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Friday, December 26, 2014

Making Dog Sweaters or Cat Sweaters

Well, winter has set in around here. It's not going to let us go until at least March (though May has become more common in recent years), so it's coats for everyone. That includes our four-legged friends. In our house, that means the dogs and cats.

We have poodles, toy poodles to be exact, so it's important that the little guys (and girls) and warm enough. Since it routinely gets to forty below in the winter, "warm enough" is a relative term. Still, we have to try, so this time every year I break out the fleece and get to work.

If you want to make a dog sweater (or a cat sweater) yourself, it's actually not all that hard. You don't even need a pattern, though patterns for pet sweaters can be found at most fabric stores. At home, however, I don't bother with a pattern. I simply get out the fabric I'm looking for and have the dog (or cat) in question lie still on the flat fabric. I can then trace the pet, making sure to leave enough ease so the sweater fits when I'm finished. I even add a hood, though since the animals hate hoods, this step is only for my own entertainment.

Once I have two pieces cut (because all pets have two sides, let's remember), The rest is easy. Sew it all together, making sure to leave enough room in the belly to get the sweater on the dog (I don't do Velcro or elastic for pet sweaters because the cat eats both).

I really wish I had a picture of one of the cats in a sweater, but they seem camera shy. Or maybe they're embarrassed. I did use pink bunny fleece for both of them...and they're boys.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Making Custom Bird Cage Covers

Birds make excellent pets, but they do have a tendency to make a racket in the early morning. The rising sun gets them up, and they seem to have an innate need to greet the day the very second the sun sneaks above the horizon. This can be annoying, but fortunately it's a very simple thing to fix.

If you can convince your bird that it's actually still dark out, he will remain quiet until a decent hour. This is where bird cage covers come in. Sometimes you'll get lucky and have a cover come with the cage you bought. Unfortunately, most cages don't actually come with a cover. This is why I make them for avid bird lovers.

I can make them in just about any color. The first picture is for a parrot cage with a play apparatus on top. These types of cages take a little more measuring and have to be made with a little more care. The fabric is a navy cotton striped with red (though you can't really see the red in the picture). Perfect measurements are the key to this cage.

The second cage, made out of a purple cotton, is more standard. This budgie cage is just square with a handle for hanging or carrying on the top. These cage covers are easier, though accurate measuring is still essential. The cage has to leave room for the hanger, of course, so this is always taken into account when making covers of this nature.

Both styles close easily with Velcro. You can make them yourself, if you're so inclined, with some dense fabric (of a type that won't smother the bird, of course) and heavy-duty Velcro. If you're really concerned about your bird getting all noisy in the morning, line your bird cage cover with either the same fabric or a lining fabric to block out the most light.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sewing a Stitch and Pink Seam

The stitch and pink seam finish is quick and easy, but it's really only useful for fabrics that are tightly woven. Fabrics that fray are not a good match for this seam, and knitted fabrics absolutely should not be finished this way (unless you want your project to unravel). With the appropriate fabric, however, this seam finish will work well enough.

The term 'pink' refers to a set of pinking shears, so you'll need a sharp set for this seam finish. But before breaking out the pinking shears, stitch ¼" from the raw edge of the seam allowance. You can use either a simple straight stitch or a zigzag. Now use the pinking shears to trim the excess fabric away. Don't get too close to your line of stitching or you risk cutting your stitching. If you can avoid this particular problem, your stitch and pink seam will hold as well as any other.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sewing a Pink Seam

There are few seams in the world easier than a simple pink seam, especially because the pink seam doesn't require any actual sewing. This method is fast and efficient, but it's really only designed for tightly woven fabrics that won't fray even when worn several times. If you have a fabric that frays, pick a different seam.

Still, a pinked seam is useful, especially when you're in the middle of a project. To complete this seam, simply press the seam into its open position, then find a pair of good pinking shears. They must be sharp. If they're not, you'll only damage your fabric. Use the pinking shears to trim the seam allowance raw edge, but don't get too close. You don't want to cut anywhere near the actual seam.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Corset-Style Gown for Sale, Black with Tangerine Accents

This item has been sold.

This corset-style gown spent most of its time in the back room, occasionally being used as a display model(floor model) around Halloween for a few years. It was never worn, but did spent some time on a mannequin. We've changed our Halloween display, and that means selling off the old display items. Also, we no longer have these fabrics available, so there won't be any more of these gowns (in these particular colors) once this last one is gone.

This gown is constructed out of a heavy black cotton blend. The accents are a tangerine damask cotton with an embossed rose print. The roses are hard to see in the photo unless you look closely, but they are there. This gown is corset-style, but bear in mind that it doesn't give any real support. Appropriate undergarments will still be required as the ribbons are for decorative purposes only. The ribbons can be pulled to make the gown slightly smaller than the indicated measurements.

The orange belt in the picture is attached to the gown and cannot be removed. It can, however, be tied either in front of the gown or behind it. Tying the belt in a bow behind the body is a more classic look, but I pulled the belt to the front so it could be easily seen. The belt can help to make the gown fit you more exactly. This gown is designed for Halloween wear, as evidenced by the colors, but you could wear it for other events throughout the year as well.

There is decorative black stitching along the neck and around the sleeves that cannot be seen in the picture. The sleeves are tight until the flounce. The flounce is vibrant and fun and will cover the hand on most wearers.

The gown's approximate measurements are as follows:
  • Bust: 36"
  • Waist: 28"
  • Hips: 38"
Since this is a floor model, there might be some minor markings, but I can't see any. I would consider this gown to be in near-perfect condition These gowns retail for $99.99, but since it's a floor model bidding starts at well under half that price.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Large Cloak for Sale, Turquoise with White Lining

This item has been sold.

This turquoise cloak spent 18 months as a display cloak (floor model). It was never worn, but did spent most of that time on a mannequin. A change in the colors in the shop means this cloak is now for sale. Also, we no longer have these fabrics available, so there won't be any more of these cloaks (in these particular colors) once this last one is gone.

The shell of this medieval cloak is a turquoise damask cotton with an embossed rose print (which is almost impossible to see in the photo). The lining is thick white cotton with an embossed dandelion print. Again, this is hard to see in the photo. Both fabrics are fairly heavy, making this a wonderfully warm cloak. It closes with a pewter clasp and has a lovely drape due to the weight of the fabrics used in its construction.

The cloak itself is large enough to fit most people. I would call it a large cloak, but it can be worn by most adults who wear size large or smaller. It will brush the floor on anyone under 5'6"tall. If you're shorter than that, it will drag on the floor. This gothic cloak is definitely considered full-length. The hood is large and deep (though thrown back in the picture).

Since this is a floor model, there might be some minor markings, especially on the lining. The markings on the lining are not noticeable when the cloak is worn. The shell is in near-perfect condition with no marks that I can see. These cloaks retail for $59.99, but since it's a floor model bidding starts at less than half that price.