Monday, November 30, 2015

Singer One Sewing Machine

    I couldn't resist picking up the Singer One machine that I was crowing about in my post of November 22, 2015.    I ordered it the same day I found it on line.  I wished I had taken the time to shop around before I paid $249.00 with free shipping at Joann Fabrics.  I could have saved more money if I had purchased it from Amazon the same day for $179.00 with free Prime shipping.  On the plus side shipping from Joann Fabrics was pretty quick, they shipped it be Fed Ex and I had it by Friday, the 27th.  By the way, the price today is $209.00 at Joann Fabrics and Amazon.

      There are two models of the Singer One, I bought the cheaper model that only has 24 stitches because I have three other machines with lots of decorative stitches, so I felt like I didn't need to spend more for stitches I already had.  

     This will make a great back up machine for me and I think it will do well with projects that have thicker layers.  My Janome Horizon 7700 does not do well with thick layers of fabric, it stalls and stammers unless I have the walking foot or the dual feed foot on and I don't always have those feet on the machine when I need them.  I now have two computerized Singer sewing machines and I will be depending on them to do a lot of my craft sewing with thicker layers.

   This machine is bigger than I thought it was from the pictures, it's heavy, but not too heavy to lift, and it has a nice big work surface.  There is a built in handle that folds down.  The table that slides on to the free arm on the left slides off with the touch of a button so you can sew with the free arm.  There is also an accessory box that slides out from that table so you don't have to remove the entire table to get to the accessory box where you store your bobbins and presser feet.  It has a reverse sewing button on the front of the machine and it makes 24 stitches (6 essential, 4 stretch, 12 decorative, and 2 fully automatic 1-step buttonholes).  

    The machine comes with a comprehensive manual, a instructional DVD, 4 empty bobbins, an all purpose presser foot, a blind hem foot, a satin stitch foot, a zipper foot, a buttonhole foot, a little brush for cleaning the bobbin and hook area, an extra spool pin, a small key size screwdriver for removing the needle plate, and a variety pack of machine needles.  I ordered some additional bobbins for this machine, because I like to have more than 4.  There are lots of options for stitch length and width and it's easy to adjust with the plus and minus buttons near the LED display.   It does twin needle sewing and you can adjust the needle position when sewing straight stitch to 13 different positions using the stitch width control.

    The feed dogs on this machine do not drop for free motion quilting or darning.  This machine does not have an up/down needle button.

   I wound a bobbin this morning and gave it a test run.  It was a cinch to thread and the tension was perfect right out of the box.  While I was sewing up the sample below I couldn't hear the television, so it does run loud, but it sews great and you can sew pretty fast with it.  Here's a sample of the stitching front and back.  It was easy to switch stitches just by pressing a button.



      I think this would make a great beginner sewing machine.  The manual is easy to read, it explains all the parts of the machine, how to wind a bobbin, how to thread the machine, and it has a needle/thread/fabric chart.  The manual also covers how to make buttonholes, how to use the machine to sew on a button, how to insert a zipper, how to use the blind hem stitch, when to use stretch stitches, how to care for the machine, troubleshooting tips, and even what size bobbins to buy.  This manual is well written and should help keep a beginner from becoming frustrated with this machine.

  I'm really happy I bought this machine.  I think I am going to do a lot of fun sewing with it.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

My Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Is Here

Meet Katie, my 1951 Singer Model 221.

She arrived yesterday and I didn't have time to unpack her until today.  I wanted to unpack her carefully.  The seller had double boxed the machine at my request and there were plenty of packing peanuts.  She is in really nice condition.  I had the chance to thread her tonight and hit the gas.  She sews a pretty stitch, the top and bottom are perfectly balanced.



Katie will be set up and stay on my sewing table.  I hope we have many happy hours stitching together.  

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

    Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving day.

    I do have one more project to share that I made last night because I couldn't wait to try the elastic cord I bought to make button bracelets.  I made these two bracelets while watching television last night.

