New Schmetz Chrome Needles

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I am a mostly self taught quilter and sewer.  I took a few classes on the basics of quilting when I first started years ago, but since then discovered things on my own.  Because of this, I don’t have a lot of knowledge of sewing and the best tools to use.  I am trying to fix the gaps of my knowledge and over the past year have taken more classes and asked more questions about why things happen.

One of the questions I asked was “why do I get a gunky build up on my needles when I applique”.  The answer was the glue from the applique was building up and causing the needle to stick which caused skipped stitches and uneven stitches.  The answer, a friend told me, was the new Schmetz Chrome needles.

They resist heat, wear, and allow the needle to pass through the fabric with less resistance.  I tried them out this week with the Link Stained Glass Quilt I am making for Nicole and LOVE them.

I used a single needle for the entire quilt top and didn’t have any build up at all. NO BUILD UP AT ALL!  I was pretty amazed and told Schmetz that I don’t think I could ever use any others now!

They are only in Sewing and Quilt stores.  So if you want to try them for yourself check your closest Sewing store.  If you don’t have any Sewing or Quilt store near you, you can buy them on line from Schmetz directly.  Although PLEASE support a local brick and mortar store if you can.

For the next few weeks let’s learn about needles together!   I will be talking about the Anatomy of the needle and how different needles can be used for different projects (and why you would want to).

 

 


Ghee’s Zipper Tutorial

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While I was in Vegas I met a very talented amazing person, Linda McGehee.  She is known for her unique designer-styled handbag patterns and accessories.  A lot of her patterns include zippers and use them in innovative ways, such as her new Zip to Shape Handbag Pattern.

In order to make this pattern you need to know how to sew a zipper.  So Linda gives you a free tutorial!

You can find more tutorials and free projects at Ghee’s website.  Want to buy some of her patterns or materials?

Linda has given us a discount code just for Craft Hacker readers!!

Enter code cos315 at the checkout and receive 20% off everything in the store!!

Are you making one of Ghee’s patterns?  We want to see it!  Show us your pictures in the comments we may feature you on the blog.

-Toni

 


New Studio!

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My studio is finally finished!

It took a lot of hard work, but I am ready to start live streaming and record tutorials!  Here are some of the pictures of the studio in progress.

I was super excited to unbox my new Olivia Sewing Cabinet by Arrow.

The sewing area is a lot wider than the Ikea table I used before allowing me to work on larger quilts.  The extension table on the back prevents quilts from hanging off and adding weight and pressure to the machine/  The new chair is very comfortable and give me a perfect height to use my machine.

The other new additions are my two Mod Thread Cabinets.

They hold all of my thread and I still have room for more!  They are super easy to use and all I need to do is spin around, pull out the right rack, and choose a color.

The last addition is the lighting set up and cameras to record.

This will allow you to see what I am doing without any shadows.  So where will I be streaming?  On Twitch!  Twitch is the world’s leading social video platform and community for gamers, video game culture, and the creative arts.  As a video game and comic book quilter, I think it is a perfect fit.

Follow my Twitch channel and then watch when I sew!  My streaming schedule can be found here.   My backers on my Patreon page will have input on when they would like to see me and what they would like to see.  Streaming starts next week!

Now to get sewing.


Adorable Felt Bookmarks

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I know traditional books are becoming a dying medium, but there is something wonderful about them. The weight and age a book can carry isn’t something that can quite be replicated with e-readers yet. So if you’re like me and still read bound books, I have some super cute felt bookmarks to share with you today!

These adorable things are handmade and designed by Italian creative artist Alessandra Rossi from Lanatema. They’re designed to not only help you find where you left off, but make it super easy as well since they sit on the corner instead of by the binding. Bonus, this also helps keep the spine from being stretched out! She has many other adorable felt creations listed up on her shop like phone cases, key chains, ornaments and even some plush! I certainly recommend you take a look if you are a fan of cute things. ^_^


A Hand Warming Experience

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Happy Sunday, all!

While we are enjoying some unseasonably warm weather this week, it’s still winter and the Midwest US is famous for it’s sub-zero temperatures. So how to keep warm? With a little help from some grains (or seeds)! I’m talking hand/feet/neck warmers here. If you spend any time at all on Pinterest, I am quite sure these have popped up in your feed at one point.

