Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Calling All Plus Size Bloggers!

A new thread on PatternReview.com was started yesterday, with a request for links to plus size bloggers. It's a great idea but I thought I would pick up and carry that ball a little further since that thread will eventually get buried on PR.

So, if you blog about sewing for plus sizes, blog about styles for plus-sizes, or just know of a good blog that fits either category, please leave a comment on this post with a link to the blog. (Even if you're already linked in my sidebar, please leave a separate comment so it's easier for me to make up this new list.)

I'll create a new sidebar item on my blog (near the top!) with the names of and links to these blogs and will keep it updated as I find more blogs to add.

Thanks everyone! I hope we can build a great list!

* * * * *

Unrelated, but in need of mention - I'm currently re-arranging my website (not my blog) where my tutorials and coverstitch stuff lives. This means that info is temporarily down. Sorry. They'll be back soon. I think I may be putting it all onto a new blog instead of my own website, but I'm still thinking on that and there just aren't enough hours in the day to get it done as quickly as I want.

Also unrelated - the TNT capris are nearly done. What's left is some topstitching, a closure, and hems. (Maybe tonight?) We had whopper t-storms start up Sunday night so I needed to turn off equipment and didn't get to finish. We ended up losing power for a couple of hours, but thankfully it was bedtime and we hardly noticed. Yay for wind-up alarm clocks! We also lost a big tree, which is now horizontal in the side yard, and lots of big branches are strewn all over the rest of the property. The guys are looking forward to some chainsaw action this weekend. ;-)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Miscellaneous Thoughts

I'm working on the altered TNT capris and hope to have them finished later tonight. In the meantime, I'm taking a little break and thought I'd share some photos and ramblings about the process.

The white pattern is my TNT. The brown tissue is the CC "jeans." Look at that front crotch curve. It's huge. And look at how far downward it slopes. Jeans don't look like that.

If they do, you end up with socks in the crotch, like this (which really isn't showing you how truly bad it is because I have them pulled up really high):

Here's the CC back pocket, over mine. Mine has 1/2" seam allowances, the CC has 5/8" so there's even more of a difference than first seems. Ladies with large patooties are not flattered by skinny little pockets on their backsides. It only points out how much "space" there is on either side of the skinny pocket. All pattern pieces need to be in scale to body wearing them — it's not one-size-fits-all.

Here's the back yoke piece. Odd, isn't it? On pants with a back yoke, you wouldn't just add to the center/top of the yoke like this to get extra length to cover a larger backside. When drafting a pattern, you would add the extra length to a typical darted pants block and then create the yoke so you can have jeans that look like everyone else's, instead of this weirdness. You'd alter an existing pattern the same way too (below the yoke).

So after my fuming about this stupid pattern wore off, I altered my TNT for more tummy room, which is the only place I needed to adjust it. But instead of tracing off the whole front pattern, I just traced the upper section and attached it to the TNT. This gives me a "fold down" piece which keeps the original pattern intact, but incorporates the new spread for tummy room. The spread also keeps the sideseams intact so they still match the back in shape/length. Genius, eh? Nah, it's just the cheap and easy way. ;-)

Here's the "herd" in action. I can't tell you how absolutely luxurious it is to have a dedicated topstitching machine - the Viking 6010. It's as good as the dedicated coverstitch machine peeking out on the right. Once I get a new longer table/countertop so I can spread out more, it will be even more decadent. Oh, and $23 is what I ended up paying for this machine after the seller compensated for the shipping damage. That's almost free!

Can't you see the family resemblance with her next to her big sisters? ;-)

Here's a couple samples of the real topstitching in action (vs. the samples I showed earlier).

Now back to the sewing room!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Do I Ever Learn?

The answer is, so far No!

Let me explain.

I wear pretty much 2 styles of pants. One, zipper fly-front jeans/capris. Two, semi- or fully elasticated pants/capris. That's it.

I have TNT patterns for each of these basic shapes, which I have tweaked and/or changed now and then to incorporate a few style change-ups like a back waist yoke, different pockets, and different hem widths. I spent a good amount of time over the years getting these patterns to TNT status. They are golden.

No new pants/jeans pattern has ever worked without altering the pattern to end up just like … wait for it … my TNT patterns. Some, like my recent success with the Hot Patterns Marrakesh pants, need fewer alterations to get there. But they ALL do need alterations. And they all end up as the same basic pattern.


