Sunday, March 18, 2018

Star Trek Insignia Sweatshirt

Basically... Because I'm a giant nerd. 

This took quite a bit of arranging and a number of applications with the heat press. A fun experiment in doing an allover print with a bunch of little vinyl transfers.


Bonus: Can you identify what I did wrong?

Hint: Look at the Command/Yellow Insignia

Answer: I forgot to reverse the image before I set it to cut. Because of the way vinyl transfers are cut and applied to the fabric, images must be reversed. Thankfully, it's a minor error for this design motif. Not like ending up with mirrored lettering :-p

Friday, March 9, 2018

North Country Humor: Potsdam Toilet Garden T-Shirt

Potsdam Toilet Garden T-Shirt

I had done up this design when I first started my local t-shirt scheme, but had been discouraged by several people not to pursue its production for fear that people don't have a good sense of humor about the 'sensitive' subject.

It's a long story and an inside joke for locals, but this article sort of covers the basis (and the fact that this shirt got so much attention speaks to its relevancy to regional/local issues).

Anyway, the design was perfect to try out with my new Cricut, and test its detail abilities. It is rather difficult to weed this design, in particular the small lettering. But the result is worth it. I snapped a photo of the test shirt I'd done, posted it to facebook as I often like to show the projects I've made. It was shared by a fellow local artist and went 'North Country' viral. Many people were asking if/where they could get one, so I threw up a listing on etsy.

I've sold just over a couple dozen, which for me is enough of having to produce the same thing over and over. I'm glad it was overall well-received and that there are people who have a sense of humor about the zoning dispute that has turned into quite a hot-button issue for the small town.

More than anything, I like the idea (and so do others) that we can recognize, honor and even celebrate our local issues, whether we support one side of them or another.

The Technical Stuff

This is made from Thermoflex Heat Transfer Vinyl. I was skeptical of vinyl transfers before I started using the products. They actually are very soft and not at all as thick as I thought they'd be.

This design is three different requires and therefore requires three different transfer applications with the heat press. It's cold peel, so you have to let the transfer and shirt cool down between applying the different colors. I did have a bit of a bleeding problem with the pink onto the white with the original test one. But the Thermoflex brand had no bleeding issues. And by bleeding, it just looks like some of the pink edges are smudged where they touch the white if you look very closely at the design.

I also was uncertain as to whether the cotton shirts would shrink upon washing and wrinkle around the vinyl. So I prewashed the shirts to prevent any such issue. I however did not think to prewash my original t-shirts, but they went through wash and dry without any puckering or wrinking, showing that the vinyl is not just durable but adaptable, having some give. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Hawkeye Shirts

Hawkeye is my favorite Marvel superhero... Both Clint Barton & Kate Bishop. So naturally the first vinyl transfers I had to experiment with were inspired by (David Aja's) Hawkeye comic art.

Kate Bishop aka "The Other Hawkeye" T-Shirt

I got a sample of every purple heat transfer vinyl I could find, but of course none were exactly the right shade to match the comic art. (It is more purple in real life than in the photo, but still... only as close as I could get to matching Clint Barton's Purple Target Shirt.

Clint Barton aka "Hawkguy" T-Shirt

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

New Crafting Endeavors: Heat Press & Cricut

Over the summer, I decided to get a small heat press to do t-shirt transfers and the like. I wanted to see if might be a viable vending endeavor to sell t-shirts with designs by local artists at various events/fairs.  So I searched out a 'craft size' heat press from a brand I was familiar with using and I found to be a good quality. Of course, the internet mostly just provided scam webstores as sources for the little heat press I wanted. But the fact that photos of this product existed meant that it was a product made at one time. I did find a legit store through ebay located in the midwest, who were very friendly. But I had also sought out the manufacturer (straight to the source is sometimes best) and they put me in contact with their local rep (which was several hours away but I believe in going local in whatever ways you can). It turned out well, since they were holding a sort of business fair showing off different products, from screen printing to vinyl cutting to sublimation printing. And they gave me a discount for driving down and attending and purchasing my press there. (Bonus, I also got to meet my friend who lives downstate for some Indian buffet.)

I love my heat press!

I started off this new 'business' by purchasing transfers through Versatrans. You upload your original artwork and they print off the transfers (there are several medium choices they use) that can be applied to clothing with a heat press.

Adirondack Travel Poster Design T-Shirt

I worked out a deal with a local graphic artist, Catherine  LaPointe (facebook) who does wonderful Northern New York themed travel posters to sell t-shirts with her Adirondack design.

