Recap: Absolut Makerfest

makerfest artSome of you may recall that we were busy bees over the summer, designing a preping for Absolut Makerfest.

On Saturday August 9th we brought our fabric, embroidery machine and our 2 neoprene, fiberoptic dresses that we made for the event down to a mini Make Den that was built for us at 99 Sudbury. One of the dresses was even laser cut thanks to the awesome crew at Toronto Laser Services! The space they built for us was amazing, and made us feel right at home inside the seafoam semi-walls.

We crafted up a storm over Absolut Vodka cocktails, while Q-Tip and Theophilus London entertained the crowd. Hundreds of folks in attendance left with mini embroidery hoops to hang on there wall, a couple people even turned them into crafty bling! The event was amazing with 3D printers, a leather studio from Vancouver and tons of vodka pouring, mixing and shooting robotics. Can’t wait to see what they pull out for next years Makerfest.

makerfest make den crew

The Make Den Crew at Makerfest

lazercut fiberoptic neoprene dress makerfest

Lazercut Fiberoptic Neoprene Dress

makerfest prep

Makerfest prep over 200 machine embroidered hoops for giveaway.

A Peek into Ellen Evered’s Design Process

Hi, I’m Ellen owner and designer for Ellen Evered Designs. I am a graphic designer with 10+ years of experience in the packaging and product design field and a graduate of OCAD.

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Ever since I can remember, I’ve seen patterns in my surroundings – the silhouette of tree branches against the sky, the repetition of flower petals in my parents’ garden, the dots of umbrellas along a rainy street. I’m also pretty obsessed with patterned textiles – my home and wardrobe are full of fun florals, colourful geometrics and abstract patterns. I’m now combining this love with my experience as a graphic designer to create fabric and other surface pattern designs.

Until recently, pattern design was just a fun means of creative expression. Then I kept hearing how my designs would look great on pillows, a scarf, drapes or maybe wrapping paper. So I decided to take a few online courses offered by Make It In Design. I loved it! I learned how to put together a collection and some of the business side of the industry too. Since then I’ve launched Ellen Evered Designs  and have a variety of products available. In May I was featured in the latest issue of Moyo Magazine.  I’m now in the process of making my patterns available on fabric and hope to license my designs to manufacturers.

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Here’s a peek at my creative process:

I draw inspiration from many sources and the idea for a design or a colour palette can come from quite random places. I’ve learned to keep my eyes open to the world around me, because you never know where an interesting image will lead you! My “Garden Grace” collection contains gingko leaves from a tree I saw everyday commuting to work and lupins from one of my son’s favourite picture books. Tree stumps visible throughout my neighborhood following Toronto’s ice storm this past winter inspired a design from my “The Great Outdoors” collection.

EETheGreatOutdoors_collection

I’ve learned to sketch a lot so I have a wide selection of content to work with. It’s a practice that was instilled in me from my days at OCAD. If I don’t have a notebook and pen on me, I’ll take a picture or pocket the object that catches my fancy and draw it later. Once I have enough interesting drawings, I scan the sketches and bring them into Adobe Illustrator. There I’ll clean up and redraw the images or use live trace to create vector versions. Then I’ll combine the elements to create patterns. Usually I have an idea of what the overall look and feel will be, but I also like to play around. I work out the kinks and the technical repeats after.

EEWaterLilyDreams_bedding

I typically create 1 to 4 main designs, and then a group of supporting patterns with a variety of scale to form a collection. I try to ensure that the different patterns work together, but are also interesting enough to work independently.

You can keep up to date on my progress by following my facebook page:

I’d love to hear what you think!

Tips Tuesday- The Walking Foot

Have you ever pinned something so perfectly only to end up with extra fabric on the top layer when sewing? This is because when using a standard presser foot, your fabrics are being fed through the machine at very slightly different rates. The feed dog is pulling in the bottom layer, while your foot is stretching out the top layer.

walking foot

The Walking Foot (aka Even Feed or Duel Feed foot) is the solution for that. Although it does not come standard with your machine, a Walking Foot can be purchased for most domestic sewing machines and is an amazing and handy sewing tool.

