Amber is put to work …

Perhaps you remember my Singer 421G, a convertible free arm sewing machine made in Germany in 1954.  “Amber” for short!  Since purchasing Amber, she has received a good cleaning and oiling, and I took apart her tension assembly and put her back together again.  She runs smoothly now with a nice stitch.

I love the sound she makes – like a train clicking quickly on the tracks, heavy on my table with no shake – unlike my Janome 3160QDC who whirrs loudly and shakes the table as she sews.  Now it’s time to put Amber to work.   Continue reading

Let me talk about new toys…

For as long as I can remember, I have been sewing in my invisible zippers with a Singer Zipper foot that fits on my Janome sewing machine (below right).  It bounces around a bit, but it’s ok.  A few months ago I purchased this “Unique” brand package.  A plastic Zipper Foot with a variety of shanks to fit any machine – supposedly useful for sewing in invisible zippers!  Sorry… I found using my Singer Zipper foot to be more accurate.

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I recently decided that it was time to splurge.  After searching for a Janome Invisible Zipper foot – only to discover there was no such thing – I found a Janome Concealed Zipper foot… and I bought it, despite it’s silly name!

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Question and Answer Period!

A Blog Buddy has asked what settings I use on my Janome My Lock 334 serger for a rolled hem, since we have the same machine, and since she does not have the manual for her machine.

Well to start, I have a selection of reference books, my next favourite thing to buy besides fabric and notions! They might help – like my “Singer Sewing Step By Step” and my “Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide”, along with my serger manual.

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Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!

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Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!

There are a lot of sewists looking online for that manual.  The best they can find is the manual for the MyLock 634D, which they all claim is close.  It can be downloaded as a PDF from the Janome site. I can’t believe some sites have the MyLock 334 manual for sale for $14.99.  EBay has it for $9.99.

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My babies….

I thought I would take a break from my sewing this lovely long Easter weekend to show you my babies, both Janomes just by co-incidence. I did not buy them together and at the time I was looking for each I wanted the best and most reliable I could get in my budget.  I read lots of articles, like this one from Consumer Reports.  If you Google “how to buy a sewing machine/serger” or other variations that phrase, you will get hundreds of articles!  Even Craftsy has an article.   I thought this one was cool too.  When I was looking, the winners were Janome.

My serger is a Janome “MyLock 334”.  It has seen a few years.  It is my first and only serger and still running strong, although I know it is pretty basic to what is out there nowadays!

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I just found the pamphlet for it.  It has handwritten on it $595.00 and 16/6/90 – I guess that means it is 24 years old?

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It is pretty easy to thread, being an older serger.  It even has a colourful diagram attached on the inside to follow when threading.  It can do a rolled hem and a couple of other edging stitches.

Now unfortunately when I just opened it up to show you I saw a whole cupful of dust, thread, fabric cuttings and goo inside my serger.  Eww.  Long overdue for a clean out!  TIP:  when blowing crap out of your machine, don’t breathe in and close your eyes! 😖 (I learned that from experience.)

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There, that’s better!

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My other baby, my sewing machine, is a Janome “3160 QDC”.  This I purchased in December 2011.

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Even though I ran fabric through it sampling all 60 stitches, I still haven’t used it to its potential when sewing my projects!

You can remove the storage box and have a free arm for sleeves or …

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it also came with a quilting table and quilting accessories – the most notable of which is the “walking foot”.  Now I am not a quilter, but I just had to try it all out!

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Quilted placemats – which I do enjoy making.

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What kind of machines do you use? New or old? Are you happy with them?  Love to hear from you!

Diving into knits! Part Two

Back on schedule again!  Perhaps some of you remember my other “Diving into knits”  post?

imageI have been using McCall’s 4261.

I sewed up my red T shirt, it was such an easy pattern to put together, but I think now it might be too nice to workout in!

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Now on to my blue yoga pants.

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Don’t worry! I ironed my pattern piece after taking this photo and before cutting!

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My first “up cycle”?

My sister’s co-worker is traveling to Mexico very soon to avoid our rainy winter – the rain just goes on and on and on…  She asked my sister if I would be willing to sew her “tankini” for her before she leaves.  Sure, I love a new project!

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What we have here is her tankini top and a sample of the bottom she would like to have made out of the material which covers her tummy.  She wants that material taken off so that she can get some extra sun.  “Might as well! Hey?”

So I cut it off.

