Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I have perfected the slowest pattern making practices in the world...

 

So since my fabric shop has closed, I've been slowwwwwwly but surely working on purse patterns.  Yes, it's true...I have managed to perfect the slowest pattern making practices in the world.  
If I'm being completely honest, one of the main reasons for this is that there has been a part of me that has held back because of finding it difficult to part with my designs.  There is something a little scary about opening up that creative part of yourself to the world.   I have a wonky way of making & creating things and for the longest time I didn't know if the way that I make things would translate to others...

But I had a very enlightening conversation recently with one of my closest friends Dawn, who is also a creative mind and she broke through to me.  I had been moving along at a snails pace creating templates and writing out instructions for a couple of patterns when in addition to talking me through holding onto my designs for the reasons stated above, she also made me realize I was stuck full force in a "creative rut" (which I think every creative person has experienced at some point).  Right around that time, my friends at Camelot Fabrics asked me to do a project and along came the Soft Shell Tablet Case Free Tutorial.  It was definitely the kick start that I needed.

I had been working on a specific purse pattern for MONTHS that on paper, looked like the first one I should release.  But, I just wasn't connected to it (for lack of a better phrase).  
I wasn't "feeling" the design and I'm now understand that this lack of connection and forcing myself to work on it is what put me into the "rut".  Then it seems all the creative stars lined up in my favor when Camelot Fabrics asked me to make one of my Meera Bags for their Booth at Quilt Market...I did...and here she is...
Maybe it was the fabric (which is so rich in color and I was loving it), maybe it was the creative stars lining up, maybe it was just dumb luck....but making this bag made me realize not only how much I adore this purse, but how versatile it can be, simple it was to make and and fun it was design-wise.  It has brought me so much joy and that got me to thinking about how much of that I could spread to others.
And voila!.....creative SPARK reignited!  So ever since Quilt Market, I've been on a roll.

Once my "Hypernoodle" was lit up, I couldn't stop... I knew this Meera Bag was going to be the pattern I would start with.  I've made several different models of it over time and I envisioned a new version of it in more solid colors...with leather straps... so this is what I made after Quilt Market:
For some reason lately, I cannot have a purse that doesn't have a set of hand straps.  I love my shoulder strap, but I've GOT to have my hand straps too.  This purse turned out so wonderfully and I am so very pleased with the results!  Here are some more views...
Sometimes the best purses don't have all the bells and whistles, they are clean, simple and understated and THAT is the thing that makes them stand out.  Being able to focus on the details, stitching and the overall look can put your attention into making a great looking bag!
I adore how roomy this purse is inside!  It's big enough to carry a couple of diapers in but small enough to still be a proper purse...btw, please pay no heed to our dying grass...(LOL)
And yes...I'm still loving my new camera!  Doesn't it take the most fab pictures???

Well in the midst of finishing up this bag....my HYPERNOODLE had another purse design just randomly *POP* into my head. 

Could. not. get. the.image... out of my brain ---for the life of me.  

So I sat down and sketched it out...created measurements, a template and then made a quick prototype...I couldn't help myself...I just HAD to make a full out version...annnnnnd this is it:


Don't have a name for it yet, it's too new...lol.
I'm completely obsessed with any fabric right now that has a "heathered" look to it and though this fabric was absolutely perfect for this purse.  I'm also obsessed with white thread top-stitching at the moment...can you tell?  Gotta love my Aurifil thread for that!  It makes the most BEEE-YOU-TI-FUL top-stitching ever!

I've been carrying this purse around for the last few days and have gotten so many compliments on it, I've actually had several people ask me where I "got it from"/"where did you buy that?" which made me feel so utterly flattered :)
More views...


Again, two different ways to carry--hand straps and shoulder straps... 
this shoulder strap is adjustable too.


The inside lining is made with some fabulous "Ta Dots" fabric and has a zippered pocket and a 3 section slip pocket...




The back also has a zippered pocket and some subtle hardware.  Does anybody recognize what the hand straps' hardware actually is?

I think it's safe to say that I am out of my creative rut....hooray to the creative minds!

So I've scrapped the patterns I was working on that put me into the rut and have refocused my attention and energies on ones that keep my Hypernoodle running strong. 
LESSON LEARNED: Always be true to yourself...It reminds me of what the designers on Project Runway are always talking about when they say they've got to be "true to their aesthetic"...

That being said, I'm moving forward...I've got the Meera bag pattern coming your way after the Holidays... the pattern pieces are digitized, the instructions are all written and they just need some proofing.  Along with the Meera bag, I've got some other new designs and previous Hypernoodle designs already in the digitizing phase~  Woo-Hoo!!  

In the meanwhile-- to continue to perfect the instructions for the patterns, I'm making a handful of each of the above designs to put into my Etsy shop for the holidays.  Nothing helps you break down all the oddities of pattern instructions more than making a bag over and over again...I can't keep them all for myself so I'll put them up in my Etsy shop when they're all done!

So would you like to see this "heathered" purse above as a pattern too?  Let me know!  
It really needs a name, doesn't it?

Happy Sewing!
Hypernoodle




Thursday, November 6, 2014

Free Shoft Shell Tablet Case Tutorial!

 
 
Surprise!
Here's one of the (what seems like a gazillion) projects I was working on while I was M.I.A from my blog....
A super easy, super cute (and *FREE*  Yippeee!) Soft Shell Tablet Case Tutorial that I designed for Camelot Fabrics "How To's" series.

I made this tutorial with the beginning sewer in mind.  It's sooooo super easy and NO TURNING inside out!  Simple mitered corners make your tablet case stress free with two padded soft shell sides stitched together...and did I mention easy???  All you need is your fabric, thread, some foam interfacing, woven interfacing, a square of fusible fleece, a kam snap and of course your sewing machine.  
Click through to Camelot Fabrics Blog for the full FREE tutorial.  
This Tablet Case will look great in any fabric you choose!  I made another one with Camelot Fabrics "Nightfall" line...here's a peek at it in their Quilt Market booth:

You can whip one of these babies up in no time...they would make great Holiday gifts!
Let me know if you make one and feel free to share pics!  You can also send your pics to Camelot Fabrics of your completed Tablet Case at:  info@camelotfabrics.com
Camelot would love to see your Tablet Cases!

Happy Sewing!

♥ Hypernoodle

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Facebook Friday Sewing Meme Funnies to Pin!

 
Hi everybody!  Yes....I know, I have been slacking...severely...
In the midst of (yet another) move, summer vacation and a new job, the old bloggy-blog here has not gotten much attention!  :(
The good news is #1) I have not forgotten about the patterns!  Behind the scenes, I have been hard at work on getting together several purse patterns and also creating and making prototypes of new designs!  I'll have a more detailed post about this verrrry soon!

And #2) I have been keeping up with the Friday Funnies on my Facebook page!  So many of you have expressed your love for them ~ I'm so glad you enjoy them!

I've had quite a few people mention that it is difficult to Pin them to Pinterest from Facebook so I decided to periodically post a few at a time here on my blog so you can Pin your hearts out!  I'll also be posting them all to my Pinterest page in the near future so your can also pin them directly on site.  Here are the first few... Enjoy!




Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dot Scrap Bundles and Fat Quarters!

 
Finally back from Summer Vacay/decompress mode! Yay!
I went back home to Colorado to visit family (which is always a treat!) & now it's back to real life and my "Crafty World".
I did the Scrap and FQ Bundles on FB before I left on vacay and got quite a few requests on more DOT bundles in the interim. Soooooooo...I'm offering more DOT bundles to anyone who is interested.  
•The FQ DOT BUNDLES are $34.00 plus $5.50 shipping to a US Address.  FQ DOT BUNDLES will contain 20 (Twenty) different fat quarters of dot fabrics.  FQ size is 18" x 22"

•The SCRAP PAK DOT BUNDLES are also $34.00 plus $5.50 shipping to a US Address.   The SCRAP PAK DOT BUNDLES will contain 2 lbs of scrap pieces in various lengths.  All widths are 44/45".
(**Please note: if you are NOT in the US the shipping will be $24.00)
Here is an example pic of the bundles:
The bundles shown above are EXAMPLES only, you will not receive an exact replica of any of the bundles shown above.  
I will create a custom blend of dots for you and you will receive a fabulous mix of different ones.  This is a SUPER deal and a great way to build your DOT stash very economically!

