Wednesday, May 30, 2012

template for bags

Today I made a couple of templates for bags (tag board rectangles) and started working assembly style.

I started with a big pile of jeans and using the template cut strips to the right height to match the template.  I then worked from the newly cut pile to assemble and pin together pieces. Once I had a pile of sides I started sewing each side one at a time and some straps. 

I also experimented with making an outside pocket with decorative reverse applique - really fun.

Next - make zippered pouches for the insides and linings and assemble.   Oh - one more thing, before I assemble the sides I will check to see if reverse applique (using a contrast of light to dark) will enhance any of the sides and add as needed. I will also make certain that there is an outside pocket on at least one of the sides.

Still having a great time!

Working with jeans to deconstruct them for some reason makes me think of animal skins - vegetarian animal skins.  I particularly like 100% cotton jeans that are worn to velvety softness.  I you have any lurking in your "about to go to Goodwill" bag I want them.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What's happening lately

We are gearing up for my husband's imminent retirement - great news!

And on the bag front I've continued to experiment.  I tried sewing jean parts directly to a lining fabric which worked okay and required a bit more planning about what layer would be on top or bottom.  A lining makes a bag heavier.

I didn't make the first half any faster, in fact I had trouble with my machine stalling so it felt  like it took forever on the first half. The second half was very fast as I made it with only top-to-bottom length strips and I loved the look.

And... we went out looking for something to use as a display stand for the bags and found the coolest door at Urban Ore in Berkeley. has Three acres of recycled goods in the San Francisco Bay Area.
My new door is an old style interior door with a mirror on one side which will be perfect for displaying at outdoor events.  George is going to find a way to make it stand up. 

It will be painted an orange (that is complementary to blue-jean blue) and will have those magical forks from Etsy for hooks. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TGBM Tally sample


Thrifted: White cotton voile blouse (2012)

Gifted: Nada
Bought Retail: Jeans (2010), brown Born maryjanes (2009)

Bought from Artist: necklace (2010)

Made: Nada

Thrifted: Cream cotton cardigan (2012), Chemise (2012)
Gifted: nada
Bought Retail: Jeans (2010), brown Born maryjanes (2009)
Bought from Artist: Necklaces and earrings
Made: nada

Thrifted: Beautiful teal blue caftan (2012)
Gifted: Necklace (2011), silk shawl (2008)
Bought Retail: Gold Sandals (2009), Those silver hoop earrings from the 80's
Bought from Artist: Necklace and scarf above

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Inspiration and TGBM Tally

We went to the Conference for Global Transformation this weekend in San Francisco. Amazing, inspiring, almost overwhelming. There were about 700 attendees and the conference featured outstanding Keynote speakers, breakout sessions and posters. I will be spending the next few days sorting out what I heard. Last year I presented a poster on the impact of the fashion industry on the environment and all kinds of people were interested in the topic. That is a key part of what led me to create this blog.

My promise for the world is that by 2020 all people will experience living in a world of inspiration, innovation, beauty and creativity.

Where I am currently contributing is in the world of fashion design, specifically by making up-cycled jean bags. It has been my experience that people are inspired by the creativity of the bags and that for some people recycling clothing is an innovative concept and there is beauty in the texture of old jeans. Who knows where this venture will lead.

Conference program:*XeFYRsEC/CGT12program1.pdf

TGBM Tally:
Thrifted: blouse 2011
Gifted: necklace 2012, bracelet 2005
Bought retail: jeans 2011, shoes 2010, earrings early 1980's, shawl 2009

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tgbm tally yesterday


Thrifted: nothing (!!)
Gifted: bracelet (2004?), shawl (2008?)
Bought: blouse (2008), shoes (2010), earrings (1983 or so)
Made: ruffle skirt (2010)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

T-shirts from recycled materials made in WV

I ran across a company called SustainU that operates in Morgantown,West Virginia and is making  t-shirts from recycled materials in the US at amazingly reasonable prices ($20 for some). 

Sustain U link

Monday, May 14, 2012

prototype bags

I've been talking about my bags but haven't really show any.  Here are three prototype bags  - front and back.  
 They are really a treat to make as there is no pattern, just pure creativity limited only by my tools.

