Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Tips of the trade

Here's a custom order I did tody for someone giving a gift. I am always unsure about my embroidered lettering in such confined spaces, but it's improving and I only do it when asked. I'm still working on the appliques and decided to make my smiling pears a pair:

I really love the 100% wool felt that I get at Brooklyn General and I just got an order for this specific onesie so I used the wool felt and then washed it and dried it in the dryer on high. As you can see with the super duper lens and high mega pixels of my camera, the wool got a bit fuzzy. I think it actually adds charm to the appliques because what's even cuter than a green smiling pair of pears? Fuzzy smiling pears. I doubt they would stand up to years and years of hight heat drying but considering the size is 3-6 months I don't think that will be an issue. My biggest obstacle right now (aside from lack of time to produce more samples) to launching the new line of appliqued clothing is literally purchasing the materials. I have to get to the garment district to buy some acrylic felt that I like the look of. Everything else that I have seen so far looked too cheap for my taste. The reason it's nearly impossible for me to perform this simple shopping expedition is that Harlan goes ballistic if I take him shopping. He screeches, throws his bottle or anything else I hand him for entertainment, and bucks and pops in his stroller to escape its confining straps. Not something I can bring along to jam-packed midtown any time soon.

Meanwhile, I signed up for a class over at Purl for my mother's day gift to myself from Harlan. I'm so glad he knew that what I wanted more than anything was a break that involved leaving himself and the borough of Brooklyn in order to do something fun all alone. In three classes I'm going to make a backpack that doubles as a tote. There are all kinds of sewing skills that I hope to learn (putting in a lining for one thing) and so far so good. I bought some lovely Japanese floral print for the body of the bag and patched together a couple of yards of various fabrics for the straps and lining. I can't wait to see how it comes together. The teacher turns out to be Lisel of Distressed. Lucky for me! She designed the tote and I already learned some great tricks from her last night that I hope to share later when I actually apply them to my bag. One of the other students in the class had a great tip for all of us: When tracing a pattern from (or another tissue one), use vellum instead of tissue paper. This way your copy will be much more durable and last longer. In addition, vellum pattern pieces are much easier to store (I always get fed up trying to refold my pattern pieces and stuff them back into the envelope) and less likely to fall apart if you want to pin them to yourself first.

More tips coming next week. In the meantime, I sat down today during my free time and grabbed my Tivo remote while working on the Sadie embroidery. After checking out my gal Rosie over on The View (I'm not ashamed, I love her) doing her hot topics, I checked out Martha's show from yesterday. She gave a tour of her new craft line over at Micheal's and I was drooling over the rotary cutter that attaches to the T-square topped quilter's ruler. There is a little edge along the side of the ruler that the cutter rests on and slides over so that you end up cutting your fabric in a super straight line at the edge of the ruler. I went over to Micheal's and could not find it for the life of me. They have her line separated into really obscure sections like celebrate, share, and cherish and inside each section is a specific project. I have no idea where the hell anything is. Horrible web design! Next I went straight to her site's new section of her products and found the cutter but not the specific ruler. At least I can count on her site to have excellent navigation and comprehensive sections. However, I find it very un-Martha for her site to be missing something she advertises on her show. As the public knows, and as I know personally from having friends working for her, she is not one to overlook details. I think this reputation of hers as being a perfectionist is really good PR, because it's one reason I may shell out the big bucks for some of her tools. I know they're not going to be crap. Let me know if any of you can find the special ruler anywhere.

Garbage update: Landlord apparently called my downstairs neighbor and apologized for cursing him out and holding him personally responsible for the overflowing torn up trash. He said he figured it must be someone else putting it there. Now if you recall, the reason it's there is that he DOESN'T TAKE IT OUT for weeks on end. Yesterday morning Joe took down a bag of our garbage and noticed two things: 1) Landlord had in fact taken out some trash and placed it on the corner for pick up. 2) The trashcan was popping and jumping. After he raised the lid a chihuahua sized rat lunged at him and scurried away inside Landlord's entryway. A pile of watery, decomposed garbage remains at the bottom of the trashcan.


Angelina said...

The garbage saga is really too much. How can you endure such weirdness?

I'm so glad you're taking a class that's teaching you new skills while giving you a break from the kiddo.

I love your custom embroidery!

Kim said...

This had me and David in stitches:

"Meanwhile, I signed up for a class over at Purl for my mother's day gift to myself from Harlan. I'm so glad he knew that what I wanted more than anything was a break that involved leaving himself and the borough of Brooklyn in order to do something fun all alone."

Sonya said...

I was just thinking about felt and how it would react to being washed. Thanks for 'publishing your results' as it were!

futuregirl said...

I always save your posts in bloglines so I can leave an appropriately long comment ... but then they just sit. I love reading your long posts, but I need to learn to just zip out a comment when I read it. Anyhoo, I love the pears. They are cute cute cute. Have you tried Daytona Trims for acrylic felt? They have a huge display with lots of colors in the way-back of the first floor. I can't wait to see your projects and to get more sewing tips from you. :)

Veronica TM said...

i love the embroidery and appliques, i think your lettering is very nice.
i haven't seen that ruler, sounds fantastic! i'll let you know if i find it.
and i can totally relate to taking my little one shopping, it is not fun at all when she is tired and bored.
a class at purl, lucky you!!