Well, part of my stubbornness is that I've gained a few pounds and my "old" jeans don't quite fit anymore and, hey, don't we all keep hoping that This One Will Be It - pants that fit with no alterations? Yeah. Well. Not gonna happen. Not for this girl anyway.

So, I'm punting on the Connie Crawford jeans and going back to one of my TNT patterns, tracing it and then slash/spreading to add more tummy room. Because that's really the only place that doesn't fit at the moment on my TNT jeans.

Besides, the CC jeans are just plain weird and the more I tried on the muslin and thought about what to do with it, the more frustrated I was getting.

First, there is a HUGE amount of ease in this pattern, so I would need to go down one, probably two sizes and start over. Seriously, I had to sew out over FOUR INCHES at the CB. That's not a "slight" adjustment.

Next, the back yoke is strange. The "point" of it hits *very* low (think "crack" of dawn here) and it's curvy (much curvier than the line drawing), which just makes my hip fluff look curvy in the wrong way. Neither of these would be a show-stopper because I don't tuck in, but they're still issues of weirdness.

Next, the front crotch curve is all wrong for me, and probably anyone else who is expecting, well, jeans from a jeans pattern. It's about 3-4" longer (wider) than my TNT pattern, and not a jeans crotch curve at all. I want my jeans to fit snug around the hips and tummy and to help "suck in" the gut, not make me look like I'm carrying a load of socks down there. (If you look at the plus size model on the Butterick site with this in mind, you'll see what I mean, except on me it was even worse.)

Finally, the legs are just too wide in the thigh area, which with my very full thighs tells you just how much ease there is in these. There is no way the model photograph of this pattern is from jeans sewn straight from the pattern. There is either some sneaky pinning/clamping (or Photoshopping) going on or the pattern was altered before it was sewn, to which I cry Foul!

So, I'm scrapping the time I wasted spent with this pattern and will begin tracing my TNT Simp 4068 as soon as I post this. Hopefully I will stay focused and at least get to the point of having the fabric cut so I can sew all day tomorrow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review: Viking 6010 Sewing Machine

Price Paid: US $46 (Ebay)


* Built-in ZZ and triple ZZ
* Embroidery Stitches (with cams)
* Free Arm
* Adjustable Stitch Length and Width
* Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure
* Non self-oiling
* Reduction (Low) Gear
* & More (read below)


My favorites include the low gear setting, the interchangeable snap-on presser feet, and the overall familiar feeling of the machine - me being a Viking girl nearly my whole life. The best feature for me is the ability to use heavy topstitching thread both through the needle and the bobbin, for topstitching jeans and other heavy materials with perfectly matching threads and stitches.

Other features are detailed below.


My mom had (still has) a Viking 6430 that she bought new in 1971. That was the machine I learned to sew on, even though I did very little sewing until I was in my late-30s. When the sewing bug finally bit and I went new machine shopping a few years ago, I headed straight for the Vikings and wound up with a Rose and then later sold that and bought a Designer 1. The D1 is my current go-to machine.

Last year, the vintage machine bug bit and I bought a Singer 66 treadle and a Featherweight. The bug has still been biting though and I thought it would be fun to find a machine like mom's. These old machines are great to sew on, wonderful to look at in my sewing room, and just plain addicting to collect.

I decided to do some reading and research on the Viking 6000 series machines before plunking down any cash and learned that it was quite common for the permanently lubed, self-oiling models (from the 6030 onward) to "freeze/seize" since the original lubrication materials would harden if the machine had been left unused and unserviced for long periods of time. There are plenty of reconditioned series 6000 machines available that have been torn down, cleaned and relubed with more modern materials but they were probably going to be out of my price range for what I had decided I would be willing to spend. But worse, there are even more machines that look beautiful on the outside but have *not* been reconditioned and do have usage problems. I didn't want to end up with one of those.

However, I also learned that the 6010/6020 models were the last two TOL (top of the line) Viking models before the self-oiling feature was introduced, which means the freezing/seizing problem would not be an issue. A 6010 or 6020 would also be a darn-close match to mom's 6430 in both features and looks. Of course, there are still potential age/wear problems with any vintage sewing machine so you do have to be careful and/or lucky when shopping. I bought the machine via Ebay and I was lucky. ;-) It did incur minor cosmetic damage during shipping, which was unfortunate because it would have been cosmetically perfect otherwise. The seller offered to take back the machine or refund me half of the purchase price. I chose the latter. So for $23 plus a reasonable shipping charge, I can definitely overlook the few blemishes. I did have to spend about an hour cleaning her up. You should have seen the huge wad of lint jammed into the bobbin area!

