; thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a good point
. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s put a bit of reality and encouragement to itÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Anyone with a couple of hours of training on a sewing machine can to this mod. For that matter I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t used a sewing machine in 25 years. I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say that I am an expert at it either; call me butterfingers. Although I admit my exposure to sewing is a bit unusual
<Storytime mode=ON>Once upon a time
when I was but a smaller and younger lad my Mother bought a new Singer sewing machine from Sears; IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m fairly certain it was between my 7 & 8th grades. When the new machine arrived, it came with 2-weeks free of sewing lessons. My Mom didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need it, but I was really intrigued, especially with her skills; the woman could impressively sew all sorts of stuff! So I asked if I could go in her stead and this was agreeable to both parties.
It proved to be an advantageous arraignment for several reasons Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the first chiefly being that the instructor was a drop-dead beautiful blonde bombshell
; who cares if she had 5 or 8 years on me!
OK, ok Ã¢â‚¬â€œ OTÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ apologies. As for the rest of the reasons, well IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d learn how to stitch up my own machinations Ã¢â‚¬â€œ which were vast. Surprisingly I was the only guy in class, or perhaps better stated as the only <ahem
> rooster in the hen house: I got over it
First item I made was a stretchy shirt
, cut from a pattern sold at, and with material bought from Sears
. I wore that shirt once to school, and then promptly gifted it to charity.
Next I crafted a bedspread
which had all the old ladies clucking away at the magnitude of the challenge. That gorgeous blonde teacher gulped at my ambition but agreed to let me have a go at it; bulky and perhaps a bit large for the machine though it was. However it came out well enough and I made use of it for many years. There was time enough left for a third and final project Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and I decided upon a large bean-bag chair
: very heavy gauge vinyl, beyond the capability of the machine, - and I am certain the instigator for change in the way the 2-week tutorials would be governed from that day forward.
The hens of the class cackled nervously instead of clucked, and wellÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I broke several needles driving the material through. But I gotÃ¢â‚¬â„¢er done, filled it with beads, and it worked! DidnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fit in the car though. A few weeks later the stitching started coming apart; thread wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t suited for the strain and I should have made an inner liner. Beads began to flowÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Soon it was an outdoor piece of furnitureÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and then it was tossed.
Most of the sewing experience after that came from patching my levis (in a time when patched levies were cool), and some backpack repair; rugged stuff, nothing fancy.
Years later at the toy company I became involved with the softer aspects of product design. One toy in particular that was all mine from cradle-to-grave was Ã¢â‚¬Å“Little BoppersÃ¢â‚¬Â. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a vid of the commercial:
The prototype was presented to us and my job was to take it into production and craft various models. A pattern-maker, nice lady who obviously loved her job, came up with the skinning and outfits for all the units, and sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d hand over her traces to me for formalization: material callouts, grain direction, hem-width, stitching types, pleating, synthetic hair and fur, Velcro, buttons, zippers, on and onÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I think my previous experiences as a dorky kid in that sewing class really paid off.
Since weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re drifting OT, let me conclude with a bit more entertaining drift. At the end of the video there is a reference to the Monster Boppers
; that was my idea which came very late in production, and hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the story:Imagine
, I am surrounded for a year by cutesy smiling little dollies Ã¢â„¢Â¥
in various stages of completion. I mean I had other roles and responsibilities other than LazerTag
, such as Cost-Reduction on Teddy Ruxpin
, lead-supporting designer on Julie
Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ the first doll with artificial intelligence (voice recognition and other environmental sensors), Baby Muppets
(product cancelled due to excessive bandwidth radiation), the GI Joe LazerTag
pistol, and a host of other R&D endeavors. My cubical is in an open-bay; I inhabit a whole corner, and there is lots of interactivity and go-between with co-workers much like an extended family with both stress & fun, and inter-office games & politics. As we approach Ã¢â‚¬Å“Toy-FairÃ¢â‚¬Â (THE BIG EVENT
of the year for any toy company held in NYC naturally) the stress levels and hours on the job climb stratospherically. Something has to give to release that pent-up angstÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Shudder
: IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m staring at these @#$% dolls staring back at me during some momentary frustration about who knows gawd-what, Ã¢â‚¬Â¦and I decide IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had enough of the Pamela
-doll! Grabbing the scissors, I punk her hair into a Mohawk, paint the hair florescent green, change her make-up to Goth with a heavy black marker, rip her purple doily daisy-shirt off so itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just the plain turtleneck undershirt dangling just above the knees, paint her hands with dabs of red marker, and hung paperclip-chains around her. There Ã¢â‚¬â€œ thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s better hehe, hehehe
A buddy of mine seeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s my creation and laughingly loses it; he goes and punks out his dolls too; viral - it becomes a fad.
