Saturday, June 28, 2014

Southwest Top

Here's my study in French seams in its finished state - a Southwest-inspired crop top from a 1988 pattern, Butterick 6113. I made view A, with a few adaptations to block it out into different pieces, so that I could incorporate this piece of Southwest printed flannel I found at a thrift shop in Grants Pass for 25 cents.  Does it count for the Vintage Pattern Sewing Pledge?  I'm not sure - but it counts for my version of the pledge because it is 20th century.
I wore it to work and to a baseball game on Thursday - I kept a blazer on over it most of the day due to unseasonably cold and rainy weather, so it's a bit rumpled in the photos. The flannel square was very cozy against the chilly weather.

With the cozy flannel front, I think it will be ideally suited to fall. I would like to make a navy Effortless Cardigan for fall and I think the two pieces would go well together. When I wore it with a fitted blazer at work, it got sort of scrunched up around the sleeves due to its boxy shape, but it would layer well with another loose piece like an unstructured cardigan.

It's matchy-matchy with my Clyde skirt, too. The brown linen is the same fabric as the skirt. I just used a little bit as an accent and made the main contrast color from blue linen. I'm slightly afraid it might look "home sewn" in the derogatory Project Runway sense of the term to have the top and skirt match fabrics, yet I enjoy the outfity-ness of it, nonetheless.

Once I got the idea for a boxy top, I planned to order some swiss dot fabric to go with the flannel, but I couldn't decide between navy or chocolate brown. As I was debating between the two colors, I thought maybe I could use both the brown and blue together; then I remembered I actually had brown and blue linen already.

Since it's sort of an experimental piece inspired by a scrap of flannel and a thrifted 80s pattern, it seemed perfect to use my stash to complete it, making the whole top practically free & inadvertently matchy with my skirt.
I like the little stripe that the brown yokes make along the sleeve.  This is where all those French seams converge.  It was a little wild inside figuring out which direction to press them all, but they did end up all laying flat in the end.
Here's an inside-out view... I finished the neck off with some red bias tape and all the interior seams are French, with the exception of the side seams.  I just pinked those so that I could clip the curves for a more pliable shape around the underarm.

Although cotton flannel is a bit heavy for this type of top, the linen is a perfect weight and it ends up hanging well.  I just adore the colors in the print and I am glad I was able to piece together something that harmonizes with it, without getting too busy.  The color blocking was a lot of fun.

The back is more simple - just brown and blue linen.  I think it sets off the print on the front well to have a plain back, with just a hint of the brown linen.

All in all, it's a fun & practical casual top that could be worn with lots of colors.  It's a little on trend, a little vintage/thrift store chic, and a little of my own dorky sense of style. Quite a pleasant make.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge checkin - a.k.a. "Are the 80s vintage?!"

A few weeks ago, I added the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge button to my sidebar - I love this concept!  Marie from A Stitching Odyssey created a pledge to sew 5 vintage patterns from her stash in 2014.  What a great challenge!  She invited readers to join her in sewing vintage patterns and customize the challenge to suit them.  From one in the year to one every month, folks are incorporating vintage patterns into their sewing for 2014.

As for me, I love this pledge because it makes use of vintage patterns and it is spread over a long time frame with open-ended parameters... sounds like a recipe for success - so I thought I'd join in the fun.

This year, I've really enjoyed getting familiar with indie patterns and designers and I have a wishlist a mile long of new patterns that I'd like to try - but I'm also on a budget, love to wear vintage, and love thrift-store shopping... so I have been collecting patterns from across the decades lately. This pledge is great inspiration and motivation to experiment with my finds.  Here are my most recent acquisitions in the thrifted pattern category.  I'm collecting them faster than I can possibly sew them all, but it's great to have patterns on hand for future projects. (And lest you think I paid a whole 45 cents for each of these - fear not!  They were actually 75% off since they had been sitting around the Salvation Army for so long.)

So, without further ado:

I pledge to make at least 5 garments this year from 20th century patterns.

Sorry. I can't quite comfortably call 80's and 90's patterns "vintage" yet, so I'm just saying 20th century, which will cover most of the patterns I've found at thrift stores. I guess I'm just not ready to think that stuff I once wore brand new is proper vintage yet.  Please humor me for a few more years, as I come to accept this & maybe in 2015 I will make a pledge to sew 5 patterns from before I was born!

I read a recent update on the Vintage Pattern Pledge and realized that my current project actually fits the pledge, which inspired me to do a little roundup of my own.

I'm currently working on an Eighties top from a pattern I got on one of my Grants Pass thrifting adventures. It's from 1988. It's a really simple shape that I have sliced up to incorporate a fun bit of fabric I also found in a Grants Pass thrift store.  This modified pattern has been a great opportunity to practice the French seaming method I learned from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing.  I am a little embarassed to admit this, but the finishing method I used to do that I thought was a French seam was actually a flat felled seam.  It makes a similar finish only stitched down, but little did I know - there is an easier way! I learned so much from Gertie's seam finishing chapter and now proper French seams seem easy-peasy, so I am really enjoying them. Look: it's a French seam convergence!

More on this project in another post, once it's finished... now back to the vintage pattern sewing pledge. I'm working my way back in time, slowly.  So far, this year I've sewn a dress and a skirt from 1994 and a sweatshirt from 1988, as well as adapting a smock dress from the 1970s.

Here's that 1970's smock dress muslin that got me back into sewing my own clothes! I ditched the pattern after making the muslin because the shape I was dreaming of from doll clothes doesn't really flatter my body type at all... but I am still glad that I tried it because it made me realized how much I love to sew for myself.

And here's my 1994 babydoll dress, my 1988 knit pullover made with vintage fabric, and my 1994 skirt.
I feel like I'm working my way back in time through retro/throwback patterns, but what I really consider as vintage patterns are things from the 1970s and earlier... so I went through my stash to pick some older patterns for the rest of the year.  Here are my top three.
I love the 1974 wrap skirt and the 70's knit tops, especially the collared ones.  I also think this high-waisted dress is adorable and may give me the feeling I was dreaming of with that first smock dress pattern and the Chelsea, but in a more flattering shape.  It's an undated pattern, but I am guessing 1960s as the fashion era for this one.  I'm also beginning to search etsy and ebay for a 1950's New Look style shirtwaist dress to delve even further back in time as 2014 progresses.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

a bit more about a cardi.

This pattern began as a Knitting Fever pattern that I found on Ravelry. I omitted the Lily of the Valley lace pattern so that I could be a bit more flexible with the length of the body and sleeves and let the variagation of the yarn colorway be the main decorative element.  If there is anything I can do to go wrong as fast as possible with knitting, it is incorporating too many decorative elements.  I used to run wild with colors, textures/techniques, novely yarns, fanciful patterns, and more.  Quite often, I just ran amok with too much in one garment.

I focused instead on the idea of adding a decorative grosgrain ribbon placket to a simple sweater.  I planned to put the ribbon on the outside of both plackets, but I lost my nerve after machine stitching the first side of the placket.  The top stitching wasn't as perfectly straight as I would have liked & the knitting stitches squirreled around in the feed dogs to be a bit wonky on the other side - but I was afraid to pick out the machine stitching because the yarn -made up of many thin threads of fiber woven together- was fragile.

My husband encouraged me to make knitting on the top of the buttonhole placket and I am glad I did, even if I made the buttons and buttonholes wrong way around by switching plans right in the middle.
It doesn't really look that weird when it's on, but it feels supremely odd to button.  I guess that gentlemen feel perfectly normal buttoning their shirts this way, so I don't really mind that as much as I mind the quality of the buttonholes.

I practiced machine stitching on wool because I was so down-to-the-wire eeking out every scrap of this soy silk yarn to get the longest sleeves possible that I didn't save any for a sample. The wool worked pretty well, but the ribbon I bought frayed a bit, so I was concerned about that.  I didn't bargain for the bamboo yarn fragmenting into lots of micro-threads also, so the buttonholes were a double mess when I sliced them. I started hand-sewing like mad to triage the edges and it was quite sloppy as a result.  If I hadn't panicked, I could have actually made them a little fancier and they could have been a nice feature - oh well... live and learn!

It isn't so bad from the front and the sweater is otherwise quite comfortable.  I learned a lot and I look forward to experimenting with ribbon plackets.  I found Tasha's tutorial on Elegant Musings to be quite useful, getting started... but I think I will actually knit the buttonholes and make the buttonholes separately on the ribbon alone, hand stitch the ribbon on both sides and then stitch the knitted and sewn buttonholes together with some careful and decorative handsewing.

All-in-all, I would recommend this free online pattern & this yarn to anyone for a simple summer cardigan.  It is substantial enough that it would keep you warm on a late July evening or give you enough warmth to fend off a touch of coolness in a mid-June day.

"it was probably someone's curtains once."

My excuse to practice an invisible zip is now a skirt.

I'm really in love with the way this skirt turned out.  Coupled with fact that it also represents mastery of a skill that alluded me in my first Emery, it is a very happy-making garment, indeed. 

My mom noticed it today and knew right off that I had made it and that the fabric was vintage.  She said - in the very nicest way - "that fabric is probably as old as I am and it was probably someone's curtains once."  I think she is right on both counts.  To my armchair fashion historian's eye, it looks and feels like a late 1940s or early 1950s fabric.

My great grandmother actually made a few quilts with a very similar fabric and she was very much of the "make do and mend" era.  She also made wonderful winter wool quilts with old men's suits, so it seems likely that she would make the most out of home deco style fabrics too.  I can imagine this fabric as curtains or possibly cushion covers on patio furniture on a screen porch somewhere in the midwest.

It's just the sort of fabric you'd lounge around on at twilight in the summer, after dinner, drinking lemonade, watching fire flies, and listening to katydids gradually begin their nightly mantra.

At any rate, I believe the texture is the same as what is commonly referred to as "bark cloth".  It's cool and cottony, but heavy enough to be really sumptuous at the same time.  I found a yard of this fabric years ago at a thrift store and have been saving it for a something special for nearly a decade now.  It is supremely satisfying to see it transform from a small length of fabric buried at the bottom of a box, to a functional and fun garment. 

I discovered another happy surprise about this skirt last night too.  It has some beige bits that go very well with a finished object I have not yet blogged.  My variagated beige summer cardigan.

I finished the cardigan a couple of weeks ago, but I was a little disappointed in the button band, so I didn't blog about it right away and I hadn't even worn it yet.  I noticed last night that the two peices go together well and they are quite comfortable together too for a summer work outfit. Serendipity!

The yarn has also been in my stash for nearly a decade.  To see it come to fruition as a finished garment is rather magical.  It gives me a sense of closure to create something finished from these raw materials that I have managed to keep in my possession these last ten years. In the time since their acquisition, I've lived in many abodes across different states and countries & had all sorts of adventures, both good and bad.

I'm pleased I made garments I will wear, which also tie up loose ends to make more space in my stash for new fabric and yarn.  It feels liberating and exciting.

Monday, June 16, 2014

now that's more like it!

My second go at an invisible zip - now equiped with a proper machine-appropriate invisi-zip foot & a more zealous approach to ironing - and it's actually invisible!

I'm so excited that I stopped mid-project to blog about it.  I feel very relieved.  I hate not being able to do things I think I ought to be able to figure out.  The invisible zipper installation didn't seem troublesome at all, logically... so it was very troublesome to me that my first go turned out to be so shoddy.

The Viking invisible zipperfoot undoubtably makes stitching easier, but I think what really messed me up the first time was not ironing out the teeth well enough to sew up close to them.

I think that Christine Haynes' tutorial on invisible zippers in the Emery Sew-Along series of blogs actually scared me from ironing it enough.  I'm not sure why she says what she says because it sounds very serious and bad to overpress... but I think underpressing yeilded a really awful result.

"Carefully take your iron and press the teeth away from the zipper tape. But be careful not to over press it! The key is to get the teeth of the zipper standing straight up so the tape and teeth form a 90-degree angle. Do not press the teeth flat!"

So, I looked at numerous other tutorials and the instructions on several invisible zippers of mine from various decades of vintage to fresh from JoAnn... and they all encourage one to press flat.  So I did. And as I was sewing the zipper through the perfectly Viking-sized groove in the foot, it just tipped itself into the perfect 90 degree angle that Christine Haynes described in her blog.

So either I way-overthought what she had to say, or she was cautioning people who were way more aggressive ironers than I am.

