What girls want....

Girls have discriminating taste.  I know this now as I've been exposed for the first time to groups (hoards, flocks, gaggles?) of young ladies with my new job.  This is the job I've been wanting so badly to talk about but needed to wait until until the right time to go public.  It's also partially to blame for my not being around so much in the blogging world.

I landed a job as a sewing instructor!  As you may know this is something I said I was interested in doing a few years ago and I've been jumping from one stepping stone to the next working my way to this goal.  A few months back I placed an ad on craigslist looking for private sewing students and was contacted about being an instructor in a new sewing school that was to be opening in the fall.  Cool right?

Classes don't officially get rolling until mid September but we've been doing some tester classes and I've been working on sample projects.  So far the students look to be mostly between 2nd and 6th grade girls but eventually we'll get some adult classes going as well.

One of the projects I've made recently that's been a big hit is the stuffed horse from Simplicity 2921.  The first one I made was from fleece and I was thinking I'd make it somewhat realistic. 
Girls love horses right?  Yes...  and no.  Apparently what we have here is a boy horse, and while girls like boy horses also what they really like is girl horses?  Girl horses to my surprise have pink hair and very often have horns and are called unicorns, hence the photo on the pattern envelope.  Well, with my new knowledge of how a horse should be I went home and sewed up another example.  This time I sprung for the twice the price pink hair and I used fabrics from the school stash.  I was surprised to find that I don't actually have any girl fabric, old lady yes, girl no.  Girls like pink or otherwise bright colors.  

Here's some of the other sample projects I've made up for the school:

Today I have quite a few sewing projects to work on.  Derian is a teacher and does the shirt and tie thing for work.  Earlier this summer I promised him that we could make him his very own custom shirt pattern and shirts.  I was thinking I would just take one of his existing shirts and use it as a base pattern.  School is now only a week away and still no pattern or shirts for that matter.  The other day I had him put on one of his best fitting shirts and was horrified at how badly it fit.  Unfortunately I'm not going to get much of anything from those it seems.  So far I've made up two muslins from the Wild Ginger software, the first was really big, the second was skin tight.  Today I'm planning on no more than three more tests before we have a wearable shirt.  Keep in mind he's like I used to be, if it doesn't hurt, it must fit.  I can continue to refine the pattern after we get him a working model.

I'm also planning on making that cute little elephant and maybe the lamb from the Simplicity pattern.  Something else I did that was a first for me when I made the horse, I interfaced my pattern pieces!  Usually I don't intend on using a pattern that often but I figured since these are such small pieces and I plan on cutting them a few times I should try it out.  Wow!!  so awesome!  I used all interfacing scrapes and it worked out great, besides the pieces I fused to the wrong sides of the pattern...   woops!

Oh here's a video, I've been having a terrible time with video lately.  Something changed on my computer in the last three months and it caused my audio to record slower than video.  This is a big pain but I finally found a work around.  I've shot this video like 20 times before I got it to work so it ended up being pretty casual in the end.  I do talk about how I do my horse hair and mostly babble on about other stuff.

10lbs of buttons and the holy grail of vintage machines....

I've had amazing luck lately with donations.  From fabric to machines to buttons it seems that every time I turn around some wants to pass along a little love....

A few weeks back Sharon stopped by the PR offices with a HUGE bag of buttons for me.  I had totally forgotten that she had promised me an old collection if she still had it.  Well, let me tell you, this bag weighs 10lbs.  It's been picked through a few times for the really special stuff so what's left is a lot of really great everyday wear buttons.  Perfect!  I love having a bunch of buttons I'm not scared to use you know?
The photos don't really do justice to just how many buttons this is....  tons..  They're all old, no new plastic junk here (just old plastic junk, HA!)

As you can see, nothing super crazy amazing.  I did find a few cool ones though.  The collection should be sorted at some point to be usable, it's just a big pile as it is.

