Singer Sphinx 27/127 Restoration 3

She’s apart!

So I finally figured out how to get this machine’s “drivetrain” out. All it took was a map gas torch (that I finally broke down and bought this past week), a BFH (big effing hammer 😉), and some patience. I figured it was along those lines, but I was so worried about breaking the casting I was scared to try it. Then I saw a YouTube video from a channel called NATRA. I’ll try to link it, but no promises it’ll be a good link forever.

That video also showed me that you can take the head off of the base. I had no idea. I mean, it makes sense now that I’ve done it, because the casting would be awfully complicated in one solid go, but I’d never seen anyone take the base off before. The more you know, or something. That part actually came apart easier than I expected. There are three screws on the bottom that hold it on, and a couple of pins that line it up. Give’er a little heat, a couple shots with an impact driver, and voila! I barely tapped it with the rubber mallet, and it popped right off. Now she’s ready to be cleaned, stripped, and painted.

For the paint, and this is going to be controversial, but it’s my machine that I’m saving from the metal recycling, and I’ll do as I please. So…

She’s gonna be metallic teal. I love the way teal and gold look together, so it’s a no brainer. It’s also the only time I like the look of gold, as I’m more of a silver/chrome gal myself. The only thing left to decide is whether she’s going to be reborn as a Sphinx or if she’s going to get the art deco decals. I really like both, and either way she will be beautiful. I do lean toward those ungodly expensive Sphinx decals though, because…well, I’ve always been fascinated by the Sphinx, and I don’t want to erase all of her history.

Make do and mend

So many of us say you can’t save money sewing, but sometimes the combination of good quality materials and workmanship that sewing your own clothes provides pays off, like when I can put new elastic in the waistband of these pants for a second child to wear. Amazingly, they still look pretty much as good on the outside as they did way back then (though the lining has faded with many washes and wears!), and I have 3 pairs of lined winter pants for these extreme temps (it was -7*F this morning!) for less than $3 and 10 minutes worth of unpicking. Supplex is the bomb, and if I ever find the stuff again, I’m buying the whole stock! 😉

Update on the Tetris quilt: Progress has been made! I’m finished with piecing on 15 of 26 rows. Since I seriously injured my tailbone (possibly broken, but no x-ray to know for sure) in a fall down some stairs a couple of weeks ago, sitting in my sewing chair has been painful so I try to keep it to a minimum. I’m on the mend though, so I can hopefully get everything finished on schedule, even if it means a few late nights toward the end. Anyway, the quilt is crazy bright, but also kind of gorgeous if I don’t say so myself.


But then again, it might be the kind of quilt that only the maker (and hopefully it’s recipient!) could love… 😉


Christmas crunch time, or why do I do this to myself?

So it’s December. I’ve been hearing Christmas music on the radio for at least a couple of weeks now, but it’s never really “real” to me until the first of December (or the second, that works too. 😉 ) And immediately following–relatively speaking, of course–is Scotch’s 3rd birthday. And I realized this year that Scotch does not yet have his own quilt like big brother does.

*Cue frantic planning of said quilt.*

I’ve been dreaming of a Tetris quilt in varying shades of blue for a long time, but somehow I ended up letting Scotch choose his own colors, so there’s a little bit of everything in there. Scotch is a big fan of orange and purple, so it’s going to be red, orange, yellow, purple, and a kind of ocean green. Fairly traditional Tetris colors, or at least in my memory they are.


This is the current plan, but I’m actually going to have to rework it a bit because the bottom 1/4 has too many of the same pieces touching each other, and that can’t happen on the final quilt or it will lose the effect. I’m hoping I can just redraw those few lines on the bottom and match them up with the rest so that I don’t have to redraw the whole thing. 😮

I even bought the fabric this morning, so it’s really going to happen. !!! I’m not 100% convinced about this, but the colors are very pretty, and somehow they work together. And even if they don’t, my son loves them and is super excited about his quilt, so I’m not going to argue.


The colors aren’t quite right on my screen, the purple is a bit more faded and a bit less blue, and the red isn’t quite that dark either.

I’m also not sure why I keep saying “never again” to quilting and then am sucked back in to making another quilt. This will be my 3rd, so it should go together flawlessly–or at least I shouldn’t bungle it too badly. It’s got to be easier than the queen sized one I made for our bed a while back! I can still remember the horror that was shoving a queen sized quilt through my regular sewing machine. *shudder*

Also in progress: a couple of things for me for wearing over the various Christmas celebrations and I just finished the PJ shirt I started for Scotch like a month ago. I’d make him a couple more, but even as quick as they are I think I need the time for other things. What do you suppose the odds are of being able to finish the quilt by the first week of January? Slim to none? Or can it be done?