Whatever the misunderstanding, I am very glad to have this sorted out.  Also, I am excited for this bit of vintage barkcloth that I've had for years to become a dirndl skirt once I get over the excitement of installing a properly invisible invisible zipper.

Thank the sewing gods for that!  Now I can dream of many more Emerys and Cambies and other beautiful dresses with the zipper installations of my choosing, not limited by ineptitude to only one way of doing things.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Yoga Shorts for the Sporty Summer Sewathon!

I've completed my project for the Did You Make That? Sporty Summer Sewathon.

When I saw this sporty sewathon project, I knew it would be the perfect first sew-along for me because I have been wanting to try sewing yoga shorts for myself since last November.  I'm a little shy to post the finished result, so I decided to add a black and white filter.  These shorts are very skimpy, but they fit a specific sporty purpose.

I go to hot yoga classes several times a week and there is a certain uniform of short shorts and bra tops that almost everyone wears.  When it's 105 degrees and 35% humidity in a room and you are bending and stretching and breathing for 90 minutes, you just want to cover your unmentionables and let the rest of your skin be.

Once upon a time, hot yoga studios recommended bathing suits, bike shorts & sports bras... but in the last decade or so, a whole style of hot yoga-specific activewear has emerged.  Shakti, Onzie, Hot Drop, LaLaLand, Mika and many more - all heavily featuring the side tie short.

Side tie shorts are really functional.  Normal shorts often start to ride up or roll at the hem throughout different asana and it's distracting to be fussing around with your shorts during class - side-ties sort of allow you to control that by ruching up the sides and front, while still having enough total fabric in the short to cover your bum.  They are very short, but a well-fitting side tie short should cover everything crucial and allow you to forget all about your clothes while you practice.

Except they don't come in a huge range of sizes.

Up until the last couple of years, most companies making them actually only made them in "one size". Onzie is still primarily a "one size" company, though they started making a large size in a very limited number of fabrics last fall.

I'm quite pear-shaped and so these little shorts are a challenge for me.  I have to have enough fabric in them to cover my hips and backside, but I also want shaping in the waist to keep from having that dreaded back-waist gap that is prevalent for us pears.

I have tried all the brands and several custom orders from etsy shops.  Over time, I've amassed quite a collection & while I like many of these shorts - not a single pair is what I would call a perfect fit for my body.  These are my favorites that I wear the most - but others never see the light of day.

I have learned a lot about their construction in ordering various pairs from different makers, especially from the individuals on etsy.  I am excited about this prototype to make my own shorts that are fitted just to me.

Close-up of the side ties on two different etsy-made pairs of shorts... I can do this!

I searched a lot of different patterns and knew that I would have to do a hack - either tracing off a RTW pair of shorts as a starting point or adapting an existing pattern.  I almost bought this Jalie pattern - I think the bra top is adorable, but the shorts aren't side tie, so it would still be a hack.

In the end, I used a boy shorts pattern that I found for free from Cloth Habit called Rosy Lady Shorts.
I used the boy short shape and the handy grid on which this pattern was laid out to extend the waist and legs into a yoga shorts shape.

The navy shorts are the second attempt - they are in a cotton/lycra fabric.  The first ones I made as a muslin for fit are a synthetic spandex fabric. I sewed them all in zig-zag instead of double needle.  I like the way this spandex hugs the body, but it was too sheer for a real short, so that is why it became a test muslin.  It showed me I was on the right track fit-wise, but needed a few adjustments.

Along the way - I taught myself to use a loop turner to make the side ties on these purple ones - that was tricky for a moment and ultimately super-gratifying.  When I turned the ties for the navy pair, it was a breeze.  I am one with my loop turner now & I want to put spaghetti straps on everything!

Second time around, I practiced the double needle finishing.  I love the look of it. So sleek and polished.  It makes comfy seams inside too.  I seamed inside with a double stitch and then top-stitched with the double needle too.  That way all the seams were very reinforced and I didn't have to change between needles.

I wore these navy shorts to class last night and they performed pretty well, but -as I suspected- the high percentage of cotton made them a slightly misshapen by the end of a sweaty 90 minutes.  They remained modest and didn't cause any wardrobe malfunctions - they were just a bit saggy.

I think this could be fixed by using fabric with more synthetic fast-drying fibers and more stretch.

