SMS Chalk Bags at Flagstaff Sports Exchange

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flagstaff chalk bags

Flagstaff Sports Exchange recently commissioned me to make these hot climbers chalk bags. They are made from authentic african fabrics and webbings from Peace Surplus. At $30- a piece, these bags are really a steal for a flagstaff local handmade product! Support local gear makers and go check these babies out, plus you can use partial store credit to get them :).

 

 

Funtown Circus Camp this Summer!!

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Funtown Circus Camp is an awesome new summer camp happening in our own Flagstaff, AZ put on by members of the new Circus Arts Space located at 401 Santa Fe Ave.!!
 
Sorry adults,
its for ages 7-18,
but you can still come to our BIG SHOW at Heritage Square Aug. 1st during artwalk.
 
So what will we be doing at camp?
Stilt walking, acro balance, tumbling, clowning, aerial dance, trapeze, juggling, and......COSTUME DESIGN (that's me), to name of the few amazing skills you will develop.
 
At the BIG SHOW Funtown campers will make their big debut, entertaining Artwalk audiences with our new found skills. 
 
So when will it be?
Funtown Circus Camp is July 14-Aug 1st and there are one-day, weekly and all three week attendance options, go to Coconino Center for the Arts for more information or to sign up.
 
And if you are too old to be a camper, then come play with us at our booths during Hullabaloo, Firefly, or take a class with the Flagstaff Aerial Arts.
 
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How to convert your zig-zag sewing machine to treadle

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Howdy folks. I just converted my electric Brother 281 from the 1950's to a treadle, foot-powered machine. I have always been fasinated by the workings of human powered machines. So many incredible inventions have been forgotten as progress pushed us towards electricity, often at an overall loss to effeciency. In sewing machines, electricity brought speed, but the ability to accurately regulate that speed was mostly forgone. Speed is handy in mass production, but in most home uses a teadle goes plenty fast for ones needs. Electricity also eliminated the need to use the foot pedaled treadle. However, the treadle is hardly an obstruction to sewing, they take almost no effort to operate seeing as they use gravity and momentum to do the bulk of the work.

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The benefits of treadle power are emmense, the treadle mechanism is very simple and they last reliably for 100 years+, one need not worry of burning up a motor. Even if the treadle mechanism were to break a few parts, they would be more easily replaced or gerry-rigged. A non-electric machine, treadle or handcrank, is more versatile in that they can live in rural places that have no electricity. As I said speed precision is easily controlled by ones feet, thus making precision sewing such as embriodery and quilting easier. And beyond this, the energy spent is direct. You don't have to work to pay your electricity bill, so that a nuclear power plant can produce it and sent it hundreds of miles through lines to your home. I have no way of calculating it, but I believe that the overall energy spent is less through treadle. And with climate change wreaking havok on our world, why not go treadle!?

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Sewing machines had hardly been in exsistence 80 years before turning electric, had they stayed treadle, that mechanism could have been more perfected, and I think the issue of speed would have been addressed. It is my dream that sewing machine manufactures go back to treadle developement. I think there would be a large market for them too. 

Okay, okay, so that's my rant, but the rest of this blog is to show you how to take any treadle table and connect it to your machine. Some machines are more suitable for conversion, those with exterior motors, and a few 50's and 60's Singer models that have a pathway for a belt.

When aquiring a treadle table, see that all the pieces are there, and especially check the pitman rod connections (the rod which connects the foot pedal to the spinning wheel) and see that they are at least tight and not missing bearings. You will likely need to clean and oil all moving parts here. I use steel wool and soapy water and rubbing alcohol, dry then rub the parts down with sewing machine oil.

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Next I remove some of the orginal table top, unless your machine fits well into the original top. If it doesn't, I just get a nice piece of scrap 1" plywood to your desired table size. I cut and sand it down. Take your machine and sit it atop the plywood atop your table. Using a square I try to situate the machine directly above the treadle wheel, and try to align the slot for the motor belt with the treadle wheel, so that when a leather belt is inserted it lines up straight. Measure the base of your machine, mine was 7" X 14.5", using a square I draw it out on the stable in pencil. Next look underneath your machine and see how deep the lip of metal sets in. On my machine it was about 1/2" on all sides except in a few places. I carefully add these measurements to the table. You will then use a saw to cut the hole where the machine will sit making sure that you cut the hole only as big as the machine is underneath the lip, if the hole is too big, your machine could slip around in the hole while trying to use it. Eyeball where the leather belt will go through the table and cut holes for this too.

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Now it's time to remove the motor belt from your machine, if it's exterior, then a flathead screw does the job. Insert the new leather belt through holes, machine handwheel and treadle wheel. Once new belt fully attached do any last adjustment to plywood table top placement. Go underneath the machine and use a sharpie to mark the rectangular hole where the orginal table top went. You will then use small 1X1" to block the table top in (see picture), that way the plywood top stays in place. Now paint or varnish you table how you like! 

