Wednesday, June 18, 2008

spoonflower update and what I made!

To everyone who's asked -- yes, Spoonflower have been totally awesome about trying to work out the problem, and are re-doing my fabric and trying to find a way to prevent this from happening again. It's all part of being in beta, I guess! And while I was unhappy about the problems, I am totally happy with the way they have handled it. Fingers crossed the new yard of the monster fabric will be suitable for Emily clothes! In the meantime, I was able to use the unwashed Milk & Cheese fabric and some bits of the Monsters that I....un-squared? Intentionally skewed? back out of shape to accomplish what we wanted to do for Heroes Con, and here is a peek:


Okay, I'll let you see them for real:

the stuff!

Pencil cases and (refillable) Moleskine jackets for the large and small cahier notebooks (my favorites, notebooks included)! A look at one open:

an inside look

Whoops, that's my own with graph paper! Anyway, we will have a very small number of these for sale at our table, and only 3 or so Monster items in the whole batch (the "or so" meaning, depending on if Emily successfully snags one for herself). So if you're interested, stop on by!

For those of you interested in the process, a few notes: I was slightly wrong about the skewed fabric being totally fine for something like this. It was totally possible to work with it, but omg did I have trouble NOT following the grain when I was sewing! It was giving me conniptions to sew what seemed to be such crooked lines. But other than that, the fabric worked beautifully for these. Here are the prototypes I made while working out my pattern:


#1 - the hedgehog fabric: I decided I hated how it looked with binding around the edges. It works fine, I just didn't like it.
#2 - not pictured: actually, I threw this one out. It was close, but not quite there.
#3 - the frog fabric: this was the one I made once I was sure the pattern was what I wanted, I like this one a lot.
#4 - the robots! Here's the final prototype, after playing with it a bit I decided to add an elastic strap (like the full-size Moleskines) to keep it closed. This one I loved. And in fact, this one is the one I'm using right now.
And finally, the prototype pencil case: no changes from this one, although there was an earlier version that didn't work right. And now I have a matching frog set!

Anyway, that's it, time to pack and get ready to get out of here in the a.m. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

fabric ups and downs

We've been hoping my Spoonflower order would get here in time to have some Special Secret items on our table at Heroes Con -- and today the doorbell rang and there it was! We were all very excited:

spoonflower fabric

The fabric looked almost exactly like I expected -- slightly lighter, which is probably because I did it so quickly I didn't proof the files on another monitor; and the blacks are a little washed out. But the line weight was good, better than my proof on paper at home. And there is always, always color shifting when you print, especially in RGB. The fabric is a bit heavy -- good for a skirt or jumper, or crafts; definitely too stiff for anything like a blouse, it has very little drape. But all in all, I was very happy with the results:

spoonflower fabric

Then, I went to prewash the monster fabric that I intended to make something for Emily out of. It came out of the wash (warm/cool) looking great, no fade or color loss. Came out of the dryer (low heat), again, looked great. I ironed it, and measured it for shrinkage (it didn't shrink at all along the length, and shrunk to about 96% of the original width) -- no effect was visible on the print at all. But suddenly I realized that the print was slanting quite a bit -- and I was certain it had looked perfectly straight before. I tried to square the fabric (in other words, get the grainlines squared to each other, read more about this here), and then realized I couldn't, because it was squared. Thinking I was crazy, I got out a clear ruler -- and sure enough, the print is way off the grainline of the fabric (ignore the apparent curve of the ruler, it's because I used the macro setting):

spoonflower fabric

I checked the Milk & Cheese fabric, and sure enough, the fabric (this one is unwashed) is printed perfectly perpendicular to the edge of the fabric:

spoonflower fabric

Unfortunately, the grainline is not perpendicular to the edge of the fabric. You can see how much it slants compared to the print here.

spoonflower fabric

My guess is, the fabric as supplied to Spoonflower is already pulled way out of square -- they are printing on it perfectly straight, but once the fabric is washed and straightens itself up, the print is thrown way off. From the front, the grainline is not obvious and you can't really tell -- but if you wash it or attempt to square it up you can never go back. Essentially, this means the fabric is unwashable and not suitable for garments or anything that might need washing. Which was a major, major disappointment for me as the monster fabric was specifically meant for a dress for Emily. (I wouldn't have made it pink if I was going to try and sell things made of it!).

This would probably be fine for a very random print with no straight lines; and of course it is fine as long as you are making items that will never need to be washed. And the good news is, I didn't wash the Milk & Cheese print, so I can still use it (and look for a sneak preview in the next day or two of what I'm doing with that!). And I may be able to salvage the monster fabric -- I am going to try and steam some small blocks back into looking okay; and maybe I can figure out a way to use it as an accent (a ruffle or trim, maybe?) on an outfit when we get back. And fingers crossed this is a problem that can be worked out so I can make Emily her monster dress sometime in the future!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

we're back! and a preview...

