Singer Sphinx 27/127 Restoration part 2

So I’ve disassembled nearly the whole machine, except for the inner bar that runs from hand wheel to needle bar/feed dogs. I can’t get it out, which means that the broken fork won’t come out either (I already have a replacement fork). Based on parts I’ve found online, the bar itself looks to be in rough shape anyway (mine has a groove where the fork sits, and I’m not sure it’s supposed to), so I’m thinking about taking it to the farm to see if my father in law’s plasma cutter can cut it in half without damaging anything else. *But* I don’t want to cut this one until I have both A. Verified that the groove isn’t supposed to be there, and B. the replacement part is in my hands. So between that and fall harvest + wheat drilling, all of my work on this project has been put on hold.

On another note, the Sphinx decals are stupid expensive compared to all the other reproduction decal styles for whatever reason. So my sphinx may become a Celtic knot style or whatever is cheapest if I end up trying out painting it (and it won’t be black either. Currently I’m thinking either metallic royal blue or metallic royal purple. The candy apple red is also a gorgeous option, but I’m getting ahead of myself.)

Leftovers (Simplicity 4076)

So after the dress I made last post, I had a lot of odd shaped scraps of that crinkly polka-dot fabric left, and I didn’t want to toss them, so I made a blouse. Specifically Simplicity’s 4076, and spoiler; I LOVE it. I didn’t even wash it before it’s first outing.

In my usual fashion though, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to make a couple of changes; some fabric related, some fit related.

  • FBA (a bit trickier because of the weird shaped piece, but I probably could have made it easier on myself if I’d have done the next bullet point first.
  • I cut the weird front twisty piece in half. Partly because it fit on my weird scraps better that way, but mostly because the crinkles would have been going the wrong way on part of the bodice, and that would have driven me crazy. This is fairly well hidden in this dark, textured fabric, but doesn’t work as well on lighter fabrics.
  • I flared it at the waist, as I’ve found that shape to be much more flattering on me.
  • I shortened it in the neckline to keep it from being indecent.
  • Flutter sleeves from a different view. I like them because they fit my giant biceps better. 💪 I don’t have little twiggy arms, I have muscular (ok, and a *little* bit flabby) arms.
  • Lazy girl method of taking in the back neckline. AKA I cocked the piece on the fold a little to take out about 1/2″ at the neck. Worked like a charm.
  • Added something like 4″ to the hem. I’m about as short torsoed as they come, and this would have been nearly a crop top on me. I also “mulletized” the back a smidge, adding an extra 2″ in the center back, tapering to nothing at the sides.
  • I didn’t do this, but would next time: add notches to the part where I split the pattern pieces to make lining them up easier.
This is how the pieces are originally oriented in their single piece form, but I changed the grain line of the top when I cut it off and made it perpendicular to the original grain.
Are these not the cutest sleeves?!
Knot a closeup. 😆
Here she is in entirety! I like the subtle flare.

So after this rousing success, I tried it again using all the same techniques on a lightweight rayon knit fabric, and it didn’t work. I think you have to have a knit with one way stretch, and cutting the top piece off on a non textured fabric that was a lighter color showed that seam, which was more noticeable than I was ok with. It may have been because the fabric was more drapey, or just because it was lighter in color, or both, I can’t say for sure. So, just be aware of that if you try it yourself.

NL6211, but barely

My 3rd and final sibling in law finally got married, and I decided that I needed a new dress. A couple of years ago I lost a decent amount of weight, and while I’ve had to work at it to keep it off, I’ve managed to do so for the most part. So I had to get rid of a lot of old clothes, and I’ve been slow to make new ones. I’ve been a fan of New Look 6211 for ages. I’ve even made it once in a woven, the way God….or at least some dude named Suede intended. But I’m more of a knit dress woman, so I made some adjustments and even did the little side cutouts (which ended up really cute, so I’m glad I did!) So if you want your own version in a knit, here’s a list of what I did.

  • FBA. Every time.
  • Took off the waistband.
  • Lengthened the skirt to make up the difference from removing the waistband (completely unnecessary unless you have the legs of a giraffe.)
  • Left out the zipper.
  • Sweetheart neckline (my hubby said he loved the neckline before he said anything else, guess it made an impression.)
  • Made facings for the neckline. Someone might know how to bind a sweetheart neckline, but that person is not me.)
  • I made a binding on the cutouts to help stabilize them. I’d do it again.
  • I added some elastic to the waist seam to help stabilize it too. I’d also do that again.

