Tag Archives: sewing machines

Of *course* there’s room for one more

15 Apr

I say you can never have too many sewing machines.


Meet my new Singer 301, the mocha colored big sister to my  black Featherweight.  I had already spied this 301 on Craigslist before getting down here. I emailed her before leaving and she still had it available. We picked it up on Wednesday morning. I’m in love. Hopefully I can show what I’ve been working on before leaving Florida on Sunday. For now I’m going to keep it at my parent’s place.

The case smelled like the Playboy club in the mid 60s. REEKED of smoke. It was so bad we drove it home with the windows open. It’s currently full of kitty litter and sitting outside full time.  After two days it smells much better! We’re now working on the mildew smell.

I bought this one while visiting my parents in Florida. The woman I purchased it from has well over a dozen machines of her own, mostly treadles. She tried to leave the case outside to air out and it didn’t help. Here she is at the County Fair giving a demonstration on one of her treadles.

This  Minnesota machine was made for the Sears Roebuck company. You can see the company’s name on the base. Beautiful.

I also got my first chance to try a hand crank machine. This is one I would definitely buy if I had the chance.

I’d like to tell you I’m all done buying sewing machines. But, I’m not. LOL. That, a grasshopper by Elna, a white Featherweight, Singer Genie and  a pink Necchi are all on my list to accquire some day.

Click to enlarge some photos of her other machines from the Fair:

So far, Florida has been great. My dad and I hit the County Fair and Youth Livestock Show.

I may have also sucked down a big plate of fried green tomatoes. I’ve tried to make them at home once. But, these were fantastic.

I’d go back to the fair for more if I didn’t have to pay parking and the admission fee. Oh, who am I kidding. I still may go back for more.

Things Calm Down

5 Aug

It’s been a crazy busy month on this side of the world.  But, my reward came early! Remember when I bought the Singer 221 Featherweight? Well, one came without a case. The woman selling said her mom had the case and accessories and she’d let me know when she got it from her mom.

Well, this morning I went and picked up the case. It was in perfect condition. I noticed it was crazy heavy and I figured there must be a buttonholer inside.

Which there was….

And this zig zagger!

And this great book!

And these singer sewing lessons! Complete with samples from the class!

And a complete box of accessories!

And a random tucker!

An instruction manual, two keys and a can of oil!


If I owe you an email, package or phone call — I’m working on it this week. Thanks for your patience! I slept a full 12 hours Monday and Tuesday after three solid weeks of work. I’ve never appreciated a day off so much :) I’m having a party this weekend — and you know how much time that takes! I have hopes (ha!) of making something for the party. But, I doubt it’ll happen :)


I Got a 94

1 Jun

I had to work Sunday — perfect weather and time for my final project dress. Sometimes, when you wear a garment and take photos, you notice stuff you totally didn’t see before (like the fact that I need to get my hair back to one color). First, here’s the most flattering photo of the dress, but I’m not smiling — odd for me :) I was probably trying not to sweat.

I wore it Sunday and it was perfect for celebrating Italian Republic Day. My hemline is usually just below the knee and I’m making a concerted effort to sew shorter skirts. My knees felt all liberated and I feel taller. There are some issues at the armsyce because I forgot to add the shoulder seam allowance!!

Here I am smiling. I also acknowledge that the skirt is too big on me. I was really worried about it being small, so I have a touch more ease than I would were I too sew it again. See all the puckering at ruffle insertion? I think this happened because I sewed in the ruffle from top to bottom, and top stitched from bottom to top. You can’t see that in the original photo below.

I came home from my program tonight, picked out the top stitching, pressed and re-top stitched. It’s now perfect.

When I was in Seattle I got to try on the original Anthropologie dress I copied.

You can see here that they tacked down the ruffle (I didn’t) and they did not insert the ruffle. Just sewed it down along the outside dart. I learned a great deal from this project and will spend the summer perfecting my sloper. It’s a whole new world :)

Finally, are you ready for something crazy? After I blogged Saturday night, I actually went back out and picked up a second Featherweight. Long story short, there was a second one on Craigslist that I had been working on simultaneously and I felt it needed to be rescued. I know I should sell the first when I’m done cleaning up and repairing the carrying case and keep the second. Although I spent most of today wanting to keep both.

I think I’m going to name her Issie. You know, for Issac Singer.

Two Great Things in One Awesome Day

30 May

I practically had to toss a coin  to figure out of the two great things today, which I would talk about first. And, it came down to photos. So, I’ll chat about the great thing with good photos first.

I finally got a Singer 221 Featherweight!!

And, it does sew just as beautifully as they say. And, I do a killer happy dance!!

Blog reader Melodye tipped me off that one was on Craigslist for a 1/4 of the going rate within 20 mins of me. Actually this is the second one she let me know about, but the first time I was in Seattle. I emailed the woman Thursday night, looked it over on Friday morning and picked it up today. Her grandmother first got it in Christmas 1954. Then it was her mom’s. And finally, it became hers. But, she already had a machine and it was ‘just sitting in the basement’.

My friend Kristy and I (who got her beautiful Centennial edition above all perfect and unused in the trash of all places) went to work at it for about an hour today to get the bobbin area cleared of horrible thread snarls. Now, it’s fabulous! I’ll do a size comp with my Kennie 1040 soon. So, that brings my machine count to…five. Four vintage. All loved. Seriuosly, I was talking to the Featherweight.

Kristy, myself and Lisette

The second awesome thing was that I met up with Lisette today from La Cubanita Cose (which I always say is my favorite sewing blog name)! We went to Ikea to see the ‘Sew Me What You’ve Got Fashion Show’. I’ve got a lot to say about that, but want to organize my photos better. Lisette though, was awesome. Funny, smart, charming and wearing a great BWOF skirt that I didn’t get a photo off. My pic above is awful, so I’m hoping hers was a little better.