If you'd like a bundle, please message me (you can comment below this post, email me or message me on Facebook)--be sure to let me know:
• If you'd like the DOT Fat Quarters Bundle or DOT Scrap Pak Bundle
•Your email address so that I can send you a Paypal invoice
If you request a bundle and an invoice is sent to you, the invoice must be paid within 24 hours or the invoice will be cancelled and the bundle will be released to the next person waiting.

Bundles are limited and it is a first come, first served basis...so if you'd like to purchase, be sure to request quickly!
Happy sewing!
 
♥Hypernoodle

Thursday, May 29, 2014

DSLR vs Point and Shoot Camera

 
I finally did it.
I have been actively avoiding getting a DSLR camera for the past 5 years for two reasons:

•the cost
•fear of the learning curve required to use it

My birthday is next week and the best gift I could ask for is the health, happiness and well being of my family and friends and all my extended Hypernoodle pals!  There was nothing else I really wanted and couldn't even think of anything when my husband asked me if I had a specific gift in mind...that is until channel surfing late one night... (side note: anyone who knows me knows of my late-night infomercial addiction!)

I stopped channel surfing dead in my tracks on QVC.  They were having a "Today's Special Value" on the new Canon EOS Rebel T5.  This is the newest entry level "DSLR for Dummies" model that included a standard 18-55mm lens AND a 75-300mm Zoom lens with free shipping!  Not only did it come with TWO lenses, it came with a camera strap, a carrying case, instructional DVD and Photoshop Elements.

I couldn't resist.  Ordered it on the spot.  Happy Birthday to me~ lol.  Why, you ask?
Because in my efforts to avoid getting a DSLR camera the past 5 years, I have purchased 3 point and shoot cameras that were marketed as "DSLR-like".  I am here to tell ya...they are NOT (DSLR-like).

Each one didn't do something like a real DSLR camera would so I tried to upgrade to a "better" point and shoot and just ended up spending MORE money with a different point and shoot.  I spent $175 on the first camera, $260 on the second camera and $225 on the 3rd camera.  Not to mention the iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy S4 cameras on the cell phones I've had in the last 5 years!  This is about $850.00 in cameras!!   Cameras that were "fine" but not DSLR cameras.  I got my new Canon EOS Rebel T5 for $549.00 with TWO lenses AND Photoshop Elements--so in the end, I wasted 5 years and about $300 bucks!  Ugh!  (side note: I don't think QVC has this package any longer at this price.  They do have a similar one that is comparable for about $40 more)

I've always been afraid of the lenses on DSLR cameras...using them, knowing what they're for, changing them, having to spend more $ to get the "right one"...you name it.  I liked the "automatic" functions of the point and shoot cameras and I thought upgrading to a point and shoot that had a "Manual" mode like a DSLR would provide me the same benefits...I was wrong.  

Now, point and shoots are great cameras.  They have taken on many advancements in the last few years--even the cameras that are on our smart phones nowadays are pretty advanced.  I got great results with my point and shoots after LOTS of editing.  That was the part that was killing me...hours and hours of editing.  

Taking pictures had become my LEAST favorite part of my shop and blogging process.  It is safe to say that I completely dreaded it.  Running around like a crazy woman waiting for a decently lit day with good natural light was tiring.  And even when I had good natural light, 
I still had to edit the crud out the the pictures to get rid of shadows, darkness, adjust the exposure and correct the coloring.  As much time as I spent editing, I think I got quite good at it.  I got quite a few compliments on my pictures, but they still "bugged" me.  Most were grainy and still not crisp.  Plus the TIME I spent editing them was ridiculous!  It was taking away from time I could have spent doing something else.

