Total Pageviews

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I think...

I may have finally found the perfect maid.
We'll see for certain , if she responds well to my overly controlling nature :)

But for now, I think the search may be done!

Also, I wanted to make a note about something I discovered on my old car, and have rediscovered in my new truck.

I was filling my car with regular gas, because it's cheaper than the plus or super varieties. But I noticed that when I used a higher grade of gas, my mileage improved dramatically.
So, I offset the 4$ difference in cost, with enough of a mileage difference to more than make up for it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Today, it is raining

Which shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as I live in the Pacific Northwest.

Yet, every time we have s period of sunshine, it seems like all the drivers on the road suddenly forget what rain is.
So they drive REALLLLLLY slow in the passing lane, and they hit their brakes when raindrops hit their windshield.
If I weren't already a mad-fiend, this would be enough to put me over the edge.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Holidays

And stuff!
I am non-religious, but for those of you who have one faith or another, I hope your celebrations have been wonderful and that you have re-affirmed the bonds with those you love.

On the me end of things...
Well, I had a batch of candidates for the maid position, and the one that I thought had the best potential took herself out of the running..I guess I am a bit too overbearing for her to work for!

Oh well.

I have a few new candidates to interview, and some of them seem to have great potential to be trainable into the exact kind of maid I want!
So, there you go. Patience pays off in the end.

or so I hope.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Another thing

I've been seeing a LOT of lately:

People are buying machine off CL cheaply and then bringing them to me to be tuned up.
3 of the ones I've seen this month have been non-repairable.
Which means they were a waste of money, on the purchaser's part, and time, on mine because I don't charge for machines I can't fix.

People shouldn't sell trash to the unwary...

I have this

hooded shirt thing that has always driven me mad.
It's mostly the right size, but it's just too short in the waist, I am long waisted(and winded, yes, I know!).

So, I decided to take it apart and use it for a pattern!

Now, you may say, "But D... you wear dresses 99% of the time. What the heck are you going to do with hooded shirts?"

To which i would reply, "Shhhhhhhhhhh"


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sewing on the 1030

I can honestly say, I think I've found MY machine.
This machine is not as quiet as my 201.
But then again.... nothing is.

But there's something really wonderful about it's array of available stitches, and the reversing patterns.

It's smooth.
It's steady.

For a modern machine, or even for a vintage zigzagger, it feels SOLID.
There are no cheaply made bits to this thing.

How well does it sew?
Well, I had no difficulty going through layers of denim.

Another thing I love about mechanicals is that the decorative stitches are never going to wear out or start looking funky. They are what they are and that's what they always will be.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A lovely visit

with N was had today :)
She really is an amazingly pleasant person.

Is a series of Records!
Starting with the 730 and going through the 1130.
I like the shape of the 730 the most, but I gotta say I am totally enjoying the 1030.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The cabinet

for the 1030 is actually another trash save.
Someone had painted it the most hideous colors and then(I believe) left it by a dumpster out of pure shame.
I cleaned it off and re-shellacked it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The 1030 review begins!

Here she is, my new 1030!
Oh wait... I guess she's being shy!

That's better!

I think she feels more comfortable fully dressed!

Ok, time for real reviewy bits: 
This machine has 26 stitches built in, including decorative and utility. the biggest difference between this and the 830 is the reverse stitches. For a mechanical machine, this is fairly awesome.

The controls are still pretty much exactly the same as they've been since the original 530.
With the addition of the knob to switch between single direction and dual direction stitches (the green stitches move from side to side, the red move side to side and back and forth)
There's really nothing here that's hard to use or complicated to grasp.

In fact, to make it even easier, when you select a stitch the machines displays the correct setting/foot for use with the stitch.
Pretty darn easy.

The only thing I don't like about this machine is the change in the body type. The 730 is still my favorite in that regard. 

There are a LOT of features added to this machine, even compared to the 930.
Normally I'm not much of a 'feature freak' but given that this is a mechanical machine, I'll allow myself a bit of flutteryness.