Features Detailed

Adjustable Stitch Width - up to 4 mm, with micro-reductions available between whole numbers

Adjustable Stitch Length - up to 4 mm, with micro-reductions available between whole numbers

Adjustable Foot Pressure - Inside the hinged side plate, there is a numbered dial for adjusting foot pressure, which means you always know where you started/ended and can easily go back to a precise setting.

Instant Foot Pressure Release - In addition to the dial for adjusting foot pressure, there is also a red-tipped lever to instantly release all foot pressure.

Quick Drop Feed Dogs Button - Engaging the button on the front of the machine will quickly drop the feed dogs. Releasing the button raises them again.

Snap-On Presser Feet - One of my favorite Viking features. My Designer 1 feet also fit on the 6010, which is great because my 6010 did not come with all of the feet included with the machine when new. The machine will also use standard low-shank presser feet.

Reduction (Low) Gear setting - A great feature, and one for which the series 6000 machines are "famous." The reduction gear allows you to use the machine's full power, but at a lower speed for sewing heavy materials such as thick denim, leather, etc. I tested it with eight layers of heavy denim and various stitches. It works extremely well.

Reverse - The Reverse button is located on the front of machine in the center of the stitch length knob.

Built-in Stitches - Straight, zigzag, 3-step zigzag

Cams - Called "stitch formers," the 6010 came with 4 cams (4 stitches per cam) for additional utility and decorative stitches. All series 6000 cams will work with all series 6000 machines, which means the 7 additional cams which were introduced with later models will work with the 6010 - if you can source them. Note that the cams have 3 "prongs" on the reverse side. If any of these prongs is cracked or missing, the cam will not work.

Narrow Free Arm - Viking free arms are noted for being some of the narrowest available on home machines, which is handy for those sewing children's clothes.

Thread cutter - Integrated thread cutter on the back of the presser bar.

Extension Table - The included enameled metal extension table fits into the machine with a lip and retractable catch. It can be kept in place and moved upward to access the bobbin area.

Oiling Points - The oiling points are clearly marked on the machine exterior and/or in the manual for the oiling points inside the side plate. No gymnastics or semi-disassembly required.

Four-step Buttonhole - There is a special tension setting/mark for buttonholes, and each leg and bartack of the buttonhole is a setting on a dial so you just sequence through each as you go.

Front Loading Bobbin - Metal bobbins inside a metal bobbin case are loaded at the front of the machine, behind a little door which easily flips open even with the extension table in place.

Bobbin Winder - Bobbin winding is easy, with the separate spindle and winding area at the rear/side of the machine. Although not technically a "through-the-needle" bobbin winder, I believe one could wind a bobbin without unthreading the needle. I'll have to remember to try it! But since this machine is so easy to thread, it's not really a big deal either way.

Lighting - There is a bright incandescent light on the arm of the machine with an on/off switch. The light (inside the lamp guard) can be swung downward for close-up work.

On/Off Switch - There is none. You must unplug the machine to turn it off.

Carrying Case - The 6010 comes with a hardshell plastic case. (My mother's 6430 comes with a "suitcase" which I prefer.) Unfortunately, the carrying case for my machine was damaged during shipping. I'm not too upset as I don't plan on transporting this machine.

Accessory Tray - An accessory box which fits around the free arm and holds 6 bobbins, the stitchformer/cams, presser feet and other accessories/tools is standard with the 6010. My "pre-owned" machine did not come with its accessory case. It's easy enough to use another plastic box for the accessories.

Foot pedal - Very substantial and will not easily slide around the floor.

Instruction Manual - Very thorough and well-illustrated with photos and line drawings. Spiral bound. Easy to get up and going on this machine and all of its features with only the manual. Additional information on why and when to use various stitches, including extensive darning and mending instructions, zipper insertion instructions, and various accessory feet instruction. This is how manuals should be.

More photos and accompanying anecdotal comments are here.


These are NOT major dislikes, just slight annoyances because I'm quite used to a more modern, computerized machine.