So let's see what the difference is, eh? As they say, the proof is in the pudding!

These pictures are SOOC--(which means Straight out of the Camera)  With absolutely NO editing whatsoever.  Both pictures were taken in Manual Mode  with the same f-stop, aperture and ISO settings with a diffuser behind the objects.  (Diffusers "tame" the direct sunlight coming in your window or from your light source so it won't be so harsh and cause shadows).  Take a look at the massive difference:
HELLLLLLOOOOOOOOOO!!  I mean, really?
Now...before you get too excited, I must let you know...
You can most likely take some exceptional "every day" type of pictures right out of the box with this Canon EOS Rebel T5.  It is an entry level model and designed to be super user friendly with the "auto" setting selected.
HOWEVER, The "auto" setting isn't going to cut it for these blog/product kinds of pictures though. 
It has taken me a full week and 1/2 of reading my Canon EOS manual, watching the instructional video numerous times and countless online tutorials/videos to know how to operate and use the functions on the Canon DSLR camera on the "Manual" setting (which is the setting I took these pictures in).  There was indeed a learning curve where I had to get to the point where I understood:

•f-stops
•aperture
•ISO
•shutter speed
•lens usage

Once you understand these things, your DSLR, in Manual Mode, will allow you to completely customize your settings based on the light you have available at the time you are taking pics.
The point and shoot I was using also has a "Manual Mode"--so I set it to the same settings as the Canon DSLR...doesn't seem the same does it?  I mean, this was the picture I got!  How can there be such a difference? #1 the LENS and #2 the SENSOR in each camera.  The difference in the image quality is astounding to me.

Here's another example:
Remember...these pics are straight out the camera with absolutely NO editing!

A few things to note:

•Yes, the Canon EOS Rebel T5 images are "bigger"--this is the fabulous lens.  I could have changed the lens setting to adjust the size, but I left it in the pre-set mode because the point and shoot lens in not adjustable and was in its standard (and only) setting.  Both pictures are taken from the EXACT same vantage point, seconds apart.

•Notice the diffuser I used behind my objects?  In the background of the Canon picture it is blurred--  This is on purpose.  The Manual Aperture mode I was allowed to set can bring the focus to the item in the foreground of the picture if you so choose-- and not to everything in the view of your lens.  In the point and shoot pic, you can see the diffuser...which is something I didn't want!  You can see the diffuser difference in the previous thread picture too!

•You would think looking at these pics that they were taken on different days because the point and shoot pic is SOOOOO dark!  But I promise you, they weren't!  The shutter speed that the Canon DSLR allows me to set lets more light into the lens when taking the picture!  Amaze-balls!

Here's yet another example:
Again, these pics are straight out the camera with NO editing.

Here, I also could have adjusted the Canon lens, but left it in the pre-setting to show you the image quality you get when no lens adjustments have been made.
Not only is the color quality of the Canon picture leaps and bounds above the point and shoot, the image is sharp and CRISP.  The light the DSLR allows into the lens also makes the picture more true in color right out of the gate without the darkness the point and shoot shows.

Both sets of pics from both cameras still need editing.  Major difference is: the editing from the Canon EOS Rebel T5 will be very minor.  The editing on the point and shoot pic will be massive!  I'll need considerably more time and effort to get the point and shoot images to a "presentable picture" status.  Sadly, even after the point and shoot pics are drastically edited, the image quality, color and crispness will still not be up to the standard of the DSLR pics!

If you're wondering, I did take the 1st pic in this post with my point and shoot camera (obviously couldn't take a pic of the Canon with the Canon - hee hee hee!) And yes, I had to edit the bejeezus out of it to get it to look like that and it still has shadows.  To be fair though, I didn't use the diffuser in that pic.  Nevertheless, it's still not crisp--there's quite a bit of "noise" in it!

thump...thump...thump...hear that?  That's the sound of me kicking myself for waiting so long to get a DSLR camera.

I still have a lot of learning to do, but if this is what I can do after a week of intense, hard-core learning, I'm encouraged and excited!  Bear with me through my continued learning process, I'll do my best to help you all learn some basics as they become more and more familiar to me!

