Thursday, May 24, 2012

Boxer Shorts for Joe

When I started on the boxer project, I was originally going to make the first pair for Joe.  But then I decided better to make me a pair first to get all the kinks out, then make a pair for him.

Joe's Boxers went a lot faster.  I easily drew a pattern in a medium size for him. If you remember, I followed some directions off the internet to draw the pattern myself.

I used the same fabric I used for my boxers, however I used red thread so the decorative stitch of my Vintage Kenmore would show.

Decorative stitch

Modeled with McCall's 6231 top

Another view
I have now decided to return to shirt sewing.  I found some nice white cotton/linen material at the thrift-store I am going to use to make myself a McCall's 4079 shirt.  This looks like it will be a nice casual style that will go well with the fabric I have.  I had the pattern in my stash, and now with the proper material, I am going to give it a go.
I think I will use my Brother XL2600I to make this shirt.  I used it yesterday to hem some pants for a friend. I will say, once a person figures out how to fold the fabric for the blind-hem stitch, this machine sews it beautifully with the included blind-hem foot.

Also, I have been planting some zinnias, marigolds, tomatoes, pumpkins, and other vegetables in the garden I grew from seed.   So in between watering the garden, I will be working on the shirt.

See you next time.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Boxer Shorts by Vintage Kenmore

I wanted to make a pair of boxers since I first started to sew, but I could not find a pattern I liked, and the idea of printing out one off the internet and taping all the pages together didn't appeal to me.  But finally, I came across some instructions on the internet on how to draw your own pattern with your own measurements.  I scratched my head a few times, but finally drew a pattern.  Here is where I found the directions :

After drawing and cutting my own pattern, I decided to use my Kenmore in order to try it and its decorative stitches out.  I used a soft blue cotton material and white thread.
Kenmore ready to go

Instructions and cut-out material
Max approves
Another view
Close-up of decorative stitch
Front view
Since this set of shorts turned out great, I am now going to make a pair for Joe with the same fabric, since I have enough left over.

Now time to take some measurements and start drawing another pattern.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vintage Kenmore Decorative Stitching

My vintage Kenmore has the capability of sewing decorative stitches.  However, unlike a new computerized machine where the user simply touches a button to adjust the stitches, the Kenmore has cams to be inserted. The cams simply adjust the stitch width from narrow to wide automatically as you sew.

First:   In the back of the owner's manual is a chart to show what stitch each cam will make.
Second:  The cam is chosen by the number stamped on it which corresponds to the stitch you would like.
Third:  The cam door is opened, the cam placed on the shaft, and the door is closed.
Fourth:  Set the stitch width and length to the desired settings.
Fifth:  Sew a fabulous fifties style decorative stitch.

Kenmore 158.352

Cam cavity

Cam inserted

16 cams to choose from

Straigt, Zig-Zag, and Decorative

The decorative stitches shown are definitely reminiscent of the fifties.  I think a shirt with the sleeves, collar, and pocket finished with one of these stitched would give it an instant retro look.

Just like vintage cars, vintage sewing machines take you back in time.  I think my Brother is a great machine. But the weight, the feel, the sounds, and the stitches of the Kenmore add a  whole different and enjoyable experience to sewing.  Just like my 1958 Lincoln, it drives different from my newer car, but I won't say I like it any more or less, it provides a different experience.

Now I see why a person can't stop with just one sewing machine.  Especially a vintage one.  When I get Grandma's Singer running, that will be another wonderful experience.

Hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have.

Monday, May 14, 2012

McCall's 6286 top

Did you ever have a project that did not turn out the way you hoped?  That is what happened with my McCall's 6286 top.
I purchased the vintage 1992 pattern from the thrift shop for 25 cents.  Then I bought two inexpensive fleece throws for $2.88 each and a zipper for $1 at Walmart.  I was going to give it as a gift.  But it turned out a little small for the intended receiver, even with all the measurements I took.  The pattern had easy to follow directions and the pattern was to size,  my measurements were off.
It is very comfortable, and fits me perfectly.  Looks like I have a new top to wear around the house and walk the dog in.  I would hesitate to wear it to town, since I think the pink might be a little bright for a me in the area I live.
I still enjoyed this project.  It gave me experience with a zipper, a new pattern, and more experience sewing.  Not to mention something soft and cuddly to wear around the house.
Cut out and ready to sew

Looks Pink!
I sewed this with my Brother XL2600I.  I used the stretch-stitch setting.  This works great with stretchable fabric.  A person does not have to stretch the fabric when sewing, the machine does this funky half-reverse stitch that makes the stitch stretch with the material.

I have not 100% decided on my next project.  But I think boxer shorts for Joe are a definite possibility.  I just have to find a pattern.  I might even sew them with my vintage Kenmore.  I put a new belt on and oiled it.  It sure runs smooth.  I would like to use the stitch cams to make some vintage embellishments.

I do know one thing, a short story on the cams is my next blog.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Vintage sewing machines have landed

The day didn't start out with me planning to come home with a vintage sewing machine.  However, when at my parent's home, I asked about Grandma's Singer 99-13 that has been sitting idle since she passed away in 1993.  It ended up in the back of the truck.  Then I stopped at the thrift store and there was a fabulous Kenmore sewing desk, chair, and sewing machine for the unbelievable price of $18.50.  Of course, it was quickly in the truck next to Grandma's Singer.  So now two vintage machines our at my command.

I had been looking for a fold-able sewing table, so I could get my Brother machine off the kitchen table.  I thought a vintage sewing table would not only be well made, but a lot cheaper than buying a new one or building one.  So I have been looking for a vintage table I could adapt to work for me.  This one will work great.  I am going to just set the Brother on top to use it.  My first thoughts were to take the Kenmore out, but after finding out what a honey it is, I decided I'l sew with it.  I threaded it and started sewing perfectly in minutes. It came complete with buttonholer, many presser feet, cams for decorative stitches, owner's manual, and sewing reference books from the same era.(1958)  It will need a new belt before long, but I think that is it.

When I get a belt for Grandma's Singer I'll be able to sew with it.  It is from the late thirties.  It has one straight stitch, no reverse.  Since Grandma was such a great seamstress, it will be great to use her machine to imagine the challenges she faced with such a simple machine while she was sewing for seven children.

Now for the unveiling....
Kenmore 158.352 complete with all pictured
Kenmore closed

More storage under chair

Grandma's Singer

Singer with all accessories

Marion H. Decker(Grandma)
Now with tears in my eyes, I guess I should call it a night.  Good night Grandma.
You are greatly missed.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vogue 8801 finale

The Vogue 8801 jeans are finished.  They fit fine, but after all the issues with the sizing, I don't think I'll make this pattern again.  If you remember, the size 36 I made turned out to be a size 46.  I wanted a 30" waist, but ended up with a 40" waist on first trial.  I tore the pants completely apart and started over to get my 30" waist.
One other issue is the size of the yoke.  It looks out of proportion.  I am wearing a belt in the pictures simply because it makes the yoke look more in proportion.

My next project is in my mind already. I bought some great fabric and patterns at the thrift store yesterday for half-off.  I also bought a fleece blanket from Walmart I think will work great for one of the patterns.  I ordered some patterns from McCall's during their $1.99 sale.  When they get here, I'll decide what I will do next.
In the interim I'll continue planting some flowers and vegetables in my garden.
By the way, if you want a fabulous steak dinner, try Morton's steakhouse.  It is in some major cities.  My family went to the one in Sacramento Saturday.  We had fun dressing-up.
Joe, Mom, Dad, me