Sep 25, 2013

Buying this 100 year old treadle would be totally legit if I collected sewing machines... Right?

You know how one day you have five sewing machines and the next day you have six?

Maybe not.

Regardless of where you personally fall on the awesome scale (award yourself 1 point for each sewing machine you own), please Say Hello to my little friend, I mean newest acquisition: A vibrating shuttle treadle sewing machine, with "Coffin Top" table, made by White. (White were a USA company that rivaled Singer back in the day)

White Vibrating Shuttle treadle sewing machine VSIII
White Vibrating Shuttle treadle sewing machine VS III
Ain't she pretty?

Ok, important details, you'll want to know: How old?
Ah, not quite sure, the serial number puts her manufacture somewhere between 1903 - 1915, so let's say at least 100 years old. [UPDATE: Thanks to Tammy in the USA for ringing the Helpline at Husqvarna - who took over the White Sewing Company - I now know my machine was made in Cleveland, Ohio on the 26th of Feb, 1906!!!]

Does it work?
*ahem* Not sure at this stage. It appears to have all its parts... so Maybe. I'll clean it a bit before I try sewing.

How did your husband react?
Good question. He was...nice about it. Didn't bat an eyelid. (Makes me suspicious he's planning on buying expensive new golf clubs). He just said, "No more buying machines this year" and then he went on to change that to "If you want another sewing machine, you'll have to give one away."

And I agree that seems fair. Very fair. Too bad he doesn't know about the broken one I have hiding in the basement! Ah hah ahhaha hahah hahah! That still counts as one! I could get rid of that and get something better! Ahhhhh...


Now I totally understand how old ladies become obsessed with cats.

Sep 23, 2013

Tutorial: How I made a replacement Tension Check Spring

When I broke the tension check spring on my vintage Empisal Goldline sewing machine, I was unable to buy a replacement.

Here's how I made a replacement by salvaging a tension spring from another sewing machine:
 I salvaged a tension spring which had these characteristic in common with the broken spring:
  •  same coil length,
  • same coil diameter,
  • coils wound in the same direction as the broken one.
Using wire side-cutters, I cut the salvaged tension check spring to resemble the original.

= Voila! Replacement spring ready to go.

Sep 18, 2013

Mini Tutorial : How to Make Ruffle Cuffs

Sorry this is a bit brief, I made these ruffle cuffs for a friend's birthday, and didn't take many photos, so hopefully you can follow along what I did.

To Make Your Own Ruffle Cuffs, you will need:
  •  4 pre-ruffled fabric strips conforming to the measurements below
Make these using your sewing machine ruffler foot if you have one - mine looks like this - or gather the fabric, to these dimensions: (NOTE: these are the completed dimensions AFTER ruffling/gathering)
Main ruffle =  longest edge is your wrist measurement, shortest edge approx 3 and a half inches.
Smaller accent ruffle = longest edge is your wrist measurement minus 1 inch, shortest edge approx 1 and a half inches. 
You will also need:
  •  2 strips of leather (length = twice your wrist measurement plus 2 -3 inches)
  •  4 D-rings
  •  2 pieces of bias binding or scrap fabric to make a casing. 
Then follow the pictures below, and I hope it works for you. :)

Tutorial: How to sew ruffle cuffs for Steampunk

Sep 17, 2013

Iron Beauty awakes from her coma!!!

You know how sometimes you go to bed an ordinary person but the next day you wake up and you're a super genius? Today is my day!

Even though I have tried before and failed, the sewing machine gods were smiling on me today because I figured out how to put my vintage Empisal tension assembly unit back together, even though there are no instructions anywhere online.

But that too is soon to change. Learning from my mistakes I took lots of photos, and in the next few days I'm going to post a tutorial How to Take an Empisal Sewing Machine Tension Unit a part - And How to put it back together.

Not only that, I figured out how to replace my broken tension check spring using a salvaged spring from an old Singer - I'll post a tutorial on that too. UPDATE Tutorial: How I made a replacement Tension Spring

Right now I'm off to run victory laps around the garden. I fixed Iron Beauty! I fixed Iron Beauty! I fixed Iron Beauty!

Iron Beauty awakens from her coma

Sep 9, 2013

Costuming Outting

Some mornings are ordinary, other mornings you get to dress up in Victorian and Edwardian outfits, huzzah!

Today the costuming group I joined recently, Images of Past Dunedin , were invited to present at this month's Mosgiel Ladies Probus Club meeting.
I was very fortunate to be able to attend, mostly due to the generosity of Helen, loaning me two of her splendid outfits.

Members of costuming group: "Images of Past Dunedin" attend Mosgiel Probus meeting
Images often do "fashion shows" around Dunedin, any money raised goes to buying books for the children's ward of the hospital.

Sep 5, 2013

Birthday Request - Marie Antoinette Dress - Part 1: The countdown begins

This weekend my niece asked me to make her a *ahem* French Maid's outfit.

After a few minutes of looking in the air, twiddling my thumbs, wondering how I could tell her I didn't feel that was appropriate for a 12 year old - without having to explain why, I chickened-out and instead suggested, "How about a Marie Antoinette dress?"
That was greeted with enthusiasm.


But having barely made a 'fancy' dress for myself. Will I be able to make one for someone else? Will it end in tears? As the dress is intended for her next birthday - Feb 2014 - at least I have plenty of time.

To begin I have borrowed a pattern which I think will make a good base for the outfit - Simplicity 5042.

Simplicity 5042 kids Marie Antoinette costume - bottom left
In case anyone else out there also needs to make a Marie Antoinette style costume, I'm gathering resources which may prove useful and they can be found on my pinterest board HERE