All posts in Sewing

Moon Phase Purse

I’ve been going through a moon phase recently (pun absolutely intended), and thought it would be fun to make a wearable or totable that displayed the current state of the moon. There would be a bit of hardware involved, so a purse seemed like the perfect vehicle—you’re already carrying a load of other things, so there’s no harm in the addition of a small battery pack or a pile of LEDs.

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Stormtrooper Neckwarmer

Can you not hit the broad side of a starship with a snowball?  Have you ever said “These aren’t the snowmen we’re looking for.”? If so, then this cozy Stormtrooper neckwarmer is just the thing to keep you warm while you’re hunting down enemies of the Empire on a crisp winter night.  Read on for instructions on making your own.

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Sewing the Core

With the core memory fabric finally in hand after the design process, what could I make? My first idea was a necktie, but having to cut that on the bias wasted a lot of fabric and the pattern ended up going the wrong way. My wife suggested a headband would look good, so I poked at a few of hers to puzzle out the construction, then got out the scissors.

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A Memorable Fabric

After my visit in May to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, I was fascinated by the lattice structure of ferrite core memory. I thought it would make a great fabric pattern that was abstract enough to appeal to regular folk, but had a higher level of techno-geek meaning to it.

Read on for the story of how I went from the rough concept sketch above to a finished design printed by Spoonflower, an online service offering on-demand fabric printing.

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Deodorizing Laser Cut Wool

When you receive your laser cut wool (in my case, from Ponoko), the first thing you’ll likely notice is the smell.  It makes sense if you think about it — wool is a kind of hair, lasers cut by burning, therefore the perfume of burnt hair.  Mmmmmm.

Lean in close and take a deep whiff.

So what can you do about this?  It obviously won’t do to ship to your customer (or use in your own project) as-is.  Follow along as I clean up the most recent order of mustaches for my fleece neckwarmers.  Your project will be different, but here’s what works for me…

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Mustachioed Neckwarmers – Now With More Lasers

For the fall of 2010 I’ve got some awesome new designs, now featuring hardcore handlebars. The neckwarmer is still the same, but you can now get mustaches in thick wool felt or leather. These are laser cut for extra futuristic awesomeness. See pictures in the gallery below, or visit my etsy shop.With the introduction of these new styles, I’ll be phasing out the most intricate of the fleece mustaches because they were such a pain in the rear to make.

The Coloring Kit

This was one of the first sewing projects I did, based on the Gratitude Wrap from soulemama.com (1.6MB PDF). One friend calls it the Art Pack (which has an undeniable grandeur), but I tend toward Coloring Kit.  What can I say, I’m a fan of alliteration.

Instead of being for the storage of thank you notes and accessories, I wanted to make a pack my wife or I could throw in the diaper bag so we’d always have some entertainment for our then 18-month-old at restaurants.  They’re not all thoughtful enough to provide colorable place mats and crayons, and when they do the crayons are so often just broken nubs scarred with the teethmarks of a hundred children before.

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Mustachioed Neckwarmers

I can’t really grow too good of a mustache.  Certainly not one like these.  So a few months ago I came across an idea I’d written down: “Scarf with mustaches/faces on it, to line up when you wrap around your own. Or maybe a fleece neckwarmer with just one face.”

I’d recently started sewing, and this seemed like a project I could tackle.  I took apart a neckwarmer I already had to see how it was put together, consulted with a couple of friends who are far better at sewing than I am, and promptly began turning out some trainwrecks.

Eventually, things started to come together.  I optimized the process so I could make one in less than the 3 hours each it took to make the first few. I put a few on Etsy and got a good response, even a few requests for custom designs.

I’m really excited to find that other people have the same sense of humor and fashion (although I use that term loosely) as I do.  My dream at the moment is to be able to chase after a random stranger I see on the streets, yelling “Hey!  I made that!”  The odds are getting better and better every day.

About the Neckwarmers

The neckwarmer is made from two pieces of fleece: one color called “camel” (how appealing!) and one “charcoal.”  A single piece would be a lot easier, but I think the look is really made by the way it angles along the jawline and mimics the shape of the face.  It’s double-layered, and because the two layers are only attached at the seam it can be “rolled” to place the mustache in a different location in relation to the top of the neckwarmer.

The mustaches are also made from fleece.  Usually three layers, stitched around the edges.  The extra layers give the ‘stache some volume and rigidity, so that the handlebars will stand out appropriately.  They’re attached to the neckwarmer down the middle and partway across the top, so that the ends are free to pop out.