What's the #1 feature that the modern machines have that most vintage mechanicals lack?
Right, needle up/down.
This machine has it.

The lighting is really interesting as well. rather than using a single bulb, it uses a smaller bulb on each side of the needle bar, thus eliminating shadowing.

I'll go into more depth about the machines actual sewing ability later :)

Finished the

two machines I was working on!
They are both really good machines, the 15 was sort of beat to hell.


I made a trip to my local Bernina store.
I went in to ask them about getting a mounting thingy to put my 1030 into a cabinet.
They informed me that (unlike Singer) the mounting kit for Bernina was not a weird proprietary size, and that It was basically just a bolt and a large washer.

Well then!

Fast forward to yesterday, where I was in a thrift store(imagine that!) and I came across 2 Bernina accessories cases, without their machines.
Inside one of these cases?
A big bolt and a really weird rectangular washer....ohhhh!

Sometimes I feel like I am the luckiest girl on earth.

Now if I could just lose some weight!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


for my cleaning service to show up.
And, in preparation of that, I am having to pre-clean the house....
See, they don't load dishes into the dishwasher, or empty the dishwasher. So if there are dishes on the counter or in the sink....she won't clean any of it.
That's sort of a fraction of the things they DON'T do.
They're really good at vacuuming areas from which all obstructions have been removed, and wiping down counters that have already been cleaned. Which strikes me as sort of pointless, considering what I'm paying them and the fact that I hired them because I don't have the time....

So, my search for a maid goes on!

Begining the rewire

of the 15!

I need to replace the bobbin tire and a few other odds and sods.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2 new machine for me to work on this weekend

I've been brought a few machines to fix.
A 15-91 that needs a COMPLETE overhaul, and a 221 that just needs a basic service.

The check spring is broken, the machine is crusted with old grease, and it needs to be completely rewired..
Joy!  I love things like this :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Ok, I'm fairly certain I'm not an idiot...
In fact, I've got an IQ north of genius.

But this stupid pattern is driving me crazy.
Cryptic instructions are really not a great way to show the quality of your patternmaking skills...

Sure, YOU made the pants, congratulations. But the pattern you drafted is a giant piece of crap.

So, I'm left with two choices:
1. Try to figure out how to make it work, ignoring your unintelligible gibberish.
2. Set fire to both the pattern and the project as it now stands and call it a day.

I'm leaning towards #2

Friday, December 9, 2011

The pants...

I'm working on the cargo pants...
And I came across a part that I have 0 idea what it means.
No idea.

Black dress done.

Here it is!
I made the bottom ruffle almost floor length, and the skirt is actually a bit LESS poofy than my norm, but I think it works this way

Thursday, December 8, 2011

But first!

A word from our spons... wait, no, I don't do commercials...


You may remember way back when I said I was going to be working on some cargo pants.. or not, if not look back there <--.
So, I found a pattern that looked like it would be something I liked, Hot Patterns Weekender Cargo pants.
I bought it.

See, I'm picky. 
When I spend $20+ on a pattern... I sort of have high expectations for that pattern.
maybe that's unreasonable.

But despite the fun/glib text on the front of the package, I found/am finding the instructions to be somewhat confusing. There are several things where the creator apparently decided you already knew what you were supposed to to, so they sort of skim right over it.
Oh, also.....there's a bunch of printing errors on this pattern. Their cut lines don't match up.
Yeah, so.. No.
I have used cheap patterns before with little to no difficulty.
I guess I'll stick with those.

Been working with

the 1030.
I should be able to give a review of it soon.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The gadget of the day!

I've had this thing sitting around  forever, and bee sort of skeptical.
I's an old scissor sharpener.
Well, I can now say..
I used it on a pair of old kinda not so good scissors, and the difference was like night and day.
Ok, sure. It's simple physics and I'm easily amused.

Monday, December 5, 2011

This one's

going to be a bit more....frilly than the rest of them!
Here's a bit of the bodice and one sleeve!
They're going to get more and more complicated :)

I forgot

to post a picture of the finished striped dress....
so, here it is!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The newest dress

Is black denim with a red plaid wool lining.
It's going to be so awesome.
My dilema:
I can't decide if I want to go all out with ruffles and lace on this one.
All of my other fall dresses have been fairly austere.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The thing is...

