For my birthday next week, my DH has bought me an old sewing machine! Not as bad as it sounds. The old machine in question is a Singer Featherweight ‘born’ just 14 days after me some X years ago. Pearl’s a Singer (Elkie Brooks song – see what I did there?) is a Centenary edition of a famous machine produced in the Singer factory based in Kilbowie on Clydebank in Scotland.
In 1933 when the first Featherweight machines were displayed at the World’s Fair in Chicago, the domestic sewing machine market was dominated by big heavy machines usually housed in cabinets or on treadles. The Featherweight appeared on the scene and was immediately hugely popular. It was marketed as the ‘Perfect Portable’ and salesmen predicted that it would be passed down from mother to daughter and beyond. It was compact and came in its own small box and moreover it was easy to maintain. Today, 48 years after manufacture ceased, it is highly sought after, especially by quilters who love its perfectly formed unique lock stitch. The 221 version was made both in the USA and Scotland where it was called the 221k. From 1933 – 1969 3.5 million of these 221’s were produced so there are still plenty out there looking for a good home!
Over the years that the 221 and 221k were produced there were only small changes in its appearance. Pearl’s a Singer is an early model with a ‘gothic’ faceplate and has Celtic Knot decals .
It is possible to date each machine using the serial number underneath and that is how I was able to obtain a machine ‘born’ in the same year as me.
With very many thanks to Lizzie I made contact with ‘featherweight Phil’ who restores these machines beautifully, he makes them safe and does not charge the earth! Should you wish to contact Phil to purchase your own featherweight – contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My DH was delighted to be able to purchase such an appropriate gift for me and I can’t wait to settle down and stitch!
Last weekend I had an early start as I and three Sprat & Winkle quilting friends were off to the Quilt show at Sandown Park. Having met up at a local out of town car park we set off. We arrived just before the doors opened and met up with another sewing and crafting gal, raring to go and enjoy a whole day of all things quilting and sewing related, plus of course, LOTS of chat!
Before viewing all the beautiful quilts I had a shopping list to fulfil. The Fabric Buying Ban is no longer in force as I simply cannot resist, so why fight it? However I have to stop buying sewing patterns and on this occasion managed to ignore all those naughty patterns that were calling to me!
Armed with my list that included Calico and fabrics in Plains, Spots, Stripes, a particular Linen print from Rosenberg & Sons that I had seen on a.n.other’s blog and anything appropriate for Dachshund Pin Dogs. I failed with the Stripes but achieved the remainder of my list.
Spots – tick, pretty print – not on the list! Doggy print – absolutely perfect! Cats in spectacles – could not resist!
Rosenberg’s Linen print – tick
Calico in 2 weights – tick, Plain Double Gauze – tick
Slider sheet for use with free-motion quilting, quilting templates, 4 x overlocking threads, seam gauges, bobbin controllers, Best Press spray.
So, a successful shop. I am delighted with my purchases and by the end of the following day most fabrics had been laundered and are now ready to sew&go!
After a tasty lunch I enjoyed viewing all the fabulous quilts – photos currently being downloaded from my phone and will appear in a separate post.
We left the show around 3pm and by 4.30pm I was home, hot and tired but very happy!
Until further notice I will be concentrating on the quilting on the Drunken Caribbean Birds quilt so keep your eyes peeled for a reveal of the completed project – and listen out for a big sigh of relief!
For my first post of the New Year – something different and unusual – I have made an alteration to a brand new project.
I was not happy with the ‘Apples & Pears – where did my waist go?’ dress that I posted recently. As it was, I knew that it would never be worn. I had nothing to lose and therefore decided to ‘hack’ it!
I removed the bias frill from the hem and cut off 8 inches from the length of the dress before adding the frill back on again. I now have a flippy, flirty, new tunic dress that co-ordinates well with my grey leggings. The length of fabric that I had removed from the dress was converted to a detachable cowl collar. Result!
Newly hacked flirty tunic top
Stitching showing through from the internal pockets
A little while ago I made my first ‘Peek-a-boo’ wallet with vinyl pockets. I am pleased with the result but have always felt that there was room for improvement.
End of the zip ‘ripples’ at the edges
I was unhappy with the way that the KAM snaps were inserted, that the shaped end was left open for turning rather than the straight end, that the zip teeth went right to the edge of the wallet and ‘rippled’ and finally that the stitching of the pockets on the inside came through to the outer cover. I decided to address these issues and make a new wallet using some remnant Skandi print Christmas fabric and leftover shower curtaining from a.n.other project.
All went exceedingly well until the final furlong which involved inserting the second KAM snap into the flap that would enable the wallet to be folded up and secured.
I realise now some of the reasons for the failure are; 1) I have used a thicker polyester wadding and 2) the flap not only has wadding, 2 layers of fabric AND some medium weight interfacing. All these layers mean that it is a struggle for the snap to be inserted fully. I used the ‘male’ snap on the flap and try as I might (at least 5 attempts) I could not get sufficient closure on the snap so that it would ‘pop’ into the ‘female’ part. I wish that I had used an alternative closure!
So a lesson learned. I will definitely make this wallet again and next time will avoid issues with the KAM snaps by using a button and loop instead.
Here is the final wallet, closed but not secure!
First thing this morning I went into the sewing room and saw that I had a large rectangular remnant from the recent wrap bodice dress. As this is a jersey fabric I have also noticed that the dresses often fall off the slippery coat hangers. Ah ha! I will make a coordinating coat hanger for my dress.
