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1  vintage Spartan/Singer-my new find! in Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions by Mrs_Boats on: March 30, 2011 01:41:30 PM
Look what I found!

I was killing time in the thrift shop when I ran into this sweet little machine buried on a shelf. No price tag, but when I asked, I was told $15. Who could pass that up? The wheel turns, but I didn't plug it in, so I don't know about the motor. There's still thread in the bobbin, though.

A quick Google tells me it's a British-built Singer, made in Scotland. A longer Google (and turning the thing upside down a few times-honestly, who named it a *Featherweight*?) tells me tentatively that it was made in 1941. The bottom is stamped Simanco-dunno what that's about.

A couple questions. Did this originally have a case? It's screwed into a plastic case bottom, so I don't think it was supposed to be in a table.

Also, it looks like the serial number says P401407, with something blurry that might be an E in front of the P. According to this site (http://www.planetpatchwork.com/fweight.htm), it's actually probably ED, but how do I know I'm looking at the right thing? I can't find any pictures of serial numbers for comparison.

What's the SIMANCO stamped on the bottom? The plate on the motor mount also says SIMANCO, and Made in Canada.

Anything else you can tell me about the new girl would be fun to know. I'll call the sewing machine guy tomorrow with an eye to taking her in this weekend for a thorough cleaning and going over.

Pardon the mess. You can tell I cleaned off just enough of the table to put her down and take pictures. Sorry!

3/31 Update: Much poking around on the Singer site (and internet in general) has refined some of my guessing. It's a model 192k-it says so on the stitch length selector plate. I cleaned more gook off the bottom, and the serial number is EP401407, making it built in 1959. The motor works (I plugged it in) and the wheel turns, but the front half of the machine and the bobbin mechanism are frozen. I did take the plate off to check it out, and it's incredible dirty (eons of old grease and lint) but not rusted, so I suspect my sewing machine guy will get it sorted fairly easily. I have an appointment with him tomorrow at noon, so I'll know more after that.

Now all I need is nice, old-fashioned Scottish name for her and we'll be all set!  Cheesy

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2  two issues: stitch width not stable + zigzag problem in Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions by Mrs_Boats on: October 17, 2009 04:47:10 PM
I was zigzagging the long raw edges of fabric today and noticed a couple of things. The first I'm fairly sure is mechanical, but the second is probably me.

Issue the first: I had the zigzag set to a nice wide stitch. Three feet later, it was back to a straight stitch. I reset it-same thing. I looks like the vibration of the machine is causing the stitch selector dial to jiggle from whatever it's set to back to zero. Short of taping the dial down, is this something I can fix myself? Or does it need to go to the fixit guy? Actually, maybe I should be asking is this fixable at all?

My next problem is that before my zigzag started disappearing, I noticed that it was pulling the fabric between the edges up into a ridge. I assume that's a tension issue, but fiddle with it didn't get me anywhere. What am I doing wrong-am I supposed to loosen the tension or tighten it when it does that?

Oh, and my machine is a mid-60's Riccar, if that makes a difference:
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3  What kind of embroidery is this? in Needlework: Discussion and Questions by Mrs_Boats on: June 30, 2009 12:54:59 PM
I found this (I think it's a dresser scarf) at a thrift shop, for 25. I thought the embroidery was cool-I've never seen anything like it. It's almost like drawn work, or at least, that's the closest thing I can come up with to compare it to, even though I know that's not what it is. It's not on aida cloth, but whatever it is does have an even, slightly raised weave. There's *nothing* on the back of the fabric, not even knots.  Shocked

This design is on one end. It looks like the gray is variegated; it fades in and out over the length of the work. This is most of the center piece (the whole thing didn't fit in my scanner).

This is a close-up; I tried to pick a dark spot so you can see the thread go under the weave.

So...what is it? Huh If I knew what to call it, I could maybe find some basics about it. I'd love to give it a try!
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4  tatting bag (pic heavy) in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by Mrs_Boats on: June 28, 2009 10:37:40 AM
For me, part of the fun of learning something new is collecting all the 'stuff' that goes with it. Then, of course, I have to find something to do with it/somewhere to keep it, which is fun too.