1. No on/off switch. This came in later models.

2. The needle plate is not marked in fractions or even in millimeters. Instead, it's marked with lines and 1, 2, 3. Not very intuitive, although it's easy to measure and get used to - or, what I did, mark with a fine-point Sharpie.

3. No multiple variable needle positions, but there is a left needle position so that's something.

4. No needle/up down setting. This came in later series 6000 models.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Fabric, Next Project & A Small Rant

I haven't been buying a lot of fabric lately. (Just vintage machines. LOL!) But any time Lucysfabrics.com has new rayon knit prints in "my" colors, I jump on them. She did, I did, and these arrived yesterday. They did not disappoint. I love them all, and right now they are waiting on top of the washer for their pre-treatment, which will be nothing more than tossing them in with other "colors" for a full load through the washer and dryer.

The piece on the far right above is my favorite. What looks black is actually dark brown, which is my black. The turquoise and lime in the print are also two favorite colors, so all around it's a winner for me. I tried to order some more just now and either I was lucky with the last cut or it's all sold out. I hope I got it because this is the good stuff and I'd like to have it in the stash for next summer too. The print in the middle is similar colors, but the fabric on the right is a better quality knit. (They're all good quality, but the one is excellent quality. Belinda - it's the "dry stuff" so you know what I mean!)

So that's what's new in the fabric department.

Up next for sewing will be Butterick 5403, view B. This is a Connie Crawford jeans pattern. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably already know I have a love/hate thing with Connie Crawford's opinions and her patterns, which I'll get into in my small rant later in the post.

While I'd love to be hopping on the Jalie 2908 jeans bandwagon, the truth is that I just don't have a Jalie 2908 body so it would be unrealistic to think it wouldn't need a ton of alterations. Of course, that didn't stop me from buying the pattern so I may still give it a go. ;-)

This CC/Butterick pattern, on the other hand, is supposed to be drafted for my shape and should offer a better starting point. We'll see. I've got the tissue cut but haven't progressed more than that. The back yoke is an interesting (more curvy than usual) shape, which I want to see sewn up. The waistband is not so interesting. It's perfectly straight. Ugh. So I'm guessing I will be changing that or substituting my TNT contoured waistband. Straight waistbands don't work on my curvy high hip fluff.

Now on to my rant …

Connie Crawford was on PatternReview.com for a chat the other night. I didn't tune in for the live version, and instead read the transcript. Most of what was said was a repeat of info she's given in previous magazine articles, etc. But one Q&A stuck out, and confirmed what I've known all along. Connie has her own ideas of what plus-sized women *should* wear instead of what they *want* to wear. Case in point:

SherrilMiller (Apr 11, 2010 8:48:03 PM):
"I'd love to see you make a fashionable dress, one with a waist. Your draft does fit me. Any fitted dresses in the future?"

Connie Crawford (Apr 11, 2010 8:48:41 PM)
"The waist seamed dress is almost impossible to give the larger ladies. Since the same design has to be for both the smaller figure and the larger figure, I am sometimes limited on what will look good on both size ranges. I always consider the plus size lady first.. This is why I use fisheye darts and princess seams so much in the collection. You can fit the waist area with both darts, side seams and fisheye darts. but the waistline on larger ladies (sometimes with an apron) varies quite a bit. and it is not an area that the ladies want to emphasize."

Excuse me?? Why is a waist-seamed dress "impossible" and just exactly how does she know what I do or do not want to emphasize? Did she ask me? No! But if she had, I would have told her that I actually have a waist. Granted, it's a lot bigger than when I was 22, but it's there. And even if it wasn't, a seam will give the ILLUSION that it's there. A tent does not. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure I've seen plus-sized dresses with "impossible" waist seams. I'm also pretty sure that I've bought and worn a few. ;-)

Throughout the chat, Connie repeated how she draped for four years, blah, blah on 40 plus-sized women. Forty. What is that? Like .000001% of the female plus-sized population? Yes, those 40 bodies would give her insight into different shapes, but they would not even begin to be a representative sampling of what we want for styles. What exactly makes her an expert on that? If you ask me (and I know you didn't), I would venture to guess that plus-size ladies want to wear pretty much the same things that our thinner sisters wear. In other words, FASHIONABLE clothes. Not sacks, not tents, not a sloppy baggy mess. Just regular modern-to-trendy clothes that fit us. Even Walmart knows that. Butterick and Connie do not.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Remember These Guys?

