end of the vintage era

The end of my vintage sewing machine era, that is.

I enjoyed collecting and sewing with my old machines for about 15 years. While I didn’t have a huge collection, when we moved and downsized I didn’t have room for them all any more. ¬†They went up on Craigslist this last week and were claimed in a matter of days. Here is a surprise – all my buyers were men.

The “in memoriam” portion of the program…

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My Viking Husqvarna 21 was the first to go. The young man who bought it collects Viking machines and didn’t have this particular one.

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The Singer 503A went to a man who was replacing another similar model to use in his upholstery business. He was thrilled with the condition of my baby and I’m sure he will take good care of it.

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The Kenmore 158.65 and the Singer 66 whose picture is below went to a third gentleman. He and his wife run a quilting retreat and they will be using them for decor.

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I used and enjoyed all of these machines, and am sorry that I can’t keep them.

My Featherweight is the one vintage machine that is staying with me. After all, it doesn’t take up a lot of room. And it does give me the option of using a dedicated straight stitch machine when I want to.

The machine that is replacing them all is a Janome DC4030P. I don’t have the machine yet, but I have cut out the first project that I will sew on it, and that’s a white shirt. I think that’s a really nice new beginning. I can’t wait to get started.

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SWAP 2016 progress

This is the first year I’ve participated in SWAP for a long time. I do actually need clothes, and the rules suit me fine, so the timing was great this year.

Most of the sewing is done. There is a pair of black linen pants and another white top to make, and that’s all. Here’s the SWAP so far. Head is cropped off because I am having a bad face day. ūüôā

Here we have a pair of narrowish pants in a gray twill with a lot of body. They are from a Burda plus issue that seems like it has no date on it. At least, I can’t find it. The pants have four narrow waistline darts in front, four regular darts in back, and a cute little ankle slit. The original pattern had a faced waist, but I added a waistband. The pants are paired with a Cutting Line Hearts a Flutter top that I changed up with a button front.

SWAP1Front and rear views. Of the things I’ve made so far for SWAP, I’m most critical of these two. I’m glad I added the waistband to the pants, because some elastic needs to be added in there to help them stay in place. ¬†Maybe I will take in the side seams a just a little bit, too. However, I have worn these all day so they might be a bit bagged out. Maybe the best thing to do is wash and dry them a few more times to see if there’s some shrinkage still to come. A little shrinking might be just the thing in this case.

Critique on the top – here Photoshop has come in handy to show what it would look like if I shortened the top a bit more than an inch. Better proportion, I think, and totally worth doing. In fact, maybe it will get shortened even a little more. To be fair to the designer, I did lengthen the top when I made it up. Mistake!

SWAPproportion 1

 

Here are the same pants with the Hot Patterns Sunshine top. There was a thin knit in the stash that was way too sheer for a regular top. My reasoning was that the volume of the gathers would mitigate the sheerness. They do, but I will probably always wear a light jacket when leaving the house in it. The scooped neck of the Sunshine top is both deep and wide. I used a smaller size for the neckband and just gathered the rest of the top to fit.

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What happened to my shoes?

The boxy jacket is from Burda, the 2/2009 issue, #134. The original had bust darts that I converted to shoulder princess seams so that I could flat fell them. Shouler darts in the back were also converted to vertical flat felled seams. I also eliminated the bottom band/peplum that was in the original pattern. What did I keep? The cute vented sleeves! Cooper must think that jacket = walk.

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Another grouping, and the Birkenstocks are back. The top is Cutting Line’s Plain & Simple shell, modified to mimic a Style Arc pattern I like . It’s made up in double sided double gauze, with the reverse used for the shoulder yoke. I picked apart the layers at the seams for the yoke, so that the seam allowances could be hidden between them without cutting two yokes. There are some gathers at the yoke in center back, too.

The Tabula Rasa jacket pattern was selected because I wanted something kimono-ish for that indigo chrysanthemum print. The fabric is fairly heavy, and I underlined it, which gave me another boxy jacket.

Pants – another Burda style. I have been calling them “carrot” pants, but maybe it would be better just to call them pleated pants that are narrow at the ankle. I like them a lot. They are from the 09/2011 issue, style #120.

