Sunday, April 30, 2017

Raincoat cause rain

Do raincoats cause rain?
The wool jacket didn't stop winter.
Yes, they are in the sewing cave. Yes, I have family.

But it's never going to stop raining in Seattle.
Well, I surely hope not*.

I made this jacket, not using a pattern, years and years ago. I've worn it to bits, and it's failing at the seams. The hood never stays up. One breeze, even one step forward and it's down. I've been meaning to alter it, but then I noticed the seam damage.
The Riri rainbow zipper has held up, and I'm going to reuse it.

The reflective tape on the seams was a good idea. Even if it does slice me at the chest, it's VERY reflective, and between the front, the back and that little slash on the side pocket entry facing, it catches the smallest light and makes me visible enough even with the all black matte material.
I am working it into the next coat.
However, I'm done with black coats.

I've been coat watching in Seattle, and it's like we're all going to a funeral all winter long.
I just went to a funeral, and one of the things someone pointed out about the late Marian was that she NEVER wore a black coat. As proof, her red leather jacket was a part of the family photo table. She was stylin' she was.

I've been grabbing pix on Pinterest
picking up a couple patterns, taped this one together 
I took the body pieces and made them into one pattern piece to eliminate leaky seams
sorry this is hard to see, but you get the idea

And I noticed I have a style theme going here
Yes, you have seen this coat before. This particular version is from 1985.

I have worn the life out of this coat. It's the parka version. A sample my stepmother loaned me over almost twenty five years ago. I did add interior pockets.

This wasn't cheap. It is gorgeous. I am going to make one out of velvet. 
McVoguerick - you should rerelease this design!

Bathrobe would be good raincoat with the right fabric
So I have this amazing nylon fabric from Pacific Fabrics, and it's going to turn  into the new raincoat. I need to make a second muslin first.
Preliminary layout unsatisfactory, but a good photo of the fabric. You'll see it later

And before I cut into Precious, I have to remind myself that I keep looking at the same shape because I have been wearing the same shape over and over again.

I am cutting out the Green Pepper Oregon hood for this coat. I've tried a lot of hood patterns and they know their stuff. 
This was the very first thing I ever pinned on pinterest. Pretty sure.

 Because there is nothing more annoying than turning your head and seeing the inside of your hood.
*to be honest with you, it doesn't rain all the time. It's cloudy much of the time. It has rained a lot more this winter, all up and down the left coast. And it's been heavier rain; usually we just get sprinkles. It's poured several times; it flooded out the sewage treatment plant, which is just now operating with all of it's functions repaired.
So yeah, I need the hood now.

So cutting has begun and so has some crying
Sometimes the fastest way to get the photo off my phone is by posting it to Instagram....
The sleeve runs off the edge. I will have to piece it. Damn!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

115 Swatches Knocking at the Door (that's FedEx actually) - Contrado continued

Remember, you click on the photos and they get huge

Contrado's fabric choices page is pretty good

They give you good selection filters/controls on the left, and the fabric pages give you the critical information you'd need: weight, content, suggested uses. The max. print is the printable width.

So I ordered the swatch set. Three days by FedEx, so that 7.50$ shipping did the job.

A two inch thick stack of entertainment.
Delivered by FedEx. I had to sign for it.
See what I do for you? 
Okay, I did it for me. But I thought about you, honest!
Lots of them
It took me a couple of days to open it up; I was on my way out the door when they arrived, and I had a son to visit at college for the weekend.
And then it was just daunting. I was afraid I'd lose some of them.

I assumed that everything that wasn't explicitly labeled a particular fiber was...polyester. And that's pretty much true.
The full fiber contents are listed on their pages online.
Sorting them out
Upholstery or home decor weight polys

About half of the fabrics are housewares material.  Lots of upholstery weight fabrics, different textures and finishes, all poly. Potential bags or decor stuff. Blackout is rollerblind weight.

(I do not make rollerblinds. The roman shades damn near killed me, and once a year I have to mend them.)

Two different weights of felt, poly.
Oilcloth - two kinds
Three stretch laces

Lots of poly.
Clothing weight polys. The Crush velour is fun.

I'm not going to cover all the fabrics, as I'm really only interested in fabrics I can't get from Spoonflower or My Fabric Designs. I've invested a lot of time in Spoonflower, and shipping gets spendy internationally very quickly.  I have lost stuff by going the ground shipping route (in a package marked for me, there is a pair of deeply cool creepers from Romania, out there somewhere).

