We interrupt this blog…

We interrupt this blog…

For a small rant. I keep seeing articles like this fluff piece from the New York Times about Etsy’s new policies and in particular  this one fraudulent seller who is getting a lot of attention for supposedly making a million dollars a year hand knitting legwarmers. I’m pretty sure most people reading this blog understand that importing sweatshop-made goods by the shipping container and slapping a button on them isn’t really handmade, and why that’s a large problem when Etsy sellers who really do responsibly make their own goods are forced to compete with this sort of unscrupulousness.

However, one thing I keep seeing pop up as justification in almost every single one of these arguments is the whole “well you can’t really call YOUR legwarmers handmade either because you bought that yarn”. From the NYT article:

Nicole Burisch, a fellow with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and an expert on crafts, said separating the handmade from the manufactured would always be tricky. After all, she said, how handmade is a hand-knit sweater or clay pot?

Most of the goods for sale on Etsy were never strictly handmade, she said — “that is, unless you are digging your own clay, weaving your own cloth, raising your own sheep.”

Excuse me here, but seriously, what a load of utter and complete garbage.

I am so tired of these false arguments. Are you any less of a painter if you don’t grind your own pigment or weave your own canvas?

No, and no one would even begin to question it.

What people expect when they buy a painting from an artist is that the artist picked up a paintbrush and created that image themselves. Not that they imported 1000 screen prints from AliExpress, slapped a little gel medium on top and signed their name. When someone buys a pair of “handmade” leg warmers, they expect similar, which is that the seller picked up her needles and ball of yarn and turned them into the piece for sale. No one really expects that the knitter is raising their own sheep any more than they expect the painter to be pulverizing ore or pressing their own linseeds. 

So let’s just nip this false argument in the bud, shall we? I think we are all a little smarter than that.

Aphrodite Cosplay for SMITE

Aphrodite Cosplay for SMITE

I’m guilty, like a lot of people I know, of letting the ease of Facebook kill my daily blogging. My apologies to everyone (including myself) for that, and here’s to trying to write real entries again that are more than a couple of sentences!

First, to catch up on some projects I really enjoyed. I’ve made two costumes in the last year for the same video game character, Aphrodite from the SMITE series. This is the first one, based on the original character skin. The model is Angie Starr. This was a super fun project to work on, and this spring Angie and I re-visited the character based on a new Legendary skin for the SMITE championship tournament. I’ll post those photos tomorrow.

Aphrodite v 1.0

Aphrodite v 1.0

Aphrodite v 1.0

Aphrodite v 1.0

Aphrodite v 1.0

Aphrodite v 1.0

Angie_Starr_Smite01

Aphrodite v 1.0

Aphrodite v 1.0

Aphrodite v 1.0

Aphrodite v 1.0

HomeMade Bias Tape

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Bias tape is simply folded fabric strips cut on the “bias”, which means diagonally to the grain of the fabric. This allows the fabric strips to bend and stretch effortlessly around curved seams and edges, making it a great way to finish garments or other sewing projects. It’s inexpensive to buy, however the color and fabric choices can be pretty limited.
Making your own bias tape for your sewing projects not only means you know it will match perfectly, but it also helps use up your leftover fabric which means it’s practically free. It is also much easier than you might think, and you don’t need one of those fancy electric machines to do it. Are you ready to learn how? Here’s what you’re going to need:

Fabric
Ruler
Straightedge
Scissors or rotary cutter
Iron
Sewing Machine
seam ripper or very long pin
tape folder

First, iron your fabric and then lay it out on a large flat surface. Line the selvage edge up with the edge of your table or cutting mat.

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If your mat has bias markings on it, and you can see thru your fabric, all you need to do is cut along those diagonal lines, making strips about an inch and a half wide. (for wider tape, cut strips about 2.5 inches)
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If you aren’t using a mat or you have opaque fabric, take the cut side and bring it across to the selvage side, making a triangle. Iron the fold, then open the fabric back flat. This fold mark will serve as your bias line, and you will cut your strips parallel with it.

Cut your strips. (a quilter’s square and rotary cutter make quick work of this part!)
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Line up the ends of your strips, with right sides together, so they form a right angle. Stitch a very narrow seam along the outside edge.

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Straighten the fabric and iron down the seam. Make sure you iron all your seams in the same direction as you go down the length of your tape. This will be important later.
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Feed one end of your tape into the backside of the tape folder, and use a seam ripper or long pin to feed the fabric thru the slot until it begins to come out the other end. Make sure all your ironed seams are facing away from the end you start through the folder so they don’t get caught up in it.
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As the fabric starts to pop out the front of the folder, have your iron ready. Use the hottest setting you can with steam, to make sure that your new folds stay put.
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voila! bias tape in any fabric you need, and fewer fabric scraps for the bin.
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Now just fold it around the edges of your project and stitch. Perfect, finished edges are yours in no time.
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this post was originally written for the EcoEtsy team blog. you can check it out as well as the rest of their 14 days of crafting series right here