Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Productive Saturday

I labored and labored yesterday and these are my fruits! Four new bow bags to gift to my Barony and also a padded liner for Boen's bow case. Better yet, I bought *nothing* new for these. Not even thread!

I recently decided we MUST reduce clutter in this apartment so I'm working my way toward throwing out stuff. Rather a lot of stuff, I hope! The nice thing about being ready to dispose of things is that I sometimes look at things--like a mattress pad with perfectly good padding that we never use because the sides which keep it on the mattress are shot--and see possibilities. Yesterday I saw that mattress pad as the solution to a problem we have at archery practice. We have several bows of various sizes which have been donated over the years, but only two bags! That means we jam several bows into a bag together where they promptly get all tangled up. Not good for them. Frustrating for us...the solution? More bow bags!

I cut the queen sized mattress pad crosswise into strips 13" wide (I got five strips) and my bengaline outer fabric into cross-wise stips 15" wide. I made them wider to allow some fabric for rounding around the liner, as well as turning at the seams and loss due to zig-zaging the long edges together. It turned out the cover fabric was about 2" wider than the liner so I had enough to make a drawstring casing to close the bag at the top. Order of sewing: turn and finish side edges for the casing openings, zig-zag long edges of liner and cover together, zig-zag lower edges of liner and cover together--stretching liner to fit,stitch casing to cover and finish top edge of liner(stretching to fit again), add pocket (oh yeah, I cut pockets from scrap fabric I made when I neatened the edge of my fabric before cutting. Pockets are always good!), stitch long edges together, set bottom of long seam so it falls at the center of the bottom of the bag and stitch bottom together with two rows of stitching, turn the finished bag, Add drawstring.

You can see some of the details in this closer shot.

The final touch was to thread the drawstring through the casing a take a few stitches at the center point. No pulling the cord out of the casing by accident!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Sewing Room Toys, Tools! I mean tools!

I may have gotten the idea from Pinterest, I really don't remember, but I saw this strange iron contraption on the internet the other day and thought 'Hey! I NEED that for my sewing room!' I love love love my new cone thread holder (aka bottle drying rack) especially since I have finally figured out a way to set up my cone thread to feed into my machine smoothly and easily! No falling on the floor and rolling around. No snagging and snapping. Just sewing! Love it.

The thread glides because I take the cone I am using and set it in the center, the thread goes up from there and over the top ring, then into the guides of the machine. As you may be able to see, I'm using one of the spool holders as a guide to keep the thread coming from a similar direction as it would if it were on the machine itself. Works like a charm! COMPLETELY unlike that weird plastic cone thread holders the sell at the fabric store these days.

Monday, July 21, 2014

IRCC4-feathery progress

After curling the plumes I used the same thread binding technique to assemble some plumes into multicolored sets.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

IRCC4 - Wow, Feathers take a lot of prep work!

But all my 48 are now trussed up in sets of two and curling has commenced. The nice part is that the curling is dead easy and goes fast!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

IRCC4 - Feather work commences

When I was working on my last feather fan I discovered an excellent tutorial regarding creating full beautifully shaped ostrich feather plumes:

In my opinion the feathers for this year's fan shouldn't be all that long, but they do need to be lush and curvy so the first step is to take the feathers I purchased and convert them into plumes! Interestingly, the process is rather like tying up a roast. You create a series of connected loops which hold the feathers together and tie them off at the end. I did mine thus:

Match feathers together in sets of two as best you can. I look for feathers which are similar in length and curve and which will complement each other when assembled. This means that I wouldn't pair together two feathes which were both skimpy on the right side, but I would pair a right-side-skimpy feather with a full or left side skimpy one.

 I stack the better looking feather on top of the less handsome one, flip them over so I am facing the backs and match the tips so the lengths look well. I take a needle threaded with a length of thread approximately three-to-four times the length of the feathers I'm working on and take a stitch around the stem by sticking the needle between the quills of the feather and coming back on the other side.

Then I tie the two ends of the thread together in a square knot, leaving one tail extending about 5" past the length of the feathers and the other with the bulk of the thread on the needle.

And then I get a little wild. I left the long tail because I want to be able to tie off in a square knot also, but I don't want the bulk of two threads when I'm stitching the feathers together so I lift the upper feather and work the thread clear of all the quills so that I can run my long tail down the center spine between the feather layers.

Once I close my little feather and thread sandwich back up I start stiching them together just as instructed, making a chain of loops to encase both spines and my thread tail.

I make multiple loops at the end an finish it off with another square knot.

To finish I rescue any trapped quills by pulling them out with a pin so the whole feather looks beautiful

Much better!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

IRCC4 - Mango, Marigold, Ivory, Beige. The Feathers are Here!

This year's inspiration fan is a fluffy multicolor marvel.

Since the feather selection in my town has dropped off considerably of late (and it was never good) I decided to finally try getting feathers on the internet. Did you know they come in colors? LOTS of colors! And many sizes, types and prices too. The inspiration fan strikes me as being fairly equal amounts of four different colors. I got 4 12-packs of dyed ostrich feather drabs in the 9"-12" length.
I plan to pair them up and stitch them together to make 6 plumes of each color. Perhaps I'll have extras!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

IRCC4 - Parts for my fan have started to arrive

After a short stint of shopping on e-bay I found a great option for a metal frame for my first accessory item. I think this hairbrush will make a great feather fan!

Step one was to take it apart. The brush is held in the frame with three short nails so I just pried them up and pulled out the bits I found.

As you can see, there's quite a lot of stuff in there!

The original brush-head is wood and perfectly shaped to fit the frame so I will probably try to use it to hold my feathers. I think I can remove what remains of the original bristles pretty easily (they are in the disintegrating phase) and if I drill the original holes all th way through the board I should have lots of attachment points.  Now I just have to keep resisting the urge to use it as a giant bubble wand!

My feathers are due to arrive today or tomorrow so I hope to make some progress on this layer this weekend.