Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Singer Featherweight Maintenance Class

I was in Williamsburg this weekend, and had a great full-day hands-on workshop on maintaining our beloved Singer Featherweights.  Nova Montgomery is on her Autumn tour and hosted the workshop. Having gotten my particular Featherweight for restoring purposes on eBay, I thought I knew my machine since I restored it.  Turns out, there is always something new to learn, right?

Getting ready to start the workshop.

A basic tip I remember from the workshop on how often to maintain your Featherweight:
  • If you do not use your machine - once a year.
  • If you use your machine once or twice a year (to take to retreats or bees for example) - every 6 months.
  • If you use your machine regularly for sewing - after every major project.
Another tip is to replace your sewing needle after every eight hours of use of your Featherweight.

A photo with me taken by Nova and shared on her Facebook page.  :-) 
Products for routine maintenance:
  • Kerosene (clear) - used as solvent for cleaning inside parts
  • Sewing Machine Oil - used to lubricate joints and moving parts of machine
  • Featherweight Lubricant - used to grease the gears and motor.
The workshop went through the entire cleaning and maintaining that should be done on a Featherweight.  The class followed Nova's Maintenance card, which was included in the workshop fee.  We covered every part and piece that needs regular attention.  I loved that the workshop was hands-on on our own machine - getting hands dirty with the gears.

Here are some pictures from the workshop:
Gears under the thread spindle plate.

It was sometimes easier to stand and work on our machines.

Adding grease lubricant to the gears.

Lead pipe that protects the wires.  Build up that I didn't want to touch previously.
Same lead pipe after a little soft brushing with Kerosene and a toothbrush.

Checking the motor brushes.

One thing I learned about my particular machine that I had missed when I restored it after purchasing it...    Can you see it in the following photo?
A problem with my electric receptacle.  Can you spot it?

The electric receptacle had been cracked and reglued.  It is easier to see the glue line from the bottom under a spot light.

Nova said this is very common thing to happen.  It usually happens when the plug hits the side of the Featherweight case when it is being put into the case for storage.   So be careful when doing this. :-)

After replacing the glued electric receptacle from my machine, Nova could tell that my particular part had cracked because it had caught fire!  At some point, some one had put grease into a hole on the receptacle, and it heated and caught fire with the electricity coming through.  Interesting!! Well now that part is fresh and new and my machine is cleaned, oiled, greased, tested and stitches wonderfully.  It's a such a great machine.

Panorama view of class from my seat.

Very happy to have taken this workshop.  Would definitely recommend this class if there is one near you.

Featherweight is all happy and ready to sew!

 Happy Stitching!!

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Easy Singer Featherweight Case Tote

I made a new tote for my Singer Featherweight Case!

I am looking forward to taking Nova Montgomery's Featherweight Maintenance class next weekend when she comes nearby on her Autumn Tour.  Because of the age and weight of my Featherweight, I do not like to rely on the case handle to tote it around.  Although my case is in good shape, I would just rather not put the pressure on the handle anymore.  I have been using a large canvas tote bag that fits the Featherweight case very snugly.  I thought I would make a similar, but nicer tote bag for my Featherweight that matches the Singer Featherweight look.

- 3/4 yard of black Double-faced Quilted Fabric (I purchased this one at my local JoAnn store).
- 4 yards of 1-1/4" black Belting (Mine was $4/yard, but I used a coupon at JoAnn).
- Black sewing thread

- Gold or similar tone embroidery thread for embroidery.
- Singer Featherweight decal embroidery design (I used the "Tall Bed Decal" from Jen's Vintage Sewing)
- The "Singer Featherweight" wording I did on my computer using a "Shelley" font. (.PES format is here for FREE - disclaimer - please test stitch your design first.)

1. Fold the fabric with selvage edges together.  Cut a 16.5" strip across the width of the fabric.  This is the body of the tote bag.  This will be a snug fit, like a glove.  You could make yours 17" or  even 17.5" wide if you want more room.