It's been a while since any of my pups have made a scheduled appearance on my blog (vs. a nose or some toes peeking out in some sewing photos).

This is what Chili and Dani worked on yesterday. In my front yard! Chili is mainly responsible, but Dani does lend a hand paw or two. The background music was written and sung by my stepson.

Direct link

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

HotPatterns 1108 Revealed

I've got no more energy today except to post some pics and write a few short comments. I'll write up a proper review when I'm not as tired. I took these photos this morning, when my hair was still dripping.

So, here it is. You can see better in the photo on Zillie how much more fabric there is in my shoulder area compared to my usual style of shirt. I'm probably being too hard on it. It's not a completely unflattering shirt, but it's not my best look either. I made the elasticated sleeves, which do help reign in the general baginess in the upper arms.

The yellow line below denotes the shoulder seam. It's very dropped, isn't it? ;-)

You can see the poof of armpit fabric better in this pic.

On the bright side, I made absolutely NO fit alterations except to cut the pattern bigger heading toward the hips. There is a lot of ease in this style so it just wasn't necessary. I did not make a true shirttail hem per the pattern because I don't like them on me, but I did curve the hem and ended up cutting off the 2 inches of "just in case" that I added to the hem length.

It's still a very comfortable and temp-cool shirt and I got to test that out today chasing the dogs into the neighbor's yard as a cat ran by. They want to be friends with the neighbor's cats in the worst way and of course the cats know this and torment the dogs to no end. Cats are good at that. ;-)

Even though I used the "new" 6010 for all of the construction, sans serged seam allowances, I did revert back to the D1 for the buttonholes and buttons. Ever since it came back from the sewing machine hospital, its buttonholes are things of beauty again and are back to being reliably automatic. And can you guess what was the first thing I reached for on the D1? Yep, the presser foot lift bar! In case this makes no sense to you, Designers don't have lift bars — they have a sensor that raises and lowers the foot with no hands. It's one of my favorite D1 features, but it's funny how quickly one reverts to "old school." ;-)

Off to watch the new season of Deadliest Catch on the DVR before heading to bed. Does anyone else watch that show? It looks like there's going to be lots of sadness this year. :-(

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Rolls Around Again

No pictures today but I should have some tomorrow.

This weekend I worked on the HP Weekender Summer in the City shirt. I'm almost done, but I've lost some of my motivation. It's my fault for not really looking closely at the pattern illustration, but this shirt is very 1980s and has extremely dropped shoulders. Not really a look I planned to revisit with my 2010 body, so we'll see.

Remember how I just recently said that sometimes Kimono sleeves work on me and sometimes they don't? This shirt appears to be falling into the "Debbie Don't" category. It has gathers at the shoulder yoke instead of sewn darts and while usually I love me some shoulder gathers, for this top those gathers mean there's a lot of fabric across my bust and into my armpit, which makes for a wider visual. I haven't made up my mind completely because the shirt isn't done yet, so the jury is still out.

But even if it's not going to be a style favorite, I know I will still wear it during the summer because it's loose and flowy and will be quite comfortable during our oppressive summer heat which is now kicking into gear. When it's 95 degrees with 300% humidity, you do tend to sacrifice flattery for comfort. ;-) But It will definitely work as an overshirt for our Artic air-conditioned restaurants where a sweater would be overkill. Well, that is if I would *ever* make the plain white tees that I've been wanting to make forEVER.

I've been sewing this shirt entirely on my "new" Viking 6010 to get to know her and do a real test. Well "entirely" except for overlocking seam allowances with my serger. I squeezed the 6010 onto my sewing table next to the three permanent residents (my serger, my D1, and my CS). It's a little crowded but I pushed the serger to the back when not in use and I have more than enough room. Remember, I used to sew in a closet. :-)

I'm so pleased to report the 6010 is a champ! And while I still wish it didn't happen, I'm pretty much over the surface blemishes from the shipping mishap. I've even edgestitched (evenly!) with it and a couple of my D1 feet. While I hardly ever used the left-edge topstitching foot on the D1, I've found it's perfect for edgestitching with the 6010, giving just the right amount of space between seam and stitch. I love, love that I can use my snap-on Viking feet with this machine.

