Thursday, June 9, 2011

ABU Books

These books were a lot of fun to make, and I'm fairly pleased with how many (7) I was able to make out of one pair of ABU pants. The whole process started as a request from my neighbor for an ABU book when she found out I was starting up an Etsy shop. "I can do that!" I told her, not knowing how quickly the project would snowball into what it is now.

That week, another one of my husband's ABU pants died. He tends to go through pants faster than blouses because of his job, and, because of my crafty packrat nature, I had saved the last pair of dead pants as well. My heart sank, however, when I started to examine the pants themselves. Not only were there an abundance of pockets (8!), but several places had been reinforced. Now, I want to make one thing clear here-whoever designed the pants for the modern Airman was a genius. However, they did not have crafty wives in mind. ;)

I soon realized that the number of closed spine books I was going to be able to make was limited. But due to my newfound Coptic stitching skill, I could make even more than I had previously imagined. Also, because of the aforementioned reinforcements, there was a good-sized patch of fabric at the knee that never been exposed to the elements.

Cutting the fabric got interesting as I wound my way through the maze of pockets and seams. I realized as I sat down to do it that I didn't have a fabric template, since I always used Heather's when we were at our last base. I quickly made one, and it's now carefully laid on top of my paper supplies. I have a feeling I'm going to use it a lot.

Heather did warn me that because of the stiffness of the ABUs (they are thicker than denim), I might have to stitch the corners shut and use a ton of glue. But, since these pants had been washed at least once a week for three and a half years, they were surprisingly flexible.

I did what I could to assembly-line the covers. I don't have a fancy book press or anything like that, but what I do have are lots of engineering and computer programming textbooks thanks to my husband. They do come in handy, although the cover for the Java one is bizarre at best. Ants... in a dorm room? Not really sure I get that one...

Throughout the whole process, I kept wondering what I was going to do with the remainder of the books. Two were spoken for, with a possible third, but did I just want them to sit on Etsy? I decided to go a different route, and checked with the gracious Ed Morrissey for the end date of the Troopathon 2011 at Hot Air. I've had to scramble to get all the books ready to sell before June 23. So far, no sales have come through Etsy, but my plan is to donate all the proceeds I get (and would have gotten) from these books through the Steamers to care packages for the troops. When my cousin deployed, the care package my parents sent him helped enormously, so I know it's a proven strategy to help morale. (Is that enough military jargon for you? Because it is for me!)

Here's the link to donate directly, and here are pictures of the books!

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