a new song from a new singer

This afternoon I traded sewing machines with my mum. I gave her with my six year old Tradition 2250 and brought home her CG-550C (purchased in 2007) to spend time with me and the featherweight, yes we are a Singer family.

2014-11-27-singer

After a quick dust and hope that she’d forgive me for not oiling her (that bottle is empty, it tipped and spilled all over my sewing box a few months ago, I’ll pick some up before I do extensive sewing), I rethreaded her properly, and was pleased to discover a nice easy even sew. I then added the walking foot I picked up on Tuesday after a quick visit to the DMV and now can’t wait to work on the many sewing projects I’ve planned.

happy warm windowsill

Shadow is very happy that he has a nice new cushion for his heated windowsill. One that is made to fit and isn’t a spare blanket grabbed from the closet and hastily folded. One that has nice foam padding.

One that I promised him years ago.

happy windowsill

He is also impressed that I thought enough ahead to sew it with a lapped (aka envelope) closure so that the foam may be removed and the cover washed.

success

Bah. Is too hot to care about that post title. If you are in the North East right now I hope you and yours are staying cool and healthy.

I rarely fit into normal adult-sized furniture. We like our new Ikea armchairs because they are not as oversized as so many offerings in America.

However, there was still a minor problem, especially for our library and my preference to sit and read for hours on end.

My feet didn’t touch the floor.

That gets painful quick. I am only 30, but I no longer am game for sitting cross legged for hours.

We didn’t like any of the foot stools in the shops. They were either too big or even bigger with price tags to match.

No problem, E and I are no stranger to making what we need.

First we decided on the size I required and then stopped by home depot and joann’s. Yes, I know, we used big box stores. Does that defeat the purpose? No. Do we wish we had easily available alternatives? Yes. There is a large fabric store near us and I had a negative first experience, which was my fault but I’m still not ready to try them again.. yet. We’re looking for lumber stores that agree with our available shopping hours.

The base came together quickly. It is well constructed. That part we’ve done many times before.

We covered the top with foam, cotton muslin, and a lot of staples. Is it perfect? Definitely not. I became very impatient at this point; the foam was not cut straight. Does it work? Yes. Is it passable? Yes. It just doesn’t have that each corner is evenly balanced look. This part went easier than I expected. I held the fabric taught and E stapled around for me. Even though we own lots of clamps and things I do see this portion as a two person gig. Despite my impatience I am happy with how this part came out.

Then my impatience was almost the end of me. I never fully sketched out on paper what I planned. I had a yard of upholstery fabric. It wasn’t the cheapest, nor was it the most expensive out there. I had a plan in my head about what I would do to cover. I even thought ahead and planned for hem allowance of a sort.

Don’t think it went badly. It didn’t.

I cut a rectangular top and then cut enough for the sides. I sewed the sides together and the bottom hem of the resulting circle. I then eyeballed the pinning of the sides to the top and went at it. Without planning and thinking of the corners; they are something I’m not very experienced sewing.

It works. It definitely covers the frame, very snuggly (thus no photos of the base frame, I am not in the mood to wrestle it off).

I forgot, however, that at the mental design stage of this project, I wanted to incorporate corner pleats so that it would more closely match the style of the arm chair slip covers (which I happily bought ready-made).

Oops. It’s not a big deal and I hope some day soon to try again and this time try to practice sketched plans, sharper corners, and patience. Why? I love using this little stool so much I move it between the library and living room depending upon where I sit. It might even be the perfect height to go with my spinning wheel. I’m spinning more, or at trying to. I’m unofficially attempting to spin 5 minutes each day during Tour de Fleece and through the anniversary of our buying this house. Which is coming up. I can’t believe it’s been a year. We’ve both accomplished more and less than we expected. And that’s okay. We’re happy (and healthier).

In any case, I think that is a clear sign I need to make another one don’t you? Maybe this time I’ll pause to plan a little better and document the process along the way.

p.s. Froggie is Shadow’s other new BFF. I’m apparently not allowed to play with him (froggie) anymore. He’s Shadow’s friend.

reminder

A short friendly reminder to routinely provide your tools and machines preventative maintenance and a good overall cleaning. Along with my other pesach preparations, my sewing machine received a deep cleaning and drops of oil. She now hums along quite happy and much more evenly tensioned for the TLC. Mr no-longer-squeaky also saw some deep oiling that he was due for.

Please, at this time/season change, give the machines and tools, which give you pleasure to work with some extra care and maintenance. For you as well.

Photos of what I sewed forthcoming; I want to write up the overall project properly as much for my benefit as anyone else.

There's a new song in town

a form of my own

365.173 ... 20090811TTwo things are really difficult to photograph if it’s just you and the camera (one isn’t as difficult if you remember the self timer): feet and modeling tops. Head shots (and hats) are quite easy with a trick I discovered, but have yet to figure out a way to easily take photographs of myself wearing a garment unless I borrow E’s tripod. As I often do that without his permission and it rarely ends well.

I have said for years that when I have my own studio (aka office) I’m going to acquire my own dressform. It might not happen this year or next, but it is a goal I plan to save for.

I am looking for something that an amateur won’t outgrow quickly. I don’t think I’ll ever extensively sew my own clothing, no matter how much I long to. I want to be able to throw a garment upon it pin it in place and get a rough estimate as to drape, shape, size, etc.

I know about the ducttape method, but I really want something nicer (and don’t have any t-shirts I’m willing to sacrifice for the cause). I’ve seen forms like this at Joann’s for years, but don’t know anyone with one nor if it’s really worth it. I’ve heard comments go both ways on all forms and feel they’re all a coin toss.

So, please, advice? I don’t want to spend a lot of money, but I want to make an investment that is sound. I really want to be able to stick pins in it — I stick pins in me all the time and it just doesn’t work very well, I do not like red polka dots on my garments.