Friday, December 1, 2017

Shirt Quilt Moves Along and New Baby Brother XR9500PRW...


The Shirt Quilt is coming along really well. I had help as you can see.
It's all ready to quilt now. Wool batting from Missouri Star, as well as red flannel patterned backing from Missouri Star.  Now to get at it. The thread I will use is Maxi-Lock variegated all colors. It should blend in rather well!

My Black Friday purchase. I couldn't NOT buy this. Loads of good reviews, under $200.00, and such a lot of fun to be had. One little alphabet font which will be handy. Now I can have the Elna set up for quilting, the Brother SE400 for embroidery and this is my sewing project machine! :) So far it sews very very nicely. Stitches as well as any machine I have ever used.  Yes, it is light, but the rubber stuff under it works. The table is a nice touch! Comes with 8 feet. The spring FM or darning foot is included with the table and 7 other feet including the regular ZZ foot.  The only surprise, and I would have seen this is all the videos I watched if I had paid attention, is that the S/S button doesn't light up! But that is so minor. :)  I like that it has a vertical spool pin! Not that flimsy horizontal one.

Accessories! A nice assortment. I have a generic 32 piece foot set that Brothers seem to fit most all of, so I am set for feet. SO glad to have the 1/4" foot in the generic set and I tried it and it works well on this machine.

It seems hard to find good pictures of the Brother stitches on the machine, so here is the mail set, and the alphabet set.

Below is a nice view of the machine including the spool arrangement. So far I love it!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Ukulele Bag Instructions Finally Posted...


Here's the latest bag, which I have already posted about when finished.  I was asked if I had a pattern. I made my own, and I wrote up the instructions this morning. So decided to add them here.  To see more pictures of the process just see after instructions:


Nope no commercial pattern - here's what I did. I made my own pattern, which I have done a lot for home dec items. 

I laid my uke (and my tenor later on) on my pattern paper - I use tracing paper in a huge roll from an Art Supply online store. Then I trace around the uke liberally so as to give the bag side room without making side panels - some people have made side panels. 

Then I cut two pieces from a nice home dec sort of fabric. My latest was for my son and he picked out heavier outdoor fabric. Then I cut two substantial pieces of batting or even four pieces - two to a side. 

Then I cut two layers for a pocket, and sew them with two pieces of batting also. I quilt the pocket and finish the sides and top. I sew the pocket to the front of the quilted bag before assembling bag. Use a piece of VELCRO made for a fabric closure - Joann's has these - they set in 24 hours and they really work. They are oval and I have used them three times now. Once on a satin wedding bag and twice on uke bags. 

I quilt the back and the front of the bag, which is a heavy job on some fabrics but my machine has AcuFeed and it works well. I make a strap from a wide piece of fabric and some batting, folding over the two layers on one side and then folding the other side over and sewing in the middle. 

Then I sew half the bag, so putting in the zipper goes better. Next step is sew in zipper, making sure you can open it from the outside! Ask me why I stress that. OH - the longer that zipper the better - I used a 24 or 26" - depending on what I can find at JA's. Son picked hot orange for the zipper this time and he picked a zipper that opens on both ends - that's kind of cool actually when inserted. 

After sewing in the zipper, sew the open seams left to enclose zipper ends. Top stitch the fabric down on the zipper at the zipper sides so the zipper stays in place to the outside.

Then sew on strap carefully so you don't sew the bag shut side to side (again ask why I stress that)....and there you have it! 

I hope I didn't miss a step - I don't think I did. 

Happy uke bag making!!!!  



And again....

Soprano in bag. I think of a CASE as being a hard case, so have to remember to call these bags.  

Saturday, October 28, 2017

What's Under the Gidget I and Gidget II Tables and Holding up My Machines....

I was asked that questions because it would seem people think the little chain and screw assembly is the only thing holding up machines in the drop down table on the Gidget I and II. Not so. This is a photo essay on the subject....note the metal tubing underneath....

First pictures are the heavier Gidget II...




Then the rest are the Gidget I. You may notice I don't adjust the chains....I just don't use them. I use the tables for a couple different machines, so adjusting the chains for each is a pain - I sit them on various books and boards and sometimes a Janome Muffling Mat as well.  :)




Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Vintage Pattern Dress and Tenor Uke Case#2...

