Archives 10/8- 10/14 2005-2009

This is your last reminder for the the wholesale fabric and trim show to be held the 21st and 22nd at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. Quite a few people from the forum are meeting, log in for the details. Mr. Zipper has sweetened the pot by promising to buy the first round. Gotta love that guy.

So what will you be doing this weekend? Me, I’m building dog houses. I was surprised that Home Depot doesn’t sell them, nor kits either. Wal-mart only sells plastic cubicles an eighth of an inch thick. They were ugly anyway. As though anyone would ever mistake my work for that of a finish carpenter. Mine will probably be closer to dog hovels or dog shacks than dog houses but dogs don’t care. It is a major pain in the patootie to cut plywood sheets on a table saw -if you’re a girl, limited upper body strength and of course, none of the requisite center of gravity. If you have any suggestions for successful projects, don’t be shy.

As usual, below are the entries published on this site over the past five years. As ever, there’s about 2,000 more in the archives. Enjoy the lovely autumn weekend.

October 8, through October 15, 2005
Are you a target?
Find a sales rep -circuitously
Are you a target? pt.2
Find a sales rep pt.2

October 8, through October 15, 2006
Lean Louis Vuitton
Pattern puzzle: pivot sleeve
A fun little quiz pt.2
Pattern String Codes
An illustration program?
Quality Assurance for Retailers
Checking a pattern pt.1

October 8, through October 15, 2007
Blogging Story Corps
News from you 10/8/07
Implementing the Toyota Sewing System at Fit Couture
Two questions
10 sales mistakes designers make
Indie designer goes to Hong Kong 4
Buying wholesale fabric at Material World
Launch report: Butterfly & Company
WWIN show report: Georgina Estefania

October 8, through October 15, 2008
Deconstructing a zippered pouch
Delighted to be home again
Advanced Style
Visiting the Netherlands
Pattern Puzzle: leather bulls
Pop Quiz: Pt.1 of a 2 part argument
Pattern Puzzle: Pt.2 of a 2 part argument
Pop Quiz: Pt.1 of a 2 part argument pt.2
Pattern Puzzle: Pt.2 of a 2 part argument pt.2
How I got my start -midway

October 8, through October 15, 2009
Who pays for a sewing contractor’s mistakes? SOW
Quality Control and SOW pt.1
Quality Control and SOW pt.2

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  1. My beloved builds things, but he won’t comment until he knows *why* you’re building dog houses. Where have the darlings been living until now, and why can’t they stay there?

    I know a guy who built himself a log house, but he had a bad back so he turned the logs around and built it like stacking firewood. I don’t know how sturdy and permanent your structures need to be: that might be overkill.

  2. Maxine Rose Arbetman says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    I’m Maxine Rose Arbetman, Jay’s faithful dog. Allison, I don’t get the house thing either. Since you probably don’t know many dogs that can handle a keyboard, I’ll give you my necessities in order of importance.

    #1 Good leash for walking
    #2 An old couch and other old and very soft furniture
    #3 A blanket…..oddly enough, dogs like polyester so a 450 gram polar fleece blanket that is
    60″ X 60″ is about right.
    #4 Several large bones

    There is a dog house here but it is only used for Mr. Zipper and it is Mrs. Zipper that sends him there. Here is my dogbook page.
    I’m looking for a rich sugar doggy that will die and leave me all his bones.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Puppies sleep outside, it’s part of their job description. Necessarily, unfortunately. But not once winter hits, it will be too cold for them to stay outside at night.

    What a pleasure to meet you Maxine. We call Jay Mr. Zipper, maybe you’d be Mrs. Zipper? How nice of you to stop by and introduce yourself.

  4. Jade says:

    Hello Kathleen,
    I am a carpenter by trade and a woman as well, and I agree that a table saw can be a bit unwieldy if your sheet is too large. Perhaps you could cut the plywood down to more reasonably sized pieces when you purchase it? I know that home depot has those handy upright racks with circular saws attached to them that run on tracks specifically for large sheets. I don’t know if that is where you are purchasing your materials, though. Some lumber yards are also able to cut things down for you as well. I wish I was closer – I’d love to zip over and help you out myself. Good luck, though, I’m sure you will figure something out. You seem incredibly capable. Also, thank you so much for the site. I purchased your book awhile ago, and have been reading up on the archives. Your words help give me the confidence to pursue my dream(to start my own manufacturing company). You are a much needed voice of reason and inspiration as I’m sure any of your fans would agree. And you do it with such style! Sorry to gush! Thanks, again.

  5. Ok, I knew about sleeping outside, the better to ward off Bad Kitties, I just hadn’t realized you had any meaningful winter in New Mexico. (I’m pretty geographically ignorant. I think you have high and low places and the high places are cooler, right? So you must be in a high place?)

  6. kay says:

    Something like helps compensate for the difference in muscle mass in females wrestling plywood, but my real favorite is a panel saw: (go down to the bottom). My favorite (and alas, now extinct) lumberyard charged $0.50/cut to knock your plywood down into measured pieces on their panel saw — as long as the cuts were 90 degrees to an edge.

    I like shed-roof doghouses myself — lots of dogs like to sit or sprawl on top of their house to give them a better view of the territory — and they’re easier to make than peaked roof, imo.

