Time Flies….

November 6, 2016

Well, that 2 months flew by!  I have gotten the QOV back from being quilted (a simple stars and squiggles all-over pattern), and got the binding on it.  Now to get it delivered tomorrow, or Wednesday, presentation is Nov. 19th.  After making this, the Necchi is ready for some oil and cleaning!

The Union Special is no longer frozen.  I had to move it, and just for the heck of it, tried to move the pulley wheel (where the belt would go, it’s definitely not easily moved by hand) and it moved about a quarter turn!  Turned it the other way and it moved a bit farther, and after a few attempts each direction, it finally turns completely.  It’s still stiff, but with some more oil and turning, I think it can be brought back to life.  Now to contact the company for information about needle, threading, and missing/broken parts availability.

I also got a top sewn – Vogue 9057, in a Nicole Miller knit from Joann Fabrics.  I cut a size XXL, but I think I might have been able to cut a XL.  I also did a wee bit of FBA by adding just a bit on the front side seams from about 1 inch under the arm down about 4 inches and tapered back to the normal seam line.  All sewing done on the sewing machine using wobble stitch.  I really should use the serger on the next one.  And learn to use that cover stitch machine I thought I had to have.  One thing I didn’t realize while cutting out was that the neckline and sleeve cut was a raw edge treatment.  Not the look I was after, so I ended up having to piece the the neckline binding as I didn’t have fabric long and wide enough to do a single strip.  I just folded up a hem for the sleeves which are a tiny bit short.  One thing I’ll do differently next time is to reduce the neckline, as it is just a bit wide for my preference.  No straps (or anything else) showing, it’s more it would keep the sweaters I’ve been wearing with it from being scratchy on my neck.  And it’s rarely warm enough for me to not wear a sweater.

So, here’s some bad photos.  I really had to wedge into the small area at the mirrors, where the light isn’t all that great.  Maybe someday I’ll have a better setup, or master the timer on the camera, until then, this is what you get for photos on me.  Otherwise it will be photos on the dress form.


Vogue 9057, Nicole Miller knit fabric


Guess I should have straightened out the back – it stuck to my jeans after I was reaching around in my first attempts to take the back view photo.

I’ve been looking for my Fons & Porter design “wall” – it’s really a large flannel/vinyl sheet.  I found some Command spring clips to hang it up with in DS’s former room.  I have no idea where it’s at.  I had it clipped to the mirrors (closet doors shut) at one time, took it down and put it away so I could get in the closet.  Sigh…..maybe I’ll take the truck to work one day this week and buy a couple sheets of insulation board to prop up in there if it’s not too expensive.  That F&P sheet wasn’t all that big if I recall correctly.  Certainly not big enough for a full-queen size quilt.

That’s about it for sewing news here.  Maybe next time I’ll have more exciting tales and photos.  Bye for now…

Days Off Progress

September 9, 2016

I’ve been off work this week, using vacation days that must be used or lost by the end of the month.  As usual, I haven’t gotten nearly as much done as I planned.  One day had an unplanned excursion to Mt. Pleasant antique thresher & tractor show.  Now I can say I’ve been there.  The old machines were very cool (or rather very hot with all the wood smoke and steam), but LOTS of walking and noise.  At least it wasn’t too difficult to find a bench to sit on for a few minutes when my legs needed a break and it wasn’t 90+ degrees like it so often is.  Another day was lost to financial ponderings, I’m not too happy on this and will definitely let the money guy know!  The mystery Union Special machine has remained untouched, I’m beginning to think this one will be a candidate for a new home.

On to what I did get done that I had on the plans to do – the potatoes are dug, pitiful results this year but no one to blame but myself for not getting them planted until June.  I organized the quilting fabrics that I moved to the closet in DS’s room (he moved out the end of July), I attempted to fix the cutting table wheel (JB Weld on the broken weld, not sure if it’s a fix or fail), put the sling back under the cutting table and put interfacing and pattern tracing paper back in it (now I can close the closet in the sewing room if I want).  In the process of doing that, I found 2 rolls of InvisiGrip that I just knew I had, but didn’t know where it was.  Now if I can just find that Fons & Porter design wall sheet I know is somewhere.  And the highlight – I finished my first QOV top.  I made either a cutting or sewing error, but the blocks had to all be recut to 6 1/4 inches square, not the 6 1/2 inches I was aiming for.  It also still needs pressing.

