Monday, July 15, 2013

Button-Collared

An old collared shirt can be given a small makeover to create a new, fun style. It's easy: just add buttons!


All you need for this project are scissors, thread (I used Dual Duty Plus from Coats), a small needle and a diverse collection of buttons. You are likely to find interesting buttons at thrift stores, flea markets and on Etsy


I would recommend laying out your buttons on your collar before sewing them on, then taking a picture of the layout. I changed the layout a bit as I sewed, and added other buttons from my collection, but it was helpful to have a template to go off of. 


When hand-sewing, I often think of a few tips by Alabama Chanin, who I had the pleasure of meeting a few years ago. Namely, that my thread should only be as long as my fingertips to my elbow, and that I should love my thread by running it between my fingers. Learn why, in this lovely video


I also find it important to make sure to sew with a double strand of thread, and to make a good knot before and after I sew. Learn more about the physics of sewing by hand in this article, again by Alabama Chanin. 





The good thing about sewing on top of a collar is that your thread is, for the most part, hidden from view. I started my stitches on the underside of the collar, but the majority of the stitching was made in between the top and bottom collar pieces. It gave a neater appearance to the top and underside, although I'm sure it could be neater if I had better sewing skills. Oh well :) 



Ta-da!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Crochet Boy



I didn't make this. I found it at a thrift store. Isn't she lovely?






- Shirt from Gap (similar to this one)
- Custom Shorts by Jamie Lau Designs
- Shoes from a thrift store

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Current Projects In-Progress

I'm a chronic multi-tasker. No matter how streamlined I try to make my life, I always seem to be doing a bunch of things at once. Here are a few things that I'm working on:


I'm experimenting with making a crocheted tank top. I've never made anything like this before, and have only begun working on the front side. Once finished, I'll need to do a back side and two shoulder straps, as well. I'll be experimenting with shaping in order to get the simple design that I have in my head. Of course, it's taking forever because I'm using a 3.5 mm hook and thin yarn. This is what I prefer, though, but it will inevitably take a few months to complete this project.


I'm more than halfway done with my rug project! It's taken me over a year and a half to get this far, but I'm proud of the progress that I've made. I have 35 and 1/2 inches to go. I hesitate to give myself a timeline, but I aim to be at least 75% done by the end of this year.


I've been upcycling a lot of T-shirts with pencil eraser stamping. This is one that I have in my Etsy shop. Two more have been completed, and will be added there soon.


I've found a big lot of kraft boxes at the thrift store, and have been working on decoupaging them with recycled paper. This one is in my Etsy shop.


These are my current primary tools for the projects that I'm working on: 1/2 of a large embroidery hoop, 3.5mm and 4.0mm crochet hooks, a fabric pen, a glue (or paint) brush, a pencil and a bone folder. They're simple, but they achieve great things. 

In addition to the projects listed above, I'm also trying to complete a few pieces of artwork for my Etsy shop, and am sketching a few jewelry pieces that I will eventually start working on. I also want to print and assemble at least 5 more of my poetry books, hopefully by June.

My mind is always racing, but I like the pace :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

It takes courage.

True living takes courage. Real, hard courage. I'm learning that now, more than ever. For me, talking to strangers takes a lot of courage, and so does taking pictures in a busy park. 


Discipline takes courage. Am I courageous enough to tell myself "no?" Do I have faith in my own integrity?


Honesty takes courage, and so does recognizing truth. I am 27. I am scared and unsure, confident at times, and relentless. I am a spectrum. My space is as wide as the bridge between fear and recklessness.


I made a commitment to myself a long time ago. Fear may be my enemy, but determination is my lifetime friend. Perhaps that's been my courage all along. 

I like that: my courage.  

Where does your courage lie? Mine rests in many passions, singing, writing, creating, but at their core is the will to never let them go. I am determined to keep them with me, and that determination gives me courage to live with conviction. There is always a pressing in my stomach, a reminder to continue, to build and create, and walk on a road with no visible destination. When fear attacks, perhaps this is my sword.


Cardigan - Thrifted
Shirt - Brooklyn Exchange
Pants - H&M
Socks - Uniqlo
Shoes - Urban Jungle

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Red

A recently joined a Meetup for gay photographers. We had a photo outing, and the mission of it was to take images inspired by the color red in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Here are the ones that I took and liked:







Photography is such an interesting art. Great photography can run the spectrum of preparation, from extremely careful planning to quickly improvised, captured moments. I'm hoping to learn more about lighting, filters and other tools and techniques that can increase my chances of taking powerful photos across the entire preparation spectrum.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Leather Clutch




Last year, I was given a $100 gift card to Mood Fabrics. It's been laying in my email inbox since I received it. A few weeks ago, however, my cousin, aunt and mother came to visit me, and I decided to treat them to some new fabric. With the remaining amount, I found a scrap of leather and decided to buy it and make a new clutch for myself. 

Along with the piece of leather, I purchased Gutermann upholstery thread. I also used an awl, a ruler, a cutting mat, fabric scissors, a fabric pen (optional), an X-acto knife and a large-eye needle for this project.

I discovered later that I also needed two binder clips, one large bead and piece of hemp twine, as well. 



My leather scrap was uneven, so I first trimmed the uneven side edges. I discovered that a binder clip kept the leather from moving while I cut. 


I also removed the uneven edges from the top and bottom of the scrap piece. I tried to use my fabric pen, but the ink doesn't show prominently on leather. I only needed a soft mark, and the pen point created a line indent, which was all I really needed anyway.





I also tried using an X-acto knife when trimming slim edges, but it is only effective on very thin leather, and on only one layer. I ended up using my fabric scissors for most of my cutting, but an X-acto knife is also good for creating a line of demarcation, if a fabric pen isn't available.


When measuring the bag, I also accounted for about 5 3/4 inches extra leather, which was the closure flap for my clutch. 


Next, using my awl. I made holes for the embroidery needle and upholstery thread to go through. I left about a 1/4 seam allowance from the edge.


The spacing between each hole was about 1/2 inches. I actually started from the 1/4 mark (where it says "1/32 inches"), so the image below may be a little misleading.


In order to ensure that the awl went through both layers, I had to lift my leather up often.



Once all of the holes were made, I repositioned my binder clips on either side of my clutch, in order to make it easier for me to sew through the holes. 




I hand-sewed my clutch together using the back stitch embroidery technique. A great tutorial can be found here. The only variation I made, as you can see in the picture below, is that in the first stitch I brought the thread around the leather horizontally, then proceeded to do back stitches vertically. This is an optional variation. It just made me feel like the stitches were more secure. 



This how the clutch looks with both sides hand-stitched together.


Next, I needed to add a closure. This is always the most challenging part whenever I make a bag. After a few attempts, I finally sewed a bead on the bottom of the bag, then made a small hoop with hemp twine at the bottom edge of the closure flap. 



To make the hoop, you can make two small holes at the bottom edge of the closure flap, insert one end of the hemp twine piece in each hole, then tie a secure knot on the underside of the bag. Mine looks a bit wonky because it took me a while to actually reach this simple conclusion. This isn't the most functional closure, though. Maybe with the next bag I make, I'll have a better solution. 


All in all, though, I really like my new clutch. It fits well with my colorful, offbeat, slightly disheveled vibe :)