Monday, October 28, 2013

Amazing New Series Dracula: Yummy Clothes

Happy Halloween everyone. In case you missed this awesome new series with yummy period clothing, I am adding this week's eye candy for you. Now back to sewing.

And no, I have no excuses for watching this other than I love the clothes. It's no Game of Thrones, but definitely entertaining.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Textile Videos Worth Watching: Hot Patterns

      Ok, this week I'm busy catching up on Trudy's youtube videos while I do a bunch of handsewing for my Halloween costume. The plan at this point is to make myself a custom corsets for a night on the town, but I'm going to reserve judgement until I'm farther along as lingerie is COMPLETELY out of my previous experience depth. Here's to picking up new skills.
       I really love her videos and Sandra (Power Sewing), however I'm always torn on the actual buying of the patterns as I'm not really her customer body type (more a spoon than a rectangle) and most of my commercial work is in menswear. If you want to step your sewing up a notch, I can suggest spending a few minutes of your day for a month on her 7-8 min tutorials for a month or two. She's posted 12 hours overall. All of it is worth watching. The patterns she makes are reasonably priced in my opinion in the range of $7-12.00 each. Not as cheap as a large scale company, but certainly within range for someone producing them privately. Great for the home sewer, especially if you are plagued by a problem tummy.
       So, what are you making for Halloween?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

How Look Better In Home Sewn Clothing

I recently stumbled across this gem of a paper by Debra McLendon on home sewing thanks to a fellow patternmaker, Dean Dyer. As some of you all know, most major home sewing patterns fit like crap, but frankly lacked the drive to tackle as I find the home sewing market confusing and degrading. Thankfully someone else has undertaken the research for me. While you can dig through the 160 page paper and pick up a lot of info, I suggest skipping to the end (page 140-141) to figure out which of the 5 major pattern companies to pick for you personally. The reason is there is a picture of the major dress company dresses sewn up and placed on the same mannequin for comparison:

Burda is a square body shape (If you had a square body shape/tummy buy this size).
Butterick seems to have the closest hourglass figure (Small 8% of the population)
McCalls is an spoon (Small bust, larger butt).
The New Look is knock off of Butterick (Less extreme version)
Vogue is a Triangle (Larger bust with smaller hips).

Overall, I would say that from a visual aspect....McCalls fits the best in the front visually, the New Look from the back, and Butterick/Vogue from the side. So look at yourself in the mirror. Figure out your overall size, and pick accordingly. I being an Irish woman spoon in a family of spoons will be buying McCalls. You may be something else. Happy sewing.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Two Free Tickets to Spring Awakening at Raleigh Little Theater

Interested in winning a pair of free tickets to Spring Awakening at Raleigh Little Theater? Leave a comment below for two tickets, Sunday, October 6 at 3 pm. To be honest, it's not a play I'm very familar with as it's a German play, but it's won a lot a awards so likely is pretty good. It also has a steamy back story as it was banned where it was written for a number of year because of overt sexuality. Granted this was 200 years ago and tastes change, but it promises to be entertaining and most of the tickets have already sold out. The drawing will be next Friday, September 27th. Have a great day people and feel free to enter.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Shop Music: Radioactive by Imagine Dragons

Some shop fun. It would appear we are sold out for the month again. so while we're busy please enjoy this great new music video Nash found by Imagine Dragons. Freakin' hilarious. I apologize that the blog is running a bit behind. There's only so much time in the day. Thank you everyone who is buying Phoenix in stores. It's nice to see the collection is doing well.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Virtual Hugs From Readers This Week

          In one of those fluke amazing and cool things at the same time, this past week I heard from a reader off the blog who found one of my grandfather's coats in a thrift store in Greensboro and stumbled across my blog while doing research in the company he and my grandmother used to run. Even more amazing they reached out to me. This week, I got pictures and a note. A lot of people ask me why I sew or pattern make, and it's for notes and stories like this from customers. Hearing that a piece of clothing spoke to you. That we changed or improved your life for the better, giving you a hug from my hands to yours that though you may never see my face, but you will feel my hands. Helping bring joy, beauty, and laughter to your life. Even if we never meet in person, I still want you to feel my love. For life, for living, for being you. Because life is an amazing gift. And it's worth sharing with those around us. Especially the love and beauty of it.
                 As anyone whose met me in person can attribute, I'm rather blunt and fairly introverted so this inner happiness does not translate over well. I often struggle to express my basic like of people in ways they can hear without being overwhelmed by too much stimulation. I think that's actually fairly common in the trades, but it makes me treasure the notes I get so much. Any I love seeing this coat being enjoyed years later from my grandfather's hands 25 years later. Knowing he would be smiling in his grave at the idea of having made a future customer he hadn't yet met warm would tickle him. So, this has been my virtual hug for the week. Have any good news to share?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bar Remodel: Gizmo (Fermenter Pictures)

            This week, I'm busy learning about the game of golf and something called the US Open. While I'm busy making samples, I thought you the reader might enjoy seeing some custom work from a bar remodel we just got done with. And it gives me a chance to show off Nash being all manly and such. Here's some pics of him and a bunch of other guys moving in the new fermenter! Whoot! So nice. Later this week, you get to see a custom sewing job I've been working on which finally turned out the way I was hoping. Have a great week my reader.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Ash Shirt: Convertible Style Your Way

The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies,
and still defying fortune's spite; revive from ashes and rise.
- Miguel de Cervantes
$18.00 in Our Shop Now
Black S/M/L/XL
Ash left work excitedly that Friday. She'd gotten out of her dreary day-job late that day; her boss whittling away at her last nerve and causing her to sit in her cubicle while the doldrums of bureaucracy stack endless amounts of red tape and paperwork between her and a quaint Exit sign.

"I need a new job," she said to herself, hearing thunder in the distance and walking to her carpool.
"Or maybe just a fun night on the town! How 'bout it?" said a close girlfriend from the car window. "Come on, I got you a new outfit and there's a new bar downtown."

Getting in and strapping herself to the seat, she mused on the idea briefly, "It is supposed to rain tonight...that sounds like a good release!"
"Awesome," her friend said, peeling away into city traffic. "You can change back at my apartment and we can walk there. It's not far."
"Deal," Ash said, closing her eyes and enjoying the feel of not having to drive.

"Here we are, hun," said her friend, shutting off the car and opening the door.
Ash yawned out, "Must have dozed off."
"For sure, come on, lez go!" Her friend, always the energetic one, was all but pulling her out of the car to get her moving.
"Fine, fine," she yawned out again as she allowed herself to be led up to her friend's apartment and all but pushed into the bathroom with a bag of new clothes.
Charcoal wool tight-fitted jeans, with a loose black top that she could adjust however she wanted it to fit. Loose shoulders allowed for a lot of movement and showed off all her curves in all the right places. A set of leather cuffs complimented the outfit, she put one high on her arm and one around her wrist.
"You are going to burn down the house with how hot you are in that, Ash," her friend said, sneaking in.
"Damnit, you, don't do that!" Ash said, shooting a glare over her shoulder.
"Pfft, like that's ever going to work, let's go! Get your gray butt in gear, I want to watch it move!" her friend said, pinching her butt to get her moving.

The storm hit about halfway through their walk to the club. Neither of them were wearing white, and Ash's outfit fared better than her friend's. The water just made the clingy parts cling more and the loose parts didn't change much.
Fenix. The new club was built in the remains of a 1950's diner, and had been redesigned with a semi-Goth club in mind. The sign out front had its name in big neon letters and a phoenix rising from the ground. Perfect.
The bouncer took a few long, hard looks at the girls and let them in with a lingering stare at their backsides.
"Well, at least he thinks we're cute," her friend said, giddily.
The bass hit Ash as soon as she walked through the lobby. Something struck a tone within her and her spirit opened fully to the pulse of life on the dance floor. "Let's rock this town," she said a fire burning behind her eyes.
Like a Phoenix rising, Ash revived from her week and rode the thrills of the night.

Hopefully everyone enjoyed that story from Nash to describe what he thinks of our fall ash shirt. Life is fun when our clothes work for us to make us look cool effortlessly.

This is a convertible design I've been working on for a while as a lot of my clothing has to be worn multiple places with multiple dress codes, and I don't have room in my purse to carry 8 different changes of clothes. This shirt does everything from slutty little LBD to artisty one shoulder number, respectable office shirt, and fun beach hide-a-way. I hope you like my solution to the problem. I've taken various shots here on the mannequin showing how easy it is to simply pull one side or the other, lengthening and shortening to suit your needs. You can find me wearing it all season or pick one up for yourself in the shop for a $18.00 in soft-knit jersey. Have a great week people.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Moving Sale: Complimentary Shipping

                 Hey guys, so Nash and I moving has given us both an excuse to clean up and sort through inventory. Certainly overdue. Most of the stuff we're keeping, but I do have a couple of things to list online for anyone in the area who needs it.

                The first is a Consew 124, you've probably seen it in tons of posts over the years as it's an all around work-horse designed for military applications for everything from silk, to uniforms, to leather work. Pretty much every instructable, sample, or piece I've made has come off this machine or it's sister. Please feel free to check out the photos on Craigslist. Nash can deliver it in the area. We have two or I'd probably keep it because I'm pretty much addicted to the machine due to how easy to fix it is. Something you might not appreciate when first starting out, but you will be grateful for a year in. In working order and has been serviced in the past year so you should be good for a while. It is available for $550.

           Next, spare design books. I have several design books that I have multiple copies of and am posting them for sale in the Etsy shop. Books on leather working, quilting, patternmaking, etc. These books are especially helpful as most of them include patterns (either full scale or 1/4) in oak tag or paper for easy use. One of the biggest stumbling blocks I find for new designers is sizing and scaling their drawings. Complimentary shipping on all books this month and most are $5.00-20.00!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Part 4: Dying Leather

              Alright, back from last week's leather armor costume, I (Dara) meant to post this earlier, but the real world is taking up a lot of time these days. I also put together a small tutorial for my girl friend Robin on Instructables for some leather hide work she was interested in doing for a Game of Thrones party. A birthday present of sorts.
                  You can see the dye here is beginning to take though I think it needs a couple more coats to really get the right shades as it's still a little too light in places. And some antiquing is necessary. Still, it's nice to have everything come together. Realized this week that the outfit I've been doing has over 80 separate carved dragons on it in 4 different sizes. Mmmm, major time investment. Oh well...totally worth it. :-)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Club House Pt. 2!

So, today myself and a future supporter of the Maker Cave went out and started cleaning what's to be the design shop section of the Maker Cave. After rearranging and reorganizing, we found out that there's a lot more space than meets the eye! There's plenty of space for future equipment, entertainment and relaxing.

Thank you, Mike Hinman for lending a hand in getting the place looking nice. We also had fun futzing around with settings for camera phones. Mine didn't turn out as well as those from Mike's iPhone. Congratulations to Apple, that is likely the first and last compliment I will give them when compared to anything with a Linux OS.

This week will be packing and moving of my current workshop into the new location. I'm calling it Phase I of the move, because the final product will look nothing like what it will in its early stages. So far, the place is coming along to a great start.

The Maker Cave website is still getting edited and developed, but should be up sooner than later.

If anyone has any questions about this design space, please feel free to e-mail me. Especially if you want to lend a hand, donate funds, donate equipment, or even if you just want to offer support!

Thanks, everyone!
-Nash (The Cave Man)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Club House!

Here's the newest project that I'm working on. I'm starting a clubhouse that has a few different styles of shops in it, and members of the club would be able to drop by and use the equipment. For a few more details on the workings, you can visit its website here: Maker Cave. It, like the project as a whole, is just at the beginning stages and will be continually changing over the next several months.

The first walk through yielded only these shots that looked less-than-disheveled. By the weekend, there should be more pictures after we clean out the building to make it a bit more professional. There's also the likelihood that Dara will be coming up with a sketch of the place, along with dimensions, and maybe even what the inside might look like.

Ever since one of the local maker community hubs shut down in March, a lot of friends have been asking me if I would be interested or willing to set up something that would fill the void. Though a few interesting events, my wife and I are going to be living in a house with a wonderfully large workshop in the back. It was originally used for storage and a garage, but I believe we can turn this into a multi-material work space and design shop.

During the process of coming up for a name for this venture, we were calling it the "Man Cave." Part of it was going to have a very intricate TV/Music/Gaming system, a bar, computers and just a place to sit down and relax. You know, a place where a guy can just sit down, chill out and work on projects.

The idea then morphed into actually having work space in it. Bring in tools to use and people to hang out with while working on various projects. I have a lot of friends in the area who have tools, time and money to work on projects, but are limited by the fact that they live in apartments where their landlords wouldn't take kindly to power tools being used. When I discussed this idea with a few of them, they immediately jumped on it and were willing to help and put equipment to be used in it.

