Saturday, 29 December 2012

White Singer Featherweight


Just before Christmas my sister asked me to keep an eye out for a Singer Featherweight for her daughter Amy so I started searching EBay.  My Dad and I bought my sister her black Featherweight in April 2012 and I soon spotted that the prices had increased so the Featherweights are obviously getting more popular, in the States they pay a fortune for them.

I missed a real bargain Black one that went for £51, fell asleep on the sofa when I should have been bidding Doh!  So more searching, went after a black one but got outbid in the last second.  The same seller had a white one but the bidding ended well past my bedtime so I left a bid on it and to my delight, the next morning it was mine.  The white ones seem to be rarer than the black ones so have been making much more money but this one was a real bargain.  I paid for it straightaway and the seller sent it by courier and it arrived on Christmas Eve morning - how cool is that.

The white ones come in a two tone box which is smaller than the black ones as it doesn't have extra space in for storage.  I just love the colour.

The machine is in excellent condition, still with its original white belt which you can't replace nowadays, there are none available only black ones.  I don't think that it has been used much, I gave it a service, there was hardly any lint under the throat plate, it didn't run very smoothly at first, I think that it has been unused for so long that any lubricating oil was long gone  so out came my oil can which made it run quieter.  The belt was very tight so slacked that off a bit which made a huge difference.

There are quite a few differences between the white and the black machines. The white ones have foot pedal and power cables which don't unplug from the machine itself where the black ones unplug which makes it easier when packing it away, its very easy to chip the paintwork with the plug end especially on the motors, the white motors are just black ones painted up so it the paintwork does get chipped it shows up.  The white foot pedal is different.  The black motors need Singer motor lube putting in the lubrication tubes every 6 mths (don't use the Singer oil for this, you will ruin your motor) but the white motors don't need this and have no tubes.   The hinged sewing platform is shorted than on the black one.  Underneath the black ones have a metal drip tray with a felt lining to catch any oil, the white one just has a cardboard bottom tray to it.  Inside the white one has a rubber belt where the black ones have rods and gears.  This white one was made between 1962 and 1964.

Amy was delighted with her Christmas present from her mum so another family member with a Featherweight, hopefully she will love using hers as much we love sewing with ours.  They are great machines.



Thursday, 27 December 2012

Homemade Christmas presents


Now that Christmas is over and everyone has their pressies that I made, thought I would share them with you.

For my big sister, I made an ironing pad with matching pin cushion for her lovely new sewing room.  The fabric is a Moda fabric and has acorns and oak leaves all over it which matches her new oak framed house.  I found some vintage Singer machine needles on Ebay to fit her Featherweight as well.

For my friend Lesley, I made some hand quilted pot holders with lovely pansy fabric finished with a vintage mother of pearl button with ribbon hangers.

And more pot holders for my lovely customer Wynne together with a gardening pinny

Santa brought me a 1/4 inch quilting foot all the way from America for my Singer Featherweight, how great is that!  Sooo no excuse for wobbly seams now.



Friday, 21 December 2012

Pin Cushion Doll Fairy


I have been collecting Pin Cushion Dolls since the early 80's.  I have amassed quite a collection and display them in a case but its getting crowed in there so they have started to escape.  Some in my kitchen and some more in my sewing room and one has changed into her fairy outfit!

Here are the rest of them, I think that they are jealous cos they don't have skirts and glittery fairy wings!

I've also been making some patchwork tree decorations, lavender filled hearts and fabric birds.

Took Buzz to work with me this morning to see his girlfriend Rosie the collie, he's now on the settee worn out!

Well, I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year - lets hope the sun shines more next year and rain goes away.



Saturday, 8 December 2012

Singer Featherweight Working Hard


Well over the last week, my Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine has been hard at work, might have to give it a defluff and oil soon.

Here a couple of  Xmas pressies that I can show you

A hand quilted cushion made with vintage Laura Ashley fabric, this pattern is ideal for hand quilting as the outline of 4 shells make up a perfect diamond pattern.  I used vintage Sylko cotton in the same shade of crimson as the dots in the fabric, its not as bouncy as the modern quilting thread so doesn't knot up as much.  Sylko cottons are no longer available which is a shame as my Singer sews much better with 100% cotton preferably on a wooden reel.  The machine has its little quirks but I overlook such things cos its sooooo pretty and shiny.

 I have had a commission to make a "Gardening Pinny" for someone, these short pinnies that don't get in the way when gardening even when kneeing, they are ideal for keeping garden pruners and garden wire in, I use one all the time when I am working, everything is at hand and I don't leave my tools in my customers gardens now!  The   fabric is vintage Laura Ashley with denim  for strength.

And last but not least, cos I had time, I made a couple of lovely pincushions with pockets in the side.  These are going on Ebay to test the market! They are made from good quality 100% cotton quilting fabric and are part filled with dried split lentils to give them weight so they don't topple over when storing sewing bits and pieces in the side pockets.  The first one I made was stuffed with just polyester stuffing and it won't stay upright when there was stuff in the pockets- Doh!



Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Nine Patch - Patchwork Cushion


Had a few days with my Singer Featherweight cos of the flooding and rain, so glad that I don't live near a river!  Have been beavering away making Xmas pressies, its going to be a home made Xmas this year.

Can't show the pressies, don't want to spoil the surprise but I can show you this :-

Had a go at 9 patch machine patchwork before my holiday, found a really good demonstration by our American patchy friends at the Missouri Quilt Company.  Here is a link   Its a really quick and easy way to do patchwork squares on the sewing machine without having to cut each individual square.   I decided that I would make a cushion so that I could take it on holiday with me and hand quilt the squares, which I did. It has sat in my sewing basket waiting to be made up into a cushion cover so this week, finally got round to finishing it.  Its made from Vintage Country Diary Fabric which I had in my fabric cupboard.

Here is the finished cushion.  For a first attempt, I am quite pleased with it.

Its going to live on the spare bed but I took the photo in the conservatory as the light was better in there.



Monday, 19 November 2012

Walking Foot for Singer Featherweight 221


Have been waiting for the postman to deliver my parcel for the USA for a short while.

Tad daaa, here it is a Walking Foot for my 1957 Singer Featherweight - yipeeeeeeeee

I found it on the net at  It was a very reasonable price even with the postage from the States.  April's website has a wealth of information and instructions on everything about Featherweights.  There are instructions for all the feet that come with the machines which is really handy as they are scary looking things but so useful once you know how to use them correctly.

I have some spare feet so am going to have a go at selling them on EBay, I am OK buying but new to selling so fingers crossed.



Thursday, 8 November 2012

Car Boot Sewing Basket


Thought I would give you a tour of my sewing basket.  It was bought at a local car boot for £3, it was in a sorry state.  All the interior fabric was rotting and the plastic wickerwork was grubby to say the least!  I ripped the fabric out and got my steam cleaner out and steamed the box for ages, to make sure that I got all the dirt out and killed of any nasties that might have been lurking, it was really yucky.  I had some vintage peach Laura Ashley fabric for the interior, hand quilted a panel for the inside of the lid and another for the bottom of the basket and lined the sides, used ribbon to hold the lid.  The flowers on the outside are a later addition.  These are hand made from Card Candi which are coloured discs which are bought from the craft shop.  The discs are shaped before setting into silicone gel glue in the shape of a rose with a punched leaf behind.  They are fun to make and so pretty, I was trying to think of ways of using them, I put them on cards before, then I got the idea of putting them on my sewing basket.  They are very robust once made so they shouldn't fall off (famous last words).

Forgot to do a before photo but here is the finished result.

The matching fabric heart pincushion was made using traditional English paper piecing as was the other pincushion and needlecase, all with vintage buttons from the button box.  I love my vintage scissors, they look so much nicer than modern plastic handle ones.   The darning mushroom was an Ebay purchase and is well used, I love darning socks for some reason, not sure if I am right in the head!  Who darns socks nowadays?  The sewing box sits on my coffee table so it is close at hand, its well used!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Cozy Cover for Singer Featherweight


I decided that my Singer Featherweight needed a cozy cover to keep the dust off it and protect the paintwork when I am not using it.  It does have its own wooden box to store it but I prefer to keep the machine out so it is ready for action at a moments notice!

