Friday, April 29, 2011

Nelco 310B

Of all the things i hadn't planned to do...I bought a sewing machine at a rummage sale today...and tonight, here it sits on my kitchen floor, after a thorough primping and awaiting an oiling...and best of all, it seems like it's in good working order...and it was $5.00! be continued


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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Leggings for Cora...

I finished a second pair of long johns or leggings for Cora the other night. for some reason the crotch area is bunched in a funny way in the photo. Leggings are upcycled from a merino wool sweater.
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you can see my unique seam across the middle of the butt. i used orange thread to contrast the pink. The challenge in doing the butt, was that i wanted the ribbed collar of the original sweater to be the waistline for the leggings, but without having to cut it off and resew it back on. After folding a few different ways t achieve a good butt shape, and trying the leggings pinned up on cora, the inside of the leggings was looking like i was experimenting in origami. wished i had thought to take a photo of that. After cora wore these for a day, i noticed the vertical seam in the but was coming apart. ah ha, when i started sewing these a couple months back, i sewed using a straight stitch. i have been in the process of learning about sewing with knit fabrics, and read that there is a steep learning curve when using a sewing machine, perhaps vs. using a serger? i now know that a straight stitch is not adequate for knits, since the fabric needs to be able to stretch, and if you stretch a straight stitch in a fabric that wants to stretch, it just wants to pull those threads apart. It needs boinginess. think of it like a straight stick vs. a coily slinky. the slinky has stretch, and can be extended. if you pulled on the stick, it can't stretch. the stitch has to be able to stretch with the fabric that is also stretchy. there, i said it in a number of different ways, and hope some of that makes some sort of sense to any readers.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Warning: Super Long Post Ahead!

I had the opportunity to attend the "World's Largest Textile Garage Sale" over the weekend in St. Paul. I met some awesome women, saw some awesome fiber arts, and came away with some awesome finds. Did i mention this was an intensely awesome sale? To learn more about the sale, go here, and to see more photos of the event, check them out on facebook.

Update 4/20/2011: I just found this wonderfully written blog entry from another woman who attended the sale. Neat to see a different perspective. Since i can't yet figure out how to do links, here is the address,

So much stuff! "A Room Full of Dreams"

Another view of the fabrics! This is just a third of the room. You can't see the tables of yarn, notions, patterns, or odds and ends. There was also a room dedicated to books, knitting patterns etc. and the silent auction room with all the sewing machines, sergers, paper maker, looms, spinning wheel, etc, etc.

My pile of fabric from the first night...i could've gotten more though I was trying to not acquire too much, and not to mention the piles were overwhelming and i had a limited amount of time to see everything the first night.

Except for the top fabric which was labeled JoAnn's, I think the rest in this pile are vintage fabrics. The bottom bluish fabric in the pile and the background for most of these photos, is the thickest softest flannel. I wonder how old it is? It was labeled as a quilt backing material, and is sewn together down the middle in a funny way on one of the two pieces that i got.

This is such a unique and funky fabric, vintage i am sure...this one probably would have been snatched up right away at the sale, however it was folded inside out and hard to tell what the design was. my eye caught the detail, and i am happy to be the new owner of this fabric.

More lovely wool sweaters....the green lovat is my favorite. it is wool, with 5 percent cashmere...and has shoulder pads of the same fabric sewn in. The arms of that sweater will most likely become toddler pants.

The orange sweater looks like peach sherbert in this photo, but it is really orange. One lady who was shopping was eyeing the brown sweater in my cart, she was also a redhead. If i would have thought sooner, i could have cut the sweater and given her half, since i mostly wanted the brown for a smaller project.

I got all of these wool sweater scraps plus more not pictured for $1.00! There are some large remnants here, and sleeves! The diamond scraps are gorgeous tweeds. The cabled sweaters almost look like cotton, instead of wool, and are really soft...i have not come across wool of this texture and now am curious about it.

Buttons....oh buttons...what can i say...i certainly didn't need any more vintage buttons, however their scuptural appeal and detail was just too irresistable. This was my biggest purchase at the textile sale.

The biggest celluloid buttons are huge if you cannot tell by the photo. The stars will probably end up on a dress for Cora...the unusual septagon shaped donut will be turned into a unique necklace for me...

Beads, more buttons, and a pretty mother of pearl buckle.

Between the two days there, these are the tools i found...I had been wanting the rug braiding crimps for a while but couldn't bring myself to buy new, so that was an unexpected surprise to find those. There are measuring sticks and tapes, various needles including felting, leather, and doll needles. I also found a selection of various size bias tape makers which i had already bought a couple smaller ones at JoAnn's, but didn't have the really big sizes yet. Vintage hoops that have early patent dates on them, and directional quilting pins that I will use for regular sewing, not necessarily quilting. I have come to really appreciate using flat head pins for sewing, so i was happy to find these, especially since they are expensive to buy new.

