Retro as Hell

I finally got around to hemming and hanging my 2014 Spoinflower tea towel calendar. Best thing on the internet (Spoonflower tea towel calendar artists). This year’s was by mrshervi.
I know it’s April. Dude, I HAVE a calendar.  But my sewing machine broke last year and I just haven’t invested in a new one.
The in-laws moved recently and one of the treasures in their magic basement was a 1910 Singer sewing machine retro-fitted with electricity and a (stubborn) pedal.
Holy bananas, it worked.

I had concern as the bobbin was already threaded and carried me through this project. Also, I’m pretty sure I threaded the thing way wrong but it worked.

I checked Singer’s site but the manual is not available online (surprise?). I’ll call them tomorrow.
After some investigation, I found the bobbin. It was tricky.
Couldn’t figure it from there.
It lifted up! But that wasn’t helpful at all.
But then I figured out through fifty trials and fifty errors that the silver panel SLIDES. I CAN reach the bobbin. Hopefully someone at the Singer 800 number can help me thread it tomorrow when they open.

Advanced Sewing

This is not a How-To.  It’s an I-Wish-I-Knew-How-To.

Sometimes it’s the little updates that make me smile so much. I bought this beautiful picture from Crafty Bastards last weekend. This piece is made by a lady named Jamie and here is her Etsy shop.

I hung it where I will see it every day and it makes me so happy.

Until I look at the almond, paint-covered light switch below. I need to stop obsessing over stupid crap.

A Masochist’s Guide to Sewing Bunting

Background: my darling cousin Jasmine decided to get married at my parent’s house this March, as they have almost three acres and a gazebo for the ceremony and plenty of room for an outdoor reception. (Don’t worry, it’s Florida. Weather should be perfect but we’re renting a tent just in case.) I volunteered to take on decorating the reception tent. On a budget. Oh by the way, this conversation went down in late January.

I decided the reception tent OBVIOUSLY needed bunting. I had a bin full of fabrics that I’ve had for years, waiting for that quilt I’ll never make. What a perfect idea to sew bunting to hang in the tent! I can have it done in a week of evenings and then I’ll work on centerpieces, I thought. HAHAHAHA. Please know that all of my sewing knowledge was imparted to me at age six by my grandmother when I used to make elastic skirts and sleeping bags for my Barbie dolls and at age twelve during a two week sewing lesson by my 7th grade Home Ec teacher. Everyone else in Home Ec made an apron, but I made a tote bag because I would only have to sew straight lines. So.

I made three cardboard triangle templates and began tracing with markers. Hours passed. Nights passed. To be fair, I did this while watching marathon TV shows, like Food Network Celebrity Cook-Off and Two Broke Girls. All the shows backed up on my DVR that didn’t need a lot of attention to watch…
I stopped counting at 600 triangles.
(I see triangles when I close my eyes. I dream of triangles. Triangles, triangles, triangles. I might be going crazy.)
But the triangles were pretty and vintage-y and I felt good about this. Three weeks in, and all. I decided that I wanted them different designs on each side, and I didn’t want a wrong side to show. (MASOCHIST ALERT.) So I broke out the dusty sewing machine and randomly grabbed triangles, sewing them together on the long sides, wrong sides out. This took approximatley 65 hours and I wish I was kidding. (Lou Diamond Phillips won Celebrity Cook-Off if you were wondering, but I really though Coolio had it in the bag with his ‘Ghetto Gourmet’.  Coolio, who knew you were such a great chef?)
I then turned all the triangles right side out and ironed them, creating millions of little flags. The internet told me that I should use bias tape to string them together but apparently the internet is a billionaire because that stuff was like $1/yard. I found some 2 inch thick indoor/outdoor ribbon selling for $6.99 for 100 yards instead. And bought three. 300 yards of ribbon. 900 feet of ribbon. What have I gotten myself into?
I cut a piece of ribbon about as long as the dining room table, fold it in half longways, and iron it. Then I pin my bunting flags inside, starting each flag every twelve inches. I don’t know why I decided to measure THIS when I don’t measure anything else; I guess it’s because I love Jasmine so much and want her wedding to be beautiful. And evenly spaced. I then sew along the entire ribbon, attaching the flags and leaving a bit extra ribbon on the ends so I can go back and sew all the little ribbons together for one ginormous strand of bunting. I was in the groove tonight, almost finished with the first spool of ribbon (100 years!) but now I kind of want to cry. Ok, just kidding. I already cried.
My very old, very inexpensive sewing machine has broken.  The wedding is less than a month away.
Dear Universe,
Please help.

No Pattern Pillows

I love the idea of sewing.  I love that I have a sewing machine, and I like to imagine myself as someone who could just whip up something just like that – snap.  But I am not that person. Sewing is tedious and time-consuming, what with all of the measuring and tracing and pinning and blah I don’t even know because I skip those steps whenever possible.

Very impatiently, I measure and pin just enough so that everything looks fine.  Luckily, uneven hems or wavy lines do not upset me. I tend towards less expensive fabrics and Freestyle Sewing.

We took the heavy sticky sliding doors off the master bedroom closet and replaced them with great graphic Ikea curtains.  (I’m almost done with the New Closet!)  But tonight I had fabric left over and made four pillow covers super quick like, with zero measuring.  They were really fun to make and actually look pretty good.

The curtains were over a foot too long so I had too much fabric left over to just throw away.  And I remembered that I had four uncovered tiny pillows that had been sitting in a closet for a couple years. I think I paid $1.99 each for them at Ikea long ago, but they have just been bouncing around closets ever since.  Perfect.

I had just enough fabric to make four envelope pillow covers.  I used the pillow as a guide instead of a measuring tape.  I first folded over the short edges about half an inch, ironed them, then folded them again and ironed them again.  I sewed these in place.  I then folded the fabric into an inside out envelope shape and sewed along the unfinished edges to make a pillow pocket.  Flip them back right side out and voila.  Instant pillows. And no wasted fabric.