I also think that I will add a separate waistband, cut along the grain differently than the rest of the shorts to hug the waist a bit more on future pairs.  I wasn't sure how necessary the separate waist was, but I think it would be a flattering feature.

So - to continue the experiment, I have to wait for some new fabric in the mail.  I have my eyes on some ponte and some 4-way stretch cotton/poly/lycra that is designed for yoga activewear, as well as a novelty print that Onzie has used in the past - I look forward to experimenting with other fabrics and eventually perfecting my dream shorts.

All, in all, I am thrilled to be on my way in this ongoing project and very happy that the Sporty Summer Sewathon gave me the motivation necessary to get started!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Emery wearable muslin

I completed my first Emery dress this afternoon - a wearable muslin.  It was a really fun pattern to sew & I am pretty pleased with the general outcome, but there are still some things I would like to troubleshoot with fit and technique.

This is my second Christine Haynes pattern, and like the first, it has been challenging for me to fit the upper body.  I think she designs for a very different body type in the bust/throat/shoulders area of her patterns than my shape. I made two versions of the Chelsea dress and gave up on the style before perfecting the fit.  My first version was a 10 in the yoke/sleeve and I went down to an 8 for the second version.  The second version fits across the back and armscythe, but still has this weird bagginess at my throat - just extra fabric in the yoke that seems bulky and unflattering on my shape. I thought that it was maybe just the style was wrong for my shape.

For the Emery, I knew the style was going to be flattering on me if I could perfect the fit because it is one of my go-to shapes that I wear all the time.  Measurement-wise, I am in between the 8/10 in the bodice and I planned to cut the largest size of skirt and gather a fuller skirt into a more fitted bodice.  This is a much easier shape for me to pear-ify than the trapeeze style of the Chelsea & I'd read many blogs raving about prefect fitting muslins with no adjustment needed, so I had high hopes.

A perfect muslin was not to be for me. When I sewed it up and tried it on, the bust darts were way lower than my bust and again there was all sorts of extra material at the throat.  It frankly looked hideous - but I knew it could be sorted out. I tried Gertie's method of starting to pinch and pin fabric in different places to figure how how to alter the bodice to solve the fit issues.

I tried pinning to see if it would look better with higher darts, but raising the darts exacerbated the extra throat fabric problem.  It turned out the best effect came from taking another 5/8" out of the shoulder seams and likewise and extra 5/8" off the side-seam of the sleeves - and if I make this dress again, I will actually take the narrow shoulder adjustment of reshaping the angle of the shoulder too.

I also reshaped the neckline on the bodice and lining to more of a boatneck by cutting down two inches from the original pattern.  This was another alteration that mitgated the excess fabric around the throat and upper chest area. My best guess is that the pattern is just designed for a taller person with more length in her whole upper body, so I need to scale everything down, but keep the bust the same as my bust measurement.

For a day dress, I wanted some extra ease - I like being comfortable if I am going to sit at work all day or go out to lunch in a dress, so I am fairly happy with the ease elsewhere in the bodice, but I would like to try an 8 bodice and see if there is still enough ease to be comfortable while possibly improving the fit further.  I also think the back waist needs to be raised ever-so-slightly on my body to ensure the waist falls at the same line on the body all the way around.

The other thing I would like to improve for this dress is the back zip.  This was my first invisible zipper installation on the back of a dress.  I have always favored traditional zippers installed on the center back seam after it is already stitched or else a lapped zipper.  I've sewn fly front zippers too, but never an invisible zipper.  I didn't even own an invisible zip foot for my Viking... but the process looks quite simple on the Emery Sew Along invisible zipper tutorial so I decided to try it out.

Both the Emery and the Cambie dresses call for invible zips, and I don't have a Viking invisible zipper foot so I ordered a real Viking invisible zip foot, but I was impatient and so I raided the feet on my hand-me-down Janome to find a generic invisible zipper foot which clipped onto the Viking shaft. I used it for this zipper installation, which may have been my first mistake.

It was a relatively painless installation process - in theory! I had no trouble lining up the waist seam or finishing the top edges, as I read others had.  I didn't have any complaints about the process for finishing the bottom part after stitching the rest of the back seam either.  It was an elegant and easy installation process... that is, until I actually wore the dress and discovered something disheartening about the back zip.  It is decidely not invisible!