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Wemoon Pads at Morning Glory

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Hey, Just finished another batch of ladies Wemoon Reuseable Pads. They are on display at Morning Glory Cafe on S. San Fransisco St., Flagstaff, $36 for a set of 5. A great gift for yourself or a friend!

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Repairing my vintage Brother 281

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One of my main workhorse machines is a vintage Brother 281, made in Japan in the 1950's or 60's. It's all metal and the manual states that if properly oiled the machine would last 25 years minimum. Sixty-five years later she's still kicking!

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But the time has now come to repair some of the little quirks on this machine that reduce sewing quality. In particular the needle plate which has taken serious abuse, from me, there are limits to all machines... I pushed this one too far, namely trying to sew wayyyy too many layers of duck cloth.

So I set out to find a new needle plate. It looks pretty generic, right? Well turns out there is hardly a peep out here in cyber land about Model 281. I checked Sharp Sewing Supplies which sells new parts for vintage machines, they had needle plates that looked like mine but my model wasn't mentioned as being compatable. I called up Guy Baker from sewingmachineparts.net who is very knowledgeable about vintage machines, he didn't have the needle plate or know where I could get one.

I was about to give up when I decided of all things to open the manual, which by luck has stayed with the machine all these years. In the very back was a slip of paper I had never noticed before. On it the words "Interchangeable Parts Catalogue (Model 110, 190, 210, 230, 270, 280, 290, 370, 380, 390)". Hooray!! And there it was needle plate B4139, compatible with all these Brother models!! Mystery solved, and I went back to Sharp Sewing and ordered that part number, I also sent them a copy of the Interchangeable Parts Catalogue so that others won't have to go through the same detective work again.

So, I am really happy that my Brother 281 is getting a makeover, because it sews such a beautiful zig-zag, runs a fast stitch and is a strong home machine.

To view the Brother Interchangeable Parts Catalogue click on these PDF's: pdfpage 1 , pdfpage 2

Harness and sweater for Stubbs

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dog-sweater-flagstaffStubbs is a recently recused dog from the Phoenix pound. He's the new member of our family and such a sweet guy. He does have very short hair though and Flagstaff gets much colder than his old phoenix home. So he definately needed his very own sweater and also a harness. I just used an old wool sweater that had been shrunk in the wash too many times, and did some alterations, added a velcro strip over his back to get it on and off.

The harness was made from webbing I picked up at Wet Dreams River Supply, and some triangle plastic forms from Peace Supplies. It was probably only 2-3 dollars worth of supplies, as opposed to buying a brand new harness at a pet store. And I got to customize the webbing colors as well!

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Baguette Bike Bags

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This is my newest design, "baguette" bicycle handlebar bags. I used a high quality outdoor water-resistant material for the body of the bags, d-rings on either side of the bags allow you to doubly secure them to your handlebars, a wooden dowel stretches the length of the bag for structural support, velcro webbing attaches the bags directly to the bars.2-baguette-bike-bag1-baguette-bike-bag
 
I already sold this set of bags, so just let me know if you are interested in this style and I can make to order. 
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Trip to Deluxe Fashion Shop, Eugene, OR

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1-girl-friday-creates2-girl-friday-creates3-girl-friday-createsWhile in Eugene, OR last week visiting family, I made a stop to my favorite resale clothing store Deluxe Fashion Shop. Deluxe specializes in selling local handmade clothing, jewelery and accessories as well as fine vintage and eccentric clothing at reasonable prices. Deluxe has provided the rare space for local seamstresses to show off and sell their unique designs. In addition, Deluxe hosts a groundbreaking annual fashion show of only local/regional designers and their clothing lines. Its places like Deluxe which bring forward and inspire people to create, to develope artistic skills and to make real wearable garments to sell. With so many mainstream companies sending their designs to sweatshops in third world countries, it can be a struggle as a seamstress in the U.S. to survive making and selling your own designs.
I first began sewing items that I hoped I would one day sell in 2008. I found an article about Deluxe in the newspaper, and went down to meet the owner, just thinking someday in the far future my sewing would be good enough for her shop. I was reluctant to show her my amature wallets, skirts and the like, but she took my sewing seriously. She wanted me to put it all on consignment at her shop! She really believed in me as a seamstress and that pushed me to keep creating and keep learning. Thank you Deluxe!
While browsing the shop this time I found this sweet, well-crafted dress made by Girl Friday Creates. It's awesome as a seamstress to buy other seamstresses work, you can really appreciate the art put into it!  
 
