Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Octopus cat toy and failure

Okay, you are now wondering how this cute little thing has the word "failure" in the title.  Well, as a sewing project, this little guy is quite cute.  But this post is more about the creative process, and working with electronics, and learning from failure.   The original plan for this little guy was it would be a cat toy that would jiggle and wiggling ribbons would attract the cat.  So I bought a small vibrating motor and a battery pack and set to work.
The snaps are the switch, attached to conductive thread that goes up through the tentacles.
This is the first configuration, with the vibrating motor and the battery pack in place.  But two things happened here.  One, I learned that when the motor spins inside a stuffed creation--poly fibers wind up on the motor.  The other thing was it is easy to break something this small. 
This is how the motor compares to an eXacto knife blade.  The wires are very short.  I think when I was working with this and trying to strip an end of the wire to have enough exposed wire to work with, I pulled too hard and broke the wire inside the motor.  Once I got it installed in the toy--it would only work if I held the motor at a certain angle.  That was frustrating and I put the project away for a while. 
So I bought a "bigger" motor with longer leads.  This one needed 3-volts to operate, so I had to get a different battery pack as well.  
I used the straw to create a casing to protect the motor from the polyfil stuffing.
So here is the new set up wired into the octopus.  

But, when I put it all together and snapped the tentacles together, it didn't do anything except buzz.  
It did however briefly attract the intended audience... 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Upcycled Bias Pants

I had acquired some fabric from Fabmo, (a wonderful resource for creative people in the San Francisco Bay area) But I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with it with that lovely pattern change (which is on one selvage side going with the grain.)
Sometimes when I'm at the library I leaf through the current edition of Threads magazine, and this time I saw and article for bias pants which was intriguing but looked kind of complicated.  You had to do some math (uh oh math!) to create a rectangle, and then sew it into a canoe shape, and then shift the corners--I stopped reading.
But a few weeks later, I remembered this fabric I had, and thought, oh those bias pants might be very interesting out of this fabric.  So I went back to the library and copied the article.  I made a trial tube from some old fabric, just to try it out, and learned that I needed to adjust some things--but I got the concept.  Basically is creates a spiral from the original rectangle.
Here are the finished pants.

And me wearing them.