elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
The invisible zipper foot arrived, and while it did fit the snap on ankle on the machine, the hole in the foot wasn't aligned properly for my machine, and the needle hit the foot. :(

So I am sending it back, and I have spent a couple hours searching in vain for other options. I am pretty sure a generic foot is not an option. The actual presser foot made for my machine is forty bucks on Amazon (and pretty much everywhere else). The absolute lowest price I found it for is $25 at sewing machines plus.

So the questions I need to ask myself are:

1.) How annoying is it to just screw/unscrew the foot I have?

2.) Do I have $25 (plus shipping) burning a hole in my pocket?

3.) How much longer am I likely to keep my current sewing machine, or buy another Husqvarna?

The answers so far?

1.) Pretty annoying.

2.) No.

3.) Maybe another 5 or 10 years, or maybe one year. It has had problems in the past and I have never been super thrilled with it. And I am NOT buying another Husqvarna. This whole ordeal has already proven that the parts are way too expensive and generics won't work. When I bought the machine, ten years ago, I just assumed that $15-40 was what you paid for presser feet. Plus the two local Jo-Anns where the Husqvarna dealerships used to be have closed and the stores have switched over to Singers.

So I guess it makes sense not to buy a new foot. Ugh. I suppose if I am that annoyed with the screw-on foot I can always try inserting the invisible zips with a regular zipper foot.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I had 5 zippers to sew yesterday, and figured I would do them all at once so I wouldn't have to constantly mess around with screwing and unscrewing the invisible zipper foot.

I managed to get one sewn when I got so aggravated with my cheap plastic foot that I decided finally I am fed up. After 15 years I'm going to just buy the real one so I can snap it on and off like all the other feet.

A few years ago I looked for the foot made for my machine and it cost like 36 bucks. So forget that. But yesterday I decided to just google it and found you can get it on Amazon, well a generic one anyway, for $4.50! You can get it for even less if you don't mind waiting 4-6 weeks for shipping, but I thought getting it here next week was worth 5 dollars. It won't be here until Thursday because of the holiday weekend, but that's better than mid October.

Feeling kinda dumb right now, because I totally could have done this years ago. :P I just hope it fits on my machine. The snap on feet in my experience are pretty universal, so I am optimistic.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
#1: Under petticoat. Linen/cotton handsewn with linen thread (Londonderry 100).

petticoats 002

I used two panels of 58" wide linen/cotton. The seams are sewn with about 6-7 running stitches per inch and the occasional backstitch. I know this sounds huge but Costume Close-Up indicates this is typical, and it was really the smallest I could easily get with this thread.

I had to cut the selvages off because they had a dark blue thread woven in which shadowed through the white. So I turned the seam allowances in like a French seam and whipped them. The hem is about 3/8" and sewn with slanted hemming stitches.

#2: Woven-stripe lawn petticoat. Cotton handsewn with cotton thread.

petticoats 001

I sewed this one about 8-9 running stitches per inch, with an occasional backstitch. Still looked huge to me, but it was easier to make the stitches smaller with a finer thread. I left the selvages intact but made wide seam allowances so I could hide the ugly parts. The hem is 1/4", sewn with slanted hemming stitches.

I used three panels for this because the fabric was narrower (about 50" after washing) so I couldn't place the pocket slits on a seam, and had to slash through the middle of a panel. I folded the edges down as tiny as I could, hemmed them, then used buttonhole stitch all around the base to neaten it. Finally I made a little thread bar that I buttonhole-stitched over to prevent the pocket slit pulling apart and tearing.

petticoats 003

Here's a shot of the pleats too just for fun.

petticoats 004

These took me about 2.4 times as long to make as I had hoped. And my hand sewing looks much crappier than I had hoped as well. I know it doesn't have to be perfect, and wonky stitches are historically accurate, and I am not a machine, but still. Don't anybody get too close to these, ok? Because if you start to scrutinize my stitches, you will just feel sorry for me.

One other thing. After about 5 days of handsewing, my underneath fingers were really starting to feel it. I normally tend to graze my needle slightly on my underneath finger when making a stitch, especially running stitch. It hasn't bothered me before, but I haven't had to do this much running stitch before, and this time they were getting all torn up. I tried using another thimble on that finger, but it was too clunky. I tried putting a little patch of masking tape on my finger, but the needle stuck.

Eventually I got sick of it, looked up ideas, and found the Under Thimble.

We don't have them at work so I went on an expedition to the city next door, a.k.a. Minneapolis, to Glad Creations, a charming, tiny little quilting shop.