Found this Laura Ashley check fabric in my cupboard and thought it would be perfect.  It looked a bit plain so I added badge to tart it up.  The fabric perfectly matched the chair cushion cover I bought recently.  The small jug holding the rotary cutter etc was bought in a lovely vintage shop on a whim, I had to have it cos of the colour but I wasn't sure what would be done with it until I thought of a storage jar on my sewing table.

Speaking of cozy covers, as the weather was very parky last night, my hand sewn patchwork quilt has come out.  This English paper pieced quilt was intended to be a cushion cover made out of left over curtain material but I got carried away, added the pink fabric to it and it ended up as a double bed quilt.  Needless to say it took a while but this quilt is the reason I now have the quilting bug especially the hand quilting bit.  There is something about sitting on the sofa with a cozy quilt draped over me while I hand sew.  Heaven.



Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Basket Makeover

Well, a day off today (pesky weather!) so had a day with my Featherweight Singer Sewing machine.  I have been making Xmas (sorry to mention the word!) pressies but unfortunately can't show you what I have been up to as someone might be watching Blogger!  But I can show you my tarted up basket.  Here it is before its makeover

And here it is with its new (well nearly new, OK vintage) Laura Ashley lining.  Its going to be my projects (in waiting and to be completed) basket, see already in use storing my favourite fabric which I can't bring my self to cut into yet, its going to be another quilt eventually.



Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Pin Cushion Obsession?


Well, its been lovely weather in North Yorkshire so been busy doing my gardening job which means hardly any sewing (rainy days are for sewing not gardening!).  But I have managed to complete the pin cushion kit I bought from the lovely shop in Wallingford.  It was bit fiddly to make but worth it.  As usual, sewn on my lovely Singer Featherweight machine and finished by hand.

Its a sort of desk tidy for my sewing room (apols for the bad photo but you will get the idea).

Remember my crazy patchwork, I had a little piece left so made another heart pin cushion with pretty braid and buttons on it.  It isn't technically crazy patchwork but uses the same technique of sew and flip on the sewing machine.

I love making little patchwork projects, the last few have been pin cushions, I am running out of pins!

Bye for now, its sunny again so off gardening.



Monday, 1 October 2012

Holiday Fabric Treasure


Just got back from holiday and thought that I would share some holiday fabric treasure.

We called into Wallingford in Oxfordshire to visit a dear friend (hi Sheila) and just round the corner was a fabulous fabric shop called Village Fabrics (they have a website ) last time I was there it was a curtain fabric shop with a small amount of patchwork fabric.  NOW it's a patchwork shop with  a small amount of curtain fabric.  What a super shop, it runs classes, has quilting groups, knitting and crochet group, sewing groups.  When I was there an afternoon class was just finishing and the ladies were streaming out with their sewing machines, it sounded that they had a wonderful afternoon.  I nearly spent my holiday money in the first day! but I got a hold of myself and just had a small spend.  Bought some fat quarters, some   garden design buttons, a pin cushion kit and would you believe it a bag of scraps for £3 which will be brilliant for crazy patchwork.

On the same trip, I found some lovely vintage buttons, some of which are mother of pearl for 5p each in a posh antique shop in Llangollen, and in another shop, four fat quarters of William Morris material.

Buzz enjoyed his holiday especially the walks along the canals, here he is having a rest on a long walk

Isn't that the prettiest place?

We went on a horse drawn canal boat at Llangollen and here is Buzz waiting while we had breakfast, love the sign

Well, off to get started on all that fabric - I will let you know how I get on.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Lloyd Loom Linen Basket


In my last post, I promised photos of the tatty Linen basket and its makeover.

This is what it looked like when I bought it from the Auction House.  As you can see, it was in a sorry state and not something you would want to have on display.