2. Cut a 9" strip across the width of the fabric.  Cut this long strip in half, so you have two pieces, each 9" wide.  These will be used for the side panels of the bag.

3. Straighten out the edges of the fabric and trim the selvedge.

  • A. Place the Featherweight case in the center of the large panel and gather the edges together to get an idea of where you would like your embroidery placed.

  • B.  Mark the center for embroidery.

  • C.  Edit the design as desired.  Hoop the fabric and embroider using your center mark made earlier.

4.  Pin the cotton belting to the front of your tote panel. I pinned mine 3" from the edge.  Start the belt at the bottom of the bag (center of the tote body panel).

5.  Pin the belting up the side of the body panel, give 24" for the handle, and continue pinning back down the other side of the panel.  Across the bottom, and up the panel, giving an equivalent 24" for the other handle.

6.  Pin the belting back to the beginning, overlapping a good inch.  Cut the excess and fold the edge under a bit for a clean look.

7.  Sew on the belting.  Start at the bottom, zigzag across the folded edge and box stitch the overlap for reinforcement.  Sew along each edge of the belting, a scant 1/4".

8.  Stop sewing the belting 1" from the top edge of the tote.  We will be folding the top 1" of fabric over at the end of the construction.  Box stitch the belting at this point for reinforcement.

9.  Find the center of the long edges of the tote body panel, and the center of a 9" side of each side panel.  Pin a side panel to each side of the body, matching the centers, right sides together.  Baste or sew each side in place, 1/4" seam.

10.  Pin the side panel long edges to the sides of the tote body panel, right sides together.   The side panel will be a longer than the tote body - that is OK, we will trim it later.

11.  Sew a side panel to the tote body panel, using 1/2" seam.  Start from the tote's top edge, go down, around the bottom (where it is already sewn in step #9), and back up to the top.    Repeat for the other side panel.

12.  Trim the side panels top raw edge even with the top of tote body panel.  Fold the top of the tote fabric down 1" all around (wrong sides together) and sew to secure.  Turn your tote right-side out and push out the bottom corners.  Top-stitch around the top of the tote, 1/4".

The Singer Featherweight case fits nicely inside!

I added snaps along the top of the tote for a neater look.  These snaps are functional for when the case is in storage, as most will pop open when carrying the tote in transit.

I now have a complete 3-piece set for my Singer Featherweight.  I have a tote for machine, a tote for the extension table, and a matching apron to wear.  All set!!

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

My Destiny II Awaits!

I was in the Poconos in Pennsylvania this weekend, and at Pocono Sew and Vac.  I am coming home with a new machine!

I am SEW excited to be a new owner of the recently announced top-of-the-line Baby Lock Destiny II!!!

Babylock Destiny II

Can you see me doing my Happy Dance!?!

I am beyond excited!!

This machine is incredible.  It has the extra large embroidery hoop, camera, IQ Designer and Nancy Zieman designs.  The Destiny II has the first Destiny upgrade already installed.  I can't wait to start working with it.

I've also pre-ordered the AirStitch Upgrade which will enable wireless transfer via their Designer's Gallery software.  Even better that it is Mac-compatible software.  It is expected to come out at the end of the month.

I still love my Brother Duetta.  It has served me well for a number of years.  Never been a problem, and stitches great.  I just wanted the larger embroidery field, latest features and the new technology found on the newest machines.  I went with Baby Lock brand instead of the equivalent Brother Dream Machine 2 because the Baby Lock Destiny II deal I was offered included Baby Lock's Love of Sewing membership which provides four years of service coverage and unlimited access to Baby Lock's Sew at Home OnDemand Classes.  Brother does not have this.  The covered service is important to me since I was buying my machine out-of-town, I can still bring it to my local dealer for covered service.  I decided to go with Nancy Zieman designs found on the Baby Lock this time instead of the Disney designs found on the Brother.  Plus, I wanted to step away from PC software and use my Mac for embroidery.  I only run Windows on my Mac for the purpose of embroidery, so it will be nice to not have to do this.

