Feb 26, 2014

Happy Birthday Ms White - 108 years old today

This day, 26 of February in 1906, far across the Pacific Ocean in the grand US of A Ms White -- that's what I've named my White vibrating shuttle sewing machine -- was rolled out of the White Company factory.

The treadle table Ms White is built into has the nicest acorn and oak leaf design, much fancier dare I say it, than any Singer sewing machine table I have seen.  For Ms White's birthday I thought I'd give her a makeover - or a least, a wax.

To start with I tried a commercial cleaning/polishing cream called Neopol, which is also good on leather. The Neopol smells wonderful, kind of lemony, it's a great product and I have been using it for years.

So imagine my surprise when the homemade beeswax polish I made worked even better, giving the wood a greater depth of colour and bringing out a hint of red.
See the top photo, far lefthand drawer
top photo: left = homemade beeswax polish, middle = Neopol, right = original condition
middle photo: top = after waxing, bottom = original condition
bottom photo: all beeswaxed

It made me wonder, what other homemade products might be out there that I could make? Have You made a Homemade cleaner and like better it than store bought? If so, Please let me know.

If you'd like to make beeswax wood polish yourself, here's How I Made Mine

the cat helps with buffing while the chicken just stares. lazy chicken
One question remains, at 108 years old, can my White treadle sewing machine still sew?

After considerable time figuring out the correct needle position to get the needle thread to loop over the boat shuttle to form a stitch...I am proud to say: Yes. Sew in a straight line however? That's another story.

Turns out treadling and steering the fabric is an art I have yet to master...
my first attempt at using a treadle sewing machine. Not quite a straight line...

Feb 19, 2014

Op-Shop Score! Vintage Umbrellas

I've always like the concept of taking an ordinary umbrella and recovering it so it looks more like a Victorian era parasol, but I've always been too wussy to try.

I've read a couple of good tutorials on how to do it, one from the Steam Ingeniuos blog here,
and the other most recently appearing in an article from issue one of the New Zealand steampunk magazine: AetherNZ.

And then I came across this piece of curtain(??) fabric in Toffs op-shop and I thought it looked very suitable with its fringe etc for a parasol cover.
fabric to use for covering a parasol

With that in mind I've been on the lookout for brollys to makeover. I got these two from Restore, for under $6.

The red one was made in Hong Kong, the brown stripey has no markings. And then I found this neat blue one, from Mosgiel Hospice Op-Shop for the grand total of $3.

It looks like a poor drowned bat when collapsed, but when you put her up! Delightful. And it still has a paper label "Gili box 205 Napier". Can anyone tell me if that was a shop or maybe a manufacturer? It would be nice to think I've found a vintage 1930s umbrealla from NZ's Art Deco capital!

The only trouble is I still need to find a suitable umbrella frame to makeover with my fringed fabric. These 3 are in great condition and I'd prefer to restore something rather than destroy something perfectly good.

Yes, I know, wuss talk.

Feb 10, 2014

Marie Antoinette Dress Project - Part 7 - The End

After attaching the sleeves, lining and hemming the MA dress was completed. All that remained was to deliver it to the birthday girl...

As promised, a Marie Antionette dress for my niece's birthday gift

... success!

[Note if you to have to make a late 1700s inspired dress, I have gathered a ton of resources on a Pinterest board HERE ]

Hmmm. Well that was fun. Now what shall I make?

Actually, as luck would have it the Monthly Stitch Collective challenge for March is a 'pattern stash buster' - the catch is You, not me, get to decide what I make.
Pictured below are 3 patterns from my stash:

 Let me put forth a case for each pattern:
  • Simplicity 9585 (circa 1981) - I thought the bodice would make an excellent base for an Edwardian blouse. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't.
  • Simplicity 4762 men's waistcoat - my hubby said if I made him one, he'd wear it. You can't argue with that logic and I think I do owe him after he helped me bring home all the lovely sewing machines I bought last year - without which I couldn't join the Monthly Stitch after all.
  • Simplicity 6667 - (circa 1975) I'm not really a dress person, but if an occasion arose that required a dress, think I'd wear this.
Ok, there are Your choices, please cast a vote for which pattern I should make in the comments. Thank You!

Feb 5, 2014

Marie Antoinette Dress Project - Part 6 - The Dress! (almost)

I had this post ready to go last week and then - well, you know sometimes life gets in the way... SO On with the photos for the bodice construction.

To create the back I completely put aside the instructions that came with the Simplicity pattern, and used Koshka's the Cat's excellent tutorial on making an 'en fourreau' gown.

The beauty of this technique is you make up the bodice lining first and then you pleat your fabric down to fit it. This is best demonstrated through the centre back.

Top photos show the made-up back lining (folded in half) as a guide to cut out extra fabric at sides and centre back, which is then pleated down to fit the lining - next photo shows the centre back is now pleated down and pinned to the lining underneath.

This is the first time I've tried draping external fabric to fit an internal shell and it worked very well, I'll certainly be doing this again.

A second technique (new to me) was making rouleau loops - which are tubes of bias fabric sewn to create loops - to lace up the front of the bodice. See below:

adding rouleau loops to the front bodice for the central lacing
And jump forward and Below shows the front and back completed - still have to sew up the sides, and add the sleeves but I'm nearly there now!

No cat-on-fabric photo today, but here's my dog helping out in her own way.

For anyone else tackling an Marie Antionette (ish) dress, please check out my collection of tutorials on Pinterest.

Feb 3, 2014

Claiming my blog for Bloglovin

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