Over the next few months I am going to be investing some better wiring in the shop, and setting it up for bigger tools. I've had a few people say they're willing to donate tools or funding to the shop, and I'm hoping to make it more appealing for them.

A few things I'm looking to do with this are community based. This is going to be a club. Not the same thing as a country club, or a gym, but more of a collective of makers who have invested in something and want to see it flourish. There's not enough space for a vast number of people, but I'm hoping that with monthly dues and some invested capital, this would be a fun space for people to work in.

We're aiming to have weekly meet-ups called Cave Parties. Part grill-out, part build party, all fun. Music, grilling, and generally hanging out. These nights members of the club can show up with potluck style food/drink, enjoy the location and work on a few projects. I'll put more detailed information on the website, but in general the workspace will be available for people of a variety of incomes.

Aside from the Cave Parties, the people who seek to use it more often will be able to come by in the evenings and over the weekends. Basically, when I'm around to keep an eye on the shop and help anyone who may need it.

I'll be adding more information later, but for now this is the introduction. I hope that people will come and join me in the Maker Cave with yours truly, the resident Cave Man.

Part 3: Tooling Leather For The House Of Dragon

           Alright, this part TOOK way, way longer than I expected. I realized doing this project how spoiled I've gotten not having to hand-tool leather on a regular basis. All the leather pieces were cut from the pattern in part two, then wetted and had a dragon pattern hand-cut into them with a mallet and chisel. That's a lot of beating things with a metal stick. A lot of people think that this is an instant process instead of a couple of hours per piece.
             The best part of this process though, was it gave me a chance to use one of my favorite old school pattern drafting tools: my light box. To use a light box, take your original photo, outline the major lines with an ink pen, trace and copy onto hard oak tag, and press the final pattern into the leather with a punch. The carve A LOT. A swivel knife is popular for this point, then the 3D pattern is beaten into the thick leather with a rubber mallet and stamps. Sadly, since it's all the same color it's hard to see the detail before dying. Tomorrow...looking at the finished product dyed before it's burnished and sealed with beeswax. I was going to do a leather tutorial on this, but without access to a light box...I really don't see this being something most people can do.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Spring 2014: Menswear

           Menswear is running further and further ahead the style curve these days compared to everyone else. The Milan and Paris Fashion Shows have already been released a year ahead of the general public. They are some of the most risky trends I've seen in a while as they are not very masculine. Flowery prints and knit wear are everywhere.
             I am not sure how much of what is walking the runways will be adopted by the actual public as a whole. I have a hard time picturing my husband trading in his beloved blue jeans for flower print sprayed on trousers, but it reminds me of the old shows back before 2005 which were designed the shock and delight the public instead of raw practicality. The thing it speaks most clearly to me is HOPE. Of an unwritten future. I like that. So to next year's menswear: A little more risk. A recovering economy. And hope.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Beach Entertainment: Free Book Online

       Happy Monday everyone! It's back to school in a few weeks and we're having fun getting in some last minute summer reading before the break is over. Nash and I both love to read. If you're looking for another book to throw on your kindle or iPhone for a relaxing summer trip to the beach or mountains, may we recommend the free book Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson?
         He's our new favorite author. Since we don't get the time to read like we used to, the books we do read and enjoy have become very precious to us. Best of all, we get to tell you all about him and let you try him out for FREE online. His Mistborn Trilogy is where we first read him and we both couldn't put the books down for a month. It's always nice to find a new beloved author to read.
         Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Brilliant Product Design/Marketing: Tile

              I recently saw this commercial and thought...this is an amazing product design/advertising. The first round of funding has already raised over $2 million dollars six months before shipping. It's a small simple RFID reader that allows you to find objects on the go. While the technology has been around for 20+ years, it has also largely been banned or pulled from  stores as being too invasive. This is the first time I've seen tracking presented as a positive instead of a negative for the consumer. A simple story: never lose your keys again.
               As Nash and most of my friends will attest, this is something I struggle with on a regular basis which has led to elaborate filing and storage systems to combat my absent-mindedness.  Now, for $25 there's a answer to my key problem. We're finally beginning to see the adoption of many early 1990s technology for the consumer market with the iPhone turning people into mobile information hubs. The things we feared are becoming the tools we use every day. So many times, you see product adoption fail in the market place, not because of the product itself, but a failure to tell a story the customer wants to hear.
           If you're not telling someone what they want to hear, can you really blame them for walking away instead of buying in? And how often do we fail to frame our attempts to connect with others in terms of not hearing their stories on what they need? Or want?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Adding A New Voice To the Blog

Hello everyone! It's Nash, Dara's husband. She's recently told me that I should start writing some posts on here, and so I shall! You'll be hearing from me more often now, especially in the next few days. In the future I'll likely be posing anywhere from updates on our Instructables page, stories I've written, projects we've been working on and anything that catches my fancy.

