Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pfaff 30 Update

The cord for the Pfaff 30 arrived yesterday. Found and bought it from Sharp Sewing Supplies in California. Pfaff 30 uses the same plug as her sister, Pfaff 130.

Now it's time to clean and oil Pamela, my new-to-me Pfaff 30.  She was fairly clean and dry.  These are the photos before cleaning.

It didn't take much time at all to clean and oil her. Cleaned her and polished her.
One of the goodies in the Pfaff tin was this packet of needles.

It was nearly full, and I took out a new one and replaced the one that was on the machine.

Took a while fiddling with the tension. Adjusted both upper and lower several times. It might have been a different story if I let her sit overnight to let the oil penetrate a bit before I tried to put her to work. But I couldn't wait.  The very last row on both fabrics is the final result. Not bad.

She is strong and fast!!  Of course not as fast as industrial machines, but almost. Probably the fastest machine I have. Is it supposed to be that fast? Is that the famous capacitor issue in the motor? Do I need to take the motor apart to see what's going on, and get rid of the capacitor? Any other Pfaff 30 owners out there??

Knee control - not my favorite, but that's what she came with. The response isn't precise. I'd prefer a bit more precise response. If I want the machine to go just one more stitch, I'd like to be able to do so. With this machine the way it is right now, I can't.  She sews just a few more stitches after I let go of the knee lever. 

But very strong with 1.3 amp. I will definitely take her out when I have very thick material to sew. Even when she has to go up and down the layers of denim fabric and even if she can't climb up quickly by herself, her motor won''t quit or groan. With just a little help, she keeps on going.

Speaking of cleaning, one of my girlfriends was having some stitch skipping issues with her "old" sewing machine. I went to look at it. As it has never been cleaned since she bought it in the 80's  (and I knew she did a fair amount of sewing), I offered to clean and oil her machine.  

It turned out to be a Singer 6233. With an air pedal. I've never seen one with a Singer. I've seen Elna with air pedal that another girlfriend of mine has, but not with a Singer.  This is a made-in-Taiwan model with nylon gears. As soon as I saw it, I was going to suggest to her that she should ditch it and consider buying a solid vintage machine for not much money.  (She said she felt like she stopped sewing because her machine didn't cooperate with her well.  Uh ha.  I know how that goes.  Exactly what happened to me before I met my current main sewing machine.) 

But, I decided to give it a benefit of the doubt and clean her anyway. Nothing to lose.

Oy. Ok. Never been cleaned. There was more on the drop-in bobbin area.  After cleaning and oiling, she actually was sewing pretty well.  So my girlfriend is going to hold onto it for a while.
We had another girlfriend who brought her "broken" Kenmore today. Friends, on this one, I had to tell her that I'll find her a very good vintage sewing machine for under $50 that will meet all her needs and that she should put R.I.P. on her current Kenmore machine.  It was a sad, sad, plastic-all-the-way model, poorly designed with very unfriendly user interfacae, again probably from the 80's. I didn't even take a photo...... Sorry, girlfriend. But I will find you a new one that you'll be very happy with. Very soon.

Anyhow. My Pfaff 30 is well and strong.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

February Groovy Girlfriends Vintage Market

I like many things vintage, but I am naturally drawn to the vendors that sell sewing related things here.  I noticed this vendor for the first time. Her packaging was beautiful, the display was so pretty.

Buttons! It was a miracle that I didn't buy any buttons today, mostly because I already have quite a few buttons and if I was going to buy buttons I wanted them for a specific purpose. So, I'll wait until I sew something that requires buttons.
Do you notice the little green Betsy Rose toy sewing machine?? They were meant for children and are considered toys, but they make chain stitch and some collect them. I'd LOVE to collect them and I'm always on a look out for a reasonably priced toy sewing machines in good condition.

She had another one.  I passed on both as they were a bit beyond my budget, and weren't in that good of a condition. The vendor didn't even know if they were functional. They probably are - my guess.

Here is one of my favorite vendors. He has LOTS of buttons, and some other sewing related things. I bought a box of tailor's chalks (last month, I actually saw this but didn't buy, so I was happy to see that he still had it!) and a seam ripper/tweezers combo thingie from him today. I think I'm set for tailor's chalks for a long while!