Our shore vacation was somehow both relaxing and exhausting. I think the fact that there is an amusement park there on the boardwalk had a lot to do with that. Emily went on every ride she was allowed to, including the giant ferris wheel (and it is a giant one) twice. The girl is fearless!! Anyway, we're trying to unpack and catch up today, but I wanted to show you all the sneak peek I just got of my first Spoonflower order!

At 0:25 you'll the see monster fabric I made up from Evan's monsters for's a surprise, if the fabric washes well she'll be getting an outfit out of that. Then at 0:32 there is some tasty Milk & Cheese fabric which is destined for some items we hope to have at Heroes Con in a week. Depending on when it gets here and how fast I can sew!! They look exactly like I had imagined in the preview -- fingers crossed they look as good when they arrive!

Monday, June 9, 2008

mocca and the moomin dress

This past weekend we had a heatwave -- and the 2008 Mocca art fest to attend (see pics!). Spending two days of the heatwave inside a nice air-conditioned hall was pretty alright. Until the building was evacuated on Sunday, that is. In what was supposedly over 100 degrees. But still, a good show for us, and lots of fun for Emily -- this was her fourth and she's not jaded yet!

Friday I finished her Moomin dress (using the farbenmix pattern Vida, with panels made of vintage finnish Moomin fabric, and heck was that hard to get hold of). We all love Moomins here (more on that some other day), but she is crazy for them in the way only a 3-year-old can be (note the "mymble knot" hairstyle -- this alternates with "pippi tails", i.e. pigtails as her regular style). She was so excited that her dress (starring! Little! My!) was done she insisted on wearing it to Mocca on Saturday (and then again today, to tell the truth!). I was really happy with the dress, the pattern is excellent. But here, I'll just show you! I got some cute pics of it while she was running around in our little corner.


the moomin dress!


the moomin dress!

I did not get a photo of the faced hem, which was a fun detail to add. if you see the underside of the skirt there is a very wide band of bright yellow dotted fabric. I needed to do a faced hem because of the Moomin fabric (I was barely ekeing those panels out as it was and couldn't afford a hem allowance!) so I decided to have some fun with it. It came out pretty cute -- even though it was extra work I will definitely do it again! The pattern was a little intimidating (so many pieces!) but actually incredibly easy and quick to put together. And lots of room to grow -- I think this dress will wear out before she grows out of it!

As an added bonus, she ate lunch out of her Moomin bento box both days (thanks uncle tim!!!) -- no photos, but it was nothing exciting (grapes, macaroni, and cutout pancakes). She was a happy Moomin-loving girl all weekend. And to the shore to get out of this heat!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

it's strawberry season!

We all love strawberries here -- we eat them in season, and I freeze them in sugar for strawberry bread and as puree for Emily's yogurt. Hopefully we will get a chance to go and pick them this year, but our June is pretty packed so maybe it'll have to wait. (Someday, I'll have a deep freeze full of berries all year!) Emily also loves strawberries on her clothes, so I made her this shirt this week:

strawberry shirt

Some polka-dot jersey and pink interlock, plus a little green baby-rib from an old t-shirt. The pattern is Zoe from Farbenmix -- it looks a little like a rashguard to me, but it came out pretty cute. Emily certainly loves it! Strawberry and stem were freehanded and then cut out. (Is that even English?) I also tried the Farbenmix-recommended triple zig-zag on the hems, and I actually really like it a lot. I will definitely be doing that on knits from here on out! I did not try the recommended ironing-the-shirt-before-you-take-a-photo technique there, apparently. Oops!

If you are in a strawberry locale, I hope you enjoy your June berries as much as we do!!

how did I miss this until today?

Can you believe there is finally a place that will custom print a small length of fabric that you design? It's my dream come true! As well about everyone else's apparently....Spoonflower is a new business that will print out your own designs on fabric which you can then use for clothing, crafts, whatever. And the results I'm seeing on their site look amazing!! Evan and I have wished for a way to make our own fabric for as long as I can remember....and of course now I want to just design fabric for Emily's clothes, ha ha!! I think we would still do some fun prints of our characters as well, of course. Finally, the search for the perfect print would be over! Yes, it's a bit pricey, but it's actually cheaper than many imported fabrics, so not that bad. Especially when you're talking kid's clothes that take just 1-2 yards. My brain is practically boiling with ideas right now. Unfortunately, they are in beta so I have to wait. for. an. invite. and wait. I'm normally a patient person, but I want to make fabric right now!!!! If you want to make fabric, run over and sign up on the list too. And then.....wait.

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