    The last doghouse I made was seriously overbuilt, for a dog who wanted to be out in all weather (and it got to -20oF). It was essentially a plywood box in a box, with styrofoam insulation between the two boxes, and an old rubber press blanket cut into strips and hung over the door in the winter. Stuffed full of prairie hay, he’d spend about a week every fall getting the new hay packed down just right for his doggy comfort level.

  7. LizPf says:

    In addition to panel saws, which are large and expensive and single-purpose, you can use a circular saw and straightedge guide. Set the plywood on some insulation board and you can work on any flat surface.

    In addition to learning enthusiast-level patternmaking, I’m a novice woodworker. Table saws scare the (censored) out of me, and even many circ saws are too big for my comfort. So I splurged and bought a Festool track saw. ( It’s fiendishly expensive but worth every penny (German engineering is equal to German Pattern drafting) and with the track, doesn’t need to be horsed around.

  8. Dia in MA says:

    If you bought the plywood at Home Depot, they will do the first 2 cuts free by store policy. Some stores will do the entire cutting job at no charge if you have all your measurements and they are all straight across cuts. (I worked at one for a while, I know that store did this.) Cuts must be over 12 inches apart.

  9. Eric H says:

    Kathleen owns a circular saw, but I have it in Las Cruces. I will be bringing it soon.

    I made a winter doghhouse by putting a carrier inside a big dog house with 2″ foam sheet insulation in between. The mini-wienies were plenty warm.

    The winter in NM is short, and not too bitterly cold, but it is a high desert. That means we’re at almost 5000 ft (roughly 1500 m) and there is no moisture in the air to keep the heat from radiating back out to space at night. Just a few miles away, on the other side of the city, there is a 10000 ft (3 km) mountain with a ski area.

  10. Kathleen says:

    Jade, I wish you were here too -altho you may injure yourself laughing while I work. I’m not very coordinated, it is painful to watch me handle a screwdriver (ask DH, I’m sure it takes all his restraint to keep from offering to help me) but have managed to build some big stuff on my own. I don’t ever think I will ever like building stairs tho, I’m never confident I’ve done the math right until they’re done so I’m nervous the whole time.

    Kay, you’re describing exactly what I had in mind. As it turns out, I may end up buying a used one that I found on craigslist but I can’t go look at it till Mr.F-I brings me the truck.

    Liz, I know exactly what you mean. I was scared witless the first time I used a circular saw. I’d only seen one being used once several years before and didn’t have anyone to show me how to operate it so I figured it out from reading a book. ugh. It’s one thing to learn to sew from a book, it’s quite another to learn how to operate a machine that can take off body parts from a book.

  11. Cheryl Designs says:

    LOVE IT :) BIG machines that can REMOVE body parts :) I also find saws alittle intimidating… My sewing machines cannot REMOVE fingers/hands/arms/etc.. HURT them..YES….

    I was going to suggest Craigslist…LOTS of doghouses on there…I live in Ohio… Check your local farm supply store too… Inexpensive doghouses. Actually CHEAPER than buying the wood and doing it yourself….

    My guy built a temporary doghouse for his little terriers from a BIG plastic storage container. Put the lid on. Turned it ‘lid down’. Cut a door into the side…They were snug as little bugs with some old blankets on my back porch. Now they sleep in my utility room but they still like to nap in their old ‘doghouse’ when they come to visit :)

  12. Kathleen says:

    For the heck of it, I searched on craigslist and found a used dog hovel that was 3X3X4 for only $40! It was framed w/ 2″x4″ and housed two pit bulls but had no interior finishing etc. I bought some 2″ foam insulation and put that in on all sides including the floor. I put some of those interlocking floor mats on top of the foam for the floor only so I still need to finish off the inside a bit more. I was holding off until we had some carpet installed in the house (on Monday, yay!) so I could use the remnants to wrap around the insides. The only thing it really must have now is more roof shingles, some are missing. I have a tarp over it for now. Oh and I need to find an old rubber press blanket cut into strips like Kay described above for the door. I stuck an old sleeping bag and an army blanket in there and I don’t think it’s hit freezing yet but the puppies seem to like it. Boo was using it right away and seemed to know immediately if was his. Sandy was a bit slow on the uptake but I see her coming out of it in the mornings.

    One last worry is what to do when the doggies have house guests. Sally’s dog Festus comes over for play dates or when she’s out of town (he loves it here). I hope they will all fit in there but I don’t know. Festus isn’t much of a house dog here, only at Sally’s house. Here he won’t come inside and wants to be outside with Boo.

  13. It’s funny how dogs know when it’s theirs. When we show our dogs their beds or special dens they understand right away.

    I guess part of it is that from their point of view, why wouldn’t it be theirs? And if we’ve designed it right, they use it because it’s pleasing to them. But it seems to be more than that. My terrier has always promptly used the spot we appoint for her, no matter where it is. On our futon, under our bed, in her basket – it seems as though she just wants us to tell her that there’s a place that’s hers, and then she uses it.

    The new Aussie collie understands which is her bed and she also understands that if she waits until we are asleep she can get into our bed. Pleasing us is useful and has benefits, but it’s not especially high on her personal agenda so she doesn’t particularly care what we think – but she clearly understood from the beginning where her designated bed is.

    The tiny brain of the chihuahua, on the other hand, was too small to absorb any ideas that weren’t his. He wanted to sleep in our bed so he slept in our bed. He wasn’t bright but he was extremely persistent.

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