I pressed it in place and it looked great on a hanger, but after I wore it a bit, I noticed that the fabric had pulled away from the crease it was pressed into and the zipper was showing a lot. And since it was a muslin, I'd just used a black one instead of making a special trip to JoAnn to find a matching colored one - so it was painfully obvious.
Here you can sort of see what has happed with the creases along the edge - they didn't stay in place no matter how much I steamed and pressed them into place when the dress is lying flat.  At first guess, you'd think I just need to sew closer to the edge of the teeth, but my invisible zipper foot didn't permit me to sew any closer than I did without actually sewing into the teeth of the zipper, preventing it from opening and closing.  (I know this because I was sewing so close that I did sew into the teeth for a few stitches at one point & had to unpick and restitch them.)

This sort of imperfection drives me crazy because I don't know what I could have done better to avoid this and found no answers online. I must figure out how to install a better invisible zip or give up on them and use a regular one next time.  My best guesses as to why this looks so dodgy are two-fold. The gerenic/Janome foot wasn't a great quality foot.  Everything I've read points to the fact that having the invisible zipper foot designed particularly for your machine will give better results.  I am hoping the one I ordered will allow me to get into the edge near the teeth even more closely.

Also, I think I may have been worried about pressing the teeth too much and actually failed to press them out enough, so it maybe wasn't as easy to get right into the edge of the zipper as it could have been if it were pressed differently.  I'm not sure about that.  Different tutorials show to press the teeth open to varying degrees from flat to 90 degrees. I will try again and hope for better results on my next Emery. 

I can't believe I am the only person who has this problem with invisible zippers... but I didn't see any posts or advice for how to troubleshoot the problem, so it is going to involve some experimentation on my part to work it out.

Despite the challenges of fitting the bodice and installing a truly invisible zip, it's a beautiful pattern and I will definitely make it again - more that once more.  The instruction booklet is so professional and sturdy and even has room for notes in the back, so that I can write down all these little changes I've made for fit and also note how much yardage the skirt and bodice took separately for future two-toned versions! 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Walking Foot Giveaway!

I'm pretty sure that no human has ever visited my blog... but if there are any lurkers out there reading Thistle & Bean... today might be your luck day to get something for FREE!

A walking foot! Be the first to comment on my blog by 9pm pst, June 13th & I'll ship this to you, anywhere in the world.
Here's how I came by this brand new walking foot that needs a good home:

Last week, I read a great article about hemming stretch fabric with some tips for sewing on a regular machine.  The article was by the author of Four Square Walls writing for the Craftsy blog.  There was a photo worth a thousand words showing the difference between and interfaced hem sewn with a walking foot and an uninterfaced hem sewing with a regular foot.  It was so striking that I instantly coveted a walking foot and sought one out for my beloved vintage Viking machine.  (Actually my machine is technically a Husqvarna, not a Viking.  The model is 5610 - the same as a Viking 5710, but Canadian.) She's very similar to the machine I learned to sew on - my mom's Viking 3610.  I've always loved that machine and my mom will never part with it, so I decided to search for my own. I did a lot of research and decided that I wanted either a 3610 or a 5710.

I almost ordered a 5710 on ebay, but I was very afraid of the condition it might be in since it was being listed by someone who clearly knew nothing about sewing machines. Later, I was thrilled to discover a sewing machine collector and restorer in my own town.  I emailed him to ask if he had a 3610 in his collection and he wrote back that he has a 5610.  He went on to explain that, in Canada, there was some copyright conflict with the name Viking.  The same machine was released in the USA as Viking 5710 and in Canada as Husqvarna 5610.  I got to try it out and it sewed beautifull, so I snapped it up right away.

 I adore the brick red color and the very best part is the contrasting bright yellow enamel case.

I had never thought to look for a walking foot for my machine before reading the Craftsy blog. In fact, I'd never used any feet on a Viking that didn't just snap on and off.  When I began looking for a walking foot, I got really confused trying to figure out what would fit and thought I would just gamble on a generic one that fit other older Viking models.  They seemed all the same to me. I was SO wrong.

Turns out my machine has a weird obscure type of high shank and no walking feet were ever made for it and none made after its advent fit it.
"I'm sorry, we're just not a good fit."