I think I've found the Holy Grail of vintage sewing machines:

The Bernina 117

No I don't own it yet but I'm on the lookout.  This machine was produced from 1938 to 1941 which is a rather short run.  It was the first zigzag sewing machine Bernina ever produced.  Often they don't come with a motor and are meant to be mounted industrial style or treadled (see the big holes in the bed for the belt on the right).  Will it sew any better than a 1960's Kenmore?  No...  But it's so cool looking and rare!

Pfaff 138
Now I want you to notice a few things about this machine.
 See the tension disks?  See any similarities between that and the Pfaff 138?

Now you've seen this photo already but notice the shape of the Necchi BU Mira, gosh that's familiar isn't it???  Mind you both the Pfaff 138 and the Mira came well after the Bernina 117. Very interesting to me how the design carried over into other manufacturers.

What, you say you'd like to get your hands on a 117?  Check out ebay right now, you can pick up a beautiful example for a cool 2k (that's $2,000!)  I'll be waiting for the sister thrift special of $19.95....

Body parts?

Ok not parts, more arms and legs...

My new commitment (by the way) is that I'm going to try to post more often. See the problem is that a regular blog posting with video and photos (like I like to do) takes hours to put together, yes... hours. It's a deterrent to be sure when there's so many other things to distract me. It's also very frustrating when technology like slow internet and voice/video sync hamper my progression..   Anyway...  I think I'm going to try to supplement long posting with little short ones in between. Of course the question come up, Is this quantity over quality? You can let me know...

Today's creepy pattern Simplicity 3642 "Seasonal Decorations" although I think an ebay listing for this pattern is on the right track with the title "witch mummy elf Santa legs home decor".

Yes indeed that's what you're getting her folks, arms and legs....For Halloween I think it's rather cute, those witch hands and feet are awesome! The mummy is just so so but Santa? OMG and the elf? What crime scene did we just walk into here?

This pattern is in print and available for purchase, don't miss your opportunity to own one of Simplicity's finest! 

P.S. Feel free to email me with your favorite oddball pattern and I'll do a collage

Free sewing machines!

Oh I bet that got your attention...

I know, it's been a long time since I've posted anything here but I assure you it's not because I'm burned out or under a bus.

Here's a little clue..  
The last two months have been somewhat of a whirlwind for me.  I moved!  It was one of those situations where the landlord wanted a lease through next Spring and I just knew I didn't want to stay that long.  There's much more to the story but I'll reserve some of the personal details for now.  Things in the new place are finally set up properly and I'm enjoying myself getting aclimated to a new area much closer to Boston then I was previously.

Here's a little peak of my new sewing space:

My new "office" is in a closet that's too small for a hanger.  This is the typical New England style construction I've come to expect.  Obviously people here would never think of hanging clothing in the closet...   duh..  Also check out my new ironing table!  This is inspired by those big ironing tables they sell at sewing expos, mine cost less than $10.

Singer Merrit
Lately I've been heavily involved in a new project that I'll talk about more here in the coming months.  Part of my role is the acquisition of sewing machines.  Is there any better fun than that?  The budget, only $30 per machine. The rule, nothing too new but anything else goes.  With my own collecting I've become very strict, only certain brands and models, the best of the best more or less.  

This new situation allowed me to look at machines I would have otherwise passed up
 and it's been a blast.  I've purchased two Kenmore, an old black Universal straight stitch, a Montgomery Ward, a White (with black paint of course), Dressmaker and a few different Singers.

I check local craigslist, freecycle, and ebay posting daily and in doing often come across FREE sewing machines (well not on ebay..).  Of the ads I respond to for free machines I'd say 25% have come through.  I've also been successful in talking someone down to free after convincing them their machine wasn't worth money on the local used market.  One machine was supposed to be a Kenmore but when I showed up it turned out to be a Singer with stripped plastic gears.  Not a total loss since I will save the foot pedal which will work great for a machine missing it's own pedal.

