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Posts Tagged ‘Sewing’

And I was just going to tell you what I did with my Summer vacation!!!

It hasn’t been a brilliant year for sewing or quilting, but I did manage to finish one project.  This was a birthday present for my friend Dena in June 2013.

She chose this Green string quilt from my stack of finished tops needing quilting, along with a burgundy print backing fabric to match her new sofa.

Quilt on Wall

I quilted it with a simple Free Motion meandering pattern on my domestic sewing machine.  Not the most skilled meandering, but I am improving.  :)

Dena quilt2

I attached the binding by machine using Pat Sloan’s method, which worked great for me.

Dena quilt

And when I visited Dena’s home last week, I was so thrilled to see her quilt on the back of her sofa!  She likes it!  That’s such a good feeling.  :)

quilt at D's house

Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Quilting, too!

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Our older daughter was married last weekend.  It’s been a busy time with preparations, and I was able to use my home sewing skills to make some special things for the big day.   :)

My daughter liked this style of ring pillow, so I made this one for her:

We purchased our bride’s wedding dress from a bridal shop, but we couldn’t find just the right dress for our younger daughter to wear as a bridesmaid.  So…back to the ways of my childhood, I did as my mother would have done, and we went to the fabric store to look at patterns and fabric.  We found just the right shade of pink silk dupion as requested by the bride, and my little one chose McCalls 5795 pattern as the dress she would like to wear.

This is a lovely pattern, and the instructions are easy to follow.  I had a few problems putting in the zipper, but I think that was my own fault from inexperience, as I had never sewn anything so complicated before.  I had difficulty managing all the layers — silk outer fabric, taffeta lining and tulle overskirt — even though I had carefully hand-basted everything together.   But after the second attempt, it was fine, and next time it will be easier!  :)  Now that I’ve made this one, I’m eager to try it again.

Here’s the dress almost finished, just needing a bit of handwork:

It turned out really well, and here are our two lovely girls on the Big Day:

I suddenly realised that my “little one” isn’t so little anymore.  And my “big girl” is all grown up.  Where does the time go?

Happy Quilting — and Sewing!  :)

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This is Esmeralda.  She is a beautiful green Singer 327K, serial number  ET670062, with a registration date of July 31, 1962.   She has just come home from the sewing machine hospital, where she was put right again after an extreme case of smokin’ hot foot pedal!
The official Singer serial number list shows this number as belonging to a 328K, but Esme is clearly marked “327K”.  The K just means that she was manufactured at Singer’s Kilbowie factory in Clydebank, Scotland.
I do simple repairs and maintenance on my hand-crank and treadle machines, but electrical problems are beyond my skills. My sewing machine guy is brilliant — he rewired the original foot pedal and saved the vintage casing and electrical cord to keep Esme’s green and brown colour scheme intact.
The sewing machine man was even able to get a new green bobbin winder tyre!
Esme uses Class 66 bobbins, which are inexpensive and easy to find.

and she has a lovely storage case that clips on…

She has a new needle plate, too…

and now she’s just as pretty as the day she came out of the factory, and she sews just as well, too!  :)

Happy Quilting!

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On a recent journey down south in England, we visited Bletchley Park National Codes Centre, famous for World War II codebreakers and the mathematical genius Alan Turing and his colleagues.  The 2001 movie Enigma was filmed there, although that is a highly fictionalised account of the activities that took place there.

We saw Enigma machines and the Colossus computer, took a tour of the grounds and later had a nice picnic outdoors.

My husband loves computers, and my daughter and I are very interested in antique toys and household items.  While he was off looking at other computers, we were thrilled to find this antique Husqvarna sewing machine from the 1920s in a little museum.

The colours in the decals were still so bright and lovely.  We were allowed to turn the handle, and the mechanism was smooth and silent!

In the toy section, we saw a tiny sewing machine in a dolls house:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and we saw some of our other favourites, too — Mr. Punch (of Punch and Judy fame):

and a Batman joystick from an old computer games console!  We really love Batman at our house!

It was great day out with something for everyone!   :)

Happy Quilting!

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I’ve been visiting this book  — Traditional British Quilts by Dorothy Osler — at my public library about once a month for the past two years.  It’s in the reference section, so I couldn’t check it out and take it home with me.  It was also published in 1987, and it’s been out of print for a while, so for the longest time, I couldn’t even find a copy to buy.  Until now!  I just found it last week!  :)

I fell in love with a wonderful quilt on Page 29.  It’s called Medallion Quilt in multicoloured cottons;  North Country:  c. 1880.  The photo is in black and white, so I can’t see the “multicoloured cottons,” but I know it must be really special.  Every time I looked at this book in the library,  I made lots of notes and little drawings so I could remember what the quilt looked like.

 

Then I came home and started making my own version of the Medallion Quilt in all the deep reds and burgundies I had in my stash.  I wanted my quilt to be rectangular instead of square, so I changed the centre design from 9 squares with sashing to 12 squares with sashing.

The borders and cornerstones will increase by 1/2 inch in width with each subsequent row.  Borders 3 to 6 are already cut out and ready to go.

Border 7 will be a Flying Geese “Goose Chase” flowing in anti-clockwise direction, and the geese will be made of all the scrap fabrics left over from the other borders.  Here’s an example of that pattern from the Quilters Cache website.

I haven’t done the maths, so I don’t know how big this quilt will turn out to be, and I’m not going to make myself feel guilty for taking a long time to finish it.  It’s been such an interesting project — I just want to savour it!  :)

Happy Quilting!

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Next up, Scrappy Trips Around the World, using Bonnie K. Hunter’s free pattern on her website.