Look at that. Pretty clever. There is a sliding switch on the side of this casing and you can slide it back and forth to get either the seam ripper or the tweezers. I've always thought something like this would be so handy, but I'd never seen one until today. Not sure if the seam ripper is sharp enough, but I like the idea and I can definitely use the tweezers.
And, this pretty ring. Was a whooping $1! Fun - yes?!

And that's all I bought today at the Groovy Girlfriends' Vintage Market. Certainly unusual that I came home with some change in my pocket!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

McCall 6841 v. 2 Pink

I basically love this pattern. I'm also discovering how tricky it is to choose just the right kind of fabric for this drapey design.  My first version was made with rayon/poly jersey knit which was so thin, and it was difficult to handle. So, I wanted to make it with a bit thicker fabric.

I chose this magenta pink knit. Appropriately finished right before Valentine's Day. This fabric came from my friend's late mother. I don't know the exact fabric content. Definitely a stretch knit. It feels like it has a little wool, and synthetic material. It's definitely more stable than the rayon jersey knit I used before, but it isn't as thick as sweatshirt weight.  Especially since I couldn't confirm the fabric content, I did my usual swatch wash test before I cut the fabric.  It came out without any shrinkage from washer/dryer.  So, I guess its wool content is very low and it's mostly polyester.

I usually use my main machine for sewing garments, but since I knew I either didn't have to finish seams or I'd serge them, I took out my Featherweight, Esther for this project! Just a straight stitch machine was all I needed.  Giving my main machine, Bernina 1230 a little break.

Since it was an easy fabric to handle, it went very quickly.  Soooooo, here is the learning moment. The fabric, this time, was a bit too thick (ugh!) so that the drapey design could appear rather stiff depending on the angle.

Like here.  See?

Mmmmm. What do you think? Do I look like I'm going to carry a baby in this built-in sling?!

It is still very wearable.

Love the dolman sleeves.  But I forgot to make them longer! I'd like the sleeve length to be just a bit longer, maybe by 1, even 2 inches. Well, NEXT TIME! 

This garment is made of only two pieces of pattern. A front and a back. With the drapey design, the front is a very large piece and it is hard to see where the sleeves are on the pattern piece. (Really. At least to me. It's like a gigantic puzzle piece!)

So, this leaves me with the feeling of wanting to make yet another one ~! Until I get it right -- picking the right weight fabric for this design, so the finished garment will truly shine.

I like the top. I wore it on the Valentine's Day Eve. 

Besides, I got to have a sewing date with Esther, my Singer Featherweight 221-K.

Experienced garments sewers out there, share with me your secrets, tips and wisdom on how to pick the right fabric for the design you are sewing--?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pfaff 30 ~ Pamela ~

You never know what follows you home makes its way into your home. 

I'm part of the Seattle freecycle community. I think it's a fantastic system. Though I don't look at it every single day, once in a while I receive something, and I give something.

On a Friday afternoon I happen to notice an email notification of a freecycler's post that said "antique sewing machine". Not a lot of info besides the power cord being missing, and that the cabinet needs refinishing. Didn't say what kind, how old. No photos. 

It says "antique", so it must be old. That's a good sign. (Then again, I've seen something from the 70s labeled as "antique" before.)  I don't really want machines in cabinet as I don't really have room for that (really),  and if I ever get one in cabinet, I won't have the heart to separate the machine from the cabinet. 

Well. I hesitated for five seconds, then I emailed the freecycler, asking for a photo.  This is what I received. 

It's a Pfaff 30!!

Needless to say, I emailed right back, frustrated that their phone number wasn't disclosed in the email, "I would like it!!!! When can I pick up?????"

A few hours later, when it started to snow a little, I drove all of 5 minutes to pick it up. Turns out, this young couple hauled it all the way from Chicago to Seattle, losing the power cord during the move.  It got loaded into my car by the couple, and I was ready to go. Didn't even look inside.

I did ask as I was leaving, "so, any attachments? accessories?" The guy said, "no. sorry. just this".  "That's ok. Thank you.", I said, and I drove off.

Brought it home, into my sewing room. This, I think, is what you call a blonde cabinet. The top surface has water damage, and if you are into having perfect looking furniture, and consider this sewing machine cabinet as a piece of furniture, you'd need to refinish it.  Me? As long as it is clean and it is functional as a sewing machine cabinet, that's all I ask for. I'm more interested in the machine itself.

I promptly opened it up. Yup, she is there.
Look what I found. See the brown box on the right side?
Ah ha! A box of goodies!

