Saturday, January 31, 2009

Vinyl Adhesive

Sewing appliques is time consuming, especially since my 1948 Singer does not have a backstitch. Lots of turning. I wanted to find an adhesive that would work for vinyl to vinyl applications on wallets, purses, and my soap totes.

At my local big box hardware store I found Lepage Flexible Plastic Adhesive. Works great, have to be careful not to get it on to the outer dyed surfaces because it removes the finish. Can't wait to make a wallet and field test it. When you try to pull it apart it leaves the outer vinyl layer so that you can see the inner mesh of the banner. Also works for vinyl on glass. So you could use it to stick vinyl letters to glazed tiles. Ha! now I can put "flush" onto the toilet tank!

I'm featured on Fairytalefibers' blog

On the January 28,2009 posting at, my soap totes are featured!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Graphic Design Course Book Cover

I have to design a book cover using only text and geometric elements plus one other color along with black and white. Here's my first attempt. How is it coming across, do you get what the book is about? Comments appreciated! I will tell you what my teacher thinks of it after next Tuesday's class.
Update: Well, it didn't work, people didn't get it. I thought with the additions I had from the first draft, the word "Recycled" and the "Things to Make with Them" that the design would work. But, they didn't. My problem is that I was having trouble coming up with a new idea so I went with this one. Someone also thought that the grommets were part of a film strip.
I guess I learned that sometimes what is needed is to go back to square one rather than being committed to a design that isn't working.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Custom clothing labels for an actual client

I did these clothing labels recently. The challenge was printing fine-lined fonts onto a dark background. I had to thicken up the letters by adding a very small stroke to the letter fills. Also there wasn't much room with which to work.

Another challenge was that the photoprint fabric distorted the dark brown to a khaki green so I ended up having to use dark tee shirt transfer fabric, which is quite costly.

I just joined Twitter as Sewnagain

In other news, I started a class last night in Graphic Design at the University of Calgary. That should complete my 250 or so hours for my Certificate in Visual design.

Update: I changed the twitter ID to VinAlly because that's what I'm now focusing on.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Billboard Vinyl for Making Stencils

One potential client from Etsy was wanting a custom stencil. So I have been exploring the possibilities of using recycled billboard vinyl for this purpose. Billboard vinyl has internal fibers that do not always get cut by the Cricut Expressions. I experimented with multi cuts as well, but the fibers seem to persist. I also learned that big loops require joins or bridges or whatever the term is for stencilling. Otherwise the large loops will shift during stencilling and produce an unsatisfactory result.
The making of the stencil required a doubling/displacement/combining/anchor-point-deletion of the words "Love" and "loved" because some parts of the letters were too thin at that scale to cut well. The Arial fonts required joins or bridges on letters like "e" and "a" and "g" because they had internal space within their letters and they needed solid material to anchor those central holes.
I think that a larger design with not too many fine cuts would work well for making stencils, and I'm definately going to use it myself for my own stencilling.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

vinyl filagree bracelet

I know Karl Lagerfeld was showing lace-like metal "tattoo" jewelry and lacy vinyl cuffs to in his Spring 2009 collection. That image has stuck in my mind. So I decided to explore making my own version of a vinyl bracelet, and here's the second prototype. It's comfortable and fits on my small wrist. I made a few more more joins from the first prototype so that there's less large pieces to stick out and get caught on things. This one is now an Etsy listing. The blue colour of the vinyl is genuine Calgary Sky, and it's one of the best blues for my skin tone according to my colour theory studies. Now to make some in black and white and other colors.
I'm happy with the way this turned out so now its time to make some different styles. I will put on my twenty-something-New-York-hipster thinking cap.

Custom clothing labels

Since I made my own sew-in clothing labels, I've been bidding on some custom jobs on Etsy. One potential client wanted Cherry blossoms and a script font. I created the flower brush in Adobe Illustrator 9.

Update: turns out the client wanted embroidered labels, she retendered the bid with more specifics.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

decor tissue box cover

I didn't feel like going into the sewing room while the inauguration was on, so I watched CNN online while I worked on this project. I managed to design the cover pieces and cut them out. I thought it would be amusing to have a tissue box with the word "Honk" on it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Low Cost Clothing Brand Name Labels

Hang tags are those tags that are on the back of your shirt. Correction: they are actually known as "labels". When they stick up, they are also known as "loser tags." :) Here's my method for making some low cost ones that look good. (My weekend was spent trying to stamp with acrylic paint onto ribbon, but that ended up looking messy.)

Using paper-backed fabric for use with inkjet printers - I used a Canon Pixma printer with archival quality ink - simply print out a page with your shop name or logo on it. I used Adobe Illustrator, but there's no reason you couldn't do this also in your word processor.I made some hang tags that were about 1.5"x1.5" square, with 1/4" space at the top for the seam allowance, then the logo, then the rest was for the fold-under/remaining seam allowance. I fold them once over then sew them into the seam. My only cost was my time and the photofabric paper. I ironed the labels to set the ink.

Update: I did a washing test of my labels in hot water, and the pink color faded a bit, but the black stayed true. My takeaway is that some colors work better than others for colorfastness with this technique. If one wants hot water colorfastness, then likely a fixative spray such as plasti-dip could be used. (I'm sure there's others, its just that I have Plasti-dip on hand).

my3littlemonkeys says:
Hi I use those on my baby slings. I don't bother turning over I just zigzag all the way around. You can also trim to the right size and apply fray stop to your edges.( put some on a plastic lid and just dip the sides)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cricut works on rubber tire inner tube,

but only if you freeze it, first. Otherwise the rubber is too spongy and does not cut well. Also, it is a bit too thick to cut all the way through, but the Cricut is great for making guide cuts, which I'll finish off later with a craft knife. (Note: this off-label use for the Cricut is not recommended by the manufacturer. Just sayin.) I am making rubber stamps for my billboard vinyl wallets and soap totes on my Etsy shop. I'll stamp my logo onto a piece of satin ribbon and sew it into a seam on my wallets and soap totes.