The motor hums along, so quiet. Much quieter than my D1, which I already thought was pretty quiet. I really can't believe I got this machine for $46. I bet the Ebay seller can't believe it either. LOL! I've bought some more bobbins which should be here this week and I'm going to keep my eyes open for some original feet, but that's not a desperate need like the bobbins since my D1 feet are working great. But I know they're out there so I'll find them at some point.

Yes, AngieA., you *need* one. Bwahahahaha!

Friday, April 9, 2010

New Toy = Playtime on the Viking 6010

NancyK, this is for you (and for me too!).

I mentioned that I was hopeful the new/old Viking could be set up as a topstitching station. NancyK emailed me and asked if I had tried it out yet. Well, that was all the motivation I needed.

I wound my one and only bobbin (gotta fix that!) with Gutermann upholstery thread. I threaded the needle with the same thread. I put in a 120 topstitching needle, pulled out a RTW jeans scrap I keep on hand for patching up my sons' jeans, and I was off!

(Click on the pics for bigger versions.)

1 = straight stitch over 6 layers of denim, low gear
2 = zz over 6 layers of denim, low gear
3 = ss over 2 layers of denim, regular gear
4 = three-step zz over 2 layers of denim, regular gear

The backside of the stitches over 6 layers of denim. (The darker stitching on the bottom came with the jeans.)

Above: The 6 layers of denim between the arrows

Buttonhole (because I knew someone would ask!). This machine has a 4-step buttonhole. I just winged it so it's a little crooked on the first leg where I started.

Back side of buttonhole

Conclusion: I'm sold! All of this stitching is with upholstery thread in the bobbin and no tension adjustments. I just threaded it up and off I went. I definitely see a topstitching station in my immediate future.

* * * * *

Other likes and dislikes:

1. Like: The light. It's big and bright. And …

… you can pull it down for when you need extra brightness. At 40-mumblemumble years old, that's more often than not these days. ;-) But isn't that cool? (Uh, the light, not my old eyes!)

2. Like: The honkin' big and heavy foot pedal. I don't think this one will be sliding quite as easily under the table.

3. Like: An in-your-face button for dropping the feed dogs. Now dropping the dogs isn't hard on my D1 but I do have to slide off the freearm cover thingie and if it was sitting in a table it would be even fiddlier.

4. Like: A lever for instantly releasing foot pressure. No screwing something up/down. Just open the sideplate, push the red button up and in and voila, no pressure. Push it back, and you're back to where you started. There is also a numbered dial right next to the instant-off lever where you can dial foot pressure up or down. Admittedly, I hardly ever, ever adjust foot pressure on my D1 because it adjusts itself, but I still think this is a cool feature for an older machine. Why don't the newer machines have this? (I'll take pics later so you can see what I mean.)

5. Dislike: No needle positions or needle up/down. No Needle up/down doesn't bother me at all. But I do miss my 25 needle positions on the D1. But that just means I'll have to topstitch a little slower instead of relying on my cheater edge feet. :-)

6. Dislike: No on/off switch. My Featherweight doesn't have one either. You just yank the plug out of the machine and it's off. Well, yeah, but how much brainpower would it have taken to make a power switch? Not a big deal, but just weird.

7. Like: Her smooth curved body. I know this is why I don't like Berninas — I can't look past their angular bodies (sorry Bernina owners, it's just me). I grew up with (and into!) this shape and it … er … shaped my preferences. I also love the shape of the old black Singers. These old girls and me, we have our curvy figures in common. :-)

So, maybe now I'll go sew something for real. I've got the whole weekend ahead of me. Woot!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

There's Good News and Bad News

The good news is that my patterns arrived yesterday and the machine arrived today.

The bad news is there was some shipping damage to the machine, which makes me sad. In the seller's photos, the paint was nearly cosmetically perfect. A little discolored from time, but no major dings.

The good news is the seller has very quickly offered to settle via FedEx (it was insured) if I want to, and the better news is that the machine does work and seems to be in very good mechanical condition.

The good news is that I think I'm already bonding with her so I'll probably keep it no matter what. It was only $46 after all.

The bad news is she really needs some deep cleaning, but I can handle that. And she is missing most of her accessories (which I knew, but I thought at least I'd have one original presser foot instead of a generic). But all that stuff can be sourced separately later. Meredith asked if this machine takes the fancy stitch cams. It does. It came with two out of the four originals. There were 8 for the whole series of 6000 Vikings and they will all work.