Finished the tenor ukulele case for my son. Turned out well! LOVE the fabric he chose and that hot orange zipper adds pizzazz for sure!  Meanwhile I did finish the brown Simplicity Dress from Simplicity 1284.   The pictures aren't that great but I will add one here.  The reunion was swell! Very much fun and saw old friends. The dress was well worth making and it was very comfy. finished it was not apparent that it is a vintage style - it is timeless and I may sew it again! This little picture is the best even though I took several in the motel I was sure would be good. At any rate - this pattern is a winner! It would also make good sleepwear, and a tunic as well. A nice top pattern I think. Unfortunately the pictures do not show the nice seaming on the bodice-sleeve but it turned out very nicely.  I add a picture of the seaming because that *IS* the style feature.  Now that those two projects are done, I can move back to the Shirt Quilt. I purchased red flannel fabric from Missouri Star for the backing. I do love a flannel backing on a quilt. So now with the wool batting and the flannel backing, when this comes to fruition it should be a nice warm quilt. :)  The It's Always Autumn raglan tee is up next and then I have planned a 60" table runner for my coffee table out of some remnants of the lighter prettier fabrics I have mostly in several pastel type of shades or maybe a bit deeper, anyway lighter!  And then, maybe one of these years I will get to another Asian quilt! I do have a large bin of Asian print fabrics for Asian quilts and really love those fabrics!  Right now I think another scrappy quilt is in the works back in the brain as well. It's such a dark, murky, cobweb-filled area back in the planning-what-to-sew-next stacks of my brain....:)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Ironing Board Cover in the Midst of Other Projects...


After a discussion on PatternReview of small irons, I was motivated to get out my small table ironing board, make it a new cover and pad, and get myself the little Sunbeam Travel Iron. The topic was actually the little Clover Iron, but I had that and never used it - very awkward and got too hot. This little Sunbeam iron heats up fast and is so darn cute! Since i am a Sunbeam iron gal anyway, this works!   So, I pieced the rest of the home dec curtain-uke case fabric I had left and made the cover, edging it with elastic after serging it - also made a pattern so I can make other covers. For padding I used two layers of left over Hobbs cotton batting. I can pull it a little tighter than shows in the photo, and I love this combo. This means that when I sit and piece blocks, I can turn around and iron them. :)   The iron really gets hot, so be careful! It has a really long cord - 8 feet! I think that may be as long as my regular iron! If not longer.

In the meantime I have three other projects in the works: the vintage dress, the ukulele case for DS, and the Shirt Quilt. But a detour is sometimes needed.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Simplicity 1284 for a Vintage 1960's Look...

Suddenly I wanted a few somewhat vintage patterns. I love the Koko Beall patterns, but the one I think I shall make is the Simplicity, view B.  The Burda I would do a tunic without the collar - just do a neckline binding or a self-drafted semi-cowl.  Anyway - as always it is fun to look at the patterns. :)  I have an event coming up for which a 1960s style is appropriate, and View B of the Simplicity would do just fine! I like the seaming and the simplicity, no pun intended!  View B is the black and white print sheath dress on the right of the pattern envelope.   Now to find fabric that would be LIKE the 60s without actually being the 60s.  I favor a solid or a very tiny texture or print that would allow the seaming to be the style features, as was the intent of the designer. It is always awful to see a lovely pattern, with seaming that defines a design,  made with a horrific print. Happens a lot though.

I linked Koko Beall up above to a really nice blog called American Age Fashion, which is a fascinating blog in itself.

The rest of the patterns will be waiting until I get the urge to sew them as well as the enlightenment of what fabrics to use, and what modifications to do.

Meanwhile, no, the quilt is not done, but it's coming along and the ukulele case 2, for my son, is cut out and awaiting my present wave of laziness to subside. Hoping this next week sees more action in the sewing room.  It is possible, and as I have so many projects in mind, it would be nice to do some positive work on the ones I have now!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Tenor Ukulele Gig Bag and Summer Nightwear...

