A New ‘Old’ Friend and an Educational Journey

Check out my new machine!  And by new, I mean not new at all.  ;)
Viking 6030

It’s a Husquvarna Viking 6030 from 1972.  This machine is similar to the very first sewing machine I ever touched, when my mom (tried) to teach my how to sew on my grandmother’s Viking 2000.

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My grandmother’s machine. My mom still has it and it still works!

When I saw the familiar dials and stitch samples in the photo on the Craigslist ad, I kinda fell for this machine.

Viking 6030

Since the seller was just a few blocks from my work, it was super easy to go have a look at lunch.  Once I saw the machine run, I scooped it right up and brought it home!

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It’s totally legit to buy a sewing machine on your lunch break, right??

It’s yet to be determined if this was a mistake or not.  Through subsequent research I’ve learned the 6000 series of Vikings have some problems related to the fact that they were designed to never be oiled.
Viking 6030

Unfortunately, over time the self-lubricating parts freeze up and the machines stop working.  However this machine seems to only be exhibiting one minor issue, which I think I can fix, so fingers crossed.

I’ve thought about getting an older machine for a while, but to be honest, I’ve been a little scared of it.  I’ve also been thinking I’d like to learn how sewing machines really work, and how to maintain and repair them.  But that also seems a little scary and overwhelming.

Viking 6030

For me the best way to get past something that seems “to hard,” is to just jump in and learn as much as I can about whatever it is.  So I did some research, heard about Ray White, who is known for teaching sewing machine repair classes around the country, and signed up for one of his classes.  I also took the plunge and bought this machine.

I’m really excited!  This fall I’ll be flying to Portland, OR for three days to take the basic repair class.  If that goes well, hopefully I can take his advanced class in the future. I’d like to bring the Viking with me to class, but I’ve got figure out how to transport it.  It weighs a ton.

Anyway, here’s some more pics of the new machine:
Viking 6030
Viking 6030
Viking 6030

It came with the original manuals and sales brochures.  Gotta love the 70′s fashions.
Viking 6030
Viking 6030
Viking 6030

The sewing manual includes tips on sewing with fabrics like terry cloth that were popular at the time.
Viking 6030

The machine also came with most of its original accessories (a few feet are missing), including several cams that allow you to sew different stitch patterns.
Viking 6030
Viking 6030

The “I” cam with the little sailboats and doggies is my favorite!  My grandma’s machine had these same kind of cams.  I remember wearing handmade clothes my mom sewed for me  when I was a little girl that had a lot of these same stitch patterns on them.
Viking 6030

Do you sew on an older machine? Any words of advice?

Completed: Emery #??

I can’t stop.  Last weekend I cut out two more Emery dresses.  Here’s the first one I finished:

Green Emery

I’m not sure how many Emerys I’ve made at this point, I’ve lost count.  I think I return to this pattern repeatedly because I know it works for me, and sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) I just want to sew without all the effort of fitting.

Green Emery

On this version I lowered the neckline a little bit and used a different skirt.  The skirt is from Simplicity 1803, but I pleated it instead of doing gathers.

Green Emery

Green Emery

The fabric is rayon challis, which has become my favorite summer fabric.  I ordered this particular one from Fabric.com, but I don’t think its available any longer.

Green Emery

Green Emery Details

I lined the bodice with Kaufman lawn.  I really like the challis/cotton lining combo, it gives the challis just a bit of structure but stays nice and cool.

Green Emery Details

Green Emery Details

I also used matching serger thread on this project. Lately I’ve been branching out and using colors other than black and white. :)

Green Emery Details

When I was checking the placement of the pleats, I tied a piece of quilt binding around my waist as make-shift belt.  I kind of liked the look, so I stitched the ends and made it an official belt.

Green Emery Details

Green Emery

Now that I’ve got another Emery in my closet, I’m think I’m ready for the One Week One Pattern challenge in September!

Green Emery

Completed: RTW Pants Knockoff

I made pants!  Without a pattern!  And, I like them!
pants

One of my sewing goals for this year was to copy a pair of RTW pants.  These are the source pants I decided to use:

RTW Pants Copy

They are a linen/cotton blend that I bought at the Gap probably 5 years ago (maybe longer).  I’ve always really liked them, they are cool and have a nice loose, comfy fit.  Unfortunately, over the years they have shrunk considerably in length, and have become too short to wear without ridicule.  So I set out to copy them.

pants

A few months ago I took a class at a local college that covered how to copy RTW clothing.  It was a short class (just 3 Saturdays) but we learned the basics of how to copy shirts and pants.  I also purchased the Jean-ius course on Craftsy – and finally watched it.  (Does anyone else buy Craftsy classes, and then never watch them?) In the end, I did a mash up of the two methods I learned.

I made a couple of changes from the original.  I changed the shape of the front pockets, and added a front tab.  I also lengthened them and added a touch more width through the hips.
RTW Pants Copy
RTW Pants Copy

Since I was working without a pattern, I pulled out the instructions from my Thurlow trouser pattern, and roughly followed that.  This worked since my pants are actually pretty similar to the Thurlows.  (If you were copying jeans, the Jean-ius course does cover construction.)