Inspired I take the Little Bopper
skeleton, rip the punked-Pamala
head and hands off and mush it onto the skeleton along with her undershirt. Grabbed some modeling putty, made a knarly forked tongue, and stuck it in her mouth, paperclip chains dangling from the arms, hard-wired the toy to ALWAYS BE ON
and set it loose in the open bay: Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is alive! ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ALIVE!!
Ã¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and the first ugly monstor-bopper
was born! (Perspective: The movie Gremlins
had been out maybe a year so it is fresh in everyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s minds).
With a couple of pals in tow, I show it to my boss - the Drafting Manager; the cigarette nearly falls out of his mouth Ã¢â‚¬Å“THAT is soooo cool! LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s show it to my boss
Ã¢â‚¬Â and we did on up to the Engineering Manager; the four of us race up to his office (open-door policy on creativity and all) and we put it on his desk and fire it up: I make the sound Ã¢â‚¬Å“MHRAAAA!!!
Ã¢â‚¬Â as the creature with itsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ stilted gait advances towards his smoldering cigar; his dark eyes become large as saucers, Ã¢â‚¬Å“THAT is AWESOME! LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s show the Boss
Ã¢â‚¬Â. And on we went the five of us marching directly across the quad over to the corporate building and straight into the VP of Engineering, 3rd-potato of The Company
. Big dark mahogany desk, lots of space and we set the toy down in the middle. The intelligent taciturn VP stares back at us: Again I animate the sinister sound effects, the toy marches forward with paperclips rattling away, bloodied doll hands reaching forward to clasp the next victim, and I describe how we could use lots of latex dangling off the arms, create mutated versions, Ã¢â‚¬Â¦zombies Ã¢â‚¬Â¦vampires Ã¢â‚¬Â¦gremlins Ã¢â‚¬Â¦werewolves; five of us all enthusiastic staring across at the silent VP, waiting for a reaction.
A dry moment passes. Then he says Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nice. Now get back to work
Ã¢â‚¬Â with complete aplomb. Confuzzled the five of us walk out with the seed of inspiration, saying to each other Ã¢â‚¬Å“well, I thought it was a great idea
Ã¢â‚¬Â, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yeah, me too
Ã¢â‚¬Â, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yeah, and meÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Ã¢â‚¬Â as we ambled back to our hovels Ã¢â‚¬Â¦deflated. Guess what we end up making two months later: cute and cuddly fuzzy Wonderbread Monster Boppers Ã¢â„¢Â¥
! I so want to chum.
- - - - - -
Look, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get hung up on what you think you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do. Anything is possible! YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re already driving a customized electric whatever; you are geniuses -> a damn-sight fricken smarter than the average bear! IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just a goof documenting how it can be done; I make mistakes, frequently
. Take from me the knowledge and make it better. Timid about sewing? Find a gal (you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to marry her
) and make an arrangement to bang out a bag.
For me, the more I sleep with the concept the better the stream of ideas on how to simplify the process. I know this pair of saddle bags can be improved; IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to make them from scratch if I could, and I probably will.
Be brave; give it a shot. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m saying.
This assembly should be completed today, and hope to have the notes posted tonight.