So it sounds like a lot of changes, and it is, but it isn’t. The hardest part was the overlapped skirt (that you have to partially hem before attaching at the side seams) in a shifty knit and getting the neckline to stay put with all the staystitching and stuff (I’m going to test some heat n bond on the scraps to see if I can get it to stick without messing up the crinkle texture because I wasn’t completely happy with how it laid.) Update: I did the heat n bond, and it seems to work pretty well. I applied it using steam, and held it with my hand once it got cool enough to handle to help it fully set. Still doesn’t lay perfectly flat, but it’s ignorable at this point.

The result? I LOVE it. The side cutout thingys are surprisingly flattering on an apple/goblet/rectangular body shape. The skirt part is going to be made again into just a skirt. I love how swishy and twirly it is. Plus, mullet hems are 100% cooler than mullet hair, and you’ll never convince me otherwise.

Closeup of the fabric. Very cool looking, super lightweight, and hotter than hades. The cutouts make for nice ventilation though. 😉
I did make a small error on the neckline here…my understitching flattened one of the curves a bit. But on the body it’s not noticeable.
I fill this dress out much nicer than my dressform, I promise!

Singer 27 or 127 Restoration Attempt

So, uh, it’s been awhile, eh? I guess you could say that life kind of got in the way. I’ve thought about restarting this blog a time or two, but it just felt awkward, you know?

I’ve had two old treadle machines in my garage for several years now, and in the great garage cleanup of 2021, they just kind of kept being in the way, especially because their stupid casters only roll one way. One belonged to my great grandmother and while it’s cosmetically ok, she’s locked up tighter than Fort Knox. It’s not a Singer though, it’s a Montgomery Ward or something. The second machine, and subject to my clumsy restoration attempt is a Singer 27/127 from 1901. It’s the Sphinx design, and while I’ve seen them beautifully restored, this one is a sad, sad machine. Everything moves like it should, but the bed paint is missing in large chunks, the decals are worn away, and it’s missing the front needle plate. The cabinet is a wreck too, but we’ll get to that later.

Since the Singer is basically trashed, I figured I couldn’t make it worse, so it could be someone’s parts machine if I couldn’t make it look good. I’d also like to make it sew, but one step at a time and all. I’ve got some pics of my progress so far, they are more for my reference, so they’re not aesthetically pleasing or anything. And yeah, this old girl is FILTHY.

I found a blog that has several posts that seems like they might be helpful to myself and anyone who is doing machine restorations. It’s called pungoliving, I’ve tried to link to it below.

As of right now, I’ve got her nearly completely disassembled. I tried to leave components that were grouped together (i.e. the bobbin winder assembly) together for now so that I don’t have to keep track of any more hardware than necessary. I also broke one screw that I think was already cracked. It looked like a poorly made Phillips head screw when everything else is a flat head. So that might be fun. I found the Singer Adjusters Manual for this machine online, and I’ll try to link to it too, if you’re interested.

https://www.manualslib.com/manual/364346/Singer-127.html

I used some Simple Green and some Goop on the paint to see about getting most of the gunk off. Even though I plan to try my hand at painting it I don’t plan to paint the other one, so I am testing out what works best on this one without removing the decals any more than they already are. It looks better, but there is still a lot of sticky discolored spots, and also parts where there the paint (or decades of dirt/oil) crackled.

Until I get an ultrasonic cleaner or something to finish getting all the gunk off, that’s all for now!

Jalie Eleonore, it’s…complicated

I finally got it together and made up a wearable muslin pair of Eleonores, of which I’m surely the last blogger holdout who hadn’t made them before. Now, there are lots of people who sing the praises of these, and while I don’t hate them, after wearing them for a bit, I’m not sure I love them either.

The pattern itself matched up flawlessly. I’m maybe not the most perfectionist about cutting out fabric–I don’t measure for the grainlines or any of that stuff, but I don’t usually have issues and this was no exception. However, if you have even the slightest hint of a butt, you will need to add to the back side. Sorry. That’s maybe my biggest complaint about the pattern itself.

