Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rust and Steel, Cotton and Code

You never quite forget skills, but boy howdy...they can get rusty.  I've been looking over my new Bernina and contemplating projects with it (as it is far too good a machine not to be actively used.)

And I see I've forgotten so, so much.  Either that, or where I got when I was studying costume design and construction was a lot less far than I thought it was.

I was just looking up how the Overlock setting works, and that led me to Overlock Feet, and that led me to the bewildering variety of presser feet available, including the seemingly very useful zipper foot, which also has something to do with Invisible Zippers...

And I don't remember this from when I constructed the Emerald City Chorus back in High School.  I vaguely remember seam tape and maybe a French Seam somewhere, and I know I never did learn the Serger, but the rest of this feels like unknown territory to me.

I remember taking measurements off cast members.  I remember adapting patterns.  I remember working in muslin and doing fitting, I remember stitching in armsceye or pinning breast darts.  But I can't quite remember the details.

And it is obvious, on only a cursory read, that there is so much about fabric types and machine techniques and varieties of seam treatment and so on and so on that I never ever learned.

The only totally for-me thing I have sewn in the past several decades is a pillow slip I just created from a cute Japanese-import cotton print.  And, yeah, my confidence is unshattered; I still think I could make a jacket if I chose.  And my general realism is intact; I know it would be a project of a week or more.  What I'm starting to realize is why it would take that long, and how much of that time would involve learning basic techniques and discovering common pitfalls.  Oh, and also seeing some of the ways sewing can turn into an expensive hobby.

And of course, at nearly the same moment I found an overlock foot on eBay and was sorely tempted, I also discovered I am eligible for a free one-year membership at Tech Shop.

Which would be a chance to finally get some time on milling machine and metal lathe.  As well as access to various metal, wood, plastic, and so forth machines -- restricted mostly by the waiting list, and the need to take the safety and familiarization classes for each machine in turn.

Except, as with the sewing machine, where I've been is in a place where every now and then a project would go better if I had access to so-and-so.  I'm not really in a place where I have a project (or series of projects) that demand frequent access to specific technologies.

Sewing included.  I made a new set of mic bags, and repaired some items around the house, and that basically finishes up the outstanding projects.

My current external task list is to clean up some vacuuform drum magazines, create a 3d-printable model of a Cadillac-Gauge V150, and create a mock-up receiver for a de-militarized Suomi.

On my personal tasks, I want to put more 3d models in my online store (which is now earning about twenty bucks a month but could do much better), and create the (mostly software) infrastructure to make my Duck Node concept a viable theatrical tool.

None of these actually require a lathe.  Or a sewing machine.

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