I had an awning made for Lolo to go over the door area so the fur kids can go in an out and Ron won’t get soaked. Love the awning. I forgot to have tabs sewn into the hem to hang lights from so now I have to add them myself.
It’s the preparation that takes so much time. After the tabs are cut, I pinned the tabs to hold the D-rings in place. They are plastic to avoid rust. Next I had to burn the ends of the tabs so they don’t unravel. Now onto sewing! I located my spool of heavy upholstery poly thread for stitching and a No. 16 Jeans needle. Nothing will do this job better than my wonderful vintage Singer 403A. I moved to the dining room table since my studio is a disaster and not enough room for the awning. Can’t wait to get this on Lolo!
Being old doesn’t mean your are useless or ugly. It means you have a lot of years of experience along with the bumps, bruises and scuffs to prove how well loved and useful you have been. I am talking about my newest Singer Featherweight. Here she is in all her gussied up glory, stitching that perfect lock stitch she is known for.
She has been totally cleaned, oiled and greased on the inside. All her parts work exactly the way they should. All her bright shiny metal bits sparkle and and her wrinkles shine ready to go another 50 years or more. But, she has some really bad scars and age cracks. Some of them all the way down to the bone. But her heart is still going strong.
She was a challenge and I have worked 2 days on her. I planned on sending her off for a snazzy coat of paint and clear coat. Then Ron said, “I like her that way. She shows her age with no apologies. ”
So I think she is going to remain the way she is for now. No need for cosmetic surgery. Her case needs attention too, but that’s for another day.
Here are a few pictures of her spa days and a few tools of the trade.
**My apologies to my Facebook friends who have already heard this story.** This is the sad unloved condition of my little 221K when I found her. This was my first sighting of an albino featherweight and I was smitten. But, so much dirt! I think the people at the thrift shop must have thought she was a toy since no self respecting sewist would let his/her tools get in this condition. You can see there were places that stickers had been removed and the back of the case has some red magic marker on it. But, do you see that price??? Be still my heart!
I had gone to the thrift shop to look at a black Singer to check the serial number for the model. I had decided it wasn’t one I wanted so I was just wandering the shop. As I came around a corner there was a couple in front of me. The man said….”what’s that?” The woman said….”the tag says Singer”. My heart stopped. Even if it was an empty case I would have bought it. I stayed back, lurking, looking uninterested but making sure nobody was coming up behind me. I was going to defend that aisle and the thing tagged Singer if that couple moved on.
Oh my gosh….they moved on! I swooped in and snatched up the case. An eagle after a rabbit couldn’t have been faster. It was heavier than a box so it had something in it. I gently raised the lid and peeked inside, not even taking the machine out so I didn’t risk a sneak attack by another shopper. Keeping a straight, uninterested face I made my way to the front to pay. Then my heart nearly stopped as the cashier said, “What’s this?” and opened it. Then she said,” looks like a pretty dirty toy”. Not saying anything I kept a poker face,paid for it and calmly walked to the door. Ron was waiting in the car and he knew by the way I was smiling as I came out that I had found a treasure.
It took me 2 days to make sure she was properly cleaned and oiled. I am still working on getting the flywheel off. So many vintage machines had WD40 used on them. That stuff turns to varnish over the years and glues metal together. But she sews. And she sews perfectly.
I am giving my only granddaughter her own sewing machine to learn on. I have a beautiful little black Singer 99 that is a 3/4 size and is recommended for beginners. There are no mother boards or too many dials for her little fingers to mess with.
We had to make down a larger Singer case to the 3/4 size. This one had come with a 301 but was smashed in shipping. We needed to glue it all back together and reinforce the corners. It has 2 coats of a high quality latex paint inside. We added 1/4 inch poplar on the sides to fill in the gaps and quarter round with leather on top to cushion the machine when she is sewing with it. The compartment on the left is lined with felt and will hold the footpedal and electric plug.
She is such a little princess and like all good princesses her favorite colors are pink and purple. I found these bright fabrics in my stash and they seemed perfect for the job.
The plan is to use decoupage finish to adhere the fabric to the case and to give it a durable finish. I’ll show photos when its done. I think she is going to love it!
Oh…here’s my tip for anyone who is tired of stuck on lids for their gel mediums and decoupage finishes. Place a small piece of plastic bag on the jar before putting the lid on. Easy Peasy…no more stuck lids.
I have an affinity for vintage sewing machines. They are such work horses and I know how to clean and repair them myself without having to pay big technician bills.
I found this 328K …the K means the machine was built in Great Britain. It is what is called a 3/4 size machine like the steel Singer 99 but the 328 is a lightweight aluminum machine like the Featherweight. It will do a zig zag and decorative stitches with the cams that load in the top.
Here is a pix of my little work space, aka, studio . It’s all cleaned up and ready to sleep for the winter. I won’t even show you the boxes and boxes that are going to my little work room in Texas. I think I nearly divided it in half including taking more than one machine. A girls gotta be prepared you know.
My fabrics are behind the curtains to keep them from light fading. I have north light in this 14 ft. wall of windows which is really nice when working on the design wall on the opposite side of the room. The cabinet has all my ‘wet’ supplies such as dyes, paints, brushes, tubs, etc. There really doesn’t seem to be enough space….ever….but then I force myself to edit and purge. I keep two different kinds of fabrics here: art quilt supplies and traditional supplies. I try to do one charity quilt each month for my guild. I’m behind right now but have those packed to finish in Texas.
This is my trusty Singer 401 all put to bed. I love this machine. It will do almost everything a computerized machine can do without ever worrying about the mother board blowing up. [Yes, I had that happen last year while in Texas.] This year I am taking an extra vintage Singer with me to live in Texas. I packed up my 99K and all the attachments. This is a 3/4 size shiny black gorgeous little machine that truly purrs.
I started using vintage machines many years ago out of economic necessity. They are fun to collect but one of the best things is that I can repair them myself. I can adjust them, tear them apart and put them back together. They are sort of like vintage cars that people like to tinker with. Sometimes I have to call Ron to put a screw in or take one out if my arthritic hands aren’t cooperating that day. He’s a jewel for that. I think he’s happy that I don’t ask him to learn all about them. The most he got involved with restoring my treadle was carrying the irons in the house for me.
So here I sit, with no projects on the design wall, nothing sitting next to the machine to stitch, no piles of fabrics being auditioned for something new and let me tell you it is STRRRESSSSSSSFUUULLLLLL. I will just have to focus my mind on virtual art, ponder pieces that are WIP and let my hands rest and recuperate. Moving house every 6 months gives me time to do a lot of soul searching about what is important to me; to be thankful that I have wonderful friends, family , a roof over my head, plenty to eat and my health allows me to continue with art even if it is on a limited basis.