Posted on

Sewing Machine Sleep Mode

Sleep Mode for Sewing Machines

The Baby Lock Destiny 2 has what they call Eco Mode.  To anyone who has a computer, this is also known as Sleep Mode.  So Eco Mode is a Sewing Machine Sleep Mode.  The Eco Mode has to be set or the machine will just stay on indefinitely, but overall it’s a good function to have.  Activating the Eco Mode allows you to save power if you leave your machine running an embroidery design.  It finishes but you’re working on a different project.  Rather than just staying on indefinitely, after the specified time, the machine goes in to Eco or sleep mode.

Eco Mode can be set from 10 minutes to 120 minutes and you will know the machine is still on because the start/stop button will blink greenly at you.  Press this button and presto!  The machine comes fully awake and is ready for use.

Now the Shutoff Support Mode is a heavy duty version of the sleep mode.  Eco mode is a cat nap.  Shutoff Support Mode is like Snow White.  The only way to start her back up is to kill her entirely, then turn her back on.  Hmmm…that maybe isn’t the best analogy.  You will again know the machine is sleeping by the slow green blink of the start/stop button.  But when you push the button, you will get a message telling you to turn the machine off and on again.

The perpetual question of IT Departments everywhere…

Shutoff Support Mode can be set for 1 to 12 hours.  Both Eco Mode and Shutoff Support Modes are located on settings screen number 5 under General Settings.  To see the functions in action, watch my YouTube clip on this very topic.

And that is how the sleep mode on your Baby Lock Destiny 2 works.  Oops!  I mean Eco Mode and Shutoff Support Mode.

 

 

Posted on

Bespoke–not just a word

Bespoke Tailoring...not a synonym for custom.

While wasting time on that favorite time suck, Facebook, an ad popped across my news feed.  The ad promised bespoke pendants for necklaces.  I blinked at the stupid.  I sighed in exasperation and rolled my eyes at the degradation of understanding.  Somewhere, sometime over the years, the word bespoke has come to be seen as synonymous with custom.  It isn’t.

Bespoke, specifically, is a TAILORING term, i.e. sewing.  And not just loose flowing gowns, but specifically a tailored, carefully fitted garment.  Usually refers to men’s wear, although the argument could absolutely be made that women’s wear demands it’s fair share of tailoring too.  Mostly I weep for the lack of knowledge of finer things.  Bespoke Tailoring was once the sole province of Savile Row in London.  And while one can’t argue that shops have the right to make any claim they want, where is the truth in advertising?  How can you claim to sell Bespoke suits, when you really sell made to measure?  Degradation of the language is, sadly, endemic.

While this sad degradation of language and meaning confuses the masses, here is a quick and dirty breakdown of what exactly Bespoke Tailoring is.  A garment cut specifically to your measurements, without using an existing pattern as a base.  Essentially, it is draped from start to finish, giving you a carefully constructed, one of a kind, fitted garment.  Bespoke tailoring will seek to visually correct any oddities in your body.  Have a drop shoulder from scoliosis?  Bespoke tailoring can mask that.  Have a pot belly from too many nights out?  Bespoke tailoring.

This carefully crafted garment is the end result of MULTIPLE fittings.  Not just one where the tailor gets your measurements.  The multiple fittings are required to allow for adjustments based on fabric selection.  Even fabrics of similar weight can wear differently when custom tailored in a bespoke manner.  A Bespoke garment will cost upwards of $1000.  This is a LOW end Bespoke suit.  $4000 to $5000 is not uncommon.  Everything from the service to the materials is top quality.  It is literally a suit meant to last a lifetime.  It is anathema to the Walmart, Forever 21, buy today, throw it out tomorrow, culture which has permeated our world.

Words matter.  Words have meaning.  Bespoke does not just mean custom.  It is so much more than custom made.  Bespoke entails artistry.  It is poetry in fabric, care in construction, hand crafted.  Bespoke means elegance and refinement.  Recognize!

