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Tuesday, May 31, 2011


So, there i was, sewing along happily, when all of a sudden the new 130 started acting up.
There's a hesitation or stickiness in the rotation of the fly wheel.
So far I have not determined what's causing it, and I'd rather sew than play detective right now.
I may just switch to the 319W if the answer doesn't present itself soon

The next step

after cutting the pieces of the bodice is to begin sewing them together.
The problem for me is, once I start sewing I hate stopping and getting distracted!
But I will endeavor to document it all.

The machine so far...
Well, it's smooth. The gearing and all is very very smooth. And it's fairly simple to operate, but I get the feeling that I'm using a hand grenade to kill a mosquito, if you know what I mean.
It feels like it wants to sew thick stuff, and I'm just wasting it's time with a simple cotton dress.
Remember the letter opener I posted?
Well I tracked down the makers mark...
It dates it between 1891 -1912.

Monday, May 30, 2011

We begin

by cutting the pieces for the dress.

here's the front, cut on a fold.

and then the lining for the neckline.

I keep my chalk in a 1953 Queen Elizabeth the Second coronation souvenir tin..
doesn't everybody?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Trying to find out

pretty much anything about this!
It's Hermes Paris, from sometime before 1975...
It's silver or silver plate.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The process

The way I design dresses occurs mostly in my head.
There's really only one part where fit is of vital importance, and that's the bodice.
So I developed a pattern for that, made out of a twill.
Once you've got this, you've got it made!
Basically any item can be made by varying this.
Well.. ok, not pants or shorts.
But I don't wear those anyway :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Before I begin

I have a really granular approach to the next series of posts planned.
But, before I get to that, I need to rant.

I'd like to call this bit

The State of Thrift:

When you get right down to it, thrift stores have 2 missions:
1. Providing job opportunities/training/experience for those who face barriers to employment.
2. Provide lower income folks with a place where they can get used items at a good price.

Now, there are folks like myself who hunt these shops for bits and bobs of interest/value and resell them.
The thing about this is ANYONE can do it. It doesn't require a lot of anything other than knowledge of what you're looking at.

The problem is that a lot of the thrift stores have reacted to the fact that folks are making money off of their goods in a few ways:
1. They open 'boutique' stores/sections of their stores where they charge higher prices for the things that are more valuable.
2. They raise prices across the board.
3. They start putting the 'good stuff' into online auctions.

The problem is that this contradicts the whole reason for their being in existence in the first place.
Let me put it simply, if they are in business to make a profit, they are not a non-profit organization.
I don't donate my stuff to Fred Meyer, why would I donate it to someone who is basically trying to become my competitor?

And the people who really get screwed?
The poor.

Let's be honest. If I see an item for sale at 200$ that I know is worth 600$ or more, I can afford to spend the money. But someone on a fixed income, or with a tighter budget, can't.
So two things happen.
1. The store makes more money on an individual sale.
2. The competition for higher end items drops off as it becomes harder and harder for those of lesser means to compete.
Then both groups will begin to resent the shops.

Thrift stores are seeing a decline in donations.
Well, no shit. Like I said, when you see that they have betrayed the people they were created to serve, it's hardly surprising that people aren't beating down their doors.

The decision!

On the advice of a friend, I am going to use the 130.
The other 2 machines I already know really well, the 130 is the one that will be more of an exploration for me as well.


The three machines I will be deciding between:
the Pfaff 130 I just picked up for a song.
Unlike the other one, this machine is in great shape and is ready to sew.

decisions, decisions


I need to decide which machine to use for the next project.

I'm thinking the 500A because it's mechanically identical to the 401, and I can write a sort of intro to that machine while working on the next dress.

This is going to be the next summer dress, gothic-esque.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

One of my favorite things:

In keeping with my earlier post, I have been gifted with some amazing things.

And one of my favorite things I've ever gotten:
A bag made for me by Nicole over there -->

It's simple, and pleasing. Form and function.

I don't realize how lucky I am often enough.

I think I may be

the world's worst saleswoman.
It's sort of a drawback for someone who tries to sell stuff ..

The problem is I'd rather help people find the thing that's right for them than make a sale.

And I don't sell things to people that don't 'fit' them. Even if they are interested.

Oh well, I may never get rich, but at least I've met a lot of really great people!
Making friends with other people who are interested in vintage machines always puts a smile on my face.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

An example

Now don't get me wrong, I don't wear the corset EVERY day...
but this will give an idea of the underwear sets I make.