Scrappy Rail Fence QOV top, still needs pressing. After fixing the cutting or sewing error, it ended up 57 1/2″ x 80″


Quilting fabrics, left side

Quilting fabrics, left side of closet, 2 vintage embroidered quilts needing repairs hanging up.


Quilting fabric, right side

Quilting fabric, right side

It’s hard to believe I had all that fabric on the shelves stuffed on 1 shelf in the sewing room, no wonder it fell on my head a couple times and I didn’t know how much and what I had.  I’m restraining myself from moving anything else into the room.  IF I make it my sewing room, it needs painting as dark army green just isn’t my color.  Also the carpet would need to go.  I have a short berber carpet in the current sewing room and I HATE it as it makes it too hard to roll the chair up to the machine, even with a chair mat.  I also suspect that’s part of the reason a weld holding the wheel mount on the cutting table broke.

I’ll lose most of this afternoon to an appointment, and then there’s the normal cleaning/grocery run to do before Monday.  I’d still like to organize the garment fabrics and do a bit of garment sewing.  And now that I figured out how to get photos off the phone, I need to find where they went on the Mac before I clean up the phone.  We’ll see how much I get done, as usual I have too much plans, too little time.

Mystery Machine

July 16, 2016

Here are photos of the mystery machine, found last summer, sitting outside, barely under an open roof area at an antique shop going out of business.  I waffled, walked away….what’s that I hear?!?!   A quiet cry “Don’t leave me! Pleeeeease don’t!”.  Sigh.  My thoughts interrupted by the owners comment of “half price!”   My resolve was sunk.

She’s filthy, I have done nothing to her, other than sit her on the floor in the sewing room, out of the weather. The only part that moves is the pressure foot will raise and the bed comes off, otherwise she’s locked up tight.  I see no markings, other than what is probably a serial number on the top arm which reads (115997).  Now that I have had the bed off for photos, I don’t see anything that would catch the thread to make the chain stitches, at least I’m assuming she’s a chain stitcher.  If not, there’s a whole lot more parts missing.  Edit: After taking photos, I realized there is a bottom piece that looks like a serger looper.


Front view

Front view

Back view

Back view

front view with bed removed

front view with bed removed

back view under bed

back view under bed




bottom hook

2 tension pins, the front tension pin is empty

And now I realize no spool pin, but she does have 2 tension pins (1 missing the disks), might she have been for factory use?  I’d appreciate thoughts on her past!  And how to set her up for use if I ever get that far.

Slight sewing update

July 7, 2016

Three months?  Already?!?  Well, it doesn’t take long to fall off the posting routine, does it?  Especially when you really have no sewing or needlework progress to post about.  And I don’t want to come here whining about not sewing or stitching.  I’ve been on vacation from work this week, and got a grand total of ONE small item sewn so far.  I lost one whole day to financial crap, another day went to garden work.  Tomorrow I go to the quilt show in Muscatine, it is open on Saturday as well.  And I *have* spent 2 full days in the sewing room so far.

Here’s the completed project –

Remember Me Pattern Co.

Remember Me Pattern Co.

DH’s step Grandpa’s funeral flag (WWI veteran), a cross stitch project from years ago, DS’s prize winning American Legion Memorial Day poster, barn board flag and the new wall hanging.

It is a pattern by Remember Me Pattern Co. (no website), On Point Flags.  I got the pattern at Heartland Cottons in DeWitt, IA.  They have a lot of their patterns in stock, and some kitted up.   I used fabric from my stash.  I used 3 each red, white & blue, plus the tan for the background and backing.  The hanger is a bit of gold cording from the stash tacked on at the top.  I’ve never done paper piecing before, and it took me a whole day.  While I like the results, it seems like it could waste a lot of fabric.  Or crumbs for those who like to make those blocks.

In other sewing related news, I moved the Queen Ann cabinet with the Singer 15-91 from the sewing room to a corner in the living room, and shifted the Necchi back around to the wall.  The leaf is folded out laying on top of the other Queen Ann cabinet.  If i need to open that one (not until I get around to rewiring it!) I can still lift the Necchi leaf and get the 201-2 out.  I’m leaning more toward selling the 2 15-91s and 201-2s and am keeping an eye out for a treadle model 15.  So far the few I’ve found are rust heaps, so far away shipping would be involved, or sellers want to fund their retirement with what they are asking.  A while back, while pondering the sewing room state, I noticed a wheel on my cutting table crooked.  The wheel itself is fine, but the weld holding the wheel mount to the frame let loose on one side.

