Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dragon Tie Belt

A while back my dad gave Dale all his cubicle-era ties he didn't want anymore. One of the ties that ended up in the bunch was my favorite tie from my childhood (next to the Yellow Submarine one of course). I decided to sneak that one off the tie rack and make a belt out of it using some vintage hook buckles I purchased off Gingham Girl's Etsy site. I don't like the belts made by just using the original shape. I wanted a belt that would go through my belt loops but still be noticeable as a tie. I ended up ripping the seam on the back of the tie and trimming the inside support down to the smallest width. Then I pinned it to the support and painfully sewed wiggle designs with my Brother sewing machine in gold metallic thread. This tool FOREVER and my thread broke every few minutes. I had to adjust my tension over and over again and that still didn't help. The thread bunched up really badly in many areas on the back side of the tie/belt. At least only the decorative gold wiggle stitching is visible, not the out of control bunches of thread. I attached the very long belt to the right dragon and began figuring out how to make the belt adjustable without buying more materials. I decided to use buttons. I have a wonderful vintage candy tin full of old buttons from Merry Sunshine on Etsy. I plucked out a card of gold buttons to match the dragon. I tried out the metallic thread for the button holes but threw out the idea on the first break of the thread and used yellow instead. My button holes came out great! I think it might even be the first time I've actually made real button holes for buttons. I sewed on the buttons and though they are evenly spaced, they do not match up with the button holes. I might resew them but two at a time will button in, enough to hold the belt on the needed size. I have three more vintage hook buckles and some thrift store ties for belts. There will definitely be some changes in the second belt but overall this was a really fun project and came out pretty neat. I can't wait to wear it!
Happy Crafting,
Cerise : )

Monday, April 20, 2009

Eco-friendly Dry Snack Bags

On my trip to Jo Ann's for...hmmm...I don't remember what for...I had a wild hair you know where and decided to start yet another project. This one I actually started and finished the SAME DAY! Eco-friendly snack and lunch bags, produce and bulk food bags, and shopping bags have been all the rage lately. I have seen them on Etsy, in Whole Foods, and other areas on the web. I decided about a month ago that I should make my own. I have been eco-groovey lately (I think it's the anticipation of being Corvallis and getting back to my "hippier" lifestyle) so I decided to take advantage of some sale cotton quilting fabric. I passed some wonderful pear fabric and was instantly inspired. I also got some cute cherries on checkers and some tree lover fabric (very fitting since it's saving bags!) and picked up a package of sew on velcro. I started in on my project right when I got home. I never pre-wash my fabric (I know, this is a no-no but I have coin-op laundry only!) but I did iron my fabric. I've found this is a really good idea with the cotton. I pulled out my bolt of muslin (sadly it's bleached) and started cutting out square of outer fabric and lining fabric with only a small idea of how I was going to make this snack back. I started with the pear print and quickly finished a great little velcro closure baggie. It came out exactly why I wanted it to! I thought the velcro may not be strong enough just attached to the muslin liner so I pulled out all my ribbon and began matching colors to prints for something to blend in the stitches on the outer fabric. I consulted my testing crew (Dale) and he decided it was quite sturdy with the velro just on the muslin. But the ribbon and lace looked so pretty on the cherry checker fabric that the pears now looked naked. I found some pretty scrap lace and seam biding ribbon for the happy tree fabric and after an afternoon and evening of sewing, with a break for dinner and the weekly crossword, I had three littl snack bags done. I really like the ribbon/lace accent on the outside and am going to hunt for something to match the pears for the next baggie. I love them and will soon be using them when my upcylced ziplock baggies get too ripped up to continue using. I also plan on gifting them and most likely selling them on Etsy or even at a craft show in Oregon and will definitely take special orders and requests until they hit the public market! I have some cute dino fabric on the way to make kid-friendly baggies too! I also want to make some reusable leak proof snack baggies for wet and gooey stuff but that is a future experiment that will have to wait a little while. For now, I'll just be using all the leftover apple sauce jars.
Happy Crafting, Cerise : )

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mercy, Mercy, Mercerized

I never quite finished talking about Nylon. I will get back to it, I promise! My tangent today is "Mercerized," something coined by a Mr. Joseph Mercer. I see Mercerized thread and fabric and never really knew what it was. Someone asked, I checked around.
I have a dog named Bluto and whenever he chews something we say he Bluterized it. Well Mercerizing is kind of similar really, only in a chemical way. Mercer discovered in 1844 that if treat you cotton thread or fabric under tension with a caustic soda it will increase the luster and allow the fabric to more readily accept dye. Apparently Mercer loved dyes and later learned a lot of chemistry. Science and fashion do mix! At first it was quite a failure as Mercerizing causes the fabric to shrink and the chemicals were expensive. Once Mercerizing became mechanized (whew, that's a mouthful!) and improved the process, it was successfully patented and is still used today.
Maybe I can find a way to put Bluto to work on an invention after all. He is full of Blutonium. There is no other way to explain his behavior.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thrist Store Finds...

It's been a LOOOOONG time once again! And again, I can blame school and work. Over spring break, I had my first field geology experience in the Mojave Preserve and it was a blast. Last week was spring camp at the Fleet, and this week I have no excuse really for not posting anything. I have been crafting this past week and created some eco-friendly dry snack bags (more on that later), discovered a new craft (also more on that later), and am finishing a dragon tie belt project (once again, more on that later). During my lunch break yesterday I went to my favorite thrift store in North Park and hit the jack pot on seam binding, biased tapes, piping, twill tape, and other sewing goodies. I did forget to grab the cute little oval embroidery hoop but maybe it will be there next time. The seam binding was the perfect find for my eco-friendly snack bags and was a much cheaper buy than the craft store and is using (almost) upcycled materials.
One of the other goodies is a sewing machine light bulb that fits my Singer Featherweight.
Ironically enough, the light just now blew on the Singer Featherweight. Good thing I got one at the thrift store. Let's hope it works so I can finish my dragon tie belt. That is (hopefully) going to be my next post.
Happy Crafting,
Cerise : )

I started this post from end to beginning out of my humor for the blown light bulb. The new light bulb won't fit in my machine!!! So so sad. Off to the craft store after all!