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I don’t know if this top actually fits the rules, because it’s a recycled piece from my last 6-pac. I cut it down to make the little Ottobre dolman T, #17 from the 02/2015 issue. This is a quick and easy top to make, but there are a few things not apparent from the drawings and photos – the neckline is not as scooped and wide as the drawing, and the shoulder and sleeve fit is really snug. I will probably make another one of these.

Parts of the SWAP not shown in this post are the Miss Fisher trench coat from last year (rules allow a previously made item) and purchased blue jeans.

Two more pieces to go, and that should do it.

comparing curves

The mysteries of the crotch curve. After all these years, I still don’t have a firm understanding of this critical concept. I’ve been in another round of pants fitting (lost significant weight and it was time) and had an aha! moment about what I need in a curve and how it should be placed. Coupled with that, there’s been an interesting discussion going on at Stitcher’s Guild regarding this shape.¬†These things¬†motivated me to do a little tracing and comparing.

This would have been a better example if I had basic trouser patterns in all the pattern companies represented, but my Knipmode sources are limited to two magazines. Knip was critical because that is the curve that I really wanted to compare. So I selected the knip style that I had and then went on to find similar styles in the other companies – as close as I could.

Sizes – I used a 42 inch hip measurement – very close to the 106 cm measurement used by Knipmode and Burda. This meant that McCall and Vogue were size 18, Burda was a 44, and Knipmode was a 42.

Deciding how to align them for the overlay was a puzzle. I decided to align them based on the deepest part of the curve, with the grainlines parallel. For Knip and Burda, I positioned them so that the points were vertically aligned. I did the same for Vogue and McCall, too, but then backed them away a bit because they are designed to come together at the center of the body. The European cuts come together more towards the front. Maybe there is a better way to align for comparison?

So here is the picture. My lines are a little wobbly, but it’s easy to see that there is a clear difference in the four curves.

back curves

 

Observations:

McCall and burda have almost the same angle of slant, but the McCall is much more L shaped.

Knipmode is the only one that has an actual hook. The lowest point of the curve is not at the point.

That Vogue curve is very shallow. When I look at it, I know why people need to scoop to alter some patterns.

Burda has a curve that I can imagine conforming to my contours. But look how the Burda seems to allow for a thicker waist than Knipmode.

There is more to fitting than crotch curves, of course, and that’s one of the reasons it is such a challenge for someone like me to understand. Side seams and the angle of the waistline relative to the center back and sides are also parts¬†of the equation.

But what I understand from comparing these curves is that, depending on a person’s own anatomy, one of them would be a better starting point than the others.¬†And you wouldn’t be able to just make the same kind of alteration across the board to get them to fit. One might need a scoop, another might need a wedge either added or taken out, and so on. In the most recent pair of pants I fitted (Burda), I tried tweaking in all the usual ways to get a better fit with no luck. Finally, I put them on inside out and pinned the center back to conform to my body. Turned out the curve needed to start higher.

I’d like to develop TNTs for a few more pant styles, so there are more muslins in the future. Here’s an exercise¬†to add to your yoga practice…starting in mountain pose, twist to one side until you can pin the center back seam of your pants. This pose is called “the seamstress”.

 

Kenmore 158.650

A new sewing machine followed me home yesterday. I absolutely did not need another machine, but it was only $30 and was super clean, so I bought it even though it didn’t have a manual or accessories.

Kenmore 158.650

It is a¬†tank of a machine. 40 lbs — I weighed it — and look how stripped down and minimal the exterior is. That was part of its appeal!

It makes a beautiful straight stitch but is almost as loud as a tank, too. This week I’ll attempt to diagnose what is causing all the noise. It has a single cam in it, so I also need to¬†check out what that does and try to locate a plain zig zag cam for it.

There’s already a first project planned for this baby, too.

Kenmore 158 back

If anyone has any experience with a machine like this, or knows what this dial on the back does, I’d love to hear about it. Sears is out of manuals for this machine.

plans for another knock off

There are no completed projects to show here this time. My half-purchased half-sewn 6pak is complete, and I will take some photos to share in the next post. This one is being put up to host some photo inspiration for an upcoming project.

