Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Matchy, Matchy

First project for the Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge is complete! When I heard about this challenge I knew I had to join in. After all, I'm already a crazy dog lady of 4 wonderful, rescued dogs! Anyone else interested in getting in on this awesome challenge has until March 15th to sew up your poopster-related item(s). 

Titan, Stretch, Digby, Larry
I must say that it's funny how all 3 of my Boston Terriers weigh almost the exact same, yet all of their sizes are different. Larry is short and stocky (and when he goes running by he looks like one of those little cartoon characters), Stretch is long and skinny (must be all the stretching he does...hence his name!) and Digby seems pretty normal. And let's not forget Titan the Rottweiler who thinks he's a Boston. He's very small for a Rottie, maybe due to how sick he was until we adopted him at 7 months old. Apparently his parents were very large. We love his size though!

Since all of our Bostons are different sizes, Mr. SmileDogstitches embroidered their names on each coat to keep me from going crazy trying to figure it out when it's time to go for a walk! Or camping. The little guys get so cold at night by the fire when we're camping.
Larry & Titan
I really can't trust Mr. SmileDogstitches to make sure my hair looks okay in pictures. I mean, what a mess! It's no secret that I have crazy hair but eeeek! Oh well, Larry and Titan look good so that's what matters (isn't it? ISN'T IT???). I tried to adjust the hoodie pattern before I cut my fabric this time. Last time it was sooooo big on me (I made the medium and I should have made the small this time). But that really didn't work out so well. It's still big and I also got some horizontal pooling at the back which makes me think I probably need a swayback adjustment in the future on things I make.
Matchy, Matchy!
When I made the bike one blogged about here, the coverstitch stitches pretty much disappeared into the fleece. This time that didn't happen. I suppose I should have changed out the thread. But I really didn't want to have to stop and re-thread my machine for this one. Call me lazy!

I accidentally purchased some super cute Boston/Frenchie (it's hard to tell...I think it's whichever one you want it to be!) fabric that I thought was fleece when I ordered it. Turns out it's flannel. I must have been so excited when I saw it and the price at under $3/yd. that I didn't read it properly! And I got A LOT of it! 
Boston Terrier? Frenchie? Frenchton?
I didn't think it would work great for the pattern I was originally using for all the dogs, but I think it will work well with the pattern I used for Larry and Titan in the end, without the sleeves on Larry's. Plus, I think I might like to make the short Carolyn Pajamas pajamas by Heather at Closet Case Files. Aren't these adorable?
Heather -
I have one more thing planned for the Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge (not the above pj's but...). We'll see if I can crank it out in time!

Til later,

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Shoe Patch Machine

One of the things I love about having an embroidery business is that I'm always surrounded by various machines, thread and fabric. It's really heaven for a seamstress! We have a lot of requests to sew patches onto hats, shirts, uniforms, etc. Trying to jam a hat into any of my flatbed machines or even a machine with a free arm just ends up smashing the hat and giving me fits. And stopping production on the embroidery machines to set them up to do that is really not good use of our time. So I traded one of my other industrial machines I wasn't really using for this one. It will do everything the traded one did and much more! Fixing chewed up heavy duty dog beds and easily sewing through dog collars is one example. Sewing patches on the Wyoming Army National Guard uniform arms today will be much easier!

It was interesting to see that these machines haven't changed much at all since the late 1800's/early 1900's. Just take a look at the picture below. I had actually seriously considered an old Singer from the early 1900's but since I made a trade I got a new one. BUT...that doesn't mean I won't still end up getting a vintage Singer with a treadle table if I find a good deal. It would look great in our studio and then the new one could go to a new home. I just love vintage machines!
Til later,

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Bicycle Fleece Hoodie

Hello hello!

Well this took longer than it should have! I signed up for a Craftsy class on sewing with knits because I liked this hoodie. And I thought I could possibly learn a thing or two (I've actually signed up for a number of Craftsy classes). The class was pretty slow moving and I only made this first project. I'm not sure I'll do any more from it.

Apparently Mr. SmileDogstitches didn't notice I had two pieces of hair sticking out sideways when he took my pics. Well, you know what they say. Love is blind. HA! I must say I love this hoodie as much as I thought I would. It's super comfy. It has a little crisscross at the front neckline. I did take a picture of me with the hood on since you couldn't really see it from the back, but I look like a goof. So trust me when I say it's a hoodie. I made the medium but ended up taking in the side seams 3". The pattern is made to be more roomy than I wanted. I should have made a small. But I left the arms alone except for the underarm. I took that in about an inch. Must be my big guns requiring the larger arms. Yeah. I added 2 inches to the arm length because I hate it when my sleeves are too short. And I love longer sleeves. The first thing Mr. SmileDogstitches said was, "That's awesome (bless him). And sleeves just like you like them." After 22 years of marriage he knows what I like...and he knows what to say!
Jazz hands. Because they help show sleeve length.
On the hems I used my Juki industrial coverstitch. I wasn't going to use it because I have it threaded with white thread and, well it's a lot like threading an overlock and I really just wanted to finish and not have to re-thread it again just yet. But I haven't used it yet other than toying around with it so I really wanted to try it in real life. The thread kind of sinks on the front side of the fabric (I did two lines of stitching) so it didn't really matter that it was white. Here's the stitch on the wrong side of the fabric. It's nice and stretchy. 
The seams were done on my industrial Juki overlock, in bright colors like I always do, even though the instructor didn't finish her seams. 
I'm still having some machine issues which is part of the reason this took so long (yeah sure, blame the machine!). I'm getting a replacement machine from the company for the industrial straight stitch that has been giving me so many issues. In the meantime I ended up scoring an awesome, used Juki 5410 which is an industrial needle feed machine. I found it on Craigslist and it was in the same town I'm in. That never happens! And bonus...the woman I purchased it from teaches all sorts of sewing related classes including fitting and pattern drafting. I do want to make my own cycling jerseys, so I'll probably be paying her a visit. She even showed me how to sew knits on the Juki straight stitch needle feed (she sewed lots of lycra stuff on it for a living for a number of years so she's an expert). But it's so extremely dry here that I couldn't get it to sew the fleece that way without skipping lots of stitches even though it did other knits perfectly every time. I even tried a little oil on top of the bobbin case and along the thread itself up top. It didn't work. I ended up having to use a Singer that I have (for the zig zag and buttonholes) and doing a zig zag stitch. I think I might make one more and just use my overlock and my coverstitch machines. Even when I'm having issues, I still love all of my machines (except the one that's getting replaced!). 

We had such nice weather here last week that I got outside and rode 3 January! The close up picture of my bike looked cooler on my phone while I was out riding, mostly because I can't see small things without my reading glasses. I was pretty sure I'd come home and need to enter it in some sort of photography contest. And I'd win. Nope. 
I did run into my new friend Ron on my Thursday ride and we rode back in together. You might remember he's 75 years old and he's amazing. I met him out on the road. He's training for his first of four cycling tours this year. The first one is in March and it's 6 days of riding, 360 miles! Once again I tried to take our picture but I suck at selfies! So here's Ron. I like to share because he's such an inspiration!
Off to my next project!

Til later,