Monday, September 5, 2016

Zippers...The Necessary Evil

    I have returned to conquer the zipper. The problem lies in the fact that the zipper wants to be the winner. Needless to say I will be victorious in the end. I was hoping on working on this yesterday and have a posting on Sunday, the day I like to post to my blog. Shopping and yard work had other things to say about that. In a couple of weeks we will be having our yard reseeded. That means we need sufficient watering equipment to ensure that the seeds have the best chances at life. We were pricing out hoses (even purchased a couple lengths of hose) and calculated what we will be needing for sprinklers. Also, since we are so busy we want to buy a timer that goes on the outside faucets to run the sprinklers. I also figured that while we were out I needed a new pair of sandals to replace the ones that are falling apart.

   The zipper pull on today's bag is fairly good but not great. The ends still do not lay flat and are slightly misaligned. The other end of the zipper on today's bag appears to be nearly perfect. It slightly dips into the corner but for the most part it is nicely sewn.     So, here I am today. Tackling the zipper issue. I have made some improvements in the sewing of the zipper. Though I am finding that I need to learn just a little more about these difficult items. The bag on the bottom, is the bag that I had
previously made. As you can see the alignment of the zippers are quite off. The top bag is the one that I made today.
     I looked closely at the flaws with the first bag and determined that I needed to stitch closer to the zipper stops. Taking that into account I reduced the size of today's bag. It seems to have helped even thought the bag is smaller from side to side. I believe that works well for the bags. There is one other technique that I will be trying but I need to learn a little more about it first, back to YouTube.

     Next week I need to continue on with my sewing education. I will not be giving up on my bags though. I think that I can master this and have some very successful items. I do have future plans on making other bags that are larger and that do not have zippers. These bags will be more along the lines of larger totes that can be used for the beach or even reusable bags for shopping.

     I know that I will be heading into the clothing world soon. In fact next week would be a great week to start. If all goes well I will create a circle skirt. This will be a easy beginners level project that will help guide me into the next phase of my sewing life. I have some ideas already on the fabric that I want to use and this would be an excellent time to work on something for the holidays. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are just around the corner. Let's see what creations I can come up with. 

Until next time, have a wonderful week and keep stitching. 


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Once Again I Have Returned and I Have It In The Bag.

     It has been nearly a month since I have posted last. I did have good reason to be missing for such a long period of time.  During the first week of August I took a trip to Parris Island Marine Recruit Training Center. As one of the officers for our local US Naval Sea Cadet Divisions, I took my cadets to Parris Island for training. Though it was warm down in South Carolina we did have a great time.
     During the rest of the month I have been finishing my Project Management Certification. I had to have it completed by the last day of this month since I am doing the certification for college. Yes, I said college. I am a full time student as a business major at Western Governors University. I did pass my certification and passed all of my classes for this term. Now I have two terms left in my degree program which means that I will (if all goes as planned) graduation next year at this time.

     Now on to this weeks project. For me this project is where I have been heading to since I have started this blog. My goal is to make these zippered bags and sell them on line or at craft shows.
     Several weeks ago I went out to the fabric store to look for the perfect material for this project. My wife will have to be credited with finding this material. I believe that this was the perfect matching material for this project.
     When I finally sat down to use this material I folded it in half and ironed both pieces of material. Once they were ironed I took to the cutting table and stacked the two pieces of fabric so that I has four layers of fabric on the table. Using a rotary cutter I cut the four layers of material into pieces that measured 10.5 inches by 6 inches. That way I have four pieces that are exactly the same size and ready for sewing.

     The next step was to properly layer two pieces of fabric with the zipper. I like using binder clips to hold material when possible. It for me is easier to use and I believe does a better job at holding the material. I also find that it is easier to make fine adjustments.
     After aligning the fabric on the one side of the zipper I took to the sewing machine and did a straight stitch down the length of the zipper to attach them together. Next them I performed the same procedure for attaching the rest of the material to the other side of the zipper.
     With a quick ironing I flattened the material once again pulling slightly away from the zipper to allow the seams to be properly flattened. After the ironing I returned to the sewing machine and did a top stitching down each side of the zipper. This helps to flatten out the seam and give it a cleaner look.
     I did manage to finish this bag which I find to have turned out rather well. I do know that there are a few flaws with the bag, but feel that this was a very successful project for having been the first time I have sewn a zippered bag.
     Now that I have finished my first zippered bag, I can work at refining m techniques. I have to refine my stitches and make them straighter along the zipper. I also have to work with the ends of the zipper and make them fit with the bag better. With that being said I am very satisfied for my first bag.

