Thursday, August 19, 2010

A trio of balls

My sister recently took up juggling, and she asked me to make her a set of juggling balls. It seemed like a reasonable request. She suggested I stuff them with split peas, but I decided to use pinto beans instead. I was more likely to eat the pinto beans than the peas, but I thought the peas might split further under the stress of juggling. I will pick up some more pinto beans tomorrow, and today I will eat garbanzo beans.

I had never made juggling balls or any other sort of balls, and I did not have a pattern for balls, but how difficult could they be? Armed with a ruler and a piece of chalk I sketched out a quick design. My plan was to learn what was wrong by sewing it, but to my great surprise it worked out well. I completed the set, although on the third ball I had to augment the pinto beans with some great northern beans.

I used a piece of fleece I found in my fabric collection to make the balls. I have owned that fleece for at least six months. I do not remember what I originally had planned for it, but it works quite well for juggling balls. Does this justify my habit of buying lots of fabric I do not need? This was the first project made entirely on my serger; it was used only for seam finishes before.

My pattern worked, but I think I can make better ones. I will experiment with a few other designs. All future balls will be made with matching color thread. I did not have cones of red thread; I will buy some tomorrow.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A trio of shirts

What is the collective noun for shirts? Herd of shirts? Gaggle? Flock? Bunch? Oh well, it really does not matter, three shirts are not enough to deserve a collective noun. I will figure it out after I make a few more.

Anyway, during finals week last semester I made a shirt for my presentation in my fashion industry class. I made another two in the next few weeks. My plan was to make at least three more before posting pictures here, but then classes and work got in the way. I had time to make one shirt for work, but I will not be showing you a picture of that one yet. You will have to wait until I make a few more work shirts, and then I will post pictures of all of them. In the mean time you will have to content yourselves with these belated pictures of the three shirts I made in June.

I wore this shirt for my fashion industry class presentation. I started it using an industrial machine at school, but the lab closed after classes ended, so I had to finish it at home. I began work on this shirt after finishing the one for my sewing class. This one is a little nicer, which reinforces the point I keep making about the importance of experience. The shirt is heavyweight unbleached muslin. I like this fabric a lot; I will dye some blue to use for shirts for work.

This was my fifth long sleeve tailored shirt, although only the third one to be completed. My technique still needs a lot of improvement, but I do now know how this pattern works. I wanted to add something to this shirt, so I made box pleat pockets with pocket flaps. I think these pockets add a nice bit of character to a shirt. I may add epaulets to the next shirt I make with this fabric.

The moment I saw this print I knew I needed to use it for a shirt. This is the shirt that got me insulted at Jo Ann Fabrics. I am still annoyed about the implication that men do not sew, but I now enjoy this shirt even more. By wearing this shirt I feel I am shouting out, “fuck you” to everyone who says only women sew. On a more technical note, I should point out that that the left placket could have been better. It is well made, but the print does not line up. I prefer attached plackets to folded in ones, but with this type of print a folded in placket would have been more appropriate. Mistakes are how we learn.

The next shirt was well made, but I am not sure if it is aesthetically pleasing. I bought two spools of multicolor thread because they were on sale, but I did not know what I would do with them. I thought maybe a black shirt with green, yellow, orange, and red topstitching would look good. Now I do not know. Is it fetching or hideous? I will have to wear it and see what sort of comments I get.

I think multicolor topstitching is more appropriate for women’s wear and that it would work better with denim. If my sister ever sends me her measurements I will make such a shirt for her.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer vacation

Hi. Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. I’ve been too busy with work and class to sew anything or write about all the stuff I’m not sewing. But now that classes are finally over I can take some time to update my blog.

I took three online classes this summer. The two business classes are required for apparel design students, and the gym class is required for all students at Stout. I plan to take most of my out-of-major requirements during summer sessions so I can concentrate on apparel design during the school year. I took weight training, basic merchandising (which ought to have been called retail management), and intro to international business (which was aptly named). All three were online classes. On online gym class seemed odd, but I took it anyway. I had to keep a journal documenting my workouts, take a short quiz, and write two short papers. Going to the gym was fun, and I intend to continue working out now that the class is over. The two business classes were interesting, but they required a huge investment of time. Perhaps the professors give more assignments in online classes, but the big problem was that each class compressed an entire semester’s workload into just four weeks. The classes did not run concurrently, so at least I did not have to deal with both at the same time. For the past eight weeks I have spent more time each day doing homework for one class than I spent last semester when I took five. I enjoyed the classes, but I think I would have learned a lot more had they gone slower. Two concurrent eight week classes would have been better than two consecutive four week ones. Oh well, maybe next summer. I got an A in all my summer classes so I can’t complain too much.

I did a little sewing at the start of summer, but I haven’t touched my sewing machine in eight weeks. My mother gave me a serger in June, but so far I have only used it for seam finishes. My goal for this week is to learn how to make polo shirts.

Again, I apologize for making you wait so long for a new post. I will try to never again go so long between posts. I will have some photos for you in a day or two, and I promise to post at least once per week for the remainder of summer and more often than that once the semester starts.