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1  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: To prewash or not to prewash, that is the question... on: October 16, 2008 08:09:14 AM
Like the lovely Juniper, most of my fabric comes pre-owned, from second-hand venues and old clothes. But I pre-wash it all, especially the from-the-bolt stuff, after I've run a quick zig-zag along the raw edges. Keeps stuff from fraying in the wash and making a huge mess. And when you buy used, ya never know how the material's been treated before you ended up with it, so it's usually a good idea to give it a quick wash cycle.

It's not because I'm that worried about surprises or fabric problems, although with doll clothes, fabric dyes transferring to the doll are always cause for concern. Nope. I mostly pre-wash because I love to see the fresh-washed fabrics out on the clothesline, wafting in the wind. It's like an aquarium for the textile-minded !  Cheesy

Although I wonder what the daycare next door thought when I washed sixteen yards of black fabric for my BIL's 'Jedi-type' robes... Oh, and after the line, it gets dryer-toasted for 10 - 15 minutes, just to soften and tighten it up some.
2  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: What are your bad sewing habits? on: October 02, 2008 10:46:22 AM
Oh, I forgot the BIGGIE ! My worst sin of all that I've been paying for over and over...

I find wonderful fabrics, really cheap ! Velvets and silks and embroidered pieces, furs, fine leathers, great cotton prints ...you name it. Only one problem - I find 'em as clothes. I can use 'em, since I mostly sew doll clothes, but to get from 'shirt' to 'usable fabric', everything has to be cut up and washed and stored. This takes forever, generates some waste, and takes up a lot of space. And even with all the effort, it's no guarantee I'll ever get around to using some of it, much less all.

While I relish the 'stuff a Mal-Wart sack for a dollar' sales at thrift shops and yard sales, after spending most of my 'craft' time for the last two months cutting and bundling and organizing, this'll have to be the year I say 'no more' !

Can you believe I had three different 'dark blue velvet' garments in the Big Bin of Clothes To Cut Up for Fabric and Fun ? I ended up donating two bagloads of uncut clothes back to the thrifts ! Even cheap, it isn't a wise way to spend money or time...

Dorrie, whose fabric hoarding goes in strange directions...
3  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Re: Candy Corn Plush toys on: September 17, 2008 02:22:24 PM
Oooh ! A half-size version of these that the kids can personalize - with felt eyes and mouths, and quick-drying glue - would be perfect for my son's second-grade Halloween party ! I could add a hanging loop...

Thanks for the fantastic idea ! Now to find all the supplies as inexpensively as possible, for 23 kids and teachers...

This Rocks !
4  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Where do you order custom sew-in labels? on: September 17, 2008 01:47:02 PM
Not sure if this'll help much, but...

Few months back, I bought two packages of eight, from Hancock Fabrics, on markdown. They were 80c a package, down from $2.,  and of course, they said "Hand Made by Susy", not Dorrie. The package said I could trade 'em in for labels with my name, I just had to mail them back with a self-addressed stamped envelope. So I did. Just when I'd about given up on 'em - about six or seven weeks - they arrived ! So if you find 'em cheap at your fabric store, rest assured that Name Maker, at PO Box 43821, Atlanta GA 30336-0821 does honor its promise. Just might take longer than expected.


If you don't wanna go that route, The Deluxe Woven Label Company offers a logo and colors, even colored lettering, 36 labels for $21., plus $3. S/H.  I can't find 'em online, except for a British site, but it'll at least show you what they got. Be glad to scan and send their ad, if you like. It's funny - they're a part of McCall's Patterns, but darn if I can find 'em anywhere but ads.


About the only luck I had finding other companies - Charm, Frontier, Heirloom, etc. - that does short-run woven labels was by searching Google with  ' "made by me" sew in labels' as the search criteria.

Not a lot of help, I know - but maybe it's enough for a jump-off point ? If you find what you need, and they provide good service, let us know !
5  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: finding cars fabric...any help? on: September 16, 2008 07:24:21 AM
Our Mal-Warts had some for a while, but the good fabric section one is gone and the other just has Disney Princess stuff now. Might be worth a check, though.

Hancock Fabrics does online sales, and they have several Cars fabrics, in cotton, flannel, and even vinyl. If this link doesn't work, search 'cars' on hancockfabrics.com.


