Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tool-of-the-week ... The Bone Folder!

One of my favorite things about sewing is all of the fabulous tools I get to collect (and hopefully use). I love discovering new additions for my sewing tool box. I am absolutely sure I am not the only one who spends 45 minutes in the notions aisle of the fabric store just to make sure there is not some fabulous new thing-a-ma-bob that will revolutionize my sewing world! Occasionally there is...

And so I would like to introduce a new segment called "tool-of-the week" (maybe I should come up with a catchier tittle..any ideas?)

This weeks tool-of-the week is... THE BONE FOLDER!

The bone folder is wonderful tool to have in your sewing arsenal.  I initially discovered it while taking a book binding and paper making class in college (yes I went to liberal arts school... did you expect anything less?) and it made its way from my craft box to my sewing box for the following reasons...

Point turner:
In my opinion a bone folder is much better than the ubiquitous point turner made of bamboo. Because a bone folder is made of a more dense material (i.e. bone or plastic) it doesn't splinter off into fabric (or fingers) or pierce or cut while turning points.

6th finger:
The bone folder can act as an extension of your finger/hand while ironing small pieces, tying bows, or even guiding fabric through a bias tape maker. It can stand in as a jean-a-ma-jig too when in need.  

Fabric Marker:
Another use for this little guy is to temporarily mark fabric with out damaging it. Use the rounded point to press an indentation into the fabrics surface, over time and after pressing the fibers lift and return to shape. (always test tools/techniques on a scrap piece of fabric first to see how it works)

Do you have more sewing/fabric uses for a Bone Folder that I haven't discovered yet? Please share them with me. I love learning new uses for old stuff!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Holiday Kid's Bazaar - Darbalou's very first craft fair!

Isn't this the cutest postcard?
Amid all of the craziness that has been in the air, (elections, hurricanes, visiting grandma) I stumbled upon an add for a local craft fair! I applied to be a vendor and got in! Yay for me! The craft fair is called the Holiday Kids Bazaar and I am so excited to be a part of it. I spoke to one of the organizers yesterday at her wonderfully cute shop babyNOIR and got some postcards and a few more details.

The Holiday Kids’ Bazaar in Astoria will take place at on December 1st at 22-27 33rd St (bet. Ditmars Blvd & 23rd Ave), in Astoria. It looks like there are going to be some amazing local crafters there. I am definitely going to have to put myself on a strict budget so I dont spend all of the money I make on delicious treats and terrific toys!

Fortunately I have enough inventory that I dont need to go crazy making stuff (but I probably will anyway).  I have also been trolling pintrest boards for ideas for our booth. Some of my favorite so far are ...

OK I have admission to make... I started writing this post on Friday but  was sucked into the black hole of the internet. On the plus side I discovered the blog Stitched in Color (pintrest took me there and then I'm pretty sure I stayed for 3 hours at least).

Soooo, yeah, Rachel is my new hero. I simply cannot believe she learned to sew so recently! And the fact that she continuously creates is just so awe inspiring. And then it makes me jealous. And then sad. And then inspired again.

But to tie it all together... her series of posts about her experience at a craft fair really gave me some good advice. I learned that....

I really dont know anything yet!

I feel like I have so much to do before December 1st! Oh my god, what if I cant get it all done? What if I fail like a big floppy failure? I am totally psyched out!! And NOW MY LEG HAS FALLEN ASLEEP! (that last one might be unrelated)

Actually I feel OK.  I do have a lot to do but I am sure I will be fine. Right? RIGHT??

If you have any sage advice for me about this whole craft show thing, please share. I would love to hear it. Or maybe a story about your first experience?  Right now I have to go walk around because my leg really has fallen asleep.

See you soon I hope!

Surface treatments for recycled leather

Yesterday I monkeyed around with some surface designs for the leather I am going to work with for Pattern Review's refashion contest. I want to do something that really accentuates the flexibility of the leather. So I used some cording, top stitching and sew-and-slash methods to see what would look best. I haven't finalized my design yet so there is always that element but I think this is a good start.

(This is the first blog post from my iPhone so apologies if the layout is wonky.)

Adding clothes line cord to create piping.
Top stitching with contrast thread.
This is supposed to be like the sew and slash method, but the leather doesn't care that I slashed it. It still looks the same.

What the what?! I was showcased on Rhonda's Creative Life!

This afternoon I was checking my blog stats and saw that I had a quite a few people coming over from Rhonda's Creative Life.  I thought that that was quite interesting. Well, turns out that the wonderful RhondaBuss had written about me and my blog on October 24th and I had no idea! What a sweet surprise today. You can read her post here.

RhondaBuss had commented on a post I made a little while ago and so I started following her blog Rhonda's Creative Life.  Let me just say I love her blog. It makes me very happy to read about such a variety of creative endeavors. And, although I am a true sewist, I have particularly loved reading about her fall soups. The Monday morning inspiration posts are my second favorite. I  have even printed some out for my sketchbook!

Thanks RhondaBuss! You are a real inspiration.

