31 March 2014

Knitting Adventures: Let's start with a cowl

When I made my stashbusting pledge, I made a throwaway comment at the end regarding knitting. The more I keep reading about other bloggers latest knits, the more I think, "I could do that." Yes, I know how to knit, but No, I haven't knit anything since I was in high school (more than 20 years ago in case you were wondering.) The only things I can remember having completed in the past, was a vest, and a jumper. The most adventurous thing about either was a different colour for the ribbing in the vest, and decreases in the jumper (at least I think there were - I have since disposed of this jumper.) My knitting repertoire didn't really extend past knit and purl. Oh, and a book that I bought, and have pulled out of hiding to see if it will help me at all.

27 March 2014

1950 Model 99K Singer Electric Sewing Machine

When / How Acquired

My second antique (well, not really as it isn't anywhere near 100 years old) Singer that I acquired was a gift from my father.

In 2009 when I was heavily pregnant with my daughter, my father was in the process of closing up his sewing machine business, and had a garage full of old trade-ins and assorted other machines that needed to be stripped for parts. He had ordered a metal skip that we slowly filled up over the course of an afternoon. It was kind of fun unscrewing the machines and stripping out bits and pieces, anything that would prove useful when repairing other machines.

Metal skip bin (in front) with many sewing machine bodies!
Right at the end of the line of machines was a beautiful dome shaped timber case which I was dying to see inside, and dad made me wait right to the end to see what it was.

Inside the case a 1950 Model 99K "Portable" Electric Singer was hiding. It was in beautiful condition, but without bobbins or other accessories.

As a thank you for all my hard work (when all the non pregnant people had given up and gone back inside), dad gave it to me. How awesome is my father? As it uses different bobbins to the 1900 Singer however, when I got it home I wasn't even able to test it out.

Machine Specifications

A look on ISMACS International website shows that this machine was part of a production of 60,000, which were allotted on September 26, 1950.

The Singer centenary badge would suggest that the manufacture was not complete until 1951 however, and I can say with some certainty that it was manufactured in Great Britain! It says so on the machine!

Note the Centenary badging from 1951

It was made in Scotland to be exact. All Singer models that have a "K" came out of the factory in Scotland (the Kilbowie factory in Clydebank, Glasgow).

The machine is compact, 3/4 the size of it's full size mate the 66 (but it's still really heavy, weighing in at a little over 15kg!), with an extension plate that connects in on the left hand side, and is operated by a knee controller that slots into the base on the right. It has a light attached at the back, but it gets so hot I'm not planning on using it, but now have an LED light that clips on with a magnet that I can use, and move between machines. It is housed in a domed (bentwood) lid. Inside the lid are all sorts of clips (which I hadn't noticed earlier), which keep all the bits nice and safe.

With extension plate in place
Knee Operated
The light
Inside the case. Everything clips in. Somehow.
The machine bed is decorated with filigree scroll work, which has only one place along the front where it has been rubbing off, so I'll leave it as is and just give it a bit of a clean.

Models 66 and 99 are both oscillating hook machines. Before you ask, no I don't actually know what that means in technical terms, that's more of a question for either my father, or maybe my husband.

Work done on this machine

With my recent acquisition of an additional two Singer Treadle machines, with bobbins(!!) I was finally able to get this machine going in December. My father (along with other family members) was staying with me over Christmas. We looked at one of the other treadles first (more in a later post), and after he did a clean and oil on the other one, I did the same on this machine. All up it was in pretty good condition. The bobbin case had a build up of dirt and grease, but armed with a cheap paintbrush and an old machine needle, I cleaned it all out, and then oiled the machine. All by myself! My cleaning passed inspection from my father, and after a bit of adjustments, we did a test sew it worked beautifully!

Top: before cleaning. Bottom: After cleaning - much better!

My trusty paintbrush
I love the little button to release the bobbin!

The Inner workings
"Scroll" design on faceplate

Storage space underneath the machine

Dad removed the needle plate from the machine and polished out the marks left by needles over the years so it won't catch on anything. I still need to give the exterior of the machine a good clean, but it is in great working order, and I'm sure I'll have fun trying out all the accessories from my other machines.