Finished up the ukulele gig bag for the tenor last week. Now the little uke family has some cool accessories, eh?  It turned out somewhat large but the extra padding is a good thing because I do carry this bag a bit. Strap is a handy addition. My two soprano bags have no straps! Why? I can't remember, but they are smaller and easier to carry anyway.
This is at the quilted stage. I used two layers of batting and then quilted each side with its lining. That was good practice with the AcuFlex foot, and it went swimmingly!

My zipper was the metal one, so I sewed it in wrong, and had to take it out.  Since that happened I decided to go buy a yellow poly zipper anyway. It really looks nicer than the metal one did. Could be longer, but 22" was the longest pale yellow zipper they had at Joann's.

Then I made a double batted strap and attached that to the outside, and applied the pocket. The Elna 720 sewed through all those layers like butter.   I think there must have been 10 layers or so by the time I turned the edges under on the strap and then sewing it on, and the pocket too had many layers to sew through.  It is great having a machine that will do this effortlessly.  This was a self-drafted pattern, and the next bag will be made a bit smaller. I need to make another tenor gig bag for my son't ukulele next.  Off to JA's to get fabric for that today.

Meanwhile, the tenor bag and I went to our little uke group happily the last two times, and the yellow fabric surely perks things up!

Made a cotton nightie out of the lovely Buttercream fabric from JA's that has French stamps and the Eiffel Tower on it.  Self-binding on the armholes and neckline, and made from a pattern I drafted from a nightie I made several years ago from a Butterick pattern which since has been given away.  Simple pattern for a jumper, but it made a terrific little nightie in the first place, so the one I just made, I made long. It is really comfy.  Probably might make another, and even in flannel for winter!   If I fall across this pattern again I will buy it, but really only need the jumper part. And I drafted it, so there ya go.  The fit in the shoulders is really good - that looks simple, but unless drafted well by the company in the first place it won't fit correctly.   The picture isn't art quality here, but I will post it anyway. This is my new favorite nightwear.

Adding the pattern picture in case anyone should have it - give it a try! Butterick 5058 from 1997.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

NO to the 32 Piece Foot Set on the Janome and Elna - at Least For Me!

So now to make a gig bag for the Tenor I just acquired. Got pretty much 3/4 of the way to the finish and discovered I had given away my Elna 720 zipper foot. I don't have a high shank adjustable zipper foot either. I tried the generic zipper foot from the recent generic set, but although it "fit", the clearance was way off , and the thing almost stuck in the holder and I had quite a time getting it off without hurting something. .  So I had to pull out my Janome 8050 and steal the Janome E Zipper foot from the accessories. Must see about a replacement.

SO - for the update on the generic feet on the Elna and Janome - NOPE.   I did try several feet and they attach,  but the needle has almost no clearance through the hole in that foot, plus the attachment for the generic and the Brother feet on my Elna is very tight and it becomes difficult to remove the generic or Brother feet from the machine! So that's a BIG NO on using that set on the Elna or my Janome.  Apparently other people try them or use them on their Janomes and Elnas, but I won't be doing that at all. I would like to buy an adjustable high shank zipper foot for my Elna though.

Footnote: Nope, haven't made the quilt 9 patch blocks yet...projects getting in the way....

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Shirt Quilt and Viking with Bonlux...fun in the sewing room...


Getting ready to start sewing the blocks of the Shirt Quilt 2017. All blocks cut, and it will be a 9 patch. Red patch in the middle of each 9 patch block.  I ordered the Dream Wool batting from Missouri Star, and it surely feels wonderful through the plastic, so I am looking forward to seeing how this quilts! The backing will be the busy print with the paisleys you see lying under the piles of blocks. Writing about it makes me feel inspired, so it could make me kick off the work this weekend!  In the meantime, it's been a mending sort of week - hemming pants. :) The Viking loves that job though, so it was a pleasure to set up the Viking again.
I added Bonlux lighting to the harp of the Viking when I set it up last weekend. WOW....what a difference.  And no lamps to get in the way when you are sewing! 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

It's Always Autumn Breezy Tee...


