Archive for the ‘crafts’ Category

Death (and rebirth) of a sewing machine

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

At the beginning of last month, I was sewing a friend a purse for her 30th birthday and with literally one inch left to sew, my machine broke. Nothing was caught anywhere but the gears would not turn. I sewed the last strap end to the D ring by hand, but what about my machine? I tried oiling and cleaning it, searched all over for anything caught in it or in the way, and came up with nothing. I took it to the SewVac in town where they told me that they’d do a free estimate but due to the age of my machine (32 years old), finding a major part could be difficult if not impossible.

Now I got this machine, a Singer Touch Tronic 2001 Memory Machine, about seven years ago. I was driving down the street with my mom and it was just sitting at the end of someone’s driveway on a sewing table, with a chair, looking like it was ready for someone to sit down and sew on it. I made my mom turn around and we went back and stopped. There was no sign asking for money but I went up to the door and checked that it was just free for the taking. The woman told me that it used to be her daughter’s but she no longer wanted it so I was more than welcome to it. Luckily we were in my mom’s SUV so we could load up everything including the furniture. The only thing missing was the power cord / foot pedal, which I was able to find at the Pitman SewVac. There I found out that my machine was from 1978 and it was the first computer-controlled sewing machine. I found a copy of the manual online and I was set to go. I’ve never once had a problem with the machine, although I had to get the pedal repaired once because it kept sticking, and I’ve made many things with it. I love my old sewing machine and have no desire for a new one. The older ones are much better made than they are now. Also, I’ve just recently found all the original accessories for it online, including a bunch of special feet.

I called back to get my estimate and was told Singer had the part and it would be ready in two weeks. Hooray! But after two weeks, I called again and was told the part was on backorder. Fine. Then they called me a few days later to say it was out of stock and no longer made. Apparently Singer can’t just tell them that the first time they call. They offered to give me money for it as a trade-in but a comparable quality mechanical machine would be around $300 and a comparable quality computerized machine would be around $800. I told them I’d think about it. And I did, for maybe five minutes. Like I said, I love my old machine and newer ones just aren’t as fun, even if they do have the same functions and more.

I started looking on ebay for the same machine so that I could harvest it for parts. One in excellent working condition had just sold for only $40 but I missed out on that. A few more came online but they were either not in that great of condition, cost too much, or were pick up only in Florida. I decided I would just keep waiting and looking and went to the shop to pick up my machine in the meantime. I explained what I was doing and asked for the part number so I could also look specifically for that. I also was going to try some other repair places in case they already had the part in stock. They did not have the number written down and the mechanic was gone for the day, so they asked me to leave it one more day and he’d call me the next day with the information. Late the next day I got a call saying that they had called some other parts places and at first, they couldn’t find it, but then one guy called them back saying he had it. Awesome! But why didn’t they call those places the first time? The manufacturer isn’t the only place you can get parts from. Any way it would take two weeks to get the part in, which was putting me right up to the week of Christmas by the time they fixed it, and I still had a few things to make before then.

I called at the beginning of Christmas week and was told they still didn’t have the part and would need one more week to get it in. I had to use my mom’s machine to finish up a few gifts before the holiday. Finally, today, I got the call that it was ready! There are two buttons I cannot use any more, the basting stitch and repeat pattern stitch, but that’s fine with me. I can’t wait to use it!


Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

I made this very simple but cute baby dress and a friend convinced me I could be selling more just like it on Etsy. Then we went fabric shopping and I bought too much fabric so I’m in. Right now I only have a few 4th of July prints up (had to rush to get those finished since I didn’t realize how close the 4th was) but I have way more prints ready to be made. You know, just something else to fill up all that free time I have.


Sunday, November 30th, 2008

There’s a new website called Spoonflower where you can upload your own designs to print custom fabric. Eventually you’ll be able to sell your designs and buy other people’s as well on the site. I haven’t played with Illustrator in a while but I’ll have to start doing that again. It’s a little steep at $18/yard but I think it’d be worth it for special projects. I found out about it from a new sewing magazine called Stitch, which also looks very cool.


Monday, November 26th, 2007

I was at the greatest craft store last weekend – Corning Stitch Works. My grandmother had meant to take us to the Crafting Cottage, which is apparently also a really great store, but we ended up finding the Stitch Works first. They mostly had yarn and fabric, although they also had some great vintage stuff (fabric and buttons, but a few odds and ends as well). I had gone there meaning to get some sock yarn for Clessidra, but as soon as I got a look at the fabrics, I didn’t even go over to the yarn side. I wanted a cut of every bolt in the store. Down here I really only go to JoAnn’s, although I know Fabric Row is right there too. Apparently there’s also a great shop in Haddonfield called The Little Shop that was recognized in the latest issue of Better Homes & Gardens Quilt Sampler Magazine. I’ll be checking that out soon. To get to the point though, JoAnn’s rarely has a ton of fabric I’m in love with. This store did.

