Category Archives: Sewing

Leonardo Da Vinci and The Sewing Stash

Part of this last school year’s projects was the Famous Person Project.  It started with a conversation with his Language Arts teacher followed by a list of people he, with help from his teacher, had picked.  Then we (he and I) narrowed it down to three.  And at school it became one.

Over the course of the project they researched their person, made a presentation and a few other things.  The very last part was the Famous Person Wax Museum, an at school event where the students dressed as the subject of their project and did a short speech.

As the title clearly hints at, my boy picked Leonardo Da Vinci.  Costume-wise he really doesn’t realize what he is asking for.  My mind begins spinning.  First, first I need a pattern.  There was a time when I was a regular at Ren Faires, so maybe I have something in the box of costume patterns.  I go digging through that and find something that is perfect, an old Butterick Ren pattern.  Wonderful, now I just need fabrics and trim.  I read through to see how much is needed and considered my totes of fabric, and secondarily my bolts of fabric, then boxes of trim..

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Fabric totes – there’s another stack or two behind this one…

I recall some not plain fabric I’ve picked up in the last year or so from thrift shops and pull that out, looking at how much yardage there is.  I have munchkin come in and we talk about it since I know if he isn’t on board whatever gets made won’t be worn.  As particular about clothing, even costumes, as I am, I totally get it.  We go through the same process with the trim, this one found at the annual Quilt Shows back room garage sale where they sell fabric at $0.50 per pound.  I pull together coordinating threads and the bolt of lining fabric for just that and put all this stuff in a project box so I have it all together.

Now that it is organized I can address the pattern itself.  As I’ve gotten to the point over the years that I really don’t like cutting the originals, I pulled out my roll of transfer paper and set to do that.  I call him in and take his measurements to see which of the sizes is closest for him.

As I’m unfolding the pattern sheets and looking for the pieces required, I come to the realization that this packet only contains the adult size patterns.  Oh boy.  I do a little bit of research to see if the child size is out there somewhere for purchase.  I do find one copy for about $30 plus shipping.  Then I think to look at the copyright date.  1998.  Oh, that’s why.  I also consider the calendar.  It is a Thursday afternoon and he needs the costume the following Thursday.  Yeah, even if I were willing to spend the money on the pattern – I’m not – it wouldn’t arrive in time for any progress to be made.

So I transfer the smallest size adult pieces to my transfer paper, taping pieces together where necessary.  It is the top part of the doublet that needs the most adjustment.  The bottom part, which is from the waist down, can be left at the original length.  He stands there while I fold and tape into the right size, both front and back.  The transfer and adjustment took most of the rest of Thursday evening.  Then I started cutting the fabric out.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday were sewing days, using a little workhorse of a vintage Singer, the 185J made in Canada.

Singer 185J

Singer 185J

Friday, after work, I begin sewing, and I go until I’m too tired to see straight and have to frog some seams.

As I’m getting the pieces assembled and considering them, I’m realizing the lining will absolutely be necessary.  Since the fabric is essentially home decor fabric, I can, at least, skip dealing with interfacing.  Stitching continues on Saturday.  The lining is more challenging to cut and sew being what it is, but I get through quite a bit of that even with the afternoon work stoppage for our shift of kitty care at the local animal adoption center as well as fittings as pieces were put together.  I am able to move on to the hand stitching of the trim.  When my fingers tire I get the hat prepped.  A quick basting stitch lets me pull the edges into gathers.  I pin the trim into place and pick the feathers I want to use.  Those get bundled and glue applied to the shafts to set them.

Sunday I continue on the trim and finish off the hat.  I get him to try it on but he won’t leave it on long enough for a photo.  Stinker.

Thursday arrives and off to school we go.  He is so excited about his costume he puts it on early to show his teachers.  I am able to stay through the Wax Museum event but then must head to work and conference calls and what not.

I’m super pleased with how it all turned out, and apparently he really likes the hat as he was still wearing it when I picked him up from school that afternoon.

