About 260 strips of velcro, sewn onto grey fabric:
This shows about half the boxes:
Next round of velcro-on-Cartier-panels. This set is 330+ panels, so the new machine is pretty much broken in as far as sewing through glue.
I’ve been thinking about a name for the machine: perhaps a superhero, to go along with Jonah Hex, my serger. I considered The Flash, but I don’t think it would be readily clear that I’m referring to Wally, who dresses in red and wears a lightning bolt, rather than just something that is fast, without having to stop and explain to everyone:
Me: This sewing machine is called The Flash.
Other Person: Oh, because it’s fast.
Me: No, because it’s super.
Other Person: Oh, right.
I’m not sure that any other fast superhero has any clearer a name in regards to sewing machine nomenclature, so then I thought about naming it after the fact that it only does one thing, but it does it really well.
The Atom? But he’s also smart, and I don’t know how bright this machine is, after all. Elastic Man? That’s a big misleading.
The Green Lantern is definitely the one-trick pony of the Justice League; magic ring, and all he ever manages to imagine with it is a giant fist. I suppose he can also cut things when necessary, and that he can change his foot pressure.
If anyone confuses the name Green Lantern–
Other Person: Oh, like a decorative green lantern I would put in a yard or buy at Hobby Lobby in the perpetually half-off glass section?
–that’s their own fault, and I’m not explaining it. Though perhaps I should ask Larry what he thinks of the name before I christen it with a bottle of machine oil, as it is his sewing machine after all.
Wonder Woman is not amused. (Actually, this isn’t the Green Lantern I picture in my head, but I couldn’t find any handy shots of Jon Stewart making a fist, for some reason.)
Anyway, back to how Green Lantern handled the glue. Pretty well; the needle continues to not be particularly gummy. The bobbin case is only marginally sticky and it catches a very moderate amount of fuzz. The thread has a periodic tendency to break, and there seems to be some sort of intermittent issue with the tension, but complaining about that after getting 250 strips of sticky-back velcro into this project is pretty much complaining that my sewing machine isn’t magical.
And now I’ve created this horrible meme that will live forever on the internet.
Usually for these panels, I just stitch on the velcro, then someone else glues the fabric to the backing. This taffeta fabric chosen to decorate for the Chinese New Year was too thin and the glue left visible dark spots. So instead of wrapping the fabric around the styrene, we made the panels like bags with the styrene as an insert.
I laid the styrene panel on top of the fabric and traced around it, then stitched on the outside of the line with the fabulous new Speed Janome. (I need to come up with a better name for it–and don’t say it already has one. I don’t tell you to name your kids Tiny Human Jones; don’t tell me to call my sewing machine P1200.)
Snip the corners, turn it right side out, and poke the corners out with this corner-poking tool:
Press the pouch. Before:
Eek, I ironed off the velcro! No, it’s on the other side. I had you for a minute there, didn’t I.
Don’t worry; I’m not going to justify that “question” with a question mark.
Double-sided tape to hold the velcro in place and pull the back fabric taut:
I cut the raw edges fairly close, then folded them inside and pinned:
Larry made an extended table for the sewing machine, which was necessary for sewing something this stiff that had to be kept flat.
Here is a shot of it being slightly more visible:
I broke into the Chinese New Year panels for some emergency velcro-sewing on some regular panels. There is a gap between the back of the sewing machine bed and the extension because the base didn’t take into account the width of the knee foot-raising lever.
Which I also had a hard time remembering to take into account. The first several panels, I snipped the threads with a physical scissors instead of the auto-snip scissors button. Since I associate my hand (upper body) with raising the presser foot and my foot (lower body) with making the machine run, trying to associate my knee (lower body) with raising the foot kept messing up my internal autopilot; I kept mixing up making the machine go with the knee-raiser and pushing the pedal with raising the presser foot. Other times, I would raise the foot by hand and by knee at the same time or confuse the fact that the knee raises the foot temporarily while the hand lever raises it until you manually lower it.
We needed a couple dozen velcro strips, which wouldn’t truly test the new machine’s ability to handle the X-treme glue (no sic), but it could start to give an idea, as well as mentally prepare Speedy for his real full-time job that does not include hours of sewing on luxurious taffeta.
Here is what the glue looks like collected on the needle:
That’s the accumulation from just one strip.
So far it does not seem to be getting down into the bobbin case or sticking to the bottom of the presser foot. Or getting into the feed dogs or lining the bottom of the needle plate.
These needles don’t really have much of an indent running down the shank, so the glue doesn’t build up in there. The side-loading needle so far seems to handle the glue and keep the thread away from it better than the usual front-loading needle.
One sort of problem I’ve noticed with this machine is its ability to corner:
And again, to show that this is not an isolated incident:
Though in this one, you can see where it’s trying.
Coming up slowly on the corners–and of course coming to a complete stop, raising the presser foot, then turning the fabric–does not seem to have any effect on its tendency to Tokyo drift.
Anyway, back to the New Year panels:
Because the process involves so many steps, and because doing all of one step before moving on to do all of the next step takes less time than cycling through all steps for one or for a small group, I tried to production-line as many stores at once as I could. They’re all divided up by very specific quantities and sizes–down to a half-inch difference between the panels for one store or another. So here is the mess of multiple stages going on and being kept carefully separate.
The project: 72 strips of velcro for Chinese New Year window display panels for Cartier
Those are the finished boxes in the background:
The fabric this go-round is fancy taffeta, which feels lovely, and would make a great dress, but its high-wrinkle tendency adds to the difficulty of using it for window displays. It also doesn’t work well with spray glue and makes the whole process especially hard for pretty much everyone involved. Except for me!
Boxes of velcro-sewn panels ready to be glued, with test-glued mini-panels sitting next to them:
It’s that time of year again! Velcro strips! There is a long, multi-person, multi-step process to creating and assembling the deceptively simple-looking panels that adorn Cartier store windows and interiors. Part of that is stitching sticky-back velcro onto rectangles of fabric.
My part of the process is longer than would be obvious due to periodically having to stop and rub alcohol on my needle. With needles that have a groove on the back and not just the front, this has to be done every couple panels, and quite a bit of glue can/has to be scraped off with a fingernail twice per panel. I found a brand of needle with no groove on the back, which stores significantly less glue, but all that glue has to go somewhere. And that is into the machine and along the bottom of the presser foot. So I need to pull apart my machine and scrape all the glue and sticky lint out at least once and probably twice whenever there’s a complete panel-changeout for all stores.
All those thin boxes stacked in the back left are different stores (though some large stores have two boxes).
This is about half the stores we do, done ones on the right, to-do on the left, under the cat:
Several hours later: