Sunday, July 19, 2015

Featherweight Card Table - my newest acquisition!

Well there is very little left that I covet for my sewing room but this was something I was always on the lookout for.  I never actively searched for it, but I knew if I found one at the right price I'd get it.

In five years of keeping an eye out for a Featherweight card table this is only the second one I've ever seen.  I decided I might as well get it because it just doesn't seem like there are that many of them around.  Even on eBay, there may be one or two for sale at any given time and that is it.  My theory is that they were just absorbed into households as an every day table because unlike a regular sewing cabinet they were a useful piece of furniture with or without the machine.

The nice thing is that like all Singer products made before about 1965 or so, it is very high quality.  This thing weighs a ton!  It is solid wood, not cheap particle board. The hardware is high quality and heavy duty - nothing flimsy here.  This is a very nice table by any standard and it is the perfect complement to a lovely little Featherweight.

I was thrilled to find a cabinet for my 301 (it has a slightly different configuration from the standard Singer cabinets so I was lucky to find it) and now my Featherweight is tucked away in her own custom table. 

If I have to justify this further (I don't, do I?) I can tell myself that this is a great extra table for the kids for big family meals or even for a party.  It is pretty enough to use for any occasion.

Also, DH and I are looking to downsize sometime in the next couple of years and this will be a great all purpose table for when we need to save space.  We can do jigsaw puzzles on it or play cards on it in addition to using it for an extra dining table.

Score!  I love it!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Accessories for my Apple Devices - a How-To

My very first "How-To"

I don't know how helpful this will be, and I'm not great at photos, but I wanted to demonstrate how I made a sleeve for my iPad Air.

And also show the sleeve I made for his big brother, the MacBook Pro

I started with an end-of-the-bolt yard of fabric I bought one day just because I liked it.  Then added in some remnants from my stash plus some trims and notions I had on hand.  I didn't buy anything specifically for this project.
Main fabric, contrasting fabric, rick-rack (or other trim), button

Fusible fleece, velcro, thin elastic cord

This is my "pattern".  For the iPad Air + the folio (Zagg keyboard), a piece of regular notebook paper is actually the perfect size.  For any other size device, wrap a tape measure around it in both directions (lengthwise and widthwise).  Divide each number in half then add one inch.

Example:  if the device measures 15" around the width and 24" around the length, then the pattern measurement would be 15/2 + 1 = 8.5" x  24/2 + 1 = 13"

The flap is cut 1/4" narrower on EACH side (see above) and then can be drawn using the lined notebook paper as a reference.

These are all the pieces needed for the project.  There is 1/2" seam allowance

1.  Two main pieces each from the main and contrasting (lining) fabric.  Mine is 8.5" x 11"

2.  One flap each from the main and contrasting fabric

3.  One pocket each from the main and contrasting fabric.  The width of the main piece plus a little more than half as long.  Mine is 8.5" x 7"

4. One piece of contrasting fabric the width of the main pattern piece x 4" for pocket band

5.  Fusible fleece: two main pieces + one flap piece.  Cut away seam allowances before fusing to avoid bulky seams.  Like this:

On pocket band, fold lengthwise edges into meet middle then fold again and press

Open up, and use glue stick to apply hook side of velcro to back of band, to hold it in place while you sew it on

Put pocket sections wrong side together, fold band over top, and stitch in place close to folded edge

Sew soft velcro strip to front

Pin rick-rack to front flap, 3/4" from edge and sew in place

Cut 4" piece of elastic cord, tie a loop with a large knot.  Position knot at seam line, baste into place.

Pin flap lining to flap, right sides together.  Mark knot with pin.  When sewing seam, be sure knot is INSIDE the seam allowance.

Turn flap right side out and press

Mark position for button on pocket and sew into place.  Baste pocket onto front.

With right sides together, sew one lining section to front along top seam, press open.  

Position flap and back sections right sides together then put back lining section over these right side down.  Pin and stitch all three pieces together at top seam, then press open as shown.

Pin these two sections right side together, and stitch all the way around beginning at corner shown on top right and ending at corner shown on top left. 

Leave a 3"-4" opening at bottom of lining as shown in order to turn work.

Turn right side out

and press

Press under seam allowance at open edge on bottom of lining

Sew this opening closed with an overedge stitch

Push lining to inside, insert device

Button it up and DONE!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bonjour from France

I don't really have anything of substance to add to my blog right now, since I'm 4500 miles away from my sewing machines for a few months.   My "sewing room" is now reduced to a little sewing kit I brought along and my "sewing" has been limited to the occasional mending of my clothing or sewing on a button. 
My "Sewing Room" for the next few months!

But I still can't resist taking pictures of old sewing machines even in France.  I was surprised to see a couple of Singer stores like the one above - there is actually one in Paris as well this one here in Amiens.  But sadly they are both closed.  "à louer" = "for rent".  

 No vintage machines here, but I still thought it was a good picture.  What probably sounds very ordinary in French  - "machine à coudre" - sounds kind of cool to me, but then again that is true for almost anything in French.  ;)

This one I saw in the window of an alterations shop in Metz.  Naturally I thought it was charming and made my companions stop while I took a picture of it.  