, and I forget this a lot, you should always look for the simplest explanation or method first.
Working on Berninas is a perfect reminder of this.
The newer models are still sort of a pain in the butt to work on, if you're used to vintage machines, but at least everything makes sense.
For example, the needle seemed to be getting too close to the needle plate after my breaking a bajillion needles sewing through way too much fabric. So, I thought the needle bar must have somehow been knocked out of position and I would need to disassemble the entire machine in order to put it right.
One look in the service manual told me the rest of the story:
When the needle bent and struck the needle plate, it jarred loose the tiny bolt above the bobbin hook and allowed the needle plate to drift slightly. A gentle tap, and a twist of my multi-tool, et voila!
No major surgery required!
I love quality.

How to..

break a LOT of needles:
Sew through 2 layers of upholstery fabric and 2 layers of lining that is folded to form a mass of fabric that just barely fits under the presser foot...
I thought it might have been a weakness in the 1008, so I took out one of my 201-2s.
Nope, it's not the machine, it's the idiot in the chair! :D

what does this teach me?
Well, when dealing with super thick stuff, I have to figure out a way to sew it that's just a bit more clever.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

And while I'm on the subject...

of the 1008, I decided to use it to make my newest fall dress.

Here's the bodice, finished.
I changed the neckline and sleeves.
I'm not sure how much ornamentation I'll give it, at this point.
We'll see when i get the form done.

What am I learning?
Well.. the 1008 is actually a really good machine. I mean really.
I knew from the testing that I did that it didn't suck, but making this dress on it has really shown me it's capabilities.

I'll still sell it, just because I have 4 bajillion other machines to use. And this machine falls into the same mental space as my 1030(which I will use for my next dress). So if I had to choose between this and a 1030, well that's really not a fair thing at all.

The next few months are going to be full of spotty postings!

It's the problem with this season.. too much to get done and not enough time to do everything I want.

So, I've got a few people interested in the 1008 I repaired and am selling.
2 of which are here now and  ready to try/buy it.

But there's another person interested, who isn't going to be able to come give it a try for another week or so.
And so, I am actually holding it for her to try first.

Now , you may think that is unfair of me. You may think that I should do things on a 'first come first served' basis.
And if I were Walmart, you would be right.

But I'm not Walmart.

Each person I've sold a machine to exists still in my head, I remember their machines and the possible issues with them. When I sell a machine it's not a single transaction, it is the beginning of a relationship between the buyer and myself.

So, when I get emails that are polite and clear, from someone who knows what the machine is and isn't, and doesn't regale me with bad grammar...I tend to want to favor them.
Is that unfair?
Not to me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In the mail

I received something odd and interesting.

It was a Thanksgiving card from a customer to whom I'd shipped a machine in CA.

In all my years, I've never gotten a Thanksgiving card before!

Who knew?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I border on madness

like Moscow borders on Russia......
So, I have this new fiendish plan.
It could also be idiotic.
Hard to say for sure.

What I am doing is this:

I am taking 3 machines to 3 different shops to repair. Now you may say, "But D, that's madness1 You do that exact kind of work yourself! Why would you possibly want to pay someone else to do something you can do?"
The answer is easy.
I don't always have the time to work on all the machines that people want me to fix. So if I take these machines out to places, I can get a feel for who is good enough for me to refer people too.
And I can see what other people's quality is like.

Most of them offer a one year warranty....
I wonder why they even bother. I warrant the machines I work on/sell for the life of the.. welll... me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


My cat does her part and guards the fabric for the next dress!
So diligent!

At the risk of being somewhat

Here's that set ON:
the pantaloons are JUST longer than the shift :)

Oh and the completed denim dress/apron combo.
It looks a little mottled because it's raining and we had to do an emergency gutter de-clogging....