On the quilting front, hand quilting the bird quilt is still sporadic.  I make myself work on it for a night or 2, tell myself to keep at it every night, and then…..don’t.  My travel work project is a Halloween biscuit quilt, it’s progress is also sporadic.  I signed up for Freedom Stitchers, the Quilts of Valor group in Cedar Rapids.  I need to root through the stash and find suitable fabrics for that.

So, in the vacation time left, I hope to finish straightening up a couple more corners in the sewing room, maybe sew a top, or at least set out fabric and pattern combination, and maybe pull out the QOV fabric.  Or work on piecing the back for a quilt top I finished last year(?).

Thanks for stopping by, I’ll try not to be so long before posting again.

If you can possibly help out….

March 31, 2016

The local no-kill animal shelter is in dire financial straits.  They’ve never been financially comfortable, but now they are in danger of closing in a few months.  If anyone stopping by could help out, it would be highly appreciated.  And donations are tax deductible.  Here’s a link to their Go Fund Me account –

Friends of the Animals – Tipton, Iowa

The staff at the shelter and all the animals thank you.


Five weeks already?!?! And the seat covers ARE now finished!

March 8, 2016

No wonder 5 years slipped by so easily without posting, these five weeks just flew by!  I may need to rethink the Sunday night posting schedule.  By the time I get the last “gotta do” tasks before work on Monday, posting seems to slip my mind.

Now, about those seat covers (sorry no new pictures, there really isn’t much to show) –

After getting in and out of the car a few times, it became apparent that a few tweaks were needed.  The seat cover fabric was just too slippery on the original seat fabric.

The seat back was pretty stable.  The holes for the head rest and the strap around the seat back worked well.

The first alteration was adding a dart to the front inside corner of the seat so it was closer to the underside of the seat.  This helps keep the cover from sliding toward the door when I get out.

Second, I added a strap to the back edges of the seat that go behind the seat to help keep the seat from sliding forward and the corners from flipping up.

Third, I stuffed a section of foam pipe insulation into where the seat and back meet.  This also keeps the seat from sliding forward.  That’s a tip I read somewhere for keeping furniture slip covers in place, I figured why not for car seat covers?

Fourth, a section of the non-slip shelf liner (the width of the seat) was placed between the seat and the cover to keep it from sliding in any direction.  I kept it toward the front of the seat, to help keep it in place as my legs are sliding under the steering wheel.

These changes have kept the seat cover in place nicely for almost 3 weeks now.

I need to remember to show them to the people at Hancock Fabrics (“my” store is closing, sniff, sniff.  WAHHHH!!!).  I know a lot of you did not like your Hancock store, I will miss the one I go to regularly.  Clean store, nice employees who knew at least a bit about sewing, some knew a LOT about sewing, and I had better luck finding garment fabrics there than at Joann.  That leaves the nearest Hancock about 90 minutes away, in a place I never go.  I guess I should be happy for my finances, I’ll probably spend much less on garment fabrics now.  And maybe patterns, as it seems like Joann has cut back on their pattern sales?  Then I wonder if Hancock would not have gone into bankruptcy again if at least now and then we all bought a pattern or fabric without waiting for a sale or coupon.  But they could have helped themselves by not having huge amounts of fleece and nasty feeling low quality polyester garment fabrics.  I also doubt the executives took any pay or bonus cuts, while paying those on the floor as little as possible, or not listening to the customers’ requests or complaints.  I haven’t gotten into buying fabrics online, I still need to see & feel it in person.  So far.  I should not be so sad, I have garment fabric and patterns to last at least several years of sewing.

I hope to get back to more sewing this weekend, the last couple of weekends have been tied up with financial tasks like getting tax forms together and double checking I have all ready for the appointment.  Add to that the normal cleaning and weekly supply run, Saturday & Sundays just fly by.  Also I think I need to rework the lighting in the sewing room, it doesn’t seem to be bright enough at night to sew during the weeknights.  The bit of light that comes in through the window during the daytime makes a big difference in my desire to do much in here.

