Archive for October, 2010

The world is full of interesting people with stories to tell.   This week I finally got around to taking my Singer 404 into the shop to have a cleaning and service.  When I get a vintage machine, I don’t sew with it until it has been checked out as safe and functional.  The fixer man had told me how to get the machine out of the cabinet, and this was an easy job, so off to the shop it went.  A few days later, I got a call from the lady at the sewing machine/vacuum shop telling me that my machine was ready for pickup.

The shop owner is not there this week since he is traveling overseas to his son’s wedding, so they have an elderly lady friend filling in at the shop.  When I was writing my check for the machine tune-up, I got to chatting with the lady.  She told me that she had graduated from high school in the late 40’s with the highest grade in the school in home economics.  Her school was in the Midwest, and in her town the Singer store had a reward for the girl who scored highest in that subject.  The Singer company used to have stores that carried their machines, notions, and even fabric.  I can remember one in the first mall built in my town back in the 60’s, but I don’t think there are any Singer storefronts left anywhere.  Anyhow, the lady told me that the reward was to be a job in the Singer store for the summer.  She had a happy time imagining how she would be so professional, selling sewing machines and fabric.  When she showed up at the store after graduation, she saw that they had a big front window loaded with boxes and boxes of Featherweights surrounding a table with a Featherweight set up on it.  She found out that her job was to sit in the store window sewing on the new machine all day.  She was so disappointed, and bored with sewing all day.  Plus, she told me, she was humiliated because the high school boys would walk by and knock on the window to tease her.  I loved this story, a picture of the past, and it helped me see that nice lady as a young girl.

Today I noticed that they are having a sale at Joann’s, so I got some flannel for pajamas at 60% off.   I love sewing on flannel, because it is so cooperative.

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Owl Overnight Bag

This is the mystery fabric bag I have been working on this week, using Simplicity 9949.  I enlarged the pattern somehow (don’t actually remember how I did it but it is about twice the size of the original pattern) so that it would be a good size for a small weekend bag.

Here’s the interior which also has a side zipper pocket that did not show up in the photo:

I appliqued an owl motif in the center of each side pocket unit.  The bag is interfaced with a layer of fusible batting, and the fabric is decorator fabric from the discount decorator fabric store (Home Fabrics).  This project taught me that the lining needs to have batting applied to it, too,  if the fabric is not very heavy.  I did put the fabric loop on the inside to attach a coin purse to, but I haven’t made the small purse yet.

Now I am working on some UFO’s that have been waiting a good 10 years to be noticed again.

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Timing Is Everything

Well, this was my birthday weekend, so we took a drive to Sebastopol to visit the Legacy Thrift Shop, which was having a warehouse sale.  I was eager to get on the road, but we got started a little late and had a little trouble finding the location when we got there.  However, once we entered the venue, my gosh, how terrific was that sale!  I was looking for vintage patterns and knitting booklets, and I saw one girl walking by with a whole box full of vintage 1940-1950 patterns.  She said she had her kids with her and didn’t have time to look through them, so was buying the whole box.  So I missed a chance at the vintage-women-and-children patterns by about 5 minutes.  I heard her ringing her purchase up and the whole box full, which must have had about 150 or so patterns in it, cost her about $8, since they were selling the patterns for 5 cents each.  However, I did find some vintage men’s shirt patterns and some lingerie patterns.  Then my daughter called me over to a small table with magazines on it, and there were half a dozen or so Vogue Knitting magazines from the 1950’s (my favorite!) selling for 10 cents each, so I was a happy camper.  We also found a Toyota knitting machine for the daughter complete with accessories and ribber for $40, and a wonderful standing quilting frame for the other daughter for only $10.

I am still working on the mystery fabric overnight bag, but am in the home stretch.  I have the lining with the pockets all finished, and now I am making the straps.  I had an idea to try something new for this bag:  I am going to make a ‘coin purse’ or accessory bag in the lining print fabric and have a long strap on it that fastens with a swivel hook to a loop sewn into the lining side seam.  I also put a zipper pocket into the lining in addition to the regular pockets.

I wish the weather would cool down to fall levels, since here it is almost Halloween and we still are running the air conditioning.

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McCalls 5469

I finished the first try at this pattern.  It will be wearable, but I still need to start with a smaller size pattern, do a full bust adjustment, and add a little to the upper arm width.  Other than that, I like this pattern.  The sleeves must be very well drafted indeed because they were so easy to set in that I was amazed at how fast I finished.

I used some lightweight linen blend I had in the stash.  This pattern is very easy to sew.

This picture is pretty bad, but you can see the general shape of things.  The next picture is of the blouse on Madame Merp, who is wearing a yellow tank under the top, so ignore that:

Now I am making a large weekend bag for M using some really cute fabric I found yesterday.  She reads this blog so it will have to remain a mystery project until completion.

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I think I have written before about my length of ultrasuede.  It was a present to my mother many years ago from my father.  I think that it cost $33/yd then, and he got her three yards.  This was a very extravagant present, and she was too intimidated to ever cut into it.  So the years passed, and now the fabric has been handed down to me. The fabric still looks terrific, the original thickness in a tan/cream color.  I have been wondering what to do with it, since I think it has been sitting around unused for close to, well, a whole lot of years, so it is time to be used.  I don’t want to make a garment that will go out of style, and since I like making handbags, I got the idea to make bags for my sisters and for me, and if there are leftovers, I can make small bags for the granddaughters and sister-in-laws.  That way they would all have something that was special to my mom.

I am still thinking over this idea, but so far I really like it.

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