    I love the little pretty painted wooden buttons and I have a ton of them, but they don't make the best bracelets because it's hard to keep the painted face showing when you are putting it on and wearing it, and the other side is just plain wood.  I did manage to get all the buttons face up for this picture.  I'm hoping I'll have better luck using the painted wooden buttons as dangle earrings.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I Keep A Sewing Machine Inventory

      Since I have more than one sewing machine and they change periodically, I decided to keep a sewing machine inventory for my daughter's use when I pass away.

    I know she will probably want to sell some of my sewing machines when I die and I don't want her to be one of those people that says, "I have this sewing machine for sale, but I don't know if it works or what it does."  She can just look at my inventory to see when the machine was bought, how much I paid for it, the serial number of the machine, a description of the kind of sewing you can do with the machine, all the presser feet that go with that machine, and whether there is an owner's manual.  Knowing how much I originally paid for it will definitely help her set a price.

   I've let her sew on three of the machines, so she knows how to use them and will know that they work, if and when she tries to sell them.

   I keep this list up to date with each machine purchased or discarded.

The Next Quilt Project

   I found this faux redwork panel on etsy a few weeks ago.  Each block is about 7.25" square.


   plus this,

plus 30 - 5" white charm squares, equal this,

   I love, love, love the red mini polka dot fabric.  I pre-washed all the fabric so I shouldn't have a lot of problem with the dye bleeding.  This quilt top should be a lot of fun to make.  


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My V.I.P. Bear, Henderson

   Meet my new friend, Henderson.  He is a pre-printed panel bear that I found on etsy or ebay a couple of years ago.  The title on the instructions call him "The V.I.P. Bear."  The panel has all the pre-printed pieces, you cut them out and follow the directions.  I love to make teddy bears. I have a pattern for a 16" bear that I make with mohair fake fur fat quarters, but I couldn't resist this fella when I saw him for sale.

    I fashioned his vest from a sewing tutorial I found on youtube.  All I needed was the shape and I had a vest.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Researching Button Crafts and Jewelry

     While I was making my hanging dishtowels last week I had the chance to explore my button stash and I realized that I need to start using those buttons I bought last year.  I've been researching button bracelets, earrings, and brooches.  I found a few different ways to make each item, some are more complex than others.  I like to use the easier methods for making each one.  I found the following websites with items that I like, some are video tutorials or picture tutorials.  

  Button bracelets:

    Youtube video tutorial making a stretch button bracelet

    Chain Button Bracelet tutorial

    Button bracelet on cord

  Button and fabric brooches:

   Fabric flower brooch

   Video tutorial fabric brooch

   Fabric brooch (no tutorial).  These are pretty cool and I think I could cut out 6 or 7 layers of petals to get a similar look.

 Button earrings:

    Youtube video to make button earrings

   Making jewelry with buttons is fun, but I love the combination of fabric and buttons since I have a nice supply of both.

   To make my button and fabric jewelry I had to get some other materials.  I ordered some elastic cord for bracelets, leverbacks for earrings, and some pin backs for brooches.  I've got my buttons out and I'm sorting them into groups for each item I want to make while I wait for the other materials to finish them.  

Sunday, November 22, 2015

I Love This Fun Sewing Machine - Window Shopping

      While I was shopping for my vintage Singer Model 221, I saw this cute little machine.  So sweet.  I've heard a lot of people say that they wouldn't buy a new Singer sewing machine because they are worthless, but this machine has a really sweet shape (kind of like the Model 221) and I could totally see myself using this for a lot of craft sewing.

    This is a Singer One, it has 24 stitches including buttonholes and 4 stretch stitches.  It comes with an all purpose presser foot, blind hem foot, satin stitch foot, zipper foot and buttonhole foot.  The base on the left side slides off for free arm sewing and there is also an accessory storage box there. It's so adorable and it's on sale all over the internet.

