Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My Trusty Top Stitch Machine

It's Tami, my Singer 15-91.  My very first vintage sewing machine I acquired last year.

Every time I take her out to sew, she takes my breath away. It's the most beautiful straight stitch I've ever seen. I usually set the stitch length a bit longer for top stitching. It's prettier that way.

I decided to give this project a pink top stitch. It's a black stretch denim. I take Tami out whenever I have some top stitching need. She just is the best. I use my main machine for pretty much everything else, but for top stitching, I rely on Tami 

You just can't go wrong with her. Her motor sound is so quiet and soothing.  

It was truly 'love at first stitch' when I first found her.  She is not cosmetically in perfect condition.  Her lamp shade is missing, there are small chips here and there, though her decals are totally intact.  Bobbin winder does not work - it's probably an easy fix, but I can always wind bobbins on another machine. She was without the bentwood case she probably originally had. But she is so beautiful that I wouldn't want to hide her under the case top cover anyway! She makes the perfect stitch, and I am very much attached to her.  If you missed my "how I met her"story and "How It All Began", please go read the original post here.

I have not tried a buttonhole attachment on her. But I understand she makes beautiful buttonholes, too. I look forward to trying buttonholes with her sometime soon. 

I will soon reveal what exactly I'm making. Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Iconic Patterns Sammy Cami - Camisole That Fits Well, Done.

I had some leftover fabric from my Butterick 5961 Katherine Tilton tunic.

I absolutely love this fabric, and I was glad to find that I had just enough left to make this camisole. 

I went to download this fabulous looking (and FREE) camisole pattern when I saw a RTW Faster sister making one.  It's Sammy Cami from Iconic Patterns.

It's simple, it fits well, it's free. What more can I ask for?!?!

You need a very stretch knit for this pattern. The design is very fitted.  My fabric was just perfect for this.

I cut the size 8 of the pattern, and gave it a 1/2" seam allowance. That worked out perfect for me.  (I normally wear RTW size 4~6 for tops)  I'm afraid my straps are just a tad too long. Well, next time, I'll know to shorten them.

The sewing instructions are minimal, but if you have made a few things, know what to do about neck band, etc., I think you can handle just fine.  The only hard thing was making the straps from this light weight knit fabric. Boy, that took some patience! Otherwise, I could have completed the entire project under 1 hour!  I must have spent a couple of hours just making the straps.  I'm wondering if one of those bias tape makers will work well for knit fabric, and if it will make narrow straps like this.  Does anyone know?

Anyway, lovely design, great simple pattern.  I'm currently trying to rebuild my basic wardrobe, so this pattern will definitely be used again.  Very soon, that is. Well, in fact, every light weight stretchy knit fabric project I have from now on, will probably end up having a sister camisole.

I feel guilty when I find a nice free pattern and I enjoy using it but if I don't buy anything from the source.  I'll look to see what else Iconic Patterns have.... : )

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Our Fabric Stash" Spring Purge Consignment Sale -- Seattle May 31 & June 1

Attention, my fellow Seattlites, Sleepless and Sewing in Seattle.  I received an email announcement from a quilter friend. (<-- You may have met her on my blog.)  When I opened it up and read it, I said, uh oh. 

Apparently, you can consign and/or shop. They have a huge spring sale event coming up on May 31 & June 1. No way I can avoid going to this. I won't be consigning, but I will be shopping, well, at least window shopping.

I went to check on their website. It is called Our Fabric Stash

It says;

FINALLY... A Place for STASH-aHOLics!
Be sure to visit our flagship location today

Our Fabric Stash, an innovative, eco-friendly fabric consignment shop, designed for TODAY's STASH-aHOLic. Stir your creative juices, organize, share, and grow your fabric stash. Experience the "art of consigning fabrics, notions, and textile-related supplies "turning your accumulated stash into cash".  

That flagship location is in Seattle's International District. (A Fab place to get lunch/dinner. I mean, really.)  They also have a facebook page.  I don't know much about it, but here is their "how it works" page.  Sounds like a fabulous idea. Putting your 'sleeping' stash to work by offering to others who may find it a precious bargain, and turning your stash to cash. 

I wonder if there are other chapters of this OurFabricStash in other cities/states.  Perhaps you may start something like this in your city.............  I totally support it! This is true Urban Recycling!

Happy Tax Day, everyone.  If you are receiving a refund, treat yourself to, well, a fabric shopping trip.  If you are working hard to finish yours, reward yourself with a fabric shopping when you are done! Either that or a new vintage sewing machine. yup.