I now have the construction down to a fine art but Idid not have a co-ordinating zip handy. Hmmm….I know, I will use some KAM snaps on the opening. All went very well until I came to apply the very last component of the snaps. It took three attempts to get a popper to set correctly. But all done now.
Front of Coat hanger
Reverse showing KAM poppers
Despite the trials and tribulations with the last KAM popper, the coat hanger cover took less than 1 hour to complete. I have hung the dress on its very own coat hanger and am immensely pleased with myself!
As I gradually worked my way through the list of samples required for classes I took a little time out to make a couple of basic items that will go into my stash for gifts.
I have made a 16-blade Dresden Plate cushion cover and yet another padded coat hanger cover with concealed pocket. Both items are enjoyable to stitch and make use of remnants of fabric (of which have masses!!).
The cushion cover with patchwork takes a little longer but I am delighted with the end result. I especially like the fact that I ‘fussy cut’ the butterfly for the central circle.
For sewing the the coat hanger cover, I now have this down to a fine art and if I exclude the additional zipped patch pocket on the reverse, this project now takes less than one hour to complete.
Materials requirement is minimal – one wooden coat hanger, one Fat Quarter, same of wadding and a long zip (taken from my stash). I have ordered more plain wooden coat hangers and intend to review my FQ collection so that I can get a head start on Christmas gift-making!
Apart from last week, it is a long time since I made peg bags. Here is the latest version which is the result of some research and the desire to make things simple enough for the project to take no more than 1 hour to complete. I still wanted to incorporate some form of decoration in the form of a patchwork block or applique but the construction needed to be easy and by using the ‘envelope’ method I have achieved this.
For this ‘trial’ version I used yet more ‘re-cycled’ calico (previous toile of dressmaking) and a selection of cotton print scraps for a half-dresden plate block. The child-sized hanger was Green and I co-ordinated the patchwork in this colour. The binding was a strip of poly-cotton sheeting left over from making a duvet cover.
The peg bag did take just an hour to complete. More versions may well find themselves wrapped as gifts, meantime I will be using this design when teaching a class at New Threads Quilt Shop.
Way back in the mists of time there was a feature in Threads magazine of how to make a crazy patchwork scissors case. Over the years I have adapted and refined my own personal version. Now I am able to offer a class and demonstrate how to make this really useful addition to sewing room accessories.
To promote the class I have made (yet another) a sample from 2 fat quarters of quilting cotton fabric that was in my stash. The closure is a hair bungee and the button also came from my button box. There are several variations to this project to include the original crazy patchwork, a bias binding edge and the use of an embroidered motif.
So that’s another sample crossed off the list of projects to be completed this month – now onto the next!
This set of samples are for the class where we will be making padded coat hanger covers with secret pockets. With its “pocket(s)” these hangers are great to take anywhere – even if visiting friends. It is an easy way to keep scarves, belts and small items tidy and out of the way. In hotels, you can hang your coat over the pocket with the outer pocket to the back to conceal private papers, etc., when a safe isn’t available.
I chose some Fat Quarters of fabrics from my stash along with contrast-coloured remnants for the patch pockets. Zips came from that vast selection acquired when my father worked as an Engineer for Opti-lon ®.
First version with long zip at the bottom Reverse with large patch pocket
The first cover took a while to construct as I had to calculate the sizes and work out the order of work. Having finished the first cover I thought that rather than have the long zip at the bottom of the hanger, I would prefer to have it completely concealed on the reverse.
Second version Reverse with concealed long zip
I also changed the construction of the patch pocket slightly and used the zip insertion method that I have used in the past when bag-making. For the second construction I timed myself and was pleased to discover that it took just 52 minutes from start to finish.
These hangers not only look good but are ideal for use with some of my ‘slippery’ garments.
Despite going ‘off plan’ with several projects in September I did manage to complete some of the items on my list.
The Pink floral print jersey ‘Elmira’ ballet wrap cardigan was completed and with the remnant of fabric I made a co-ordinating tee shirt. The Dark print viscose jersey for Kwiksew 3915 for a friend was also completed and again another tee shirt for me from the remnant of fabric. I did not get to the Cobra corsage lawn dress but I have today washed the plain Black lawn that I will use for a lining so maybe that project will finally make it to completion. The other dress using a Lewis & Irene cotton print, ‘Our friends in the garden’, was started in September but was not completed until earlier this week. But still with tights and a cardigan it should get some airings until the really cold weather sets in.
Whilst I have made several samples for the classes to be taught in the Autumn and Winter terms, there are still a few outstanding plus the workbooks to be prepared. The final outstanding item from September is the Sewing print linen-look seat covering. That should not take too long as is basically a shape with elasticated hem so hopefully that will also make it to completion in October.
Now, let’s think about sewing plans for the coming month, the list looks like this:-
- Cover for sewing room chair in sewing theme linen-look
- Samples for classes – Coat hanger peg bag, Scissors Case, Dresden Plate Blocks (2) and Zip top Window Project Bags.
- Cobra and Corsage print cotton lawn dress. Style as yet undecided.
- Cobra and Corsage print luxury scuba top with asymmetrical hem & cowl collar. Fabric just arrived from Sewisfaction. Absolutely yummy!
5. Paisley print jersey trapeze tunic with cowl collar. Fabric just arrived from eBay. Fine weight with a good drape.
- Coat with waterfall collar. This is probably too much considering that we are already 7 days into the month but still it is good to have targets!