I'm learning to tat, and I'm collecting the stuff that goes along with it. Apparently my yard sale mojo has been set on 'high'; just after I started learning, I went to a yard sale that was more of an estate sale. Great Aunt Whoever was a crafty woman, and I could have bought them out wholesale (she really had some cool stuff!) but I only had $10 in my pocket, so I settled for the baggie of tatting stuff.

Zip-top baggies are handy, but not very cool. Clearly, I needed a tatting bag! Grin My first thought was to make a large version of the round jewelry pouch thing with all the pockets in it, but the more I played with the idea and the stuff and a paper mock-up, the bigger it got, until I ended up with this. The outside is the bottom of my bedroom curtains (kind of a fuzzy twill-almost corduroy-ish), and the inside is a from a fat quarter from my stash. I didn't interface it at all, and had to go back in and put a bottom in, with some help from the fine folks on the discussion board. (https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=309558.0;all) I made the lining longer than the outside so that it would lap over and show, and folded the handle sideways to itself so that it was striped.

The pockets go all the way around the inside. The two closest to the side seams are very narrow-big enough for a pencil, or a crochet hook. The others are more or less the same size.

I even made a little needle book to go with it, with a tatted button loop! Er, keep in mind I'm a beginning tatter, please.

And action! Or, what it looked like before I dumped everything out to take pictures...

There are a couple of things I'd do differently. Put a hard(ish) bottom in right from the start, for openers, but also, I'd make the lining/overlap *much* bigger, put a casing around the top and make it a drawstring close. I had a piece of elastic in this and didn't like it-it was too closed. Several of the pockets--like for my glasses--need to be taller so things will stop falling out. Right now I'm thinking of adding ribbon loops above the pockets, see if that helps. I would probably interface the lining, too; one of these days I'm going to learn to just go ahead and interface everything instead of wish I had later. Undecided

All in all though, I'm very pleased! I think it turned out great, and pretty much exactly like what I was picturing in my head.
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5  busy as a bee! (ironing board cover w/caddy, pincushion) in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General by Mrs_Boats on: June 20, 2009 07:09:13 AM
Once I got back into sewing, I realized that my ironing board was in desperate need of a makeover. The top was grubby and ragged, and I could feel the 'bones' of the board through what little padding remained.

I used an old wool army blanket for the new padding. I just turned the board upside down on the blanket, traced around it with tailor's chalk, and cut out two pieces, the second a couple inches bigger, to cover the sides of the board. (I may add a third layer, now that I know how much it's compacting with use.) I basted them together in a couple of long lines, but didn't attach it to the new cover so it can be washed separately, if needed. Then I used the old cover as a pattern for the new one, only I cut it several inches too small, so I could add a drawstring casing. After that, I used the left over scraps to make a caddy for all the things that usually live on top of the board and get in my way. They're still handy, but now they're out of the way. I put actual buttonholes in the caddy, so it can come off it needs to. The buttons aren't interfaced, but have scraps of blanket behind them for some support. All in all I'm very pleased with it. Now I just need a new iron! Cheesy

I still had some fabric left over, so I made myself a new pincushion/caddy. I got the pattern from Sew Mama Sew, here: http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=765 Honestly, I like the idea, but not the execution. The pincushion itself is too big, and so is the scrap bucket. Plus, the pattern kicked my @ss-I dunno if it was just me having A Day or what, but I took the pincushion apart about four times and finally had to pin it all together like it was finished to be able to visualize it in my head. Gah. The needle strip in the middle is a scrap of Army blanket.

If I had to do it again (and I might-I really do like the idea) I would make both the bucket and the pincushion about half the size it is now, and anchor the caddy at the front of it, not in the middle-it sits too close to the edge for my peace of mind. Anyway, here it is.

The one thing I did that I really like is I used sand from the incense pot on our altar instead of rice, so it smells wonderful!
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6  I can see myself making about zillion more of these... in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by Mrs_Boats on: June 10, 2009 03:41:37 PM
So I made myself another of Rae's ruffle tops out of a thrift shop sheet. I <3 using thrift shop sheets for fabric! Other than the pleats (which took as much time as everything else altogether, apparently because I are dumb about pleats Undecided) this went together fast and easy. It helped that I didn't hem anything-the bottom hem is the long side of the sheet (a selvage edge) and the sleeves were cut from the other long side of the sheet, which was hemmed. I wanted to put a narrow strip of trim around the bottom but didn't have enough left-it had been a pair of pants. I still might do pockets though-I haven't decided.

