Thursday, 11 December 2014

Handcrafted Christmas Presents


Had an enforced 2 weeks off work, after Gloria the old horse stomped on my foot!  Gosh it did swell up and couldn't put any weight on it, luckily, it wasn't broken much to the Xray chap's surprise but it did get an infection in it which slowed the recovery up.

Soo after days and days of sitting on the couch with my foot in the air sewing my teeny weeny hexies and reading books, I started to potter about in my slippers (nothing else would fit!).

Not sure when I will stop with the hexies.

Made some Christmas pressies.

A selection of these sweet fabric pouches, just need the fancy popper kit to arrive from Ebay so that I can finish them off and wrap them up.

A couple of fluorescent bandannas for my friends dogs, we walk at 7 a.m. when it is still dark (must be mad!)

Oh, pieced a quilt top for a wedding present but I will show that when its finished.

And finally, another Thread Catcher made out of the sewing label fabric, had to do a bit of fussy cutting so not to chop the labels in half.  Its filled with wheat and homegrown lavender, its smells of summer.

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Shopping at Knitting and Stitching Show


Went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate yesterday, been saving up for ages.

Harrogate was chocker block, most of the car parks were full except the multi storey at the Railway Station and that was rapidly counting down the number of free places while we sat in the traffic jam, it was a bit of a hike to the show.  Gosh it was heaving, wall to wall ladies with the odd chap now and again

Got this little lot.

Well worth a visit, fabrics are to die for, had to keep checking my chin for drool.  It was difficult to choose there was so many stalls.


Friday, 14 November 2014

Phone Cover and Little Bag


I have been rash again and bought some linen type fabric off Ebay without thinking what I was going to do with it.  I had ordered the cream but there was a printing fault on it so got the pale pink instead.  Isn't it scrummy?

My sister said that a couple of the labels would be just the right size to make a phone pocket thingy so I had a go.  Not sure if it will fit a iphone jobby (my phone is just a tiny cheap one that doesn't mind be dropped in the borders when I am gardening!).

Its been chucking down with rain all morning today so decided to give myself a challenge and have a go at making a little bag from a Chinese Pinterest site   Got the idea from Kristyne over at  She's a dab hand at making these.

Gosh it tested my brain, no instructions in English just pictures.  Made it back to front so had to take it apart, doh, it was easy now that I have made it, hindsight is a wonderful thing.  Perhaps my brain was rusty from all the rain.

My Singer 201K behaved beautifully as usual.


Monday, 10 November 2014

Butterfly Tote Bag


Was browsing Ebay and found some lovely canvas fabric with Butterflies on it and couldn't resist.  Managed to find some dotty fabric from another site to go with it which is tricky getting the colour to match.

Really pleased with the result.

Take care

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Liberty Print Bags


Had to have a day off work last week cos I totally ground to halt, never been that tired before.  I rested all morning but not used to doing nothing so decided that a bit of sewing wouldn't be too taxing.  After all, its just sitting down but with busy hands unlike my job pushing lawnmowers about and raking the endless leaves.

Had some lovely Liberty Lawn fabric which I managed to match up a dotty fabric from my local market.  The dotty fabric is the same weight as the Liberty so they are well matched.  Made a couple of drawstring bags.

The Liberty Fabric which looks like peacock feathers has little faces on it, didn't see them when I bought it.  It only taken me since March to decide what to do with this Liberty fabric.


Friday, 24 October 2014

American 1950's Swing Coat Glamour - Borre by Fairmoor


How about this for a glam outfit.  Found it when clearing out my late parents house.

The jacket is faux Astrakhan (Persian lamb) but the collar is real mink.  The fabric feels lovely bet its really warm.

It looks like a designer jacket as it is so well made, just look at the covered buttons.

So I trawled the internet and found that Fairmoor was an American Coat and Suit Corporation in New York and "BORRE" would have been on of their registered Trade Marks.  They made high end faux and real fur coats in 50's and 60's   Judging by the swing style of this jacket its from the 50's.  The arms are very short on it but it dawned on my that in the 50's ladies wore elegant long gloves.

This is an advert from 1969 for later style coats, the prices seem high $110 to $220 which seems a lot for then.
Newspaper advert

Found another reference to the company in the New York Times Newspaper 1964, which explains how the technique of making this fake fur developed.

New York Times Article 1964

Sadly, far too big for me, there is no size in but a trying on session by my friends, fits 14 or 16, too tight on 18.

Goodness knows where my mother got it from, she didn't travel at all, it might have been my granny's but we will never know now.  Its hardly been worn at all.

Thought that I would share it with you before I tried to find a lovely home for it.


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

More Vintage Furniture and a Button Jar


We have been clearing my late father's house which is quite a task.  All the things that your parents treasured and had for years, what do you do with them?  My sister and I both have our own houses, full of our stuff so finding room for more was difficult.

Strange its the smaller "finds" that give me the most pleasure, like this little jam jar!  Why don't they make jam jars like this anymore, it was missing its lid so I sprayed painted a modern one.  Its a Roses & Co Ltd jar which had lime marmalade in if I remember correctly. Perfect for a button jar.