*Seattle area bloggers -- feel free to link to my blog and spread the word.  Maybe we will somewhat organize a meet-up? I'll work on that! ; )  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Elna Supermatic

This machine came to me last summer. I cleaned her right away when I got her and test sewed a little, then I put her away and didn't take her out until this month!

Elna machines weren't part of my growing up.  I didn't know this brand until I began collecting vintage sewing machines. There is the popular Elna Grasshopper, but I was never attracted to its shape. This one, Elna Supermatic, on the other hand, has a bit more round shape and has just as good a reputation. This one is green all over. I believe there is also a cream colored version, and a lighter green two-tone version.

It takes cams. They are called Elnagraph. Single discs and double discs. You need them to make decorative stitches. Here is the little lid which flaps open to insert a disc.

This machine came with all these accessories!

The original manual.

It belonged to the seller's sister. The seller, Judy, herself is a quilter/sewer and it sounded like the entire family was into sewing.  This Elna Supermatic was a well-loved machine. I LOVE it when I encounter a machine like this. Someone really loved and used and maintained the machine well. Now I get to take it over and take care of it, enjoy it, and make things with.

Judy also showed me her creations, these fantastic colorful original handmade wallets. You can find them on Etsy, JDKWallets!  When I went to pick up the machine, she was having a garage sale. I ended up buying some fun fabrics (fat quarters) she had out.  Some of which I've already used to make stuff with. Aloha bag I made for Pineapple Sam was one of them.

Look at all these feet. There are some I don't know what they are really for. I wonder I would ever use all these feet.

Lots of cams, too! I had so much fun making all kinds of different stitches. The machine makes wonderful stitch.  The motor sound is both smooth and strong.

Now, these little metal plates with a hole in the middle. What are they?  Also, just above them, white and blue plastic things. I don't know what they are either. Does anyone know?

The smart thing about this generation of Elna is that the case turns into the sewing extension table!  This is actually not the only Elna machine I have.  I will someday introduce my other Elna(s)......

It gives you quite a bit of sewing space.

See~?  Oh, and it is knee lever operated. You can see the knee lever on the lower right of the machine.  Not my favorite way of operating a sewing machine - mostly because I'm used to using the knee lifter for lifting presser foot, but it works fine. 

The knee lever folds up like this.  By the way, do you see a couple of black strips attached on the machine? One right above the knee lever is attached, and one above the ELNA logo.  These are magnetic strips Judy's sister put on the machine for pins!  I'm not going to strip them. I'll just keep them there.

The whole machine and the accessory box goes neatly into the box. The box is metal. The whole thing weighs a ton.

I used the Elna Supermatic to sew this test run of the top I recently made.  She is a fine sewing machine, quite a workhorse.  But I probably won't take her out to use for my garment making, mainly because I like to have a foot pedal and a knee lifter (for presser foot).  I think I'll use her mostly for decorative stitches, because there are just so many fun discs for that!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Simple V-Neck Butterick 6084, Done!


I've been needing to refresh basics in my wardrobe.


So I began paying attention to simple tees and tunics patterns.  This is one of the patterns I found a few months ago.

It's an older pattern (1999) So I wasn't sure if I would like the length and the shape. I did a trial run with a 'scrap' fabric I had.   Was it easy? Yes.  Did it really take just two HOURs as it says on the envelope?  Uh, no. It might have been if someone else cuts the pattern and the fabric, and marks everything for you, and even finishes all the seam allowance raw edges. (yeah, for me, it's never two hours no matter what they claim.)

The neck interfacing was way too wide and would be bulky, so I made the neck interfacing narrower. The length was too short for my taste. But other than that, I really like the way it fit me, and I'm keeping this test shirt as an "around the house" shirt. (I'm not too crazy about the fabric colors and pattern, if you know what I mean...)

Here, the new version on me.  I lengthened it by 4 inches from the original pattern, after taking the petite adjustment as shown on the pattern..

I've been needing to get some simple tops like this to wear for work, under a jacket. I don't like shirts or blouse that much and so I almost always wear a top like this with suit, or under a jacket with pants.


Do you know how difficult it is to find very simple yet stylish pullover RTW tops?  I've been looking high and low for years, and only every once in a while I get lucky and find one.  But usually, nothing I see that I could wear for work, looking professional, and fun at the same time. Comfortable rayon or cotton blend knit tops I see at stores are often either too casual, too frilly or otherwise with design details I don't want for a professional look.

