Category: Work in progress

The troublesome thing about Tribbles

Is that Tribbles are troublesome things.

We returned from Austin late Monday night (about 2 hours later than expected, as we sat in the plane at SFO for more than an hour waiting for “the cockpit crew” who were delayed by delays on a flight from Dulles). Anyway, back home and I was ready to do some sewing. I had a project lined up that would fit well with the Itty Bitty Bits January Stashbusting Challenge: Tribbles.

A local group, Atomic Arts has, for the last four years, put on a performance of an original Star Trek episode in a park here in Portland every weekend in August. For free. With costumes, foley/sound, and everything. We went to one, Amok Time, but didn’t know how popular it was, so we were waaaaaaaay far away. We could either see it or hear it. As I hadn’t seen the original episode, it didn’t make much sense to me. I’m much more of a TNG girl (or, rather, I’m much more of a Sir Patrick Stewart “make it so” and have a cup of Earl Grey tea sort of girl). In any case, my hubby sent me a link early this month to Atomic Art’s page. This will be their last year of their 5 year mission and they are putting on “The Trouble with Tribbles,” which I will admit is my favorite of the original episodes. (Probably because I can’t resist anything small, cute, and fluffy. Especially en masse.) Since lots of Tribbles would be needed, they put out a call for local sewists to help make them. Yay!

The best part is that it would allow me to use of all of those itsy bitsy teeniny little scraps from projects that I usually throw away (and feel guilty when doing so). As I didn’t have any fake fur lying around (do people, usually?), I did buy a remnant from Fabric Depot (on clearance, with an extra 35% off, meaning it cost a couple of dollars). Score! It wasn’t quite silky, long fur, rather fluffy, grey fur. Still, I couldn’t stop petting it in the store. Where I also noticed that bits of the fur were very much attracted to my corduroy Ginger skirt. A sign of things to come, which I absolutely did not see as I was too excited about making fluffy, soft Tribbles.

Back home and I printed out the pattern that Atomic Arts had supplied. I flipped the remnant over and traced in permanent marker over the entire surface (bits of fluff escaping all the while), then began cutting.

Now, the pattern says that a sharp blade is best for cutting, but I’m unskilled when it comes to my rotary blade. I cut a couple with the rotary blade, then decided I could work much more quickly with my trusty scissors. Off I went.

With a stack of Tribble pelts beside me and more and more bits of Tribble fur floating around the wood floor and sticking to the guest bed duvet (the guest bed serves as my cutting table), I wondered the best means to assemble the pelts. I didn’t have fabric glue, so to the sewing machine I went. I threaded up my Singer, then wondered what sort of needle one uses for Tribble fur. Hmmm, let’s stick with an 80/12, as it’s not that thick. I did a test run and it worked quite well. On pelt number two, the fur built up around the thread and caused the thread to snap. And trying to maneuver the fur through was a PAIN. I increased tension, I reduced tension, nothing seemed to make the task easy. Then I thought, “The serger.” Yes, I should have started there. Quick and relatively easy (I did have to re-run some seams, as the fur shifts like crazy as I maneuver the curves through the machine), I had a completed stack of Tribble pelts, ready to be stuffed.

I turned them right side out, stuffed one with fur scraps, and simply sewed the seam straight across on the outside. (No way was I about to hand sew so many seams.)

One tribble down, a pile to go! I stuffed about 8 more with scraps from the last month of sewing. In the photo below, the stuffed ones are the ones in the plastic bin in the center, awaiting their final seam. (They are quite difficult to contain, much like the original show warned.) Unfinished pelts on the left, and first finished Tribble on the right.


So, several Tribbles down, more to come as I finish projects and have more scraps to stuff them with. They definitely are troublesome for their size. But, oh so cute!

Back in the sewing of things

Settling back into life here, feeling like I was never away for 7 weeks.  Getting things done around the house and yard.  Doing a little baking, to recreate some Earl Grey scones I had in Japan.

And getting some sewing lined up to do.

I’ve got four projects that I want to work on right away; some of them I’ve been waiting to work on for more than a year.  This time I decided to production line the prep work, so I can just pull a project and sew when I have time.  I’ve got the patterns all traced and cut, and all but one of projects cut; I plan to do that tomorrow.  I’ve also assembled all notions ahead of time (how novel!), so I’ll be ready to go.

For me, sewing is a creative release.  Not because I create my own designs, but because, like baking and cooking, I can take raw materials and transform them into something else.  Hopefully something that fits, but that’s part of the process.  All four projects are muslins, hopefully wearable ones; I’m testing the patterns for my body to see what needs tweaking and adjusting before getting into my good stash of fabrics.

From Left:

Colette Patterns’ Taffy blouse in a dark brown printed chiffon I picked up at Tomato in Japan in 2008.

Colette Pattern’s Clover capri pants in a bargin bin stretch denim.

Sewaholic’s Cambie dress in a blue floral I picked up about five years ago.  Not sure why I bought that fabric, since I’m definitely not a floral gal.

Kwik Sew 2684 (now out of print) in a teal rayon I snagged from the bargin bin.  If this pattern works and looks good, I hope to transform my oil refinery border print into a longer version of this.