Contrado's yardage is spendy already. Spoony is 32$ a yard for eco canvas  and silky faille is $24. 54" wide, thank you. And that's before my designer discount.
So this has to be something I can't get anywhere else.
(we'll get to the 'how much' shortly)
Named fiber clothing weight
You get a good idea how the fiber blend affects the printing by using the same print for similar fibers (plant based versus petroleum. See how I got rayon in that group?).
You can see the variation in color between the denim and the viscose. Not as bright but well dyed. The cashmere is also a little faded in comparison to the cotton.

Poly outerwear plus that muslin. I've got a scarf idea that would work on.

stretching things
The Florence mesh is a lightweight mesh, super stretchy but translucent.  The quilted jersey on the bottom left would be a nice cardigan. If I wore cardigans. And the Plush Velvet is nice, but it's really a denser Minky and the image does distort when you brush it the wrong way. Like a napped print will.
There's a scuba and a neoprene in there, somewhere.

The ones that I was interested in were outerwear fabrics: Ripstop
Breathable waterproof would be a great rainjacket fabric.
Softshell jacket would make a good moto.
The super cool soft poly 'muslin' on the lower left would make faboo scarves; it's similar to the poly scarves in Anthropologie

if you click on this, it becomes a mammoth and easier read image
I did like the cashmere. It was the best of the swatches just for feel and opacity. 
$149 a yard
But it's cashmere. And it's nice and soft and squishy and would make the best dress ever. It would also make a wonderful scarf - it is 55" printable width. 

The viscose twill, at about $51.21yd, seems a little faded to start (and these swatches are too small to wash properly and keep a control sample). But I love rayon. I really do. It's my magical place, and if this dye sublimation process does the thing they say it will, it should miss that crocking/fading that has troubled Spoonflower.
And what do I mean by that?
dye sublimation printing; will not crack fade or peel. (high temp version)

You do NOT have to do full yards; you can customize the size by width or length. This seems odd to me; fabric comes off the roll full width. What about the extra width?  The scheduling of printing that would combine different widths just boggles the mind.
But I digress. That's not your problem.

At the end of it, I'd probably go with the breathable waterproof. Nice weight and drape, 2 yards at full width would be $108.26.
(sound of defibrillator)
How much do I love the idea of using my own fabric design?

How much do I hate the outerwear fabrics available to me?

Because I bought the swatches, I have a coupon for $25 off a purchase of over $55. Which puts a dent in it.

And I have this nylon:

And it's paid for. Thanks Pacific Fabrics.

I dunno. Maybe I get a yard of something. They are out of the cashmere.....and the poly muslin is the same price as the viscose...which seems weird.
And then there's shipping. 

I'll get back to you on this one.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring is officially here: Kalle shirt pattern coming out now

Here are the Pegasuses you were looking for. I know, they are upside down on the collar. Shhhhh! Don't tell anybody

Pattern testing gives me a chance to get out of my comfortable rut and make stuff I wouldn't make. Also geek out on technical matters. 

And frankly, Heather is a ton of fun to work with. Wouldn't miss it for the world.

It's been a long winter after the testing was done, waiting for it to come out. It wasn't going to sleeve, so it's not a winter thing.

sleeve: (v) to possess a longer arm covering without changing up the entire concept.

But now Winter Is Over.

Kalle is a pullover placket/button up shirt dress, with a faced yoke and faced hems and cuffed armsceye. And like all CCF patterns, it's instructions are faultless. 

My versions are of the pullover, and used the old version of the pattern. The  new version's placket is a little shorter.

Exciting tester photo. Yes, it's all about purple markers and photography.

Stripes are hem facing.

If you click on and enlarge this, you can see that I used the selvage for the collar and centered the name on the back. This does not follow exact grainlines, but I went with cute rather than perfect
Proof I made this way back when? The choir dress bags are visible in the back left corner on the rack.

I also made this out of Cotton and Steel cotton, which is about as heavy a fabric as you would want to make this out of. And as lovely as the yoke instructions are, I removed the inner layer to lighten up the shoulder line on the back seam.

I know,  buttons, but I needed to get this photo done and out. Placket is shorter now.

I dyed part of the rayon pegasi fabric for the placket and collar. See what a difference fabric choice makes?

I do love this pattern though. It's a classic shirtdress with solid state details and instructions, the placket and it's instructions/construction are worth using on other shirts because of that. It's a straightforward and rewarding sew. 
Because of the yoke (which extends out to the cuffs), I would recommend a soft fabric.  But I am going to make a couple more out of novelty fabric with a single yoke, because it's a great display for a great print.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Online digital printing Contrado Bags of Love

Digital design is about digits.  0s and 1s.

That's my summary and I'm leading with it, because that simple statement colors everything I'm talking about here.

Digital images are specific data points in space with precise color choices that can be rendered by a computer-driven print mechanism. It's not about 'a little more gray' or stretching the paint to extend to the edges to fill the canvas.

As for designing your yardage:
It's about data entry points on a wire-frame model that produce a preview image that absolutely represents the final image. Mostly represents, if we're talking Sprout Patterns or Roostery.

This has got to have been the most ridiculous afternoon I've spent online in years.  I just hope you're grateful this girl reporter went down this rabbit hole and took enough fun pix to give you a vague idea how it works.

Note: all of these images can be clicked on to make them original screen size. Don't say I didn't warn you. They BIG!


I do a lot of work on Spoonflower. I'm used to its interface, how it presents itself to you.

It is a very well built, user friendly website that assumes you came with a digital image in your hand and you want to use it in some manner. 

Roostery and Sprout are just extentions of the same website model. 

Either by adapting it to a fabric or editing it, the image is the vehicle you're driving.

You're probably familiar with Zazzle, Society6, Cafe Press. You can order things with your image printed on them. 
Zazzling a mug

Contrado/Bags of Love and their pals will print your image on fabric AND physical items. The design tools are roughly the same as Zazzle, with a few grace notes about 3D placement added.

There are two doors in: you can design an item or you can order an item and design it.

I'm going to tell you right now: choose design. It will let you save the item without purchasing it. The other way you're still designing it, but you can't just save it except in your cart.

Either way, if you have to back up in the process with your 'back' key, it takes you all the way back to the opening screen and you've lost everything you did with that product.

The key is: you need to have your design details down. Forget pixels: you want to know what imperial physical size your image presents well at. 

If you didn't know, you will soon enough.

Like Zazzle, and a billionity other sites, they will advice you that your image is not up to snuff, and will require you to reset it before you can proceed

It doesn't give you a suggestion for a successful resolution size, but you can move back and forth to this page with the onpage tools to adjust it.
You do have to adjust it. It will not let you proceed otherwise.
Kinda like Zazzle. Hm.

I did not test Contrado's responsiveness to copyright sensitive images.  Bags of Love did not wave any flags on an image I know Zazzle will flag but maybe it was not seeing it completely. That's a glitch.

So now that it's right sized, it doesn't fit the panel.

This image is built to repeat on the basic pattern

which fills it. Wish Zazzle did this.

You have to repeat this process for each panel: select, resize, image repeat choice.  Which gets tedious with the umbrella. I would have liked to be able to save my image as the resized version, but that isn't an option. 
It does let you rotate the image. Spoonflower does not.

The hat preview has glitched. 

Why do I need to design each panel individually?

As for have to pick your fabric first. The names are not intuitive. They have 95 fabrics, and a swatch set is $4, $7.50 shipping.  

Adjust the printed width to the full width of the yardage. It doesn't do it automatically - this is about the thing you're printing onto, not the image you're using. 

Selected auto fit to get the width of the image to match the fabric. this image is just that huge.

Then I chose pattern repeat style mirrored because that's how this image works

And this is what the whole piece will look like

And then it crashed.

Bags of Love is the same company, without the pitch for opening a store; they have more printable products for you to choose from.
They have sunglasses.
And fabric tags.

Have I done the 'print yardage for tags' pitch here? 
No? (facepalm)
Spoonflower 8" swatch (your choice of fabrics) makes 48 1 5/8" by 3/4" labels for $5, $6 with shipping to the US.

You're welcome.

You do have to finish them yourself with the swatch option. The smaller set in the photo are on performance pique for the knit tag uses. That size was too small: the 1 5/8ths are too big.

So here's the process on BofL:

That's a nice tag, but a buck seventyfive is also a lot of money for a tag.

Oops. That's $2.25 apiece. Ouchy. 
Shipped from the UK though. Your results will vary.