    The best deals I saw were on Amazon and Walmart.  Amazon had it for $179.00 with free Prime shipping  and Walmart had it for $179.00 at Walmart with free shipping or free site to store pickup.  Overstock advertises it at $179.00 as well but they are out of stock.

    There is also a Singer One Plus that is a little more expensive because it has loads of features like the needle up and down and 231 stitches.  The Singer One Plus is also on sale all over the internet.

My Christmas Present From Me To Me

   I finally found a Singer Model 221, commonly called a Featherweight, on ebay with a price I could afford.  I have been shopping on line for a Featherweight for a while now.  I've had a hard time finding a decent machine for a good price.  I've spent a lot of time reading seller's descriptions of Featherweights for sale.  I found a lot of sellers that have this type of machine for sale, they know that this machine is sought after, they price them high, but they can't even tell you whether the machine works because they don't know anything about them.  I wanted to buy one that was being thinned from the herd of a collector or to get one where the seller took the time to have the machine serviced, could tell me it worked and wasn't overpriced.  

   I had to go on line to find my machine because there is no market for vintage sewing machines in my area.  I've been checking my local Craigslist and I even checked with a sewing machine repair guy in town to see if he had any vintage machines but he only had one, it was a Singer 404 without any extras.  I didn't want it.

   So this is the machine I bought from the ebay seller.  It was made in 1949 and has the striated face plate.  I love how shiny the presser feet are because lots of times they are kind of rusty and need cleaning, there is also an owner's manual, a buttonholer, and a cool screwdriver.  The seller said they recently had it serviced and oiled, and that it runs well.  I requested that the seller double box the machine for shipping which they agreed to.

    I ordered some extra bobbins and a 1/4" patchwork foot for the machine.  I will use it for piecing quilts and simple projects.  This machine will be kept set up on my sewing table.  Estimated delivery of the machine is December 2.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Four More Fabric Trees

   I finished making the last four fabric trees I wanted.  The gray flannel trees are winter and Christmas decorations.  I made one for me and one for dear daughter.  I made the pink and blue trees as room decorations just for me.  These were fun to make.  The link to the video tutorial by Debbie Shore is here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

You Can Never Have Too Much Blue Fabric

   I just organized my fabric stash.  It was a real mess after the last few projects I did from stash.  I do this about twice a year to organize my fabric by color and weed out little scraps I know I will never use.  I couldn't make myself take a "before" photo of the mess.  It was a complete disaster.

   I have a boatload of blue and blue print fabric.  See the pile in this photo.  It's more than double the amount of any other color I have in my stash.

   Not much red, one piece of Christmas fabric, but look at that stack of pink and green.

I think I have just the right amount of purple and white.

Here it is organized and put away in its container.

Hanging Dishtowels, The Finish

      Yeah, I know, you are probably completely bored with the hanging dishtowel project, but I had to show the last of the towels sewn up.  The shorter towels are the remains of the one towel I cut in half.
      One more sewing note, my template for the fabric top that was drawn from tracing around my iron is the perfect size to get the two fabric pieces cut from a 10" square (think layer cake).  

     These were so much fun to make and really cheap.  I wish I had some more dishtowels.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Super Cool Hanging Dishtowels

   I was going to make these tomorrow, but I couldn't wait and started them tonight after dinner.  The tutorial is perfect in its instruction and I had no trouble getting these handy hanging dishtowels made for my dear daughter.  The only item I bought to make these towels were the bar mop towels.  I paid $5.48 for 6 towels at Walmart.  I had the top fabric, interfacing, thread, and buttons in my stash.

   One note I will make about this tutorial is that bar mop dishtowels should not be cut in half because they are shorter than a regular dishtowel.  Cutting the bar mop dishtowels in half make sections that are too short to make a good drying towel (ask me how I know, hehehehe).  Cutting 2" off each towel works much better and gives you just enough length for a nice hanging dishtowel.  So instead of using one towel to make two hanging dishtowels, you would use one bar mop towel for each hanging dishtowel.

