DIY fur coat repair

26 02 2010

Here’s my disclaimer:  If it’s a real expensive coat, you may want to consult a professional.  This one my sister got from Goodwill so I wasn’t about to find a fur specialist when I had teh Google at my fingertips.  Besides, I fix everything myself.  It’s the best part of being a geek!

Here is the finished result.  This coat started out as a relatively inexpensive rabbit fur coat made in China.  It’s jacket length and zips up the front.  It’s still incredibly warm (wearing it makes you wish for fur blankets on your bed.)

The problem:

When my sister gave it to me, it had a panel of fur that had separated from the inside seaming and was just flopping about.  Go ahead.  Look real close and see if you can tell which panel it was.

If you had the coat on, it was the middle front panel to the left of the zipper.

I started looking very closely at the inside to see what had happened to make it separate from it’s neighbors.  Rabbit is a very thin material so machine sewing and serging like was used on this coat is very ineffective.  Like I said – it’s a cheap coat made from sub-prime furs, but still, you can’t beat finding something like this at Goodwill.

The leather side of the fur had torn away from the serged edge and would not hold any sort of stitching.  Every time I even got close to it with a needle, it would rip again.

The solution:

Very carefully, I used Steam-a-Seam and a piece of hemming lace to strengthen the leather.  This is the part that was tricky.  I couldn’t touch the iron to the leather without singing the fur or scorching the leather.  Logically, I didn’t think steam itself would hurt it and I needed just enough to set the glue on the steam-a-seam.  I had Shaun hold it open with the lace in place and I blew steam at it holding the iron about 2 inches away from the leather.  I repeated this until it seemed like the glue had set the lace into place. (If you don’t have a man with tough man hands, then find an assistant with gloves.)

Next I let it dry and cool for a couple of hours to make sure the glue and lace were nice and secure.  After it was, I was ready to sew.

I got a very thin, short needle and some coat grade thread in a khaki color.  All the fur on the top panel, I pushed up.  The fur on the bottom, I pressed down so I was only getting the leather with its lace backing into the stitch.  Then I pretended I was a doctor suturing a wound.  (Or an upholstery repair-person working with very delicate fabric.)

The trick was to make sure the lace held the stitching and not the leather.  In total, I used about 6 “suture” style stitches in a 6 inch area.  After I was sure the stitching would hold, I brushed the fur back into place and pulled out the camera!

I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out!  I’ve worn it several times since then and it still seems as strong as the day I worked on it so hopefully it will stay.  I have not found a single person yet who can tell just from looking that it ever needed repair.

Here are some close-ups:

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Amazingly effective

18 11 2009

It’s amazing how the human body and brain can push through pain.  Through the moments of passing out for 3 hours or hiding under my pillow, I’ve been amazingly productive.  I have to admit that I have plenty of practice at this – I’ve been having severe migraines since I was 10 years old.  This is why I consider disassociation a TOOL and not a DISEASE in people with chronic illnesses.

I imagine it’s like the accounts I’ve read of how soldiers survived and kept their mouths shut during torture and imprisonment.  Wow, that’s a cheerful thought!

Anyways, stuff I’ve accomplished in a fun and numerical way:

1.  Finished the other half of the Christmas stocking for LJ.  Shaun’s grandma made stockings for all her grandchildren and we had someone copy them for A&E (back when we thought we were only going to adopt A&E) the first Christmas they spent with us.  Last year I refused to put up stockings because we didn’t have one for LJ.  This year we will!

2.  Ordered supplies on the internet.  Seriously, getting the best deal online without getting ripped off is hard work.

3.  Put together a pipe accessory kit for our lovely Etsy customers.

4.  Took pictures, edited pictures and listed about 10 things on Etsy.

5.  Went to the fabric store and bought some cute fleece, some micro-fiber for our custom pipe bags, and some flannel & jersey for “fashion” pipe bags.

6.  Got a new computer.  It’s super duper fast and runs photoshop incredibly well, but the firewire ports aren’t working and that makes me pissy because I don’t have access to the servers right now.  I did set up the old computer on a nightstand so I have it to fall back on when I need it.

7.  Joined 2 pipe clubs online.  Somehow, Shaun became one of the most viewed pipe restorers on the internet (page 2 of Google, bitches!) and since I run the internet profiles, I figured I should meet our demographic.  It’s fun to talk to guys though – since I worked for an automotive advertising company for like FOREVER, it’s kind of my niche.

8.  I think I finally had a breakthrough with LJ in regards to our relationship.  It worked out the way most breakthroughs do – we had a major fight and then after we were done screaming at each other, some unabridged honesty showed up.

9.  Moved the birds to my nightstand and away from the window for the winter.  I don’t know if it was grief that her friends had all migrated away or that she was cold and itchy, but Cami pulled out a ton of feathers.  She’s doing a lot better now, but the birds love to torture me when I lay down.  If I don’t give them proper attention before I go to bed, I get pelted with seed and pine shavings all night. For such little birds, they’re incredibly talented at throwing things.  I get revenge by spritzing them with rosewater (alcohol free of course) and yelling RAINSTORM, RAINSTORM, RAINSTORM! in the mornings.

