, here

http://frederatorblogs.com/adventure_time/2010/03/24/finns-hat-is-awesomeeeee/

After looking at the pattern and my head, I decided I wanted it to be two layers of polar fleece thick (So I can wear it in the Ice Kingdom!) and added an extra quarter inch seam allow for this. sides of the hat and ears I was able to sew on my sewing machine, but when I got to sewing on the ears and the top part of the hat (4 to 6 layers of fleece), my sewing machine refused! Luckily, this part of the hat wasn't a whole lot to get done, and I just stitched it up by hand.

I like it with the flaps open, but for a more "true to character" Finn's Hat you could add velcro on the ear flaps in order to close it under the chin.

Even if you aren't an Adventure Time Fan, there's a lot of fun stuff you can do with this pattern! I plan on making a grey one with mouse ears for my room mate!

8  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / El Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) decorations on: September 17, 2010 05:00:42 PM
El dia de muertos is one of my favorite holidays. In fact, my three favorite holidays are three days in a row. Devil's Night is on the 30th, (Those of you from Detroit know what I mean. I don't personally burn anything down, but I can understand the mentality about it) Halloween is on the 31st, and el dia de muertos is on the 1st.

Now to the decorations!
El dia de muertos is a form of All Saint's Day that is celebrated in some parts of Mexico. Papermache skeletons, sugar skulls, paper cut outs, and religious candle are every where. Its generally a day spent in respect for your dead loved one. The skeletons and monsters of el dia de muertos are friendly, rather than scary as on Halloween. It is common for families to set up alters to those they love who have passed on, and often leave out the person's favorite food, flowers, etc.

Here are some of the things I have made! Because I am a newer member of Craftster, I can't post photos directly here yet, but here are the links!

My alter made of cardboard and construction paper for Salvador Dali and Freida!



Skulls made out of foam core!





A tiny coffin I made out of paper, masking tape and cardboard







I have sugar skulls as well but no photos of the, but I am making a new batch this year so I will post photos of them!
9  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / OoT Link Costume on: September 15, 2010 03:15:10 PM
I created this costume for not only Halloween but also for Tour de Fat, which is a costumed bike parade held by New Belgium Brewery.

Hat, tunic, sword sheath, and gauntlets were all sewn made by me, using my own patterns.
Boots are doc martins I already had on hand.
The shield I made out of foam core. I also had a very accurate Sword of Time made out of foam core, but my ex-boyfriend broke it while he was drunk, figures.
Belt is from a thrift store.
I also had a jar with milk in it that I took off of my belt because it started leaking, and a small ocarina I made out of polymer clay and acrylic paint. I would take a photo for you now, but I don't have a camera :/

One time I liked about this costume is that when its cold, I can wear white leggings and a long sleeve t-shirt under it like Link does once he's an adult, but when its hot outside I can go without and be kid Link.


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