Posted on

Saving Screen Settings

Saving Screen Settings

Saving Screen Settings was not intuitively obvious.  The save icon is pretty universal with computers, but Baby Lock decided to create their own, which looks like this:

Save Screen Settings
Oh yeah….that TOTALLY looks like a save button

However, when reading in the manual, it shows you exactly what the picture looks like.  Directs you where on the machine to plug in your USB or laptop.  Even tells you what the file folder will be when you open your USB on your laptop (bPocket).  You don’t have to think of any clever names.  I hit the save button twice, and the machine saved to screen shots of my settings screen.  And that is basically what this function does.  It takes a screen shot of whatever settings screen you are on, and saves that moment in time to an external device.

Pretty simple, pretty straightforward.  Once you know what you’re looking for.

 

 

Posted on

Baby Lock

Baby Lock Destiny 2

While prepping the last video shoots for the Baby Lock Destiny 2, I found something specific in the manual, that made me slap my head.

Sewing Settings.  The manual tried to tell me...
See it? At the top. Sewing Settings…

Basically, for the settings screens, screens 1, 2, and 3 are specifically sewing settings.  Yep. I could have made one video showcasing all three of those screens.  Covered more territory, much quicker.  So screen 1 covers presser foot height, pressure, and stitch width.  Screen 2 covers needle position, type of stitch, and multi-function foot controller.  Screen three covers more presser foot functions, automatic functions, and reinforcement priority for stitching.

So then screens 4, 5, and 6 are general settings.

It was so obvious
See…General Settings

Screen 4 is for needle position when machine has stopped, machine volume, brightness of display, and light over the needle/sewing area, and bobbin/thread sensor options.  Screen 5 is display.  Machine shut off, screen savers, spool stand, calibration.  Screen 6 is purely functional.  How many stitches you’ve sewn, internal machine number for your machine and embroidery unit, and which program version is currently on your machine.  That’s it.  See…4, 5, 6 are general machine settings.

And finally, screens 7, 8, and 9 are Embroidery Settings.

Baby Lock Destiny 2--Embroidery Settings
Took me long enough to figure this out…

The embroidery settings I had to defer pretty much to later.  I have used the machine for embroidery, but every single option said “See page…” for instructions.  Screen 7 you select embroidery frames, thread color display, speed during embroidery, tension, and foot height.  Screen 8 is for display functions during embroidery.  Inches vs. mm.  Background color, stitch width, brightness.  Screen 9 utilizes the machine camera function, which I am stupid excited to learn about.  I may even try in-hooping a design mid-stitch just to see if I can get it back using the camera function.  Maybe.  I might not be that brave.

And those, in a nutshell, are the settings screens for the Baby Lock Destiny 2 machine.  Which sews like a dream but is still intimidating.  I’m scared to yell at it.  You know, when something doesn’t go as planned.  Ok, maybe that’s just something I do.

Posted on

Seam Slippage

Seam Slippage

The un-talked of enemy of those who work with silk.  What is it?  Seam Slippage occurs when the seam is solid, but the threads/fibers to either side of the seam start to pull away, resulting in a gap in the fabric.  This typically occurs when not enough stitches per inch are used during crafting the seam, and are more likely to occur on seams that run parallel to the selvage, along the warp of the fabric.

It is also prone to happening with silk.  This is mostly due to the filament nature of the fiber itself.  Silk is slick, and that slippery tendency includes having the filaments migrate away from the seam stitches, especially at stress points.  But not all is lost.  There are actually several steps you can take to avoid this catastrophe.

First, shorten your stitch length.  The average stitch length for commercial sewing machines is 2.5 mm or 10-12 stitches per inch.  Shorten that to 2 mm or 12-13 stitches per inch.  May not seem like much, but it makes a big difference in seam strength for silks.  Always make sure your seam allowance is at least 1/2 inch.  This is so you can do the next step:  flat fell your seams.  Or use French seams.  Really any double row of stitching is effective in combating seam slippage.  Binding the edges is NOT effecting against seam slippage due to the binding occurs on the outer edge to prevent fraying from the outside in, but does not really strengthen the seam itself.