Our local Hancocks and the fabric impoverished Mal-Wart has other designs in fleece, too.

All else fails, there's the tried and true 'cuttin' up bedsheets' - I know there's at least three different Cars twin bedding sets. Target, Mal-Wart, Family Dollar, and just about any retail outlet that sells kids bedding should have some still. Might be worth a check.

Can you tell I have a son ? (grin)

Dorrie, tripping over at least four Lightnings a day.
6  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: What are your bad sewing habits? on: September 07, 2008 08:38:13 AM
Oh, am I ever in good company !

I am sooo bad for sewing semi-nude, with a throw-over-your-head housedress within reach. Why is this so bad ? I mostly make projects and doll clothes ! I'm not trying anything on, I'm just more comfy sewing that way !

I am not only a fabric hoarder - and when you think most of my stuff uses less than a half-yard, the enormity of the stash hits hard ! - I'm a pattern hoarder ! I get all happy at the sight of a bin of patterns to go through at a yard sale or thrift store. It's kinda sad how many patterns I find brand-new that are 30+ years old. I use some for decor. And it's a rare 99c sale that doesn't net me three or four more current patterns.

I have lost at least 20 seam rippers. I try to keep 'em penned up, but they vanish on me constantly !

Pinning stuff in the living room. We all know what's gonna happen...ow. Guess I'm a member of the Brother- and Sisterhood of Travelling Pins !

I don't sew over pins anymore because I hit one with my entry-level $50. Singer, and broke it so hard, the sewing place could only salvage the cord. A coil flew out, there were plastic bits leaking from the head of it... My current Kenmore/Janome will hopefully not suffer the same fate.

And I have waaay too much stuff on my sewing desk. There's a small cabinet, a desk organizer I glued a magnet to, for pins, and a very cluttered bulletin board I always have to move somewhere. Plus whatever doll I'm working with at the time. Clutter is my worst problem.

Oh, and I forgot the biggie sin - I buy and use thread on wooden spools. Lot of it out there, especially at the second-hand venues. Every book and sewist on the planet says to toss it, if it's that old it's most likely rotten, but when I tug it hard and it doesn't break, it's been OK to use. I use a lot to zig-zag the edges of new fabric before it gets washed - I call it cheap serging ! - and on lots of projects. Some of the colors are so beautiful...

And if anyone needs empty wooden spools, I got a Disney Princess lunchbox full ! (yes, some of my sewing stuff is DP themed, yet another of my sins !)
7  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Your Weekend Fun Guide to Dorries Attack of The Stupid (sewing edition) on: August 15, 2008 10:46:00 PM
 Cheesy Roll Eyes Tongue Grin Cheesy Tongue

OK, so. Beloved Hubby just joined a martial arts group and his new gi pants were rather long. We pinned em up, got measurements, marked off the hem line with a quick line of stitching. Figuring this wouldnt take long, I started the hem.

Alls well, until I hit the very thick outer seam. Hit being literal, I broke the needle, giving you your first inklings of my very own attack of Stupid. Never found the other pieces of it, but I was kind of in a hurry, so I grabbed another needle and got things moving again.

Only to have every line of stitching either completely pull out, unthread, or skip stitches like it was having the ultimate Power Surge from Hades. Took the bobbin race apart since half the time, the upper stitching didnt pick up the lower at all cleaned it, oiled it, changed the needle again, changed out the thread top and bottom, and re-threaded about a dozen times. My sweet machine is much quieter now, but her stitches were every bit as funked up as ever. When I got stitches, half the time, I didn't.

Beloved Hubby to the rescue ! He loads another needle, takes part of the machine apart, maybe I broke a belt or something. We found the upper tension was so clogged with lint, its no wonder it never seemed to make much difference how I set it. The spring coil was even halfway out of the dial ! We got that cleaned and put back together quickly. On my machine, it's not a user-maintained part, and nowhere in the manual.

Not that it made any difference. We were contemplating a new machine, figuring Id broken something inside when I snapped the needle. Just for troubleshooting, I typed sewing machine repair on Google. Twas then I came face-to-face with My Stupid. Ysee, theres one thing often responsible for skipped stitches and bobbin droppin. I grabbed my machine manual. DOh ! Stupid !!

