… with the kindness of strangers.

I was determined to clean up and oil Barbie, my Singer Slant-o-Matic 500, my “Rocketeer”, while I was on holidays from work.  Before I even got around to cleaning her up … well … I broke off her Plate Cover by accident.  I just closed it and it popped off in my hand.  The manual showed it was an easy fix – just snap it back on.

I could see though on my Plate Cover that my hinge pins show some paint chipping on  the right and a slight crack possibly on the left.  

These VSM are famous for broken Plate Cover hinges so I was afraid to force it.  I cautiously pushed it back on – with a bad result …

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One of my favourites …

I started this dress last week (read the prequel right here).  I love this pattern.  It’s a remake of a classic dress pattern, Butterick B5920 “Retro ’51”.  Comfortable and easy to make.  The fabric is lightweight and soft, an Ellena Rayon Twill Print, 100% Rayon.  I even found the perfect buttons for my fabric.

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Now I did make some changes – no heart shaped pockets on the chest, no waspish waist, no corset, no crinoline.  

One important change for anyone wanting to try this pattern for themselves – I made the sleeve-less version but the shoulders seemed too long at the top seam.  I actually cut the armholes to a gradual inch shorter at the top shoulder point.  If I am making a sleeve-less top – it’s going to show all of my arms! Continue reading

I learned something new…

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!

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Amber takes a break …

Well!  We are all packed, ready to go on holidays!  Amber, my Singer 421G, finished my swimsuit cover up a few days ago and I’ve packed her up for a little R&R!

I just had to show you the cool stitch that Amber can create, one of many I have yet to discover!

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This fabric is a lovely “Dahlia Jacquard”.  51% polyester 46% cotton and 3% spandex.  It feels soft and comfortable.  I didn’t want the seams to be messy and unfinished on the inside, so I decided to finish them off by folding them to one side and sewing them down with a decorative stitch.  I was happy with the results.

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One step closer to the beach …

My sewing days are running out.  Soon my sister and I leave for Mexico.  As usual, I have a dozen ideas but only so much time – so at the top of the list, besides swimsuits, is cover ups.  I bought the fabric for two cover ups – one for my sister and one for me – last weekend.  My sister chose this print – full of black, brown and gold colours.  It’s called Tangiers Linen-look print, 97% polyester and 3% spandex.  It definitely has the quality of linen.  When I pre-washed both fabrics, this one lost at least a 1/4″ off the width with the unravelling and fraying.  I decided that I would have to be very careful finishing off the seams.

Did I make changes to this pattern, McCall’s M7200?  I added a few inches to the length and I made the back only one piece instead of the several they designed into the pattern.  This pattern has a pretty back with all those seams and a bit of a peplum, but I want my cover ups to be a plain style.  I ended up with only four pieces – front, back, collar and sleeve.  (My cover up will be the same, made of the beige fabric.)

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Photos really help!

Every time I make a pair of pants (trousers) for myself I first take a look at this photo.  No, I did not make these.  This is how RTW (ready to wear) fits on my body – and this is the right size.  Just awful!  This photo reminds me that no matter how little or how much work it is or how good or bad it turns out, me-made is always going to be better than this.

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I have cut out three pairs of pants so far and last Tuesday I finished the first pair – the chocolate brown ones.  I used McCalls M6901 (a Palmer/Pletsch pattern).  I didn’t use to like Palmer/Pletsch patterns – basically because they just went on and on, page after page of instruction to which I never paid any attention.  Silly me! Continue reading

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

I’m done now …

I won’t be buying any more Vintage Sewing Machines.  That’s it.  I’m done.  Why?  Well, because I have my Rocketeer!  My Singer Slant-o-Matic 500.  “Barbie”, as I call her, was born in 1961.  Look at this ad someone shared on FaceBook – look at those prices.  Quite steep for the 60’s, I think!

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Hopeful for a new cardi and avoiding some tension problems …

A while ago I purchased two fabrics – both 85% polyester and 15% rayon knits – a Chevron pattern, one a Hunter Green and one a Red.  Just on a whim.  These fabrics spread out are a bit overwhelming for my taste – but they were too beautiful to resist.  I had to figure out what I was going to make with them.

I thought I would make a cardigan with one, perhaps the darker one, and a skirt … or culottes … or a skirt … or culottes … with the brighter one.

My favourite cardigan pattern is Butterick B5789.  I’ve made my red one successfully before here.  Now just to be brave and try new things, this time, I thought I would try making a cardigan that was reversible.  The green Chevron pattern on one side and a white linen look on the other.  That way if I didn’t feel bold I could wear the Chevron fabric on the inside, just peeking out, and if I was feeling BOLD then I could wear the Chevron fabric on the outside.  I thank my friend, Nadine, for giving me the white linen looking fabric (and quite a few others!).

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Not quite a Rocketeer…

My new Baby is a 1954 Singer Slant-o-matic Convertible, model 421G.  I’m calling her “Amber”.  She was “Made in Germany”.  She’s not quite the Rocketeer (the 500 models) I have been looking for, but being in the 400 series, Amber is close!  My sister says Amber’s just a Rocketeen!  🙂  

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Amber not only has an extension bed, but she has a free-arm too.  Better yet, the free-arm has a compartment to hold all her bobbins, throat plates and Special Discs (that’s what they are called in the manual, but I prefer the name from the internet “Top Hat cams”).

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