Friday, November 15, 2013

Singer 221-K Featherweight: Esther

This is my first Featherweight.  It's a 221-K, says made in Great Brittain. My research shows that it was made in Clydebank, Scotland, at the Kilbowie Plant. Hence, the -K on the model number.  US made models are 221.  The motor is made in Canada.  According to the Singer Co. site, it was born in 1960. Searching for more detailed information resulted in a couple of sites showing that based on the serial number, it was made either in October 19 or November 3 of 1960, and only 2,500 of them were made during this period. Black Featherweights were made to 1961, so this was one of the last black ones made.

If it was indeed made on November 3, it is my parents wedding anniversary. I don't know which year it was but it's around 1960 that they got married. (My Singer 15-91 was born on the same year my mother was born. Interesting relationships I'm having with sewing machines....)

It came with the manual, foot pedal, and a few feet, a couple of bobbins, little screw drivers, and the key to the case.

It has a simple faceplate, unlike my Singer 15-91 which has a scroll faceplate.

Ever since I sew saw one at a garage sale, and I was amazed at how cute and small the machine was, I've wanted one.

It showed up one day when I wasn't even specifically looking for one.

I was learning back then that there was this interesting destiny dance when it came to looking for vintage sewing machines. "The right machine will show up at the right time."  It is really true. So I decided to wait, rather than actively looking for one. It sure came to me!

At this pristine condition, and the price was amazingly reasonable, I knew she was for me!

 Ooooo, and did I mention it has a Red-S badge? 

I read that Red-S badges are rare, though I don't know how rare. It sure is pretty.  I don't think this machine was used much.  All these photos were taken as I took it out of the case. I hadn't cleaned, polished, or anything. No obvious harsh scratches. Decals are perfect.  Shiny, shiny. All in all, in perfect shape!

 Here is the bottom.  When I removed the drip pan to see inside, again, I was surprised how clean it was. I wasn't sure if this sewing machine was ever used until I opened up the bottom, there it did have some old oil residue. (Well, maybe it was oiled but never used?! Maybe used just once?!)

It was owned by Ms. or Mrs. or Mr. Lennon.  John?!

The case was a bit scratched. So, when I first went to see the machine and saw the case, I wasn't all that excited. But you know, you can't judge a machine by its case! It has done a terrific job protecting the baby inside.
 The liner inside is in tact.

 A few more photos.  Just because.

I'm calling her Esther.  I made Esther an extension table cover so that the screw knob on the faceplate wouldn't scratch the table.  Great idea. I got that idea from Michelle of Life With Lou via Tammy's Craft Emporium.  (I've already shown this photo in my previous post, but, hey, you don't mind, do you?!)

By the way, it's interesting that I do want to name all my sewing machines, but I don't usually come up with a name until I start writing about her. My Featherweight was nameless until today.

I think just about everyone who collects vintage sewing machines eventually ends up with at least one Singer Featherweight.  I now have one, so I'm not looking for any more Featherweight. (well, unless it's the mint green one.... maybe..... definitely.... for sure) However, there is one courting with me right now. I shall see if it ends up with me.

If you are looking for Featherweight manuals and attachment list, here is a link to the ISMAC site with attachment list and free manual download. Download manuals are also free at the Singer's site. You can also buy printed booklet manuals there. By the way, not only you can date your machines at Singer's site with the serial number, if you go to My Singer Story, scroll down to the bottom and put in your pre-1970 Singer sewing machine serial number, you'll instantaneously receive a little 'birth certificate' of your sewing machine that you can print.  It's kind of cute. 

For those who have a Featherweight or two (or three), do you actually use your Featherweight, or does it sit in the case?  When and for what do you use it? Do you have and use a zigzagger with your Featherweight? (I want a zigzagger!)

Style Arc Linda Stretch Pants, Done.

It took a looooooooooong time. Mostly because I didn't have much dedicated sewing time. I had 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there, no time at all for a week, etc. (sigh) But Style Arc Linda Stretch Pants were very simple and easy to make. I used size 6, which turned out nearly perfect as far as the fit is concerned. I am right in between their sizing 6 and 8. This was with stretch fabric, so it was very forgiving.  

The pink  top I'm wearing is Simplicity 2283 that I made this summer. I tell you. The yoke on this was really tricky. I couldn't understand the instructions. My mother who happened to be visiting when I was making this also had trouble and she had to ignore the instructions and just figured it out. She is an experienced sewer. Oops, I just confessed that I didn't even finish the top myself. My mother rescued me on this one.

Back to the Linda Pants. I first bought the fabric on right in photo here. It's a two-way stretch cotton/poly blend, a little shiny satiny finish of Anna Sui.  It's beautiful. I don't know the name of this fabric. The fabric is stiff so I think it will hold the pants shape well.

But I thought I would make something a little more casual for everyday wear, and also make it a 'rehearsal run' with a less expensive fabric. The one on left.  It's also cotton/poly blend but it's a four-way stretch of much softer knit jersey.

The result was a super duper comfy pair of pants! I love them.  Style Arc patterns are made of quality paper, a bit thicker than the tissue papers used by Big Four.  Style Arc patterns give minimal instructions, assuming you have basic knowledge of sewing garments.  These pants are simple enough that the lack of detailed instructions wasn't an issue for me. Also, the patterns include narrower seam allowance of 3/8" than the typical 5/8"of Big Four patterns. I serged to finish the seams, so I gave just a bit more seam allowance than 3/8" when cutting the fabric.

I decided to add cuffs.

