Thursday, December 22, 2011

My sewing table at home - the imfamous Rockler!

The afore mentioned Singer #42 cabinet is headed for our house on Lake Wallenpaupack. I have my real sewing room in my house in Virginia. That's, of course, where most of my sewing takes place.

The original dilemma I had was with the compact space I have here and what to do with a newly aquired serger. I saw some Horn cabinets that looks like they might do the trick but they were expensive and frankly a bit cheesy looking. The solid wood ones were prohibitive.

My Father in Law is a wonderful woodworker. He does this as a hobby but makes absolutely beautiful furniture. I showed him the picture of the Horn and he then went out and found plans from Rockler that were even better than the Horn one I was looking at. He asked me what wood and I asked for cherry. This is how it looks open:

It was originally constructed for my Bernina 1010 but then I retrofitted it for my Artista 165E and later my Artista 630E (that's what's in it now). The arm holds my Bernina 1300MDC serger nicely. All I have to do is swing the chair and I can get to each of them quickly. He also made me the corresponding inserts for the various machines. This is how it looks closed:

After he finished he asked me what did I want to do with the leftover wood. Well, a matching bookcase of course:

Needless to say I spend a lot of happy sewing hours at this table!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Singer #42 cabinet, the Rocketeer and Me!

Colin and I have just "aquired" a vacation house. Actually we bought my Mom's house in the Poconos since the market is so rough and frankly it needs some TLC. Mom is thrilled about this. She's happily in senior housing and is happy the hear this one less thing to worry about and the house will be well taken care of.

Of course NO house I own and spend a lot of time in can be without a sewing machine! I thought about bringing my Bernina 1010 up there and started looking for a cabinet. I thought a good solid mechanical would be just the machine for there. Also we have very little furniture so this would be a good start.

I couldn't believe it when I saw a nearly perfect Singer 42 Art Deco cabinet on EBay, pickup only, right in the path of our Thanksgiving trip! I put in my bid and wound up winning it for a very good price complete with matching stool. This neat little cabinet has a little drawer on the left with a pencil tray and ink well and the upper drawer on the right has a thread holder and a place for the oil can. When I saw it I knew there was no way I could retrofit it for the Bernina without pretty much messing it up.

So what to put in it? I really did want a machine with zig zag capability and this cabinet was specifically made for a Singer 201-2. 15-90, 15-91 or 301 - all straight stitch. But I discovered on my Vintage Singer Yahoo group this could fit a 400 or 500 series. I've alway wanted a 503, otherwise known as a Rocketeer so I thought why not! I'm going for it! I found one that was fully refurbished on Ebay for a very acceptable price. It is a total work of art and came with all the accessories, cams, feet, an original manual and even an oil can!

So now how to make this 1961 machine fit this 1940's cabinet. We took the front lip down 1/8", removed the black spring mechanism meant for the other machines, removed the block in the back right that stops the black mechanism from going too far and dropped the back of the oil pan a tiny bit. It fits perfectly and stores the way it's supposed to! The top closes very easily. This what it looks like stored:

So, here we are, drum roll please.....

Isn't the the coolest looking combination ever?! We think that machine is the 57 Chevy of sewing machines and it would be something Jane Jetson would sew on.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The essential trench coat

One of Tim Gunn’s essential looks is a classic trench. Bernina My Label to the rescue! A recent pattern release was a classic trench coat. What a project but so worth it!

The fabric came from Michael’s Fabrics. It’s a Zegna 100% cotton rainwear fabric. So luxurious… I decided I needed to put leather buttons on it and found the perfect ones at MJ Trim in New York. Finding the leather buckles were another story. The only place I could find them was at Klein’s Haberdashery in London, England. I email them the link for the buttons and asked if the buckles they had would be a match. They said they would be suitable – now that does sound British!