The Walking Foot has a second set of feed dogs that allows your fabric to be fed though evenly. Great for sewing multiple layers such as a quilts, matching plaids, sewing though thick or napped fabrics such as velvet, and sticky fabrics… this means LEATHER!!!

Leather, of course, is a favorite amongst the staff here at The Make Den. So much so that we have an industrial walking foot machine for those heavy duty leather projects. But majority of the time we still use our domestic walking foot attachment on our Janome 625E.

With your domestic walking foot, you can sew through more layers of thicker fabric than you would be able to manage with a standard presser foot, but it is still a domestic machine. Be careful when sewing through multiple layers of leather, get a thin hyde, such as lambskin, and try not to exceed 3 or 4 layers.

If you want to learn more about sewing with leather, we will be offering a Leather Fundamentals class beginning in February!

Tips Tuesday- A Crash Course in Ironing/Pressing

When sewing, the iron is one of your most valuable tools. I know that extra step may seem like a pain, but pressing as you go will always make your sewing experience easier and result in a much more polished finished product.

Where to begin? I could write an entire book about ironing… seriously. So lets just start with the basics.ironing tools

To help minimize the possibility of water marks, fill your iron with distilled water. This is important to prevent mineral build up and also to extend the life of your iron.

When you start a sewing project, iron your fabric before you lay it out to cut. If you are working with a natural fiber, such as cotton or wool, and have not pre washed, use steam when ironing to help shirk the fabric before you cut it out. This does not eliminate the need to pre wash, but it will work in a pinch.

It is always a good idea to test your iron setting on a scrap of fabric before you begin, to ensure you are using the appropriate settings for your fabric.

Now, that you have a few tips to start you off, lets get down to the tools. There are lots of tools to make your ironing experience easier.

Press Cloth
The very first tool you should know about is the press cloth.  A press cloth is a piece of cloth placed on top of your good fabric before you iron. This way the iron will not come in to direct contact with your fabric. This is especially important when working with delicate and synthetic fabrics. A press cloth protects your fabric from burning, melting, water marks and any gunk that may be on the face of your iron.  Press cloths are often muslin, but it is good to have a few kicking around in different weights and absorbencies. Using a press cloth that is similar to your fabric is ideal.

The Ham
A tailors ham is used for pressing curves, great for getting that point out of the end of your dart or shaping a princess seam. Place you curved seam or dart on top of the ham and roll your iron over it, if your fabric allows it, use steam to help set the curve.ironing ham

Sleeve Roll
This is used to slide into narrow opening, such as sleeves, to help press the seam without creasing the fabric in unwanted places. Also, if your seam allowance is leaving dents on the right side of your fabric when you press it, press on top of a sleeve roll. The curve of the sleeve roll allows you to only press the seam itself and not everything around it, so your seam allowance won’t show through. A sleeve roll is an easy tool to make at home. Simply roll up a magazine in a piece of fabric and tie the ends.sleeve roll ironing

Sleeve Board
Also used to press narrow spaces, but because it is flat you can get a bit more leverage, Great for hemming pants. and pressing cuffs.sleeve board ironing

Point Presser/Clapper
A hard wood pressing tool that is two tools in one!
The narrow side functions as a tiny ironing board for those pointy and hard to reach places, like collars and cuffs.
On the other side you will find the clapper. This used to apply pressure to steamed seams to help set them permanently. Press and steams your seam, then using the clapper, apply pressure to the seam. Hold the clapper in place until the fabric has cooled.point presser clapper ironing

Needle board/ Velvet board
When pressing velvet, corduroy or other napped fabrics, a flat ironing board can crush the pile. A needle board is a mat with a bed of small needles sticking up from it. Place your fabric, wrong side up with the right side against the needle board to press.

Pressing Rod
These wooden tools are essentially dowels cut in half. They are used for areas that are too narrow for even a sleeve roll. They can also be used to iron a seam without leaving a dent on the right side from the seam allowance.

Now that you’ve got all the tools, pressing your sewing projects should be a cinch.