Monday, November 21, 2011

The lovely N

over at "Fits all who fit in" gave me a bunch of pretty fabrics last time she came to visit!

I finally did something with some of it:


They're both longer than my usual, to go with the Fall/winter dresses :)

4th fall dress

is underway.
The fabric is a little different than most of the others...

Also, I made a new underwear set to go with the longer/ thicker dresses :)

Once I finish this dress, I have one more to make and then I am done with the Winter series.
what will I make next.....
who knows?

Friday, November 18, 2011

New apron to go with the green dress :)

The downside

to the more modern Bernina design:
It's harder to get access to the needle area to fix issues.
I know there's probably a simple trick to it, and once I learn that I'll be abashed that I ever didn't know it.
But for now it's a bit of a pain in the butt!

The older machines with their metal shells with hinges were much easier to work on.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Needs a servicing..

The 1030 needs a bit of work, mostly I think because it was unused for a long time.
Now, who do I know that works on vintage Berninas..........
Oh, right, me!

It arrived...

And the contrast could not be more severe.

While the other package was sort of a shambles, this one arrived looking as precise as a building block:

And inside...

A solid block of styrofoam with niches for each accesory(each individually wrapped in bubble wrap)

After the purchase had gone through the seller contacted me to say she noticed a scratch she hadn't seen before, so she was including a bunch of extra stuff....
Like a Cut N Sew in it's original packaging. 
and some feet, and 33 bobbins(real Bernina) and spare lightbulbs and a replacement needle plate..

She was very communicative and I couldn't be more pleased.

As a contrast:

I will be posting the story of my new 1030, very soon!

807 adventures..(another eBay cautionary tale)

In my quest to collect the vintage Berninas, I recently acquired a Minimatic 807 off of eBay.
I chose this particular one because it was intact, with the red case, the accessory case, the extension table, the manual....the whole enchilada.

So, I won the bid, and I get an email from the seller saying she will ship it out the next day....

And then it starts getting squirrelly.

About a week later, after no contact and assuming my new machine was indeed winging it's happy way to me, I received an automatic notification that a shipping label has been created for the machine in question...

Wait, what?

So, I hop on my eBay and send the seller a question:

"Hi, you said this went out a week ago, this makes me nervous. Do I need to worry?'

To which she replied (paraphrasing):
"Oh no, no need to worry, I just went to California for a week and forgot to ship it before I left. I'll do it as soon as I get home."

Ummm, oookkk....

I decide to ignore the warning lights flashing through my head and attempt to exercise patience. I am not known for patience.

A few days later the package arrives on my doorstop.

Looking at the outside of the box, my heart began to sink, it was torn, it wasn't firm, basically it was a study in what NOT to do when shipping pretty much anything.
The cardboard box was about 8" taller than the plastic case, which gave the case lots of room to move about and destroy the packaging from the inside. As well as damaging the case itself...

Here's where the story gets weirder:
I opened the plastic case, expecting to find a nightmare of destroyed machinery and broken attachments.

Holy crap!
Inside was a completely different story. everything was carefully padded with styrofoam and wrapped in bubble wrap. It's like it was packed by two separate people, and only one of them was an idiot.

There were some things missing from the package.
The only one that I can't live without is the manual.

Soooo, I contact her again through ebay and ask where the manual is.
and she tells me that she must have forgotten to put it in the box and she will try to send it out right away.

Annnddd then nothing.
So I contact her again and she says she's not at home but will be back on Wednesday and will be sending it out expedited mail on Thurs...
On Weds I contact her to see if it's gone out annnnnnnd ....nope!
apparently she won't be back til today, and she'll send it out this afternoon..

Now, this may seem like quibbling, but really this is a deal breaker to me. If I don't get the manual, I'm going to go after the whole eBay purchase protection thing.
Is it trivial? possibly.
 But I paid for something and what I received is not what I paid for.
I'll forgive the missing feet, but the manual is too much of a pain in the butt for me to be willing to spend down my time tracking down.

And I shouldn't have to.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Incoming!(and other things)

I got a Bernina 1030 on i wait for it to arrive with baited breath!