Two of the machines I've found for free are notable and I'll give you a quick preview.

The Singer Touch-Tronic 2000.  They renamed this the Athena for some reason.  This is the very first electronic computerized sewing machine ever produced, the year was 1975.  Yes, that's one year older than I am..  What computerized electronics did YOU have in 1975?  I imagine this was one pricey machine in it's day.  It features a wind in place bobbin that I've only been able to make work once AND rubber feed dogs!  I'll do a video and a full review but here's the preview photos:

My other new acquisition is a Necchi BU Mira with icky paint.  The machine is missing it's zigzag needle plate and the bobbin cover.  Whenever I come across a machine missing these parts I usually assume someone swiped them for another machine.  How else would one loose pieces like this?  With this machine came the accessory box AND wonder wheel with all four cams.  The wonder wheel alone is worth more than the machine....  The guy was happy to give it to me for free to haul it out of his garage.  My plan is a repaint!  I've always wanted to repaint a sewing machine but been afraid to ruin it.  This one is ruined already so I have nothing to loose.  It'll be strictly for fun, this isn't the kind of thing one recovers from financially.  If the paint works out then I'll replace the bobbin cover and needle plate.  If it doesn't then I'll part it out on ebay.

I think it's really an awesome looking machine, the shape is so...  interesting.  It also has a great motor and after a lube the mechanics are really sweet.

Lastly...  Thank you everyone who emailed me to check on my situation over the last two months.  I had no idea how many people would miss my being around.  It's humbling and feels good knowing I'm appreciated for doing something I love.

Have a great week!

the secret life of the sewing machine.....


The Secrete Life of Machines is an entire series where they explore most of machines found in a modern household.  Interestingly the series is old enough where they call computers word processors...   Remember those?  The very expensive bridge gadget that filled the gap between the typewriter and the computer for a few years.  Speaking of typewriters.....  I'm seeing these all the time at thrift shops now, who's buying these and what are they doing with them?  Maybe I'll pick one up...  never mind, I just remembered the ink ribbons and correction fluid.  I did actually learn to type on a typewriter "way" back in 1990.  I remember I liked the one with the ball that had the letters around the outside.  It pounded those letters onto the paper in a very satisfying way.  The IBM Selectric.

Anyway, here's the video.  It's 25 minutes which means three youtube clips, I uploaded it without compression so you should be able to watch it full screen.  I was very intrigued when it got to the history of Singer, quite an interesting fellow, but maybe not how you'd expect.....  Enjoy!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

And if you'd like a little inspiration for your day:

a bad seed....


The other day, ok actually a while back, I was at Sister Thrift and spotted something cute on the floor over in the corner.  Lately I've been telling myself I can justify buying a sewing machine IF i'm intending on selling it (smart right).  That being said there are a few rules I made up for myself to limit which types of machines I'm allowed to buy for "resale":

  1. NO (and I mean no) machines in cabinets, can't ship those and they're a pain to get rid of
  2. Plus points if it has a case cover that's not too beat up
  3. Required: good electrical, I'm not interested in rewiring just to resell
  4. Plus points for cute color, size, name, etc..
  5. Plus points for accessory box, even if incomplete
  6. Plus Plus points for original manual
  7. Minus points for straight stitch only
  8. Plus points for brand name, Singer, Necchi, Pfaff, etc..
  9. Minus points for paint chips, scratches, rust, or drab colors

I expect to do things like clean, replace belts and bobbin tires, light tune up.

So, following the rules I found what appeared to be a machine that fit my criteria really well and I snapped it up, only $20!

The Singer 285K

If you've never been introduced to one of these gems you might understand how easily I was deceived.  This machine looks like an upgrade/sister to the Singer 185 which is known to be a nice robust little straight stitcher.  The 185 (pictured right) is a repackaged 99 (pictured bottom) which by the time these machine were being produced looked seriously outdated. (the 99 that is)  Besides the color the 185 and the 285 looked almost identical, who wouldn't be fooled?

