Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"You can get inspiration..."

"...from absolutely anything." ~Carol Armstrong, Quilter & Author

I thought I'd share a little project/prototype that suddenly popped into my head a couple of weeks ago and wouldn't go away until I made one! My inspiration came from the tools I'm surrounded by at work and home, as well as this nifty watch by Swatch. I saw an article over the summer about the Swatch founder Nicholas Hayek passing away and someone had uploaded a variety of Swatch watches that they remembered from the '90s. I was never into them as a kid (even though I loved watches and clocks) but something about this one stuck with me.

After a few weeks of this watch popping into my brain, I knew I wanted to customize it and make it my own. I'd get it out of my system AND have a brand new watch. Sometime ago I had purchased a watch face at Joann's, intending on making some type of band for it out of jewelry but luckily I hadn't done anything with it yet.

Sometimes I sketch out my ideas and figure out the best way to piece it together with measurements and all (I took a CADD class once and I can't NOT draw without showing proper measurements), but this time I just put stuff together. And I enjoyed it. Immensely.

I can't say it turned out very...neat. My threads are quite messy and Prototype #1 was worn two or three times before I switched the closures and you now see photos of Prototype #2. I knew I didn't want just a single band, like the Swatch watch. I wanted multiples, to look a little messy like I actually use this or just threw it together, with a few buttons thrown in. I selected three pieces, all cut to the same length (roughly a little bigger than my wrist, minus the watch face spacing) and immediately realized that they were too wide for the watch face. No matter. I squished one through to see if it would suitably fit and worse case, I'll trim the sides just a tad there. I laid the pieces across my wrist to see how I wanted them to crisscross and knew I needed to sew them with a diamond shape. Again, messy threads but I joined two pieces in an X first and then added the third middle piece on top. I also realized while sewing the third piece on that I definitely wouldn't be able to fit the bulky middle onto the watch face now. Luckily, the last piece I added on could slide through the watch face slits and since it was connected to the other two pieces, they would lay flat on my wrist under the watch face. Voila!

Now I needed to figure out how to keep it closed. I erroneously thought that when I bought the watch face, it had come with a clasp set meant for a watch band. No such luck. I was feeling far too impatient (and excited!) to put it aside until the next day (even though it was already midnight--I was so excited with it that I wanted to finish and wear it the next day). Instead, I scrounged around for a random assortment of buttons. That would be a perfect way to secure my measuring tape watch, I thought.

Well, I wasn't thinking logically (I did mention that I hadn't sketched it, I'm just flowing by the seat of my pants). Of the three buttons I chose, only one was smaller than the width of the tape measure. I sewed all three on and went to cut the button holes, only to discover that two wouldn't fit through the holes because they were bigger than the measuring tape width. Duh. But working the Preservation lab gave me a good idea and I attached wax string to wrap around the buttons and allow for tightening. Thus, Prototype #1 was born.

I wore it the next several days and knew I had to change the buttons. The button that fit well was perfect. It was clear, it fit the measuring tape look better, and didn't look too messy. The other buttons were colors that didn't jive with the bright yellow tape (I had brass and green, I think) and the string would unwind or I'd find myself fiddling with it constantly.

I finally fixed it a couple of days ago. Removing the larger buttons, I added two small, clear buttons that slid easily into the button holes I had previously made. The material of the tape is perfectly suited as a watch band because even though I haven't sewn the edges of the button holes, it hasn't torn. And it's waterproof and doesn't get really dirty! It's perfect! Next time I'll just make sure that the watch face slits match the width of my measuring tape. Now on to the next crazy idea...

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