This one, however, I think I can wear under my jacket and coordinates well with black pants, brown pants or even with beige. The fabric is chocolate brown with sage green. I know, it's hard to see the colors in these photos. Rayon/poly light weight knit. Another one from the Expo.

The V-neck opening is just deep enough, not too deep.

I have enough fabric leftover to make another top or summer dress.  I think it screams for a summer dress.

For a more casual look, I think I will use a heavier knit like the one I used for the test run. Easier to sew anyway!

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Many Ways To Wear : McCall's 6844, Done.

Now I understand what all the hype was about.  I admit, the photo on the envelop looks very cute. But it wasn't just the photo. This pattern is excellent in many ways.

By the way, I made View A with the length somewhere between View A and B. I took the Petite length adjustment. The final hem length ended up about 4 inches shorter than regular View B length. I didn't make the peplum option as I didn't think it would look good on me, but it sure looks fun if you like peplum.

First of all, do you see those PINK dots?! "EASY", "PETITE".  To me, these are the two sexiest words they could put on the pattern envelopes. I'm sold. A great marketing ploy. I fall for it every time!

Alright, the pattern is great.  But I'm so proud of the type of fabric I chose this time. It was an excellent choice. Very light weight sweater knit. Cotton/poly with a little lycra.  White/blue with silver lame thread running through.  (Now, it's lamé, and not l-ay-me lame!)

Mmm, kinda hard to see.  Here is right/wrong sides shown together. The fabric came from one of the big chain fabric stores.  Surprise, surprise. I was there just to purchase some patterns. I never find anything that I want to use for making clothes there.  BUT, I learned a trick.  

For some strange reason, the good ones (for making garments) are all on the "Clearance" pile.  I actually found a few things I could use for unbelievably cheap. I found this fabric actually several months ago, but ever since, when I go there I check the clearance pile, and there usually is something I can use. If I go to the regular shelves, I find nothing.  Fine by me~.

Some patterns are drafted very well, and I think this is one of them.  It just works, if you know what I mean.

For the collar band interfacing, I used this expensive stretchy knit interfacing. This cost almost as much as this clearance sweater knit! The fabric is VERY stretchy. 

 Hey, this photo shows the actual fabric color the best. It's more blue like this.

The result was a beautiful neck/collar line.  It was worth the price. The collar feels soft and stretches nicely with the fabric.

As I was finishing, I was thinking that maybe I didn't want to put the interfacing. Maybe  wanted the collar to be floppy, real floppy.  Maybe next time I'll make one without interfacing.  So, I was fiddling with the collar to see if I could make it look not so stiff.  It isn't stiff at all, but it looks "structured" against the rest of the garment.

Then I realized.  This garment can be worn many different ways~!

You're going to have to see this pic again. As the pattern design intended. This way, with the collar band running all the way down.

Or like this.

Add a belt or scarf tie, to make it an instant sweater jacket.

Fold the collar band completely inside, and it looks more like a regular cardigan. I think you can even put buttons on it.

Narrower collar band showing, and add a broach.

The same idea, but even narrower collar up at the top only. It looks more like a tunic, or a half coat.

Wear a scarf under the collar.

Around the neck.

As if that wasn't enough photos, now you get to see me wear it.

Uh. Sorry, bad lighting day, today.

The back view.  Soft and flowy.

Ok, I'm going to play with the collar now.

See? Like this.

It does look like I'm wearing an A-line tunic.

Now, the collar isn't folded.  Just all the way out.

I like this no collar folding business.  It feels more like a real cardigan.

Then, this.  Another tunic-y look.

Or maybe a jacket-y look.

Now the collar is folded inside. Seriously, I may skip the collar, but use half width collar band pattern just to create button bands and put some pretty buttons on.

You like this?

I decided this look isn't for me. It feels like I'm wearing a smoking jacket, or an extremely short bathrobe!!

And the scarf look.  Ok.

Oh, so focusing on the cardigan, I forgot to report that I made another Style Arc Linda Stretch Pants. Here~!

These are so comfy.

Ok, you can see how happy I am with both the cardigan and the pants, but especially the cardigan.  It was easy to put together, very straight-forward and simple. I like the flattering design. I did the petite adjustment as shown on the pattern, and it set the waist right where it needs to be. (Doesn't always happen) Versatile garment, as you can see.

This one really worked. I can see me making v. 2 soon.