Daffy's Stitchy Friends

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Testing Testing ORTs

Thursday was the New Moon and I am late once again for the Totally Useless Stitch A Long! My ORTs are a little sparse this month as I haven't been doing enough crafting! I have been playing with the machinery and learning it instead of creating. I've played some on the 301 and a lot on the 503. The ORTs in my bowl are a few cast off threads and really messed up leader/ender blocks. I do have a nice pile of finished half square triangles! The tiny feed dogs on the vintage machines lets me stick a sewing guide down and gives me precise 1/4 inch seams.

The really messed up blocks were caused by the presser foot pressure being set all the way down on the 301 and it took me a bit to figure out why it didn't want to feed the fabric. It was also frozen up and took me a long time of oiling and waiting and trying, then finally asking Dash to try unsticking it. Dash has strong fingers and got it loosened enough for me to get it thoroughly oiled and working freely! It sewed much better with the lighter touch on the presser foot!

After the 301, I got out the 503 and started playing. Since the 503 has zigzag capabilities I wanted to see what it can do. On the modern machines you push a button to set a different stitch but, on this 503, you open the top and insert a cam that moves the needlebar. I got out all the cams in order and sewed a line of stitches with each. Sometimes it took me a bit to figure out what stitch settings made the best looking stitches! A funny aside: I sewed for a long time that day in my stocking feet and wore a sore spot on my foot from the foot pedal button! 


Now it is YOUR turn...we want to see your ORTs! Leave a comment on this post with a link to your May TUSAL post so we can come visit! If I hold a Totally Useless giveaway your comment will earn you an extra entry.

Wondering what a TUSAL is and why all these people are posting pictures of rubbish? Click here to learn more and join the fun!

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A New Facination

I have become increasingly interested in vintage Singer sewing machines. Mind you, I said vintage...not antique! While I think the oldie-oldies are pretty and quaint, I don't find them as attractive as the little bit newer ones. I'm talking 1950-1960 era, the true workhorses, electric and made so well they are still running today. I decided I wanted one. While I love my Juki and I have a cheapie Singer as a backup, I really wanted a vintage machine. What to do but go shopping? I asked Dash to take me to two antique malls nearby.

I spotted this pink box in the first one!
A buttonholer!

Everything was inside, including the connecting screw that is almost always missing. The space-age clamshell box is adorable. It was mine for less than $5 even though I didn't even own a machine it would connect to! I did see a couple of machines in that first mall but alas, not what I was after.

Halfway through the second mall I spotted a familiar cabinet all closed up and half hidden under a display shelf. I peeked underneath and saw a machine in the dusty recesses. I called Dash over and together we dug it out from under its burden and I opened the top.

A Singer 503. wow.
The price sticker:

I dashed to the front of the store and asked the lady for an electric outlet. The light came on and the motor worked! Poor thing had been sitting there, buried in junk, since 2014. Mine for a mere $35.

I googled on the way home that the 503 uses the buttonholer that comes in the pink clamshell box. Dash swears this was a SET UP, that I knew the two items were there and we were merely going to pick them up! But no, it was truly an adventure...

The Singer 503 was released in 1961 in the height of the space craze. People call this model the Rocketeer and it is rather "Jetson's" in styling isn't it? I have him cleaned up, oiled and sewing like nobodies business. Oh, dear I'm hooked! 

I next asked Dash to go to Claremore, Oklahoma. where they have a huge gathering of antique shops. Dash was game for that but he wanted to go extra early so we could eat breakfast at Hugo's before any shopping. This meant an hour and 45 minute drive, plus a good long wait in line before eating but Hugo's bacon is to die for! Dash and I shared these plates and could not finish.

The second shop we went to was a large mall, super squirrelly inside and easy to get lost and turned around. I spotted this pink Wilson sewing box. It was full of notions and I saved what I liked but most of the stuff shown here is my eBay purchases for the Rocketeer. 

The 503 Rocketeer uses those black Bakelite Tophat cams to do fancy stitches. I had found a large set on eBay and snapped them up. I adore the pink Wilson box and now I have someplace nice to store all the cams in. Dash and I were unlucky for the rest of the day and only bought the box, and breakfast...the breakfast would have been worth the whole trip!

Looking at eBay can be dangerous. I saw this lovely Singer 301 with no bids at a reasonable price. Sold! This was the machine I was originally interested in finding. The 301 is a straight stitch only machine. It can whiz by at 1500 stitches a minute if you could keep up. I unboxed excitedly, took it apart and oiled and lubed and she took off like a racehorse, not bad for an oldie 1956 machine! 

Sewing on these vintage beauties has a bit of a learning curve when you are used to sewing on modern machines. They look different, sound different, smell different, feel different! Sound? The vintage machines sound like a miniature jet plane revving up! Not loud at all but very different! Where I have learned even the tiniest sound my Juki makes (I can tell when it misses a stitch) and can tap out a single stitch on the foot pedal the vintage foot pedal looks like this:

1950's era ergonomics! You rest your foot against the right peg and roll your foot left on the button. It is taking some getting used to! The cabinet the Rocketeer came in has a knee control. This foot pedal goes inside and you control with a push of the knee. I just need Dash to help me put the Rocketeer back into the cabinet now they are all cleaned up. 

I have been watching lots of  YouTube videos and reading blogs and other websites about these vintage machines. I am so interested! One day, I'd love to learn how to adjust and repair them formally. For now, I shall watch videos. And learn!

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Dresden Fun

I nearly titled this post, "The Dresden Files" but figured that was too nerdy, ha ha! Since returning home from retreat I continued on with the Dresden Plate blocks. These are insanely fun to create. Sewing all the points, snipping corners and turning them out, pressing then sewing again. 

The mini ironing board was invaluable and the little Steamfast iron cannot come more highly recommended! I must remember how handy this set-up is the next time I have blocks requiring a lot of pressing in between sewing. It was so nice to just turn and press instead of gathering everything up and taking it all to the pressing station then carrying it all back to the machine. Plus, I can sew my seam and press it right off instead of waiting and pressing everything at the end.

Once I got all the plates together and stitched to the block it was time to make circles. I found a round jar top that covered my holes neatly and drew circles on the wrong side of my fabric. I used iron-on interfacing, glue side toward the right side of my fabric and stitched right on the drawn line. I cut them out and made a little slit in the interfacing, and turned the fabric making sure it lay smooth and round.

These got ironed onto the centers on the plates.

Then again using the blanket stitch got secured. It's almost invisible but when you do see the sewing it is pretty stitches to see!

Now I have all 16 plates finished. It's quite a pile! I need to decide how I want to put them together. 

I have the idea to sew a folded corner square to each inside corner, giving me an on point square when the blocks are sewn. This would eliminate the large area of blank white space between the plates. I just can't decide how large? Ideas? The white blocks themselves are 21 inches. Decision time. These cry out to be finished! I also need to go run that long arm again before I forget everything!

I have been on a bit of an adventure these past couple of weeks and maybe my next post will tell you about it? I think it's quite exciting and I am looking forward to sharing with you!

Thank you for visiting my blog today!