First project I made on my Featherweight.

I was itching to sew on my new/old sewing machine.  Last year I saw pictures from Houston Quilt Market, one of them was an adorable cat made by Funky Fiber Factory. I found the pattern in a quilt store in Las Vegas. I was so anxious to start, I made some mistakes sewing the head together. Luckily I was able to remove the ears and recut some of the face pieces.Still awkward looking, but this is correct.Interesting construction on this one. I had to read the instructions very carefully. Some things weren’t clear, but reading slowly, really stopping and paying attention, paid off. So how was it working on the Featherweight? Interesting. Irene had told me that there is no reverse. I guess by 1948 they included a reverse stitch, I found this out by accident, very lucky accident.

Like any new tool, I need more practice, most of the seams I was sewing are curved seams. I had to rip out quite a few and resew them. Every machine has its own temperament. All in all, I think this is a wonderful little machine, we just need to get better acquainted. Here he is, all sewn together, just waiting to be stuffed. Then it was time for pictures, I decided to combine a Sunday walk with pictures of the cat.After a horrible heat wave with a massive local fire, we had cool overcast weather on Sunday. So off to Lake Hollywood, we went.  Yes, I got smiles and interesting looks, kitty didn’t stay put in the bag.He came out to walk himself.To lord it over all those dogs that aren’t allowed here.To climb on pipes. He had to stop on the walkway on the Mulholland Dam, everyone needs to pose with the Hollywood sign in the background. A father and son stopped to admire him, I told them he already has a special home to go to. You got it, he is going to my fifth grandchild. Here he is looking down, lording it over the dogs.So I guess certain dogs are allowed here after all.Posing with Smokey. Very good advice indeed! Especially since the Hills on the valley side are one fire.

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Leah

A new old sewing machine

My friend Irene collects sewing machines. She ran out of room and has offered some to her close friends.In this little box, is a treasure of a sewing machine.Yup! My very own Singer Featherweight!!  Years ago they were easy to come by and relatively cheap. Not anymore. So thank you, Irene, for hunting down good featherweights and then being willing to let some go to new homes.I love how compact everything is in the case.The tray has a hole in it for the thread holder on the machine.Irene documents as much as she can. Her husband Izzy bought this one, from Stephanie. Oh well, so we don’t know what her grandma’s name was. 1948 is a special year, that is when Israel became a state, so it has extra meaning for me.The machine in the box, there was even space for a little can of oil.Out of the box.And now for the details. I miss the days when a machine was not only well built but beautifully decorated. I have had to replace some major appliances recently. I was told that if they lasted 10 years, that was good.The Singer Insignia, back when Singer really stood for quality.Even the back, that rarely gets seen is decorated. This little power house only stitches a straight stitch, won’t even reverse. As many of us have found, that is enough for many projects. This is also a wonderful machine to travel with – because it’s so compact.I don’t think this baby got a lot of use, the gold designs haven’t worn off. Irene and her husband have a good eye for quality Featherweights. There are plenty on the market that are used and abused. Others are in great shape and today cost as much as a fancy new machine.These machines were manufactured from 1933 to 1968. The look changed through the years, from very ornate to a simple white version. There are interesting feet attachments, we will see if I ever put them to use.This machine sews like a dream.It may not have a reverse function, but it does have many different stitch lengths.

Thank you Irene, I know I will love and cherish this. It has come to a good home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leah

Fun sewing.

A while ago I found this cute tie-dye fabric on the remnant rack at Joanns.I have my collections of little girl patterns, although, I need to update, they only go to six years and Shira is there. These dresses don’t look quite right on a hanger. Oh, the necklace says Shira. We were at an event where they were making names in gold-fill wire. Let’s see how long this lasts, since I bought a pretty cheap chain.Silly face! Notice she already has the matching headband.That’s better since the hemline is on the bias, it stretches. Luckily with a girl like this, who never stands still, no will see that it is uneven.See what I mean? Always in motion.Until I ask her to model – oy, she is way too photogenic for her own good.And another shirt for me, really trying to crop out all the mess in my work room. Luckily I have some of this fabric leftover, it will probably go into a quilt.

Leah

A break from travel posts

Yes, I have more to share from my amazing Alp vacation, but we all need a break. So I’m sharing a dress I made just before the vacation.See how well I match my mosaics?  I found the rayon at Joann’s. I love the soft flowy nature of rayon. The Pattern had an option for some contrast, I didn’t have any rayon, so I found some batik instead.I need to learn how to smile or find some new poses.Yay for both! A smile and a new pose. This dress is so soft and comfy, also, it isn’t tight fitting, so is perfect for a hot summer day.