   I love having hanging dishtowels in my kitchen and I'm really happy that I tried this tutorial.  I use my hanging dishtowels to dry my hands when they are wet and I like using bar mop towels for this kind of project because they are pretty cheap.

    I did take the pieces of the one towel I cut in half and made two little hanging dishtowels for me, but the terry sections on those two hanging dishtowels are really small, but I couldn't waste those two pieces of towel.

   Just in case you missed the previous post talking about these hanging dishtowels, I used the tutorial at Our Secondhand House blog, link here.

   I no longer hate making buttonholes.  Buttonholes always seemed so complicated and I would try to avoid them, but after making 10 buttonholes on my shower curtain the other day with my new Janome Horizon 7700, I feel like I could make buttonholes all day long.  I won't be avoiding buttonholes anymore.

       I have three more dishtowels left and I'll be using those to make three more hanging dishtowels.

An Ohio Star Block Decoration And More

     I made this Ohio Star Block to hang somewhere.  This block was a lot of fun to make and I enjoyed stash diving to find the fabrics for it.  I used the instructions in a video by Amanda of 3and3quarters blog.  The link to her video is right here.

    This is a nice big block.  It finishes at 14" x 14".  Later I'll be making a door decoration using three of these blocks and some stash fabrics.  I would love to make a quilt using this block, but I have several quilt projects on my list already, so that will have to wait.

   I have a pile of fabrics on my cutting table waiting to be cut for fabric trees, two will be made with cute Arctic Antics fabric I made my rag quilt from.  See a picture at this post here.   Another tree will be pink for my bedroom made with fat quarters from the Far, Far Away fabric line (see picture below), and one will be made with some miscellaneous blue fat quarters I found (picture below) to make a sewing table decoration.

    Today I picked up some bar mop kitchen towels to make some new hanging dishtowels for DD's kitchen.  I will be using some of my precious Time With Friends by Lynette Anderson fabric (see below) to make the fabric section to create the button holes.  DD asked for gray, maroon, and white fabrics and this is the perfect combination plus she loves dogs and cats.


     There are tons of tutorials on line and the last time I made some I used a tutorial that had me make bias binding for ties.  I want to make one with a buttonhole this time, because I just learned how to make buttonholes on my Janome machine and I'd like to get some more experience used that cool foot, plus you don't need all that extra fabric for buttonholes.  Let's face it when I make bias binding, I waste some fabric and I'm not going to waste any of the only yard of this lovely Time With Friends fabric.  Here is the hanging dishtowel tutorial that I will be using for this project.



Friday, November 13, 2015

I Finally Finished My Scrappy Big Star Shower Curtain

   I had a hard time getting a good picture because the bathroom is so small with no window and I have to keep the door shut to keep the kitties away from the toilet paper.  But here is a picture of my shower curtain that I made from my stash.  I made the first border strips 6" long and how ever wide I wanted and the second border strips were 7" long and how ever wide I wanted.  The entire shower curtain is about 77" square.  It turned out better than I thought it would.  I'd like to make another to cover the shower doors in my master bath, but with different fabrics.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Emery Sand Reclamation

   I reclaimed the emery sand from a pin cushion I made a couple of years ago.  The cotton cover on that pin cushion was looking very old with all the pin holes in it.  So I took it apart and saved all the emery that was in it and made a new cover.  The last time I bought emery sand I bought it at this etsy shop, My Sweet Accent, link here.  I see she also sells pin cushions, but I prefer to make my own.  I have also purchased emery sand from Nakpunar on Amazon, as well.

   I've never used the walnut shells or any of the other nut shells that are sold for pin cushion stuffing because I have not heard good things about them.  One person told me that her pins were sticky with some type of residue from the pin cushion she made with the nut shells.  You also have to be careful because lots of people have allergies to nuts.