And preventing slippage is that easy.  Seam allowance, stitch length, flat felling.  And however much you may hate flat felling seams (I HATE flat felling seams…I prefer pinking sheers and call it good.  I am a lazy seamstress in that regard), you will hate more having poured your heart and soul in to making the perfect gown, only to have the characteristics of the fiber destroy your efforts from the inside out.

Posted on

Cartridge Pleating

Cartridge Pleating

No, not *another*  how to on Cartridge Pleating.  There are literally dozen’s of how to’s for this particular technique.  What I wanted to know, was where does it come from?  Wikipedia has it popular during the 15th and 16th Centuries and making a resurgence in popularity during the 1840’s.  Which is all true, as far as that goes.  But not really helpful in explaining this:

Close up of what appears to be Cartridge Pleating…
…on a Yuan Dynasty Robe, Mongolia

Images are from the SCA China Facebook page, where an enquiring seamstress wanted to know if her eyes deceived her.  And all of the skilled seamstresses present agreed that that very much appears to be what we call Cartridge Pleating.  On a 13th or 14th century Mongolian Robe…no where near Renaissance Europe, you might note.

Now, my time machine is in the shop, so I am unable to ACTUALLY confirm with the original tailor that that is, yes, cartridge pleating.  And what every single one of those tutorials above lists is how cartridge pleats are made:  Run two or more rows of evenly spaced basting stitches parallel to each other, then pull them up to create the gather before hand stitching them to the waistband. Which sounds an awful lot like: “Two rows of tightly-sewn stitches hold these pleats in place, and then the bodice is connected to the upper stitched line.”  That description is from a book called Traditional Korean Costume, and is describing a men’s coat excavated from the tomb of Yi Hwang.

Now, for those who dislike following links, Yi Hwang was a Confucion scholar who lived from 1501-1570.  This is certainly falls within the 16th century zone when cartridge pleats were known to exist.  But there is no smoking gun connecting European tailoring techniques to Asian tailoring techniques.  Silk and other textiles were widely traded on the silk road.  But it was the uncut goods that were traded, not finished garments, like we have today.  If we can believe Korea had cartridge pleating the in 16th century, is it impossible to believe Mongolia had it in the 13th century?

Even if you don’t believe the Mongolian hordes are capable of great refinement, they were certainly capable of raiding it from other cultures which they defeated and then folded in to the Mongolian Empire.  Which became the Yuan Dynasty upon Khublai Kahn’s inheritance of the title of Great Kahn.  Yet the hubris of mankind has all of us who do European costuming believing that cartridge pleating was the sole provenance of Europe.  I’ve even heard that the name Cartridge Pleating is from pleating the fabric over a bullet casing or cartridge.  However, there is a SERIOUS flaw in that logic.  Cartridge pleating existed in the 16th century.  Yet the first actual Cartridge for firearms wasn’t invented until 1845.  Paper cartridges existed for muskets as early as the 14th century, but would have been VERY expensive and not likely used in tailor’s shops.

But wait!  How can you know paper cartridges wouldn’t have been used in tailors shops?  Because paper cartridges were filled with gun powder.  And why would you want something easily combustible, a hot military item, closely controlled by the government, in a shop filled with flammable cloth?  One slight accident and you lose EVERYTHING.  Who would risk that?  A more likely explanation is that gauging was in use for many centuries.  When firearms became the hot new thing for up and coming nobility to own, enterprising tailors everywhere began calling the technique cartridge pleating to cash in on the military fervor of the day.

Again, my time machine is broken, so this is all speculation.  But it’s my belief that any method of gathering large quantities of material was widely available to tailors the globe over. Much like many cultures simultaneously figured out the art of spinning and weaving, they all figured out gathering quite handily.  And gauging pleats were a lovely way to show off a tailor’s craftsmanship and technique.  At least, that’s the way I’m going to tell it.

Posted on

Organza

Silk Organza

Organza, that crispest of crisp fabrics.  Organza is a plain, very light weight, basket weave fabric.  There are no special twists in the yarn, although they are tightly twisted.  What gives Organza the body we all love is the sericin, or silk gum.