10.  I cleaned the living shit out of the bedroom.  Since I’m in here 24/7 right now due to the headache induced narcolepsy, I figure I should at least make it a pleasant place to be.  It’s kind of hard to tell how much cleaner it is unless you spend a lot of time in here, but it is vastly improved.

In general, un-numerated manner, I also wonder why people recycle circuit boards from computers without thoroughly glazing them with acrylic or glass.  Do they not realize that most of the components are TOXIC???  Yes, it is absolutely a good idea to take circuitry apart without gloves or a mask, cut it, and make candle holders and jewelry out of it.  Can a sister at least get a plastic lamination sheet?  Some diamond glaze?  A thick layer of Elmer’s glue? It amazes me that our government worries about flavored cigarettes being sold legally to adults when equal retards are taking electronics apart, grinding them into toxic dust, and then selling them without a single precaution?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t recycle dead computers into new and useful things, just that there are safer ways to do it.  Raise the price a couple of dollars and buy some sealant.  Put it on thickly enough that the surface is smooth (the microscopic wires easily get under skin and it not only hurts like fuck, it’s not that good for you.)  Just writing that paragraph makes me want to smack the person who caused the label “do not eat” to be put on those rare earth magnets.   Or the Kleenex brand for refusing to use recycled or sustainable paper products instead of rain forests.  Or the goblins that keep stealing the red straws from my Cans’o’Air.

Speaking of that, I wonder if one of those air mattress pumps would work to clean my computer.  Experiment engage!





Internet superstar

27 09 2009

It’s been an odd couple of weeks since my last post.  It hurts my brain just to think about it!

1.  Shaun and I went to my high school reunion.  In school, we used to say that no one would show up to our reunion because our class lacked school spirit.  Seriously, the student council didn’t give a rat’s ass and neither did anyone else.  It was 1999 and we were all facing going into college or into the work force with little to no money.

There were maybe 50 people at the reunion and I did see a friend who I’ve known since kindergarten.  We didn’t talk much in high school and I think I found out why.  She made a passing comment while we were catching up that stuck with me.  “Of course you’re doing well, you’ve always been perfect.”

I wonder how many people actually know that’s not true.  I screw up as much as anyone, I just don’t tend to dwell on it or get caught in the downward spiral of screwing up.  I’m not even an eternal optimist – I’m definitely not one of those smiley, cheerful people.  It’s food for thought.

2.  Sick kiddos.  Actually, only one was sick.  The other was faking it.  A had a fever and just laid down and stared at the TV.  Her school has had about 50 different viruses going through it, so we thought it was strep at first.  It wasn’t so it may have been a UTI (just a very small amount of bacteria was in her urine) or it could have just been one of those flu bugs.  She’s all better and back to her goofy, normal self.

3.  Ramping up for the “anniversary effect” of the PTSD.  A goes through the anniversary effect during October.  It seems like every time she had to move foster homes, it was right around Halloween.  That stuck with her.  Last year was TERRIBLE so hopefully this year we’ll be prepared for whatever comes.  I’m already stocking up on aromatherapy stuff and reinforcing the fact that she never has to go anywhere again.  She’s home.  She’s already started to panic a bit so we adjusted her morning medications and that seems to have helped.  We’ve also briefed the school and we’re keeping on them about her mental state – it took a while to get them to take us seriously but now it seems like everyone is on board.

With LJ, we’ve just seen more sexual acting out.  He retreats to this fantasy world inside his head and doesn’t seem to realize what he’s doing.  It’s not regression – it’s more like he’s living in a fairy tale.

He’s been talking a lot about “grandmas.”  His favorite kind of pie is the type grandmas make.  Grandmas make sweaters.  Grandmas take care of you and give you cookies.  Grandmas have white hair, wrinkles, and glasses.  Yesterday, I finally got fed up with it (in Goodwill of all places) and told him that he got his grandmas and they weren’t going to change.  Neither grandma has white hair, neither one knows how to make a scrap of clothing, and one of them couldn’t bake a pie if her life depended on it. In reality, there’s no such thing as a “perfect grandma.”

I grew up without grandparents being an active part of my life.  Neither set approved of my parents’ marriage and we most often just made it on our own.  He did spend a lot of time with his bio-grandparents before he came into state care, so I don’t want to ruin those memories but he’s taking them a little too far.  I don’t want him to get older and see them and realize how bad it was for  him.  They loved him – they just don’t have the skills to take care of themselves, much less a child!

We went through this a month or so after he moved in with regards to his bio father.  It got to the point that I had to sit down with him and ask if he wanted to know the truth of the matter or just continue to believe what he did of his dad.  He said he wanted the truth, so I told him.   I may have to enlist my dad to explain it to him.  My dad’s childhood is very similar to LJ’s and they have this great bond.  I think he’d take the truth better from Dad than from one of us.

