20 August 2010

Tutorial: How to make a craft show banner

I needed a banner for my booth at craft shows. I designed it to be flexible (sometimes you don't know what the venue will be like and how you'll be able to attach a banner) and easy to pack up without getting all wrinkled up and ugly next time you pull it out.

1. I used 4 sheets of dark brown felt (rectangles 9"x12"). I ironed some pretty sturdy fusible interfacing to the back.

2. I cut the 4 sheets into half-size, yielding 8 letter panels. I only needed 7 of these, one for each letter in my company name: xbohica.

3. I ironed fusible double-sided web to one side of bright pink felt. (Leave the paper on the fusible web for now!)

4. On my computer, using MS Word, I found a font that I liked and printed out each letter (really big!) of xbohica on paper. Then I cut out each of those letters from the paper. This gave me my templates for cutting letters.

4. I traced the letters (from #4 above) on the pink felt. Then I cut out the letters from the pink felt.

5. I removed the paper from the backs of the letters and ironed them onto the 7 brown panels, one letter per panel.

6. I sewed a lime green buttonhole stitch around the edges of each letter.

7. I applied lime green (single fold) bias tape around the edges (sides and bottom) of each of the brown panels.

8. I sewed all of the letter panels onto a long length of (extra wide) lime green bias tape. Make sure you attach the letters in the right order :-)

9. Ta-da. I'm ready to really "represent" at the next craft fair!

14 August 2010

A new life for a feed bag

Well, I guess it's technically a "feedbag bag." I had just enough left from the two feedbags to make Carol a tote that matches the horse groomer's smock.

Horse groomer smock made from horse feed bags

My colleague at work (you know, that university job that pays the bills) asked me to give this a try. Just as I have a real calling to be a geeky crafter, she has a real calling for horses. Carol and her husband own Andalusians of Texas, in Salado.

I think this is a brilliant idea, but be warned: the plastic is hard and stiff. It's very difficult to work with. Here's a photo gallery of the step-by-step process. I'll report back later after Carol does the beta testing.

07 August 2010

TUTORIAL: More tips for assembly-line sewing

Before Christmas my mom and I made five Hawaiian shirts, each one a different size. Eventually,we were cursing under our breath, realizing we were accidentally trying to fit a size 5 collar on a size 7 shirt or a size 7 sleeve in a size 5 shirt. That many pieces, all in the same fabric, in five different sizes... well, it's easy to get mixed up.

I've already blogged a tutorial on assembly-line sewing, but it only discussed the techniques to use when all items are exactly the same size, regardless of how many different fabrics you may use. But what about when you are making several things, all the same pattern, all the same fabric, but in many different sizes? It can get confusing very quickly.

Here's what I do. Go to the nearest discount store and buy a package of garage sale pricing stickers (any little sticker dots will do). The ones I have, left over from a garage sale a long time ago, are in neon shades.

Today, I'm sewing three little girls' aprons, all in the same fabric. As I separate each piece from the tissue pattern, I stick a dot on the fabric identifying its size. For instance, I'm making sizes 4, 6 and 8. I used pink dots for size 4, orange dots for size 6 and green dots for size 8. This way, you can process each step of construction for all three aprons at once without getting pieces mixed up and without spending any time figuring out which size pieces you have in your hand.

For example, I start this apron by binding the edges of the pockets. Each pocket is marked clearly with a label, so I don't worry about getting them confused (and trying to put a size 8 pocket on a size 6 apron skirt) and am free to bind all six pockets in a chain (saving lots of time and thread!) before moving on to the next step of construction.

By the way, I've tried other marking methods. Post-it notes fall off. Chalk marks come off. Tiny stickers seems to work best for me so far.

Do you have another way you solve this problem? Share your tip in comments!

31 July 2010

iPad cover: Perfect intersection of geekery and crafting

I've been using this iPad cover I made for a couple of weeks now. It's been a beta test to see if I need to make any adjustments before making some more for my etsy shop.

I love it. The only adjustment I think I'll make is to add a little notched opening to the bottom of the screen protector so that the iPad can be plugged in without removing it from the cover.