Have you made the leap into a DSLR from a point and shoot?  What was your experience?  I'd love to hear from ya!

Happy Sewing (and picture taking!)
 Hypernoodle♥

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Starch alternatives...your fabric's BFF?

 
There is a great debate in the quilting/sewing world on whether or not to use starch or a starch alternative when pressing your fabrics...almost as great a debate on using steam or no steam with your iron.
We could spend countless hours debating all the different starch options and weighing the pros and cons!  My purpose is to give you my take on how to sew a better bag.

Let's narrow down the field right off the bat..."Regular" aerosol starches (the kind you find at your grocery store in the laundry section) are not options for me.  Besides the 'chemically' smell, they leave a nasty starch "dandruff" on your fabrics.  That crispy flaky, stuff is for the birds!
Some people like to make their own starch/sizing agent by using things such as corn starch and water or vodka and water.  I'm gonna be honest, I'm not a chemist!  And most attempts I've had had at making crafty ingredients from scratch have been a miserable failure (ask me about my homemade play dough!!)  So I'll let the experts stick to the mixing and combining of potions!
Actual starch in ironing agents has been said to attract bugs (yeeeuck!) so I prefer starch alternatives..I'm going to focus on 2 brands that I use:

Flatter by Soak
Mary Ellen's Best Press

Both of these brands come in various scents (if you prefer a scent).  I like the scent-free and scentless versions...my nose is SUPER sensitive and I can't tolerate heavy perfumes and artificial scents.  I personally don't want my fabrics to smell like a Misty Dew or a Citrus field...lol!

While neither of these brands has any noticeable chemical-like scent to them, the ingredients of the Mary Ellen's brand seems to be some sort of a mystery.  ???  Mary Ellen's does not list anywhere on the bottle or anywhere online the ingredients of their "Best Press".  Although I did find something online that says that Best Press is not carcinogenic, I STILL can't find an ingredients list!  I wonder what all the secrecy is about???
Flatter by Soak on the other hand, discloses and lists its ingredients on the bottle.  
Flatter's description says it is a mild formulation made from plant derived and renewable ingredients..YAY!  I'm not the chemical police, but our household is trying to be more "Green" and less chemical-y.

Now down to business!
Why do I use a starch alternative?  Simple...they give you a better "base" on your fabrics to build your bag with.  And not just bag projects...quilts, garments, pillows--whatever!
So yes, in my opinion, they are your fabric's BFF!  Your fabrics will be crisp, sleek and relieved of wrinkles, which you will notice, will make fabrics easier to work with, sew with and use in general.  
Fabrics can be "floppy" especially when they have a soft hand.  Sometimes piecing these "floppy" fabrics can be troublesome causing accuracy problems and/or stretched, distorted seams. (Boo!) These mishaps (and excess fraying) can be relieved by using a starch alternative before you cut out your pieces.  A starch alternative will stiffen up your fabric (don't worry, not cardboard stiff!) giving it a light "crispness".  For bags, this is ideal!  Once you add on woven interfacing to a starch alternative pressed fabric, you will be in wrinkle-free bliss!