This whole blogging thing has been an interesting experience. I am by nature more private than public (although I am outgoing and gregarious).  But to see the number of readers (and followers) slowly rise has been so neat. And a little nerve wracking. And I find myself writing posts in my head while on the train, or at the bank (in other words places where my blog isn't quite accessible). The idea that people out there are reading about things that I am doing or thinking is so remarkable. It is a small world isn't it? (cue song please)

So thank you also to my mystery readers. I love that you stopped by.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sewing Solace - A handmade holiday crafts drive for victims of Sandy

House destroyed by Hurricane Sandy
In the aftermath of Sandy, I have been doing a lot of thinking about ways I can help. Not just giving money, which we dont have much of to give, nor canned goods, because we dont have much of that either. But specifically what I can do with my particular skill set. Unfortunately I can't get to the most devastated areas right now, so volunteering my time might be hard. I have looked into the Occupy Astoria group because I have heard that the Occupiers have really been doing an amazing job organizing people to help, and that might be an avenue I peruse.

However, yesterday an amazing little article popped up in my Google alerts. The following article from the Huffington Post turned out to be an inspiration...

Although I am an avid animal lover, and as I write this my little puppy Pepper is sleeping on my feet, I feel that maybe the children and families affected by the storm are more in need of my needle and thread. I don't propose to sew them clothes or blankets, because those can be purchased fairly cheaply for donation. I was thinking more along the lines of holiday heirlooms. It is so close to the holiday's and along with the destruction of their homes, people lost precious family treasures, stockings made by long gone great grandmothers, tree ornaments from baby's first Christmas, nativity scenes brought over from the home country. I know it seams like a very little thing now, but on Christmas eve, it might be really important to have a little something made with love, even if it is from a stranger.

This stocking is from a tutorial on Cluck Cluck Sew
My conclusion? A handmade holiday crafts drive for victims of Sandy!

The details are still in work, but I think that any handmade, holiday (Chanukah, Christmas and any other seasonal holiday) items are appropriate for this drive. And, if all goes well, maybe we can also add little gifts? I am going to try and figure out how these items can be distributed to people in need, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Have any of you ever done anything like this before?

In the meantime, start thinking about what scraps are laying around that can be transformed into something festive. I am going to start making Christmas Stockings with some scraps of satin and some fabulous pink fur! I will post more as it develops, along with some Christmas craft tutorials. 

Do you like this idea? Seriously, any suggestions would be a real help!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Getting my refashion on!

So today I starting working/thinking about the Refashion Contest (sponsored by threads on Pattern Review which I wrote about here) Fortunately my dear husband used to wear a giant black leather trench coat in college. He knows better now. Thank god. Anyway, he has this huge leather jacket that he kindly gave to me to use for my project. So sweet.

I also happened to run across this doozy at my local little thrift store. Its just the fabulous shade of green isn't it? It smells a little funky (alla attic) but I think I can fix that.

This morning I tried a bunch of different surface treatments on the black leather and I think that I came up with some really cool options.

I am really excited about this project! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

To throw or to sew?

During the storm last week I decided to start making a coat. It's on my list of things to make, and I had purchased fabric for the Gertie Sew Along. I decided that I to make the Burdastyle's Talea coat because A) it is pretty cute and B) it was free. (I also wrote about that here) I decided not to add the epaulette tabs because I am self conscious about my shoulders and all that stuff seamed like it would be to much. It all started out so well...

First mistake
I have made a few Burdastyle patterns before and I have generally been satisfied with the fit and sizing, but this was the first oat I had ever made. So I didn't make any pattern adjustments (other than adding a lining). 

What a sad sack I am in.
Second mistake
Then, I decided to do some top stitching that deviated from the directions. I thought it would give the coat an Anthropologie-ish flair by zig-zagging on either side of all the seams.  It looked nice but made it twice as hard to rip apart. And then it turns out it doesn't look that nice.

Third mistake
My instincts told me I should use some sort of interfacing in the shoulders and collar, but the directions didn't say anything about that. 

Fourth mistake
I looked at the other finished Taleas on and felt really lame. Sigh. 

So now I have a 4/5 finished coat that I hate. HATE! I just want to make something else. But, you see, therein lies the problem. I also really dont want to add ANOTHER half finished project to the discard pile. Ergo...

To throw or sew.  Do you have this problem? Why is it so hard to just push through and FINISH? Maybe if I finish I wont hate it (yeah right). But even if I do hate it, won't I feel better about myself if I can just push though and get it done? 

Well, I am no going to find out. Goodbye Talea. You made me so happy and then so sad.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Can I get a woo hoo for Darbalou?!

After much procrastination (followed by a  little diligence) I finally got all of the Darbalou products up on Etsy! EVERYTHING is now online, (although there are still a few additional photos to add to the most of the capes)

One of the best parts about editing the photos from our "photo-shoot" was looking at all of the expressions my niece had from photo to photo.

She really hammed it up for us that day. I wish Etsy had a place for captions under their photos. She really had some good ones. She is just so dang cute!

"Now am I smiling big enough?"

"This is my impression of a Hobbit climbing the steps into Mordor."

 "Don't f* with me Aunt Darby!"

"Hey-hey man, its all good!"
I can't wait to have a little photo-shoot with her again. She was such a trooper. We took over 400 photos on Lou's iPhone, (great quality right?) I wish I had as much energy. After we had gone through all of the costumes, she asked to start all over again after dinner. Ha!

It feels great to be able to say that I have my stuff online now, and it will feel even better when I get my first non-friend-non-family member sale, (although I am definetly not complaining about the support). There are a few private orders in the works now, but I am going to start working on new products soon! I was thinking a wrap-around princess dress with bell sleeves and faux lacing? Do you think there will be any takers out there?