October 17, 2010

loose ends

Since you endured my kvetching throughout the month of September, I thought you might like to hear how a couple of things have panned out.  On the Crafty Bastards front, it went swimmingly!  Our booth was a mad house, due in large part to the lovely ladies of Coralilie with whom I shared my booth.  Our tent looked like it had been sacked by the Huns by about 1 pm.  It was a very affirming First Craft Show experience.  I followed all of the advice I could dig up regarding clearly marked items, varying display heights, a neat and tidy presentation, and I really felt good about how things looked.  One of the things that I read pre-show said that seeing your customers respond to your work first-hand is one of the most valuable outcomes of a big show, and I have to agree.  It was fascinating to hear people talking with their friends as they handled the merchandise.  Particularly intriguing to me was the response that men seemed to have to my offerings; one dad even asked me to make him an adult-sized t-shirt with a rocket ship on it since he did not think he could wedge into the 2T I had for sale.  That left me wondering whether men have been left out in the cold a bit on the handmade front.  Maybe not every man interested in handmade wants to be ironic or punkrock.  Food for thought, anyway.

Regarding the lion costume for Cal's preschool, I was finally able to check that off my list.  It was waaaaaaaay harder than I thought it would be!  Observe the original lion costume.  Cute, but doesn't it look simple?  Well, I knew right off the bat that I would not be using the curly faux fur that was on the original mane and tail nub.  I wanted to figure out a way to do the whole thing in polarfleece, keeping it simple enough to toss into the wash frequently since it is destined to live its life in a nursery school dress-up corner.  I started by tracing the parts as best I could and cutting out new pieces.

I then began sewing.  My machine would not sew anything correctly.  It was jamming, knotting, dropping stitches.  A montage of my entire sewing machine's life was flashing before my eyes.  Even my husband was worried, and not just about the nervous breakdown I was having.  Finally, I switched to a stretch needle.  Magical!  It fixed everything. 

My next hurdle was the mane.  I wanted to keep it simple and stylized, but I also wanted it to be immediately recognizable to the children.  My original plan was to create several rows of loops and attach these to the hood.  But when I went to attach the first loop, it seemed like there just wasn't that much room with the ears already in place.  If I had proceeded to attach several rows, it would have not only looked crowded, it would have also been very heavy and caused the hood to fall over the child's face.  Instead of following my original plan, I went with a fringe framing the face.  I used a simple loop for the tail.

The final product is cute and serves the purpose.  It won't be used to outfit Simba for The Lion King on Broadway, but my son insisted on wearing it to school, so I think it will do just fine.

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