Practical notions...The cuffs are vintage, and a wool/cotton blend. Snaps, a zipper, various size elastics, and snap tape. You just never know what you'll find that you didn't know you needed at one of these sales.

The beads from the previous photo all layed out. These are all glass.

Fun stuff for Cora...fabric scraps, yarn, googly eyes, a crochet hook, some pretty shells, a belt weaving loom, and fabric pastels. I remember using fabric pastels when i was in elementary school, and i still have the shirt that i made in Kindergarten.

Loved finding this knit fabric, since i am really into making comfy waist bands for my girls pants. I did a burn test on little bits of each of these to see if they were synthetic or natural. i was hoping for cotton, which the top two seem to be...but my big hope was that the bottom raspberry fabric would be a knit wool, however according to the burn test. it is not...will have to figure out if it is at least part wool.

Chambray...I have a love for simple chambray fabrics. they have an old timey appeal... This piece will probably become a dress for Juniper. I already know the pattern i want to use.

These unique scraps of fabric I found between two days of shopping. The ice cream cone piece is a little bit loud for my tastes, but could make a funky kids apron.

A vintage UFO. I learned something new. There was a whole table of UFO's at the textile sale. UFO stands for Unfinished Object, or outfit, i think. This was one of two that i picked up. It is a pair of vintage pajamas. These are cute, but i am looking forward to upcycling the fabric into something else.
Posted by PicasaYummy yarns, all wools. Below Photo: 100% mending wool.
At 3:00, the bag sale had to get a timed ticket to reenter, and i didn't know this so i ended up being in the last group of people, which meant much of the tables were swiped clean...i still found some goodies, some natural cotton, vintage iron on letters, a vintage child's pajama pattern, and some more odds and ends of fabric, all for $1.

i love this little piece of fabric that i found loose on a table during the bag sale...i will use it as a patch, but i would love a larger piece to make some kids pants or a funky hat for one of the girls...
the quality of this fabric is only seen up close in is a heather gray sturdy, and quality 100% cotton knit. It was the other UFO that i found, and came with a pattern, but i left the pattern behind for someone else to play with.
After a long day of meeting lots of new people who had great big smiles of adoration for me and talked to me lots, and getting toted around by mama while she shopped, and gave me odd things from the tables to play with, I am pooped. Now that i have just had a really good nursing from "mama bao bao" I will just pass out here so mama can enjoy one last hurrah at the bag sale...

one last thing i wanted to mention was something i overheard in a conversation between two woman as i shopped the bag sale. Referring to all of the piles of projects, tools, and mounds of fabric in the room, she said, "...This is a room full of dreams....someone had ideas and plans for all of this stuff..." I can't remember her words exactly, but it was something like that. I love thinking of all of that "stuff" as "dreams"....and now those dreams can become anothers dreams or their dreams come true...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Construction Of A Sweater

For the past two days i have been enduring a migraine, that is accompanying my "bloody days." Between curing myself with dark chocolate, ice packs, and rest, i have been able to, during the tolerable moments of my body aching, be up and dabbling with the challenge of constructing this sweater for my littlest gal. I love the phase of construction in making things. I think i probably learned this love, or passion from my dad who in his earlier days, restored and constructed from a mere rusty skeleton of a car body, beautiful pre-war chevrolets. how do you translate working on cars to clothing? That is something i am still pondering.

The sweater being upcycled is 100% Cashmere, thrift store find, heather beige, size medium, lightly felted.

The Before Sweater:

In Construction Phase...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Biggest Sweaters!

a couple weeks ago, our local thrift store was having 50% off all sweaters for the week. So i decided to pick up a few i had been admiring on a previous shopping trip there for upcycling purposes. I think i may have found the two biggest sweaters yet!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ellastaria Gets A New Hat

While in the months of being pregnant with our second child, and experiencing difficulty in moving around and being on my feet due to a large belly, I found comfort in sitting down to my sewing machine and focusing my energy on making little garments for our baby to be...probably part of the nesting syndrome. Originally this was to be a little hat for our newborn, however perhaps it was my pattern copy printed too small or not remembering to allow for seams, but the hat was just looking a bit too small for the head of any baby I would Cora's doll, Ellastaria acquired a new hat. Constructed from a felted cashmere sweater. For the ties, I used the "wonderful worms" from the seams of the sweater. At the moment I cannot remember which tutorial I used, so here are links to two great pilot hats... here and here.