I said I'd take and share pics of the delivery, so here goes.

So far, so good. No visible damage to the box.

Still OK, but I was beginning to doubt at this point since I could hear rattling.

Double-boxed and bagged, good.

No padding inside the case, bad.

Here you can see the machine is not properly seated in the case/cover. Uh oh.

And once I got the case off, everything tumbled out just like this — with the sideplate detached and banging around.

My heart sank when I saw this:

and sank more with this. The damage is actually worse than it looks in the pics. It's more than just a surface scratch. :-(

Besides the dings and grime, there were little pieces of plastic floating around. You can see one at the top center of the pic and another near the bottom center on the "ledge."

Those pieces came from the damaged case. Here's one side:

And another. I don't really care about the case at all. It would be nicer if it wasn't damaged, but I don't sew with a case and I'm not planning on traveling with this machine. And the "suitcase" style case is what I want anyway (just like mom's!) and I can find one of those at some point.

Up in the sewing room, set up, oiled, and being tested. The sideplate went back on no problem. It's meant to be removable. Just not in transit.

The big glob of thread and lint I pulled out of the bobbin area.

One of the seller's photos. Sigh.

* * * * *

Testing went well. Every stitch works. Every knob turns freely. Even the lightbulb works.

More good news is that it came with the original manual, which is actually a very helpful manual. I definitely needed to refresh how to thread one of these and wind a bobbin. I love that the last few pages are photos and part numbers of the original included and optional accessories. That will be helpful for future hunts, although my current presser feet seem to fit it just fine and the Viking ankle that Gaylen sent is perfect (thanks again Gaylen!) so I can snap on/off the feet.

So, while I'm very disappointed about the damage, I'm pretty sure I'm keeping it. If FedEx pays for the damage, even better, but I really don't think it's FedEx's fault and I'm not going to lie about it to get money back. I'm more inclined to ask the seller to work out something and file his claim with FedEx himself.

If anyone is counting: D1, Treadle, Featherweight, Kenmore, Viking 6010, 936 serger, BLCS = 7. I call that a good start. LOL!

* * * * *

On another note, as I said, the patterns arrived yesterday and I've already cut out the pattern paper (not traced!) for one and hope to cut fabric tonight if I can decide which fabric. More details coming soon. It's one of the new blouse patterns, w/o the tuxedo bib, but I'm too lazy to look up the name/number. Maybe I'll sew it using the new/old Viking. I have 7 days to make up my mind per the seller's original terms. I have some reservations about this pattern but I'm withholding judgment until I'm done and can see it on me.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


So, I bought two new Hot Patterns patterns last week and … wait for it … a vintage (retro?) Viking sewing machine on Ebay.

Are either of my purchases here yet? No!

Am I impatient? Yes!

Now to be fair, neither purchase is late. In fact, per the shipping confirmation from Hot Patterns, I expect the patterns to be in my mailbox this afternoon. (Hey Trudy and Jeremy - you know you could always hand-deliver my next order and we could do another lunch. Just sayin'.)

The machine is going to take longer as it was only shipped a couple of days ago.

So what machine did I buy? A Viking 6010, and for the reasonable sum of $46. In the photos, it looked to be in really good cosmetic condition. The seller says it works, but we'll see. This Viking is one of the last (if not THE last) models to *not* be permanently lubricated. In other words, it needs oiling by its owner. In other, other words, there's a really good chance it's not going to be frozen up like later vintage Viking models. Fingers crossed.

And why did I buy it? Well, sentimental nostalgia. My mom bought a Viking 6430 new when I was a little girl (we're talking early 1970s here). That 6430 is what I learned to sew on. Even though I never really sewed much before my late-30s (my mom sewed, so I didn't have to-LOL), I still learned how and could if desperate! My, how my thinking has changed - now I'm desperate if I *don't* sew. Mom still has that 6430 as her only sewing machine and uses it often. The thing is a tank!

So that tank is what made me a Viking girl when the sewing bug did finally hit me. (Mom is still in shock, BTW, that I sew for myself.) I was so much a Viking girl that when I finally went "good" machine shopping it felt almost genetic.

One of the many great things about mom's 6430 is the low gear option which can be engaged when sewing over really heavy sturdy stuff. Like my dad's leather belt, that dad himself had to try when he finally gave the approval to spend so much money on a (gasp!) sewing machine. BTW, that was in the days when machine dealers still brought the machines to your house to try out. Can you imagine? But mom knew what she liked and stood firm. Besides, dad always had much more expensive hobbies so he didn't really have much of a chance anyway. LOL!

