Friday, October 31, 2008

It's only 8:49am and already I am having a good day!

I found 3 blogs that focus on vintage sewing machines today! I am so happy that I added a new linking box over to the right on my blog layout.

Sewing machine junkie that I am, I have sewed on many, many sewing machines and I love metal machines the best. They just feel good. Frankly, I believe the sewing machine manufacturers are doing us a disservice in their current offerings. No matter how much money you want to spend, you can't find anything new that holds a candle to my current favorite sewing machine, a Pfaff 1475CD, which is at least 15-18 years old. And, this is obscene, but the TOL sewing machines cost upwards of $6,000. (Or more, if they can get it out of you.)

If there is a drawback to vintage machines, it is support and maintenance- it has been hard for me to find a local machine repair shop. Go into your local sewing machine dealerships and you will recognize the feeling- they operate on the car dealership model and you will feel the hard sell and the utter inability to compare brands and models. It is frustrating!

BUT- once you know how to take care of a vintage sewing machine, it is not hard AT ALL. What little I know has been learned on the internet.
Yay! Vintage machines are so sweet, everyone should have one. Kinda like a pet.

I have pet fever. I think it is empty nest syndrome. The last time I had this feeling was in 1982. And this is what happened.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jeans - hmmm, pleasantly surprised!

Here are some photos of my jeans as I sewed them. I used plaid (leftover from pillows I made for Daniel) for the pockets. I will re-draft the pockets to make them extend all the way to the center front seam next time. That way they will lay flat and look /feel nicer. And I won't use a metal zipper again. It was too hard to sew the seam that comes down around the bottom of the zipper.

I used stitch #157 Bar Tack! That was fun.

I did not sew the belt-loops because I never tuck in my shirts anyway.

Thanks to hubby for taking my pictures!

So, OK. Jeans.

Also this weekend, I hemmed 5 pairs of pants for Laura. She did the smart thing and bought clothes for work. I would have happily sewn for her, but as she said, it was just so much faster and easier this way. Sigh. She is leaving for Korea very, very soon. I am keeping my tear ducts well flushed. That's good for them, right?

So, what shall I sew next? I love it when I am finished with one project and completely open for inspiration to select my next project. Ideas are bubbling.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Campaign for clothes that fit!

Thank you Kathleen Fasanella of Fashion Incubator for posting exactly my thoughts about a certain Alaskan governer's wardrobe.

I guess I can see why it is wrong that she didn't pay for her own clothes. But then again, come on- she was launched onto the national stage overnight and she needed clothes FAST. As a female, I totally get that she needed new clothes!

And frankly, I don't think a 6 figure number is out of line as a clothing budget. I would not be surprised if that's what Hillary paid for all those pantsuits. What I don't get is why they went to Saks and Neiman Marcus! Get yerself a custom clothier, woman! You could have a team of people sewing fast & furious for you; turning out a nice variety of garments that fit. Heck. And who would have complained??? It was the upscale shopping that pissed people off, IMHO.

I'm just sayin'!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cosy Jacket Finished, just in time for a chilly day

I finished my cosy jacket a week ago:
I recycled a zipper from a polar fleece vest from REI. I like having the ribbon on the zipper pull, so I left it there.
I used Bernina My Label - it's the 3/4 length coat, which I cut it to hip length.  The collar is just a rectangle - 18" long (I measured the neckline to get that number) and 4 inches tall.
Before serging the seams (I used the 4-thread stitch), I reinforced the neckline, shoulder seams, armscyes and center front seam with narrow strips of fusible interfacing. Constructing the bodice went very fast!
The bottom hem and the sleeve hems are just folded over with 1" wide elastic inserted.Let me tell you what happened with this project. I created my own pattern using Bernina My Label, so it would fit in the shoulders.  But I used instructions from a Jalie pattern for the zipper insertion. And I hand-basted the zipper seams which kept it all nicely aligned. Everything went smoothly, til I was at the very end.

I did not allow enough material for the hem! I had no choice but to toss it and cut another bodice and collar.

Thank goodness I had the extra fabric to make a 2nd go-round. I did not mind the time spent because this will be something I wear and enjoy for a long time to come.

JaneM- Thank You! I really enjoyed sewing with this wonderful fabric.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cosy Jacket for Fall - in progress

I have never bought fleece, but Jane M. has, and she's got great taste! When she and I got together for her stash sell-off, I procured a number of lovely pieces that are calling out to be sewn.
I am making myself a cosy jacket from berber Malden fleece. It is a brown /black /ivory tweed and it will coordinate with lots of things. The pattern is Bernina My Label 3/4 Length coat, which I shortened to hip length. I swapped out the collar with a simple stand-up collar so that I could recycle a zipper from a fomer fleece vest. I laid the zipper on top, just to make sure the length is right:

I am using directions for the zipper insertiong from this Jalie pattern:

This is the 2nd project in a row where I have used a BML pattern with instructions from another pattern company. Those Jalie instructions are succinct with good illustrations.

I was going to put pockets in this and I had 2 zippers salvaged from the afore-mentioned vest. Somehow I lost one of them. Grrr! You KNOW it will show up somewhere unexpected some day. Oh well :)
I fused lightweight interfacing to the neckline and shoulder seams. I am sewing with a 4-thread serger so this thing is coming together very quickly. I hope to show finished pictures soon!

Happy Sewing, friends-

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What I sewed last night and What I Wore Today

Last night I found a half-finished project; a pair of pants cut from a pattern from Bernina My Label software. This pattern has the same pieces as Vogue 7608 by Sandra Betzina. This was great because I could use Sandra's excellent instructions to sew the fly front zipper:

The instructions are really good and I was pleased with the results.
I wore the pants today. woo hoo.

Thanks for all the great blog housekeeping ideas and offers. I found a very cute image on Etsy and I have commissioned a custom banner for only $50.  That was quick and easy and it'll be cute.
That's all for now - Ta Ta!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Jeans for Dear Daughter

OK- here they are. Thes pants came together surprisingly fast when I sat down to sew. All that is left (obviously) is to attach the waistband and beltloops.
I don't know what these white spots are - just something in my photography haphazardness.
For the pockets I used a light blue cotton chambray, since that's all I had on hand. The thread looks brown on my monitor - again a quirk of my photography haphazardness :) Lighting DOES matter, doesn't it?
The zip fly was really the only tryly confusing part. I was too impatient to go out and read a good tutorial, so I used a pair of hubby's jeans to try & copy the construction. It did turn out to look very similar to RTW, but I could not repeat that if I tried! I just sewed by the seat of my pants and got lucky. Of course, I had enough common sense not to use a contrasting top stitch. The black on black hides all!
I say I am impatient, but the truth is that I learn best by doing it first myself, to see which part confuses me. THEN I read the tutorial and it will make sense. If I try to read first and just follow instructions? well, ummmm, I am not as good at that.

So NOW I am ready to try another pair with contrasting top stitching; maybe a pair for me (mom jeans, you know!)

And I finally FINISHED those draperies! Oh thank goodness. That was a lot of mental gyration. I had to make so many little decisions along the way. Sewing Home Dec is like anything else, the more you do it, the better your skills. I just don't do much, yet when I do- I seem to have grand ideas that are a bit beyond my ability. Despite that, I am pleased with the draperies. I'll post about them next.
Happy Sewing!