Wedding Guest Outfit Idea #234256

So ever since that last post, I’ve been deliberating (and sewing, HOORAY, but not for this, unfortunately). And in my deliberations, it was suggested to go for some palazzo pants. I liked the idea of palazzo pants so much that I kind of set myself on them….until…I saw this:

This is a jumpsuit from the April 2016 issue of Burda. If I can figure out the perfect fabric (it says it’s for jersey, but I’d really rather use a floaty woven with a bit of spandex–rayon crepe perhaps?), this decision is made. I’m aiming for royal blue or teal, silver heels, a sticky bra, and some sort of simple hairstyle that will likely be determined by the weather.


I’m kinda liking these shoes, though I’ll admit I was originally looking for something a bit more…delicate?

Now, if you’ve seen me comment on my fear of jumpsuits+ calls of nature, this is still a valid concern, but I’ve got an idea that involves an extra long invisible zip

P.S. None of the links are affiliated or whatever–they are so that I can finally close the tabs I have open and find the stuff later. 🙂


Down to the wire Jungle January

I come from a long line of chronically late procrastinators. I learned from the world’s best how to stall, delay, and be more-than-fashionably late. Which is why, on the absolute last day of January 2016 I’m here to share my Jungle January projects with you. 😉

First up is a second Lekala 4042 in *sigh* rayon jersey (I’m so predictable). This shirt has been a long time coming. I think I bought the fabric for it last August, cut out all but the back, ran out of fabric, couldn’t find more, and then finally did, but didn’t have time to cut it out for a while…I’m sure you’ve been there before. It basically went together like the first one, but I got a bit cocky with the neckline since I’d done it before, and that was a big no-no. I fiddled and fussed with it for at least twice as long as the first time, but I finally wrestled it into submission. And I made sure to stabilize both the shoulder seams and the upper chest seams. I highly recommend you do the same, because it made a world of difference in the end. Trust me.

No modeled pics, but you can see how the pattern looks on a body in the previous post. 🙂

Lekala 4420 in rayon challis (seriously, you knew that was coming, right?) was another one that didn’t seem to want to come together. Somehow it ended up being 4″ too big all the way around, even though I put in the same measurements I’ve used before. I also added 3″ of length that the front needed, but the back did not. If I were ever to wear leggings as pants, this would definitely cover my butt, but I’m not a leggings as pants type of gal. Sorry. I left the length alone though…for now. Some other changes:

  • Raised the front neckline–it showed my bra, and while it still does in certain positions, at least it’s not just a given that my bra will show like it was before. If I’d have known, I would have shortened it above the bust before cutting out the fabric, but I didn’t.
  • French seams. No idea why, and sadly I didn’t get a picture of it. But, you’ve all seen them before, so it’s not exactly earthshattering.
  • Lengthened the sleeves 2″. This was just about perfect, though I almost wish I’d have added another 1″. Bracelet length isn’t one I’m used to, so it feels awkward.
  • Pearl snaps, baby. Oh yes, I went there. 😉
  • Instead of bias binding for the neckline, I used a crossgrain strip from my meager scraps that I had left after cutting this out. It has a little bit of give, but my tiny head didn’t need it anyway.
  • This was my first time using a placket like this, so I used Sewaholic’s tutorial. It worked OK, but I couldn’t avoid the puckers completely, so mine are puckery. The busy print covers it though, so I think it’ll be OK.

Overall though, the pattern itself went together flawlessly, notches matched perfectly, etc., etc. And while I seem to have to add length to everything, that’s such an easy fix when you compare it to FBAs and such. And it’s also something that’s easy to spot before you start cutting out fabric.

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Belated birthday sewing

My husband’s birthday is at the end of November. It has been on the same day as long as I’ve known him ;-), but for some reason, this year I struggled to get my gift for him done in time. As in, nothing would go right…it was as though I’d forgotten how to sew. SMH.

  • I sliced into the front bodice (is it still called that for men?) trying to fix a button band and had to recut it.
  • Any pieces that could have been sewn on backwards, upside-down, or wrong side out, I did it.
  • Nearly cut too far snipping the corners off pretty much every single collar point/cuff.
  • My cuffs still don’t look sharp and pretty as I’d like.
  • I interfaced the button bands with too stiff of interfacing so had to recut them.
  • My hems still weren’t level, even after adding length to the pattern pieces–which I still don’t understand, since I compared the side seams of the pattern pieces and they matched after my adjustments. You sure couldn’t tell it by the finished seams though. Hmph!
  • There wasn’t a package of bias tape to be found that came anywhere close to the grey-green striped fabric–in fact, notions for that fabric were nearly impossible all around.

