Land Cruiser Oven Roof

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The Land Cruiser has a huge glass moonroof that is great in the cloudy Portland winter. Well, besides leaking like a son-uva-bitch. Anyway, in the summer, that thing bakes. There’s no cover and since my farmer’s tan is bad enough, it was time to fix this problem.

I didn’t even see if Toyota ever made one because I figured it’d be more fun and cheaper to make something. Bought some 2mm plastic sheeting at Tap Plastics in the lightest opaque color possible. Tried using some windshield foil sun deflector material first, but it was just too flimsy to stay up there. Cut to size, and notched it for a little grab point. Using my beastly sewing machine, I make a channel in the middle with a slightly bent piece of the plastic. I thought that would be enough strength, but with the heat, it still sagged a bit. I had a piece of threaded rod in the shop that I wasn’t using, and just fed it into the channel and it worked great for support.

Next steps, I bought some Pendleton fabric at the Woolen Mills outlet. It took about $30 worth to cover the panel. It would’ve been nice to bind the edge, but since it was going to be tucked into the roof channel, no one would see it. I just taped it over in place and sewed through. Finally, I sewed a couple long stitches to keep the material from sagging as I didn’t want to use any glue or adhesive since it was going to back in the sun.

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Wool Camera Wrap

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You’ll need some tools:
  • sewing machine
  • scissors or rotary knife
  • pencil
  • paper
You’ll need a few materials:
  • heavy wool fabric
  • strap material — leather or canvas

One thing I’m typically seen lugging around is a camera. Most camera bags are overkill, especially when you just want a bit of protection walking around, or you’re packing a camera in another bag for a short trip. I picked up a nice looking, heavy wool remnant from the Pendleton outlet last weekend, so I figured I could try my hand at a simple camera wrap. Now I’ve got just the right amount of walk-around camera protection without the “tourist look.”

Making a structured camera with soft fabric is kinda crazy unless you use a stiff liner, so I was aiming for more of a protective wrap. This way, you can relax about making things exact and just enjoy sewing what is essentially a pocket with a flap. You have options for an enclosure; just make sure it doesn’t involve any metal that would mar your camera. I went with a simple strap closure that ties into itself.

1. Start with the pencil and paper and loosely trace the dimensions of your camera. If it’s small and square, easy! If it’s got an external lens, you’ll have more facets to your pattern. I traced the bottom of mine for the lens profile and used that pattern for the bottom and top but added extra for the flap. I traced the back for height and then just measured what a front panel would be and cut a long rectangle to fit.

2. Add about 1/4″ to your traced pieces to compensate for sewing the panels together and to add some wiggle room for you camera. Cut your paper template pieces out and then use them to cut your fabric panels. *Note: If your lens is off-centered, be sure to flip your bottom template over to cut the top panel of fabric.

3. After the fabric was cut, I carefully sewed all pieces together inside out. Sew any raw edges over to prevent fraying. Remember to leave openings for your strap, too. Once all panels are sewn together to your liking, turn the pocket outside in and test with your camera. Since I was using some loosely drawn templates, I did have to tighten the fit with another line of stitching on one edge.

4. For a closure, I’d envisioned using a piece of leather to wrap around the camera and tie into itself. Measure a strap piece long enough to wrap around your camera a couple times and tie to itself. Since I didn’t flip my pattern for the top and bottom flaps (see the *note above), I had a bulge in my bottom panel. Rather than re-sewing another wrap, I found this to be the perfect attachment point for the strap. You could sew your strap on the back, or just find a messed up piece on your design like I did and rivet it in place. If you do use a rivet or another hardware attachment, make sure the rivet cannot touch your camera. Since my rivet uses the outer fabric goof, I was safe.

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What happened to that sofa?

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Well, it’s been a looooong time since I first proposed an upholstery change for the little sofa. I had received so many great comments and ideas, and then completely slacked off and haven’t shared the final outcome. So, the final choice was to use some grey heathered Pendleton wool, square off and cut the cushions, and use a light silver thread for all the topstitching. I’ve been sitting on it for a few weeks now and it’s just looking better as the cushions ‘crush’ a little.

For some of you that thought I was going to tackle the sewing myself, I totally did not even attempt it. Took it to a trusted upholsterer in town and he really did a great job. No way I could have made those stitches so straight for that long. If you need some upholstery in Portland, check out AJ’s on Prescott.

Also, I had to show off the redwood slab table I found the other day. I had thought I was going to make some legs for it on the lathe, but I’m come to really like the simple handyman-style base that was on it. And yes, I stack my high-brow design magazines along with books about bowling.

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