I wear jeans pretty much every day. I hate belts, but it would seem they are a requirement when you have a booty like mine. I have two kids, I need my clothes to move with me, and I have no patience for having to adjust them all the time. All that to get to this point. These don’t have the staying power needed to make them work for me. The elastic isn’t beefy enough to snap the back waistband back to my skin after wear. I wasn’t convinced by the 1″ elastic, but I went with it because that’s what the pattern said to use and also what I had on hand. I did, however, shorten the elastic in the back by a couple of inches, which is probably the only thing that makes them halfway wearable. The denim itself isn’t bagging out yet, but they are already starting to fall down and it’s only been a couple of hours. I will add some belt loops because I desperately need jeans and these fit as well as anything from RTW, but I really wanted a pair of jeans that didn’t need a belt. That’s why I went with these over the Jalie 2908s, well, that and I thought they would sew up significantly faster. But, because I added pockets, the only thing I saved time on was the fly front.

Has anyone else that has sewn these up actually ended up wearing them on a regular basis? And if you did, did you end up using wider elastic? I want to love these belt free, but right now I’m not sure how to get there. Suggestions welcomed!

3 out of 4 isn’t too bad!

I’ve been seriously in love with the cool, rainy week we’ve had. Maybe it’s in my genes, but I’m happiest when the sun is more of a special surprise and it’s not our typical Kansas summer blowtorch. So you could say that I’ve spent the last week glorying in overcast days. And even though the sun is shining today, it’s still nice and cool with a lovely breeze.

Enough about the weather, but it’s what inspired me to head back to the sewing room to whip up a four-peat. And as an extra bonus, I found a good occasion to break out an ITY and some slinky that’s been in my stash for….forever. As it turns out, those two fabrics work well for sleeping. Who knew?!

To make them, I used a OOP Kwik Sew pattern that I made a lot of changes to.

KO1Edit

A lot of changes might be an understatement.

  1. The first thing I did after tracing off my sizes, was rotate the dart that creates the pleats/gathers into a bust dart. I know that bust darts on knits are kind of controversial, but I don’t mind them.
  2. Then I trued up the front edge, eliminating the excess that would have been gathered/pleated.
  3. Narrowed up the shoulders–even though I cut them at a size S, they were still too wide for a tank/dress to my eye. I shaved off about 5/8″, tapering to nothing at the underarm seam.
  4. And then I discovered after cutting out the first one that it was indecently low–even Burda would blush! So I hacked off 1.5″ at the top of the front shoulders, and then re-narrowed them so that they matched the back and transferred this to my paper pattern.

Because this was a test, I wasn’t too worried about how it would look, but since everything fit the way I wanted it to, I went ahead and used a 12″ wide strip that I doubled over and sewed it to the bottom. It didn’t gather as much as I’d have hoped, but it has a little bit of swing to it that I liked. I was worried that I wasn’t going to like the ITY for sleeping (because I decided it would be a nightgown when I added the “skirt”), but it’s actually much nicer than I thought it would be.

Excited by this knowledge, I quickly grabbed a piece of slinky from my stash and sewed it up exactly the same way–“skirt” and all. I’ll admit that I am not loving this one as much, but it’s actually not bad to wear for sleeping, and no one outside of the house will see it’s flaws…well, except you, but I trust you can keep a secret!

Pride goeth before a fall though, and I stumbled pretty hard on number three. You see, the other two were practice runs to even see if this pattern would look like what I wanted it to before I cut into some super pretty lace to make into something that might actually see the light of day. I liked the way the neckline and shoulders turned out, and the length was pretty close, except I wanted a “mullet” hem and a neckline pleat in the back. So I merrily added an additional inch of width to the back and the mullet part went in great too, until I discovered that this particular fabric stretches the wrong way. Instead of stretching from selvege to selvege, it stretched from cut end to cut end. And I had NEVER EVEN THOUGHT TO CHECK. 🤦‍♀️ I realized it before I cut the front, so I cut the front on the correct stretch line and stitched it together as planned and hoped for the best. Print-wise, it made no difference, and if you look closely you can tell the weave is slightly different, but mostly you can feel it in the fit. I barely got it over my head with the pleats sewn in.

After scratching my head for a minute, I let out the pleat and tried it on again. Much better! I modeled it for the hubby to see if there was a giant wad of fabric at the back neckline, and he said no. So I went ahead and finished it, because I didn’t have it in me to throw it away. It actually turned out pretty good, but the fabric is quite scratchy where my arms rub against my side. I’m hoping this gets better with washing, but it’s not going to be an “every day” shirt anyway, so even if it doesn’t I can probably tolerate it long enough to wear it to church or something.

