Saturday, October 25, 2014

*New* machine

I picked up this Elna from Freecycle a couple of weeks ago. They said it wasn't working and good for parts. I don't have an "Elna" but a rebranded Elna (Elina 40) and thought maybe it would be ok for some bits for it but it isn't the same machine or even close. When I picked it up it had no cover, no power cord and was filthy. It looked like they over oiled it (like with litres of oil) and it glugged up the insides. I didn't test if it worked but figured it as it was stiff and badly cared for, I could learn something. I pulled it all apart and cleaned it up.

I cleaned it up with a brush (above) and some metholated spirits. I found some of that invisible, nylon thread caught up around something and figured that's what lead the owners to oil it to death.

It was really glugged up all over. I pulled all the cases off and really cleaned her up. I had to get a bobbin case (it's the old side entry bobbin case) and used my very first Janome electric cord which fit. It purred and felt very 'solid'. Unfortunately, some of the stitches don't work properly so it will need a service.

The 'after'... very clean and sparkly and works if I need it. 

And I needed it. I have 6 machines and not one is working properly. One is my very first machine which I though worked but when I got it out, the stitching dial is out - I haven't used it for a long time but don't remember it not being right. I have my usual machine (about 4 years old) but I hit a pin when sewing the swim shorts for my niece and maybe it has thrown the timing out as it isn't running well... maybe it's the thread. (I use good quality thread but this particular reel is leaving a lot of fluff - I haven't had this before so maybe it's a bad one?) That's why there hasn't been any sewing but lots of cursing here. I have tried!

I went past a sewing shop last week and saw a lovely Pfaff. I am wondering if I should try and trade in my old machines (except my two Singers - both really old) and get a new machine and just have two everyday ones. Or maybe I should get the electric Singer and my daily machine both serviced and not bother with another machine.. much better for the space problem! I'll think about that next week. 

I'm exhausted after this week... we had a garage sale as part of the Garage Sale Trail and cleared out, cleaned and dusted everything under the house - even vacuuming under there as it was so dusty. Although, financially the garage sale was a little less than we would have liked, the huge plus is I have chucked the rubbish, cleared the space and I shall now donate to free cycle and some favourite charities. I'm resting up tonight and then attempt to trace a Burda pattern that I've tried to trace before but gave up as it was so hard to see the lines. Brisbane is having it's own Frocktails in November - very kindly arranged by Rosi Button and a new dress must (needs) to be made.  Hope the machines cooperate!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Purchases from the road trip and projects in progress.

Actually, these fabrics above are from The Fabric Store a couple of days ago. The coloured on is a lovely lightweight silk that will make a perfect summer top ($18 1.6m remnant), and the other is the merino backed (the lighter colour that is terry like texture) and nylon stretch stuff that was $8 per metre and what I made the warm tights out of, so as there was more there I bought some more. It's very useful, easy care, great colour and won't go to waste.

This lovely turquoise and dark gold embroidered border eyelet I got at Metro Textiles (or fabrics or something) in Sydney. I dragged my son there for a morning (under promise he would get some swapping cards he is currently interested in), with high hopes of getting some bra making notions and lots of fabric (that I don't need).  This is a polyester that feels very silk like, is lightweight and really gorgeous. I got 2 metres @ $8 per metre.

My experience here was less that enjoyable. The man 'serving' wasn't anywhere to be seen for a good 10 minutes, he was completely disinterested and less than helpful. If I asked a question he did answer but with the most perfunctory manner. I bought this fabric, some underwear elastic, some offcuts of power net to practice with and a really bad taste in my mouth. Add to this, when I got home and went to wash my fabric, it was cut on quite a severe angle with me loosing a good 30 cm on the border edge. It's not a big deal, and can happen but you are more likely to be forgiving when you have interacted well with the seller. I'm afraid I would not go back. There was a lot of fabric there - at times overwhelming and the prices were pretty good. Seeing as I had to go from the city and it was 35 minutes by bus each way, a lot of time was invested for a not unpleasant, but definitely unsatisfactory engagement. If you need fabric and are in the area, by all means go, but don't expect happy service. I hope I was there on an off day.

So travelling through country towns presented the opportunity to shop in the op shops. I got a great number of patterns and some books. I guess all up the above cost me $15 at the most. Most of the patterns were .20cents, the books were $2 ea and the Enid Gilchrist book (very poor condition) was only $1.50. The Knit Wit books I have, so I will sell these but hard to resist at only $2 and they are still sought after.