See what Deluxe is up to: www.facebook.com/deluxefashionshop

New Billfolds at Morning Glory

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multi-pocket-billfoldSkunk Mountain Sewing has handmade items on consignmebicycle-billfoldnt at Morning Glory Cafe in Flagstaff, AZ!! I just finished a new line of compact embroidered billfolds and they are making their debut this October at Morning Glory. The billfold design was actually made by a client who custom ordered a billfold that was compact, but still had many pockets for organizing cards. I liked the design so much I made a whole run of them and plan to make more.

Also, my partner and I did a lot of mushroom hunting this summer and I got inspired to do some sketckes. I transfered the sketches onto fabric using an heat erasing chalk pencil. I stitched over the chalk outlines, then applied heat with an iron, and it really takes free-style embroiderey up a notch!

Morning Glory Cafe is located at 115 S. San Fransisco St. Flagstaff, AZ.

Knitting Needle Case

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This was a custom order project I did for a gal who has a LOT of knitting needles. This canvas case can hold 30 circular knitting needles in separate compartments. Due to all the pockets, this project took quite a few measurements. I sketched out a diagram of what I was going to make and all the different pieces with measurements. I used plaid fabric for the pockets which was a lifesaver because the plaid pattern assures you will sew straight lines.
 
The embroidery on the front is actually from a 1940's old iron-on design for tablecloths. I recently dicovered you can purchase a special iron-on pencil that allows you to draw or trace your own design onto paper then iron onto fabric. Then you sew with embroidery thread over the iron-on. 
 

Native Plant and Seed Mural

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4native-plant-muralI've been MIA for over a month now, and I apologize for not keeping the events section stocked with the latest awesome sewing events. I got a job painting a small mural for the local nursery Flagstaff Native Plant and Seed. They sell native seeds, flowers, shrubs and trees. Quite an impressive place. I love studying native plants and their uses and have been sketching plants for years. So I thought this was a perfect job for me! All the plants in the mural are native to the Flagstaff bioregion.

Preparing to paint the mur2native-plant-muralal was much like doing a custom sewing order. I started with intial sketches which the owner chose from and we honed the design until we felt it ready to go on the wall. I also practiced painting the mural a number of times in order to chose a technique. I took my small design and grided it so that I could easily blow the design up to the wall size. Painting in such a public place was definately nerve racking, and I really just tuned everything out but the wall. I am glad to have taken this challenge and am satisfied with the outcome. It was really a matter of order of operations and sticking to a style. Many thanks to Rudy Preston for support and the Mural Mice for technical advice!

By the way, the mural is located on the corner of Butler and S. Elden St. near Downtown Flagstaff, come check it out.

First Friday Art Walk

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If you haven't wandered into the magical little restaurant Morning Glory Cafe down on S. San Fransisco, I definately recommend it. Morning Glory Cafe has been serving delicious vegan food for at least 25 years! The space and people are so welcoming and the room just glows with this beautiful energy.

This month I was invited by Morning Glory's owner to hang a show of my sewn work! I've sold my wares at consignment stores and Farmer's Markets before, but hanging a "show", this was a first. Hanging my work definately helped me to see the singular art in my sewn creations, to see the craftmanship in them. I suppose it is somewhat more rare for seamstresses to show their work at galleries, but I think sewing is fine art and I hope to see more seamstress shows in the future. 

More than anything the show was an excuse to hang out with buddies and eat homemade cake and pie! And Maggie Mouse brought her violin and treated passerbys to her heavenly singning strings. The show will be up all June so come take a gander.4-first-friday3-first-friday2-first-friday1-first-friday

 

 

 

Cowboy Hat

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hat2I recently lost my awesome leather cowboy hat and have been burning up in Flagstaff's high altitude sunshine. I needed a new sun hat and one that wouldn't just blow off my head in two shakes. I rode my bike all over town and couldn't find a suitable hat. After that mission failed I did all kinds of internet searches to find cowboy style hat pattern, still nothing!!! Well, with a little help from a drunk guy's U-Tube video, I got the basic idea and did some head measurements. The most important measurements are the width of your head in front and back and the length of your head from front to back. These measurements are kinda tricky to make since you are measuring through the mass of your skull, so use your creative inovation.

I started with a paper pattern which I taped together at the seams and tried on to be sure the final hat would fit. I almost just kept the paper hat because it fit so well! I used fusible interfacing on both layers of the brim and on single layers of the sides and top. The brim was still a little flimsy so I added pearl snaps to the sides. Not bad for a first hat! Every little detail is noticable on a hat, so go slow and try to keep your seam allowances even. An eight of an inch fudge on a hat looks like an inch fudge on a garment!

 

Trash-2-Treasure Fashion Show!