Beanstock Seven Shirts
I also did up t-shirts for Beanstock, which is an event my awesome aunt, uncle, cousins put on every fall with the help of friends and family. They've been doing up stickers for years. But the t-shirts were fun to be able to provide.

Adirondack Design I Made

However, the investment required to order the transfers isn't worth the reward:risk assessment. They are a bulk supplier in essence. And while you can order a minimum of 2 sheets, the cost of small orders is prohibitive to making any money off a shirt without charging $50. Therefore, bulk orders of designs have to be made.

Come to the end of the year, and I had been seriously looking into getting a Cricut (a brand of computerized cutting machine). Surprise! My parents got me a Cricut Explorer Air 2 for Christmas. And I began to CUT ALL THE THINGS!

I did a few paper projects to begin with, but immediately ordered a Heat Transfer Vinyl sampler pack and the tools needed for making vinyl transfers (little picks and tweezers to 'weed' or remove the negative space on the vinyl transfers after they come off the Cricut).

I love it! And while it obviously takes more time/work on my end than ordering the plastisol or versatranz transfers, it is more cost-effective and makes me happier not to have a bunch of inventory lying around. Which was also the point of having a travel-size heat press, to make shirts to order right on the spot at events.

Stay tuned to see some of the projects this new craft obsession has born out... ;-)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Burn all the things!

It was my friends' 5th Wedding Anniversary a few days ago. And since the interwebs informed me that "wood" is the traditional gift, I decided to do a woodburning of their favorite Doctor Who companions (who were featured in their wedding cake topper and at their "head table")

I had wanted to put the image on the top of a wooden keepsake box for usefullness, but couldn't find a single one locally. I am informed that the plaque is better because it's easier to hang on the wall. :)

This is my first real woodburning project. I think I might have done something on a camp or girl scout arts and crafts moment back in the day. The tool does take a little getting used to, with the different nibs behaving in different ways and none giving you a clean, fine line for text. (grr)

But I was happy with the way it turned out. And more importantly, so were my friends!

Wishing them many more years together (even though I probably won't be up to the task of glass etching or metalwork/smithing when the next milestone comes around)!

#woodburning #burnallthethings #doctorwho #amypond #rorywilliams #crafts

Monday, May 22, 2017

Fantasy Hoods

An essential and easy addition to any range of fantasy or sci-fi costumes... the HOOD. In particular when you're trying to disguise your identity, fight the Man or work as a vigilante.

These are pretty simple styled garments, cropped to chest length, and open sided (except for a bit of elastic under the arm to adjust fit). Grommets and lacing in the front adds functionality and style. The hood itself is a nice, full cut that has nice, classic form. They're actually a unisex design.

Hoods work better (keep their shape better) when made from heavier weight materials, so I used some fun upholestry weight and heavy twills to make these. The black-on-black raised dot fabric I particularly enjoy (yay! texture). The gears on the heavy drab green hood give it a little steampunk/cyberpunk flavor.

-Medieval Style Dress (cheater: made from a modern knit fabric is super cozy but with the same silhouette)
-Taffeta Underskirt (Not seen)
-Overbust Corset (in brocade with brass zip front.)
-Wooden Crossbow Toy (can't remember the website I ordered it from)
-Gold Cuff Bracelet (Marshalls, maybe?)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Steampunk Pirate Pants

This was actually in my unfinished projects pile for a long time. Found it while sorting through stuff and decided to finish it up. It's a variant on wrap pants (which might just be my favorite). This one features much longer leg back sections that leg front sections, so wrap across the waist front, requiring a slightly different tying technique and giving a more 'skirt' look when standing normally.

It's a red Asian print brocade for a more cosmopolitan Airship Pirate feel. The rest of the outfit consists of Black Long-Sleeved Shirt (Store), Black Brocade Underbust Corset (My work), Cropped Hood-Vest (My work), Grommet Belt with Pouches & Compass (My Work), Goggles (etsy seller I don't remember which shop -sorry!), Aetheray Gun (Altered Squirt Gun).

These are part of the last set of pictures taken at my parents' house in the woods where I grew up. 
We just moved this past weekend. All my sewing stuff is in storage for now until we get into the new house. So I have a few items that I haven't shared here, but it's probably going to be awhile, and a new backdrop when I get back to making projects again. (Have been mostly working on repairs, alterations, hemming and the like.)