17 January 2011

So You Think You Can Sew

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. I was away for a couple of weeks, then sick, then, well, out of the habit of regular posting, I guess. I've got a tonne of cool things planned for the next few months, though, so I hope to blog lots.

First, here is something cool I got for Christmas from my mom:

It's a Cricut Expressions die-cutting machine. They're aimed more at scrapbooking and "arts and crafts" (not in the William Morris sense) folks, but there's third-party software that allows you to cut your own designs. I haven't attempted that yet, though it is my ultimate goal, and being able to cut my own designs is really the only reason I wanted one. But I have tried the cartridge that came with the machine, and was able to make some little envelopes for some letterpress valentines I printed ages ago, complete with a heart on the flap. I didn't take any pics, but I'll put them in my Etsy shop soon.

Another cool-but-useful thing I got this year is a fancy new Dremel rotary tool (from BillyZ). I did have a no-longer-produced "Wizard" rotary tool made by Mastercraft, but this one is so far beyond that . . . Anyway, I have lots of little tasks that will be made easier, plus a whole pile of new ideas.

This particular model even has attachments that will turn it into a jigsaw and a planer (I don't have those yet, but they're on my list--right after the router attachment). I can envision wooden book covers made easier, plus little wooden boxes. I love boxes! I might have to make a trip to Home Depot for some wood soon.

And none of this is what I was going to write about when I started this post. What I was going to write about, and what the title refers to, is this:

Every once in a while I get it into my head that I can sew. Or that I can sew well, I mean. I've been puttering with sewing machines since I was six (or somewhere thereabouts) when my mother let me use scraps of fabric to make little purses and bags and simple Barbie clothes (that last one required the assistance of my older sister). But I'm not exactly gifted with a needle.

Anyway, my sewing machine (which I sold to a friend and then bought back when she moved away) had been sitting untouched for a year when I suddenly got Ideas (yes, with a capital "I"). So I made a pattern for a stuffed octopus (yes, out of my head--one of my other occasional hallucinations is that I can make 3-d shapes from my Ideas). Then I cut it out of some fabric I'm not likely to use for anything else, and attempted to sew it together.

In retrospect, a different order of assembling the pieces would probably have helped with some of the pointy seams, but it turned out rather well, considering. A few tweaks and I think it will be done. Alas, it takes to long too make up to be able to sell as a toy, though maybe with some different fabric and hand painting (or hey, hand-printing . . . hmmmmmm) I might be able to market it to the "art doll" folks. Or maybe I could sell the pattern, though I'd have to learn how to draw a pattern properly.

Things to fix: the part where the legs join the head needs work. It's fine and the front and back, but too difficult and not so nice looking on the sides. Not too difficult a fix, though (I think, maybe). Also, the legs. I like them, but I think I should have made the left and right sides different, instead of mirrored. Also more curl in some of them. Again, not too hard to fix.

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