If they have unicorns on them, even better!

They are pretty fantastic and a tutorial for the rice type ones has been posted before on Craft Hackers (here) but I want to go a little more in depth because these things are super effective, easy to make, and great for gifts. I’ve seen tutorials for rice, corn and flax seed types but hadn’t quite settled on which one would suit me. Lo and behold, someone has actually done some informal research on the subject! Sew4home compared the three for the time it take for each type to cool down (read the entire article here).

Which will it be? Will longer grains prevail? The seeds? The round kernels?

It turns out that flax seed keeps the heat steady for the longest period of time but there are other parameters to consider such as smell, feel, and cost. Each has a bit of a smell when heated but this can be reduced by adding in some aromatherapy (a great tutorial with different smells can be found here).

A little lavender can go a long way!

As far as feel goes, corn with all of it’s round bead-like size can be the most soothing against the skin. Corn also heats up faster and has great heat staying power as well. My favorite tutorial for making corn bags comes from the PlaysWithNeedles blog where she has a handy dandy tip sheet for making a “Cozy”:

The final parameter they mention is cost but I would also put in an honorable mention for availability. Rice is generally cheapest and most widely available but if you have a feed/grain store nearby, corn and flax can still be very economic. Flax does recommend itself as a reasonable option, especially as it is a seed and won’t need replacing as often (a purely flax tutorial can be found here).

Although I can just imagine the mess that comes with flax vs rice vs corn cleanup.

Whichever you may choose, there are some items they all share in common when making a warmer/cooler (yes, these can be stored in the freezer for soothing ouchies and headaches as well):

  1. Only use 100% cotton fabric, flannel is preferable for feel but not a necessity.
  2. Only partially fill the bag so that it still has movement and is not as hard as a rock – this also helps when sewing the end closed.
  3. Ensure that before the first use, you zap it a couple of times in the microwave to kill off any possible bugs and eliminate moisture.
  4. A funnel is your best friend when filling.
  5. Put a double seam around the edges to prevent these from breaking open (the temptation to toss them like bean bags is great).
  6. A cover is a great way to prevent these from getting too dirty but again, not a necessity.
  7. Heat in a clean microwave as I’m fairly certain you don’t want them to pick up the smells of leftovers.

That’s everything I’ve saved along my way in the quest for fantastic hand warmers! I think I’m going to use some of this good weather to open the windows while I get some sewing done, in prep for colder temps I know are just lying in wait.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


My Favorite Princess Crafts

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Yesterday I talked about how Carrie Fisher, Star Wars, and Star Trek have had a huge impact on my life.  I shared some crafts you create yourself with Princess Leia as the center.  Today I am going to share some of my favorite Princess Leia art I have seen over the years.

My favorite art I have seen is a set of two quilts by Cheryl Sleboda.  She captured everything I love about Princess Leia.

Wee Little Sitches (my FAVORITE Cross Stitch pattern maker) created some amazing Leia patterns/prints through the years.

Finally Cosplayer Elizabeth Rage created this gorgeous dress.  This is how I see and remember Leia.

 

You will live forever in my heart Carrie.

-Toni

 


My Princess

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I was born in 1976, 1 year before Star Wars and 3 years before the Star Trek movies.  I looked up to the people in both lines and idolized them.  My parents would make sure that we saw every Star Trek and Star Wars movie in the theater when it was released (yes, even when I was very little and didn’t understand what was going on).  I loved both Star Trek and Star Wars.  I remember when I was 6 I saw that Larva crawl out of Chekov’s ear and I had nightmares for weeks.  But I loved every minute of it.

I grew up learning it didn’t matter what race you were, everyone had strengths and weaknesses and you should only be judged on your actions.  I learned that women can be strong, carry a blaster, overthrow a government, and help destroy a death star.  I dedicate today and tomorrow to my princess, Carrie Fisher.

Crafting and creating can be therapeutic for a lot of people including me.  So today’s post will be about the things you can create.

FreudianStitch created this cool Cross Stitch pattern you can download for free!

If you Crochet, here is a Princess Leia Amigurumi Pattern.

If you are a quilter and can paper piece, here is a free design from Quiet Play.

Finally, if you sew or are a cosplayer, here is a step by step tutorial from Costumes and Artwork.

Tomorrow I will share some of my favorite artistic projects I have seen over the years.

