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1  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Completed Projects / Re: Embroidered Card Wallet (and matching biz card) on: November 21, 2014 11:21:40 AM
Thanks, folks! He sent me a photo the other day from a speaking engagement he was doing, with the card wallet full of his REAL business cards. Smiley I'm glad he's actually carrying it. I'm not sure I really thought he would, or even meant for him to... I just thought it was a cute idea.
2  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Completed Projects / Embroidered Card Wallet (and matching biz card) on: November 20, 2014 07:09:46 PM

Recently, to make good on a bet, I decided to make a little card wallet for a friend out of state. I decided it should fit a few bills, as well as business cards and a drivers license, just in case he wanted to take it on the road with him. (The $5 bill was the debt; the rest was extra.)

I decided I should embroider the wallet with a custom monogram while I was at it, and make some matching business cards since I already had the graphic.

A certain fandom among us will recognize the origin of this monogram right away. One of my friend's books, the first of his that I read, is Tracking the Chupacabra, the Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore. In it, Ben believes he "solved" the mystery of the (non-existent) chupacabra, which makes him a vampire slayer of a certain sort.

Starting with the Buffy logo, I found an expanded character set, and made outline versions of Ben's initials, BTR. Knowing the logo was also going to be digitized for embroidery, I simplified the design where appropriate so the cards would exactly match. This design is 2-color only, so it was a simpler conversion than my Electric Eel project, but essentially the same process. The embroidery went down without a hitch.

Embroidery accomplished, I built the wallet. The wallet itself is very simple, using only two pieces of fabric—the black for the body (folded in half on the long edge) and a scrap of red & black for the inner pocket (also folded in half on the long edge), along with some interfacing in the body. I started with this tutorial. The trickiest part, for me, was getting the size and the stitching juuuuuuust right so that the longest item to be placed in the pocket, the business cards, were held snugly.

Overall, a fun, uncomplicated project, with very big personal impact. I think so, anyway—I know MY socks would be knocked off if anyone made something like this for me! Can I say that? Smiley

(Edited to move finished project photo to top!)
3  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: BRAINSTORM! Making suction cups in fabric tentacles. on: October 31, 2014 11:43:33 AM
The green felt is the Eco felt off the bolt from Joann. It's not craft-felt flimsy, but I didn't want to use stabilizer because I didn't want to burn through too much of the stuff. Likewise suction cups—there would have been a couple hundred of them!

I have embroidered in felt with my machine and really like the effect. This project was just too big though!
4  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Where do you get fabric like this? on: October 11, 2014 02:24:18 PM
Look for "jersey" or "interlock." It's very popular and there's actually a decent selection at my local Jo-Ann Fabrics.
5  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Any ideas for creating a full skirt? on: October 11, 2014 02:19:08 PM
Seconded: Circle skirt will definitely do what you want. Depending on how long you want it, it shouldn't take up too much fabric—since you want it to sit on a petticoat, you won't want it to be too long. There are a lot of circle skirt calculators online, and they're super easy. When you cut the waist, estimate DOWN because it's much easier to make the hole bigger than to try to gather it if you cut it too big!

Another tip if the tutorial you use doesn't mention: Using bias binding to hem the lower edge is a lot easier than trying to fold up such a curvy edge, and will let you add another pop of detail. You can use wide bias tape to make your waistband, too, especially since you're doing a costume, so it doesn't have to last forever. Smiley Of course, being a costume, you may also get away with not hemming the lower edge at all, just doing a quick zigzag so it doesn't ravel.

Good luck!
6  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Ordered orange knit and got safety orange. Can I fix? on: October 11, 2014 02:15:02 PM
I would be tempted to try dyeing—probably a brown to warm up the orange. I wish I could give a specific recommendation, but I haven't done much dyeing. Definitely would be the first thing I try, though, on a scrap. Maybe even tea dyeing if it just needs to be knocked back a little.

Let us know what you try!
7  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: BRAINSTORM! Making suction cups in fabric tentacles. on: October 11, 2014 02:12:25 PM
Thanks for the input everyone. Here's what I decided to do.

First, I tried taping a thumbtack to my sewing machine deck and doing a circular satin stitch. The problem is, this doesn't work very well for small circles, plus craft felt tends to be a little loose, so structured stitches just ate it up. So that didn't work. Watching how the felt reacted, though, gave me more hope for another technique.

Using my open-toe embroidery/mending foot (if you want to know more about that, ask—it's awesome), I "sketched" out circles staggered down the length of the precut tentacle, using a matching thread. Because of the tensions, what happened is the inner part of the circle bubbled out a little—perfect!

Because these are tentacles and not quilting or apparel, nothing needed to be exact. I just wanted a suggestion of texture/shapes rather than something very overt, so this method worked great. Here are some photos:

This is a close up of the circles with a little bit of stuffing, after being attached to the "upper" part of the tentacle, which is marine vinyl.

This is a finished tentacle, with wire running through it for articulation—part of it anyway; they are about 3 feet long each.

Thanks again for your suggestions! When the whole thing is finished, I'll post it in the appropriate location.

8  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / BRAINSTORM! Making suction cups in fabric tentacles. on: October 07, 2014 07:53:56 PM
Greetings from the briny deep!

I'm making a Halloween costume that involves tentacles. (The less said the better... This post will be updated with finished project.)

The tentacles themselves are going to be shiny costume vinyl for 2/3 of the circumference and something else for contrast for the other 1/3 — possibly felt, but that's an open item. Each of the 8 tentacles is going to be about 36" long and around 7" at the widest circumference. That means the "under" side will be between 3" and 1.5" wide.

I'd like to add detail for suction cups, but don't want to just, say, cut circles out and sew/glue them on. I want something a little slicker, something almost embossed. Thoughts I've had include freehand scribble-sewing circles onto the fabric (which would create interest but not much dimension), reverse appliqué (which would add texture, but there are going to be a lot of them), or maybe even needle-felting rings. Needle-felting would give a nice raised effect and seems time- and cost-efficient, but I've never needle-felted anything ever, so it may be that I'm under-estimating the difficulty involved. I do have an embroidery machine, which could do cool tone-on-tone satin-stitched rings, but it's a 4" hoop and doing that many rings would involve a lot of hooping and rehooping, not to mention a lot of stabilizer.

I have NO sewing friends to hash this out with (everybody: "awwwww!"), except of course the friendly Craftster community!

Any ideas? Let's talk about it!

9  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Looking for kilt-sewing class somewhere near Detroit... on: April 02, 2014 08:33:34 AM
Steiconi, what you're talking about is sometimes referred to as a "great kilt," that's where he basically rolls himself up in a big length of cloth. I'm talking about a sewn and tailored pleated kilt.

The making of the beast doesn't look like it would be all that difficult -- the complications are introduced according to what tartan you use! And I have a lot of questions, like what are the various reasons for pleating to certain parts of the plaid etc that I think would be better served by an in-person class. Not having much luck there. I do own the Simplicity 5029 "costume" kilt which can get me to where I want to go, but it doesn't address my cultural questions.

Barbara Tewksbury's "The Art of Kilt Making" seems to be the reference of choice for non-pros. For some totally bizarre reason, amazon.com has it listed for $100+ when you can still get it from the publisher for $35:

I may get the book, but I STILL would prefer to actually spend time with an experienced seamstress. Smiley
10  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Looking for kilt-sewing class somewhere near Detroit... on: March 28, 2014 05:02:54 PM
I've found books and video tutorials and all the usual resources, but what I'd really like is to find an honest-to-goodness, hands-on, professionally-led, real-deal kilt-making class somewhere within an hour of the Detroit area.

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