Monday, April 29, 2013

My Minions

Friends and family have caught on to the fact that I am totally obsessed with vintage sewing related goods, and they either like to tell me way after the fact about the great thing/s they saw (not nice) or let me know when they have found something good and offer to pick it up for me (very, very kind!) This has worked out well for me a few times in recent history, as my sis posted this pic to Facebook a couple weeks ago, and when I called her blubbering, she went back and picked the li'l beaut up for me.
Okay, ok, so it doesn't look like a beaut here. Admittedly, it looks a bit of a dusty wreck, but the price was right. Even if I couldn't get it running, I had no fear that I could pull parts and sell them to recoup my investment. My sis gave it a general inspection that was guided by me over the phone, so I knew the light switch was broken and the wiring for the pedal was cracked and dry rotted. Still, the decals were in very good shape, she said, and there were only a few chips to the handwheel with the paint otherwise nice.

When I pulled it from the box, it looked like this...

But in just an hour or so, it was shined up rather well...
It was frozen and the handwheel wouldn't move. But a good oil bath and some gentle turning got it spinning along free and smooth. My husband rewired the pedal for me (thanks Sweets!). When he tested the motor, it wouldn't work, but a quick motor inspection showed that one of the brushes was not in contact with the copper. This is my second time going into a Featherweight motor- I am just too foolish to be afraid of messing anything up!  

Notice my trusty coffee can on the right here. If you ever decide to start pulling parts of a vintage sewing machine (and I absolutely think you should, unplugged of course) you must have a container right next to you in which to put every little piece and screw and thing-a-ma-jig that you remove. This is my best tip. Other than that, I kinda wing it....

I ended up needing to purchase the light switch, a bobbin case, some bobbins (I sold all mine with the white green), a spool pin spring, and a belt. All ordered from eBay, I expect all of my parts to arrive in the next few days, and I am very excited to try this new machine out. For those who are counting, this brings the total to 7 plus a serger :) But what a beautiful addition!

Now to get my hands on the box of 100 vintage sewing patterns a friend picked up for me at a yard sale this past weekend! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Other Side of the Underwear Drawer a.k.a. Bra Sewing and a Giveaway!!!

Fellow seamstresses, do you sew your own underwear? You know I do. And, I won a prize in that contest I entered my undies in thanks in large part to yous guys. So, THANKS! I got a gift certificate to the Ohhh Lulu Etsy Shop, and I used it to purchase more patterns for more unders! It's a big circle!

So, what patterns did I get with my gift certificate?
Ohhh Lulu's Bambi Soft Bra
Ohhh Lulu's Sophia Panties
Aren't these patterns just gorgeous? I have made underwear and bras from both commercial and indie patterns, and I have found Sarah's to be right on in the sizing. If you are a lingerie sewing novice like myself, this eliminates a lot of fitting frustration and allows you to focus on sewing techniques. Of course you might need to tweak them some, but most are designed to be easy to alter.

And, here is my first (many more to come!) Bambi Soft Bra...

Yeah, it's hard to photograph a black jersey bra. I actually made it from an old top that I no longer used but was a very soft. I am sewing from a colorful elastic stash, so I chose this blue trim, and I actually like the blue and black a lot. I also skipped the back closure and simply sewed the back seam shut after applying elastic and trying it on to fit comfortably and snugly. The straps are self fabric tubes. This version of the bra is more of a lounge wear type for summer sleeping or wearing under comfy clothes. Now that I know I have a good fit, I'll make more with a greater investment in materials. FYI, this pattern is well drafted and easy to sew. The only tough part (for me) is always sewing on the elastic, but my machine decided not to skip stitches this time. I only wish I had made sure my bobbin was full on that top stitching. Practice makes perfect, right?

I also recently sewed some new panties from the Betty Pattern that I love so well. I have been a silk magnet lately- it seems every thrift shop I visit has 6 unloved yards of silk at some ridiculously low price, so I have been hoarding it. Well, with all that silk I decided to start sewing with the best of my fabric (on a tested pattern) and made these...

 The silk center panel is cut on the bias and the side panels are stretch lace. I love them!

Now, enough about my unders, how about yours? Interested in sewing some of your own? Well, you are in luck, as I am hosting a giveaway and the generous Sarah of Ohhh Lulu will be providing the pattern of choice from her shop to one lucky reader. To enter, please be a follower of my blog. Go to Ohhh Lulu at Etsy and look around, then come back and leave a comment on this post saying which of her patterns you would chose if you win. One entry per person please. Sarah has just released 5 new patterns- 3 more in addition to the two I chose. They are all lovely and include another style soft bra, a hipster panty, and a brazilian cut panty. Also, Etsy has just begun to offer an instant download option, so if you decide you can't wait for the giveaway to end, you can just buy a lovely pattern and print it out immediately. And then chose another.

I just want to say thanks again so much to Sarah for inspiring me to sew lingerie, for making fab patterns, and offering to provide a giveaway prize for you! Show her some love by following her blog, favoriting her shop, and/or liking her on Facebook. And thanks to you for reading my ramblings and providing the support you do!

So, there it is! I'll leave the giveaway open for a week- it will end Wednesday the 1st of May (Wha? May already?) Giddy up! Visit the shop, leave a comment, and thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring Wildflowers and Vintage Bottles

The wee one and I picked some dandelions, pansies, and some other purple flower out in the yard today. It looks as though all of a sudden spring has sprinkled itself across the yard, and these little pretties are everywhere. I have written about my vintage bottle collection here before, and if you were wondering what one does with those, here is my favorite use...

 They are so cheery on the window sill above the sink or clustered on the dining table, and the bottles are the perfect size for tiny blooms with short stems. I am loving spring, but I suppose I say that about every season here, as I am fortunate and grateful to live in a place where each season of the year is positively beautiful in its turn. I hope you are getting some sunshine and warmth in your neighborhood too!