Well, shoot!

I was thinking of writing a 401 tutorial, and then I realized I just returned the only 401 on hand to it's rightful owner!
So... maybe I'll do a 500 instead. They are actually the same machine with different casings.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New summer dress in progress

Now, if you take my style, and shorten it to a proper length, you end up with this:
some details!

All recycled fabrics, even got the lace at a thriftstore!


And in the final chapter of me vs. the PR peoples...
I'm done.
I just got an email from the site owner containing:
"On another note, I also do not tolerate disrespect to our moderators. I can assure you that none of the moderators make any decisions based on any personal likes and dislikes"
I do not tolerate disrespect or rudeness either. I don't care if you're the mod of a forum or the manager of a multinational fund, if you are rude to me I WILL call you on it.

So, for those of you who read this stuff I post, and remain over there, feel free to point anyone you think could use my help in this direction.
I will no longer provide free content/help on that site.
Just can't do it.

I really like the community, but I'm not going to take that kind of shit from anyone.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Annnd again!

So that same mod, CarolynGM, has apparently decided that another of my posts, a thread called "Words of caution" is also just too close to advertising....
Except she refered to it as "Words of Wisdom"
I mean really?
You're not even going to bother to try?
I feel sorry for anyone that lives with her.

"I don't know what that thing is over there, and I'm not going to find out, but I'm sure I don't like it!"

Monday, May 16, 2011

The strangest thing I've found in a while...

Local thriftstore find, I'm definitely going to be putting this up on etsy for sale, but for now I find it morbidly fascinating.

See that stamp? Yep, it's what you think it is....

Ok, so a little bit of history/explanation:

This is a complete 32 card Skat deck set, with a mechanical pencil and scorecard marked Herr/Herr/Herr/Herr.
The card holder is marked with the stamp of WKC.
Weyersberg, Kirschboum & Co, of Solingen, Germany, were and still are a manufacturer of high quality ornamental swords, daggers, and knives.
During the late 30's early 40's, they produced some of the most collectible blades for , you guessed it, the Nazis...
My guess is that this was a sort of promo gift for the ordering officers. The cards themselves were manufactured by ASS, one of the oldest companies to produce playing cards in the word.
Of an interesting note, the deck is 'french suited' rather than german suited.
I would have thought they would have been twitchy about that sort of thing..

The 401, she is done.
Apart from a bit of cleaning, and a final check through, this machine is now ready to serve!
How do I know?
Two reasons:
1. I serviced it.
2. I used it to make a dress, as I worked on it, to make sure it was up to my standards.

Friday, May 13, 2011

trials and tribulations

I'm over reacting and I know it..

Here's the scoop:
I post a lot of stuff on a particular sewing forum, because I've grown to like the community there.
But one of the mods recently deleted one of my posts because she claimed I was advertising...

I wasn't, and it was pretty obvious.

With the amount of content I give to that site, and the amount of help I offer people, it really felt like a slap to the face.
So, I am unsure if I want to continue posting there at all or not.

So, I bought a smartphone...

And I am terrible at it!

I'm working on two machines for clients right now, a 201-2 in a portable case, and a 401A.

Apparently, the owner of the 401 took it to Montavilla first, and was told the machine would take at least 200$ worth of work, that the motor brushes were probably bad, and that she should buy a new 2000$ machine that would perform 1/2 as well.

I wonder if they've changed owners?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Today I picked up a 1933 Featherweight 221...
That's right, this was one of the first set of 221s ever produced :)
the case handle is gone, not too surprising, but the machine itself is ..well you can see!

the 221 of doom..

A while ago I bought a 221, which was broken, with the idea of fixing it.

The best thing about this purchase was meeting the seller, who seems to be probably the nicest man ever.
You know how you meet someone and they just exude 'kind'? That's how I would describe Marvin!

I knew what I was getting, and I paid low enough that I wouldn't feel TOO bad if I had to scrap her for parts.

But, I really hate doing that.
The bobbin winder thingy is snapped off, and I'm having a hard time figuring out fixes..

Sunday, May 1, 2011


everyone likes pictures, I made a before/after image of the last 201

Another 201-2..

to rewire has graced my home..
that's 3 in a row!

This one came in an interesting case, one of the 2 tone boxes like Scottish 99Ks come in.
but the machine itself is from the mid 1930s, so I am guessing they switched it out.