All I can say is thank goodness past me (because these fabrics were both in my stash for the last 4+ years) bought the full yardage recommended by the pattern! I wouldn’t have needed but about 2/3 as much, but all my goofs meant that the extra came in very handy! I guess the other thing that turned out really well was the sleeve plackets and my topstitching–both of those things are gorgeous on both shirts. Neither of them are something that anyone but me (and you–since you’ll get close-ups) will notice, but at least something turned out right! And all of this trouble on a TNT! I’ve made this pattern at least 6 or 8 times before!

I only included ^ one because it shows the blue shirt in progress in the back–proof! 😛 (Trust me, it’ll make sense in a moment.)

So here are the pictures of the finished shirts, all ready to be worn by my wonderful husband:



OK, so this picture is actually from this post, but it’s the exact same pattern, fabric, and size. So I’m cheating by not retaking the pictures. Call me lazy if you’d like. 😉


In the end, I’m glad I did these. Hubby’s closet was getting rather shabby–all those clothes he’s been wearing since 8th grade (Grrr! I wish I could still wear stuff from that long ago!) are finally starting to wear out, and all at once too! If I had more time, I’d probably replace a few more in his wardrobe, but the money is the same whether I make ’em or buy ’em, and I’m a selfish seamstress at heart. 😉

Not my grandma’s shirt

I have a not-so-secret obsession with rayon challis. Any time I see it, even if I’m unsure of the print, there’s a good chance that some of it is going home with me. (The exception to this rule is whatever that fugly stuff is on a certain pair of discount fabric websites. Not even I’m that desperate.) So when I was in Jo-Ann’s, I found this challis that was a super pretty combination of purples, but it was a floral. There wouldn’t have been a single moment of waffling if it would have been some sort of splodgy abstract, but florals always make me feel like I’m raiding my grandma’s closet. So there was at least 5 minutes of hesitation, but ultimately, I bought it anyway. And then I decided to make it up into a Burda JJ blouse, minus the ruffles. (One of these days I may have to make it with the ruffles, but today is still not that day.) A long time ago, I did some extensive work on it to make it hug my figure, and while I used those same pieces this time, I used much smaller seam allowances from the apex to the hips on the front pieces. I wanted it to be a bit less fitted, since it’s such a drapey fabric. I think I nailed the fit I was going for.

The other thing you’ll notice is that it has sleeves. This is a big deal for me. I’ve never been able to fit sleeves in this pattern–even the ones it came with–there was just too much ease. I think I’m the only one who had this problem, probably because I didn’t want super puffy sleeve heads and I have fat arms–a deadly combination in the world of the JJ. I stole these sleeves from a Burda magazine pattern that I had in my stash. They’re the kind you roll up and button with a tab. The challis seems a bit droopy for this to be the only thing keeping them up, so I did some handstitching on the underside to keep the rolls where they belong. I may regret this come laundry day, but we’ll just have to see I regret it. Maybe I need to do both sides?

Who knew mother of pearl buttons were so hard to photograph?!

Who knew mother of pearl buttons were so hard to photograph?!

Lastly, I made the buttonholes with my Singer 301A and her buttonhole attachment. This was mildly terrifying. Mostly because it’s a machine I’m not used to, it’s trickier than you might think to get the fabric under the attachment straight (I have a crooked buttonhole to prove it), and starting is a bit nervewracking too–they aren’t kidding when they say to have the needle DOWN to start!! Otherwise you will bust it trying to keep ahold of the threads.

Confession: I’m on the fence about this. I’m still feeling like this is a bit too mature for me, but I’m going to give it a wear or two and see how I feel about it then. If I don’t love it, my MIL seemed to like it, and I think it would be very pretty on her. 🙂

Pretty and nicely sewn, but is it *me*?

Pretty and nicely sewn, but is it *me*? See more pictures and whining on Instagram @SewSarcastic.

Handmade spice cabinet

Does anyone else have so many spices that they can’t find them all? And then you buy duplicates because you couldn’t find the basil that you were just sure you had (and after you get the new jar home you find out that you actually did have)? Just me? OK then.

A couple weeks or so ago I decided I’d had enough of trying to find spices in a cabinet above my head that was poorly organized, poorly lit, and multiple jars deep. So….I designed a spice cabinet to go in my pantry. It took me a good week to cut it out and assemble it (especially since I changed my plan halfway through!), but it was time well spent. It’s certainly not fine woodworking, but it’s woodworking at it’s finest. 😉


You have no idea how hard it was to get the shelves + the dowel rods in their proper places all at once. I needed 5 hands, but somehow I got it done with only my two!

I’m also kind of excited that my skills are finally visibly improving. Like to the point where I can actually tell that I’m getting a little bit better. This makes me happy, and hopefully, it’ll give me the confidence I need to build a desk for our office. 😮

Not perfect, but good enough!

