Most of what I love about my business are the interesting challenges that my clients provide me. Some of my favorites include sewing things out of the ordinary, like the AstroTurf dog bed that I make last year. Some others have been requests for embroidery on things that weren’t necessarily made to be embroidered on. Such as this car dash cover. Not only was the piece itself daunting but the embroidery they wanted on it was rather complex. This was for one of my regular clients. He does boat and auto upholstery and now offers his clients custom embroidery because he knows me. We’ve been working together intermittently for a few years now. I always welcome his projects because they challenge my sewing and embroidery skills. These one-time creative projects are the best part of my business. If I had to sew the same thing all day I would probably loose my mind.
So here is the embroidery project I had this week. This is the finished piece all ready to go. It is the dash or some cover for part of a vehicle.
This is the set up I had to create just to be able to embroider this giant car cover thing. I raised my ironing board to it’s highest high then place my table top ironing board and my sleeve board on top of that to add extra height. Off on the right side, on top of the filing cabinet, I placed my sewing tote with my hoop master shirt board on top of that. This thing was not just large, but extremely heavy as well. If I had let it hang it would have surely broken my machine.
This is the amazingly complex design I had to digitize for this project. I love getting to stretch my digitizing muscle. I’ve mentioned before in past post about the digitizing process. There are not many resources for learning how to digitize embroidery and the software is extremely expensive. I’ve spent the last 6 years teaching myself through trial and error. So when I get projects like this force me to think outside the box, it helps keep my skills sharp. This design was over 30,000 stitches and had 12 color changes and 7 different colors.
While it was stitching I had to watch it constantly for the almost two hours it took to stitch the design. This was due to both the complexity of the design and the rig I had to keep the giant piece of material in place on the machine.
There were a few things that went wrong with this design that I will change but it looks good enough that a non-embroidery person will probably not notice. The darker gray (pewter) color I chose for the outer wreath is too dark for one. If I stitch this design again I would probably use to pewter where the black is in the wreath and a medium gray for the pewter color. The wreath just feels too dark. I also accidently put the pewter over the yellow part of the center emblem instead of the black that was supposed to be there. That happened because for some reason I thought I could save myself a thread change by replacing two of my standard threads that were already on my machine. But I forgot the design required black as well as the pewter. Both the silver accent lines inside the central design and the thin black line the wraps the bottom of the central design are way too thin. These were all 0.02mm thick and they should have been at least 0.05mm. As a result, the different patches of color are showing through in some places. The most annoying thing I messed up was the stabilizing of this design. Half way through the centerpiece the whole thing started to bow really bad. I had to add two additional layers of heavy stabilizer to compensate. I forgot about the density of the design needed a very firm platform. That did the trick and the rest laid flat. However, I had to press the center with my iron. I placed it on a block of wood and used my wooden clapper to sandwich it in between too hard surfaces once heated. That allowed the fabric under the bulging piece to lay flat.
Overall, this project came out alright. It’s not my best work. Some projects are like that, they just don’t want to get made and will fight you the whole time. This project was definitely a fussy project. Everything from the embroidery file not wanting to load in the machine to the wrong thread color to the thread breaking more times than I could count and for seemingly no reason. But I made it work and I think the customer will be pleased.
I just love getting this kind of creative custom orders! I make a Naruto themed coin purse with the Red and White Akatsuki Cloud emblem on it. A customer asked me if I could make a rectangular shaped toiletries bag with the same emblems all over it. I have never made this type of bag before. However, there are many tutorials and patterns online for the basic design. I was able to adapt one to meet the measurements my client requested. It is a lot larger than the original design and shaped a little different but the idea is the same. It came out really awesome! I was even thinking of adding it to my regular offerings. Final bag measures 12″long x 7″ tall x 6″ deep.
This is a reference picture of the anime Naruto, this is the villain group known as the Akatsuki, they all wear the same jacket.
Here is my Akatsuki inspired toiletries bag. I’m really happy with it. However, it was a rush job so there are a few things I probably would have done differently, had I had more time to plan it out. For example, I’m not a hundred percent pleased with the way the lining came out. Instead of doing it as a separate lining, like with a purse. I probably would have done it as a part of the main pieces and finished the inside with bias tape, that way the lining would not be loose.
I’ve been gone for too long from this blog. It started last year when I started having health issues. The doctors are still not one hundred percent on what’s wrong but they have settled on Anxiety Attacks. Back in 2015, I got a concussion while skating in a Roller Derby game in Vagas. A month later I started having paralytic episodes where I couldn’t move or talk and sometimes would shake uncontrollably. These happened on and off for most of 2015 and into 2016. The end of 2015 took my mother from me so the beginning of 2016 was extra hard. Finally, it seemed like I was getting better from these episodes despite the stress I was experiencing. It seemed that the medication they were giving me was the cure. However, I was mistaken, the meds started causing more harm than good by the middle of last year and I ended up having to shut down my whole business completely. I could barely take care of myself in my home. I couldn’t leave the house for the most part and I thought my life was over. The episodes had not only come back but were much worse and more frequent than before. Towards the end of last year, around September, I finally figured out that it was all the medication they were giving me. Once, I started weaning myself off it, I started to feel better. Slowly over the last six months, I’ve been getting better, getting back to myself again. This month I was finally able to open my business back up and am back to a short but regular work schedule. I’m even back to roller derby.
Unfortunately, I still have several other health issues I am working out still, but none are completely debilitating. I’m glad to finally have my health under control and be back to doing what I love, Sewing!
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