And, here’s a teaser for my next post on the actual garments from the fashion show. More soon, I promise!

This is my machine (The Sewist’s Creed)

16 Feb

This is my sewing machine. There are many like it, but this one is MINE. My sewing machine is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My sewing machine without me is useless. Without my sewing machine, I am useless. I must sew my machine true. I must sew straighter than my friends who are trying to dress me in Talbots. I must sew my clothes before Macys calls me.


I will… My sewing machine and myself know that what counts in clothing is not the amount I make, the noise of our motors, nor the seams we rip. We know it is the perfect fit that counts.


We will stitch… My sewing machine is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a sister. I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its bobbins, and its stitches. I will ever guard it against the ravages of dust and humidity. I will keep my sewing machine clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other.


We will… Before G_d I swear this creed. My sewing machine and myself are the defenders of cheap and nasty clothes. We are the masters of shoddy seams and cheap interfacing. We are the saviors of my fashionable life.

– adapted by me with all due respect from the creed of the US Marine Corps


13 Feb

Hidy Ho Readers,

So, the last few days have been super busy. I think my mom is worried I may have been carjacked.

I’m popping in for one bit of news. I am a big hater of tax refunds. I see no point in letting the government take my money and keep it for a full year only to get excited when they give it back to me in April. I also hate all those ‘free e-file’ and ‘rapid refund’ places (nothing rapid or free about it). I go on a rant whenever my friends say they are scared to do their taxes but, I digress. Due to a change in job (and salary) last year and a change in my property taxes (more, grrrr) I ended up with a tax refund.

Being a responsible (ha!) person, I put 2/3 of it away in my IRA and the rest went to this.

Yeah. I joined the 21st century and got a computerized sewing machine. I didn’t go in and test it out, I didn’t bother comparing its features with other machines. I didn’t obsess about which one and solicit a million opinions.

I had been reading about Kenmores on PatternReview. I broached a ‘new’ machine with NiceGirl and Carolyn. One pretty much offered to drive me to Sears and the other practically put gas in my car.

So, while politics at home have kept me running, I’ve also been playing around with this a little and I’m in love.

Not that I don’t love my 1965 Morse. I do! And I’ll still use it to quilt and teach. But, it was time to enter the world of automatic buttonholes, twin needles, knit stitches and free arm sewing. And, I wouldn’t really travel with this, but that’s why I have my little Kennie.

I should add, I’m still wary of computerized machines as I bought one three years ago and it was a bloody PITA and lasted less than a year. But, this one isn’t a Brother and it’s a higher end model built by a reputable company (Janome). Let’s hope for the best over the next five to 10 years!

And thanks for the hints on the shirt. I totally wore my muslin to work on Monday and had several compliments on it. Nicegirl and I are getting together on Sunday or Monday. We’ll do measurements then. I think it’ll be interesting for me to compare mine with the pattern. Based on that, I can make some adjustments.

Welcome home little one

2 Oct

I love eBay. My new Kenmore 1040 was here when I got home. Sellers pitch it as the Featherweight alternative. It weighs 13 pounds or so and comes with a plastic carrying case with embossed flowers.

It has this cute plastic bump out to expand the bed… which also has storage for supplies. It makes a straight, zig zag, buttonhole and stretch stitch

It’s a 70s era machine in two shades of green to prove it.

I spent all night cleaning and oiling it (linty, dirty and disgusting) and resolved to start covering my current sewing machines when not in use. Now, I just need a new belt for it. The one it had was not engaging the way it should. And I refuse to buy Sears’ for $8.50 plus $8.50 shipping. The Dritz belt at Joann’s was too big. And Home Depot didn’t have the right size. I can feel today’s internet obsession already….

So, I now have my backup, travel and buttonhole machine. Yippee!!

Old Green Grill, New Pink Machine

26 Jun

The only thing I did with my jacket last night was move it from the sewing chair to the sewing table.

But, I did smoke beef ribs for dinner on my apple green Weber. There are no actual photos of the ribs because I was busy sucking down ice after I burned the roof of my mouth eating them as soon as they came of the grill. You cook something for three hours and you’d be little anxious to eat it too.

And this followed me home last night from Craigslist.

Now, it does zig zag which my Morse doesn’t. And it works with my buttonholer. So really, I needed it. Yeah, that’s right. Needed. I negotiated it down to $25 — they wanted $40. I think they really just wanted it out of the house. That’s a small investment for a backup machine, right? Right?

Yes, yes. Just last month I showed you the vintage Necchi. But, it needs rewiring. And he who gaveth the gift took it back to re-wire. Can’t really pressure someone to hurry up when they are doing it for free.

What else… ahhh, buttons. I bought two sets for the jacket and have decided to go with the double button on the top. The JHB brand was 40% off at Joann’s this weekend. So I got about a dozen for about $3.

And, there’s another bound buttonholer on ebay. For those who might be mad I put that on blast, I won’t post the next time one is listed :)

Great ex boyfriends

5 Jun

How can this be sewing related with a title like that?

Look what showed up on my back porch this morning.

It only took one call to realize that an ex boyfriend found one on the job. Knowing my extreme love for vintage sewing machines, he dropped it off at 6:00 this morning.

It’s an Italian made Necchi BU. I don’t know anything about these machines except what I just read on PR. Could not be more excited.

It’s going to need a lot of work and I just got the Singer 337 going. But, I think the Necchi is probably a better machine.

I looove to tinker. This is going to be fun.