I can't wait to try making soles for shoes on the Cricut. Did I tell you I made shoes, too? I'll save that for another post. Thanks for visiting, and please comment.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Using Cricut for my billboard vinyl wallets

I put my paper wallet pattern pieces into Illustrator then printed them onto the Cricut.

The biggest challenge was getting the vinyl stuck to the mat so it was true.

I am delighted with the results. Not much leftover vinyl to go into the landfill. I had always found it a challenge to cut out the driver's licence windows so they looked tidy enough. Now they are cut with precision.

Below is a small video with very annoying Cricut machine sound.

Monday, January 12, 2009

1111 Independant Artist's Exhibition

Here's me with my design buddy Schneider at the show. I had a great time and met a lot of interesting people. Everyone made me feel so welcome. What a great first experience!

Cricut Machine

I finally got my Cricut machine. A Cricut Expressions machine is a glorified craft knife. I am looking forward to testing this out on various materials like billboard vinyl. I am not into scrapbooking or cardmaking, but I see a lot of potential in this cutting machine. And maybe I will make a card or two!

Update: It works for cutting the thickest recycled billboard vinyl that I have. For those who are interested I'm using a high pressure and a blade depth of 6. I don't know if that's overkill but it works for now.
Now I have more possibilities like cutting filigree patterns into the billboard vinyl. Oh what artistic fun!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Handmade Soaps and the Guaifenesin Protocol

I've been thinking about Handmade soaps since I created my Soap Tote. Unfortunately I probably can't buy them. This is because I've been on the Guaifenesin Protocol for fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue for about two years, now. After having full-blown fatigue for 4 years, its nice to be feeling normal again. Well, mostly normal. I still have my limits and mostly short-lived spells of fatigue and/or pain. Thanks to the Guaifenesin Protocol, I have renewed energy, and so I was able to start this SewnAgain venture.

The protocol requires strict adherence to a few prohibitions, otherwise the guaifenesin will be blocked in the docking sites in the kidney and prohibit phosphate excretion. So, things like mint, castor oil, coconut oil are all forbidden. These salicylates are readily absorbed into the body via the skin and no amount of exposure is safe.

For soapmaking, the oils that provide the lather, such as coconut oil, are not allowed on the protocol. That's where the dilemma is for Etsy soap buyers who are on the guaifenesin protocol. Soapmakers work with a 5 - 7% superfat so there is 5 - 7% of those oils NOT saponified. That unsaponified residue will block our guaifenesin and keep us sick.

However, I'm looking forward to Joyce, a soapmaker who is on the protocol. She's done a lot of research on protocol-safe soapmaking and is planning to open up an Etsy shop and sell salicylate-free soaps and lotions. I'm lining up to be her first customer. I'm looking forward to it, Joyce!

Friday, January 9, 2009

oneoneoneone Calgary Art Show

I'm going to have my "Memories of Beijing" shirt on display at the , the Largest Independent Group Art Exhibition in Alberta 11Jan2009. This event is at 225-58 Ave SECalgary, AB on Sunday, 11Jan09 @ 11.11am-11.11pm. I'm going to be able to display wallets and soap totes, too.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I entered some items for a book today

Today I submitted my Soap Tote and Eye wallet to the website for a new book called 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse. I think my billboard vinyl products are good examples of creative reuse.

Bird Bath Soap Tote

Today I made this birdbath silhouette Soap Tote. This is the first time I tried piping in the seam. I put a heart on the zipper pull as a nod to Valentine's day. Oh, would that I would be featured in Etsy's Valentine's gift guide!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Soap Tote refinement

I'm busy refining the design of my Soap Tote. Hey! how did that coupon wallet get in the shot?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Valentines Day Soap Tote

Well, with Valentine's Day drawing near, I thought I would make an Etsy product to go with that theme. It's done now and here it is:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mini Travel Soap Handbags

I am excited about my newest product for Etsy. A prototype is pictured at right. It is a travel “handbag” for soap. It will have an inner mesh pocket that folds out so that the soap can air dry before it is sealed up again. The loop hooks onto the shower faucet, and the mesh holds the soap in ideal air drying position. I also like the Maidstone font that I used for the word “Soap”. It kind of has a 50s feel to it. I used the mesh from a yam bag from Christmas holidays. Now I have a use for all the grocery-store mesh produce bags! I am working out the order of operations for making these. I like that it’s different and stylish, and perhaps, affordable.
Now, using one of these, you can save those hotel soaps, or take your favourite soap or shampoo bar. It even works as a soapdish as long as you can hang it somewhere in the shower. I suppose you could take one of those vacuum hooks along to ensure you have a hook to hang the mini handbag on.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Favourite Mark Twain Quote

"I can live for two months on a good compliment."

That used to be so true in my career, with my withholding boss. Fortunately, his boss would occasionally toss me a "Good!". In those drought-filled days, this was enough to keep me going.

There was some good feedback from some Etsians yesterday on my shop, my blog and on my latest coupon organizer wallet. What a boost!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Coupon Organizer Wallet

This was from an Alchemy bid. I didn't win the bid, but it did give me an idea for a recession-style product.