Tag Archives: sewing machine

oh no she didn’t

Buy yet another sewing machine? I sure did 🙂
To quote my boyfriend “Don’t you have three sewing machines already? What do you need another one for?”. The answer to that could only be: “But look at her, she’s so preeetty!”

Meet number 4, a tiny Elna Lotus tsp. She looks terribly cute next to my massive 1930’s Phoenix treadle and she’s just small enough to not take up too much space and to be set up quickly if I need a zig-zag stitch. And very handy too, clapping up the sides and she’s ready to go, needing no case.

She was a bargain at the thrift store for 10€ and I just had to have her. She’s also reasonably clean and seems to be in good working order (I haven’t yet tested her thoroughly though…spending nearly a whole day thrifting yesterday while still fighting that nasty cough has ensured that I’ve spent almost all of today on the couch with a book and a cup of tea). With a glass for size comparison. She really is tiny:

And not the only lucky find yesterday! I’m in love with this pea green tea pot and the pretty pyrex dish.

I already have a teapot and dishes of course…minimalism definitely didn’t win yesterday. My friend and I really did go a bit wild, cheering us on for every newfound treasure (“Ah, go on, it costs next to nothing”). I also bought three sweaters (one handmade crocheted 1980’s sweater with dolman sleeves pictured below), two winter hats (one pictured below), a small handbag, some old records with fairytales from my childhood, a couple of storage jars and glass candle holders and so on.

Thrifting weekends are the best! Since starting these regular trips, I’ve become very bored with store shopping…endless supplies of mass produced stuff just don’t do it for me anymore. I need the thrill of the treasure hunt.


how to sew on a vintage treadle – part 2: the bobbin thread

So here’s the next installment of the series on how to use a vintage treadle. For part 1 have a look here. The bobbin thread spool can be found by removing the lid by the needle

Carefully take the spool out

We now need to take the bobbin out and place it on this part at the back of the machine

and click it into place:

The bobbin should be empty but I only have 3 and there was enough blue thread on this one that I wanted to save, so that’s why there’s already some thread on it.

We now need to put the spool of thread in place at the top and find out how to guide it down to the bobbin. General rule: any hooks that are there are probably meant to be used.

Wrap some thread onto the bobbin.Now we need to undo the screw on the crank, so the needle won’t turn when we wind the bobbin.

Now we can wind the thread onto the bobbin using the treadle pedal. Do this in one swing, don’t stop in between. Especially if you’re new to treadling you may get it to turn the wrong way when you stop and start again and then you’ll have to start all over because the thread on the bobbin gets tangled. When the bobbin is full, we can cut the thread and click it back in place. Remember to also retighten the screw!

The loaded bobbin goes back into the bobbin case and just like with modern machines, the thread needs to be guided so it hooks into the bobbin case correctly.

Done! We can now carefully put the bobbin case back (carefully because with my machine the bobbin falls out of the case easily and it can be a pain to go rummaging for it in the container in the table).

Stay tuned for part 3, where we will learn how to thread the top thread!

scandinavia quilt

My dad’s birthday was on Sunday, so I can finally blog the quilt I made him. Last year I wasn’t home for his birthday and then my sewing machine got broken and he only got something small for christmas, so really this quilt covers two birthdays and one christmas 😉
While I love bright, sunshiny colors and the look of patchwork I know my dad definitely likes a more subdued look and scandinavian colours. So when I found this red pinstriped linen blend I knew it was perfect. The backing is a plain dark blue and the plaid binding connects the two colours and livens it all up a bit (I think).

I had originally planned to machine quilt it but it just didn’t work at all with my treadle…no chance without a walking foot. So I sat down to cried a bit and then I picked myself back up and started handquilting. Inspired by Anna Maria Horners new post I did big stitches with embroidery floss (3 strands if anyone wants to know the particulars).
And then I looked at it and the bold, rough quilting looked just perfect for the overall look I wanted to achieve. I think I will do handquilting with embroidery floss from now on on all of my quilts…I love the look of it and it is nice and quick work.

Not that quick though…so when I found out I only had two and a half days to complete it (due to my dad being away on business the whole week until his birthday) I went into panic mode and spend those days quilting and sewing. I never would have believed it but in those two days I got it basted, quilted, bound, washed and dried (though I had to drive over to my mom’s to use her dryer).

Except for sewing the binding on on one side the whole quilt is entirely handsewn and I am pretty darn proud of it. Thankfully my dad loves it so it was definitely worth it.

Want to know one of my guilty sewing-secrets? I never use a hoop for embroidery or quilting…when I learned it I didn’t have one and when I finally bought one it drove me crazy and didn’t work for me at all. So I just stretch the fabric tight with my hands while quilting.
This picture actually has the truest colours for the lovely red fabric (and it was at the beginning of the handquilting…a few hours on my fingers looked considerably more covered in band aid).

and another high-waisted skirt

I am really loving these and had to make another one. This time I made the skirt a full circle and added pleated pockets (tutorial by Rae). Of course I messed up a little again and it came out too big, so I had to add two pleats each at the front and the back. I didn’t have a zipper foot for my old treadle machine (though I’m getting one now!), so I stitched the zipper in by hand. Next time I think I’ll try an A-line shape.
I’m not too fond of these pictures, but it’s freezing and dark outside and I didn’t want to wait till the weekend to take new ones. Those gorgeous shoes are Dino Bigioni by the way (friends of mine).

(click to see these slightly larger)


My copies of ‘Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified’ by Cal Patch and ‘Water for Elephants’ by Sara Gruen arrived in the mail yesterday. I can’t wait to read either of those, so it’s going to be a rather quiet weekend.

Also my pretty vintage treadle has had to take a trip to the sewing machine doctor’s. Apparently there really is something not quite right with the upper tension (so it wasn’t just my mistake) and while fixing it the shop will give her a good clean as well and do all necessary adjustments and such. I know it’s in good hands but I really miss it already and it will be gone for about a week! I think my relationship with my material possessions is a bit unhealthy…it is certainly wrong to be so emotionally attached to a sewing machine, a notebook or a camera, right?

I should follow the cat’s example…the only thing they’re deeply emotionally attached to is food!

isn’t she a beauty?

Proudly presenting: my “new” old sewing machine! When my gran said I could have hers as my yellow 70s machine is broken right now I thought she meant an electric model from the 50s (which would have been awesome as well). But no, she meant this beauty:

She herself got it from her gran. I think it may date back to the 1930s or 40s but I really have no idea (EDIT: after hours of internet research I found out it dates back to 1929!!).
I’m so in love with it, I can’t stop looking at it! Sadly it comes without a manual or extra needles/bobbin/feet, but with the help of some lovely people on a german sewing board and some youtube videos I was able to figure out how to oil it, thread it and adjust tension and stitch length and…it works like a dream! I just really have to practise using the treadle.

It is in pristine condition and was obviously well cared for all its life. I know my gran probably hasn’t used it in 20 years but it was dusted and polished every week nevertheless 😉
Excuse me now, while I go drool over it some more.