Best of all was the YARD SALE!  Or as the French call it, "vide grenier" which means "empty attic" which again sounds much more charming than "Yard Sale".  There, among some military relics, including what looks like some helmets from the First World War (this town is near the border of France and Germany), was a vintage Singer.    

I'm not even sure what make this is, but cute.

Well, that's all I have to offer for now - a few random photos.  I just wanted to add a post so the blog won't completely die of neglect while I'm gone.  

A+  (which means "see you later")

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fun With Sewing Around the House

We're doing some late Spring cleaning (hey, we've still got a couple of weeks to go) and yesterday we worked on the deck.  Our old patio umbrella was rotted and tattered and we were about to go buy a new one when I had the *** IDEA ***   Hey, the frame is still good and we'll just be throwing it away.  I'll SEW a new umbrella!   So I got me off to JoAnn's to look at outdoor fabric.  My choices were limited since there were only a few selections that had enough yardage on the bolt for my needs.   And being a rather impetuous person - I want to do it now, not wait for special ordered fabric - I went ahead about bought it.  And it is nice...

Cutting it out was the hardest part since it involved getting down on the floor, spreading out 10 yds of fabric, and getting all four sides exactly the same.  (Each side is 2 yds across).  

But I think it turned out very well.  Sewing it was the easy part with my Singer 301 that makes nearly 1500 stitches/minute.  Sewing these long straight seams and eight yards of hem are when you really want to put the pedal to the metal - and this machine doesn't disappoint.  My serger also made quick work of the seam finishes.  

Best part is that it actually matched very well with the cushions on the patio chairs - the same gray and white.

View underneath - and yes, this is a crappy frame which was hardly worth repurposing because.....

...the fabric cost more than an entire new umbrella!!!  Yes, I paid $100+ for the fabric @ $10/yd (which was half price).

I guess I'm just weird because I think it is fun to sew something like this rather than buy it even though it actually cost more.  It really would have been a thrifty project if I'd re-used the frame and sewn the umbrella out of re-purposed fabric, but its not like I just happened to have an old parachute hanging around the garage.

But I can justify it this way....I have enough fabric left to make matching placemats for the patio table.  Does that make me come out ahead?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

An Honest to Goodness Treasure Chest

Anyone who has read this blog knows that I love Estate Sales and that I am always looking for the "treasure".  I don't know why I never thought about posting this before, but a couple of years ago, I found a real live treasure for sale on someone's driveway...

The story goes like this:  my brother was in town visiting and he loves yard sales.  He is the type who will visit EVERY SINGLE sale he sees (while I am the type who does the slow drive by and if nothing catches my eye, I keep on going!) You don't want to be stuck in the car with him because he pulls a big trailer behind his SUV (to haul the stuff he finds) and he will make a U-turn in the middle of a four lane highway - trailer and all - if he passes a yard sale sign!

Anyway, this particular Sunday afternoon, after he had spent all weekend visiting literally dozens of sales all over town, he mentioned that he saw something I might be interested in.  It was a trunk of "old clothes".  He said it was a beat up old trunk about 100 years old and that it might be worth a little something as an antique piece but the seller wanted $300.  He thought I "might" like to see the clothing inside.  Seriously???

Now keeping in mind that he is from another town AND he had been in and out of countless neighborhoods chasing sales, I was kind of doubtful that he could remember exactly where it was.  But he took me straight to the house (yes, tucked way back in an out of the way neighborhood) with the intention of knocking on the door and asking if they still had the trunk.

Well not only did they still have the trunk, but they still had the sale going on Sunday.  I looked inside the trunk and almost gasped.  My brother offered the seller $100, after it had been sitting in her driveway all weekend, and it was a deal.  
A peek inside...

Pictured below is only a sample of what was in this trunk.  The items ranged from early 1800's - early 1900's and were family heirlooms saved by the seller's grandmother.  There were notes on every item telling who wore them and in what year.  
Wedding dress c. 1891

Wedding slippers c. 1830

Chistening gown, 1896.  Stunning tucks and lace.

Hem of Christening gown underslip

Silk baby dress from Paris, 1890's
Young boy's blouse from late1800's

Child's dress with broderie anglaise, c. 1860's

Lace dress c. 1900
Close up of lace dress with blue velveteen sash

Sleeve detail

Young girl's dress, c. mid-1800's

Lace detail of 1920's wedding dress

Handmade apron, 1900, made by the trunk's owner when she was a girl

Section of Irish lace lappet, c. mid-1800's

Detail of very fine gauge Irish Lace collar (ring shows scale)

Hand embroidered table linen 1825, with family monogram "H"

I was able to determine from one of the notes, that the seller's great-great-grandfather was a colonel for the Union Army in the Civil War and later served as an Ohio State Representative under Rutherford B. Hayes.  I spent many hours engrossed in tracing the ancestry of this family and the woman who originally owned the trunk.  It came to Georgia via her granddaughter after her death.  The granddaughter is the one who sold it to me.

There are many more items besides these, it was a century's worth of family heirlooms.  The value of these items lies not only in their beauty, but in their link to the past.  It is truly a treasure trove of history that was lovingly preserved for future generations and fell into my hands quite by chance.