Saturday, October 12, 2013

fix it? oh yeah. like three or four times.

If you've been following along, you may have already seen the tutorials for my kiddo's Fix-it Felix hat and golden hammer. Today, we come to a project that had a couple of false starts. It is, so far, the part of his costume that has required the most fixing.

Yes, the name patch. I started, as with the cap patch, by trying to use my machine's zig-zag stitch to "embroider" the name onto the Friendly Felt oval patch (having traced it on there with chalk). No dice. It looked pretty terrible. You don't get to have a photo.

I picked out the stitches and started over by hand, carefully satin stitching every letter. It took me a couple of hours to get it fairly perfect. 

The reason you don't get a photo of that patch is that I decided to iron it before photographing. The iron was too hot. The patch melted to the iron in about 1.5 seconds, and by the time I was able to scrape it loose, it was a blackened jumble of melted plastic (Friendly Felt is made of recycled pop bottles; the polyester setting, not the cotton, is as high as your iron should go when working with this stuff).

All I could do was laugh (maybe a little maniacally), wait a day, and start over.

Now that we've discussed what NOT to do, we can discuss what worked for me in the end. I cut an oval of the blue, stiffened Friendly Felt. Copying the look of Brush Script, I wrote the name "Felix" onto the felt using a washable marker. After using a chain stitch to embroider the name onto the felt using two strands of embroidery floss, I tied off the end and started satin stitching again to see if I still liked it. 

Nope. Not this time. I pulled out the satin stitches and decided I actually liked the chain stitches better on their own. Which is nice for you, because if you're making one of these for your kiddo's shirt, the patch up to this point will take you less than an hour (mine took about 20 minutes, but I was highly motivated).

Again, I tried to rely on my sewing machine's zig-zag function to put a white border on the patch, but it was terrible so I cut it off, then backed the blue with a slightly larger oval of white un-stiffened felt and stitched it in place with a line of white stitches. Bam. Done. 

Ooh! Let's take a minute to talk about the shirt, while we're at it! If you happen to have a short-sleeved light blue oxford laying around, you're golden. You can just stick your patch on there and you're done. 

After much searching, I found a shirt that almost fit the bill at a thrift store for $2 . . . except that it had long sleeves. But that's an easy fix.

I laid a short sleeve shirt on top to trace the angle of the sleeves, then hemmed them on the machine.

It didn't take long at all.

I don't use this Heat n' Bond stuff for a lot of things, but I have previously used it for the Legend of Zelda patches for the kiddo's second birthday party, and I use it to attach the vinyl ends of my measuring tape growth charts.

Just follow package directions to attach the adhesive to the back of the patch using an iron (remember: POLYESTER SETTING ONLY), then peel the paper and iron it onto your shirt (I found that ironing from the back works best for this step, so work from the inside of your shirt).

And here is is, after the patch was ironed onto the freshly ironed shirt, looking totally legit, especially when paired up with the cap. I took this last photo outdoors, so the actual colors of everything come through.

You folks out there with embroidery machines might giggle a little at how much effort went into this little piece of the costume; trust me, I'm right there with you. I used to work as a machine embroidery operator, so I know that it would take maybe ten minutes to program the "design" and stitch this up on a machine.

I'm kind of glad, really, that I get to show how those of us currently without expensive equipment (embroidery machines, Silhouette cutters, sergers) can still pull off projects with a limited budget. I had the Heat n' Bond and the white felt in my stash already and the blue Friendly Felt was leftover from the hat patch, so I've only invested $2.19 in this completed shirt (including the nineteen cents I paid at the thrift store for some white embroidery floss). That's pretty awesome, right?

Okay: you can check out my hat tutorial and hammer tutorial in previous posts. Still to come: the tool belt, the jeans, and the boots (hint: start hitting up thrift stores for the jeans and boots). If you're following along for Halloween 2013, no worries! I'll have addressed everything by the end of next week.

* Update: glove tutorial here, and tool belt, jeans, and boots post here.

Thanks for reading!

p.s. you can make these photos larger just by clicking on them, but you probably already knew that, clever you.

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