     I will be making more bags in hopes of getting this sewing down and making a viable product that I can sell at some point. As for the projects that I have coming up, I will be continuing on with expanding my collection of projects that will refine my skills and teach me new skills in the art of sewing.

     I hope that you have a wonderful week and look forward to what I can put together for next weeks project.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

This Last Week Was Not About The Sewing.

INST WERTANEN of the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps
 Signal Mountain Division, Signal Mountain, TN
     The sewing was very limited this past week. But I did manage to slip in a few stitches. I had to make my uniforms shipshape and get them ready for a week long trip to Parris Island, South Carolina. The name tapes and collar devices had to be placed on several pairs of uniforms that I was bringing along.
     This trip was not about me however. It was about the cadets who ranged in ages from 13 years old to 18 years old. It was about exposing them to how the Marines train their recruits. These cadets are a part of the US Naval Sea Cadets Corps. It is a place for the cadets to learn leadership skills that can be used whether they join the military or not.

     At Parris Island the cadets took part in military pt and marching drills. Toured various places on the base including seeing the barracks of recruits who are really attending Marine boot camp. They spent time listening to lectures along with hands on experiences with the confidence course, obstacle course and firing range simulator. On our last day we attended morning colors and watched Marines graduate from boot camp. What an awesome time .

     Now it is back to reality. I have my new project picked out and am looking forward to getting back on track with the sewing... along with my school work and my job. I will be attending one last Sea Cadet event tomorrow before heading back to reality on Tuesday. I really cannot wait to reveal my project next weekend. Until then have a wonderful week and get involved in the lives of our youth. Let us lead by example for future generations.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Art of Re-purposing! Stuffed Ham Anyone?

 Weeks are so short and before you know it Sunday evening has arrived and the blog has not been updated. Needless to say, that after a busy week I am getting ready to fill you in on my sewing week.

     The pork chops are in the oven and there is a stuffed ham sitting on my sewing table. OK, what I really have is a stuffed tailors ham. Several weeks ago I had watched a YouTube video done be Lori Griffiths. about making a tailors ham. I thought, wow this could be a fairly easy project to do. So I watched a few more videos and before you know it my tailors ham was born. I did not follow her pattern 100%, but in the end it worked out well.
     I used the material that I have been using for the last couple of weeks, since I did by it for practicing with and that is exactly what these projects are. The nice thing about it is that these projects are turning out to be rather good.
     I tightly packed the ham with old t-shirts that. I re-purposed to use as the stuffing.These were old and well worn t-shirts that I had left over from my days in the navy. I cut the shirts up into small strips and random pieces of various sizes. This way I could pack a lot in there and get every space filled. When all was said and done I managed to stuff 6 old t-shirts into the ham.

     I did manage to save the pictures off of some of the shirts. This I figured could be incorporated into a future project, but I am not sure what that will be at this time.

     Yesterday I went out to the store and purchased another kind of fabric that for the time being I will be keeping it a secret. With the help of my wife we found the perfect fabric for this next project.
     What I will be making is a zippered pouch. Similar to that one that I have already created but slightly bigger and zipper will be inserted. I am really excited to try my hand with zippers and yet a little apprehensive at the same time. I think that zippers are one of those things that you either love or hate them.

     I am not sure how far along with this weeks project I will actually get. I have a jam packed week. I will be working my normal 50 hours at my paid job, I am working on my project management certification for school  and packing/preparing for a week long trip that I will be taking.
     Several of us officers will be taking our cadets from two of the local US Naval Sea Cadet divisions to Parris Island in South Carolina. The cadets will be training with the Marines when they are there. That means I am not sure how many projects I can do over the next couple of weeks. One thing that I do want to make a point of doing is still getting my blog postings in. The postings might not be about projects but could be of how things are going while on my trip. We will have to just see how it goes.

If you like what you are seeing here and want to make sure that you do not miss anything new, please follow this blog. Until next time have a wonderful week and keep pushing on and try something new.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Machine Time

     This week I dove head first into my first sewing machine project. I had a slow start at first and if I had to rely on the instructions that came with the machine, I might still be trying to get past loading the bobbin into the machine. Thanks to YouTube I was able to find a great video that showed me step by step on how to get it installed. The best part is that I really was doing it right. The problem is that the instructions really did not properly explain the process of feeding the bobbin thread so that it was ready to use. Once I got past that part things went pretty smooth for the most part. The only other problem that I occasionally have it that the tread gets tangled and stuck in the throat plate. I believe that is solved by just making sure the thread has the proper tension on it before I begin to sew.