These are my Simplicity 1918 Amazing Fit pants. They look green here but they are a deep aqua and white tiny houndstooth pattern.  I'm a bit perplexed about these. I have the trial pair I made a while ago. They fit really well in a straight 14 (maybe a touch big). They did have a bit of stretch and this fabric does not but they are not even close to fitting and yet if I put them against each other they are pretty close to the same.  I did cut the lower leg narrower by putting the Vogue jeans leg pattern on and cutting that shape. I like this narrower leg better than the original which I found a bit wide. 

I'm really disappointed as I was planning an outfit that was inspired by a Burda magazine image of a bias A-line skirt in the same aqua houndstooth looking fabric (this one is from an op shop and is old, old, old) and a lime green top. I have some yellow/lime green cotton lace that I want to make a top for this outfit but I'm a bit deflated by the pants not fitting.  

Close up of the houndstooth and fly zip.

These are the swimming togs I'm making for Alex. The white strip is a mistake design feature. It is only on one side because I cut the one piece of one side short - how, I don't know, but just put a strip of white there and the white waistband.  The fabric in the corner is what I am making the Burda dress out of. I had a photo but can't find it now. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Free patterns - till Friday!

There are a few blogs I go to that have excellent blogrolls. (I have tried to adjust & add to mine but for some reason blogger won't let it happen). Today I went to one and found another I had not heard of before Spit Up and Stilettos. I love the name as I think any mother would get it!

Well they have a range of patterns that they have up for FREE till Friday (U.S. time). You can find the details here. I had not heard of this pattern label before and they have some nice patterns that are on trend and not too difficult. I just downloaded a few and will try to make some up this coming week. I really like that they have the number of pages that the print out will print and they also have some (basic) baby pattens too. The other interesting thing is that they offer their patterns either by usual single download or on a subscription basis of (U.S.)$15 per month. I don't know what the pattern production level is but if you are a very productive sewer this could be a good thing.

In sewing news, I am half way through making this Burda dress. I think I have just the straps, elastic waist and the hem to go. I'm unsure because I started this before holidays and I'm not sure where I left it. My sewing room is a mess again but I am feeling exhausted after the holiday so will leave that till the weekend. I have some other things I have half made I'll blog about and also the fabric bought in Sydney and the experience I had buying it. Happy sewing!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

No Sewing - just catching up.

No sewing for the last two weeks. We've been away. We did a 12 day driving holiday through New South Wales to get to Newcastle to visit friends. We left the car there and caught the train to Sydney for a few days. (Can you believe it cost as little as $5 for Alex and I to go to Sydney one way!) We had a great time. I had been to Sydney twice last year but Alex hadn't been since 2011. He was desperate to go to the IMAX theatre to see the Ninja Turtles movie ( I would have preferred the shark documentary) but they can only play one movie at a time so we went to the Turtles... holy smoke, it cost nearly $60 for the two of us - no snacks with that - just tickets. Really??? I mean, I was there and I had a 10 year old, and we were on holiday but that is really a rip off. I know the movies are (were) made with special cameras but is animated IMAX the same? Anyone know. What surprised me the most I think is that the cinema (which is obviously huge) was nearly full! We spoke with a family of 4 and they were as shocked as we were - but same position - there, and not wanting to disappoint the children.

Brisbane had an IMAX theatre in about 1990 and I went to a couple of movies there with work. The movies I saw showed the IMAX concept in the best light. It was really spectacular but I'm not sure Ninja Turtles action in 3D really did it for me. Anyway, I said to Alex the next time he'll be going will be when he's working, LOL!

I got an email tonight from my niece in New Zealand. Of the merino/nylon tights I made and gave her she said "Wanted to say thank you for the most comfortable, warm, amazing thermal pants ever! I refuse to take them off. They're brilliant! So thank you!! ". This was with the merino terry backed nylon grey fabric I bought. I actually made them for me but the were too long and too high waisted and they fit her perfectly. The fabric is soft with the merino touching the skin (super soft) and the nylon making it very durable. They don't pill, dry quickly are warm and so comfy and are thick and don't have that horrible look that thin fabric gives. I have some lime green too.
Actually there wasn't much wine o'clock for me but there was good coffee.

This is the view of Darling Harbour at dusk from our apartment in Sydney.

No introduction needed!

Bondi Beach - I haven't been to Bondi for a long time. 

Part of a rail train cycling/walking train in Newcastle (we took our bikes for some small rides)

Son eating mulberries at a gigantic tree along the rail trail. Such fun. I love this photo,

This is from a rock wall.

I did buy some fabric in Sydney which I washed today (got back last night) so I'll photograph it and show tomorrow.