When the bombyx mori start to spin their cocoons, they don’t just tightly spin the fibroin around themselves.  They also produce sericin, which is the gummy component that allows the fibroin to maintain it’s cocoon shape until the bombyx mori crawls out of it’s cocoon.  Or until the cocoon is harvested for silk filaments.  If you’re a true blue Buddhist, you might want to skip cultivated silk.  Lots of bugs die in the making of it.  Don’t worry, there is always Ahimsa Silk

Typically, once the cocoon is harvested, it is dropped in a vat of boiling water to remove the sericin as part of the processing to create the filaments for silk threads and yarns.  But if the intended product is silk organza, most of the sericin is left on.  This natural silk gum leaves the threads stiffer and is what creates the crisp, stiff, body of silk organza fabrics.

Organza is good for decorative embroidery work, as an over skirt, or to flat line a fabric that needs a little more body.  Because of it’s natural crispness, this is not a curve hugging fabric.  Even on a bias cut, organza would be hard pressed to do anything other than fall in folds away from the body.  It can be gathered, pleated, shirred, puffed, and bouffanted.  It is genuinely versatile.  Organza makes an excellent sew in stabilizer or facing fabric.  However, given that it is a sheer fabric, seams need to be finished.  Generally, I use french seams or flat-felled seams when finishing sheer seams.  Or if I’m in a hurry and feeling lazy, I’ll serge them.  But french seams look the nicest, especially on fabrics where the seams are definitely visible.

Posted on

Ask me for Anything but Time

Ask me for anything but Time

Yesterday, I wrote about UFOs and picking your project.  Today, I write about time.  As in, it is fleeting, and madness is taking it’s toll.

Madness…it is upon me…

My next vending event is next weekend.  Fortunately, I have no costumes I need to make for this event.  Unfortunately, two weeks after that, I DO have costumes I need to make.  Which I don’t have time to make.  Because I committed to this blog.  One post a day from 3/16 until 4/21.  And in yesterday’s post, I mentioned the importance of practicing willpower.  But all things come at a cost.

Magic isn’t the only thing with a price

Time is a finite resource.  We all have the same twenty four hours.  But the time I spend writing this blog is time I am not spending sewing costuming.  There is only so much one can do in a day.  Generally need to sleep for 8 hours.  I work for 8 hours at my day job.  And I spend at least 1.5 hours eating.  Another hour at the gym…the gym is not my natural habitat, but I am trying to take better care of myself so that I am able to make the most of the other 23 hours in my day.  Spend one to two hours maintaining my various animals (three birds, three cats, two dogs), and cleaning my house.

Which leaves me 3 hours to work on my business.  Three hours to blog, to check inventory, to make signs, to plot videos, to plan outfits, and to sew…which I can’t do until I finish this quest of one blog a day.

Because by choosing to write one blog a day, I have to give something else up.  Giving up sleep and eating are impractical for health reasons.  For the same reason, I can’t give up going to the gym.  My health is the only thing allowing me to keep up with everything else.  Until Damask Raven is a self-sustaining business, I need my day job, so I have to give that my all during the 8 hours I’ve committed to it.  So three hours to blog, sew, and run a business in general.

But wait!  What about weekends?  No, I do not work the day job on the weekends.  Usually.  Except when I do work the weekends so that I can take a long weekend to vend for Damask Raven.  While this is not a common occurrence, and I have had several weekends between March 16 and now, I usually take several hours on the weekend to NOT work.  On anything.  Because hitting the go button without pause leads to high stress burnout.  And collapse.  Which is what happened last October through December.  Three months to re-collect myself and get back on track.  So yes, downtime is a requirement.

So, rather than beat myself up over NOT getting costuming done for Miss Fisher Con, I dug in to my existing costuming closet, found some appropriate alternatives to wear, and have moved on.  Once I get through the next week of blogging, I can start prepping my costumes for Costume College.  And I won’t be blogging every day, and making towels for sale, and prepping dances for performance pieces.  And I will be motivated and focused on completing the very best costuming I can for Costume College.  Having chosen my outfits, I am excited to start working on them.  Only my willpower keeps me chugging along on this pre-existing project.

But April 24th, the new madness begins.