And for the second part of the post title – The Sewing Stash – I did not need to buy a single thing for this project.  Everything was pulled from my stash.  I sometimes see posts around social media from people who say they only buy fabric when they have a project to work on.  I work on things the other way around.  I get the fabric and accessories first and see what ideas bloom, or in this case, what need arises.  As noted earlier, the outer fabric and trim were bought at thrift shops/ garage sales.  The bolt of lining fabric I got for free several years ago with a few other bolts via a Freecycle post.  The feathers were from an old craft project.  And I have many needles and lots of thread.

I’m not sure when or if he will ever wear this again, but once he grows out of it, I plan on donating to a local children’s theatre.

The images below show the project process.

 

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Growing *The Choir

A little over a month ago, there was a post on one of my buy/sell FB groups for a Singer treadle from he early 1900s.  Although I did inquire about it at the time, the funds and the logistics just were not aligning, so I resigned myself to admiring from afar.  Last week I received a notification that the price had been reduced considerably.  Funding was aligned, and with some planning, so was logistics.

Wednesday afternoon, after school pick up, I collected my husband then an open Uhaul trailer and out to Salinas we went.  WE had to wait a bit as the seller had to make a quick run out, but, oh it was so worth the wait.

Now, sitting, in my living room is a well loved, well maintained Singer Model 66 treadle with Red Eye decals in a #21 Drawing Room Cabinet.  She’s just gorgeous!  All the parts turn smoothly, there were extra bobbins and needles in the drawer, and the manual was quickly downloaded from the ISMACS site.

I’m hoping to do some test stitching in the next few days.

Along with this beauty, there was an antique ice box. I need to do some more research on it, but it appears to also be early 1900s.  I plan to use it to store machine accessories and notions once I get it cleaned up and situated properly.  Of course, that probably won’t be until after the turtles get transported to their new home.

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Filed under Machines, Needlework, Sewing

Mom’s Visit, A Quilt Show and A Wedding

 

Mom came up for her annual visit early in the month and stayed for a whole week this time, Sunday to Sunday.  We did some shopping and pampering of her (chiropractic visit, massage at the spa, hair cut, pedicure).  By then it was only Tuesday!

Then we did an in-house shopping day – she went fabric shopping in my stash.  At some point in the last year I had picked up a fat quarter pack that just had mom written all over it.    Pinks, yellows, and greens with floral motifs are her thing.  She wanted to make a quilt like one of the ones I have of two-inch strips.  It would need a border, backing and binding, perhaps sashing.    I knew I had the perfect fabric for both backing and border.  Pulled those out and there was certainly enough of both.  I didn’t think I had the right green for the binding then realized I did.  It had been one of the options for the Candy Pop quilt.  Over Wednesday and Thursday, there was plotting, planning, cutting and sewing.  She loves using my old Featherweight.  It does make the most beautiful straight stitch.

Friday was the start of MPQG’s annual Quilt Show.  So many beautiful quilts and creativity.  Some of my favorites are pictured here in the slide show.

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We also visited their “Garage Sale” room in the back where the fabric is sold by weight at $0.25 per pound. “Danger, Will Robinson!”

Saturday is a kitty care day for Leo and I at AFRP. Mom came down with us for our two hour shift to play with the kitties. As the town’s Good Ole Days festival was in full swing, we left early in attempt to fin parking. Luck was with us that day, and a spot opened very near to where we needed to be. Between playing and loving on the kitties, mom visited the rescue’s supporting thrift shop next door and found some goodies. I went by to check on her and talk with Deb there. On my way out, I told Deb that if the Necci was still there the next day, I would take it home.

With new fabric and seeing all those quilts, mom was determined to get hers done. She kept going into the wee hours but finally had to call it a night. The only thing left was the binding. I handed her the thread and folded up the nearly done quilt then tucked it into a pillowcase to keep it clean. She packed it to take it home to finish.