One of the members on Pattern Review, PammyJ, started a thread on a linen coat worn by Essie Davis in the Miss Fisher murder series. I vaguely remembered a duster type coat that she had worn motoring and flying an aeroplane (a little period spelling here), but couldn’t recall any details. However, the next episode up for viewing on my TV featured the coat, and then I wanted one, too.

Here are some decent photos of the coat gleaned from the official Phryne Fisher Pinterest page.

obscured by lovely scarf
with yet another lovely scarf
with lovely scarf number three

So many lovely scarves hiding the details I need to see to make this coat!

However, from watching episode in my queue (no scarves) I could see the following: below knee length, unlined, single breasted, buttoned sleeve tabs, raglan sleeves, flapped pockets, slightly rounded collar, center back seam. PammyJ thought there were bellows pockets, but on second viewing it looks to me like they are just patch pockets with flaps.

Here are a few more poor quality photos that I snapped off the TV.

Fisher coat 1 Fisher coat 2

I also found a pattern to use for my copy in an old Ottobre Woman. This is #20 from the 5/2007 issue. This should be pretty simple to adapt.

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I had a piece of cotton/linen blend that has the right weight and drape, but not enough to make the duster length of the original. Luckily, fabric.com still has some and a few more yards are on their way to me now.

In my research, I read that the costume designer for the show intended this coat as an homage to classic detectives. Phryne Fisher and Sam Spade all wrapped up in one coat! I’m pretty excited to get started on this soon.

little white shirt

There aren’t many white shirts in the closet because of the way they attract splotches of tomato sauce and red wine. But I do like a white shirt and wanted one to go with the black and white crosswoven linen pants I recently made.

This is the Ottobre Woman Triangle shirt, #9 from the Spring 2013 issue, without the color blocked triangle.

I started with a fresh tracing upon which to work my alterations: small FBA, lowered the bust point, forward shoulder, sway back. Next time I could raise the bust point just a smidge, and increase the sway back a little, if there is a next time. I like the little cut on cap sleeves, but they might not be around much longer.

Here’s a photo on the dummy, which really doesn’t even work well to hang clothes on for photos anymore. The dummy is over 10 years old and there is no amount of dial-twisting that is going to make it resemble me. It would be nice to have one based on a body cast so that I could actually fit on it. However, those are $$ and would probably only be good for a few years, since ¬†my body is going to continue to change. If anyone has solutions that worked for them, I’d love to hear what you did!

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And here it is on me. It could have been fitted a little more closely, but loose is better in the summer.

Otto_Triangle2I’ve already printed out and pieced together the PDF for my first try with Lekala patterns. Lekala produces the patterns based on your measurements, not by a selected size. There are also opportunities to input a little more info, like whether your shoulders are broad or narrow, the length of your arms, etc. It will likely take a little back and forth to get my fit mapped out, but there are several free patterns that you can order multiple times to work out those issues.

Link to the free patterns: Lekala

EF Knockoff completed

The shirt I was planning in the last blog post has actually been finished quite awhile – has been laundered twice. But in all that time there has not been a nice sunny day when I could take photos. Today there are a few fresh inches of snow, but the sun is shining brightly. At last!

Here is the glamour shot…

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You can see the sunbeam. Oh, joy!

The base pattern for this shirt was Ottobre Woman’s 5/2014 issue, style #18. It’s an oversized shirt pattern. My¬†previous post describes the changes I made to emulate the Eileen Fisher original.

Since the topstitching thread matches the fabric, here are a few details to show that the shirt is not quite as plain looking as it appears.

EF Knockoff3

Showing the side vent, stitching at the base of the placket, and the hanging loop on the back yoke.

And here is a photo of me wearing it, sleeves rolled up one time.

EF Knockoff1Critique: Looks like I could use an FBA and will make that change when I use this pattern again. I purposely made my shirt shorter than the inspiration shirt, because the first time I made this pattern (original length) the proportions of the very long shirt just didn’t seem right at all. However, I didn’t pretreat my fabric vigorously enough, and it has shrunk a little from my intended length. Also looks to me like I should rotate the sleeve a little towards the front.

The Ottobre pattern is a good basic to work with for an extended shoulder, loose-fitting shirt. I’ll make my fitting changes to the tissue, because it is sure to get used again.

I’ve never done a knockoff before, so this was a different approach for me. Fun!