As of the past few weeks, I've been blogging on our main page. You can read the past few posts here. Sometimes there might be repeat posts between here and there, but I will try and keep that to a minimum.

One other thing is that sometimes you might catch me ending my posts with something amusing. Or at least something I might find interesting and wish to share. In this instance, it will involve my love of Deadpool and something amusing that went on with this year's San Diego Comic Con. We also hope to start making more costumes, of which you'll likely see future posts in that field.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Japanese Patternbooks: Or How To Pick A Patternmaker

           Today's post is a little tongue-in-cheek, but hopefully it will be helpful for those designers looking to grow to the next level. I've often thought that a designer looking for a patternmaker should bring a few sheets of origami and a Japanese origami folding book to the interview to figure out if the pattern-maker is any good. Pattern-making is the spacial ability to make a physical recipe to make your design real on a large scale. You also hear this referred to as DMF (Design for Manufacturing) or several other things that mean the same thing (BOM, tech pack, etc.). If you're just making notes for yourself or a one-time piece who cares what format you use.
           Designers often think in words (especially the verbal descriptions their customers give them), production rarely uses any words at all taking raw material and making it into a final product. You don't use words to chop onions or cook a steak. You use tools. Conversely, a bowl of salt is not very good for having a customer tell you they want fries with that.  Like recipe books, pattern-makers translate between the front and back of the house making the process seamless and straight forward to give you a steak (aka-final product). This is normally accomplished by visual diagrams, short sentences, and clear instructions. If you take more than 1 page to communicate your idea, you've probably screwed up and lost your audience. Worse, the handout you put together will never make it to the factory floor as it's too expensive to photocopy for the workers. Go brilliant, stupid you. The gold standard for good directions and internal industry standard for the likelihood your patterns will be successful on the textile factory floor is Japanese pattern/sewing books.
               Most Japanese instructional books can be understood and followed without a person reading the language which is impressive considering how hard most of us struggle to be understood in our own language. Pattern-makers will often talk about the Pattern Magic Series (1,2, and 3) or now the current trend is the Drape Drape Series (1,2, and 3). I'm sure it will be something else 5-10 years from now.  As a designer, even if you never learn how to sew, it behooves you to get a few of these books and at least flip through them.You can also pick up some Japanese cookbooks as the format is similar if you prefer to eat your way to knowledge instead of sew.

Friday, July 19, 2013

15% Failure Rule: McKnight Principle

"As our business grows, it becomes increasingly necessary to delegate responsibility and to encourage men and women to exercise their initiative. This requires considerable tolerance. Those men and women, to whom we delegate authority and responsibility, if they are good people, are going to want to do their jobs in their own way.

"Mistakes will be made. But if a person is essentially right, the mistakes he or she makes are not as serious in the long run as the mistakes management will make if it undertakes to tell those in authority exactly how they must do their jobs.

"Management that is destructively critical when mistakes are made kills initiative. And it's essential that we have many people with initiative if we are to continue to grow."
     ~ William McKnight, 3M Chairman

                       There are certain stories a person in marketing is encouraged never to share as it is seen as "ruining the myth" or "destroying the brand." But often the stories to success are littered with oceans of failure. Maybe that's possible for others, but us....we make a lot of mistakes. Most successful businesses that are creative try not for perfect, but for a certain level of working built in failure. 3M is famous for it's 15% free time rules. Google for 20%.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Website Overhaul

Hey guys, I am pleased to let you all know that Nash has finished the first of several upgrade overhauls to the website for our customers to better use the site. I must admit we have a horrible tendency to abuse  this as it doesn't really pay the bills so it tends to get bumped to the bottom of the honey-do-list. You getting any summer cleaning done? Please note, our e-mail is still sorting itself out. If you sent us an e-mail Monday or Tuesday we probably did not get it due to a server glitch. Please resend.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 25th: The Care and Feeding of Home Sewing Machines