Then I spied some more ITY in my stash that had been hacked on as a test for something else, but I had enough left to make another nightgown. I got it all cut out and sewn together, exactly as the others, except the neckband just would. not. go. in! I think I ripped that neckband out 4 or 5 times before the seam allowances on the bodice gave out and got holes in them. I decided it wasn’t worth the battle and tossed it in the trash. Sometimes you just gotta pick your battles, you know? At least I got to try out a new toy, right?

So that’s what I’ve been up to. Well, that and building stuff in the garage. I built a little roll around cart for the jointer/planer and my husband and I are currently working on a platform bed for Scotch. Hopefully, he’s mature enough to handle a “top bunk” at the ripe old age of 4 and a half. 🤞 We painted it last night, and hopefully soon we’ll get the rails done and painted so we can mount it on the wall. Because I’m ready to make a corner hutch for my dining room…#toomanyprojectstoolittletime 😆

And I don’t promise that there won’t be another one (or two!) of these coming up soon to wear for every day.

Spring Cleaning

I hate cleaning, HATE it. So I’m not one of those people who every year around this time has a big spring cleaning frenzy. But this year, I’m having one of those “throw out everything!” tantrums that I’d previously only heard about. First stop on that is my sewing room. It feels so good to throw away a bunch of scraps and trash that have been cluttering the space for a long time, but at the same time it does feel a bit wasteful to just toss most of it in the trash. I don’t have a textile recycling center near me though, so everything that isn’t a quilting cotton (to one of the quilt stores) or a yardage (to the DAV) is going in the trash. I considered listing some of it for sale on etsy or just IG, but meh. There’s not enough of it to bother with, so it will be easier to just donate it. Things are starting to come together in the sewing room, but it’s a bit of a slog to get through it. I’m determined to finish before I quit and start doing the sewing that I’m suddenly excited about again (seriously, I had hoped that cleaning would help, but I had doubts. Now I don’t.)

Outside of the sewing room is a bunch of clothes and such from the boys–previously, I had kept all my eldest’s clothes to give to the youngest, but I’m quickly learning that the 7.5 year spread is too far for things that have elastic in them. I don’t mind changing out some of the elastic, but honestly, I’d rather just pass it on to someone who can use it now. It’s also nearly time for clearing out some of the outgrown toys–keep a few in a tote labeled for future grandkids, and donate the rest. The boys play with very few toys, I don’t know why I need to keep them all. I’m struggling with whether to let them choose the toys they want to keep, or if I should just do it while they are gone some weekend and hope they don’t notice (they absolutely will–this is just the lie I tell myself.)

I briefly contemplated having a garage sale, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it. It seems like a lot of work for not a lot of benefit, and I’m not sure we really have enough stuff to justify it.

Anyway, it took me forever, but here is the finished results of on and off for like 3 weeks. Now I should probably take care of all the rest of the house I neglected in favor of this one room. Wish me luck…

But I’ve got the biggest sleeves of them all!

With apologies to AC/DC for my lame ripoff of their song. (It’s so awesome and classy, you’re welcome! 😉 )

So I have a project today that was 1) a long time in the making for several reasons and 2) has been done for a while, but I never got pictures of it because I kept forgetting until it was in the dirty clothes pile.

So a couple of months ago, I was trolling through the Lekala website, like you do, when I spotted this:

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I thought it was adorable, and I had to have it. So I used one of my credits and bought it. At the time, I was motivated, so I even printed and assembled it. Except, I’m really not a fan of boat necklines, so I thought I’d add a V-neckline to it, which I did on the fly without thinking it through, as you I do.

So I made a facing, cut out my pieces, and went merrily on my way. Except…you really can’t just draw a V in a boat neckline without it looking a bit weird in the final product. You need to make some other alterations as well, so plan accordingly. I didn’t, so I had to recut mine. Thankfully, the lady at the fabric store took pity on me (it was out of stock, so she brought me some from her personal stash, and yes I paid her for it, but she didn’t have to sell it to me, she’s just awesome for doing so. Sewing people really are the best people. 🙂 )

So I recut the front (and the back since I had a whole extra yard), in the original boatneck because a gal can only stand so much fail, and stitched it together. It was going pretty darn well until I got to the sleeves. I couldn’t wrap my brain around them. I tried basting them in several configurations, but they all were either too tight for my arm or too big for the armscye. So I put it down for a while, got busy with work stuff, came back to it and kind of forgot what I had tried–well, you get the idea. So finally I took to instagram and asked for help.