It's Always Autumn has some really nicely drafted free patterns, and the Breezy Tee caught my eye because she has a woven version. Her site is full of lovely versions of her free patterns...I highly recommend taking a look. :)   SO - I chose to make what I hoped would be a wearable muslin using a nice sort of batik-tie dyed sort of look table cloth in a cotton blend or all cotton (I really don't know) that a friend had given me a few years back for quilting. The colors are lovely and it has seahorses on it! Fabulous!  Pattern was easy to download, and easy to put together, and had 6 pieces. You can also download a sleeve extension pattern and I did that as well.  I bound the edges of the neckline with self binding and also did that treatment to the sleeve edges.  I forgot to read her directions for altering the sleeves, and she does have those....so my sleeves are more like cap sleeves now. Next time - and there WILL be a next time - I will do it right and make slightly longer sleeves.  I cut it just a tad wider on the side seams because I was doing the woven version, and I found the fit through the arms and shoulders was good except that I will need to make the shoulders less broad - I do have a shoulder template I work with for that.  One of these days I should do a post on the shoulder template. It was the project in a bodice fitting class taught by Shannon Gifford, a beloved teacher on Patternreview.com for many years before she passed away in 2010.  She was wonderful.
Picture here of the top - I did a fussy cut for a seahorse pocket. It doesn't scream out at you like I hoped it would though.  I really enjoyed this project. Turns out to be better than  wearable muslin actually. SO - I went and downloaded the Raglan Sleeve pattern from Always Autumn as well and will be making a long sleeved heavier cotton knit garment for Fall and winter out of some nice heavy double cotton knit I have already got. It is the last of my garment stash.

Here is the link for the Raglan Sleeve!

 A word on sizing. Her patterns are all one size - L for large. However, I think they are very adaptable for several variant sizes.  Easy to alter because the patterns are excellently drafted. If you have a measuring tape and some idea of ease to add, you will be be to grade this well. Plus - the fit can be easy with lots of ease or more fitted. I did lots of ease here because I wanted to see how the basic pattern + about an inch or so on the sides until I hit the armhole level would work.  In a knit you wouldn't need the extra inch or so at all, and it still wouldn't be uber-tight. :)  

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Fun at the Vermont Quilt Festival 2017


Another year rolled on, June came and with it the annual Vermont Quilt Festival. Despite early problems with new website, lengthy delay in getting out information and brochures, and classes cancelled, the actual show itself went on absolutely magnificently. We attended for two days, and had a very very good time. This year the entry was marked by a bracelet that was color coded as to your purchase of a day pass, 2 day pass or 3 day pass. Excellent idea because there was no barrier this year between the food vendors and the outside so one could walk around a lot more when taking a break. The food vendors were located nicely and there was more space to sit under covered tables. All good.  As for the quilts - there were excellent special exhibits and wonderful entries by very talented people.  Vendors were there and as usual I made the rounds of the sewing machine vendors, talking and comparing. Being not in the market myself, it is even more fun to see all the new machines, plus see the really good machines that have been out awhile coming back.  One of our favorite dealers, Bittersweet Fabric, was there with all the Elnas and Janomes, and that is one great bunch of people to visit every year.  Some of the quilts....first the Best in Show up above this on the left....just a lovely piece of work. I was not able to get all the details on these quilts, and the people who made them are so very talented. I wish I could name each one, but I haven't the information at hand.
When taking photos of the quilts, there is no way to do them justice. They are so much nicer looking in person and you can see the textures and the quilting very close up. My photos are nothing compared to the quilts themselves. 
I wanted to post a few pictures of representative types, as in traditional, modern and whimsical. :)
This quilt above was in honor of Canada's 150th Anniversary this year!
This above is just a part of a larger modern quilt, and the quilting and composition are just beautiful.
Here is a lovely little whimsy quilted by a young entrant. All these youngsters get a sewing machine from Bittersweet fabrics just for completing the quilt they enter.  A nice way to increase the ranks of quilters!
Here is where we see the happy faces of the participants! This marks the eighth year at least that my friend and I have attended this show together, and some years other friends join us - all in all it is a highlight of our year.

 And what would the show be if not for the acquisitions from the vendors who come from far and near to demo their wares and sell us the things we need and some we probably don't need but can use for even more fun!