This thing is a GAME. CHANGER. I feel so silly for not trying to find this sooner. I put it on the middle finger of my left hand and the needle slid against it as I stitched. It made stitching much faster and more comfortable. I wish I could say my stitches were neater, too, but alas. It isn't magic.

I am curious to see how many times I can re-use the adhesive. So far I've applied and removed the under thimble 3 or 4 times and it continues to stick just fine. It sticks so well I never worried about it falling off while cutting, ironing, or doing other tasks. I can see why it's a quilting notion because running stitch is when you would most need that guard.

So today I can finally start the gown itself. 12 days to the event. Can I do this?
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
After I fitted the cover for version 1, I measured the form and analyzed its shape and decided I needed to remove some foam.

I started with her hideous amount of back fat.  I only say hideous because I feel that this is a flaw in the product's design; the cover fitted me almost perfectly but failed to compress the foam to my shape.  My upper body size is the smallest in the size range for the form, and I think it's too optimistic of them to assume the foam will compress that much.  The seams on the cover were strained almost to the point of tearing out, and it still was too big in the upper body.

So I grabbed the electric knife and got started. I ended up removing a LOT more than this, all across the back and side waist.

The alterations continue )

So, in summary: with Uniquely You, electric knives and extra padding are your friends.
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
I had my sewing salon with Michele last night and fitted the cover, and today I zipped it on (which took ages and was super-hard!).

UY (2)UY (4)
Yes I realize I should not have been wearing black in this photo.

It still needs a few tweaks.  Here it is again after I shoved some polyfil into her abdomen.  (The UY is ridiculously flat in the tummy.)

UY (11)

Also, the bust is still measuring pretty big.  I think I will take in the cover a little, then shave a little foam off the back at the bust line.  I may shave the waist a smidge also; getting the zipper to close at the waist was almost impossible and she still has more of a V shape where I am a straight P.  Then I can also make a less lumpy abdomen pad and put her back together.
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
I'm convinced!  I just ordered my Uniquely you dressform.  I had planned to wait another day (until my paycheck hit the bank) but I wanted to go for it before I lost my nerve.

I ordered a Small, with a size 4 cover.  I usually measure about 35-29-38 in regular undies and my waist goes down to about 27 in a corset, so hopefully if it's a little big in some areas I can either compress it or shave off some foam.  (You can see the size chart here.)  I'm thinking about taking a sewing salon with my co-worker Michele, the most amazingly talented sewing teacher at Treadle, for help fitting the cover.

Now the hard part is just waiting for it to arrive!


Jan. 16th, 2013 05:06 pm
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
I'm thinking about buying a Uniquely You dressform.  Here's where I try to justify it:

I had a lot of trouble with the draping aspects of the Pink Cupcake dress (as in, draping the swags of fabric, not the draping method of creating a pattern, as opposed to flat drafting) that I think would have been greatly helped with a dressform.

A lot of people seem to think that a form will solve all their fitting issues, and I realize this is not the case, but there are a lot of other uses!  Placing trims, adjusting hems, visualizing designs, and possibly some construction (like setting a sleeve from the right side) as well as, of course, displaying a finished product, are all things a form could help with. 

Why Uniquely You?  Well, a foam form is more adjustable and it's corset-able.  I liked Fabulous Fit but this one is way cheaper.  I feel comfortable with hacking it up or adding more padding if necessary.

I read several reviews; most helpful were here and here.  

Any thoughts?  Does anyone have a form they love or hate, and what do you use it for?
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
I started on my Whisper a few days ago.  It took me 3 swatches to get gauge and then I started in with DPNs.  Usually I love my DPNs and have no problems using them, but I started getting ladders; normally I would just snug the corners a bit tighter, but since it's laceweight knit loosely on large needles, extra snugging up wasn't working.  So I decided to switch to circulars.

When I went to 3 Kittens, they didn't have any non-metal 12" circs in a sz 5 (metal hurts my hands!) but the employee offered up a 9" one.  9 inches!  I didn't even know they made them that short!  I took a risk and bought it.

It is teeny!  The needle part is only 1 1/4".  Holding them makes me feel like I am doing micro-surgery on dolls.  But after a few rounds, they are feeling better, and the laddering is no longer a problem.

I've got about 3" of sleeve now and the texture is looking really lovely.  When it's done, in spring, I propose [livejournal.com profile] undycat and I have a new-spring-cardigan-showing-off coffee date so we can sit out on the sidewalk tables and nibble elegant pastries and look fabulous.
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
I finished the bottom lace section on my Cherie Amour and I've done about 10 rows of the ribbed waist section.  It's looking really good and so far I am staying on gauge.