Another thing to be rescued is this oak shoe rack, this is the shoe rack that I head butted after tripping up a step when sleepwalking as a child, I still have the scar!  Again, it needed restoring so it was cleaned with white spirit, then lightly rubbed over with oak stain to even out the colour, then polished with beeswax (forgot to wear gloves so ended up with oak fingernails). As usual in my excitment to get started, forgot the before photo.  It had a curtain over the front of it to hide the shoes so a fabric shopping trip was called for.

So, life is a bit hectic at the moment, the autumn leaves are keeping me busy at work, the gardens need a lot of tidying at this time of the year "putting them to bed". I am still horse riding twice a week which takes up what spare time I had.

On top of this, trying to get my parents house ready for sale, the painter is in this week, its the first time ever that I have employed a painter and decorator but the house hadn't been decorated for many many years and was in a state cosmetically.  I just couldn't face doing the whole house top to bottom, the painter will do it a lot quicker.

So forgive me for not blogging more but as soon as winter sets in, my quilting will take front of stage.  Have a quilt to make as a wedding present and another baby quilt so can't wait to start them.


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Singer 201 Sewing Machine Table Makeover


A little while ago, I was a lucky girl and got a Singer 201 in a table on Freecycle.  The table was looking very secondhand and unloved.

It had been damaged by water which had taken off the dark varnish. The wood is thick oak veneer so I reckoned that it would be OK to sand it down.  Then I used Danish Oil to feed and protect the wood.  Really like the light finish on it.  The machine still needs fixing, got a new tension assembly but haven't had time to put it on yet but I have cleaned and oiled the rest of the machine.

She has been moved into the Summerhouse for a while until I decide where she is going to go.  Just noticed in the photo, I have another unwanted guest.  Look at the size of that cobweb!!!!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Tudor Rose Scissor Keep and Little Patchwork Hexies


This little Scissor Keep cross stitch kit was bought at Salisbury Cathedral last year for something to do while I chilled out on holiday.  Kept forgetting to complete it so it dragged on for something so small. Put it on my vintage scissors.

Needed a new little sewing project that I could pick up when I had a spare few minutes. So decided on English paper piecing but with teeny weeny hexies.

Printed out a honeycomb pattern on paper which was roughly glued onto card and cut out.

 Decided on purple and yellow blocks as I had been given lovely fabrics with ditsy patterns which were ideal for such a small project.

I cut out 1.5ins strips which are then cut into squares (no need to trim the fabric into hexy shapes) Cheated on the preparation by gluing the fabric to the card board with a Sewline glue pen which goes on blue but dries clear.  It peels away from the fabric without leaving a residue.  It's so speedy

Sewn into blocks.

Not sure what I am going to make or how big it will be, cushion cover, quilt, throw.  Will stop when I get sick of them!


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Tote Bag Make


Finally made something with the fabric I brought in Settle back in March.

Tad daaaaa


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Tweed Jacket Makeover


Had this tired looking Hacking Jacket so decided to give it a makeover.  I started it months ago but the Singer Featherweight couldn't sew through all the layers of the pockets so it was put away.  Got it out again and made the alterations on the Singer 201 easy peasy.

Here is the before shot

Then to this

Already for the autumn.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Lucky Day - Singer 201K in Oak Table


This time it's definitely not my fault!!!!!

My dear friend Julie, emailed me saying that there was a Vintage 1930's Singer Sewing machine on Freecycle and that she had requested it on my behalf and got it.  So the upshot was, I ended up dashing over to Masham to collect it, not knowing what model it was.

Well, imagine my delight to find it was a black 201K the later model in a very sturdy oak table.  Rosie the owner hadn't used it for 9 years after having a problem with her eyesight.  She told me that the last time she had used it there was something wrong with the tension.  She said its was called Mavis so Mavis it is.

Meet Mavis

I know, stated in writing that I wouldn't restore any more Singers.  Hah, she is sitting there, just waiting for a wash and brush up.

I tested the tension but it wasn't working so pulled it apart, 2 parts missing so straight on the net for a replacement assembly which I have found for £8.  The machine had a little note stuck to it saying needle threaded front to back which was odd, thought that 201 were threaded right to left, my other one is.  Took the needle out to discover it didn't have a flat side at all so was the wrong needle.  Wondering if the owner had replaced the needle with the wrong one which would cause stitch problems and wrongly thought that there was something amiss with the tension assembly, took it apart and put it back together with a couple of bits missing.  Anyway, waiting for the parts to arrive.  The needle size is 15 x1 aka 2020, flat side to the left, thread from right to left.  Always check your manual with these vintage machines its an easy thing to get wrong.

The motor runs quiet and smooth, the machine just needs a good clean/polish and oil.  The paintwork is in excellent condition especially the decals.  She is going to be a wonderful machine when I get the tension sorted.  She dates from 1954 not 30s.

The varnish on the oak table is very secondhand so will take the machine out, sand off all the old varnish and re-polish with something to give it nice finish to show off the lovely grain of the oak.  It is really very well made,with a dinky pull down drawer thingy for storing bits and bobs together with a metal support which pings out when you lift the lid, it is to support the extension leaf.

