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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Even Boys Like It!

About 2 weeks ago, my neighbor came by with her son to have me fit a dress for her vow renewal. Her son is about 8, and apparently her stylist. I could tell by the way he looked at her in her dress, clearly looking at the fit and design and how it flattered her, that he has an eye. After the fitting, I set up my 830 to embroider his name since I thought he might get a kick out of it. Well, he was mesmerized. And when it was done, he already had decided which bag he wanted it put on. I told him I would some better ones for him, and here they are:

I realized that kids just don't get the exposure to mechanical things like I did as kid. My dad and brother were always working on our cars, we did most of our own home repairs, and my mom sewed. I think kids are really missing out--another reason for more people to get sewing!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Upcycled Chanel Jacket

My last post showed the first steps of a new Chanel jacket. The original garment was a swing coat my aunt wore in the 60's, probably made by my grandmother. The fabric is a gorgeous classic: a very loose weave mohair houndstooth in off-white and black:

I decide the only way to reuse this fabric was a classic Chanel jacket. I used Susan Khalje's method featured in Threads Magazine issue 121.
I was able to cut the jacket body out with problems, but did have to piece both the upper and under sleeves. I've been watching a lot of Mad Men lately, so decided to go with a shorter sleeve, which I believe is called bracelet length. The sleeves ended up being the same length as the jacket.

I combined purchased trim with torn strips of black silk charmeuse that I ran through the ruffler on the 830LE:

And here's the (almost) finished jacket. (I still need to finish the lining at the top of one sleeve and add the chain along the bottom. I'll probably add pockets as well.  What do you think? the classic 2 large and one small? Cut on grain or on the bias?

Decisions, decisions.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In Praise of the Dual Feed

One of the features of the Bernina 830 that I underestimated is the dual feed. I've often wished I could switch out the feet on my walking foot, and the dual feed foot essentially does that. Only a handful of feet are available for use with the dual feed, but they are enough to make me very happy. There are more, but so far I have the edge stitch foot, jean foot, 1/4" patchwork foot with guide and the standard foot that came with the machine. The dual feed makes everything easier, whether it's matching a design, quilting charmeuse to boucle, or stitching seams on a stretch knit.

Below are a couple of shots of the 1D foot.

In the first photo you can see the "arm" that slips between the legs of the foot:

And here you can see the mechanism behind the foot: the whole thing swings down for use and back up and out of the way when you don't need it:

This is the beginning of re-purpose project. I've taken apart a coat of my aunt's from the 60's to make a Chanel style jacket. Can't wait to finish it and for it to cool off enough for me to wear it!
Happy Sewing,

Love my Baby(Lock)

With all my going on about my wonderful Berninas, I realized this weekend that I haven't given any credit/praise/love to my BabyLock Evolution which I bought earlier this year. This is my second overlock/coverstitch combination machine. My first (which I still have) is an ElnaPro DCX 905. It was one of the first home machines to offer a coverstitch. This machine is about 17 years old, so I decided that it was time to look for a newer overlock. I wanted at least 5 threads for a safety stitch + 3-thread overlock, which quickly narrowed the options. I looked at other options, but quickly settled on the BabyLock for its reputation for quality, and the Evolution for the 8 threads that provide so many options.

Compared to the Elna, the BabyLock seems very low tech, but looks can be deceiving.

My 17+ year old Elna:                                              
The pretty new BabyLock (photo from BL site): 
The cover stitch on the BabyLock is beautiful. I love that there are 2 widths, though I've had some trouble with the wider one tunneling on light fabrics. I just used the narrower one to apply elastic on a peasant top. So much easier and faster than sewing a casing with a regular sewing machine! I was able to sew the entire top on my BabyLock, and the air threading makes switching between overlock and cover stitch even easier.

This is closeup of  both the right and wrong side:
...and the finished top, dyed: