Sunday, 11 February 2018

I'm getting a sewing machine!

singer sewing machine ad from the 1960s
Yes, Mr Robot told me he's going to get me a sewing machine for my birthday. Why tell me now? We'll be in Kolkata on my birthday, so we'll go and pick one out together either before we go or after we get back. I'm unbelievably excited about this, as I've wanted one for so long. My friend Naomi is really talented with her machine, and she said to make sure whatever I get has one-step buttonholes, but not to worry too much about fancy stitches as she only ever uses four or five. If you have any other good advice, please do comment. All I know is I'll be getting a Husqvarna as there's a Husqvarna shop in Bath. Beyond that, I've no idea.

I've got a few vintage patterns, but they're all for sizes smaller than me. Still, it gives me yet another reason to stick to my veggie soup lunches. I'm going to start off with something no-one's likely to see, like pyjama bottoms, and of course covers for the cushions in the living room, assuming I find some fabric I like in India (what are the chances of that, eh?...). For a while now I've had a hankering for tops in that very simple 60s style but in properly 60s fabric, so I'll be trawling Etsy for cloth and patterns. Though I'll practice on modern stuff to start with, while I'm still learning the basics.

It's wonderful to think of learning a new skill. My imagination is running over all the possibilities. Where to begin?

Ah yes, cushion covers...

25 comments :

  1. Oh my God, Mim, that is fantastic. I know what you will be doing will your new loft room now..... stash cave! I would recommend some vintage repros to start off with before you hit the "real" vintage patterns as they have been sized up for modern figures (no girdle required). I have had good luck with the Simplicity ones and they have loads of patterns that are just your style. I agree with the one stop buttonhole stitch but apart fro that a straight stitch and a zig zag are just about all you need. Fantastic news. I warn you thought. It is obsessive. Xx

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    1. Loft room will be our bedroom, but the old boxroom will be turned into a storage/craft area.

      I think Pete has resigned himself to the obsession!

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  2. Woo hoo!! Such excitement, learning any new skill is a worthwhile investment. I have got on really well with Tilly and the Buttons' book. PJ bottoms, a simple skirt etc. Your local library may have it. Libraries are great for sewing books! Xx

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    1. Oh, cool. I'm hoping Vogue does a sewing equivalent of their Ultimate Knitting Book, because that's fantastic.

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  3. YAY! How fun! I'd get the simplest one possible with just a few 'workhorse' stitches and an automatic buttonholer like your friend says.

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    1. Heh, it depends on how carried away Pete gets with the possibilities.

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  4. How exciting! I have my Mum's old sewing machine, which I brought back from the parental home, but I'm afraid it's just gathering dust. I'd love to be able to use it, even if it was just to do some adjustments. It needs to be serviced, and then I need some lessons from my stepdaughter, who knows all about sewing and sewing machines. The only problem is a lack of time ... It hasn't stopped me from picking up the odd pattern though. Keeping it simple is a good idea, as my Mum's machine has lots of fancy features, which is making it even more daunting. Can't wait to see how you get on! xxx

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    1. Yeah, patterns are addictive, aren't they?

      Pete's convinced I'll pick up skills really quickly and should get a beginner-to-intermediate machine. I told him it might be best to get a reconditioned beginner machine. We shall see!

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  5. Good news, Mim. You won't regret it. YouTube is great for tutorials and once you get started, you won't stop!xx

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    1. I'm not looking forward to the initial pile of shabby failures, I must admit.

      Oooh, and I have some fabric for you, next time you're in town.

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  6. still dress making on a 1918 singer , it does everything i need but then im strange that way ..lol

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    1. Hey, if it works for you, that's the important thing! Those Singers are famed for a reason.

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  7. That shop is fab, definitely would recommend them, we got Petes sitter a machine from them. They do more than just than one brand (yet that is an amazing brand) and they also sell second hand machines plus lessons on your new machine.mit might not be the largest machine shop, yet what they do stock is good.. Get the best motor, you can and play with they before buying to see you like the way it threads etc as I know I hated where the sewing thread was sideways on one singer I once tried to used. Also see if they will do deals, I had some bargains in price reductions there, and extras thrown in.

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    1. One of my Pete's workmates reckons they're really good too.

      Argh! It's finally happening!

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  8. That's fantastic! You know where I am if you need any help. In terms of the stitches on the machine, I agree, make sure it has a buttonhole function on it. Mine is a four-step one but it's dead easy, even for a beginner, because it's all labeled. Other than that, I only ever use normal straight stitch and a longer straight stitch, but you'll probably want a zigzag stitch too for doing edges. I have an overlocker, so always use that, but zigzag is just as good. Good luck! xx

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    1. Ha, you're the person who I'm most mortified about showing my efforts to. You're so skilful! But I will no doubt pick your brains about the silliest little things.

      It's a good job I'm into 60s styles; they're probably good for beginners.

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  9. How lovely, I bet you're so excited! I concur with getting repro patterns, Simplicity 1364 is a nice tops one you might like.

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  10. Agree about the "button-holer" as life is too short screwing around with that! Shift dresses are a good place to start as are skirts with elastic waists. You can scale vintage patterns if you find something you love, but it takes time and some maths. Didyoumakethat.com is a sewing blog worth checking out. Good luck!

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    1. The one I've got has a one step buttonhole. You put the button in the special foot so it knows how big to make it, press one button and voila! Perfect buttonhole.

      IT IS AMAZING.

      Ta for the blog rec too.

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  11. How exciting, there'll be no stopping you now.
    I'm a huge fan of the vintage Jiffy patterns from the 1960s and 1970s - keep your eyes peeled for them on eBay, they're pretty simple, my kind of sewing! xxx

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    1. Oh cool. I've bookmarked a pile of patterns and fabrics on Etsy - crimplene seems to be dirt cheap 'cos it's so unfashionable! - and will also look out in my chazzas as they've been good for patterns of late, tho it's not so easy to find Mim-sized ones.

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  12. As someone who never grasped how to thread a sewing machine at school I can give you no advice re sewing machines except you're going to be having a lot of fun!

    Have you looked into classes? I did when I first retired but the costs were horrendous so I gave up that idea.

    Think of all the lovely garments and household stuff you can make once you get the hang of it. Starting off with a cushion cover sounds like a brilliant idea. You'll be able to find material off cuts in the chazzas as well; as if you needed any excuse!

    Something to look forward to indeed!

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    1. Classes would be tricky for me because they're usually when I'm at work, plus I can't drive so would have to get Pete to drive me and the machine. But I know how to read a pattern, so I'm hoping I'll be able to pick up the basics for myself fairly quickly.

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  13. If you have any Asian fabric stores in the vicinity I'd recommend you to scour them for fabrics. They often carry fabulous fabrics at very reasonable prices :)

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