The Linda Stretch Pants are SO comfortable.  This fabric ended up working out perfectly. I love the color, I love how it feels against my skin, I love the stretch, it's so comfortable. (Did I say it's like wearing pajamas?!)  I'd love to make more with other colors of this fabric, but unfortunately this was the only color they had. I think I will look for more 4-way stretch cotton knit jersey fabric like this one to make more pairs of Linda Pants. I'm in love. Next time I fly on a long flight, I'm definitely wearing these. It's THAT comfortable.

And, here is the sheet blouse top on me.

Hmm. I'd like it to be a little more fitted.  But I love the neckline and the sleeves.

Oh, well. After all it was a dress, it was just a practice, and I made it with an old sheet. Good enough. It was Simplicity 3533 dress pattern.

 It's comfortable.

Oh, and on the Linda Pants,  if I were to change anything, the waist band position felt just a little bit too high for me.  I like the pants to be just a little bit more low-waist.  Perhaps I will make the hip to waist 2 inches shorter next time.  Oh, I should have had the photo of the waist band and where it sits.

My photographer was getting inpatient and he called it quits before I was ready! Here he is. My photographer. My cutie pie son, making fun of me trying to strike a pose during the photo shoot.

So right now, I think I'm in love with Style Arc patterns. Anybody out there who also love Style Arc? Which pattern is your favorite? How many garments of the same pattern did you make?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

ZeroLandfill Event - Fabric Bonanza!

I went to this event called ZeroLandfill a few Sundays ago. I'm telling you, it's worth finding out if they have a local chapter in your area!  It's an event where local architectural firms and design firms donate their unwanted samples and materials of all sorts (otherwise destined to a dump) and you can go "shop" free.  That's right.  They want you to take them all away, as many as you want.  I just got to know about it about a month ago. What a fantastic idea!! What was I after? FABRICS (what else?!)

It opened at 11am, but I had a prior commitment and I wasn't able to get there until several hours later. When I got their with my friend, Jillian, people at the front desk said; "Come earlier next time -- it's mostly gone now" What?!

Well, I think everything is relative. There were still PLENTY of stuff there, especially if you were interested in fabrics and textile materials.  That's all I was interested in. I wasn't looking for paints, building materials, tiles, or anything else.

OMG!  All the fabric samples and leftovers!! Since I love making bags, these upholstery fabrics are perfect.  There were fairly large size pieces, too. Large enough to be the base of a canvas market bag. Lots and lots of small sample size fabrics, just perfect for embellishments of bags, purses, garments, and what else?!

I can't imagine what they had when they just opened the door that morning. Anyway, we overshopped, stuffed my car, and happily went home with lots of ideas and inspirations.

I got home, and immediately unpacked and organized the pieces I picked up!

Look at all these 'books' of fabric swatches.

I took SO many. I have enough materials to make hundreds of bags, or whatever little things I want to make~! Many, many beautiful pieces. Colors, materials - oh, so pretty.

Some are larger than 10 x 10, some smaller.  These are all samples that interior designers and furniture makers show to their clients for custom furniture and home deco.

I picked up --- maybe 10 big fat 'books' of fabric swatches.

Many high quality fabrics. Wool, chenille, brocade, canvas, cotton, nylon, and, and, and....  Not pictured here, but there are also larger, thicker materials (probably intended for curtains) that are perfect for bags. These photos I'm showing here are all, well, mostly for embellishments.
My head was spinning with inspirations. Oh, I so wish I had all day and everyday to play with all this. I have already made a pretty market bag with red accent fabric pieces for a friend's birthday gift. What else can I make besides bags????

I made a foot pedal bag for Jeri Bee, my New Home sewing machine. Here are the two pieces I chose. They are each about 10" x 10".

I just noticed that I've been attracted to the color green lately.  Hmm, interesting.

Here is a pouch to hold Jeri Bee's foot pedal and her tin of goodies as there was no place inside the case to safely keep them without risking scratching Jeri Bee's beautiful exterior.

And here is how the pouch sits just perfectly and snugly.

And when I put the case cover/lid on, I can't help noticing this cute little detail. The handle is made of plastic trying to look like leather.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sheet Dress Turns Sheet Top

I can't believe how the time slipped by.  Does this ever happen to you? Well, I hate to admit it, but it does quite a bit to me these days.

Ok, the sheet dress was just a practice, right?  While I waited for my Style Arc patterns to arrive, I thought I'd brush up my sewing skills. I also wanted this to be a recycled project. The fabric I used is formerly a bed sheet.

Here it is.

In this picture above, it hadn't been hemmed but it's basically done.  A very simple pull-on casual dress. No zipper. It is lined.

It came out fine. The sleeves and neckline are looking nice, too.

BUT. When I tried it on, it didn't look so good on me.

Maybe with this shrug, it will be ok?

Maybe with a belt?

Not really, not on me. The length isn't right for me. The shape of the skirt isn't right for me. I'm very picky about what I put on myself.  If it doesn't compliment my figure, it's a no go even if I love the outfit, color, the fabric, the way it looks on a hanger.  But I love the scoop neck, and the fit around the shoulders to the bust was really good.  So, I decided to cut it short and make it a top. I also made it a little more fitted by taking in about 5/8" on both sides.

This photo without the use of flash shows closer to the real color.

I'll have to post a photo of me actually wearing it when my son is around so he can take some photos for me.

My sewing rehearsal is done.  The Style Arc patterns have actually arrived (a while ago!!), and I'm actually nearly done with the first pair of pants. More later~!