 In person you just want to handle them and checkout the details.  I don't think it translates as well in pictures so I'm going to need a strategy for how to show them on Etsy.

I also received the amazing fork hooks for my display stand.  George and I did a bit of brainstorming on ways to build a display over the weekend.

He had great ideas and I would like to roam the salvage yards in the East Bay to see if anything unusually spectacular shows up.

Either way I'd like to get a display done in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sold one!!!

Bag news for the day: I sold one!!! One of my fellow students at Canada bought one of my prototype bags. What a great feeling.

Also, I went to my favorite sewing machine guy, Gordan, in the Viking shop in Willow Glen and checked out a heavy duty machine. It can be used with button hole twist thread and is more powerful than my machines. The downside was that it can not climb up and down lumpy areas, darn! It would be very helpful for certain types of tasks but not sure enough to spend $700+ right now. Gordan said that some additional types of feet would make it more versatile so add on $40+ per foot.

I started a Word table yesterday of potential features (like linings) and techniques I've been using (like reverse applique) and comments on each, such as level of perceived value, effort needed or problems with execution. I'm working up to an effort/impact analysis. I think this information will help me understand which equipment is worth investing in and how I can optimize throughput time.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

lined bag & still slow going - TGBM status

Today I made another lined bag with an outside and inside pockets and a closure (all feedback suggestions) using my Featherweight machine.  It has a stronger engine but still it is tough getting over the really bulky seams and sews slower than I can feed it.

This bag turned out alright but took about 4.5 hours - not feasible to sell and recoup labor.

I wonder if anyone I know has an industrial machine I could borrow to try out?

I also ordered some sample closures to try out, magnetic and clasps.  Moving forward!

TGBM Status:

Thrifted: Jean shorts made from thrifted jeans (2012)
Gifted: Black cap sleeve peasant blouse (thanks Angela Guido 2011), necklace (2007?)
Bought Retail: Loafers (2011), earrings (1983?), pendant (2010)
Made: nada

Monday, May 7, 2012

bags news con't

I tried lining a bag with part of one of George's shirts today.  Boy did that take a long time.  I had to get out my old machine as I took the new one (motor overload) into the shop.  S..l..o..w going.  I think I just need to keep trying to see how to speed up the processes.

It is obvious I need a stronger machine so I better locate my Featherweight tomorrow. It's time to sell my old Pffaf 14971.

I not only lined the new bag, I made it shorted with boxed corners too.  I don't like it as much.  I sent it out with my daughter for a test drive and to see if she gets any responses while carrying it.  I will take it in to school too this week. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bag news

I took my 5 prototype bags to school this week and got great feedback. One of the top requests is that the bags be lined. Since I want to stay in the recycle theme im going to try using men's dress shirts. There is an endless supply in thrift stores. Also, George happens to be retiring and he has generously offed me a large pile of shirts.

People wanted pockets on the inside so if I cut the linings include the breast pocket - bingo!

I had a bit of trouble sewing the jeans on my fancy machine so a classmate suggested that I try my Singer Featherweight
she says they are workhorses.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

TGBM Tally - 7/8

TGBM Tally:

Thrifted: Pants 2011 (cropped to 7/8 length today), Consignment buy: Jacket in Canada 2009?
Gifted: Nothing
Bought from Artist Patti Wells: White linen kimono style blouse (2011)
Bought Retail: Earrings (2010), Shoes (2010)

Okay - terrible picture.  I debated adding or not.  Everyone else is asleep so this is it, you get me with one demon eye. Good night

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Prepping to sell bags

I'm on my way to selling jean bags!!

I've sewed 6 bags in the last two days.  It's been great fun to sew up the bags and let the designs evolve on their own.  I can see that when I have sewn enough of them I will develop a favorite set of techniques.

I had an interesting idea for tags.  I've seen sewing machine stitching on paper before so I applied the idea.  I took the blog cards I had printed and sewed them to a piece of jean fabric and added a twill tape loop.

I also had an idea for a display stand: a post with recycled forks for hooks for the bags (in keeping with the recycled jean theme.)  George is going to help me make the post and stand.

I ordered the forks from an artist on Etsy: JJEvensenArt.