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1  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Help! No free arm, how to sew cylindrical things? (+industrial machine tips?) on: May 06, 2009 08:05:19 AM
So my friend has an industrial sewing machine she's letting me use because my sewing machine can't handle the number of layers of canvas in the tote bags I'm making. When I try to sew down the top "hem", the stitches all come loose at the side seams because it's too thick and bulky and my machine is a lightweight.

I'm so lucky to be able to use her machine, but I just realized it doesn't have a free arm (so it has just a plain flat surface to sew on). Am I going to be able to sew cylindrical things on this new machine, or am I going to have to try to rework the patterns to sew everything flat? I'm not sure that's even possible...

I've never used a machine like this before, and I was hoping some of you have found ways around the lack of free arm, or have some tips on making this work.

Please help! Any advice is so appreciated.
2  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / chunky gold unusual button cuff bracelet (chatty) on: September 29, 2008 03:29:19 PM
My mom recently gave me her button collection, attained over many years of sewing and mending. There are hundreds of buttons, some in sets and some entirely unique -- after sorting by size, material, beauty and oddness, it fills several jam jars occupying nearly an entire shelf above my desk. There's something for every project in there, and each button is pretty cool.  But, it's also so special that I want to be sure I put these buttons to the best use possible, which is sometimes difficult given the variety of buttons and the fact that many of the buttons are one of a kind.

I was browsing the metal buttons yesterday and got the idea for this cuff. It's about 2 inches wide and contains 30 buttons, 5 beads and a few swarovski crystals: almost the entire stash of this type of odd gold-coloured button and basically anything else I could find that would match. I secured each button individually and tied it in to several others using black embroidery thread. It's sturdy! The base of the bracelet is some 1.5" webbing I had kicking around, to which I machine-sewed some Velcro.

here are some fancy angled shots:

a close up:

and a shot of it on my wrist:

I tried to disguise the closure, and I think it worked! Unless you know where to look, it's pretty difficult to find.

I love how it turned out. It's the perfect way to showcase my mom's most sparkly and unique buttons -- it's over the top and gigantic, but I can't wait to wear it out on the town.

What do you think? Any suggestions for variations?
3  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / awesome black and white pleated handbag on: July 19, 2008 04:03:58 PM
I made this handbag using this fantastic tutorial at sewtakeahike: http://sewtakeahike.typepad.com/sewtakeahike/2007/09/green-wool-br-2.html

I wanted a large bag, so I added about 2" to the relevant dimensions, and that worked out pretty well, for the most part. I regret not making the handles even longer (I only added about 3.5").

I love the pleats. I was really looking for a stylish bag I could get the groceries with -- too bad they're so hard to see with this fabric Wink

This was my first magnetic snap, and it was easier than I thought!

My fave aspect of this bag is probably the combination of lining and outer fabrics -- I've been waiting for just the right project to use these two fabrics.

But not everything worked out perfectly. Has anyone used this tutorial before? I have a few questions:

1.  In step 4, you sew together the two B pieces -- when do you do this with the A pieces? I'm a little tired today, so I may be missing something obvious Wink

2.  Any idea how to sew the band (C) on to the outer and lining without hand-stitching? There must be a way, but I'm just not seeing it... I tried a technique similar to how you might sew blanket binding onto a quilt, but it was a little messy (it was the first time I've ever tried that, though... I might just suck at it! Smiley.

All in all, this was a really fun project for a rainy, lazy day. I totally recommend sewtakeahike's tutorial!
4  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Gigantic Silver and Crystal Cocktail Ring - so fun! on: April 12, 2008 09:35:10 AM
I love huge rings. Especially if they're a little ridiculous in size, but somehow still elegant and beautiful. That's what I was hoping to do with this one:

far-ish (pardon my chipped nail polish!):


It's a silver-tone filigree circle, an awesome vintage crystal button base and tiny Swarovski crystal bicone center, wired to a silver-tone adjustable base.

What do you think? Is it *too* big?

5  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Giant Beach Bag -- navy blue waves with pink detailing, yay! on: April 12, 2008 09:25:59 AM
Holy man, it's been a long time since I've posted a project!  Work has been stupid busy -- I hate having no time to craft, it's so much less fun Smiley

I'm visiting my parents in Florida next week, so I made this giant beach bag to take with me!  The fabric is from an Ikea pillowcase that used to adorn my couch until I got a new couch and it didn't match anymore Wink

I thought it looked like waves, so it was perfect for the beach! It's a heavy duty canvas fabric, and was actually fairly easy to work with, until I got to the straps. I had to hand-sew those because my machine just could not get through it. Sigh. What a pain! If anyone has any tips for sewing layers of tough fabrics, I'd really appreciate hearing them!

Anyway, on to the pics!
front (the back is the same, just minus the pocket):

It's seriously huge, ~18" square.  Yikes!

angle (this one shows the true colour):

inside (cute pink cherry blossom fabric! and a pouch I made for cash and sunglasses):

fabric close up:

What do you think?
6  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / pretty black and pink flower brooch on: December 20, 2007 08:26:31 AM
I made these flower brooches a couple of days ago after finding out I still needed a Christmas present for my Nan. Whoops! Smiley

They're made from black leather (from an old coat), green and pink vinyl, some pretty fuschia waterproof material I had in my stash, and a couple of seed beads. 

What do you think?

7  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Black and Turquoise Diaper Bag on: November 06, 2007 02:18:59 PM
wow, it's been so long since I made a bag... and this one taught me I need to make them more often -- I made so many mistakes!

Roughly 5 of my female friends are pregnant right now (yay!), so maybe I'll get a little more practice Smiley

(Ugh, sorry for the terrible pics... it was so gloomy and dark today. )

front flap:

under the flap (with zipper pocket):

one side, elastic bottle pocket (the other side looks the same):

inside (velcro pockets on one side, elastic pockets on the other):

and I made a bunch of things to include, too:

close up:

a receiving blanket, a few flannel cloths, a purse organizer filled with baby essentials and moisturizer, a changing pad and a vinyl zipper pouch for used diapers. 

Did I miss anything?  Any suggestions for what else to include next time?

What do you think?
8  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / shrink plastic goldfish earrings on: October 14, 2007 06:46:28 PM
I just finished these and absolutely love them!  They're in honour of my little fishy friend, Chuckles.  He's a cutie.

My first time trying shrink plastic -- so much fun!
9  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Silkscreened Bear! on: October 14, 2007 10:03:54 AM
I think this bear is kind of hilarious.  I created the image and came up with a whole story and history to this eclectic fellow, which somehow explains his strange attire.  Cheesy  He's got a fedora, aviator sunglasses and a kicky neck scarf. He's rather fond of the 70s style of dress.

I think each type of fabric adds a different personality, and I tried to use ink types which would compliment the fabric. I screened the images using my new Print Gocco (which I adore) and made a little tag out of ribbon to make them look more real.  It was such a fun process!

this fabric reminded me of pants an older man or a golfer might wear

a bit gangster, maybe


and my fave photo, a group shot:

I'd love to hear what you think!

10  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Asymmetrical animal earrings on: October 14, 2007 09:03:52 AM
I made these earrings for my sisters for Christmas after being inspired by some really cute earrings I saw in a shop called Swimmer.  The ones in the shop were a bit pricey, and I thought I could make them pretty easily.

fish skeleton



I love how they turned out!
what do you think?
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