Hey guys, this month our Etsy meet-up will be on cleaning and fixing your home sewing machines. You can sign up here on Skillshare

Phoenix Fall Collection: Tech Sketches Done

              Wow, it's been a rough couple of months since the end of April due to a combination of personal and business crap. It seems to be a repeating theme in the manufacturing business that May and June are our hardest months all year.   Guess the honeymoon is over, now the marriage begins.
               It's led to me designing a personal collection which is simple, wearable, and based on real life. All the pieces can be worn multiple ways and styles. All washable, all easy care fabrics made in either North Carolina or Virginia. I've been trying to stay in just NC, but the wonderful wool textile mills of Virginia have tempted me across the border because I love warm light-weight fall coats. There's this amazing wool mill I found tucked away with a crisp father/son duo who carries lovely worsted wools in the old tradition what slides through your fingers like warm butter on a hot July. Major score for the season from the fabric markets. Have I mentioned how much I love fabric markets? I'd honestly post pictures from this year's 2 big ones if I didn't think it would bore people to DEATH. Buttons, trim, and yardage are I think only sexy to other people who also sew.

Now, I think we need to see some CLOTHES to make this real. Yum, yum, yum. Hope you enjoy. And may life's hardships inspire your inner self.

Monday, July 15, 2013

2nd Fitting For Sparticus Costume

               Alright, last week it was all about the napkin design stage. This week we're back again, but this time with the mock-up, muslin, or fitting depending on which part of the industry you work on. Before I worked in the trades, this was a mostly absent concept, I mean math is perfect....why throw away $50-100 in fabric and hours of time double-checking fit before moving on to the real stuff? It's taken a couple years, but I've come around to the whole measure twice, cut once mentality.
           The end product just looks SOOOO much better. People have a lot of symmetry to them, but there are often small differences between the left and right sides simply because we tend to use one hand or foot more than the other so one side will have more muscles than the other. The average I've found is around 1/2 inch from dominant to non-dominant hand, but it varies and is a subtle difference worth taking the time to notice. Even if it does add an extra day or two of work in the process. Some things are worth it. It was especially important on this costume where the front is completely asymmetrical. Nothing in the Sparticus show is the same from left to right. A maddening....interesting....time consuming. Still, this is the kind of stuff I live for.

Next Friday, let's see some leather.

Friday, July 12, 2013

This is SPARTA!

           Alright, fun project this month is a custom leather cosplay inspired by Spartacus the TV series. Yes, I know this is 300, but I always loved this scene. There's something about routing for the underdog which is a guilty pleasure. For those of you who didn't take 4 years of Latin in high school, Spartacus is the leader of a major slave revolt in the Roman Empire around 73-71 BC also called the Third Servile War, the Gladiator War, or the War of Sparticus. It was also the only war Rome fought that directly threatened the Roman Empire.
           While Spartacus lost, it is noted that the revolt enacted to push through the first legislation to treat slaves as people and not property. So yeah, let's hear it for human rights.
           History lesson over, now let's get to work on the design part. Since this is all custom work (mostly hand carving), you can expect to spent 40-120 hrs. crafting a bespoke work of art like this. Thankfully for the client and you, most of this work is behind the scenes so you just get to peek in for fun every couple of days. Hopefully this will be a nice break for everyone. I did promise some cool projects for a change of pace.
              So, first...if you've watched any of Nash's How-To-Instructables, you know the first part is pretty dry: collect reference photos, take measurements, and do a first fitting or mock-up. This is also known in the business as the coffee stage since it's mostly math, paper/fabric, and concept oriented. A fast way to iron out the major kinks before you invest in leather. Because leather is expensive and you only get to do it once so mistakes are VERY very costly. Nash also likes to call this the napkin stage.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Whoot! Nash's Design Won First Prize in the Father's Day Contest!

             Hey everyone, we've been so flattered with how much you all like Nash's design and tutorial for the ice blanket. We've hit a little over 9,000 hits in a week and a half! Also, in a surprise win Nash won 1st Place in the Instructables Father's Day Contest.

