Thursday, April 6, 2017

How to Make a Cover for your Featherweight Case

Finally, here is my pattern for making a cover for your Featherweight case.  (I showed another one I made HERE.)  This does not enclose the case at the bottom, but just covers it to protect it from dust, scratches, and scuffs.
This fits the newer style case from about the 1950s.  The older ones, with the tray insert, have slightly different dimensions, so substitute your own measurements if necessary

These are the basic materials - a yard each of a main and contrast/lining fabric plus fusible fleece.  I don't show the piping here, but add that in as well as any other trims (rick rack, appliqué, or whatever) you want.

From the lining/contrast fabric:

Front/Back:  cut 2 @ 15-3/4" x 13-1/8"

Sides: cut 2 @ 9-1/4" x 13-1/8"

Top:  cut 1 @ 15-3/4" x 9-1/4"

From the main fabric and the fusible fleece:

Front/Back:  cut 2 @ 15-3/4" x 11-5/8"

Sides: cut 2 @ 9-1/4" x 11-5/8"

Top:  cut 1 @ 15-3/4" x 9-1/4"

Trim away 1/2" seam allowance before fusing the fleece in order to reduce bulk in the seams.  (NOTE: There is no seam allowance at the bottom of the Front, Back, and Sides.)

Now cut out a 6-1/2" x 1" rectangle from the center of each Top piece as shown:

On each piece, mark the corners with small dots at the seam allowance as shown.  NOTE: Seam allowance is 1/2"

Mark dots on corners at seam allowance (1/2" x 1/2")

To Sew

With Main fabric, sew Front and Back to Sides, stopping exactly on dots, and back stitch to reinforce. Press seams open.

Using the top cut from Contrast fabric, pin to the Sides, matching dots.  Begin and end seam exactly on the dots, and backstitch to reinforce.  These should meet at a perfect right angle, as shown below.

After Top is sewn at both Sides, pin it along Front/Back edges, folding back the seam allowance from the previous seams and matching dots.  Begin and end these seams exactly on the dots, reinforcing with backstitching as before.
Fold back previous seam allowance 

Here is how your corners will look when finished

You can slip this on over the case to help you shape it and lightly press the seams open (Careful, don't scorch your case!)  Trim corners, if you want, to make a neater finish.

Sew Lining in the same way with remaining pieces, then press under 1/4" on bottom edge.

Now, put the Main cover back on the case right side up and the Lining over it right side down (right sides together, in other words).  Match the openings and pin as shown

Sew around this opening about 1/4" from opening edge.  I used the wide toe of my presser foot as the guide.  (You have to turn it inside out to get in there to sew)  Reinforce at the corners as you turn.

Slash right up to the stitching at the corners and trim

Pull the lining through the opening, then you can put this back on the case to press it. (Again, not too hot, you don't want to damage the leather of your case!)  After pressing, topstitch around opening.


With cover on the case pull Lining down tautly all around.  It will extend 1-1/4" beyond the bottom (with 1/4" previously pressed under.)  Turn this back up over the cover and pin into place all around, matching corners first.

Insert piping between the layers and sew the reverse hem with a zipper foot.

That's it!  If you make this, I'd love for you to send me a photo.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Book Review - "Sew Retro" by Judi Ketteler

REVIEW:  Sew Retro: 25 Vintage-Inspired Projects for the Modern Girl & a Stylish History of the Sewing Revolution by Judi Ketteler.  Minneapolis, MN: Voyageur, 2010  $24.99

Today, I'm going to go in a little different direction than usual and do a book review.  Anyone who has read a few posts on this blog knows that I am a history nut who loves to sew - thus my obsession with "vintage" sewing machines, patterns, and fabrics.

Imagine my delight when I stumbled across a book that combines these all into one beautiful, high quality volume.  Sew Retro, by Judi Ketteler, traces the history of domestic sewing in the United States since the nineteenth century and the advent of the home sewing machine.  For the fun factor, it includes easy, vintage-style patterns to make with today's retro prints or your own stash of vintage fabric.

I snagged this photo from Judi's blog (which is also where you can go to buy this book if you're interested) because it is a nicer picture than one I'd take myself.  The book is larger than it seems in the picture, ring-bound with glossy pages and beautiful photos and illustrations.

This is an example of some of the charming illustrations taken from vintage periodicals

While Sew Retro has plenty of eye candy - or "sewing porn" - with the many pictures of vintage sewing machines and  fabric swatches, it is also a little slice of women's history.  It explores the ways home sewing evolved as a response to women's changing roles in society and vice versa.  Judi begins the narrative in the 1800s with the "Cult of True Womanhood" and explains how femininity was defined in the ladylike pursuit of needlework. She continues throughout the twentieth century as women sewed for thrift and economy (during the Depression and World War II), and then later for relaxation and creativity as they became "liberated" and no longer had to sew to keep their family in clothing. We see how the industry kept pace with these changes, and offered women a chance to express themselves through fashion in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s.

Each chapter in the historical progression is accompanied by a pattern that represents the time period. This is truly an interactive history book in the sense that you can make these simple items that give you a feel for the women who would have made something similar years ago.

Here is one of the patterns from the Victorian Era when women kept their treasured sewing tools in dainty needle cases they made themselves.

And if all this wasn't enough, Judi introduces us to some of today's designers who produce retro fabrics and patterns, and/or upcycle second-hand textiles in interesting ways.

There is no end to the delights for a vintage sewing lover - an added value is the inclusion of a full sized pattern sheet for some of the projects in the book.

Judi has done a great job of giving us a history of domestic sewing and American womanhood with a fresh twist.  If you like to collect vintage fabric like I do - or just appreciate vintage-inspired modern prints - then you'll certainly enjoy making some of the cute patterns in this book that are fun, updated versions of clothing and accessories that American women made in the past.