Tuesday 30 April 2013

How to Make a Dick of Yourself

As the saying goes, it's better to stay silent and be throught a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.
Buuuut, I don't seem to learn.  So I put my hand up to be interviewed on Makertorium TV.  Somehow I didn't register the "TV" part of it and assumed that the whole thing would be recorded in writing and make its way into the bowels of the internet to stay mostly unread and grow pixel mould.  Then I realised that my voice would get recorded and made an expression that looked like my face was trying to eat itself.  I was once interviewed by Radio NZ and sounded like a moron there.  For some reason all my friends always sound very accomplished and knowledgeable about their interview topic, and I come across like a half-baked idiot with hedgehogs in my mouth. Maybe I shouldn't talk?

Seconds before MsBehaviour started asking me questions, it dawned on me that there was a camera involved.  I asked for a paper bag to put over my head, but there wasn't one available.  It was too late to sulk, but not too late to get an irksome flashback.

I once got shoved in front of a news crew to give an opinion about something unmemorable.  I was walking down the street, minding my own business, when I bumped into a friend; and as we walked along talking, we saw some dudes with a news camera.  I quickly started turning to make an avoidance detour, but my limelight loving friend grabbed my arm and pulled me towards the reporter.  We got asked some pointless questions, which my companion responded to with gusto.  I came up with some ridiculously banal reply, thinking that there was no way they would put such crap on TV, and I'd be off the hook.  I shoud have known better.  I came across like a freshly lobotomised institution escapee.

The Makertorium inverview was a live stream, and while I zealously blabbered on about something that sounded meaningful to me at the time, I kept thinking how MsBehaviour's eyes were an insane hue of blue, and that I really should have found myself a paper bag.

Monday 29 April 2013

Craft2.0 May 2013 interview

May designers: Meet Chromatophobic

What is your name?  Yana / Chromatophobic

What do you make?  Eco-friendly, colour-averse jewellery and accessories that are laser cut from salvaged materials.
DSC_0018 400px
How did you get into your craft?  I’ve been a maker for as long as I remember, despite my kindergarten teachers yelling at me to play with dolls, instead of making cars from twigs and pine cones. Chromatophobic started while I was working as a workshop technician at design school and was given a free reign over the laser cutter, so I could turn my years of doodled characters into physical objects.

What are your favourite tools and materials?  I owe much to a computer and a laser cutter, but I wouldn’t get far without my array of black pens and sketch book. I enjoy working with felt, polypropylene, plywood and stainless steel. Each material has its peculiar fun challenges.
work in progress
Work in progress
How are you inspired?  I think at the moment, it’s the crazy faces that my daughter pulls as she experiments with her expressions. She manages to contort her face into a multitude of grimaces in a matter of moments, and that inspired me to doodle a few monsters. Fortunately they bear no resemblance to the child.
Inspiration face
Inspiration face
Describe your workspace. How does it contribute to your creativity?  My workspace generally takes over most of the house, as it goes where I go to keep up with the best light in the available space; and now the small child who races around on all fours and has to be caged when I use a soldering iron. I keep everything organised and labelled in draws and boxes because I like working in a tidy environment.
What is some customer feedback you've kept close to heart?  I’ve had a few gleeful emails from people who’ve photographed their Chromatophobic purchases in use, and I’m keen for more examples!

Why buy handmade?  “Handmade” is probably a bit of a fallacy. Nearly everything is handmade to some extent. In the context of this fair, handmade means that you can be confident that the blood, sweat and tears that went into the items on sale, did so with love and informed consent.

What advice would you offer to other crafters/artists just starting out?  Keep a record of your process and design evolution. It’s uplifting to see how crap your designs were at the beginning.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?  Buried under a pile of Grimlies on my lounge floor.

Sunday 28 April 2013

Makertorium Should Happen Again

Because it was so damn excellent.
Marmalade Monkey exhibit: 100% handmade
Tanya Mariott in front of her Marmalade Monkey Tweet Me forest installation
Pixelbrid workshop
Makerbot prints
Becky at the Craft2. stall
Some of the masses of 3D printers on show

Friday 26 April 2013

Makertorium Tomorrow

There will be workshops and exhibits and cool stuff for kids.  I will be sitting there and scaring children.  Well, I'll be making stuff and telling visitors about designing for laser cutting, but you never know, some children may get scared.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Shirred Baby Pants Tutorial

Knowledge is dangerous.  Learning something new can really screw with your brain.  Like when you start studying medicine, suddenly everyone around you morphs into a potential patient, and upon shaking someone's hand, you feel their pulse.  
Since I bought some shirring elastic I've had to exercise restraint not to shir everything in sight.  Shirred lab coat - not so practical.  Shirred baby pants, however, are a fantastic idea!  They are pretty straightforward to make.  And here's a handy shirring tutorial.