     The project this week was yet another bag. I did not put any closures on the top, I just wanted to get the basic sewing down. My goal was to make sure the stitches were straight and that I could actually come up with a good looking project.
     I used two different fabrics, one for the shell and one for the liner. I feel that my first attempt was pretty good, but what is pictured here is my second attempt. I remember learning that you must remember to always leave a three inch opening in the liner to allow for the bag to be turned right side out. Yeah, I forgot that simple step. I guarantee that I will not be forgetting that again.
     In order to resolve this issue I decided to shrink the bag down slightly and use the rotary cutter to remove all of the stitching and start over. That saved me a lot of seam ripping on a project that was more for practice than anything else.
     As you can see, I was pretty successful in creating the bag. I was able to turn it right side out and did a quick machine stitch across the opening that was left in the liner. Oh, before sewing up the hole I did remember to tuck the corners of the bag shell and lining. I finally was able to get the lining into the bag and I think it turned out pretty good for my first ever sewing project on the machine.

     The other project I have that has become a ongoing work in progress project is the light tent that I am creating. I have had several request from the family to take product pictures for online sales especially in Etsy shops. I am really excited for this project also because I have always wanted to venture more into product photography. I maybe one day I can get back to being a professional photographer.
     This week I was working on creating a clamping system that will hold the covering on the frame. I am actually using two twin sheets that will fit over the 3'x3'x3' frame. What I came up with was using 2" sections of the same piping that I used to create the frame. I cut out a 1/4" section out of the length of the pipe and it fits great on the outside of the framing pipe.I put the sheeting over the frame and used the clamps which firmly held it in place.
     I will be finishing up this project this week and will hopefully have some sample pictures coming up soon.

     This has been a great and exciting week. I feel that I have accomplished so much. Not only have I worked on these projects but I was able to get a bunch of homework done. Yes I said homework. I am a full time student with WGU Tennessee. I am currently working on my project management certification as part of my bachelors of Business Management degree. I have two terms after this one left.
     I was also honored to have been able to provide cadets from one of the local US Naval Sea Cadet Divisions (of which I am the Executive Officer) to be color guard for the Chattanooga Heros Run/Walk that was held yesterday. This run/walk was in honor of the five member of our military who's lives were cut short by the terrorist attack here in Chattanooga on July 16th, 2015. A day we here in Chattanooga will never forget. I am not sure who took this picture but I wanted to include it here with this posting anyway since it would be nearly impossible for my to get copies of my own. Over 1500 people came out for this event that included family, friends, co-workers, emergency services, law enforcement and the public. I was a awesome tribute to these five men.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful week and carry on with your dreams.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Stepping Up and Making It Happen

     Wow. This week has been a busy one. What can I say, with work, school, volunteering, and karate there is not much time for much else. I am however making headway with my new hobby. I have completed two projects that are part of my concept of the framework that I have bee working towards.

     The first project I had completed this week was to create a basic light tent for product photography. My daughter and wife have both requested that I revive my photography skills and help them with product photography. Since I love photography and in a different life I was a professional photographer I am more than happy to help. With a little practice I should be back up to speed with the picture taking world again. I am actually really excited for this project because this will give me the opportunity to photograph things that I will be creating also.
     The light tent that I assembled is constructed of 1/2" PVC pipe. The frame is 3'x3'x3' and is covered with a white king sized flat sheet. The sheet is used to defuse the light from the flashes or other light sources that I have.

     The second project that I have completed this week was to create a simple pouch. I utilized two fabric pieces, hemmed one edge on each for the top opening of the pouch. I then proceeded to sew the two fabric pieces together to for the pouch. I put the right sides together and stitched around the 3 outer edges of the pouch leaving the hemmed edges open. I turned it right sides out when I was done with the stitching and my first project was complete.
     There was only one flaw with the way I did the hemming but that served as a great learning point. I pinned the fabric pieces together in order to sew them and at the time of the pinning everything seemed even. I started on one side of the pouch and did a continuous back stitch all the way around the three sides. When finished I found that one of the top was higher up from the other one on one side of the pouch. It appears that The hem itself was not straight. I might have been able to effectively compensate for this with a different sewing technique.
    What I should have done was sew down one side of the pouch, tie off and sew down the other side. Once the sides were done and matched properly I then could have proceeded sewing the bottom of the pouch. I will be doing that with the next one that I do.

