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I’ve been on a roll for quite some time now.  I’m not even sure how long it’s been… since pilot season I guess.  That would be last spring.  In my estimation, I’ve had approximately 11 days off since then. Today is not supposed to be one of them and I’ll likely start working right after I’m finished writing this, but, for now, I’m calling it a day off.

What does a person who works that many hours do on a day off? Glad you asked. 

I’m one of those crazy seamstresses who likes to use a rolling office chair at the machines. That way I can roll back and forth between machines to save time. It’s all about saving time you see. So, when the rolling begins to become more like work, I know I have to take some action and do some cleaning. Don’t get me wrong… I sweep my workshop out at least once a day and sometimes 2 or 3 times a day, depending on what the project is. I vacuum the entire shop at least once a week as well. I like a clean shop.  

Why refer to myself as a ‘crazy’ seamstress?  It’s the wheels…  the thread of a thousand garments is wrapped around each of the five wheels, binding them in place and making it impossible to roll any longer. What shall I do? 

Actually it’s not like I haven’t cleaned the caster before… I do it about once every 8-12 months…I think…. I don’t know… I lose track of time.

Today I have a window of opportunity…. I seize the moment, hoist my chair up onto my table and begin to hammer the casters of with my rubber mallet. Five in all, giving them a cursory inspection, I find that they’re worse than I had anticipated. 

                                                         

CostumePeople casters

Thread Stuffed Casters

This would call for the ‘caster de-threading tool kit!!

Caster De-Threading Tool Kit

Caster De-Threading Tool Kit

I took everything out to the back porch, where I began to work away at each wheel. First with the razor blade, then the pliers, and exacto knife.

Jammed Caster

Jammed Caster

Exacto Knife in Action

Exacto Knife in Action

I just kept jamming the knife in along the side and pried it upward to cut the threads, then I gently pulled the threads out. If you pull too hard the thread wraps tighter and is tougher to get out.  When you finally get it all out, you can use a lighter to burn out the last few threads.

Use a  lighter to burn/melt out the last bits of threads.

Use a lighter to burn/melt out the last bits of threads.

I was finally finished…

Five clean casters

Five clean casters

Can you believe the amount of thread I got out of these five casters? Amazing, right?  Ahhh… brings back memories…

Mound of thread removed from wheels

Mound of thread removed from wheels

I hammered the caster back into the chair legs and my faithful rolling chair is ready for action… which I’m about to take, by starting another project right NOW!

Back on my roll!

Back on my roll!

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I look forward to this each year, and this, my third year was no different. (more details on the project in last years post) I got up early (for a Sunday), got showered and dressed in black with my jewels and headed downtown to the Rennaisance Hotel. It was a glorious, sunny Vancouver morning as I cruised along Hastings St. with a big smile on my face. A cup of coffee, good music, sunshine, the expectations of a fun-filled day, compiled with the fact that the big vehicle cruising along beside me, contained an unusually comfortable looking passenger.

Cute guy in the car next to me.

This year Deb told us that the parkade across the street was only $6 on Weekends, so I pulled up in front of the Hotel and unloaded my two sewing machines and my sewing kit, went to park and then skipped back across the street into the Hotel Lobby. One of the guys there gave me a hand up to the event, which was great, because I would have had to make 2 trips otherwise, since my coffee was taking priority.

Every year the alterations area is set up on the stage by Deb, the day ahead, then everyone who comes brings a machine or two. I was the last one to arrive and I think there were about 10 of us this year. It’s alway so much fun to see everyone, and it was particularly nice to be asked by several people how the Buggy Bag business is going. We had a chance to catch up with each other for the first half hour and then it was dress time!

The entire Ballroom is transformed for the day. There are racks and racks of dresses and suits, tables and tables of shoes, accessories, undergarments, there are hair stations and make-up stations, rows and rows of change rooms and food and drink stations. It is amazing.

Our job is to alter the dresses that the girls pick out. Our team is made up of volunteers who are professionals in film costume, or the garment industry. Deb does all the fittings and then hangs the dresses up where we then choose which one we want to work on.

Here’s a picture of Deb at work marking a dress for alterations.

Deb works her magic on the fitting platform.

Here’s a shot of Petra working on a silver lame dress.

Petra's cutting so fast her scissors are a blur.

I think it was while I was working on this dress that a very sweet ‘godmother’ came up to me and said, “I’m looking for the dress my ‘goddaughter’ picked out… it’s got a crinoline  and glass beads”. I looked around the room and smiled back at her and asked… “can you give me any more detail?” Then she laughed, as she realized she had described all the dresses that were up there.

Here’s a shot of me working on the pretty lace dress with six layers of tulle to be hemmed.

Here’s Ruth, enveloped by frothy tulle….

Often we had to get down on the floor to get the hem straight through all the layers. Here’s Rosalie doing just that.

Rosalie

Here’s a picture of Sarah and Jayne working together on a piece.

Deb shortens a hem.

One of the team, I wanted to take a picture of because she had the cutest shoes with tape measures for bows  on. Her name was Kathryn and she designs very elegant bridal wear.

All the photos with black frames were taken by the incredibly creative Enigma Arcana Designs.

The whole day ends with a wand with a chocolate star on the tip… a thank you from the amazing organizers of the Cinderella Project.

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