Finished the green dress and I'm moving on to a sort of stripy one.
I'm also making grocery bags from excess fabrics.I figure with 7 billion humans on the planet(which is about 3 billion more than it can actually support) every little bit helps. So I will completely remove our use of plastic grocery bags.

It's not politics, it's survival!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fall dress # 2!

And no, the pants still aren't finished....

this one is in denim, lined in a nice floral :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's fairly simple and straightforward, lined bodice and skirt. :)

Dress is finished!

I'm pretty pleased with the results and will get some picks up later!
Yay for warm winter dresses!
(I'm still less than 1/2 way through the can tell where my heart lies)

I ran into the spouse of N the other day.
It's always sort of disorienting when I encounter people I know/like out in the real world(as opposed to having them to my house)
It actually took me a few seconds to figure out who he was, because he wasn't wearing a hat!
(Every time I've met him, he's had a hat on, and my mind works like that...)

They are both truly lovely people :)

I may have found a maid!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The bodice is almost done

and I am left with a dilemna:
Do I line the skirt or not.....

it'll get a little complicated if I do, as putting both the fabric and lining through the ruffler together might be problemish.

I also finally figured out what I'm going to do with some of the fabric given to me by Nicole, new sets of underwear!
can never have too many shifts/pantaloons :)

I have a pet peeve....
that I really didn't know about until yesterday.
If you're driving on a 4 lane road, and you are going 5 -10 miles UNDER the speed limit, for the love of the gods get over into the right hand lane.
It's both rude and annoying.
Anything you do that increases the frustrations of other people, within the limits of reason obviously, is rudeness.
This is a lesson it has taken me a long long time to learn, and I'm still trying to get the hang of it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

After the busy season..

I've got 2 projects going, each on a separate Bernina 1130.
One of them is the cargo pants, the other is a fall/winter dress in a green fabric.
I'm lining it in that other green.

Yeah, I know, I haven't really finished reviewing the 1130.
Let me put it this way:
I bought 2 more of them.
I'm keeping at least one of them.
Everything I hate about computerized machines is absent from this machine.

Now you may ask "Is this machine BETTER than the earlier models?"
Well, no.
Not really. But it IS as good.
It's got a bunch of stitches/features that are interesting if superfluous.

the biggest difference, for me, is the bobbin winder is on a separate motor, so you can wind a bobbin at any point, even while sewing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Slower than normal

I'm still limping about here, which is a pain in the butt(and knee).
Which eats into the time I would normally post things, or sit and think about things even.

So my pithy observances may be somewhat lacking for the next little while.

we'll see.

I've got a bunch of irons in the fire right now. 
I'm working on the maintenance guide, servicing a few machines, and running the 1130 through the process of making a pair of silk cargo pants.

Oh, right. I wanted to mention that this machine is handling silk extremely well.
Kinda frighteningly well actually, for a machine with no adjustable foot pressure.

Right now I am finishing up a Record 830 I'll be putting up on Craigslist.
I really like selling machines locally rather than etsy or ebay.
Shipping machines is fraught with both peril and expense.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1130 continued.

So, I had certain expectations about this machine before I started using it.
Or, prejudices, if you prefer.

I expected it to sound like a dot matrix printer.
My Janome does. You can hear the little servo motors whining as it stitches.
This machine.... doesn't.

It's got that Bernina 'chuffa chuffa' sound...I can't really describe it any better than that, if you're familiar with Berninas you know the sound I mean.

at first she was a little intimidating.

I mean, really...
For someone who uses 99.9% vintage machines.. that's a heck of a lot of buttons.
But, the good thing is, the Bernina manuals are excellent. Each button is clearly and concisely explained
and once you've read about them it seems silly that you were ever in any doubt as to what they do!