    When I make emery sand pin cushions, the emery is placed in its own little pouch so it's contained and easy to reuse.  I took the emery from my old pin cushion and added some that I had leftover in my stash.  It was originally shipped in a zip loc bag, so I just poured the emery from the old pin cushion in with the leftover to hold it until I was ready for it.  I was able to make a new pin cushion with most of that emery.  I wanted to make two pin cushions, but I didn't have enough, so one will have to do.  I made my pin cushion in a simple rectangle shape.

      First I made a cotton pouch to put the emery in.  The pouch was made from a piece of cotton.  I cut a two pieces of cotton 4" x 6" for the pouch.  I sewed up three side of the pouch using a 1.8 stitch length to make it secure using a 1/4" seam allowance.  After I made the pouch, I filled it with emery, very carefully.  I use a funnel and a spoon with the pouch propped up in a small mixing bowl to catch any loose emery, then I hand sewed the pouch closed using very small stitches.

     I made the cover with some wool felt I had in my stash and I cut it just about a quarter of an inch bigger than the original cotton pouch so the emery pouch would fit .  I sewed up three sides of the cover on the machines with the 1.8 stitch length, using a scant 1/4" seam allowance, (when sewing felt you can use a very tiny seam allowance because the material doesn't fray) turned it right side out, slipped the pouch inside and hand sewed the open end.

   It's done.  A new pin cushion with sharpening emery sand for my straight pins.

Red Wool Pin Cushions

     I do not have any red sewing accessories on the table that I keep my active sewing machine on.  It is time to add some red color to my sewing area.  I made a couple of felted wool pin cushions for myself with some wool yarn I purchased just for this project.  I love making these little wool pin cushions.  They are so much fun to make, so simple and so useful.

     This is a short written tutorial on how I made them.  I use 100% wool yarn.  I bought two skeins of's Wool of the Andes worsted yarn a couple of weeks ago.  One skein in red and another in cranberry.  This yarn is lovely to knit with.  I've made a few scarves with it, but it's really great for felting.  The bulky variety of Wool of the Andes is also fun to work with.  I was able to make two pin cushions from each of the skeins I bought.

      I wind the yarn into a flat ball.  I couldn't tell how much yarn I had used each time, so I just guessed when I thought I had used half of the skein for the first ball of each skein.  I thread the end of the yarn into a long steel needle and weave into the center of the ball several time to make a little dimple and then I weave the end in the ball of yarn to secure it.  To keep this all together while I'm felting it, I place the balls in a knee high stocking secured with a knot very close to the ball.  I can fit four or five of these small wool balls into a knee high.  You can also use a sock to the do this, but I prefer to use a knee high because I can see through the stocking and I can see if the wool is felted enough.  I wet the knee high and the wool balls thoroughly in the sink with hot water, you can also put them in with a load of wash.  Soap is supposed to help with the felting process, but I usually just rely on water and the heat from the dryer.  Then I dry them in the dryer with a couple of wet bath towels or a load of wash.  The heat and the friction help the wool to felt.  I usually run them through the dryer several times until I like the way they have felted.  In this project, the red wool felted much better than the cranberry wool.  Interesting.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Small Fabric Christmas Trees - Fun Sewing

     I love to watch Debbie Shore sewing tutorials on youtube and in one of her videos she makes these ultra cute stuffed Christmas or any holiday or season trees.   Here is a link to her video: fabric Christmas tree tutorial. 

   They are super simple to make.  I just drew a big triangle on a piece of card stock and used that as my template for my tree pieces.  I used fabrics I found in my stash and you can decorate them with thread, beads, bells, buttons or even some of those miniature ornaments you find at the craft store.  I just tied some ribbon to the top to get the pictures done.  I can also see these as a sweet decoration in rooms with color coordinating fabrics and this would so make a cool big pin cushion near the sewing machine in a pinch.

  I did take some time off from working on my quilted shower curtain to make these trees because I needed a little break, but the shower curtain is coming along.  I have the top done and I also added the backing.  I'm in the middle of doing the quilting.  Once I finish the quilting, I will add the buttonholes for hanging and it will be done.  I should have it done in a couple of days and I will share pictures then.  