     For my last posting I mentioned that I wanted to work on making a tailors ham. Unfortunately the week was very busy and I was unable to complete it. I am not going to be able to utilize the re-purposed fabric that I have. The pieces that I had to work with would put the seams in the wrong places. I think that I can use the fabric that I already have. The pieces are cut out but I have yet to get them sewed together. Hopefully later today I can get the machine out and get them assembled.

     I am really excited to be on this journey. I cannot wait to see where it takes me. I hope that you all have the most wonderful week and keep pursuing those dreams. You will not succeed unless you try.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Collar tabs and patches

     Another big accomplishment for me this week! my goal for this week was to sew on a patch. What I chose was a collar device that is worn on the US Naval Uniform. Since I am I an officer with one of the local US Naval Sea Cadet Corp it was a logical choice for what to sew.

     This uniform was one that I had laying around the house. Since the Sea Cadet insignia is slightly different from the Navy's active duty uniform I removed the patched from the uniform. Wanting to ensure that I get some practice sewing the insignia onto the uniform I sewed on some of the patches that were removed. This gave me a great appreciation for the thickness of the material.

     Even though the needle needed to have a little persuasion to get through the thick material I was determined to succeed. I guess I did not mention that this was all sewn by hand. One day I hope to have a machine that will be strong enough to handle the the thick fabric. Well anyway, I was able to sew this on and ensured that the the patch was one securely.

     I really only took me about 15 minutes do do this patch and it was well worth the effort. As I said, I am an office with our Sea Cadet unit here in town and found an opportunity to not only do a little more for the Sea Cadets but also for finding a niche market that needs the services of a tailor who knows about military insignia. One of my goals is to start bringing in some income with the Sea Cadet unit and then branching out to the active duty and reserve units that are in town. I already have some contacts within the active duty and reserve world. If I can start to get a steady flow of work I will look into getting that sewing machine that will be so needed.

     This coming week I will be working on a project for the sewing room. I will be working on my tailors ham. It should be a much easier project since it will be made out of a material that will be easier to sew. I am going to personalize to by using reusing material from a piece of clothing. I plan on using the denim from the pant of my old navy uniform that I wore as a young sailor.

      I am looking forward to this project. Being that I also am employed full time, a full time student in a business program (with just over two semesters to go!!!), I volunteer with our Sea Cadet Unit, I study martial arts and have a wonderful family, time seems to be in short supply. I have found that there is a satisfaction in this newest hobby of mine that I hope to one day soon turn into a business. After months of studying the sewing business I have a solid direction to head in. That is where I am heading and with any luck I will achieve those goals and even go beyond them..

I hope that you have a wonderful week and will chat again next weekend.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

First Fabrics and Stitches

     There has been a lot of changes during this last week. I now have a mini sewing kit of my own, thanks to my wife. While I was off working at my paid job she spent some time assembling this sewing kit. Her creativity paid off and as she pointed out, this is a "mans' sewing kit. The kit contains the basics and should prove to be a great start to this new challenge. The things that she included in the kit are:

  • Needles
  • 3 colors of thread 
  • 2 marking pencils
  • Pins 
  • Pair of scissors
  • Seam ripper
  • A few lengths of fabric
  • And a mini "tackle" box
This is a great start, but I know that I will be quickly expanding and will soon have a multitude of new toys flowing out of the box.

    This morning I was already practicing with stitches. I did that basic running/basting stitch and the back stitch.They are both straight forward stitches but definitely it takes a bit of practice to become good and proficient with them. Keeping the stitch size even comes with some practice. The other thing that will have to be practiced is making the stitches tighter so that the thread is not loose. It seems that even though it appears that I am pulling the slack out of the stitch there is just some play in the thread, which is very evident on the back. Practice, practice, practice is the order of the week. I am really looking forward to this challenge.

     As I said, my wife is creative. She was able to think outside of the box. I guess that comes from having a couple of daughters that she has helped with teaching the basics of sewing to. The fabric choices that she made were thoughtful, especially the Star Wars fabric that she selected. She chose this one so that I could cut out the different framed pictures on the fabric and use them as practice sewing the boxes together. I will be working on that this week and hope to have a couple of pouches that are sewn together by the next posting.