Friday, October 21, 2011

I've started

working on the manual for my class.
Here's the first page:
I'm doing a bunch of illustrations, the first 4 pages are done now.
The 1130 review will re-commence later this afternoon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Bernina 1130

My first reaction to the 1130 was twofold:
1. All of the earlier machines came in these amazing protective cases, ranging from suitcases for the 530/730, to the famous red box for the 830, then the over the top Giant Lego block construction used to house the 930(which is probably the most amazing case I've seen ever.)  But not the 1130.
The 1130 has a sort of hard plastic shell that drops over the machine. It does not completely enclose the machine, nor does it latch on in any way. The handle built into the machine itself pokes up though a slot in the top, for carrying.
It's not a BAD design, and the built in carrying compartment is fairly clever, but it just is not as protective/robust as one might hope.

When you hear 'computerized machine' you probably thought of all the weight that would save....

This thing is heavy, and when I say heavy I mean... not at all light.
There is a bit of plastic here, the back plate is plastic, but the body of the machine is metal, and most of the internals are metal as well.
Remember those old Radio Shack calculators that were the size and consistency of bricks?
This is the sewing machine version of that.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Limp Limp Limp

So, while my knee is acting up, I am going to be good and not walk around all day or carry machines up and down stairs or anything like that..
I mended a pair of long johns and I'm going to work on the cargo pants, using the 1130.

Unless I get too bored, in which case all bets are off.

I've decided to actually write my own little booklet thingy for my class.
I may even put them up for sale on my etsy shop, eventually. Assuming that I think it's worth selling.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It seems..

My knee is determined to not like me just yet...
Oh well, I guess I'll take a week and stay home and work on machines/clothing.

I did find something pretty cool yesterday.

a watercolor eyeshadow set from 1969.. how cool is that?
I put it on my etsy shop, because even if it doesn't sell, I don't care.
It just looks so cool!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Not my normal

I picked up a Bernin 1130.
Yes, it is computer controlled, and it has a bit of plastic to it...
We'll see if it measures up to my standards soon enough!

I'm doing a Wonder Woman pin-up drawing for a friend..
this is a rough beginning..

If you live in Texas..

and you are thinking of moving:
I can offer you a bit of advice.
Don't hire  First Priority Movers.

Two of my very dear friends moved from Austin to Bloomington IN...
They hired these dirtbags to move their things, got an estimate based on sq footage, and away they went!
After a week of no contact, the movers contacted them saying they had more stuff in the truck than they had thought(as if it had magically grown) and they would have to pay an additional bit of money to have their stuff delivered, above the contract price.
(i.e. extortion,  btw.. this is not even slightly legal, a moving company CANNOT change the rate if they are charging by sqft once the estimate has been agreed on, it's against the law)

This really upsets me as these people have had a really rough time lately, leading up to their move, and they are two of the kindest people I know.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Today, I got a phone.

A Princess phone!

I found a few other things to toss onto the etsy site as well, and experienced some downright horrific machines.
50$ for a early 80s Singer? Ummmmm, no thanks! You can keep that one Goodwill.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ethics and principles...

You hear a lot of talk these days about ethics..
ethical conduct, values, etc..

So why do I have so many people come to me after they've been treated badly elsewhere?

I'm no saint, but I am someone who believes that treating people fairly is 100% the way to go.

Look, besides allowing you to feel good about yourself, it's just sound business practice.
My customers/clients know I'm not going to lie to them. If that means telling them they bought a terrible machine, or chiding them when they are considering trading out a vintage machine for a new piece of terrible be it.
I'm not going to make up things that need to be fixed on there machine 'the gyrodongle needs to be refibrualicated!' or tell them they need new parts 'Yeah, I'd replace that whole needle bar! It'll save you a bunch of stress in the future!' unless it's true.

And I think most people that come to me understand that.

So why do these places treat the women who shop at them with disdain?
From blatant disregard to bald faced lies?

I'm really not sure. I think part of it is that they are so sure that their customers WON'T go elsewhere that they feel safe behaving in a truly egregious manner.
Maybe that'll change when they see their business falling off...
maybe not.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Today's find

is a cute little Kenmore..
I'm not usually a huge Kenmore fan, but this thing was too cute to pass up:

it's in amazing shape and all the accessories are there, including a straight stitch needle plate!