It's padded with felting in between the layers of fabric. The screen protector is very thin vinyl (such a pain to sew with!) and does not impede touch-screen functionality.

I'm thinking of charging $40 or $45 for this style. Any feedback on style, function or price?

19 July 2010

Good relations with the Wookiees, I have.

Last year, I promised the first five people who responded to a facebook/twitter post a free handcrafted gift from me... just 'cause.

My friend, Oscar, asked for a Star Wars apron.

I could not find suitable Star Wars fabric to make an apron from, but I did find a fabric panel that had Yoda on it.

I made the apron from beige twill and used the Yoda fabric panel for the pocket. Of course, I embroidered Oscar's name on it, as well.

Oscar, may the force be with you!

Some favorite Yoda quotes (from thinkexist.com):

“Good relations with the Wookiees, I have.”

“Yes, a Jedi's strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they."

“Happens to every guy sometimes this does”

Try not. Do or do not, there is no try."

22 May 2010

iPad cover. Difficulty factor: No iPad for fitting

I made an iPad cover. *I* think it's cute and functional. The cover is padded with felting and craft foam between the layers of fabric. It opens all the way up, revealing a vinyl cover/sleeve where the iPad fits in.

I went by measurements from the Apple website and did do one trial fitting at about the 1/2-way point with my friend's iPad. But I wish I had my own to try it now!

26 April 2010

Jasmine in bloom

These balmy 80-degree sunny days have me in summer mode... even though we all know in the heart of Texas summers are over 100 degrees. Days like today take me straight back to the Iowa summers of my childhood.

When I stepped outside to get the mail after I got home from work today I noticed the jasmine. It's loaded down, every tendril weighed with massive amounts of buds. Just a couple of them are open so far.

See how it's grown since I planted it last year?

This summer is going to smell great!

10 April 2010

Functional business cards - keepers

(Click on photos up to two times to enlarge.)

When I say these are "keepers" I mean someone might actually keep this in a purse or pocket and use it for a while.

I'd seen these little handmade matchbook-style notepads on Etsy.com and they're adorable. All of the ones I've seen, though, are stapled at the bottom. Me, I have to sew. So I sewed along the bottom, rather than using staples. The stitching makes it an even more appropriate item for a handmade sewing business.

I will be stamping the inside cover with my company name (xbohica), my etsy shop address (xbohica.etsy.com) and email address (xbohica at gmail dot com).

The outside cover is made from a card stock. The inside pages are made from regular-weight scrapbooking papers as well as plain white printer paper (every other sheet).

What about your business card? How "keepable" is it? How does it highlight what you do? I'd love to see some examples in the comments.

The finished size is about 3"x2.25".

07 February 2010

I admit

I admit that I still haven't done those bound buttonholes.

I've put that down and am working on something with a deadline of Feb. 20. There is an awards banquet that night. It's a black tie optional affair.

So I'm going to make a formal gown out of Vogue 2607. I cut out and made the jacket out of muslin today. Evenings this week I'll need to get to work making that out of the real (sparkly-ish brocade). Then I'll work on the skirt.

After I finish that, I'll get back to those bound buttonholes. I promise.

18 January 2010

Fear of...

...bound buttonholes.

My sewing machine makes beautiful, consistent, finished buttonholes. But only up to 1 inch in size.

The jacket I just finished needs BIG buttons. Bigger than 1 inch. The only kind of buttonhole to do is a bound buttonhole. I am scared to death to try it!

I googled until I found a few different techniques and tried all three on practice materials late this afternoon.

But I'm still not feeling comfortable with this! I brought the fabric for this jacket back from Hilo, Hawaii. I do not want to mess this up!

I need a pep talk.

Here were a couple of the best tutorials I found showing how to make bound buttonholes:



01 January 2010

Skulls and roses

Devon bought this fabric about a month ago and I told her I'd make her a smock apron after Christmas. Done!

Mele Kalikimaka!

Finally! I made Mike's shirt from some of the fabric I brought back from Hilo a year and a half ago! I love the bold pattern and put the biggest motifs down the center of the back and collar. Of course, I used the authentic coconut buttons we got there, too.