Had a look in my fabric cupboard and found some lovely leafy fabric and got my Laura Ashley eggshell paint out.  Had to give it a couple of coats of paint to cover the silver spray paint.  I threw out the plaited edging on the lid as it was really tatty and starting to snap but found some super girly braid to replace it at my local fabric shop.  Its a bit mad but I love it.  So here is is the finished basket.

It now sits next to my sewing table and it now stores all the off cuts of wadding that I use in my patchwork quilts, its surprising how much it holds.



Saturday, 8 September 2012

Lloyd Loom Chair = En Suite Van!

At the start of summer (before I knew about all the rain!), I was on the look out for a Lloyd Loom Chair that I could use as a garden chair, I had visions of 1930's Poirot scene, they are so more elegant than plastic chairs.  I found one at a local auction but I couldn't get to view or attend the sale.  So I left an online bid, to my joy I got it for £15 and it came with a tatty linen basket which was ripe for restoration as well.  Bargain, I thought!

BUT when I went to collect it, the chap picked it up and sticking out the bottom was a potty, I had only gone and bought a commode!  I really went off it at this stage and didn't want to bring it home but a bid is a legally binding contract so off in the van it went.  This is what it looked like

I got my Laura Ashley eggshell paint out, covered a new seat pad, threw the offending potty in the bin (I might regret this rash act in later life!) and hey presto, a finished garden chair but I have had to wait until this week for the sunshine. (PS.  I made the cushion as well)

When I told our friends in the pub about my purchase, there was much leg pulling that I could leave it in my work van and I would have a en-suite van!!  Least it made everyone laugh.

I will share photos of the restored linen bin in my next blog.



Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Crazy Heart

Had a fab weekend at Blair Castle International Horse Trials - all things horsey but I did manage to take my crazy patchwork with me and do some sewing on the journey there and back.  I now have a large pincushion for my sewing room.

My normally calm quiet collie turned into an idiot wanting to round up all the horses!  He has never seen so many at the same time.  He fancied a quick run around these but when they got close he changed his mind.  Gosh they were big - ridden Clydesdale class.

Blair Castle was lovely and the sun even shone for a while.


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Crazy Patchwork


It rained on Sunday afternoon so I couldn't garden soooooo I got my lovely sewing machine out.  I was going to have a go at crazy patchwork (never done it before).  This is what you do with all the tiny bits of fabric left over from making a quilt that you can't bear to throw out cos they are pretty!  First I had to make an ironing pad to save on space (ironing boards take up so much room) so I came up with this to match my tiny sewing machine and dinky travel iron (I put it on top of a chopping board for safety - didn't want to scorch my cutting mat or table)

The sewing began, I must say at this stage not quite sure what it is going to be, possibly some sort of lavender sachet thingy???!!!

The next stage is to embroider the seams to make it fancy - then make something with it - I will keep you posted.

If you are wondering - this is what the quilt looked like, I made it last winter when it snowed!  Its my first machine made quilt (pre Singer machine) but I did do the quilting by hand.

See you later

Friday, 17 August 2012

First Blog - Singer Featherweight 221


Thought that I would start my Blog with my new Sewing Machine.  I was so excited when the Postman arrived with it, I had wanted one for ages after missing a few on EBay, I finally got one. Buzz helped me unwrap it (notice all the dogs toys - well you have to keep a collie busy)

Singer Featherweights are vintage machines, this one is from 1957 (older than me) and they are one of the best quilting machines ever! according to our American quilting friends, they go mad over them, there are websites, blogs dedicated to them so it's easy to find out how to operate them.

They come in a very sturdy oak box which is covered in fake leather so they are ideal for taking to sewing/quilting classes.

Isn't this the prettiest sewing machine ever,  its soooooo cute

Notice the tiny oil can, these machines need regular oiling, the motor is quiet and the machine sews smoothly but it let you know when it needs its oil fix, it talks to you (well makes more noise).  This one is in super condition, I replaced the rubber feet and had to get a set of feed dogs, thank goodness for the internet.  I have given it a good clean and service including adjusting the belt.  Its brill.

More later.