So, its supposed to be a winter project but......... watch this


Sunday, 22 June 2014

Singer Zig Zag and Blind Stitch Attachments for Straight Stitch Machines


Really caught the bug for fancy Singer attachments.  Enjoyed playing with the buttonholers so went on the hunt for a couple more gadgets.  Tested them on the 221K Featherweight and 201K.

Zig Zag Attachment

Think this is copy of a Singer attachment (marked patent not Simanco) and works exactly the same.  It enables you to zigzag on a straight stitch machine, instead of the needle moving from side to side this shifts the fabric and works a treat.  You can adjust the size of the zig zag stitch by turning the screw at the back of the attachment.

Haven't tried it with the extra bit on it, I presume its for edge to edge stitching but zigzag instead of straight stitch and for inserting ribbon and lace again using zigzag stitch.  Will have a go later on.

Blind Hem Stitcher

This is a nifty tool, it stitches 6 straight stitches and then does a dinky zigzag stitch, just one to catch the hem (by shifting the fabric not the needle) perfect for hemming when I can't be bothered to hand stitch.  It came with full instructions, it takes some getting used to folding the hems but once its clicked how to do it, easy peasy.

This attachment comes with a special thumbscrew to attach it to the presser bar on your machine but if yours is missing, you could try the normal foot thumbscrew, it might or might not fit, if it doesn't just use the longer thumbscrew that's on machine bed lock that stops the machine being tilted back.

Both of these attachments are used with the feed dogs engaged.  If you look on UTube, there are demos with them in action.


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Automatic Singer and Griest Buttonhole Attachments


Been on a bit of  a spending spree on Ebay and bought a couple fancy gadgets that do brilliant buttonholes on a straight stitch Singers, 221K Featherweight and 201K.

NOTE:  You must either cover the feed dogs with the cover supplied with the attachment or drop the feed dogs.  If you don't you will damage either your machine or attachment.

Singer Buttonhole Attachment

It is a beast of a thing but makes really neat button holes.  It just does one style of buttonhole but you can change the size and density of stitches and the length of the buttonhole.  It comes in a sturdy red box, has a feed dog cover and a special screw to attach it to the machine which you can see in the 2nd photo.

It is trial and error to adjust it so that it will fit your button, you will always have to do a dummy run on a piece of scrap fabric before using it on your garment cos if you get the wrong size it will be a git to unpick.  You also have to bring the bobbin thread up to the top of the fabric before you start off then hold both threads and start to sew, it does the buttonhole automatically, its best to go round 2 or 3 times.

 Greist Automatic Buttonhole Attachment

This was the second attachment I bought, again automatic buttonholes but has metal templates for different size buttonholes which includes a neat keyhole buttonhole.  Griest made buttonholer attachments for Singer the same as this one, the only difference is the name but the Singer ones seem to be on sale in the USA and shipping costs are expensive.  So I thought that I would try a Greist one that I found on Ebay, I liked the idea of the templates so that the finished buttonhole will be more uniform and I wouldn't have to do so many practice ones to get the right size.

It comes with 5 templates ranging from 5/16" to 1  1/16" for straight buttonholes and one keyhole buttonhole template for use on suits and coats.  On the back of each template is a measurement line which indicates size of the buttonhole and the distance the fabric may be cut.  They made additional templates but these seem to be harder to find which included an eyelet once which could be useful.  The templates are inserted in the bottom of the attachment.  The stitch width can been adjusted easily with a small lever at the side, narrow for small buttonholes and wider for larger ones.  Again, pull the bobbin thread to the top and away you go.  It does a better stitch than the other Singer one, twice round gives a super buttonhole.

I really like using the Griest.  It comes with a feed dog cover but I intend to use it on the 201K as I can drop the feed dogs on this machine.  It also comes with 2 different screws to attach it to the machine, this attachment will fit other makes of machine but the booklet doesn't give details of which machines, it will be low shank machine but other than that, not sure which makes.  It's in the original cardboard box which has bits of fancy metal on the corners to reinforce it, not sure what age this attachment is, judging by the styling I would guess, 1940's or 50's.  The Singer one looks from the 30's judging by the colour.  Will have to do some research.

Had a problem getting the Singer attachment to work on the 201, it worked on the 327 and Featherweight but the 201 wouldn't pick up the bottom thread.  Tried all sorts of things, changed needles, tension, thread, stitch size, everything I could think of, it was stitching straight stitch fine but wouldn't work with the attachment. So I emailed the lovely April at  she suggested that it could be the needle, apparently Singer needles not made in Germany, USA or GB can be no good.  Looked on the packet of new Singer needles, Brazil, checked the vintage packet that I got the second needle out of, Brazil again.  So took the needle out of the 327 which the attachment worked on, hey presto, fixed zippeeee.

So Brazilian needles in the bin and order some replacement Schmetz ones.  Will keep an eye on Ebay for really vintage Singer needles.

If you want to see one in action, have a look at UTube for demos.