Sometimes I see a quilt pattern first and then visualise it in my own fabrics.  This time, we found a wonderful fabric first.  I bought this cute snake fabric because my little girl liked it so much.  And when I saw Bonnie’s pattern, I knew it would be perfect!

This is a Moda fabric called “Sss-silly Safari” and designed by Cheri L. Strole.  I’m going to use it for the outer borders.

I had lots of colourful scraps left over from another quilt I made for my daughter in 2008, which I combined with other brights from my stash for this project.  My little one loves these happy colours.

Here are the first eight blocks assembled:

And more strips pinned and ready to sew:

Thank you very much, Bonnie, for sharing your lovely pattern!  :)

Happy Quilting!

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I’ve made good progress on the blue and yellow Crossed Canoes project this month.  All the quarter blocks are finished (168 of them!), which will yield 42 – 12-inch blocks.  They are going to be set 6 x 7, and the finished quilt will measure approximately 72 inches by 84 inches.  It’s not going to have any borders.

The first six blocks are assembled.  Just 36 more to go!  :)  The blocks were pieced on Ruby, the Singer 99K hand-crank machine, but I’m assembling the components on Marie, the Janome 6500P.  It goes much faster on the electric machine, and now I am impatient to finish!

Nigel the quilting dog is staying “on top of things”, as usual!  :)

Happy Quilting!

 

 

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Lately I’ve been sewing only in my sewing room on my two favourite electric machines  — Marie, the Janome 6500P, and Peggy, the Singer 201K from 1951.

Today however, my 10-year-old asked me if I would sew in the living room so I could watch Dr. Who DVDs with her.  How could I resist a lovely offer like that?!  ;-)

I didn’t want to move those heavy electric machines and worry about extension leads trailing across the floor, so it was Ruby, the Singer 99K, to the rescue!  Small, portable, hand operated, and she doesn’t make much noise — just right for TV watching while sewing.

We are working on an ancient Blue and Yellow UFO.  I’m not sure exactly how old it is, but I do know that I bought this fabric in Houston, Texas, when I lived there, so this might be 16 years old or so.

The pattern is Crossed Canoes, and the paper pieced pattern can be found here on the World Wide Quilting Page.

I had 11 blocks previously made, and now I have enough components to assemble 25 blocks.  There is loads of fabric left, so I might keep going until I have enough blocks for a large bed-size quilt.  Most of the people in our family are tall, so lap quilts really aren’t big enough for us to wrap up in while reading or watching TV.

And here is Nigel, the quilting dog, supervising the activities!  He and this UFO project are just about the same age!  :)  He is always my Number 1 helper.

 

Happy Quilting!

 

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My latest restoration project is “Ruby,” a Singer 99K model from 1927, serial number Y4432093.

I was so impatient to start working on her that I forgot to take any “Before” photos.  So here she is, just being beautiful in the “After” stage.  :)

Ruby came to me in a sadly neglected state.  She was very grimy and sticky, the chrome on the bobbin plate and needle plate was badly pitted, and the lid to the accessories compartment was completely rusted out.  I believe she probably started her life as a hand-crank machine but later was fitted with an electric motor.   The electrical plug end was the old type that fits into a light socket where a bulb normally goes.  The flex cord was very frayed and twisted, and I didn’t want to risk a shock, so I removed all the old electrical bits and disposed of them.

In my treasure chest of sewing machine parts, I just happened to have a hand-crank mechanism of the right style and size to fit this machine, so I installed that.  I found a replacement accessories compartment lid on eBay, and I used sewing machine oil and a cheap emery board from the grocery store to sand out the pits in the chrome.  I took the tension assembly apart and cleaned that, and gave the whole machine a good cleaning and oiling inside and out.

Finally I polished all the enameled surfaces with a non-abrasive auto polish that is recommended for use on Aston Martin and Jaguar cars.  I figured, if it’s safe enough for fine motor cars, it ought to be safe for my little sewing machine — but I did test it first on the underside, just to be sure!

This is Ruby’s bentwood case.  I was also able to locate a square-ended key to fit the lock, so now she can be stored and moved safely in her case.

Inside the accessories compartment was this large assortment of attachments and feet, including the requisite lethal-looking razor blade!  Every vintage machine I’ve ever bought has had a razor blade like that with it.  It’s what people used before seam-ripper tools were invented, although my mother always used fine embroidery scissors, and so do I.

With stitch length adjusted and tension fine-tuned, she is now sewing perfectly.  I think Ruby’s a keeper!

Happy Quilting!

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I’ve been having fun with my new sewing machine that we brought home yesterday.  It’s a Singer Model 15K80 from 1937.

When she’s put away, she looks like this:

I cleaned and oiled the machine itself and lubricated the treadle irons, and she is so quiet now!  She has a lot of wear to her decals, and her wooden table could be refinished, but mechanically she is sound and works great.  That’s most important to me for this machine.  I wanted a good treadle that I can really use a lot.

We bought the machine from a lady in Leeds who inherited it from her great-aunt Whilhemina, who was a seamstress.  It came with a drawer full of attachments, a shoebox full of thread spools, and a big plastic bag full of scrap fabric.  I’ve named her “Mina” in honour of her previous owner.  She also has her original instruction book and a receipt from January 31, 1959, when she was bought used from the Singer dealer for £30.  That was a lot of money in 1959!  The wear to the decals is where the lady’s hands would rest when she was sewing.  It’s just so sweet.  I love it.  :)

She is sitting on a plastic sheet because I oiled and cleaned the treadle irons and didn’t want to make a mess on the carpet.

Happy New Year!  Happy Quilting!

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