The two main challenges I faced were drafting the waistband and figuring out how to sew the back welt pockets.  For the waistband, I determined I needed to draft a contour band.  How I finally figured out how to do it is a bit of a blur now.  I know I drafted several versions, poured over sewing books and blogs, and spend a lot of time pinching and pinning my muslin.  What I came up with works, but I’m sorry I can’t really tell you how I did it.  :(
pants
pants

The second challenge was the back pockets.  I wanted to make single welt pockets.  (The Thurlow instructions didn’t help because the Thurlows have double welts.)  I found my sewing books incomplete, but then I stumbled upon this great tutorial.

pants

I’m pleased with how they turned out.

RTW Pants Copy

The fabric I used is Robert Kaufman cotton/linen denim.  I really like it, so much that I’ve already ordered more!

pants
pants

But my favorite thing about these lies inside . . . check out the surfing ninja!
RTW Pants Copy

I bought this Japanese fabric in Hawaii a couple years ago and I just love it.  I lined the pockets and interior waistband with it.
RTW Pants Copy
RTW Pants Copy

RTW Pants Copy
RTW Pants Copy

Anyway, I’m pretty excited about these.  Although it was a lot of work to do the copy, I think it was easier than trying to fit a pattern.  I didn’t mess with the crotch seam at all, which was a welcome relief after the muslin madness that ensued when I made my Thurlows.
pants

I’m really liking the option of copying RTW garments.  Last month, during Me-Made-May I copied one of my favorite t-shirts, and made 2 new tops from that.  I’ve got a sheath dress that I wear all the time that I think will be next.  How about you, do you ever copy RTW items?
RTW Pants Copy

Completed: Miette Skirt

A couple weeks ago I decided to try out the Miette skirt pattern from Tilly. I was planning a trip to visit family in my hometown, and wanted to whip up a quick skirt to fill a void in my casual wardrobe.  This little skirt was perfect – it was quick and easy to sew!  Unfortunately, I didn’t end up getting to wear it on my trip, the temps were too cool for skirts or shorts.

Miette

If you’re wondering, that bandage on my arm is from donating blood. I donate about every 8 weeks. If you’ve ever thought about being a blood or organ donor, I encourage you to look into it.  It’s a simple way to make a big difference in the life of someone else.  Plus you get cookies after donating, always a bonus!  :)

Fitting this skirt was a breeze, I just picked my size based on my waist measurement, and that was it.  I did shorten it by a few inches though.
Miette

The fabric I used is the same 50/50 linen rayon blend that I used for my Thai fisherman pants.  I like that it gives the skirt a little more drape, and is not as A-line, as say a crisper fabric would be.
MietteMiette

I love the way it wraps in the back. And it really does feel secure from flashing everyone.
Miette

Here’s how it looks unwrapped, from the inside.  I finished the seams with my serger, but french seams would have been nice too.
Miette Skirt

It’s funny, I wear dresses or skirts to work about 90% of the time, but when it comes to evenings or weekends, I almost never do.  I think that by adding a few casual skirts to the mix, that might change.
Miette Skirt
Miette Skirt

Anyway, I can totally see making this up in all different colors.  I think it’s also a good pattern to sew for others (if you are into that kind of unselfish sewing) because the fitting is so easy.  I also think this would be a great skirt to pair with the Nettie bodysuit.  In fact, I tried to do that, but about half way through sewing my Nettie, I realized it wasn’t going to fit my shoulders.  So I abandoned that one, and plan to cut some more fabric and try again.

Miette

Next up, I made some pants!  Will share soon.  :)

 

 

 

 

LA Meet Up

Last weekend I had the most amazing time at the LA Blogger Meet up! It was a wonderful afternoon of meeting friends, having lunch, and of course fabric shopping with about 40 lovely southern California ladies. I meant to take pictures, I really did. But it just didn’t happen. :(

Oh well, I can show you the treasure I came home with though. There was an awesome fabric and pattern swap, and I came away with these:

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I’m really excited about the Sewaholic Minoru jacket pattern, and that vintage number in the center. I also really like the fabric, it’s an ITY knit (I think). I’m planning to try a wrap dress with it. I’m not sure who brought the things I picked up, but a sincere thank you to you!

The meetup was at The Fabric Store, which was a new-to-me shop. All I can say is I love it, and I plan to go back whenever I’m in LA. I found so many beautiful fabrics, it was hard to narrow my final selection, and I still ended up with more than I really need. Oops. :)

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After the meetup, I was planning to drive straight home. But as I was headed toward the freeway, I decided at the last minute to cruise over to the fashion district, and to Michael Levine in particular. My little detour paid off. I went to the Levine Loft, and it was packed full of great finds. Every box yielded something I wanted to take home.

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In the end, I came away with two more bags of fabric. Another oops. :)

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I guess now I need to get busy making things. Over the past month, I’ve been doing a lot of traveling, and not so much sewing.  But I do have a couple finished projects that I haven’t had time to blog about.  So more on those soon!

Thanks again to ladies who organized the meetup, Erin, Kathy, Laurie and Jill. It was so much fun, I’m looking forward to next year already! :)