That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by.

Possibly Finished Project – Seat Covers

January 30, 2016

Well.  The posting sort of fell off already, didn’t it.  Until today, I really didn’t have anything to show, so that would have been really boring for anyone stopping by.  I did get a bit more quilting done, but nothing photo worthy.  No more progress was made on cleaning up the sewing room.   No scratch that – I did buy a clothes rail and garment bags and moved some things out of the sewing room closet to that in the basement.  Along with all the table cloths fin the hall closet from Mom.  Two weeks ago, I was battling a cold, not the worst I’ve ever had, but that Sunday, I had no energy and slept most of the day.  Anyway, on to the big sewing news for this week…

The used car I got in July 2015 has all black interior – not my first choice of color.  But the heated steering wheel ranked higher than seat color.  My issue with the black seats is that it shows every speck of dirt or dust, and in summer is hot.  The search in local stores was futile – all black, brown or camo.  I wanted something bright and pretty.  And then, the question popped into my head – “How hard could it be to make seat covers?”.   The actual sewing wasn’t difficult, but the pattern making and figuring out how to make it was…time consuming.  I’ve had the fabric since September and have worked on this sporadically since.

To make the pattern, I took paper and pinned to it the seats and traced seam lines with pencil marks and holes and fingernail creases in the paper.  Hindsight tip – use non-slippery fabric (muslin or old sheet?) so it stays in place while marking.  I used outdoor fabric from Hancock Fabrics, not only because it *should* hold up to wear, but also to UV exposure.  I bought 3 yards, but I think I used just over 2 yards.  Most of the seams were double stitched using a 3.0 mm straight stitch, jeans needle, and normal polyester thread.  The thread is the reason I did double stitching on the seams, we’ll see how it holds up.

Here’s the results –

Seat Cover

Seat Cover, nice and bright. And NOT black.

Seat Cover back, strap with buckle at bottom


I may need to come up with a better way to hold the seat portion in place, right now they are just pulled down and wedged into the plastic part right beside the outer side of the seat.   I’ll see how much they slip around.  Perhaps some clips of some sort?

Would I do this again?  I don’t know.  I think I’d explore the internet for ready-made options first.  Or check with someone who does auto upholstery.  There are just too many other things I’d rather sew.

January 10, 2016

Sewing activity this week was sporadic.  I worked on hand quilting for about 1 1/2 hours one night this week.  And worked for SIX HOURS mending flannel lined jeans for DS.  Because he kept wearing them until the holes were huge.  Because it is turning nasty cold the next few days.  Because finding new ones in his size was a failure this weekend.  The 2 Thiesen’s stores I got to had sizes 38 waist and below, and 42 and above.  No size 40 in any brand or style.  You’d think store buyers would be smart enough to buy more of the sizes they run out of, and fewer of the sizes they don’t.  I will try another store Monday after work.  Thiesen’s also seems to be failing me on finding jeans for myself lately as well.  I may end up returning to ordering from Lands’ End.

Apologies about the lack of photos again this week, maybe next weekend I’ll get some photos of projects in progress.  Or something at least sewing related, like some of the pin cushions I’ve found at flea markets, or made.  I should have taken photos of mending the jeans, or at least before & after.  Maybe next time, I’m sure there will be many more to repair.

Giving the blog another shot

January 4, 2016

Wow, can it really be 5 years since posting?!

Anyway, I’m going to try posting here again, mostly about sewing.  Maybe some organizing, needlework, knitting, crochet.

What’s been happening in the last 5 years?  For 4 years, not a lot of sewing, unless you count mending jeans.  Which I don’t.  However in the last year, I’ve sewn –

– McCall 6963 3 times (fabrics from Hancock and Joann) plus 1 hack to use a bit of fabric found on the remnant table at Hancock.  I used the version with the higher neckline, the sleeves varied according to how much fabric I had.  This as a well drafted pattern, however I did to a FBA on all 3.  Sadly on the white/metalic somehow I got the dart points about 1 inch too low, so must wear it under another layer.  On the hack version, the dart is built into the seamline between lace and knit fabrics.

