Just by chance actually! As a matter of fact, I learned a couple of things.
I’ve decided I need more dresses in my life (again). I also noticed that IG is having a #sewtogetherforsummer Challenge that I can participate in – if I get my entry done by June 21st. I do not like deadline sewing, so this is going to be interesting.
I have my shirt dress pattern picked out – Butterick B5920. It is an unexpected shirt dress pattern, as it might not even be a shirt dress. It’s a Butterick Retro ’51 pattern. Of course, there is NO WAY I am sewing heart shaped pockets on my chest – sorry. I am going to leave the pockets off completely. But I do LOVE this turned up collar. It kind of follows my neck curve like no other collar I have seen before … and I love it!
I’m not making the lined/gauzy one. I’ll be using this 100% rayon “Ellena Rayon Twill Print”. I love the shades of green and purple. I suppose I should as they are in my Autumn colour palette.
Strange the pattern asked me to cut out a skirt front AND a skirt back when both pieces looked exactly the same. So I cut out four skirt fronts instead – just cutting off the button placket tab to make the back piece. Cheating!
Now the fun, and the learning starts. I am still using my Vintage Sewing Machines for my projects. This one is a Singer 500 Rocketeer named “Barbie”. You can read more about Barbie here, if you like. I tested her stitch and she was still looking fine!
I tested seam length and needles out on this 100% rayon fabric too – Barbie still had no problems. (Can you see the cat’s bed in the background left? They love to follow us from room to room and I always try to coax them away from my sewing area to a safe warm out-of-my-way cat bed.)
So when does the learning start? Right here with my Professional Buttonholer by Singer. My Rocketeer was purchased in pristine condition by me from the previous owner. Barbie was born in 1961. The Buttonholer that came with her even had the original instruction manual (copyright 1967), the sales receipt ($17.80) and the plastic cover.
I was happy to go through the manual thoroughly as I had no idea how to operate the Buttonholer. And what did I find – all the parts were there EXCEPT one feed cover plate screw … missing … lost.
This is the first lesson I learned – don’t be shy to collect all the sewing parts, bits and bobs, and stuff that you can get your hands on. In my bags of do-dads, I found three screws – two of them fit!
On to my second lesson learned – how to attach and operate a Buttonholer. I was happy to have the instruction manual as I didn’t find much help online, so I thought I would share with you. (I’ve left the template cover open just so you can see the green plastic template inside. The template cover is closed and locked when actually operating the Buttonholer.)
Barbie is set for a zig zag stitch with the needle at the centre position. Zig zag is for “worked” buttonholes (finished with thread) and straight stitch is for “bound” buttonholes (piped with fabric). The regular sewing foot is removed and Buttonholer screwed on instead, with the fork arm of the Buttonholer fitting over the screw of the needle clamp.
On this side, the front screw unlocks to allow you to adjust the Space Selector above to the same number as Barbie’s stitch width setting. The back screw unlocks to allow you to adjust the Stitch Length Selector – 1 for “worked” buttonholes; 2 for “bound” buttonholes.
Line up your bodice centre line with the second line marked on the cloth clamp, and your buttonhole line with the centre line marked on the cloth clamp.
Ready, set, sew! No hands even!
Test buttonhole done.
And some more practice until the lesson is learned!
Time to sew on these FAB buttons! These were such a lucky find and a perfect match, don’t you think?
I couldn’t resist showing you this – turn up the volume and just listen – doesn’t this just sound like a ticking clock? Nothing at all like my modern computerized sewing machine!
I was so happy to find Barbie, my Rocketeer, in such good condition with the Buttonholer and instruction manual and all her accessories. Searching on line I didn’t find much help on how to attach or run a Vintage Buttonholer – makes me think I should Youtube my own “How to use a Vintage Buttonholer” for others not lucky enough to own the instruction manual.