 

Posted on

UFOs in a Shame Spiral

UFOs cause shame...

A while back, my friend Ember Sky, who is a cosplayer, was torn between two projects.  She had one thing she needed to finish to have Costume A completed.  But she really wanted to start work on Costume B.  I told her to start Costume B.  My logic being, if she forced herself to do Costume A, her heart wouldn’t be in it.  Which meant she’d be dragging her feet and not really concentrating.  This would invariably lead to mistakes.  Which meant MORE time before she could work on Costume B, as she would then need to correct the mistakes before calling Costume A completed.

This was both simultaneously very good AND very bad advice.  It was very good advice for the reasons I listed.  If Ember start’s Costume B, the time will fly by and she will be productive because she will be working on what she is called to work on in that moment.  It was very bad advice because by caving to the desire to work on what she wants to, two things happen.  First, she was not practicing willpower, which is always a good trait to have.  Second, she was contributing to her UnFinished Objects (UFOs) pile.  Now, given that the one item she needed to complete for Costume A was in fact needed for a fast approaching convention, I knew she would complete the item.

And then there is me.  If I put down an object, it may be decades before I pick it up again to finish it.  This is not a joke. A literal decade may pass before I complete the item.  I have an entire Box of Shame of UFOs that I sort of look at and realize I should just re-cut them in to quilting squares.  Because there is no chance anything in that box would ever fit me.  I have a jacket that I cut out and assembled 9 years ago, all it needs is buttons and button holes.  I found it while cleaning out a closet.  It now sits in my cutting table, a constant reminder of my shame.  It even has a matching skirt that has never been worn…because of buttons.

UFOs cause shame
Shame shame shame…

I have only gotten slightly better over the years. I have gotten to the point where I purchase or cut off bits of fabric, but don’t actually cut them out.  This creates a Schroedinger’s effect…until it is cut, it is both UFO and not UFO.  Which is how I find myself in possession of a huge, outdoor bin of fabric.  I can look at 95% of it and know exactly what I was going to make of it.  I am just not excited for that project.  So I have storage bin of UFOs/non-UFOs projects.  And the shame continues….

Posted on

Rare Commodity

Rare Commodity--the Gorgeous Queen Latifah

I’m talking time.  Time is a rare commodity.  I always think I have all the time in the world, until suddenly, I don’t.  So with Hot Raqs approaching and Miss Fisher Con hot on it’s heels, I have to use my time wisely.  I have to pick which projects to move forward, and which to back burner until after these events.

Now, a subtle part of my marketing is wearing clothes made out of the silks I sell.  Sort of a “This is what I made, what are you going to make?”  To that end, I am set for SCA events.  Those being the first events I vended, I have lots of costumes for them.  I even have costuming I can wear for Hot Raqs, since half my SCA wardrobe are historical dance attire.  So I can make that work.

But Miss Fisher Con.  I got nothing.  I mean seriously.  I am all curves, a la Marilyn Monroe.  So while I love the style of the 1920’s, I am definitely not built for this decade of fashion (although I love, love, LOVE how they styled Queen Latifah in Chicago).  But, on the plus side, I can make the drop waist styles of the ’20’s work for day wear in my day job.  So I go in search of 1920s patterns in my size.

And Voila!  I find Decades of Style.  Now, these are stylish, fun patterns, that will in fact easily convert to day wear for the day job.  So I picked two to make up and start planning my fabric usage.  But, as with all outfits, the fun doesn’t stop there!  Silk, like all natural fibers, is inherently anti-static, due to it’s natural retention of moisture which counteracts static electricity.  What DOES create static cling when wearing silk is undergarments made of polyester and nylon, even rayon.  While rayon is technically a natural fiber, it is so heavily processed that it tends towards static.

So to make my wonderful 20’s fashions elegant, rather than a continuous wrestling match, I also need undergarments of silk.  Not a problem.  I have habotai which is perfectly suited to slips.  And I have a Folkwear pattern which is perfect for the 1920’s fashions.  So, make the outfits from the inside out, and I will be well dressed for Miss Fisher Con.  Just in Time.