                I think we get a free t-shirt and some books, but hey...bragging rights is bragging rights. Sometimes we forget to stop for a moment and look at what we've accomplished. In other news, next week I have some more custom projects to post (we've been getting a slew of them lately) that I've been working on which may or may not interest you our readers. One is a cool new design for a bar remodeling.....oh you will just have to wait to see it next week. :-)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wonderful Shop Music: Lindsey Stirling

              Nash and I generally agree to disagree when it comes to music. We both tend to listen to music the other finds boring (me) or offensive (Nash). Imagine my utter delight when the other morning carpooling to work I was greeted not with another raunchy Irish pub song, but this....Lindsey Stirling. So nice. In case you are not familiar with this dub-step violinist, I encourage you to check out her youtube channel. A feast for the eyes and ears. And hopefully a few laughs. Yum, find another musical artist we can agree upon is awesome besides Lindsey and the Game of Thrones theme song. Warm travels and happy ears.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New Black T-shirt Convertible Design (8-Shirts-In-One)

                     This week I'm splitting my time between custom work and short-run immediates. For those of you not in the business, short-run immediates is small runs production runs of 25-400 pieces for immediate sale (hence the name). While I'm busy sewing, I wanted to let you guys see a new t-shirt design I've been working on for a while which is designed to be flattering to women showing off your shoulders and making your cleavage bigger while hiding a major problem area of most women everywhere which is having a cute round tummy instead of flat abs of steel.
                       The hemline floats so you can raise or lower it depending on how daring you're feeling. Shorten it to a cut-off or let it all the way out for a cute t-shirt dress. A day-to-night look. Lighten your wardrobe and keep up with your date no matter what surprises they throw on you. I wanted to design something that would let me keep up with my husband on a weekend getaway, while not having to pack the kitchen sink. The overall result is a piece that looks deceptively simple, is wrinkle-free, and machine washable. Watcha think?
Comes in sizes XS-S-M-L-XL-XXL (I can also cut a custom size to order)
$18.00 in Our Etsy Shop here.

Hurry and pick one up as I don't expect them to last long.

How to Make Wooden Postcards

This week, we're continuing to post Instructables tutorials from the Etsy Night of Craft. Next up is how to do custom wooden postcards. This is a great family or group activity.

Nash has gotten roughly 5,000 hits in the past week for his guide.  It's nice to see how well-liked his writing style is. He's working on upgrading the company website which should be another nice perk for our customers.

Thank goodness that someone likes to do it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Adding Art-o-Mat: Phoenix Collection

           I've been meaning to post this for a month, but here's a few behind the scenes look at our new Phoenix Collection for Fall 2013. These are custom orange fire bracelets inspired by the idea of turning death into life. Because we will all fall, the question is if we choose to stay down or get back up. Me? I think there's a wealth of possibility waiting to learn and improve from failure (our own or others). Each one is individually designed and sewn. A lovely piece of art. And hopefully a message worth being inspired by.
           You can find pieces at in local art vending machines across with country with Art-o-mat for $5.00 each. Taking my love of leather and sewing to the next level. May it inspire you to try something new or step outside your comfort zone.
            The past month with Techshop RD's closing on short notice (3 days) and just general fall-out, Nash and I have had a number of occasions to look at each other and be grateful to have each other in the fox hole with us. I'm not going to pretend it's all been easy, but hey a little sharpening of the soul and craft is never a bad thing. Happy July 4th weekend.

PS- Will try and post more of our store and designer collaborations this month. If you're interested in having us produce for your store or private label work, short us an e-mail at:

Friday, July 5, 2013

Black Leather Gauntlets in Etsy Shop

Nash finally had some time this past week to make a few pairs of black leather gauntlets that were so popular at AZ. We actually sold out last month which was a lot of fun. It's nice to see a particular design is well accepted. The smaller size is $18.00 while the larger size is $20.00. Hopefully I will get to see more awesome fights and theater cosplay as a result. Very fun and durable pieces.

Happy July 4th weekend everyone!
May your dreams and fireworks have fun!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Freeze Blanket Available In Etsy Shop for $125 (Limited Time Offer)

Hey everyone, due to popular demand we're test posting a few custom Freeze blankets in the Etsy shop here. Hopefully this will help a number of people beat the summer heat, save money on electric bills, and maybe a few relationships. The ice packs do fit in a mini-fridge freezer so you can use this throw blanket if you so desire.

100% Cotton. Machine Washable.


White, Khaki, Red, Blue, Green, Gray, and Black. We can also do custom designs upon request.