It turns out that one of the people that I happened to tag on my photo appears to be a Lekala employee that I follow. I don’t read Russian, so I kind of just assumed she was just a super fan, but thanks to Google translate and what I’m guessing was Microsoft Paint, she had me up and running in no time. And I just hope my clumsy attempt at thanking her (also via google translate) worked like it was supposed to. Anyone else ever wonder just what exactly is getting spit out the other side when you have zero grasp of the language?

Anyway, so yeah. I was super excited about this project when I first tried it on, but then a couple of things happened. 1) my husband mentioned that I should have used a fabric with a non-white back. So now I’m super self conscious about it when I wear it. 2) I love the sleeves, as long as I’m not doing anything. Standing around looking cute is fine–trying to cook dinner? Potential fire hazard. Trying to eat dinner? Only if you want to drag your sleeve through your salad. And it fits awkwardly in a coat. Basically, it’s so incredibly impractical. But cute, so I’m wearing it anyway. 😉

Sight_2018_03_12_113838_479

*Sigh* first world problems.

SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder. Do you get it? Before this year, I’d have said no, but this year was different. Our winter was brutal, and while I’m used to our winters being cold and miserable, this year was just worse–colder, windier, drier…even if the sun was out it was almost an angry sun, not a comforting one. I’m not usually a “talk about my mood/feelings kind of person”, so obviously I didn’t get any official diagnosis, but I’m pretty sure that I had SAD. I think/hope it’s starting to go away now, but I can’t wait until it starts to warm up again. I don’t even care if it’s sunny, in fact I’d prefer if it was rainy (we need rain so bad!!), I am just tired of cold and wind.

Anyone else get SAD over the winter? How do you deal with it? All I know is that I never want to be this tired, angry, sad, miserable, and unmotived to do anything or interact with anyone ever again.

Upgraded!

I finally quit whining and decided to do something about my old sewing machine that I’ve always ranged from “meh” to extremely frustrated with.

Meet my new Juki DX7!

WP_20171222_12_03_51_Pro

I will admit that I didn’t really research this machine, but I researched it’s predecessor/sister/whatever the F-600 to death. I’m pretty sure I read every. single. review on the internet for the F-600. There were maybe a handful of negative reviews and everyone else highly recommended it. So when I saw there was a newer version that seemed as though it was pretty similar, I decided to just go for it–I didn’t even test drive it in person. And if you know me, this is pretty much the opposite of how I do anything.

We’re off to a slow start, because it’s a significantly more computerized machine than I’m used to, but I’m impressed with the power this thing has. The first thing I sewed with it is some jeans hems, and it fed through like it was quilting cotton–didn’t even hiccup over the bulky seams! My Pfaff couldn’t do that on it’s best day.

The buttons on it are a bit awkwardly located from what I’m used to, and the stitch selections are also a bit weird (seriously, a smartphone style hard touch screen would be awesome), but thankfully, most of the stitches you’ll use regularly are on the 9-key pad. I’m also trying to get used to the machine wanting me to use the up/down presser foot button after it cuts the thread instead of being able to use the lever just any time I want. It has a lever, but sometimes it doesn’t do anything. It sounds like a tiny thing as I type it, but this is a huge adjustment for me. The thread cutter feature though? That is the. BOMB. Seriously, I love it. I also love the needle threader that works every time! Even when it was new my Pfaff only worked like 25% of the time. And the lights! So much light under this machine, I feel like I’ve been freed from the dark ages!

The one thing that made me hesitate to buy any machine that wasn’t a Pfaff was the lack of IDT (or paying a fortune for that option on other brands), but so far the box feed has been just as good. And, this machine has something that Pfaff doesn’t offer on a similarly priced machine–presser foot pressure adjustments. If you’ve never had this feature, you may not realize how much better this makes your sewing experience, but trust me, it really should be a standard feature on every machine at every price point. Period.

So far I like it, even though I’m still working my way through the niggles. I’ll try to remember to do an update after I’ve had it a while and share how I feel about it by then. I certainly wouldn’t turn anyone away from it, especially if they are used to a more heavily computerized machine already. If you are coming from a low tech or mechanical machine, the curve might be steep.