I gleaned a lot of walking foot knowledge from this experience, but not until after I got my hands on this foot to see up close how very different it is... So, now the foot could be yours, if you would like it. It says in the ebay listing:  "Fits All Low Shank Husqvarna Viking (Husky Series) Sewing Machines"

It looks like it may fit other low shank machines, as well. If you have a low shank that has a screw on the left side, I think this generic foot could probably fit.  Here are some close-ups to compare with your machine, if you are interested.

This guide is also included.

Once again, if you are my first commenter, leaving a comment by 9pm pst, Friday, June 13th - this can be all yours as a thank-you for stopping in and reading Thistle & Bean - just leave me a comment with your contact (either email or a link back to your blog)! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

another thrift adventure...

I went out of town last weekend, so I didn't get any good sewing in - but I did get to visit the best thrift stores I know of for finding sewing treasures and got some good staples for my burgeoning collection of notions and fabrics.

Some of the fabric finds there are wild - I restrained myself from buying this vintage knit because I do not play tennis, nor do I know anyone to sew for who plays tennis... but it was quite a gem, in all it's polyester glory.
I also couldn't resist snapping a picture of this groovy sewing machine, though I didn't take it home with me.  I love the flower power!  It's a "Genie".
What spoils did I bring home?  Well, my biggest excitement was to happen across dozens of bags of bias tape all priced at 55-65 cents each. I have actually been searching for a lot on ebay of vintage bias tape & hem tape, because it's so handy to have around and it can hold up a whole project if you don't have the right notions on hand. Here's the jumble in its raw state.
And once it was sorted out... I'm excited also because there is pre-made piping in the mix too and I have been wanting to experiment with adding piping around the pockets of my next version of the Kelly Skirt

There's some very wide vintage blanket binding in the mix too, which I'm not sure I'll use any time soon, but the quality of the satin is much nicer than contemporary blanket binding.

I found these tins to stash my new collection in - the animal crackers one is particularly nostalgic because my grandmother used to send tins of animal crackers just like this for Christmas when I was a tiny girl. 

I picked us some fabric pieces, as well.  Nothing earth-shattering, but some nice pieces to add to my stash.  I had my eyes out for lining fabrics because I am finding that is another thing that can halt a project and I'd like to collect a little hoard of linings so I can get on faster with projects without having to trek to Joann or wait for orders.

From top left, clockwise:
 A yard of 60" plaid in a lovely navy colorway.  It's a synthetic fabric but I am not sure the exact composition.  It has a nice heavy, cool feeling to it that I would like for a skirt, maybe with some dark chambray contrasts to pad out the amount of fabric needed to make a garment.  It's not slimy or hot feeling like some bad polyester.  I wish I knew more about synthetics to ID them with a bit more specificity.

4 yards of heavy satiny lining fabric with a sort of abstract leopard jaquard pattern woven in.

2 yards of pale yellow lightweight lining - needs a good press, but otherwise a nice feel and drape to it.

3 yards of green cotton jersey in a nice bright green.  It is getting a little washed out in this photo... but it will be excellent for practicing stretch sewing.

1.5 yards of a cheerful heavy cotton floral.  I think this is destined to be another Kelly skirt with red piping around the pockets and red vintage buttons.

a 12" square of Aztec printed flannel.  This was only a quarter and it was strangely the most compelling piece of fabric I saw all day.  I have a garment in mind to make use of it already.

2 yards of a very sweet pink/grey vintage calico print on a really soft and high quality cotton.  I don't know the exact date, but it's definitely real vintage, not in the grey area of retro.

And last, but not least... more old-school patterns.

Two basic skirt variations, a couple of blouse patterns that I bought mostly for the short puff-sleeved views because I think they are quite sweet and something I'd like to sew.  A vintage stretch tee pattern - I *love* the view with the collar and I thought this would be useful because it has a lot of instructions on sewing stretch with a 1970s home sewing machine... which is exactly the type of machine I own.  Another 1960s vintage pattern for a drop-waist dress with enormous darts.  And the vintage men's pajama and caftan pattern.  Before you think I am practicing spouse-torture by sewing... I want to note that my husband picked this one out.  He was enthralled by the pattern and wants me to make him a man-caftan. Now I just have to find some good fabric for the project.