Sunday, July 3, 2016

Weezer baby sweater

Last Fall, I made a baby sweater based on the icon that Alec drew for the Undone the Sweater song on the Weezer memories tour poster. Now it fits our daughter Suzanne and yes, she is named after the Weezer song.

I used this free pattern: Lion Jumper by Phildar

Since the =w= design is on the front I picked a pattern that opens in the back. But that was before I was a parent and learned that back closures on baby clothes are pretty dumb. Technically it could be reversible anyway, but she won't be wearing it too much longer anyway. If I made it again I would use a pattern that just has some buttons around the neckline.

Back Sweater
Front Sweater
The string is left intentionally because the song is about a sweater coming apart.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Meow Wolf Coin Purses

I made some coin purses inspired by the Eyeball dome at the Meow Wolf Art Complex. They are made out of black cotton twill and lined with different cotton prints. The eyes are machine embroidered.

Now available for sale in the Meow Wolf gift shop, they are perfect for holding all your Plotzo's Plasma Plex tokens!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Meow Wolf plush toy

I just finished working on a custom plush Cat Wolf toy for the shop at the Meow Wolf Art Complex. I worked with my friend and Meow Wolf collective member Emily Montoya on coming up with the design. Her concept was a Cat and Wolf that got twisted together through a space portal.

The Meow Wolf Art Complex grand opening is this weekend, March 17-20, 2016. There is a limited number of Cat Wolf plush toys available in their shop, so go check it out!

For most of my plush designs, I sketch three views to get started on shaping the plush pattern pieces. Since this one was asymmetrical with the wolf and cat being twisted together, I should have done both side views. Luckily, the front view was enough to figure out the color blocking of the two animals becoming one.

There wasn't an existing Meow Wolf Cat Wolf character,  Emily came up with this concept but the colors weren't completely decided on yet. I sketched a couple different color combinations, and ultimately Emily liked it in black and white.
At the end of last year, I bought an embroidery machine and it really came in handy to create the faces for the Cat Wolf.  The finished toy is about 12 inches tall.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

20 years with my Riccar RE 571 Sewing Machine

I got my Riccar RE 571 sewing machine about 20 years ago as a Christmas present from my parents.  A couple weeks ago it stopped working. I took it in to be serviced, at first it seemed like it just needed a deep cleaning and a tune up. But once it was really looked at, it turns out the motor is dead and the cost to repair it would be more than buying a new machine. I don't like that mentality, as I like to keep fixing things, but I decided it was time to say goodbye to an amazing machine.

It's a pretty simple machine, able to do basic straight and zigzag stitch variations and buttonholes. The body is metal, so it's got a nice weight to it, it feels and is very sturdy.

While this wasn't the machine that I learned to sew on it has enabled me to make tons of different things. I made my portfolio pieces that I submitted to the Fashion Institute of Technology where I went to college, studying both fashion and toy design. A lot of the sewing skills honed on this machine came in handy there plus I learned so many more new things.

This machine has moved with me to most of the states I've lived in up to this point: New Mexico, Illinois, California, Vermont, and a brief trip to Colorado. I didn't take it to school with me in New York because FIT has tons of sewing labs.

I didn't toss this machine around, the paint has worn off just from years of pushing fabric through it.

With this machine I've sewn hundreds of plush toys. It has both mended and sewn tons of custom clothes. It enabled me to start freelance designing by being able to make prototypes and up to this point just about every sewing project posted on this site was sewn with this machine.

For the couple of weeks when the Riccar was in the shop and I didn't know if it could be fixed, I borrowed by mom's sewing machine, a Necchi model BU. It just happens to be the sewing machine that I learned on when I was about 8 years old.  It weighs a ton and continues to works beautifully.

After a little bit of research, I ended up buying a Janome HD 3000 to replace the Riccar RE 571. I do pretty basic stitching, but I do a lot of it, so I was looking for a simple but tough home machine. This one has great reviews so I'm hoping it will last me through the next 20 years.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Quick Baby Quilts

I really like quilting but I don't always have the time. My step-sister had a baby boy this past September, so I made him a quick quilt with a super cute frog print in primary colors for Christmas. 

Instead of a time intensive patchwork quilt, this one is just a top layer with a print with the backing a solid yellow. Instead of batting, I put another layer of white flannel in the middle, so it's warm but not too thick. The backing is made about an inch longer on all sides so it can be folded over the top for the binding edge instead of making a separate bias binding strip.

I did a random quilting pattern once all the layers were assembled moving in between the frogs. I made sure to pre-wash all the cotton so it would shrink the same amount.

There are so many great flannel prints out there that I couldn't resist making another one for my soon to be here daughter with happy breakfast foods all over it.

With the repeated design, it was easy to create a quilting stitch pattern by just working between specific parts of the print.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Felted Wool Project

My mom had saved a bunch of baby clothes for me including a couple of wool sweaters that my Grandma had knitted for me and my brother when we were kids. Unfortunately the sweaters has been accidentally machine felted so they couldn't be worn anymore. I didn't want to waste my Grandma's hard work so I looked up some ideas on how to reuse felted wool. I was surprised at how many great projects I found. I decided to make a couple of ornamental balls that could be used in a couple of different ways.

The sweater looks alright here, but it's really thick and has lost all the stretch of the knit. I tried to cut out the ball shapes to incorporated some of the existing design from the sweater.

I put a jingle ball in each one, then filled them with polyester stuffing and added some extra felt shapes for fun. I made them with multiple uses in mind, they can be a pet toy, a tree ornament or a kid toy that is safe to throw around inside. You could also add potpourri to the inside if you wanted to make a sweet smelling ornament. Without you can wash it and it will continue to felt up more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Vintage Print Pillows

I have many ongoing projects that won't be finished for a long time, so I took a break to spend a couple hours with a nice quick project: pillow covers. Several years ago I made some monster shaped pillow covers, but I got sick of them so I decided to try to find some fun fabrics in my pile to make new covers I would be excited about. Some of Alec's earliest memories are of this specific fabric because it made up the curtains in his room.  When his mom gave me a bunch of her leftover vintage fabrics a couple years ago this was included.

The big print with jungle animals seemed perfect to show off on some pillows and I had just enough to make two. I didn't want to buy any new fabric for this project. Luckily I had a lot of super soft, blue plush minky fabric for the back that complemented the orange in the print on the front.

I did include a zipper so they could be washed. I still don't know how well minky plush fabric holds up to repeated washings but I'll soon find out.