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I used this excellent stitch to hem up the stretchy knit material of the top by hand.

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imageTop hemmed.  The strap has to be changed yet though.

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Next? Diving into knits!

Last time I sewed anything with a knit fabric I was in grade 10. (That was a long, long time ago!) It was a heavy 100% polyester knit and it was solid pink! Very cool indeed! I made a t-shirt style top and hipster pants, almost a perfect match for this McCalls 3280.

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Can you imagine $1.00 for a McCalls pattern!

Now that I think back it was really heavy, thick material and really really pink. (ugh!) Another annoyance was that the pants didn’t really fit well. Ya they were hipsters and ya they were tight all the way down to their bell bottoms, but they had a tendency to slip down if I moved and the elastic waist band rolled down and dug into me. More importantly the crotch seam was just not quite right! Need I say more? But hey, I made them myself and they were fashionable and I wore my pink outfit to school proudly!

I haven’t sewed a pair of pants since and I haven’t sewed a scrap of 100% polyester knit fabric since!

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It’s done!! Seriously!!

Well it is Friday night and I am exhausted, but happy!  Exhausted because it was a busy work week and happy because I got to wear MY NEW COAT to work all week.  It was wonderful, not too hot and not too cold, but juuuust RIGHT! (I sound like Goldilocks and I am not even blond!)

I was very happy when my co-workers said…. “Oh did you get a new coat?”  “Yes, I did.”  “It’s nice, where did you get it?”  “I made it!” 😀

So here it is…

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It is made of a dark grey wool Melton with McCalls M6657.  As I said before I did not like that the pattern did not have a back neck facing or lining, so I pieced those together myself.  Otherwise, it was a simple pattern to make!

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Well … Long time no blog!

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks, starting with the Craft Fair.  The top sellers for me seemed to be the infinity scarves and secondly the kitchen items.

Here is a photo of my wares…

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I had my business cards there too as I am willing to make up an item, personalized, from scratch, as indicated by the blue fleece jacket, for anyone.

A note to self: when someone says “craft fair” check if you should bring your own small table. I should have known! But since it was in a private home, I assumed there would be lots of space and somewhere to set up.  Well there was, but the poor Host was apologizing that she had so many vendors, she pretty much ran out of tables and space!  I could have helped her out by bringing my own table at least!  That being said she was very generous with her home and her coffee and snacks too! It was a happy, friendly crowd and a great day!

Now since I was busy sewing for the craft fair for two whole weeks, after full days at work, I did not do any of my regular exercise routines and as a result, as I should have known, my back went out this last weekend! Here I am trying to finish off some sewing projects and then get ready for Christmas and I have lost one weekend – so far – not being able to do anything comfortably, except stand.

A few people at my office have asked if I have any infinity scarves left over – I do – and if so bring them in. They would love to buy one. A couple have also asked if I could make one in the blue material or the animal print for them – well I would love to!… When my back can bend again! Oh so aggravating!

(Moral of that story:  always, always HEALTH comes first!)

Anyway, here are some directions on how to make an infinity scarf – basically a large unstuffed doughnut (excuse my Canadian spelling!).

Materials Needed:
3/4 yard of 60″ wide lightweight knit fabric, such as jersey
Matching Thread

Cutting Instructions:
Cut one strip of fabric across the full 60″ width, make it 25″ wide.

Assembly Instructions:
Fold fabric in half, with RIGHT sides of fabric facing each other and matching long cut edges. Pin together that long edge.
Stitch along the long edge with a ½” seam.
Press seam flat to blend stitches; press seam open.

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Now trust me… I had to just DO IT and not think about it!
Turn scarf RIGHT side out – just put your hand in and grab the end and pull it through!
Open short ends of scarf.
Place short ends with RIGHT sides together, lining up cut edges and the one seam end. Pin together about half way around to start.
Stitch short ends together with a ½” seam, as far as you can go, leaving a small opening (It will be hand sewn later.). It helps to use the free arm on your sewing machine and let the one short end wrap around there to start.

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Even before taking my scarf off my machine, I shoved everything inside the hole to turn it right side out.  My bad?

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Anyway, shove everything inside the hole.  Shake it out.  Slip stitch the opening closed.

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It is difficult to see the hole but it is beside my blue seam ripper.  Press seams flat.  And you are DONE! And looking lovely might I add!

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So until next time…

Stay tuned…