If only I’d’ve added another inch in width. Not perfect, but good enough!

Jalie to the rescue!

When I wasn’t feeling my Barb pants, I decided that I needed a pick-me-up. I realize that I’ve made a few successes lately, but I wanted to keep that going, and honestly, I need shirts more than anything else…except maybe a strapless bra. 😉

So, after K-Line recently posted her gorgeous red version of Jalie 2921, I decided it was high time I pulled my copy out of the stash and sew it up. I’ve had this pattern for years, and never managed to make it. Honestly, I’m not sure why it took me so long! There’s a reason this pattern has a million reviews–it’s easy, fast, and the end result is simple, yet elegant.

I whipped up a muslin for this in record time (literally, a nap time!) out of the scraps from my maxi dress, and I like it so much I plan to wear it. In fact, using scraps worked in my favor this time, because I didn’t have enough to make the straps the full length, but it worked out because the length I ended up with (“S” size, I think), was pretty much perfect. It’s not a perfect fit though, it had some pooling in the back and is a smidge low in the front.

It seemed like a good use of the leftovers. :-)

It seemed like a good use of the leftovers. 🙂

For round two, I raised the neckline 1/2″ (should’ve done a full inch, but I chickened out!), lengthened it by 1″, and added some ease to the hips thinking that would help with the pooling back there. (Spoiler: it didn’t.) Honestly though, I’m not that bothered by these relatively tiny issues, and I’m sure that I’ll wear the real one to death, and probably get a fair amount of wear out of the muslin as well. WIN!

I even just happened to have these buckles in my stash for who-knows-what, and they were perfect for these!

Wow, can you even see the garment as messy as the background is?!

I was pretty pleased that I even had the buckles in my stash for who-knows-what-reason. I mean, I remember buying them, but I can’t remember what for. Regardless, they were perfect for this, so thanks Past Self!

I really like the shape of the neckline and the collar, so I’m trying to wrap my brain around how to make this without the ties and center front seam but still have the collar and shapely neckline. Anyone have any suggestions for me?

Until next time!

My first maxi

I’m not sure what is wrong with me lately, since I’ve suddenly increased my skirt/dress wardrobe by 3 pieces. This is kind of crazy, since I’m very much a jeans kind of girl–not only because I find them practical, but also because I have negative thigh gap. Seriously, they rub together so bad that it literally is painful to wear a skirt or dress for a full day. I wear jeans out quickly too, but at least with the jeans it’s not my skin!

Inspiration dress; who knows how long it will last, but I feel so long and lean in it!

Inspiration dress; who knows how long it will last, but I feel so long and lean in it!

Aaaaaanyway, back to the maxi. Technically, my first ever maxi was the inspiration for the one in this post. I bought it from Walmart a month or so ago, and decided that I should make my own, but it wasn’t a priority. Until I saw a fabric that I knew I had to make the maxi dress of awesomeness out of. I first saw it during my fabric binge, but I left it there, because I didn’t know what to do with it. But it just wouldn’t get out of my head, I kept thinking about it and how it would make a beautiful elegant maxi dress for nights out with my husband… Now I have the perfect dress, I just need to convince my husband to take me out!

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Pattern Review: McCall’s 7121

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Welllllllll, for my particular purpose, I hated all the seaming, but I think I’d like to go back and do the chevron stripes someday, so I’ll probably love them then, HA! I loved how easy it was, and the V-necklines.

Fabric Used: For the muslin, I used a cotton jersey and for the real deal I used some sort of polyester knit with silver threads woven into it.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: On the final version, I eliminated the waist seams and the center front seam. To eliminate the waist seam I used the highly unscientific method of joining the bodice and skirt together overlapping the seam allowances. To remove the center front seam I curved the side seam in the same amount that would be added when I cut the center front on the fold to help maintain some shaping. I also had to shorten the shoulders by 2″ on each side to keep it from being indecent. This length wasn’t an issue on the muslin, and I didn’t realize it was a problem with the final version until I had it completely stitched, so you can imagine I was a bit annoyed when picking a triple zig zag out of the fabric and doing my absolute best not to snag any of those silver threads.

Goofs: When I cut the back pieces, I ended up with some twinning. It was either deal with it and be happy or buy another 2 yards of this fabric (which is rather distinctive and unsuited for scrappy projects.) I also seem to need some more room across the back for my big ‘ol butt, because it rides up a bit. Again, not a deal breaker, it is just really obvious from the Oona-esque angle I had my husband try out here.

This is the second time that exactly what I envisioned in my head came to reality, but my current project (StyleArc Barb, if you’re curious) isn’t working out nearly so smoothly. We’ll just have to see how it goes. I’m sure I’ll blog about it in great detail later on, regardless of the outcome. 😉