4.  Sick mommies.  It’s been odd – very odd.  My grandma was sick for a bit, then my great-grandma passed away almost a week ago.  Then grandma went down to FL to bury g-gma next to g-gpa and she got back yesterday.  My sister has been sick and my mom was for a little bit but recovered very quickly.  Then a couple of days ago I started having a fever and today my throat feels like I swallowed some hot sauce.  I must have gotten that strep that was going around.  *sigh*  So, tomorrow I’ll go to the doctor and get more antibiotics.  I’ve only been off the antibiotics from the surgery for a week!

5.  Flooding.  Lots of it.  We live northeast of Atlanta and thankfully in the foothills of the Appalachians so our land is soggy and puddly, but we didn’t get any water inside the house.  Thank God!  Even 5 miles away houses were destroyed and the traffic accidents have been terrible.  We went to an antique store yesterday – it’s about 7 miles from our house – and on the way home saw two accidents happen. My heart goes out to everyone that lost their homes, cars, and in some cases, families.

6.  Big internet sales!  Since we’ve been home bound from the sick babies and the flood, I’ve been on the internet a TON.  We’ve sold a couple of pipes, sent some lace to Japan, mailed  out 6 books on bookmooch, and I’ve started uploading a ton of stuff to flickr.  I’m working on a pipe resource, so hopefully I’ll have that available soon.  I also want to get some pipe related merchandise up in the Etsy shop, but I’m missing my computer parts.  I’m spending time with a hard drive clock today.

7.  Got LOTS of fabric.  I love Goodwill.  Seriously.  I got a ton of fabric for an average of 30 cents a yard and I also got some bed sheets and pillowcases that I can use.  I found some gorgeous blue eyelet cotton that I was SUPER excited about.  Got some corduroy, some raincoat material, a ton of cotton, and some linen.  It’s going to be fun!

This has been a long, long post lacking in cohesiveness, so I’m going to end it here.  Hopefully I can pick this blogging habit back up so I don’t end up with 300 things going on at once.  Good times!





throw-away days

6 09 2009

17 days post surgery

The past week or so have just been throw away days.  I’m supposed to be still so my body can heal itself.  I feel like a puppy that just got fixed and it’s KILLING ME to not run around and play.  This past week, I started bleeding and got my dad to take me up to the doctor where I just sat in the waiting room and shook for an hour or two.  My body had attacked one of the stitches and formed a huge clot around it so the dr took it out, did some blood work, then sent me home with another prescription.

I have mixed feelings about this doctor’s nurses.  They’re nice enough but they seem too caught up in their own office drama to actually give a damn that this is pretty serious – at least in my own opinion.  I’m sure they listen to a lot of bitching each day from cranky people but dang.  The nurse that took my blood got pissed off that a drop of blood flipped off the needle and landed on her pants – after she stabbed me three times looking for a vein that hadn’t been blown.  Apparently I was too stressed for her to find a good vein… of course, there’s no reason for me to be stressed at all, right?

So Shaun took the rest of the week off and he’s off tomorrow too for Labor Day.  He’s been enforcing the “chill out” rule.  I’m getting ill watching House marathons and I thought that would never happen.  So, I’ve done little stuff – crocheted and sewed, fixed clothing, watched every episode of Project Runway that was on the DVR and season 3 of Psych, every episode of House and seasons 1 and 4 of Bones.  We don’t have 2 and 3 on the HDMI yet, so I didn’t bother with the DVDs.  I dug out my most recent sketch book and put down some quick ideas for some uniform clothes for the chickpea.  Sorted buttons with chickpea and LJ.  Read Terry Goodkind’s new book.  Read my Real Simple magazine.  Finished Kathy Reich’s new one.  Upgraded to a Flickr pro account.  Ordered some business cards.  RSVPd for my 10 year reunion.  Threatened E-baby with ratting him out to Grandpa – E’s current best buddy – if he kept throwing tantrums and being a badass.

Oh yeah – that’s a good tip for all y’all parental folks.  Tell the kid you’re going to call in the grandparents and that was going to be SOOOOO BAD.  I remind the rugrats that the gparents raised ME and I’m meaner than a hornet so while they know nice grandmommy and grandpa who spoil their little asses – they really don’t want to see the bad side.  That stopped a full blown tantrum in its tracks last night.  Suddenly, E’s face wasn’t red or wet from crying, he stood tall and looked me in the eye like a big boy.

The chickpea has been stealing straight pins for some odd reason.  I think she’s interested in the fact that they’re sharp but small… she has the weirdest obsessions at times.  She’s super observant of stick pins but she thinks climbing the built in bookshelves won’t cause her any harm at all.  Um… that’s a little backwards, kid.  You could stick a straight pin all the way through you and you’d still not be hurt too bad.  If even one of those shelves breaks, though, that may be the end of it.  I’ve climbed them before (to show it really was anchored well) but still – you don’t take chances like that.

I need to get some real work done but I don’t like sitting at the computer for long right now.  I have about 15 things to get up on Etsy and I need to start working on a branding for Shaun’s antique restoration stuff.  If I don’t get something to do, I’m going to end up watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta and that would be very bad.