Free Monogramming available.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Nash's Ice Blanket

This week's happiness is brought to you by Nash's smiling face. Last week, I made him an ice blanket. He's spent the weekend smiling and laughing to himself. Apparently, I didn't understand the Viking mentality that staying a cool 50 degrees all summer at night is just awesome. Well, one happy man. Hopefully you've managed to make someone around you happy this week. Happy trails and avoid the summer heat.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Robot Plushies

Following the week's theme. How To Make Robot Plushies. A little mad scientist mayhem.

So far all our Instructables are making the front page this week! Pretty sweet! We're still trying to get over passing the 200,000 page views mark this week. Lots of fun.

PS- For anyone who doesn't know this is Becca from Spoonflower who runs the Greenhouse Arts Center there. She's lots of fun and if you want to go craft for free on Sundays, look them up on meet-up

Thursday, June 27, 2013

How to Make Fabric Buttons

Wow, we broke 200,000 views for the blog yesterday. Pretty awesome and kinda crazy.

To celebrate we're posting another Instructable on How To Make Fabric Buttons.

This is a classic tailoring tool for making custom women's suits. You don't see it much any more (probably too labor intensive or vintage), but I thought I would share a bit of classic knowledge.

Have a lovely day everyone else and may your day be full of wonder!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Etsy Night of Craft Recap

Hey guys! We're back from a weekend of mayhem. We're busy posting photos and Instructables from the weekend. Bear with us as we sort through the photos.

Today: How to Make A Pin Cushion

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Maker-Faire NC Recap

                      Hey guys, back from a weekend of making and refreshing the creative juices. Maker-Faire NC was WILD this year. Nash and I volunteered as ticket takers and generally wandered around having fun. For those of you who aren't familar with the Faire, I like to think of it as if you suddenly had a backstage pass to all the mancave and garage workspaces in the area. So much raw fun and creativity.
                     There were some obvious trends this year: legos and 3D printers were super popular. Also, we saw a lot of fun costuming and reenactment/cosplay guilds. Nash kept dragging me away from the shiny tables of cool crafts I'd never tried before. Take this lovely red leather outfit from the 105th squadron. Also on display were a lot of neat projects I hadn't considered making. Take these AWESOME Rock'em Sock'em Robots from Spark Con. Or the 40 foot tall whomping willow pumpkin thrower.
                     Pretty cool weekend overall. I always like seeing stuff I hadn't planned on or dreamed about. A definite sense of wonder. It reminds me of the 1910-1920 world fairs. As we get into the 4th year, I must say I am enjoying seeing everything grow and change. Go guys. Alright, to next year and a lot more fun.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hand-Hemming Tutorial Live On Instructables

              Alright, after much delay, the next post in our series on how to do professional alterations by hand: hemming. I generally only do this type of handwork for theater/higher-end clients. That's normally whisked out of my hands the moment it's done, so took some time to finish a skirt and top with more traditional elements for you to enjoy seeing. They will be available for sale in the Etsy shop (The online shop is alive again and slowly growing).
                I have so many pieces to list, thankfully I'm getting some help there so by the end of the month we should be back up to full steam. I have some wicked new leather bags to show off and cute outfits. You'll get to see my new working lightbox for rainy days and close up photographs on the smaller one of a kind pieces in my shop. Lots of fun! Have a great day everyone.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Behind the Scenes Happenings

         Hey everyone, now that Animazement is over...we're in the process of re-opening our Etsy shop. Here's some behind the scene looks at some of the new summer dresses. These dresses are inspired by a 1900s tailoring book I found on on how to make you look slimmer and taller. The dress shown here is a size 16, but makes your average size l6 look closer to a mannequin size 8. Not bad eh?
         The hand-finishing work would make these impossible to mass produce today, but a few special seems like a lovely summer gift to give. Each one is uniquely crafted for fun and laughter.

Plushie Animal Tutorial As Promised

                Hey guys, thanks everyone who helped with the classes over the weekend. As promised the asian teddy bear tutorial is live on Instructables. I hope you enjoy if you needed more time sewing or wanted to try this out on your own. Also, if you missed getting to donate to the Red Cross over the weekend and would like to do so, the link is here. Please feel free to take this class and remix as
your own for party or fundraiser.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Whoot We Helped Raise Over 6k For The Red Cross!

                                 Sometimes you get a win. This past week, Nash and I guest lectured at Animazement. We sold out the first hour both days on our classes and helped raise over $6k for the Red Cross. What a nice surprise. Also, got to share table space with our Plastibot friends Charlie and Luis. It's nice to share successes with fellow designers. To another great week!