The brown metal Pfaff box contained all pictured here.  Several presser feet! Even a spare belt in the original Pfaff paper bag. Actually, the belt that is on the machine now looks newer. So, maybe this black one was the original belt.

These are the photos taken immediately upon getting her home. No cleaning yet.

Interesting pattern on the handwheel center.
Looking pretty clean. Doesn't look like the machine was used much.

German made, as we know.

The motor says made in USA -- can't see in the photo here but it also says "designed for Pfaff" just above the red logo. It's 1.3 amp. Pretty powerful.  I believe my Singer 15-91 is only 0.5 amp, in comparison.  This is probably the most powerful sewing machine I have in my collection.  I'm looking forward to trying her out on thick materials, such as denim jean seams. I don't have the need to sew leather at the moment, but every now and then I wish I had a bit stronger machine when I do mending of a handbag and such.

Solid looking decals intact.

So, the only thing missing is the power cord. Rather important! It's controlled by a knee lever so that I need the power cord that plugs into the machine here (in the photo below) and to the outlet.

A little research on the Internet resulted that it is the same plug as the Pfaff 130.  (Well, I hope so.... because) I found this one listed on eBay, sold by Sharp Sewing Supplies for just $15 inclusive of shipment. It's just a non-OEM, non-original cord, which is just fine with me for an electrical cord. I ordered it, of course.

Now I'm going to have to just do some light dusting and oiling to get her ready for the power cord to arrive so I can test and sew on her.  Pretty excited.  This machine doesn't just satisfy my vintage sewing machine collection needs, it will actually fulfill some purpose and needs - heavy material sewing!

The cabinet door opens to reveal a bobbin access hole!

Anyone out there owns this model of Pfaff? Just a straight stitch machine, but what do you think? Do you like it? Do you use it?

I will soon be able to report to you how she actually performs.  (I promise. I will soon have another post on her.) You just never know where these pretty and strong girls are hiding.  Just around the corner from your house! 

Oh, by the way, her name is Pamela.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Style Arc Susan Top, Done.

I quite like it. It was very simple. I used size 6 - turned out it's very fitted. If it's RTW, I'm a size 4 ~6 petite. My hip is on the size 6 side, and waist and up is size 4. I'm 5'1", so everything is toooo long for me. But I didn't make any length adjustments on this pattern and it is perfect for me. The fabric I used is rayon/poly knit, on the thin side but not too bad. Wasn't difficult to handle.

I love the scoop neckline.

Here is how it lays on me.  No make-up, no head shot!

I serged the seam on the neckline, so the seam allowance was rather narrow. But it pressed easily and nicely. Faux coverstitch on the neckline. My serger doesn't have a coverstitch function. I simply stitched twice, paying careful attention to sew the second stitch as close to a clean parallel to the first stitch as possible.

The side seams lined up pretty well!

I really love the design.

After two knitting projects in a row I recently finished, I was definitely ready for sewing.

I can't wait for the remote control for my phone camera to arrive. I ordered it almost two weeks ago, and it's still not here! (ooooo, bad lighting here...)

This was the last bit of stitching before the garment was completely finished.

Lavender colored thread. Again, faux coverstitch finish.

Oh, here is the shrink test I do. Unless I'm sewing something that has high cotton content, and I'm quite confident the shrinkage is close to none, I don't preshrink fabrics. I want to enjoy the new and crisp fabric feel at least for the first time I wear the garments I make! So, here is my compromised solution.  This fabric I used was 50/50 rayon and polyester with just a little bit of lycra.  I was pretty confident it wasn't going to shrink if I washed in cold water, and line dried.  I was, however, curious how it did in the washer and dryer. So this is what I do. I cut a small piece of fabric from the scrap ends and measured the dimensions. In this example below, it was 4" x 4". I also cut another piece, and sewed a little on it. I put both in the washer and dryer to test.  No shrinkage. Washed and dried beautifully! Now I know I can safely put this top in the dryer.   I usually do the test before I cut the fabric. If there is shrinkage, then I'd put the entire fabric in the wash/dry to preshrink before I cut it.

Here is my Micky modeling the Susan top.

Ooo! It's comfy and I like it!

This is a very nice basic long sleeve tee shirt. Extremely easy and quick to make. I think I will make a few more in different colors to add to my wardrobe. Happy sewing, everyone!