Monday, April 21, 2014

Serger Camp 2014

Last week I attended Serger Camp.  Three days of serger class put together by Ellicott City Sew-Vac.
I purchased the Enlighten, a great serger, last year during the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Baltimore.  During the class, I had an opportunity to work with the Evolution.  The Evolution is an over-lock and a cover-stitch machine.  It does the job of two machines.
That means that I had to box up this pretty little thing to make room for my new machine.
This is the Evolution.  It does everything. It has over-lock stitches, cover-stitches and is just plain awesome. 
I reviewed the packing list to make sure I had everything.  After some simple assembly, I was ready to get her situated in the perfect spot.
The package deal included the rolling tote and the 22-foot attachment kit.  Considering how much some of these feet cost, this is definitely the way to pick up these feet if you think you will use them.

What have I done with this amazing toy?  I pieced a fleece blanket out of some 8" squares I had in a bin and did a cover-stitch on my t-shirt scarf.  I think I'm ready to make some more great things with this machine.  I wonder where I put that knit fabric....

Sunday, April 20, 2014

She's Back Scarf

My husband supported the Veronica Mars movie through Kickstarter and part of that meant he got a t-shirt.  He didn't want it, so he handed it over to me.

This will be a quick overview of how I made this t-shirt into a scarf.

I thought the fabric was very thin and just not a very good quality t-shirt.  I looked at the design and figured it would make a simple scarf. 
First I trimmed off the top of the shirt as close to the sleeve seams as possible.  I smoothed the shirt as best I could with the bottom hem lined up.  I lost a little of the screen print, but I don't mind.
I did a quick press on the cut edge and stitched it with a wide cover-stitch to match the existing hem.

Wear it as a single loop.
Wear it doubled up for a tighter scarf.

One cut and a pass through the serger and I've got a simple scarf with some interesting graphic details.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Singer 457 'Stylist' Sewing Machine

I regularly monitor Craig's List for vintage machines that are reasonably priced and that will fit within my life.  This is a Singer 457 Stylist sewing machine that I picked up Friday morning.  The lady I purchased it from said she bought it in 1977. 
I did a little test before purchase.  Something that I will have to sit down and blog about.  There are so many great machines out there for less than $50, but if you don't know much about sewing machines it can be intimidating.
Step one when I got home was to start taking her apart to see the inside and get some oil on metal parts that haven't seen oil in years, probably decades.  Underneath the top cover, you can see where the grease is still on the gears, but I don't know the last time it was applied.  While inside the machine, I checked all the wiring to make sure it was still flexible and not damaged.

I don't have any replacement grease, so I left it as is until I get grease.  I did put some drops of machine oil in there as a start, though.  The test stitching was very rough, but likely just because she is very dry overall.

The bobbin area is beautiful.  Only a little surface rust on the forward bar.

Next, I pulled off the bottom cover to see all the workings from below.  Not too bad here, either.  (I will have to take a class on setting timing at some point.  I can't just keep avoiding it.)  The number of dust bunnies tells me it wasn't used very much. 
Then I pulled off the face-plate to look at the presser bar and the needle bar.  I love how the basic mechanical workings of a sewing machine hasn't really changed in over 100 years.  The presser bar can be adjusted and I've read that you can actually free motion quilt with this machine.  I'll have to give that a try at some point. 

The last thing I removed was the front plate.  I really only did this to make it a little easier to clean the plate and the front of the machine. 
I did a couple test stitches to check the balance on the stitching.  I did have to adjust the bobbin tension as it was too tight to let the thread leave the bobbin.  I used different color threads so I could see how balanced the tension was.  This is pretty good.

Finally, I turned the cabinet over and tightened up all the screws.  A couple of the legs were a little wobbly, but all it needed was about a 1/4 turn on some of the screws and everything was good as new.
The down side is that I didn't check my floor before I spun the table and scratched the top with a rock either I or the pups had tracked in.  I'm pretty sure that long scratch was all my doing.  Oh, well, I'm not looking for a museum piece, I want another machine that sews and I've already proven that it will do that.  All that is left it to put a coat of wax on the cabinet and get her back into the cabinet.

For reference, I visited the following sites.
Singer Sewing Info UK had great pictures and information.

Sew USA had the threading diagram, which was a great help for setting up for bobbin winding.
I got paid to clean up this machine, too.  One penny, from 1976.  The discolored areas are from some grease I wiped off after I managed to shake it loose from the machine.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring Swap

I participated in the Springtime Mug Rug swap hosted by Michele at the Quilter's Gallery.  These are the two mug rugs I made for myself. 

Here are some pictures of the front and back of both mug rugs.
In hindsight, I can see that the label works so much better with a dark color thread on these batiks.  I still love the batiks for this project.  Bright colors are just so much fun!  I fussy-cut some of pieces to make the fabrics work for me.  I love these flowers.
Both patterns were designed by The Patchsmith.  You can find her patterns on Craftsy in her store.  They are reasonably priced, so click through and check them out.  The butterfly trail was free-motion stitched before I layered the top with the batting and backing.

The appliques were stitched down by machine with Masterpiece from Superior Threads before I layered the top over the batting and backing.  

While Masterpiece is not intended for quilting, I did quilt with it in this case.  Since I did all the quilting free-motion on my sewing machine, I could stitch slowly and get good-looking stitches without thread breaking.  I don't think I could get this good a stitch with the long arm with this thread.  I would have used So Fine! #50 for long arm quilting with this level of detail.

The binding was attached by machine on the top and hand-stitched to the back.  I don't usually use a narrow binding, but these mug rugs finish at 5.5" by 9" and I thought a binding cut at 2.5" would be entirely too wide.  This binding was cut at 2" and finished just a hair over 1/4" on the front and right at 3/8" on the back. I could have cut the binding at 1.75" and gotten a great result on the front and back.