-Toni

 



Cosplay A to Z: Choosing a Commercial Pattern

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One of the things I think many beginner sewers have difficulty with is choosing patterns to sew with. For today’s article, I’m going to assume you’re working primarily with fabric for your costume.

Choosing a pattern can make your life easier or not, so today we’re going to talk about my 4 S’s of pattern selection.

Size
It goes without saying that size is important. Pattern sizing is not the same as fashion sizing, and so at a basic level, you need to ensure you are using the correct size. If your pattern size is the same as what you bought in a store, you’re probably going to have problems.

But in a more abstract manner, size is important in different ways. Maybe you don’t want perfectly fitting clothing. Maybe you want oversized clothing.

Is your character a cartoon with blocky features? If so, maybe you want to ensure that your pattern is going to be oversized to give that less human, more pixelated look. Some designs may be created that are made to hang large on a frame. Looking at the fit of the design on the model can help you get an idea about whether it will really bring your character to life in the way you want to.

 

Shape
Shape goes to the basic shape of a pattern. If you were to represent your costume in 2 dimensions, what shapes would it take?

If you’re looking for a skirt, the first question to ask is does this give the right kind of skirt? Is it a-line? Is it mermaid? Does it go in where you want it to go out? For instance, a short school uniform-type of skirt has a very different shape than a pencil skirt worn by the school principle.

If you’re wondering whether a pattern would give similar shapes, you can easily try drawing them out to compare.

 

Silhouette
Silhouette takes shape to a step above. It is about the lines on the edge of the body and the curves or straight lines they make that that point. You want to check that the pattern you choose gives you the same silhouette as a character.

For retro and historical patterns, you may find that the correct silhouette is not achievable without proper undergarments. For instance, the 1890’s saw the use of spoon-busked corsets. These are very distinct silhouette and corsets that use any other type of busk will not give the S-curve of the 1890’s corsets. Further, any clothing not designed for a spoon-busk may need alterations to accommodate a different style of corset.

The Victorian silhouette

The Victorian silhouette

I think silhouette is best explained by Jessica Rabbit. Any pink sparkly dress with a red wig will evoke the comically drawn Jessica, but only a specialised corset and dress will depict her incredibly tight waist and buxom features for an accurate silhouette.

 

Seam Lines

The last, but certainly not least, consideration is where to the seam lines lie on the pattern?
You can save yourself a lot of effort if you can find a pattern that has similar seam lines. It will be more easily alterable to gain the silhouette you want, as well as looking more like what the character uses.

I will caution that seam lines are not always a requirement for many costumes, but for some, they can make or break a costume. In some instances, seam lines can be the difference between a screen accurate costume and not.

For instance, while any black bodysuit could be used to represent Mara Jade, she is always depicted in the comics with very specific patterns. I had to adapt a bodysuit pattern to add these seams in and take extra seams out in order to get an accurate costume.

All four of these things may not exist in a single pattern. However, if you can find a pattern that has 3 of them, you’re going to have a lot less work to do to make it fit and look accurate than if you just pick the first jacket pattern you find in your size. You could choose the first jacket pattern you buy, but take some time, and you may find one that is not only 1940’s styled, but has princess seams.

There are thousands of patterns in existence, and combing through them can be time consuming. However, taking that time at the beginning of the process can significantly make the construction process later on easier.

~ eliste


Black Friday specials!

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It’s Black Friday, one of my favorite days of the year!  I scoured the internet to find savings on crafty stores and supplies.

Akonye Kenya is having a great deal on their House of Embroidery threads until Monday.  

friday1

 

FanBoy Glass is offering 10% off all orders using the code HOLIDAY10.

GeekParade is offering 30% off using coupon code STOCKINGSTUFFER.

Red Fish Rue Fish is offering a free Glow Hard 1.5 button with every order of $5 or more.

Dollphinwing is offering 20% off all sewing patterns using the code BLKFRI through November 30th.

Chompworks is offering 15% 3D goodies using the code PAINTITBLACK.

The evergreen burrow is having a 20% off sale.

Jellibunn Creations is having a 30% sale of $15 or more.

Finally I am having a Black Friday special as well through Monday.  You can receive 15% off Quilt Patterns using the code SAVINGS!

Happy Shopping!

-Toni