Yup. I put the needle in backwards. The sewing machine I learned on was engineered so that the needle could not be installed backwards. So I assumed (ah-ha !) all machines were like that. Nope. Needles in mine definitely could be shoved in there any old way, because sweet thing that she is, she assumes Im smart enough to do that much correctly ! I've simply been very very lucky since 2002, when I got this machine !

I asked Beloved who was doggedly still poking and testing to please put the needle in again, with the flat to the back. Flawless victory ! Now she was the quiet, perfect workhorse Id always known my sweet Kenmore Janome to be. And his pants were hemmed, but we were running so late, we just stayed home and laughed about it for a while.

This sprung my Stupid out of our house, and its running loose ! Dont let it grab your machine and next project ! No matter how simple it is, how many times youve done it before, check the most basic elements if your equipment has suddenly decided to get funky on you. Or you could be the next victim of Stupid !

But maybe you've already fallen victim to Stupid in the past. Share your stories, would ya ? So I dont feel like such an idiot ? Pleeeeease ?

8  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Iron on Patches - Other ways? on: August 12, 2008 07:25:46 AM
I can't imagine why you wouldn't be able to sew them.

Unfortunately, I can think of one reason why machine sewing might be a bad idea - the adhesive on the back of the patch. If it gets on the needle, it can gum up the works PDQ. Make a huge mess. If Tickle thinks the glue won't transfer to the needle, then it's probably safe to use the machine.

But anyone who's ever tried to sew over sticky-back Velcro or something similar will attest that the mess generated from a glued-up needle is difficult to forget. 

You could do it by hand or with a machine. Either straight stitch right around the edge close the the satin stitch if it has that or zigzag around the edge.

There are some fabric glues that might hold but I'd say if you know how it would be better to sew.

I agree that sewing's the better option. I'd recommend hand-sewing, just to be on the safe side !
9  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: What can I do with old bras? on: August 11, 2008 01:09:10 PM
I'm a doll crafter, so there's tons of good stuff in a bra for my plastic pals ! I sometimes buy used ones at yard sales, if it has some interesting elements to reuse.

*Those adjust to fit sliders - the o-rings and 'figure 8' lookin' plastic/metal bits - make great doll belt buckles ! Tiny ones work for Barbie, bigger ones for Crissy or American Girl-type dolls. Ditto those buckles that go to front-hook bras. On some, you can even leave the buckle on the elastic for an instant doll belt. And I've seen similar buckles on doll shoes. Or, you could run ribbon through a bunch of the 'figure 8' pieces for an unforgettable friendship bracelet !

*Elastic - if it's not totally shot, it can be reused in other small-scale sewing projects. There's often two or more different kinds of elastic in most bras, and some can be quite pretty.

*Lace - I once took lace off a cup, curled up the edges and sewed 'em down as sleeves, and had a near-instant Barbie jacket. I'd post a photo, but I'm still a newbie - so here's a link to a Princess Leia doll wearing it. http://dorriebelle.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/leiabrajacket.jpg

*I've also been known to save the bits of fabric, for accent pieces or scarves for dolls. Same with spaghetti-strap bras. I can reuse them as straps in doll clothes without having to sew 'em my lazy self.

*A seam ripper can pull out those hooks and eyes in the back, for future use. Since bras come in so many great colors, I have hook/eyes in about ten shades beyond the black/white/silver ones sold at fabric shops.

*And this one's for people use - more than once, I've cut out the back closure 'eyes' piece and sewn it over the one on a bra that'd gotten a bit tight, to extend it a bit. It does throw off the whole fit of the bra, but if you just need it for a few more wearings, it beats paying $4. for the same thing in a lingerie shop or fabric notions store.

I know this doesn't do much for ya if you don't sew for dolls - but maybe it'll lead to other ideas !

10  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / Re: Mermaid Blythe...... on: August 11, 2008 12:38:15 PM
Here's a link to a short tutoral I found on a blog, to make a mermaid tail for an American Girl doll. Since the directions call for measuring your doll first, and sketching the tail you want, I'm sure the basic design would work for any doll scale. (scale -  ha ! )

It's towards the bottom of the page - to find it faster, look for the date on it, April 25 2008. Or do a search this page for 'merbaby'.


It's what Craftewoman says, but with pictures. So I hope it helps a bit !

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