Lots of new things to see and do coming soon in my sewing room.  :-)

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Work Still in Progress Video

Riddle for you!  What is green and gold and 1.6 million stitches?
My still unfinished, much beloved, going-to-be-awesome Golden Tapestry!
It is so close, just four more side border panels, and four corner blocks to stitch.  Most of the work is done.

My project, as it stands today.

Over the summer, I made a 1-minute video to show a non-local friend the details in this project.  This project is done completely in just two colors of thread on two colors of silk fabric.  It is by far, the most stitch-intensive project I have undertaken.

I love Anita Goodesign!  Their designs are so well digitized, it doesn't seem like the photographs do the stitching justice.  I asked them if I could share my little video, and they said I "most definitely" may.  Just love that company!!   :-)

So if you are curious for a closer look at this project, then this short video may be for you.

Anita Goodesign Golden Tapestry Special Edition can be found here.

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Summer Retreat & Projects

An annual event I look forward to planning is the Summer Retreat for our local Northern Virginia Chapter of the American Sewing Guild.  Last year, we tried a new venue at The National Conference Center - it was met with favorable reviews, so came back again.  This time we were in their Conference Hall which was located in the same building where dining and accommodations were.  Plus, even more space as a bonus.

Our guild hosts two retreats annualy - one in the winter, and one in the summer.  The summer retreat used to be a smaller preview of the winter retreat, and was called A Taste of Retreat.  But this year, it was renamed to simply Summer Retreat because it has become just as popular as the winter one.  We had 39 registered attendees - including a few Junior members!  I was so excited.  The entire conference space was available to us - 8400 square feet!  We sectioned off one-third so it would not be overwhelming.  Behind the open doors in the smaller section we had some tables and chairs set up for relaxing and several tables for trade-ups materials that attendees choose to share.

6000 square feet to Retreat!
In the large space we set up the workstations.  To promote socializing, we gave everyone two worktables for their use, set up in a "L" configuration, with three or four "L"s grouped together in pods.  Along the center of the room we set up plenty of work tables for cutting, measuring and ironing.


Our youngest attendee.

More friends and Juniors. :)

My sewing space.  I got to watch the Olympics while stitching.  Go Team USA!

Sneaking in a Sewing Selfie. :)

So what did I make for my 3 days of fun?  A couple of embroidery requests, and then I worked on aprons.  These will be gifts later.  I ordered a dozen apron panels a few years ago, but have never gotten around to sewing them.  So here was a good opportunity.

A couple embroidered Christmas stockings for a niece and her boyfriend.

Wristlet for a Golden Anniversary

Even added my little label inside!  :)

The aprons I am making are by Wilmington Prints.  One is called Le Petit Bistro, and the other is called Wine a Little.  
Le Petit Bistro Apron Panel
Wine a Little Apron Panel

I was asked by several folks where I found these panels.  I ordered them from Hancocks of Paducah at the time, but I do not believe they have these exact designs anymore, but they may still carry something similar.

The aprons are very easy.  Everything is included in the panel, including a pocket and straps for neck and waist.  The longest task was turning all the straps after their long seam was sewn.
Cutting out the pocket.
I thought the apron fabric was a little thin by itself, so I decided to line the apron and pocket with muslin, then top stitch along the borders for a finished look.  The added lining gave the apron just enough weight that it felt right.

Cutting a muslin lining.

First one done.

After I cut out all of the aprons, pockets, straps and linings, I was only able to complete five of the dozen aprons.  Completion of the others should not take as long going forward since the pieces are now ready to go.

On a personal note, I also have an excuse as to why I didn't get to finish everything!  I was absent for one entire afternoon.  I had to leave to watch my son test for his Black Belt.  He is now a holder of a 1st Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo.  Good work, my boy!  :-)

My son has earned his Black Belt!

 Hope you enjoyed your summer too!  It is back to school for our family now.

Happy Stitching!


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