Back view, the collar was supposed to meet in the center in both the back and the front clearly it didn’t. That is probably because of the different fabrics. Rayon has so much more give.The side plackets add some interest as well. Had I made this dress out of a solid fabric, I could have done without contrast. With such a busy print I feel it gives some space for the eye to rest. This side has an actual button hole, since the dress has an invisible side zipper, on the other side, I simply sewed the button down.Hmm, so one side of the color has some ripples. I wonder if I could iron that out, or, just live with it.  Becasue the batik is cotton and much thicker than the rayon, I didn’t want to self line the collar or the waist plackets. I also didn’t have enough of the batik to do so. I could have lined them with the rayon but I found a better solution.I used silk organza instead. This is a miracle fabric. I use this as my protective ironing sheet, since it can take very high heat and it’s see-through. Since it has some body to it, yet it is very light, it was a perfect choice for the lining. A few years ago I bought a couple of yards at Mood, I need to purchase more, slowly but surely I’ve been using it up.The back of this dress is lower than most I make. It’s a summer dress, I shouldn’t get cold, if I do, I have many shawls to chose from.

I think I’ve sewn enough dresses this summer. I need to replace some skirts and maybe make some more shirts.

 

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Leah

I have my sewing machine back! It’s better than ever

For anyone in the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita,  Pasadena or Glendale area I highly recommend Mayhall’s for servicing your sewing machine. A week after I dropped it off, I was back picking it up.

Those issues with the needle threader? It was fixed without putting in a new part for $260. A few other small items that I was told would be hundreds of dollars – fixed. The machine was not only serviced, the timing was out and that too was fixed. I was quoted $129 for a service, everything they did came to $150. A sewing machine has to be serviced and serviced well – I am so happy to have found Mayhall’s.

Before I picked up the machine, I was already busy basting my flamingo quilt. There are now a number of You Tube videos as well as blog posts about using pool noodles to spray baste a quilt.I had tried something similar with 2×4 boards, can I just say, this is so much easier.Can you see how nice and smooth everything is! I try and use as little of the spray glue as possible. I do find that the residue does build up on the needle.The whole process took maybe half an hour. For a larger quilt, it will take longer, I will need to bring out two tables as well as combine two noodles together. That probably means a trip to the hardware store to get some plumbing connectors.I was very nervous when I started quilting. Initially, the thread broke. It was Isacord, which many people swear by. I was also using  a Superior Threads Top Stitch needle. So that one came out and I replaced the needle with a Schmetz, and the thread with aurifil.  Ahhhh, it’s working!I don’t plan out my quilting ahead of time. Once I did some basic quilting on the birds, I decided to make it appear as if they are standing in grass, with a few feathers and large flowers. I really love quilting feathers.The real question is, since I’m quilting white on white, will anyone even see the design?I changed direction for the top, trying to make it look like clouds in the sky. So the long lines are now horizontal instead of vertical.We shall see, once I wash this I might just end up with a textured background.

Either way, I am so thrilled to be able to quilt again without the threads breaking. I have tried a little bit of ruler work. Not so good. We are having a lecture at the Valley MQG about Westlee rulers and machine feet. We’ll see if I get any good advice.

 

 

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Leah

More summer sewing

I think I mentioned already how much I love both linen knit and rayon knit.  This weekend I sewed with both!Recently I made a red T-shirt, so now it’s time to the green linen I bought at the same time.Also, it’s fun to be a stylist and accessorize my photo shoots.Found this rayon knit at JoAnn’s. Once again I used Colette’s Moneta to make the dress. Of all the independent pattern companies out there a big shout out to Colette. Their patterns are simple, good for beginners as well as good for sewing knits. What I really love are their tutorials.

The bodice is lined, Threads magazine has a tutorial on how to sew the lining to the fashion fabric. So does Colette, and I have to say, they came up with a new method that works beautifully. Another issue is the gaping armhole, once again, Colette offers a very good solution.It worked! My armhole is comfortable but not gaping at all.

Yes, I made sure the light blue element is centered on the front of the bodice and continues into the skirt in the front. It is the small details that make the dress.Then there is the hat.  I had this hat made many years ago when my oldest son was Bar Mitzvah. I don’t have many opportunities to wear it, so why not use it in a photo shoot. See these flowers, feathers and glass beads? They are all vintage,  I bought them downtown at a millinery shop that no longer exists. It was on Broadway, upstairs in one of the office buildings. What a selection they had!  I wonder if California Millinery supply company bought out their stock?  This is the only resource like this left that is open to the public.

At the time I had a friend who was trying to get into the hat making business. I was happy to pay her for this hat. Not sure whatever happened to her, this was long before Etsy or the internet, so starting this kind of business wasn’t easy.