We got her to the airport the next day despite crazy traffic, especially for a Sunday and got back in time to spend an hour at Good Ole Days before it closed until next year. Leo ran into a friend and they went on some ides together. Then we were both wiped out.

Oh, and the Necci was still there and did come home with me.

I have only been able to see if the motor ran, but have not spent any more time than that. The whirlwind was not yet over. Work kept me bsy the next four days on top of needing to pack. We were driving down to LA on Friday as my daughter was getting married on Saturday. Necessary work things were done Friday morning, then we all loaded into the car and headed south. My timing was awful as we hit rush hour traffic in Santa Barbara, Venture and Thousand Oaks/ Agoura. We grabbed dinner at Tommy’s and headed up to the folks. Unpacking the fancy clothes revealed a missing shirt that required a last minute dash to the mall before the shops closed. Saturday was the wedding and reception.

Welcome to the family, Jon. You’re in trouble now!

The following week saw another business trip and physical evidence of over doing plus allergies. But I’ve recovered mostly and hoping things slow down just a little. The most creative I’ve been able to manage is coloring in a coloring book.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Mom did finish the quilt! On Friday before we arrived! I think it turned out lovely!

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Filed under Quilting, Randomness, Sewing, Uncategorized

Newest Member of *The Choir

Saturday had a small adventure that included a drive I normally do for the day job.  I journeyed up to Daly City to see a vintage industrial Singer sewing machine, a 150w3.  Because of our weekly shift at the per adoption center, we needed to be up and on the road early.  There was the normal filling of the gas tank and acquiring caffeine.  Then we stopped at U-Haul to pick up the small open trailer I had reserved.  There was no way the machine was going to fit in my SUV, an while it would have fit in Kel’s van, the trailer has a much lower deck.  The assumption was that this piece would be heavy.

The drive up took longer than it normally would as pulling the trailer, especially with it unencumbered, required slower speeds than normal for me.  I didn’t twitch too much.  We found the address via GPS easily enough.  Then came the truly challenging part.  Daly City is essentially a suburb of San Francisco.  If you’re old enough to have watched the TV show The Streets of San Francisco you may remember how steep many of those streets are.  Not only is this street one of what I think of as the extra steep ones (so grateful to not be driving a stick), it’s a dead end.  Not a cul de sac with a little turning bubble, but a dead end.  So very carefully, I managed to get both the vehicle and trailer turned around, though by the time I was done it was way beyond a 3-point turn.  See the image below from Google Maps.  The yellow arrow is where I had to pull in, the orange is the direction I had to back the trailer then my SUV, and the green is the final parking spot.

delmar

The drive and turning challenge were absolutely worth it though.  The machine belonged to the seller’s grandmother who was a seamstress who did draperies, leather work and a multitude of other things.  It was obviously well used and well taken care of.  As expected of an industrial machine, the motor is sizable and mounted under the table.  There is a knee bar but it does operate by using the treadle peddle.  A test sewing on the scrap leather on it showed she sews like a dream.  The table itself is a thick butcher block piece on a cast iron treadle base.  It has a separate bobbin winder and dowels embedded into the table top to hold extra bobbins and thread cones.  A small work lamp is also a part of the table.  There is a drawer on the left that has extra needles, bobbins, throat plates, presser feet and more.  Another bonus is the machine cover that was obviously made by her previous owner.  The first two photos are from the seller’s listing, and the remaining ones are from the spot of my garage she has claimed.

I spent time today cleaning and organizing the garage.  Considering the power draw this machine has, and the fact that the garage is the only room with all ground capable outlets, I think it is a good place for her.  A bit more work out there, and I may have a proper workshop.  My electrified workbench with riser and shelf is already out there so it will certainly be a good set up.

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Filed under *The Choir, History, Needlework, Sewing

Candy Pop Quilt Progress Pic 2

All nine rows are assembled with blocks and sashing. Now to cut the sashing that goes between the rows. Once that is done and all stitched together, I will move on to the borders.