I had such a hard time deciding what to finally get. My mom, sisters, and grandmother left me to go to another store I was taking so long. It came down to getting flapper, cowboy, and a random floral fabric. The flapper fabric, I don’t know what I’m doing with yet. I got two other fabrics to go with it in a quilt top, but I’m going to need some more. I got enough cowboy fabric for an entire quilt, along with the Tin Star Cowboy pattern by Hollyhock Quilts. And I got one cute little floral fabric for a little girl’s dress. I don’t know just who will get this stuff, it all depends on when I finish them (which I admit will not be any time soon). My friends keep having babies though so it’s not like I’m running out of gifts to need.

Click on the first two pictures to see them in better detail:

I’ve always loved quilting but I’m especially into it right now because I just read an article about how to do pretty advanced stuff on a regular sewing machine.

crafts / Christmas

Friday, November 16th, 2007

This past week I’ve been catching up on some knitting and sewing I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I really haven’t done much of anything in the way of crafting in several months. I travel so much for work that I’m rarely home and then have so much other stuff to get done when I am. I had some baby gifts to finish up though, and I decided to make some things for Christmas as well. There are a few unfinished things I want for me too, and soon since they’re winter items. I also taught another friend to knit and had planned to help her with sewing, so I’ve been to JoAnn’s a few times this week. I should not go there. I already have probably 25 projects with materials already waiting for me at home, but I always get more. I’m delusional when it comes to predicting the free time that I’ll have to work on all of this.

I’m in the Christmas mood already. I bought a couple of new Christmas CDs so I’ve been listening to the music already for the past week (alright, the past 2-3 weeks). It’s not the stuff they play over and over on the radio though – I tend to have different genres of music that just happen to be Christmas songs, so I need more than the 3 week window where it’s acceptable to play holiday music. I’m also planning on getting a tree for my apartment this year. I already have tons of ornaments that have been gifts through the years, and some other random decorations. I’ll wait to do all that until after Thanksgiving though. I do have some restraint.

Some less common holiday album recommendations:
The Gypsy Hombres – Django Bells
The Chieftains – The Bells of Dublin
Randy Travis – An Old Time Christmas
Just Can’t Get Enough: New Wave Christmas
Genuine Houserocking Christmas

I also love standards like The Nutcracker and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Fitted Knits

Monday, April 9th, 2007

I just got Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel. I want to make pretty much every sweater in the book. You can preview a bunch of the patterns over at KnitPicks.


Sunday, November 26th, 2006

I have too many unfinished projects. I don’t have time to do much with school, but I don’t let that stop me from getting materials for and starting new things. I’m going to make myself a goal of finishing everything I’ve started within a year of graduating. That may or may not be possible. I do like to pretend I’ll have more time than I probably will actually have.

<3 Halloween

Friday, October 27th, 2006

For the 3rd year in a row, I will be finishing my costume the day I wear it to a party. But that’s because I didn’t start until last night. Oops. I’m almost done, maybe 2 hours left, but I needed a break. I got up early to do my hair in pin curls since that takes all day to dry. As soon as I’m done, I have to clean my apartment, and I still have to go get food and drinks for tonight’s party, which won’t be until later, after I can take my hair down. Hopefully I can wave it and get it to look like Gene Tierney / Ingrid Bergman.

I just realized

Saturday, October 14th, 2006

Halloween is in 2 weeks and I have not made my costume. I have the fabric and most of the notions. I have the shoes and stockings. I just ordered black satin opera gloves, and I just found a 1940s purse I can make. It’s in the bottom left corner of the picture below. I won’t need to buy the pattern, it looks easy enough to make. And I have everything I need to make that too, except for snaps or some magnetic closure. I’ll have to do a run to JoAnn’s sometime in the next week for that, and some trim I need for the dress as well. I haven’t figured out how to do my hair yet but I’ve found plenty of instructions for that, and makeup, online. I just need to figure out which hairstyle will work the best for my short hair. Also need setting lotion for that since it will be some kind of curls. I don’t know why I haven’t started yet and this week I’m really busy, and next weekend I’m camping. Last minute sewing again.

Simplicity #1151, published 1944


Monday, September 25th, 2006

Lisa had her baby early Saturday morning. She is so pretty. :)

I was able to finish her baby blanket in time to go visit the hospital. I did not finish my present for the shower on Sunday though. It should only take another day or two if nothing else interferes. Julia didn’t finish hers either though so I’m safe.