 

 

 

 

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Leah

Rayon Dress

I love rayon, it flows like no other fabric, and these days, it’s machine washable.   So a month ago at Michael Levine’s, I found a Cotton and Steel rayon, it was the end of the bold, 4 yards, on sale.I got out some finery and set up my tripod in front of the neighbors’ house.  the slightest breeze and the skirt just flows.I’ve had the hat for years, I need to wear it more often, it is cute!More breeze.Rayon is just so comfy.My beef with this fabric? It’s one directional, so I used up 3.5 yards on this simple sleeveless dress. The skirt is made of six gores, had I been able to flip the pattern pieces, I would have been able to make something for my daughter in law as well. I know, these days this is the way people design fabric, it means that we need to buy more fabric – which is probably one of the reasons for doing it this way. I can assure you, fabrics made for the wholesale market aren’t one directional.I have some fitting issue on the back, not just this dress. I’d like to figure out a fix that doesn’t require redrafting. These days I want to take a pattern, maybe make some moderate changes and just sew. I’ve made some couture, not worth the effort for me.And yet, I just love the flirtiness of the fabric. There really isn’t enough rayon in the Over the Counter fabrics. That is what the industry calls fabrics that are sold to home sewers, so I take what I can get. I do love the color and the print, and of course the way the fabric just flows.

 

 

Leah

Still making things

Many of my recent posts are about no idle feet, I’m out and about, but what about my hands?

No worries, I’m still busy making things.Like this round box for my friend. This is the second time I’ve used this pattern as well as Annies soft and stable.Roberta likes pink.Whats not to like?I am in a little bit of a funk with my knitting. I’ve been very slowly knitting away on a shawl of no particular pattern. So if it is very successful, it will still be a one of a kind. I’m using up the last of the Koigu yarn I bought many, many years ago. I’m not thrilled with the color combinatibn, but hey, I’m using up old yarn. How old? At least 10 years and it has some breaks in it to prove it’s brittleness.Finishing it off with some lace. If I run out of the red, I will switch to the grey. This really is just a haphazard project. I also won’t know how well it functions until it is off the needles. For all I know it will be a very awkard shape.Still sewing clothes. Now that the weather is hot, I’ll be making some more summer clothes I can wear right away.

There will be seperate posts about my quilting. At the moment that is really the craft I love the best.

Leah

It’s getting hot, I can wear my new clothes

I like hot weather, the slightest chill and I’m freezing. So I welcome the warmth. For the first time last night we enjoyed dinner out on the patio. This also means that I can start wearing the clothes I made in the last few weeks.A short sleeve t-shirt – linen knit! I have one more to make.Sooo cozy.This is basically a circle skirt, but McCalls has you lay out the pattern differently. This is the second time I’ve made this, and the fit isn’t great. So after this skirt, the pattern gets tossed.I made adjustments, this skirt fits fine, but I don’t need a pattern I need to fiddle with. I love this dress!  The fabric is from the final sale at Sew Modern.  When I bought the fabric I had no idea what kind of dress it would become, so I purchased a lot of yardage. I was able to cut the front panel on the bias – which of course adds interest to the dress.Looking good from the side and the back.Shira already wore this to Disneyland where people asked her which store she bought it from. Her response: my Savta Leah made it, she makes me beautiful dresses. Which ensures that she will get many more beautiful dresses.I made sure to sew down the opening here. I don’t like gaping necklines!

Another great outcome is that my friend Anna is now sewing! When she only had one daughter I made her a few dresses, now she has three. Although she told me years ago that she can’t sew a straight line, that turns out not to matter. She made an adorable knit dress for her daughter, they worked together. I think there are many more dresses in her future.

 

 

 

Leah

Handmade gifts

I know, the holidays are over! The stores are full of football and hearts for Valentines Day. I still have to share what I made and what I received.

For a gift exchange with some Facebook friends I knit a scarf.I knit this a few months ago, which is what I need to keep on doing, knitting items that can end up as gifts for the holidays. Can you see the round box?I can’t stop with one item. So I made this wonderful box, then promptly forgot to take pictures. So glad my friend took some pictures once it arrived. This is part of another great Craftsy class. Once again, I always learn something in these classes, no matter how much I think I know. I had fun with my die cutter and stamps as well. I have avoided getting a Cricut or some other electronic die cutting machine. I really don’t need one. I have the Sizzix and a few dies, which is fine. What I really need to do is get back into some mosaic work this year, not more paper.When the inside is as nice as the outside, and my label of course. In return, I got this beautiful handmade ceramic vase. No, my friend isn’t a ceramicist, but she does work at RISD, Rhode Island School of Design, so she is able to look at what students are making and choose what she wants. She chose this because I am always posting the flowers I pick from my garden. So I promptly went out and picked flowers to put in my vase.Earlier this year RISD had an exhibit of Todd Oldham’s  fashions. I wish I could have seen it, it looked spectacular. Well, at least I now have two buttons he designed. Years ago, as in 20 years ago, he had a whole collection of buttons, some were sold at Joann’s.   I bought and used them. Foolish me, when I was through with the garment I should have removed the buttons. I didn’t, so I have a small regret. But now I have some of his buttons again. I bet these cost much more than the old Joann ones! because they were bought in a museum shop. Ah the placement of an item has a lot to do with it’s worth!

Leah