You will need:
  • Fabric (woven).  Lightweight cotton is best.  I used 0.3m x 1m for a 7kg baby.
  • Sewing thread
  • Shirring elastic
  • Elastic for shoulder straps, about 1m
  • 10 domes or snap fasteners

1. I made my own pattern off a standard pants pattern.   Woven fabric will require extra ease to accommodate those little legs that seem to bend in all directions.  Note the longer crotch depth at the centre back.

Making the pattern
2.  Cut out the fabric.  There will be two pant legs, two 6cm wide shoulder straps, two 4cm wide placket strips.  

3.  To determine the length of the shoulder straps you will need to measure your wriggling, kicking baby.  Measure from the baby's belly button, over one shoulder, to the opposite side of the back of the waist and add 5cm.

4.  The plackets will attach to the inside leg seam, i.e from one ankle to another.  You need to measure the length of that seam to size the placket strips.  Use a tape measure or a flexi ruler.

5. With the right sides together, sew the centre back and centre front seams.

6.  Fold the top edge over twice, press thoroughly, stitch all the way around and press again
Press the top edge
Press again after stitching
7.  I neglected to mark shoulder strap placement on the pattern, tsk-tsk-tsk, so since I'm working on the top edge of the pants, now is a good time to make the markings.  You need to do this before shirring, otherwise it will be difficult to measure anything correctly.
Locate the sides by aligning centre front and back seams
Divide each quarter in half

Mark the pin placement with some chalk and remove the pins

8. Next step is attaching the plackets to the inside seams of the pants.  That sounds kooky.  Grown up pants don't have plackets there, unless they are stripper pants.  Fold each placket in half lengthwise and press.  You may want to tack stitch the layers in place to stop them from shifting when your sew them to the pant legs.  Next, fold each placket in half (across) to locate the centre point.  Match the centre point of each placket with the centre front/centre back seams and pin in place.  Then pin the ends together, and finally wriggle each placket to line up with the inside leg seam.  Sew in place.  
Attach plackets
 9.  Press the placket with the seam allowance folded towards the pant legs.
Press the plackets
10.  Top stitch the seam allowance in place and press again.  Yup, there's an awful lot of pressing when working with woven fabrics.  The domes can get stuck on at the end.
Nicely attached plackets
11.  Next step is shirring the top of the pants.  Start at one of the sides and sew a continuous line of shirring around and around the pants.  Keep the lines parallel by lining up the edge of the foot with the stitching.  You will end on the same side where you started.  I think I sewed ten lines of shirring here. Press the shirring with a steamy iron.
The pants will look rather small from this point.
12.  To hem the pants legs, fold the bottom edge under twice, press, stitch and press again.  You will have nice, crisp hems.
Press the hem
Stitch and press the hem
12.   The easiest way to shir the bottoms of the pant legs is to do it in a continuous line, instead of sewing each line individually and then having to deal with all the loose thread ends.  Do not sew over the plackets.  Press the shirring.
Continuous shirring in a zig-zag line
13.  I should have marked the dome placement on the pattern, or at least on the plackets before they were sewn on, but I didn't.  It's important to match the placement of each pair, or else it will look atrocious.  I used a pointy end of a dome cap to poke holes in the fabric.  If you don't have a domer, you can easily sew buttonholes and buttons instead.
Mark dome placement
Carefully locate placement of the holes to get matching pairs
Dome one placket first and then the other.  Make sure they face the right way!!!
 14.  Lastly, it's the straps.  I make mine elasticated for a better fit.  They are sewn on at the front and domed at the back (so that baby can't undo them).
My shoulder straps don't match because I ran out of fabric
Fold the ends inwards about 1cm, fold straps in half lengthwise and press
Sew and press
Turn right way out and press again
15.  Pull elastic through the straps and secure in place on both ends
Insert elastic
Stitch across the ends of the straps to secure the elastic
  16.  Sew the straps to the top front of the pants, where the chalk markings are.  Dome the opposite ends.

17.  Clap excitedly as baby smears plum all over new pants.

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