Keep an eye out for a detailed look at my other Singer machines:

Overview of my Singer sewing machines

1900 Model 27 Treadle

1937 Model 66K Treadle

1953 Model 201K Treadle

1943 Model 221K Featherweight

Singer Model 20 Child's Sewing Machine

Do you have a Model 99 Singer? I'd love to see more! Feel free to leave the link to your related blog post in the comments below.

25 March 2014

Blue Knit T-Shirt Dress. Something For Me. Again.

The idea for this dress started out with the idea of making a T-shirt. I was mentally going through my stash, matching up leftover stretch fabrics with patterns I made for tops a couple of years ago. I knew I had a blue stretch fabric that would go really well as a this gathered neck shirt (below).

The original shirt
When I pulled it out to use though, I had more than enough for a dress, so rather than have leftover scraps, I re-drafted my pattern with a few centimetres of additional ease and some pockets, just because I could, and cut out a dress instead. I figured if I didn't like how it turned out I could just cut off the bottom and turn it into the shirt it was going to be at the start.

23 March 2014

Does This Mean I Just Added to my Stash?

I had a client visit me yesterday to pick up some mending. His wife brought me a surprise package of goodies. She had a bag of mostly lingerie supplies taking up space in her attic, and having no intention of ever using any of it again, thought that I might be able to make use of it! I think she might be right!!

21 March 2014

One year ago today: Montmartre

One year ago yesterday, I was at Chanel's flagship store in Paris. One year ago today, I was in fabric shopping paradise: Montmartre.

Pity I didn't have a burning need for any fabric though. I was so overwhelmed by all the shops, all the fabric, all the buttons! Everything! That I didn't really know what to look for. Luckily my eagle eye husband spotted a shop with some absolutely fabulous furnishing fabric, and we grabbed some fabric to make curtains for our library. Still yet to be sewn (of course), but it's perfect.

My curtain fabric
Take a look at all of the shops that I didn't go into! Well, I did go into some of them, but I can't remember which ones.

20 March 2014

One year ago today: Chanel Paris

At this time last year, I was fulfilling a life long dream of visiting Paris. Oh, I miss Paris! I think my husband was hoping that once I'd been there it would be out of my system, but having been there once just makes me want to go back and see more!

One year ago today was our first day of touristy things in Paris, and at the end of a day filled with walking past Notre Dame, visiting le Eiffel Tower, a visit to the Musee des Egouts, l'Arc de Triomphe, a stroll down the Champs Elysee, (complete with chocolate shopping), the Disney Store (blame the husband. And the children) and Haagen Dazs (because where else would you go for afternoon tea when you're getting a little chilly)! Then a walk through Place de la Concorde, we finished with a walk past Chanel's flagship store front at 31 Rue Cambon with what little energy I had left that day.

I took some photos of the store front (of course), but never really got around to showing them off. So, here they are. Chanel. March 20, 2013.

Window display

13 March 2014

1900 Model 27 Antique Singer Treadle: Background and Restoration Part I

When I was growing up my mother had a Singer treadle which she had bought for $5. Before I even hit my teen years though, she sold it to friends of ours who were living out of town on a property, reliant on a generator for their electricity. My sisters and I all have fond memories of that machine, and I think we've all been secretly seeking to replace it in our lives. (Well I have anyway.)

Original eBay photo

9 March 2014

Cargo Skirt Five Years in the Making

Do you want to know more about the skirt that I'm wearing in my previous post about my ruffle front shirt? Well, read on.

You may remember last year I blogged about a pile of fabric that I found hiding in the corner of my studio. I got quite excited, as one of the pieces of fabric in that pile was a stretch herringbone cotton blend that I had been looking for.

6 March 2014

Inspired by a pin: Ruffle front T-shirt

I've had in the back of my mind for a while now a shirt tutorial that I pinned (via my sister) for a ruffle front shirt. When I was documenting my stash last year I also mentally allocated a piece of white knit fabric to the project. I finally managed to make my shirt last month, and I'm making the most of our dwindling warm weather (goodbye summer, I'll miss you, but not the extremes of hot weather you bring), to wear it as much as possible before I have to start layering up so you won't even know what shirt I have on!