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At the Trash 2 Treasure craft workshop we learned how to make one of the most basic and vital human tools, ROPE! Well, to be more specific we were making jump ropes and necklaces, but both projects used the same methods. We took strips of cut t-shirt and braided them. What is soooo cool about these braided ropes is that you can use them for a varity of tasks, maybe you are out  in the woods and need a piece of lashing? Maybe you need straps, or a dog leash, or a laundry line, or a belt.....or let your imagination go!

Tina LaChance of Red Thread Sewing taught basic handstitching techniques for making bean bags for the Trash Trap toss game. The bag material was made of fused recycled plastic grocery bags.

Maggie Mouse helped in both workshops, she's a "Mural Mouse" . Look around the Lumberyard for this critter, you'll probably find her with a paintbrush in hand. This summer is going to be a fun one and you are sure to find it at the location for the Flagstaff's new downtown mural, corner of S. San Fransisco St. and Phoenix St.

Trash 2 Treasure rocked!! Free stuff, free workshops, trash costumes, heck ya! Lets craft it up, more DIY clothes events, WORKSHOPS! wooohooo

Also, I should mention Skunk Mountain Sewing won 1st Place Audience Choice and 2nd Place Most Wearable, which came with some cash and a gift certificate to Runway Fashion Exchange and Charly's, thanks to the donors of this event! Friends of Flagstaff's Future (F3) put on the event and I want to congradulate them, because it was a total success. F3 KARES summer art projects at the Farmers Market will be gearing up soon. Hope to see you there!

Dino Diaper Cover Pattern

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I am currently trying my hand at making diaper covers. I've heard word that diaper covers are hard to find in this community, so I hope to be able to offer my services to families who need them!

 

Diaper covers require sewing with stretchy knits and elastic which takes practice to accomplish. Luckily, I have been taking some sewing classes from Tina LaChance at Odegaard's Sewing Center which is helping me to branch out and just test and try sewing different fabrics, plus I'm learning new techniques! I highly recommend her classes.1-dino-diaper-snaps

These pics are of the first two diaper covers I've made. The interior is a medical grade water resistant fabric called PUL which prevents leaks. The exterior is a cotton knit. The interior features gussets to help hold in spills. The gussets are edged with fold over elastic.

What are you working on? Send me some pics and I'll post it on this blog! :)

 

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Custom handlebar bag

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I recently finished this custom bag for a friend's bicycle handlebars. This design is nice because it has a small wooden dowel inserted horizontally which holds the bag open and creates structure against the handlebars. I used fancy water-resistant upolstry samples for the fabric which are stiff and hold form.

The embroidery is a tribute to cartoon artist George Berlin who sketched the original image. He's a prolific artist with a few kids books out. See his facebook page: www.facebook/GeorgeBerlinArtIllustrationAnimation

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Moon Pad Order

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A good friend of mine ordered a batch of 12 ladies reusable Moon Pads. This was such a fun and rewarding project, and now I have four different sized patterns for future use!

To make the patterns I went online and researched popular moon pad styles that others are making. There are quite a few styles and everyone has a different preference. These were my favorites, but I want to try other styles and fabrics as well. I make my patterns on paper grocery bags.

I'm almost done with another batch of Moon Pads and I'll put them in the Accessories category, custom orders welcome. Also, I'm happy to show folks how to make their own moon pads with these patterns, let me know if interested!

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Ohhhhhhhhhhh Snap!

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I am trying to contain myself,

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but I just got this AWESOME snap and grommet press!!!!

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and a set of pearl snaps to boot. You want it snappy? Come on down and I'll snap it together, or have your try at it!

P.S. I was just invited to share a sewing studio space on S. San Fransisco St.

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Pants Project

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I think I found this pants pattern when I was in high school at the local thrift. I've made two pairs from it over the years. It's actually a pretty straight forward pattern and can be modified to suit your style. I combined the backside of view 1 with the front of view 3. These are supposed to be my "nice" pants, so I didn't choose fabric/s that were wild, but the last pair I made had really contrasting pockets and belt loops. I like making my own pants because they usually fit me better than most pants I find at the store, plus I just like these retro styles.

-Katie

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Hours & Location by Appt. Only!

I recently had a baby and currently have a limited schedule. Please contact me for an appointment!

A Stitch in Time...

 

Skunk Mountain Sewing is a Northern Arizona grown project, started by local seamstress and designer Katie Preston. Our goal is to make durable, creative, and functional sewn goods. With a passion for vintage sewing machines, Skunk Mountain Sewing's work is done primarily on a 1940's treadle sewing machine, a Juki Industrial Straight Stitch, with help from a 1960's Brother machine, and a Singer "Patcher" treadle shoe repair machine. Whenever possible, materials used are reclaimed from thrift store or recycled garments.

Skunk Mountain Sewing - PO Box 1746 - Flagstaff, AZ - 86002 - (928) 864-7968

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