– McCall 6996 2 times, the black/white fabric from Joann, the red fabric has been in the stash so long, I don’t remember.  I didn’t get photos of the projects on myself or the dress form, so these will just show the fabrics.  I sewed the black/white as drafted, on this one, it seem like the shoulder keeps pulling backwards.  I shifted the shoulder seam forward about 3/4 inch on the red one, much better!  I think next time, if there is one, an FBA will be added.

McCall 6963, showing fabrics used

McCall 6963, showing fabrics used

McCall 6963, fabrics used. The one on the right is the hacked version with FBA build into the seamline

McCall 6963, fabrics used. The one on the right is the hacked version with FBA build into the seamline

fabrics used for McCall 6996

The current projects are seat covers for the car and a couple of quilts.  The car has black interior, which besides getting hot in summer, shows every speck of dirt, dust and spills.  The only ready made covers I can find are camo, black, brown, or the stuff that looks like woven rugs.  What a job, what with having to make pattern from scratch while scrunched down in the garage.  Right now, I don’t know if I’ll get both done, I certainly don’t think I’ll do it again, I’ll look on line.  One quilt is in the hand quilting stage, where it’s been for a couple of years, the other is a halloween quilt I’m doing as a take-along project.

And there’s a pair of flannel lined jeans lying there with huge rips in the denim part.  Ungh.

And here’s the state of my sewing room, and this is AFTER taking out 3 totes of linen items (embroidered towels & dresser scarves, plain toweling and sacks) I got from Mom’s items.  These are going to the basement, there is absolutely no room in here for them.  Also not in the photos are 2 sewing machine boxes, a bunch of tins and other containers (“could be useful someday” items).  Since I got Mom’s Necchi (hidden behind the pile in the 2nd photo), I don’t know what to do with the 15-91 and 201-2 in the cabinets.  Maybe to the basement with those also?  Move 1 to the living room?  Sell at least one of them?  They both need scary wiring replaced.  What I’d really like to do is find the treadle/hand crank version of the 15-91.   I took the sling off the cutting table and am trying the little totes of fat quarters there.  The interfacing, tracing paper and other items that were in the sling are now in other containers, which I hope are easier to move than the stacks of fat quarters.



Cutting Table Modification, and Happy New Year!

December 31, 2011

Here’s how I resolved the question of adding storage to my drop leaf cutting table.

I kept my tracing paper, interfacing and odd fabrics like the vinyl and insul-brite rolled standing in end in boxes in the closet.  I kept eyeing the cutting table, and thinking “that’s a lot of wasted space”.  I had moved a stack of plastic drawers to the closet when I put the “new” sewing machine at the window, and wanted to minimize the amount of stuff to move when accessing the drawers.

I got some interesting ideas from PR and Stitchers Guild, but I should have been more specific in my requirements –
1. must still be able to move the table
2. must still be able to put the leaves down.

So unfortunately that left out putting plastic drawers and such underneath.  Think, think, ponder, think!  How to get shelves under it?
Wood – easy to work with, but too heavy.
PVC pipe – might be easy, but need a lot of pieces.  How messy is the goop to work with?

AHA!  What about the shoe bags where you slide the shoes in from the end?  Rats!  Too small, and wouldn’t hold up to much use.

Hmmm – what about shelves and brackets usually for walls?  Curses foiled again!  One depth of shelves is too small, the other too big so the table leaves wouldn’t drop.  And things would fall off when the table got moved.  And again, might be too heavy.

More thinking.  I wonder… what about a fabric sling?  with something to keep the shelves solid?  More like those hanging clothing shelves?
YES!  I have fabric, and would just need a few inexpensive bits.  So now to plan the dimensions….I ended up making the sling 12″x30″, with 8″ between the shelves.  And at the bottom are 2 6″ shelves notched to fit the upright.  They keep the legs from folding in too far when the leaves are dropped.  It’s fastened to the table by some cording wrapped around the legs.  I had the fabric, so I bought 2 dowels, 2 6″ shelves, and 1/4″ foam core for the shelf stiffening.

And here’s the results –

closer view of top


 It’s not pretty, but it does work.  If this version ever wears out, my planned changes are to find some larger and thicker foam core for the shelf stiffeners, and to come up with a better way to keep things on the bottom shelves.  Right now it’s just some cording pinned to the sling, run under the shelves and pinned on the other side.

 and here’s to a Happy New Year.  No new resolutions for me, just recommitting to some things from last year.