Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Newest Member of My (Sewing Machine) Family

Singer Model 185
(Stock Photo)

I am a sucker for vintage sewing machines (much to my wife's dismay). Especially the ones that make their way to the local thrift shop. So when I made my weekly stop yesterday, there it was: a Singer 185J.

He stood proud in his battered cabinet. Dirty from what may have been years of solitude and neglect. But I saw a diamond in the rough. And...when I saw the price was just $10.00, I became even more interested.

If you're a 'dumpster-diver' like me, you know that you get all excited when you see these relics. And many times you just "have to have it" only to find out that, mechanically, it's a money pit! I've been down that path a few times, so now I do all I can to test the machine out before I haul it home.

I (carefully) carried the machine and cabinet to an electric outlet and said a little prayer that it would work. Lo and behold, the light turned on. And a tap on the foot pedal and we were off and running. I took along a spool of thread and a small swatch of fabric this time for a final test. Another pleasant surprise: very nice, even little stiches. Bingo! We've got a winner.

I'm anxious to get it cleaned up and oiled to see what it can really do. I'll take before-and-after pictures and post them soon. The cabinet top is a mess, but I think a good sanding and a refinish job will have it looking like new again.

Bonus: opening the cabinet door revealed a box of shiny attachments: button foot; zipper foot, binder foot; ruffler foot; and a few other goodies including a very old Singer screw driver for the bobbin case!

(My wife is gonna shoot me when I tell her I bought another sewing machine!)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Yes Virginia, there IS a finished project!

I have amazed myself. I actually started and finished a project today. Woo Hoo!!

Here's the Easter baby bib for my cousin's little girl, Faith. I made it tonite in record time. And it turned out very well (if I say so myself).

I've been making baby bibs for over ten years now -- ever since my first son was born. My wife and I were not happy with the plastic/vinyl bibs, so I drafted a pattern and the rest is history. Now I make them for all the other babies in the family. The parents really appreciated them. It's a project that takes 30 minutes or less and you only need about a yard of fabric.

Getting smarter in my old age. I created a template using a thin sheet of plastic I found at Hobby Lobby during our last visit. I traced the (fabric) pattern I've been using for quite some time onto the plastic and, using household shears, cut it out. Since I can see thru the template, I know exactly where the images on the fabric will appear. Smart, huh? (Notice the chick hatching out of the egg in the center of the bib?) Works like a charm.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Buy a lily.
Go to church.
Tell your wife/husband/kids/mom/dad that you love them.
Create something with love and give it away. *

Wishing everyone a great weekend.

P.S. I took my own advice and made a bib for Baby Faith (see post above).