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!