The good news is that there isn't any major difference in these two brands as far as wrinkle removal.  Both remove wrinkles very well...but there IS a difference in how MUCH of each you'll have to use to get your fabric crisp and wrinkle free.  
Neither one will flake or give you that dreadfed starch dandruff.  However, there are some notable differences in other areas:
•You can use LESS of Flatter and get remarkable wrinkle results.
•Every once in a while, on certain fabrics, BEST PRESS may leave a slight stain.  I have not found FLATTER to leave any stains on any fabric--including denims, knits and dark fabrics.
I've had to discard several pieces of fabric that BEST PRESS has stained.  For some reason, it likes to leave (what looks like) water/grease stains on certain fabrics.  This doesn't happen on every fabric, it is sporadic (based on the content of the fabric I imagine) 
•Both are pricey!  The FLATTER is more expensive than the BEST PRESS by far.
•BEST PRESS is truly a sizing agent and will shrink your fabrics, much more than
 FLATTER.
In this pic, I had 4" squares that were sprayed and pressed.  The Flatter square had minimal shrinkage while the Best Press shrinkage was almost 1/8" in one corner.  This is why it is best to spray/press your fabrics BEFORE cutting out your pieces if you're using a starch alternative/sizing.
•The spray mist from FLATTER is fine and airy.  The spray mist from BEST PRESS is heavy and dense.
Here is a video example of the mist that comes out of 3 sprays of BEST PRESS
video
Here is a video example of the mist that comes out of 3 sprays of FLATTER
video
As you can see, the FLATTER spray is a light, fine mist.  This provides even distribution and allows you to control your sprays much better.  The spray from BEST PRESS was not evenly distributed.  It was actually a bit much, completely saturating the fabric.  
Note: The mist coming from the BEST PRESS could be remedied by using a different spray nozzle, but you will still need more sprays of the BEST PRESS to get the wrinkles out.

Here's an example on a different fabric--3" squares.  I scrunched the fabric up to give it more wrinkles.  Then I used 2 sprays on each fabric:

After pressing:
There are still wrinkles in the BEST PRESS square.  The tiny ones are hard to see, but there is quite a large one at the bottom (see arrow).  
Now considering that 2 sprays from the BEST PRESS nozzle uses quite a bit more product, you would think that it would win the wrinkle war, right? Wrong!  Ultimately, you will have to spray the Best Press piece again and re-iron.  With the Flatter piece...I'm done!
At the end of the day, I prefer the FLATTER because:
•They fully disclose the ingredients-there are no sulfates, parabens, SLS or SLES
•The light, airy, controllable mist
•No stains ever on any fabrics I've used it on
•Gets wrinkles out with less sprays
I just found out about Flatter in February and am completely in love.  I bought 3 bottles of Best Press last year at a super sale, so I still have some to use up.  I'll continue to use it because like I mentioned, it does get the wrinkles out.  But once it's gone, I'm switching 100% to Flatter for the reasons listed above.

The down-side... Flatter is not cheap :( 
An 8.4oz bottle will run around $12.00 USD, depending on where you buy it.  In comparison, a 16.9oz bottle of Best Press will run anywhere from $6.00 to $12.00 USD.  Keep in mind that although you get more of the Best Press, you use less of the Flatter overall for the same wrinkle removal results.
Flatter is made by SOAK, they are based in Canada, so if you are in Canada, it should be relatively easy to find locally!  If you are in the US or elsewhere, you can order directly from the SOAK website or use their store locator to see other online vendors and check if there is a quilt shop near you that carries it!  Soak Website
For all the non-starchers/sprayers, here is another comparison I did:

I took 3 pieces of solid fabric the same size



I then scrunched them up reeeeeaaal good--much more than your average wrinkled fabby

I used Flatter on one, a steam iron on another and no steam iron on the last:

See how much easier Flatter can make your pressing?  I pressed the Steam Iron and the No Steam Iron pieces alot longer than the Flatter piece--and the wrinkles are still extremely visable.
If you were working on a project and using Flatter, you would already be moving on to the next step.  No Flatter?  Yep, you'd STILL be pressing the same piece!
Now some may interject here and say "Hypernoodle, you could have sprayed with good old fashioned water and gotten the wrinkles out of the steam iron/no steam iron pieces!"....  True...to a certain degree.  Spraying with water will help remove the wrinkles better, but still not as efficiently or quickly as using Flatter.  Water also won't give your fabric that nice, crisp feel.  Using a starch alternative is like adding a light weight stabilizer.  It will give your fabric just the right touch of body.

The best way you can tell the difference is to try for yourself.  Ultimately, your preference will be your preference. 
Do a test of your own, get 3 pieces of fabric and on each piece use a different method:
1-Flatter
2-Water Spray and Steam
3-Water Spray and No Steam
I think you will find that the Flatter piece is smoother and has body (making it easier to piece with)

Let me know your results!

Happy Sewing!
Hypernoodle♥
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