Tag Archives: sewing

77: Fabric

Well, with all the laser cutting of paper templates, buttons and fussy cutters lately, you knew we had to get around to laser cutting fabric eventually.  And it went smashingly.

EPP in the making
EPP in the making
Pile o' Diamonds, which took less than 2 minutes to cut.
Pile o’ Diamonds, which took less than 2 minutes to cut.

Because I don’t have a sewing machine, I decided to make 1″ EPP diamonds.  I can sew these by hand, and I need them for a gift I’m working on.  Rebecca of Hugs are Fun, a much more experienced sewer with a machine, sent along a pattern for a coffee cozy designed by Skip to My Lou.

Cozy in the laser
Cozy in the laser
17 second cut
17 second cut, for both

If you thought cutting paper was nice, cutting fabric is even easier!  Cutting fabric made me remember how amazing this machine from the future really is.  We cut 2 large side panels for a purse (which Rebecca is still working on) in 17 seconds.  Sixty 1″diamonds with .375″ outline took less than 2 minutes.  And the results were perfect.  If you’ve ever cut fabric with a scissors, you understand the awe.  Even rotary cutters, which speeds up cutting tremendously, don’t compare.

Because I seem to work better in lists, here’s what I learned fabric cutting:

– Like paper, cuts are quick and low power.

– The burn of the laser finishes the edges crisply.  No fuzzies, no immediate fraying.

Look at those edges!
Look at those edges!

– There is less worry about it moving around.  The gentle suck of our honeycomb downdraft table was enough to keep the fabric firmly in place.  The pull was strong enough to hold 4 layers of cotton fabric in place to cut at the same time.

These burn / cuts are unintended.
These burn / cuts are unintended.

– I did have a fabric fly up when working with a tall piece (cutting vertically on the bed) vs wide piece (horizontally).  The exhaust goes bottom to top, so it may have been more susceptible to the breeze.  We lessened this by half closing the exhaust gate.

– There was zero difference in sewing up laser cut fabric vs. hand cut.  Except everything lined up perfectly because the lines were perfect.

My diamonds in a partially finished project:

super secret project :)
super secret project 🙂

Rebecca’s perfectly finished coffee cozy, using the anchor button from Week 71!

So cute!
So cute!

Fabric again (2 of 2)

71: Buttons!

Okay, this one has been on the list forever, and it was so easy it almost feels like a cop out. But the results are pretty adorable!

I am in love this this new anchor design etched into bamboo!
I am in love this this new anchor design etched into bamboo!  The buttons are 3/4″ or 30L.

Buttons have a history stretching back at least 5,000 years, and are as often decorative as functional. They can be made of nearly anything – wood, plastic, shell, leather or even metal. There are several ways of attaching buttons – the sew through method is the most popular, followed closely by shanked buttons (or buttons with the loop on the back.)

Sew through buttons are also called flat buttons, and are easily replicated with a laser cutter. So, to make this post, I basically had to pick my favorite designs, and decide where the holes would go! I found that in designing I preferred the 2 hole look, while Ryan had the four hole mindset. In doing a little research, apparently 4 hole buttons are used more regularly on menswear. I had no idea! Perhaps it’s assumed men are a bit more rough on their clothing and need a stronger button attachment.

Starman! Super Mario Brothers 3, for those who are curious and love Ryan's level of authenticity.
Starman! Super Mario Brothers 3, for those who are curious and love Ryan’s / Pixelaser’s level of authenticity.
The 4 hole set up is perfect for the Starman.  The threads make his eyes!
The 4 hole set up is perfect for the Starman. The threads make his eyes!

Buttons have a whole different measurement system, as any serious sewer or button collector would tell you.  Buttons are measured in “lignes“.  I decided to make my buttons medium sized, between 3/4″ and 1 1/4”, or 30-50L (lignes).  The holes are 2mm, which just seemed to fit rationally with the button surface area.

Glue on shanks are available in metal or plastic - I got mine from Rio Grande.
Glue on shanks are available in metal or plastic – I got mine from Rio Grande.

I’ve been wanting to try making buttons for years, so I had a package of glue on shanks ready for the occasion!  Find a strong enough glue, and virtually anything can be a button!  I recently made a vintage camper design for a swap, and it makes a perfect button.  Putting holes into it to make it a sew-through button would just mar the design.

Cute camper on the front, button shank on the back.
Cute camper on the front, button shank on the back.

Overall, I’m tickled with how they turned out.  My favorite are definitely the anchors (a new jewelry design) followed closely by the Moroccan inspired set and the Starmen.  Now I just need to learn to sew so I can have something to put them on!  Any of the Isette or Beadeux designs you’d like to see at buttons?


Buttons (12 of 13)

Holed vs. Shanked
Holed vs. Shanked