How they got here was really interesting. They couldn’t ship to the US but my cousin is engaged to a guy in England and he said I could send them to his house and he would bring them on his next visit. On the way back to the airport they stopped by to drop them off to me. Now that’s service!
The pattern had the front gun flaps. I also lengthened the coat as I wanted it to be full length.
I lined it with some very nice coat weight lining from Atlanta Thread. I added a back vent and the rain shield to the back.
Needless to say this turned out to be a very lengthy project! I bought some light colored fabric from Michaels for a winter version on this with a quilted lining. I think it will be a while before I do that one.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Love my Kindle! Now how to protect it...

I got a Kindle on a recent birthday. It was a gift from my wonderful Husband. He was afraid I would think the gift was repetitious as I got him of for his last one. But no, ever since I gave it to him I wanted one too! Now, how to protect it. I'm not much for buying covers if I think I can do one better myself. The latest issue of Bernina's online magazine Through the Needle Issue 7 there were instructions to make this wonderful cover. They are a bit confusing but when I hit that AHA thought! it all came together.

I decided to embellish it with this nifty bookworm that can be downloaded free off the Bernina International Inspirations site. They have a lot of really neat downloadable embroidery designs. I took the bookmark bookworm and took out the background using the Bernina Designer 6 embroidery program. 
I also found that Windows 7 32 bit WILL work with a Bernina Artista 165E! My 630E was in for maintenance so I used the 165E. Things to note: make sure the machine has the correct driver for the USB to serial and in the advanced properties to send the correct machine is selected. So for owners of the 170E, 180E and 185E as well as the 165E - don't worry, it works!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What to do with those beloved T shirts...

My daughter in law wanted a T shirt quilt as she didn't want to toss all her old T shirts and the memories that went with them. I said "of course"! I requested she pick the fabric as this is a really personal type project. She made some very nice choices. I used the Bernina Stitch Regular on my Artista 630E as I'm not too practiced with free form machine quilting. I don't really quilt - only when I need a quilt! This how the front turned out:

Since I used a quilt-as-you-go technique (no way was I forcing the whole quilt under this machine) so the back was pretty interesting too.

I wish this idea was around when I had some well loved T shirts but then quilting would have never occured to me at the time!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

And now for something different, home dec!

I mostly make clothes but sometimes I want to do some home dec. I hate to buy too many things I can make for myself. Right now I'm redoing the master bedroom but this is something I did a recently when I wanted a dinning room table to look a bit more like Summer.

I took a look at the website for the Bernina 800 series machine and saw a really nice table runner for Summer. I don’t own an 830E – I don’t have the room, it won’t fit in the fabulous Rockler cabinet my wonderful Father in Law made for me and frankly I didn’t want a machine that cost twice what my first new car cost! I am very happy with My Artista 630E – it does everything I want and then some. So I thought “hey, I’ll bet I can do this on my 630E!” I was right!
I used the fabulous Mega Hoop frame that allows the machine to automatically split a very large design. In the software I set up the reeds to fill the frame and just rehooped it as needed to get multiple designs. It was really easy to rehoop as it aligned easily. The embroidery designs were from the OESD’s Reeds and Grasses set.
To go along with the runner I embroidered 10 cocktail napkins that I ordered from All About Blanks. They have some pretty neat blanks for things so I’m sure I’ll be back at that site in the near future. So this is now my Summer table runner – it dress up a very basic Tommy Bahama tablecloth for sort of an island vibe.
So this is what's on my table right now

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A nice little wrap skirt that won't unwrap

I’ve been really happy with working with My Label patterns and like to take creative license with them. I wanted a wrap skirt, but not all the quirky problems with a true wraps skirt. This was done as a "faux" wrap. The fabric came from a remanent I found at G Street Fabrics. 100% linen and a true steal!
Between where the basic skirt ends and the wrap starts I inserted a hidden invisible zipper:
I also added a slit right below that for walking ease:
Also I used a combination of the multi-hoop program in the Bernina Designer Plus 6.0 and the giant Hoop-it-all to create the embroidery design as this one was done on my Bernina Artista 165E. The embroidery design was from the “Dressed in Damask” package from Emblibray. Had I used my Artista 630E (which I did not have at the time) I could have auto split it with the mega hoop.
I then added buttons for the faux closure. I really like the versatility of the My Label patterns. It’s amazing what