Ever since I moved into my first home, I have been struggling to make the best of the lack of space I suddenly had. I downsized my shop from the 500sqft commercial space to a 200sqft (approx) bedroom. Not to mention downsizing the rest of my life too. My whole house is only 700sqft but it’s mine! 😀
Anyway, when I first moved my shop it I set it up so the giant cutting table was the central focus. Because that was the way I had it before in my large shop. So this is what I continued with.
I got tired of having to climb over my chairs on the left side of the table and constantly hitting my hip on the corner of the table when walking around it. For months I was frustrated and mentally re-organizing my shop room when finally I got tired of thinking about it and just started rearranging things until it felt right. I started purging things while re-organizing and ended up with more room than I thought I would have. I love my new layout, it makes me feel like being in my shop more!
I’ve said this before, but I love the creative jobs I get. The not so normal alterations and projects. This came from one of my Roller Derby League mates. She asked me to take this cute purse she had and use it to create a panel on her denim vest. She’s kind of punk so it figures the purse fabric is Disney princesses in Tattoo pin-up style.
Here is the purse fabric:
The cuteness of the fabric alone made this project so much fun to work with.
The trickiest part was making a pattern for the back shoulders of the jacket. At first, I had it laying flat on my table and I was just going to pin some paper to it and trace it out as best I could. Then I noticed my Hoop Master shirt board and had a great idea. Putting it on the shirt board made it so much easier to work with the jacket.
No shirt board
On Shirt board
Then I got started drafting a quick pattern. In retrospect, I should have taken a little more time to make the pattern symmetrical because it came out a little off but I already cut the fabric so I couldn’t go back.
Pinned some paper to the jacket and started tracing.
The trick to this was trying to position the pattern so that I could get the most princesses in the frame. Also, I made sure that her favorite princess, Belle, was very visible.
Positioning the pattern
Finally sewing it onto the jacket was probably the easiest part. I didn’t give myself a seam allowance but did a serged edges instead. Then used a zig-zag stitch to secure it to the jacket because the fabric was kind of stretchy.
As an extra thing, I decided it would be fun to make a patch from one of the other Belle’s on the fabric since that was her favorite. I thought about using my embroidery machine but I had already cut out the Belle, so lining up stitching would have been a nightmare. Instead, I opted to create it manually with a zig-zag on my home machine. I did it just like I would have on the embroidery machine, I used spray adhesive to secure the fabric to some no-show mesh stabilizer and some thick cut-away stabilizer. Then sewed a basting stitch an eight of an inch from the edge all the way around the patch. Then I cut off the stabilizer and used spray adhesive to attach the patch to some Badge Master stabilizer. Then zig-zagged all the way around the edge, making sure that the right most needle position was just over the edge of the fabric. Looking back I really should have used embroidery thread but I didn’t even thick of it until afterward. It still came out awesome. There were a few spots where the fabric was showing through so I used a black sharpie to color it in.
Attacked fabric to main stabilizer
Stitched and cut out
Atatched to Badge Master
Stitched zig-zagged edge
Some of the fabric showing
After I colored it with sharpie
She still has fabric left so I told her if she wanted I could make more patches from the other princesses. This was a super fun project! It gives me ideas for some clothes of my own I can spruce up!
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.
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.
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.