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

32 Piece Foot Set for Low Shank Machines Part 2

Tried all on the Brother SE400.  They fit excellently. Better than on the Audrey and I don't know why. The Brother is a solid and really well made machine and it's almost like these feet were made for it.  A few, as in the case of the Audrey, are too narrow, but the placement is centered and the needle clears the needle area fine. As in all stitching situations, you MUST be aware of the settings for each task or foot and set the needle position accordingly.
Yes, I rehomed the feet into a smaller plastic box.  This is the Janome-Elna accessories box, out of which my Elna 720 has grown.  The Elna required the larger ArtBin box even than the one I had these feet in originally.  I photocopied the feet sheet and taped a small printout version to the top of this small box. Needless to say, the Audrey feet I brought home fit my Brother so well that my feet did a nice tappity happy dance!!

All in all I am happy with these feet....the next agenda item is trying them on a Janome.

Monday, June 12, 2017

32 Piece Foot Set for Low Shank Machines Part 1

After reading all sorts of posts about these generic foot sets on PatternReview.com, I decided to see for myself. For on outlay of about $20, I got this set from AMAZON.  Since most name brand feet will be an average of at least 10-20 dollars each, and many are very much more, I wanted to see if I could use a few of these on my Brother SE400.  I was on vacation at the time in another state, so decided to have AMAZON deliver them to me so I could check 'em out on my Babylock Audrey first.  The reason for this clever move was because if they fit the Audrey I was going to take home the four feet the Audrey has that I wanted for my Brother machine.  Babylock feet were rumored to fit brother machines.
To make a long story short, all the feet fit the Audrey.  Some caveats - some feet are very narrow, such as a couple of the hemmer feet. These do not cover the feed dogs but still might be fine as the needle clears the hole well.  The criteria I used to test out each and every foot on the machines I am testing them on are as follows:  1. Does the needle clear the needle hole?  2. Does the foot center properly on the feed dogs and hopefully sit correctly thereon?  3. Can I sew a lone of stitching without problems?   4. There are only three screw on feet in the set:  adjustable zipper foot, gathering foot and hopping springed FM/darning foot.  Do they fit well without needing force?    As you would any foot regularly, you must set your machine to stitch with that foot properly - as in center the needle for straight stitching with the straight stitch foot, zigzag with the fringing foot etc.  I tested them out and all sewed though on the Audrey some were a little teenie bit odd on the dogs. But nothing you couldn't use them with.   SO - indeed I took the four Audrey feet home and left generics in their place, plus I have the rest of the feet in case I need them.  If I had bought those four feet alone it would have cost me about 45-55 dollars easily for Brother or Babylock feet.  So I have the real Babylock feet for my Brother SE400 and the next post will be about how the set and Babylock feet fit that machine.  NOTE: I bought the ArtBin storage box for the feet - it didn't come with a plastic storage box.  Interesting point - there is no Zigzag foot in this set and no buttonhole foot at all. So if you need a regular ZZ sewing foot which is the default foot on most machines, you will not get it in this set. Likewise you will not get a buttonhole foot. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Some Downsizing and decisions about retention...

This is a selection of machines and accoutrements I donated last Winter to a church sponsored sewing class that will rev up this late Spring.  The idea is to give each lady a machine upon finishing a series of classes. The classes will be composed of ladies from a refugee community here, and they have expressed the wish to learn to sew.  This finally catapulted me into parting with four machines, books, accessories and so on.


I waited to post about this because I wanted to see if I had regrets or felt sad to part with any of these machine. I loved them of course, but in the end I have not regretted giving them away because they may be used!  Mostly they sat here.  It also freed me to think about selling a few more! My list is now down to 7 including my serger, one of my DD's Janomes, and one that was my DMIL's machine which we just cannot part with, and which is a lovely old Pfaff 1199 and still works fine.  Donated were the Pfaff 307, Kenmore Blue Mini, Elna 2100, Elna TOP 300. All with accessory boxes, feet, bobbins and assorted other accessories and all with manuals.   All in working order.

I would urge any of you who have multiples sitting around and not being used to donate machines where they can be used. It isn't always easy to find a suitable donation site, but if the occasion arises, give it a thought!  You don't really retrieve much real estate - few square feet, but it is oddly freeing!