I needed a new sz 10 needle for the waist section, so I picked up an Addi Natura, a needle I've never used before.  I thought it was wood, but when I got it home, I saw it is bamboo.  So much for my no-new-bamboo-needles resolution.  But it is slicker than Clover; more like the wood needles I've used.  I like it okay.

I also read ahead in the pattern for the umpteenth time, and the upper section is finally starting to make sense.  I am still kind of a newbie with chart reading.

Of course, I am already thinking about what to knit next.  First thing (and I might start this now) is a hat for my HB in dark brown wool with Noro Silk Garden stripes (Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed pattern).  Next thing is a light spring cardigan fo rme.

But for now, focus is needed!  Be here now!
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
I got a call yesterday from the sewing machine repair guy with an estimate on fixing my machine.


Eight Hundred Dollars.


The motherboard needs to be replaced.  I suppose I could get a second opinion, but really, if the repair is over $200, I'm not going to do it.  I didn't even pay $800 for my machine when I bought it new.

So I'm going to look for a new machine, and this time, NO computerized anything.  I loved my old machine a lot, but I was always a little skeptical of the computerized part.  It seemed a bit unecessary.  I knew it would be the first thing to break and now it has.

I'm off to Treadle this morning to pick it up.  There was no charge to look at it, thank goodness, and it still works in straight-stitch mode so I think I'll be okay using it for a while. 

elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I am a thorough manual-reader, so before I dove in too much I wanted to check out the videos that came with the serger. 

Mostly, they were dull and uninspiring.  I learn things like this much better from reading, so I guess they just weren't to my taste.  I think I might have found them more helpful if I had never used a serger before, but I spent a bit of time on the school sergers in home ec. in high school (eons ago) and I still remember it, mostly. 

The threading section was helpful (though how helpful, I can't say, since I still haven't re-threaded the thing) but other than that, it was just like the video instructor was reading the manual out loud.

That's not to say they were incomplete.  The instruction was very complete - I suppose that is why I found it so dull.  I know where the power outlet is, I want to see the blind hem already!

Oh, and I went through everything that came with my machine again and it turns out I already have the blind hem foot.  Yay!  It has snap-on feet, which is nice.

I went to Treadle a few days ago and picked up a pattern for some leggings, Kwik Sew 3636 (please ignore the stirrups), and some black rayon jersey with little white polka dots. I cut the pattern out (just one piece so that took about 5 minutes) so I just need to wash the fabric and possibly pick up a couple more spools of thread, and I will be able to actually make something on the new serger.


Feb. 17th, 2010 08:51 am
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
My serger arrived yeasterday!  Yay!

I haven't had a chance to view the instructional video yet, or even read much of the manual, but it arrived pre-threaded, so this morning after breakfast, I tried a few seams.  (F very patiently sat with me and made happy, encouraging noises.)

I pulled out some cotton rib knit scraps and toyed with the differential feed to see what happened.  It made a beautiful seam.  Beautiful.  Stretchy, flat, and it bounced back after pulling.  I think rib knit is one of the hardest things to sew on a conventional sewing machine, so the serger has pretty much proven it can do what I wanted.

I do think I want to pick up a blind hem/flatlock foot.  Maybe not the one designed for the machine ($30!) but a generic one.  The blind hem in the manual looks great. 

I don't think this will entirely displace my sewing machine, but I think I will be serging more than just knits.

I'll try to come up with a more complete review after I try out more of the features (and try threading it myself!).


Feb. 12th, 2010 08:23 am
elizabeth_mn: (needlecraft)

Okay.  I did it.  I bought the serger.

I bought the Brother 1034D from Amazon.  At $199, this is definitely the bottom-of-the-line, budget serger, but it's what I could afford. (Especially if I wanted to be able to buy any fabric to sew on it afterward.)  It got lots of positive reviews at Amazon, and also from PatternReview.com.

I know I used to be quite anti-serger.  But lately, I've really wanted to get more into knits.  A while ago I bought Sew U Home Stretch, and I thought I could get by with my sewing machine, but the more I experiment with knits, the less satisfied I am with the results.

Some of the things I am excited about making:

Fancy underpants
Knit dresses
Sweater-knit jackets (for baby, husband, and myself)
Swimming suits
Vintage-style swimming suits!
Basic everyday clothes (non-stretchy) like jammies
Anything made of wool jersey

The machine doesn't have have a cover stitch, but I think I can live with that.  I have been able to make a passable knit hem on my sewing machine, and if I can overlock the raw edge first, I think it will look even better.

Now I just have to wait for the thing to arrive!

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