Most people come to me with shirts or jackets or the occasional blanket to embroider. Yesterday I got this rush job from a repeat client I did 40 shirts for sometime ago. These are some industrial work aprons for some of his worker. They need to go out first thing tomorrow so I’m here at my shop getting these done. It took a bit of creative finagling to get this particular apron into my embroidery machine. I really didn’t want to have to make a patch for them. I settled on using the ever amazing Fast Frames System! This awesome hooping system has saved my life multiple times! I was lucky enough to get them with my machine. They are great for tricky, hard to hoop items. Basically it tricks your embroidery machine into think that the largest hoop is in the machine. Then it has smaller centered attachments of varying size to hoop the items.
However, even with the fast frames system I still ended up having to open one side of the pocket I was trying to embroider on. I couldn’t find the middle size hoop attachment so I had to use the larger one, which was just a little too bit for the pocket to move freely while embroidering.
So now that LuLu is finished work is getting back to normal. Which is a little boring. I forgot how much I miss making costumes and pulling all nighters to get them done before an event. I really wish I had more creative stuff to do. However, when I was only doing creative stuff I didn’t get much done. If I sit and wait until the “mood” strikes I’ll never do anything. That’s the main reason why the creative stuff is not lucrative for me. Don’t get me wrong I love my work. Contract sewing is fun and changes enough to keep things fresh and not too dull. I’ve worked for manufacturing companies doing the same thing all day. Literally sewing the same type of thing all day long! It killed my soul. Doing so many different kinds of sewing things, helps shake up the monotony that comes with sewing for others. Then every so often I get some crazy awesome requests that make my job extra fun. For instance, a few weeks ago I made a dog bed out of AstroTurf. Not the whole thing, just the top part. That was fun and it came out great but boy was it a pain in the ass to sew. Thankfully my Brother industrial walking foot is a beast! Even though I don’t do as much super creative sewing as I would like my business does bring in some interesting project and pushes me to think outside the box and test and learn thing I would not have otherwise.
It is always really interesting to see my customers ideas. This custom apron job came to me via a reference from my mail man. I had done some alterations for him and when he heard someone was looking for a seamstress he recommended me. I love hear how people found me. I get a lot of word of mouth business. This apron was a custom request for the owner of a local barber shop. He’s young and the barber shop is modern and trendy. At first when he said he wan’t leather and rabbit fur I was a little put off by it. But it’s what he wanted and I can work in leather. When he brought me the fabric I wasn’t sure how good it would come out because of the combination of fabrics. But when you do custom work, you do what the customer wants and curb your own style. The only time I ever nah-say a customers ideas is when it’s more difficult to construct or there might be construction issues. However, it’s more of an advisory regarding extra cost for a longer sewing time or some construction issue like two fabrics not being able to be sewn together because it might be too bulky or unappealing to the eye. This was one of those situations. I was concerned about the thickness of the leather suede material and the rabbit fur pockets. It was tricky and I advise him that lining the rabbit fur pockets with another layer of rabbit fur would be thick. Which is was, but it wasn’t impossible to sew. I was able to make it work. He wanted it to be black and red. I had some thin pig suede lying around so I added the red stripe to the top, the pockets, and the bottom. Just to break up the black a little. It came out a lot better than I thought it would. I still have mixed feelings about the rabbit fur pockets. For one, I had a moment while sewing them, when I thought about what it was I was really working with. It made me very sad when I thought about all the bunnies that died for these pockets. I don’t think I want to work in real fur anymore. But other than that this outrageous idea came out better than I thought it would and I actually like it. #arizona #contractsewing #mesa #seamstressproblems #seamtress #sewing #wolfchilddesigns
Most people think that they can just upload a graphic picture into some embroidery software and viola it’ll stitch out on an embroidery machine. NO. That’s actually very far from the truth what digitizing embroidery is. Essential digitizing embroidery is like tracing over an image with stitches. The software does a lot o the work. Back in the day when machine embroidery first started people had to manually punch every single needle hole to create the stitches. Modern day software figures out a lot for you. In this short video you see how I’m working on digitizing a very large logo. Basically tracing over the image with stitching. There is a lot more that I have to do to it than just lay down stitching. There is a lot of trial and error that I’ve gone though figuring out what kinds of settings do what and how what you see on the screen really looks on fabric. It’s a very complex process. Over the last four years I’ve taught myself embroidery digitizing because there are not a lot of options for learning how the pros do it. I’ve watched countless tutorials online with all kinds of software. I’ve read my embroidery software’s manual multiple times. I’ve learned a lot about digitizing but there is still so much out there I could learn and am looking to learn. Here’s is a tiny glimpse into what digitizing looks like. For those wondering I am using Bernina Embroidery Software v6.
My assistant Hannah came up with this brilliant idea for cutting the corner in prep for sewing a mitered corner on these table runners. She took the clipping from the first runner she did and used it as a template for all the other corners for the rest of the runners! BRILLIANT!! I would have measured every single corner. LOL
So back in February I took a job for 28 table runners for a charity. They requested a discounted rate because it was a charity. I agreed because it was the spouse of one of my regular clients. Unfortunately, I under quoted the time the job would take and ended up in the hole on this huge project. Aside from that my assistant Hannah and myself have had problem after problem with this awful fabric my client bought at SAS Fabrics here in Arizona. They are a warehouse style fabric shop that often has a lot of manufacturer defect or overstock fabric. We first noticed issues with it when we did the first three runners as samples. The fabric is a polyester/rayon heavy satin with huge blue and white stripes running parallel to the lengthwise grain. For the life of me I couldn’t understand why they were bubbling in the middle and not laying flat. We tried every sewing trick I know and some I looked up to try to create the best situation for them to come out flat. It didn’t seem hard since we were just hemming the fabric in a giant rectangle. We pressed it, we starched it, we pinned it, we tried a satin foot, we tried a walking foot. Nothing seemed to work. So finally I decided they were just going to be funky and we just moved on and kept sewing them. Half way though the bolt of 25 yards we noticed that the stripes were not where they were when we started. When the stripes were printed on the fabric they were not straight. It looks like the fabric moved while they printed it and the result was spiral stripes the length of the whole bolt! Since we need to the strips to run the length of the runners and not across the runners, the runners were twisted!! Bubbling problem solved! Ugh I was so irritated about it. It wasn’t anyone fault and you wouldn’t have been able to tell just by looking at the bolt. If we had used to the stripes in the other direction it might not have been an issue but the runners would have looked a little prison-y. Anyway, we’re down to the last one today and I’ll be happy when this job is done and we can start working on costumes.
Here is a picture of the last of the two 40 foot runners we had to do. We had 26 7 foot by 14″ runners and two 40 foot by 14″ runners. Process is: Starch and press, press and pin hem, sew, and press again. 40 FEET OF IT!!!