I don't want to jump the gun too much before I know whether it works as expected, but I'm hopeful that it will be an improved back-up over the Kenmore since it should take all my Viking presser feet, and maybe it could be a topstitching station for when I make jeans and other heavier items. Or, it will just be a decoration. LOL! I'm already thinking I need a sturdy shelf on the wall to house and display my growing collection.

Hey — maybe when it gets here I can do a Peter, but with stills not video. I'm just not ready to see myself in video on the internet yet. I'll leave that to my sons, who have YouTube on speed dial.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Simplicity 3893 Done, Plus Faux Cami Panel

Here it is, goofy facial expressions and all. I really need to take back my tripod from DS#1. And then I need a new camera with more user-friendly timer options.

So anyway, back to the top. I like it. It was super easy and fast to make. Only 4 pattern pieces, since the sleeves are cut-on. The only fiddly part would've been if I had followed Simplicity's instructions for the elastic by making a casing out of the seam allowances. No, thank you. Instead, I followed Angie's lead and serged my elastic *to* the seam allowances, and then turned the whole thing downward toward the lower bodice and coverstitched it down from the right side, simulating a casing. The close-up pic I had for that came out way blurry so you'll have to take my word for it that it looks fabulous. :-)

I know some people think that busty plus size girls shouldn't wear kimono style sleeves, but I say it depends. I think this one is fine on me. First, the fabric is drapey and the sleeves are not exaggerated in width; second, the neckline and modesty panel make your eyes look there and not at my sleeves; and lastly, they're just comfortable, so pfffffftt. Rules were made to be broken. ;-)

Speaking of the modesty panel, I had a request in the comments from my last post to show how I would do it so I took pics along the way. And is it really a modesty panel if one is not usually very modest? I think I'm going to call it a Faux Cami Panel. ;-)

I start with a rough-cut rectangle of fabric, that is both long and wide enough to cover the area that needs covering, plus extra. For this panel, I serged clear elastic to the top edge (so it wouldn't bag out when worn) and then turned it down and double topstitched it. I usually would've used my coverstitch machine for this but it was threaded brown and I hadn't yet hemmed the top so I was being lazy. At other times, I might also bind the top edge. It depends on my mood and energy level.



Next, I put on the top and then stuck the panel piece in place. I used my washable marker to draw guidelines on the panel so I'd know how to match everything up when sewed the panel to the top. I like to do this try-on step because bazooms do make a difference in stretch and placement of the panel.

I then added pins on the top to mark the height where the panel would be sewn. They are uneven in this pic because the panel slid while I was taking the photo.

My marked panel piece.

I sewed the panel onto the top from the right side of the top, following the top/coverstitching on the front that was already in place from turning under the neckline.

This is the back view. The panel is wet to remove the marker lines.

Panel trimmed and done.

Voila! It's still wet so it's kind of baggy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My New Favorite Top

I finished the latest HP Sunshine top on Friday and it's now my New Favorite Top. All of the Sunshine tops I've made are my favorites but because this one is rayon knit, a fun print and new, it gets a few extra points over the others.

Here it is belted and bloused. I made a self-fabric sash/belt on a whim for the first version and I find I actually wear it belted quite often. So I pieced together some scraps and made a quickie sash/belt for this one too.

This morning I cut Simplicity 3893 (below) and did the FBA alterations. I've pretty much given up on tracing Big 3/4 patterns and just whack away at the tissue. I know my size and my alterations and (knocking wood) very rarely have to go back to the original because of an alteration screw-up.

I've had this pattern for a couple of years now and even though I've kept it out of the cabinet and in the Up Next stack (basket, really), somehow it was always pushed aside. Well, its time came today.

I cut the fabric and then stepped away for a while and took the dogs to the park this afternoon. After dinner I sewed the upper bodice pieces and that's where I quit, until tomorrow sometime.

I don't want to wear two full layers in the summer heat so even though a camisole under this would probably be best, I'm going to cheat and just make a white modesty panel. Then I'll wear the top with the white denim capris I bought last summer, and look smashing of course. LOL!

Happy Easter to those who celebrate it, and remember — those brown jelly beans aren't really jelly beans. ;-)