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.