It still needs washed-you can see the fabric marker dots/chalk stripes everywhere, and the multiple pleat attempts. But I was so pleased with it I wanted to get a pic while the light was still decent. I can see myself making a bunch more of these-I have a whole stack of thrift shop sheets in my stash just waiting, and these are comfortable and breezy. Today it was 91 and muggy-comfortable and breezy matters! Cheesy

Here's the shirt. (Why do you--well, me--never notice things like the tucked in sleeve ruffle until *after* I've taken the picture? Huh)

And a closeup of the fabric, which was a pretty brownish grey-definitely prettier than that sounds! It was a pain to try and match though.

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7  my weekend in tops in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by Mrs_Boats on: June 07, 2009 03:56:38 PM
I had a productive weekend! I got three summer tops done and a fourth cut and ready to sew.

First up, Rae's spring ruffle top.I found this tutorial on Sew Mama Sew, here: http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=791 It turned out really cute, and is one is probably my favorite. It's almost *too* cute though, bordering on cutesy-it makes me want to put my hair up in braided pigtails, like I did when I was six. Grin I think it's the eyelet that does that, but regardless, I love it! I have a grey flowered sheet lined up to be the next version of this, and I'm thinking of making it a summer nightgown since the sheet is so big.

These next two are both Simplicity 2898, View B. (http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/patterns/sewingpatterns.pl?patternid=19000) The fabric was formerly a thrift store jersey sheet. It went together really easily, but I'm not happy with either one. I started off with what, by the numbers, should be my size, and it's too big. It's wide across the shoulders, and the loop on the bodice gave me a lot more cleavage than I was happy with. A LOT a lot. I fiddled and got two different results. The first one, I un-gathered it to a decent level, the just sewed the top of the loop to the back side of the neckline. Which solved the cleavage problem, but it was still falling off my shoulders. So I unpicked the loop, and now there's a huge dart behind the loop that I haven't trimmed yet-I'm thinking about unpicking it and pleating it like I did the second one instead. It cinched the top up into a nice V though.

Oh-and the gathers are weirdly poofy, and hang off the loop.

The second one is a combo of thrift store remnants that look like they were meant to go together-the back and sleeves are contrasting. With this one I didn't dart it, just pleated it a bit at the neckline, and didn't gather it at all-the purple 'loop' is there for decoration, not function. It's still borderline too wide across the shoulders though.

I like them both well enough, I just think they could stand some improvement. If I can find shirring elastic and a decent tutorial, I'm considering running a line of shirring along the bodice line and see if that helps. I've also considered taking it in an inch or so through the bust line. Anybody got any other suggestions?

If I can get the kinks worked out in this pattern, I'll definitely make more-I like it it, and one of the options is long sleeves. But I do need to get the bust sorted out first.
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8  not-so-mini me (meet Chicky, my new, customized dress form!) in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by Mrs_Boats on: May 30, 2009 03:14:15 PM
(I didn't quite know where to put this, but here seems appropriate, even if it isn't exactly clothes. It's curvaceous, and it's *for* clothes-does that count?)

I've been trying to make a paper tape dress form for months now, and between not having a partner in crime, and not finding paper tape anywhere in a 50-mile radius, I'd pretty much given up. Then I saw this tutorial: http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/review/readreview.pl?ID=1013&readreview=1. I found a dress form on craigslist that was plus sized, just not quite plus sized enough, and bought a bag of quilt batting (twin size, I think), a long lycra/cotton camisole, and a half slip.

I wish I'd thought to take pictures of the process, but here's what I did. I set the neck and upper bust measurement to mine. I set the rest of the dials to within a couple of inches of my measurements, but no matter what I did, the waist wasn't anywhere close. I sacrificed my favorite bra (ratty, but comfy!) and stuffed the cups with polyfill until I got to my measurement. Then I cut strips in several widths from the roll of batting and, starting at the waist, started wrapping them around the form and building up layers of pudge. The first couple layers of batting stuck to each other, but after that they're pinned in place. I built and measured, built and measured, until I got to within and inch of my measurements, at which point I put I put one last really wide layer (from under the bra to the bottom of the form) all the way around. Then I put the camisole and slip on.