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Birthday Gifts

    I finally get to share the birthday gifts I gave my daughter.  She turned 39 years old yesterday and we got to spend some time together yesterday so she could open her gifts.  I bought her a shop vacuum in July that was part of her birthday gift, but I wanted to make her a few things for her new house.  So here are the homemade birthday gifts I gave her yesterday.

    I made her a rag quilt with a sale priced flannel that I found at Hancock Fabrics.  I posted about it  here.  This project took me about 4 days to finish.  She loves the cats on the fabric and the gray matches her new couch.  I bought 9 yards of this flannel fabric.  I cut it up into 108 - 10" squares.  I layered 3 squares together and sewed an X in each 3 layer block.    I sewed 6 blocks in a row and made 6 rows sewing them together so the seam is exposed on one side.   And this crazy fabric was directional so I had to be careful to get the cats all going in the same direction.  Fun.  After I sewed the entire quilt together, I snipped all the exposed seam allowances about 1/2" apart being careful not to snip the actual seams, then I threw the quilt in the washer and dryer to get the seams to ravel and become "raggy".

    The next project I made for her was an embroidery done on the embroidery machine she bought for my birthday last year.  I spent 3 hours getting this sewing machine embroidered because it had so many thread color changes.  It was very time consuming but it turned out pretty good.  I embroidered the picture on a piece of white muslin and framed it with a wooden frame that I painted.  It was really easy to do and the whole thing cost me about $12.00 including the cost of the embroidery design.  She loved this one as well.  Something she can hang on the wall of her craft room.

   And the last homemade gift I made were some linen napkins.  When I was shopping for fabric, I couldn't decided which color I liked more so I bought 1 yard of each and made four napkins from each yard.  I cut the fabric into fat quarters, hemmed them and then embroidered them with her last name initial on them.  The white is a linen blend and it was easier to work with than the blue or the brown fabric which were 100% linen.  If I were to make more linen napkins, I would definitely use a linen blend.  She loves her new napkins for her new house.  The fabric for these napkins was about $35.00.

      I didn't make the next gift.  I wanted her to have a wind chime for her yard so I found a reasonably priced wind chime on etsy and it's super cute made with recycled kitchen items.  We took the time to hang this in the tree in her front yard yesterday.

    I also gave her a home made sour cream pound cake and then we spent the afternoon at the North Florida Fair looking at the farm animals, eating junk food and enjoying the warm November weather.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Scissor Collection

   This is my sewing scissor collection.  I only use these scissors to cut thread or fabric.  I love scissors.  I keep my 8" Gingher (the cheetah print scissors third from the left top row) and 5" Gingher scissors (first on the left second row down) at the sewing machine along with a pair of the thread clippers.  The large scissors with the pink handles are Fiskar pinking shears.  A couple of the small embroidery scissors live in my hand sewing box and the rest of the scissors are stored in my sewing tool box.

    I love Gingher designer series scissors.  Gingher decorates the handles with different designs to dress them up.  The pair of Cheeta that I have are really hard to find.  I bought them new 10 years ago.  I like to look through ebay once in a while to see what designs are out there.  Lots of the designs are floral and they each have a name like Julia, Jennifer, Emily, Leah, Sarah, Tessa, and Sophia.  Last week I found a new design, it is called Wren.  This design is being made in the 8", 5", and 4" size.  I have a pair of the 8" scissors on order.  I couldn't resist the cute design in purple.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Found: Fun Video Quilt Block Tutorials

   I have been enjoying the video tutorials on blog by Amanda.  I watched several yesterday.

   I love the foundation paper piecing tutorial on the friendship circle block, link here.  She does a great job explaining foundation paper piecing and showed me a few tips I had never seen before.

   Another video tutorial I watched was her instruction on the morning star block, which is one of the blocks in her HST sampler quilt.  The link to that blog post and video tutorial is here.

  Thanks, Amanda for the inspiration.