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Filed under Quilting, Sewing, Works In Progress

The Newest Addition

A few weeks ago, munchkin and I wandered through the ACS thrift shop as we usually do before heading into the grocery store. On this day we saw two vintage sewing machines in cabinets and one cabinet without a machine. One of the machines was a beige Singer 401 slant needle. As I am wont to do, I opened all the drawers to look through them. There were some extra presser feet, a buttonholer attachment, half a dozen or so extra bobbins, tens of extra needles including twin needles and a complete manual and maintenance kit. I sighed and walked away. There was no place to put it. I did take photos though. To remember her by.

Fast forward to just about two weeks ago and another visit to the thirft shop. Of the machines, the Singer is still there. It’s a really good price still, and the shop is have a 25% off everything special. I aked if they knew if it ran. Mark ran an extension cord, we plugged it in and tested. Purred like a kitten. My resistance completely evaporated.

Today we, the 401 and I, spent some time together. She got a good cleaning and an oiling. Part of the cleaning and oiling included removing the top cover. It was after this process that I realized there was a fashion disc in place. After taking that out and examining it, I realized I had a box of these from when I acquired a Singer Touch ‘n’Sew from Goodwill. A quick confirmed that these were completely interchangeable. Also in this box were some specialty presser feet and as well as cams for the Featherweight’s buttonholer.

A test drive shows beautiful stitching, and led to me finally mending the pair of munchkin’s jammie pants that needed it.

It’s been an exciting day.

Singer 401 Slant Needle in Cabinet

Singer 401 Slant Needle in Cabinet on the day she came home.

Maintenance Kit

Maintenance Kit

Feet w/the 401 (L-R) general presser foot, narrow hemmer, special purpose, zipper, special purpose with the buttonholer in the background.

Feet w/the 401 (L-R) general presser foot, narrow hemmer, special purpose, zipper, special purpose with the buttonholer in the background.

Extra presser feet from the Touch 'n' Sew (L-R) button foot, zipper, special purpose, 3 general purpose, multi-slotted bias binder, ruffler, unknown

Extra presser feet from the Touch ‘n’ Sew (L-R) button foot, zipper, special purpose, 3 general purpose, multi-slotted bias binder, ruffler, unknown

Fashion discs (L-R T-B)zig zag, arrowhead, diamond, solid scallop, icicle, multi zigzag, ball, ribbon, shag, solid pyramid, walls of Troy, chevron

Fashion discs (L-R T-B)zig zag, arrowhead, diamond, solid scallop, icicle, multi zigzag, ball, ribbon, shag, solid pyramid, walls of Troy, chevron

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Summer of Art

No work has been done on the mystery quilt in several days as other things have taken our attention.  For instance, this past weekend the clouds and fog decided to clear out and give us nice sunny days.  Happened last weekend too.

The previous weekend gardening happened with lots of weeding required and adding some color via new flowering plants.

The new annuals were a side effect of seeing them at the hardware store where we acquired fishing line.  That with the addition of crimping beads and the bead stash lead to a creative Sunday morning making sun catchers with the munchkin.

 

Then yesterday after school and while dinner was in the oven, we put together the terrarium using glassware found at the thrift shop along with bought and found sand, shells, twigs and moss.  We even added a little live spider plant.

After dinner, I spent some time with my Featherweight and home decor fabric to make a start market bags.  One is done except for 1.5″ of stitching which is where my bobbin ran out of thread.

 

I have enough material for 12 at this size.  I am considering making a couple larger.  We shall see.  There’s even a crochet one in progress.

Somewhere in all of this we’ve also pulled out watercolor paints and played with them.

 

We have plans for clay, potentially more terrariums (depending on what containers we can find at the thrift shops) and sun catchers and, as always, more quilting & sewing.

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Filed under Arts & Crafts, Crochet, Gardening, Quilting, Sewing