The other night when I was sewing my grey floral dress, my 401A started making a horrible noise. :[ I know it is simply due to a lack of recent maintenance. I do make sure the lint is cleaned out regularly, but it hasn't been properly oiled in years. Oops.
The last time I had it oiled, it was done by a man who was older than dirt back then. I'm not even sure he is still alive let alone still in business. And, I was worried about being without my machine for any length of time since I've been feeling the desire to sew more often lately.
Then I thought, what the hell is this nonsense? I've built houses!!! :D
So, I went online and found a copy of the Singer 401 manual. I'm sure I have the original somewhere, but it's likely still at mom's. It told me I needed a brush, a screwdriver, Singer oil and Singer lubricant. I had the first two, so I went to Joann and bought a bottle of Singer oil from the sewing machine business that operates inside their store. They didn't have the lubricant for the gears, so I'll have to order that online. The bottle looks positively vintage, no?
The manual was beyond easy to follow. It has pictures with cute little oil droplets. :D You really can't go wrong.
The noise was still there, so I figured it was the lubricant that was really the issue. I was able to scrape a small amount from the side of the gears and place it inside the teeth. That fixed the noise...but I'll order the lubricant so I can treat all the gears properly.
I feel so proud of myself! And, I saved myself the service fee.
I've used this pattern before to make a top, but this time I made the full length dress in grey floral rayon. I think Jasper likes it. :D
Butterick 5485 has options to make a top, tunic and dress, all with the same general lines.
Yes, I know I teased you with the fall outfit and never followed through. I do have some of it cut out for sewing, though no photos. :\
But, I have finished my holiday party dress for this year's office party. I have the pleasure of working for a generous company that holds a lovely holiday party for us every year. It's held at a local country club, so I always go all out. I've made dresses with trains and even a full Victorian ensemble. I'll have to take photos of these at some point.
This year, I went for something relatively simple since there were so many other demands on my time. This dress came about through a series of happy accidents, so I've named it the Serendipity Dress. I don't name many of my creations, only sometimes.
I was planning an ensemble last year and ordered an olive green smooth satin for it. This is what came....
Satin, yes...smooth and olive green, no. But, I loved it...so I kept it. :D
I order a lot from fabric.com, and they offer free shipping for orders over a certain dollar amount. I like to pick up yards here and there of fabrics I might not otherwise try to reach that minimum order. One of those fabrics was this lovely embroidered organza. There was exactly one yard left.
Now, together, they are just lovely!
I used two patterns - the skirt and sash from Vogue 8184 (Views DEF) and the bodice from Butterick 5351 (Views AB) - to piece together a dress using both fabrics.
I had to take in the bodice darts as I cut the fabric, but they were rather large and forgiving for this change. To make the most of the scalloped edge, I placed the top of the front bodice and the bottoms of the skirt pieces along this finished edge. I didn't have enough to also do this for the top of the back bodice, but I think it worked well design-wise.
Once the cutting was done, it was time to figure out the construction. Because the organza was a heavier decorator fabric and very sheer, I couldn't just use the green satin as a lining. Instead I sewed the pieces together along the dart lines and then made the darts through all thicknesses. I basted the sides of the bodice and skirt pieces together.
I realized too late that it would be better for the green satin to hang below the organza scalloped edge along the hem, but I just added material to each skirt piece before sewing it together. You can somewhat see the seam, but it is fairly well masked. Besides, I'm hoping the dress wows you enough that you don't start looking for construction issues. :D
My second time putting in an invisible zipper! :D I learned the technique using a regular zipper foot from this youtube video. I need a lot more practice, but it gets the job done! I've changed the slit construction since this photo, too...made it lapped instead of open.
I also added a plain green satin sash and beaded ribbon straps that bring out the champagne threads in the organza. The white gold shoes are by Liz Baker from JCPenney.
It's not the cleanest construction I've ever done, but it worked and I was able to get the dress done in a weekend. In case of disaster, Plan B was to make Vogue 8184 in all lime green satin, and I have enough fabric left over to do just that (someday). Haaaa!
Oh, and seeing April's post reminded me. Here's my machine...a vintage Singer 401A that belonged to my grandma. She gave it to me when she upgraded to a modern machine and said while she didn't regret giving it to me since I used it so much, she never felt the same about her new one.
If it ever kicks the bucket and can't be repaired, I'll be hunting for another just like it. :]
I haven't written here in so long mainly because minis took over my creative time again. There just aren't enough hours in the day to pursue all my creative outlets. :\
But, with the end of summer approaching, I feel the urge to sew again. And, all the lovely fall catalogs showing up in my mailbox have loads of inspiration.
The new Boden USA fall catalog had this delicious outfit that instantly caught my eye. I love the colors, patterns and textures.
Unfortunately, it is a little pricey for my budget:
Orange polka dot top - $78
Cable sweater - $118
Tan bouclé skirt - $118
Total - $314
I love the inspiration picture, but several things about the items themselves don’t work for me. The orange top has fantastic fabric, but I can tell the boxy cut will not flatter me at all. The sweater has a crew neck which isn’t as ideal for me as a V-neck and it also looks boxy. The skirt is lovely, but paying over $100 for a pencil skirt that would take me two hours to make offends my sensibilities.
For the top, I’m thinking a fitted tank in Amy Butler Lotus Full Moon cotton.
To me, it’s the orange polka dot fabric that really makes the look. And, with a cardigan, I like a more fitted silhouette underneath. I already have the fabric and several shirt patterns to choose from -- this one is Simplicity 2703 for example. It has some pleated details at the neckline, too, so I could retain that detail of the original inspiration piece.
For the sweater, I found two options that will work well for color and texture. Each will change the look of the outfit depending on which one I wear with it. On the left is the Charter School V-neck cardigan from ModCloth at $35. On the right is the Donegal Cable cardigan from Eddie Bauer at $68.
For the pencil skirt, I could buy beige bouclé, but I already have some lovely beige woven suiting fabric that is softer and more versatile. I also have a basic pencil skirt pattern. It might even be fun to punch up the feminity of the outfit with the Vogue 8317 bustle skirt I love so much.
Now to find the time to make it all come together. :]
I made it! The contest ends today, and I just finished the coat. :D
It has a red wool outer with black cotton velvet collar and buttons, and a grey, red, black and white striped lining. The wool and lining came from Joann Fabrics, but the cotton velvet is from my stash.
I love this back pleat...it's what drew me to the pattern in the first place.
There are three buttons on top and two hidden snaps on the bottom. I'll likely swap these out for large hooks and eyes since the snaps are a bit cumbersome.
The velvet buttons were purchased but matched my velvet fabric perfectly as though I had covered them myself. :]
Since my lining fabric was striped on the diagonal, I cut the pieces individually so that one side mirrored the other, creating a chevron pattern. It worked only because there was no right side to the fabric. The original lower back piece was to be cut on the fold, so I added a 1/4" center back seam instead.
The process of cutting the lining took hours since the stripe pattern wasn't uniform and I had to match the areas piece by piece. This wasn't an issue with the sewing pattern, just my fabric choice. I love the results, but what a pain! :]
This was made from Butterick 5145, using View C with the sleeve tabs and back tab from View E.