     I have been hitting the books and the videos hard during the last few months. I have a few places that have been my go to for learning this new art form. I have a few links that I have shared of my favorite sites so far. I have already learned so much and look forward to learning a lot more. Have a wonderful week and never give up on whatever you are reaching for.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Birth Of A New Hobby

     Growing up in among the rolling bluffs in southeastern Minnesota, I never considered that sewing and the craft world could be of any interest. Now here I am, nearly forty years later and I am looking in the face of a new hobby. This is the literally the birth of a new hobby. I am starting out with nothing, except for a few ideas as to where I want to be heading as my hobby grows and takes shape.

     Just like a baby when it is born, my hobby to starts with nothing. As of right now I do not even own a single needle or spool of thread, and there is no material or even a pattern. I will be learning as I go as to what I need, though I have already done a bit of research and have amassed a wealth of knowledge from YouTube tutorials that I have spent the last month or so watching.  My first task is to go out and purchase a set of sewing needles and some thread so that I can start to create my first project.

     I am building my sewing kit from a list that I found in the "Sewing for Dummies" book, by Jan Saunders Maresh. Her suggestion was to have the following things in a basic sewing kit:

  • Tape measure
  • Seam guage
  • Shears
  • Trimming scissors
  • Fabric markers
  • Pins 
  • Needles
  • Thimbles
  • Seam ripper.
In the book she also listed sewing machine needles, which I have decided to not purchase. I will purchase these when I move to the sewing machine and feel that this is not critical in a basic sewing kit. What I have added is some thread basic colors will do for now.

     In the interest of saving some money which I can eventually invest into projects, I have decided to utilize some of the supplies that my wife already has. This will get me started with everything that I need to start with. The photograph that I have taken is just a sampling of the things that I have to use from my wife's sewing room. Now to practice a few stitches and finding my first project.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Ready. Set. GO!

     The keel has been laid and the hull has been constructed. Now it is time to give this ship a purpose, It is time to drop the lines and push off from the shore. It is time to sail into my uncharted waters. The journey that I am pursuing has been attempted by many, but only a few succeed, yet that does not discourage me from trying. The waters that lay ahead will be plagued with furious seas and calm waters. Am I ready for the challenges? That is yet to be determined. What I do know is that if I do not push off from the shore I will be forever be land locked with so many what ifs.

     By no means am I an expert in the fashion world. I am, as far as the fashion world is concerned, a nobody. What I do have to offer is ideas of what I like and do not like. I have ideas that are in line with the industry and realities that go against what has been ingrained into our minds as being fashionable. I do not expect everyone to agree with what I am saying, nor do I want everyone to agree with me. These are my ideas. So let the journey begin!

     I believe that the name I have chosen is what I am seeking to accomplish. I forging my own pathway into the fashion world. Without a solid frame to build upon the whole structure of what I seek to accomplish will come crashing down. As I said in my introduction paragraph there will be furious seas and calm waters. This project will take a lot of work to make it a success. I am ready to set "Fashion Framework" sailing.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Setting the Framework

The framework of fashion

     To fully understand fashion one must understand how different threads are woven together to present a work of beauty.These threads take on many aspects which include but are not limited to;
  • The perfect choice of fabric 
  • Blends from a palette of complimenting colors
  • Shapes cut to form stunning creations
Accessorized with the right shoes, jewels and hair to pull it all together. All of this individualized for the tho one who is to wear it.

     I also hope to highlight different individuals and businesses that are part of the fashion industry.
I am by no means an expert, just a interested amateur. I know what I like and what I like to see. I will explore, learn and grow my knowledge of fashion and the fashion industry. 

     I wish that I could devote unlimited time to this endeavor but  my time is split in many different directions from working 50 hours a week at my job, being a full time student in business management. I also am a student of karate and will be managing my blogs. All of this while having three children and wife. 

I hope to send out the blog once a week, at least to start out with. Could it become a daily blog? Quite possibly but not for now. Please join me on our journey.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Please Standby

What is new? This is new. My newest and latest blog site. I can't wait to get jump into this blogging world and the fashion world with both feet. I really want to highlight my fashion ideas, whether they are right or wrong.

First please standby for a short time while I set up and get this up and running. A few things behind the scenes must be taken care of first and then I will open up the blog to my views and ideas. In the meantime feel free to follow this page. I can't wait to begin the journey.

Thank you and have the most wonderful day.