Oops. I did mention the camisole was lycra, yes? There was a fair amount (5+" in some places) of compression, which meant I had to stuff the bustline again, and rewrap the waist, belly and butt. Thus began a long, frustrating morning of wrapping and measuring. I finally decided it was easier to put Chicky on the bed, leave the camisole on (instead of take it off, wrap, put it back on; repeat) and stuff up under it. There's also a layer between the camisole and the slip, but the slip waist is in the correct place. (Now that I know how it goes together, I'm really tempted to take it apart and do it like the first try-all the building-up pieces under one smooth layer.)

Chicky's measurements match mine, although she's not quite the same shape, especially around the belly/hips, although it's close. I may address that if I ever rewrap it all. After I got it done and back on the stand (I just tucked the slip back up into the form and taped it to the inside), I riffled my closet for things to try on, and everything I tried fits like it's supposed to. I'm especially pleased with the upper half, and I suspect any unhappiness with the bottom half more accurately reflects on my own fanny rather than Chicky's.

In any case, here she is:

Funny moment of the day: ThingTwo (16) came to see what I was doing and caught me groping Chicky's bustline (to make sure there weren't thin spots in the padding) and the expression on his face as he tried to decide whether or not to ask what the heck I was doing was hysterical. He finally did ask, and then was fascinated by the process and stuck around to help.
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9  old book case -> new book case (lots-o-pics) in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by Mrs_Boats on: May 30, 2009 02:15:45 PM
I bought this bookshelf when I was 14 or so, at the local Salvation Army. It was my very first furniture recon , and eventually housed my Ziggy collection. Since then it's been in the spare room, Dad's garage, Mom's attic and our storage-I always intended to do something with it, someday.  The color is called Sand Mist Beige, and was my mom's default neutral. Thirtymumble years ago it really was beige too, and not so pink. 

I started off with a good scrubbing and sanding, then painted the whole thing in the same high-gloss white I used on the table. When I did my table (https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=306011.0), several people suggested that I mod podge pattern pieces to it. I thought that was a cool idea (although I haven't done it yet) so that's what I did to the shelves.

Lay out the pieces and fit-test:

A closer look. The shelves alternate between lots of small pieces and one big piece.

All stuck down. (And wow, working with white Mod Podge on a white shelf was a PITA!)

Trimmed up and ready for a second coat of Mod Podge.

And action!

Boxes of feet and some buttons on the top shelf, serger cones and bobbins next shelf down, books and patterns. This isn't everything; there are a ton more buttons somewhere, and more patterns, and books. I'm slowly trying to bring order to the chaos, and as I do, I'm sure the shelves will fill up fast.

It's nice to see my sewing room come together! Cheesy
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10  someone else's UFO = my new cutting table (pic heavy) in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by Mrs_Boats on: May 22, 2009 11:35:12 AM
I was out yard saling awhile ago and got lost. I found a little burg I'd never heard of before, and a yard sale that was just about done. The lady told me to shop fast-the Goodwill truck was on the way. Everything there was either fifty cents or five bucks. She didn't have a lot I was interested in until I saw the table. Apparently it was her husband's UFO-it was all sanded and ready to go...three moves ago, to hear her tell it. Cheesy So I bought it.

I brought it home, scrubbed it good, painted in high gloss white (left over kitchen/bath trim). And there it sat. I was stuck. It was better, but boring. And then, in a thrift shop, I had an idea, and bought every old, beat up pattern I could lay hands on. I dug in the shed and found left over living room paint in pattern brown and painted the top, then I cut the front off the envelopes, and trimmed them with scrapbook scissors (to look like fancy stitches). Then I shuffled, shuffled, and shuffled some more, then mod podged the whole thing down.

And here it is in its new corner.

The patterns were all 70's/80's ish, although there were a few from both earlier and later. A few kids, but mostly adults. The white stripe across the front will be a 36" ruler just as soon as I locate my black paint marker.

Aaand...I'm not sure I like it. Good concept, bad execution? Just doesn't match the picture in my head? I dunno, something. It just needs something, I think, I just don't know what. I'm going to let it sit, see if it grows on me. Probably add another couple layers of mod podge-there are still some rough edges and slightly bubbled spots. It the meantime, my cutting mat covers most of it, so I don't have to worry about it snagging fabric, or fabric snagging it.

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