Well for some reason, likely to save money, Singer made a bit of a change to the under workings on the 285.  I've never seen this setup before and this could be the only time they ever experimented with it.  I'd love to describe it and show you photos of what I'm talking about but...  I made a video instead! Needless to say it was very bad news and it's shocking they would have engineered something like this.  The Singer 285 is often referred to as the worst sewing machine Singer ever produced!  Yikes

The video has been posted for a week over at YouTube but I've just now had the time to get this little write up together.  It's a slide show, music, picture in picture commentary AND video of the machine in operation.  How's that for mashing everything into one clip!  
(I just watched the video for the first time since I made it, WOW, you'll really enjoy this one!)

When I got the machine home and made the ghastly discovery of this mechanical nightmare I taped the receipt to the lid and took advantage of the Sister Thrift return policy.    The machine sat there for a week and I just happened to be in the store when it's new owner made her purchase.  I even held the door for her which I felt was fitting.  To be honest he won't know the difference, it sewed just fine and I'm sure she'll be quite happy.  Unless she finds this blog of course....

the quest for perfect fit...

Not everyone who sews ends up on the quest for perfect fit.  Some started sewing because they couldn't find clothing that fit, other stumbled on the perfect fit path somewhere else along the way.  I probably started sewing because machines and mechanical things intrigue me.  I love tinkering and constructing things, working out puzzles and sewing is full of all that kind of stuff.

Fundamentally I sew because I love to sew, not necessarily because I need things to wear.  Fit and fashion have always been low priorities to me.  Not that I wear clothes that don't fit, just that I never paid much attention to just how well clothing I wear does or doesn't fit.  Generally if it doesn't hurt (too much) and doesn't look like a potato sack then I'm good to go.  As fashion goes I've always shopped by price and color.

I'm proud to say that I'm fairly well accomplished with my skills and I can sew most items proficiently.  However lately I've been very disappointed with how my out of the envelope sewing projects have been fitting when I use commercial patterns.  This is totally do to my becoming more aware of how clothing fits and how custom sewn clothing should fit in best case scenarios. 

A BrianSews reader helpfully suggested I check out pattern drafting software.  There's a few different companies out there making this stuff and I chose to go with Wild Ginger's Pattern Master.  The men's version is called Tailor Made and can be downloaded for a very reasonable $90 with a 90 day money back guarantee.  This was exactly one month ago which is why you've heard very little from me in that time.  I've become so obsessed with perfect fit I dream about it!

I will say that pattern drafting software is no miracle.  There's a learning curve with the software and you still need to make just as many test garments.  The patterns don't print out with instructions so you need to have a good idea of what you're doing.  

The biggest selling points for me so far:
  • Printing fresh patterns for each fitting, no more funky tissue
  • Cataloging all changes to both measurements and garment style for easy reference 
  • High degree of control without having much skill in pattern drafting

Here's a video I put together talking about my first successful pattern using custom pattern drafting software:

call me hem master......

Or at least assistant master!

One my first failures I had at sewing was "way" back in 2003 when I made my first button down dress shirt.  I was obsessed with David Page Coffin and his use of sewing machine feet.  One of the feet he uses in making shirts is a hemming foot.

These specialty feet must have been all the rage back in the day because it seems that most vintage sewing machines came with at least one if not multiple in just about every width.
I'm sure lots of people still use these feet but there's not a lot of chatter online about hemming with feet these days.  I suppose hemming isn't a very glamorous topic....  

In my recent obsession with the perfect button down shirt pattern I've be practicing with my hemming foot.  This particular foot has been challenging me since I started sewing.  Somehow I just never quite understood how to get it through the curves and keep a perfect and even hem.  I've found many work arounds to hemming a shirt without this foot that take much longer but I feel like if David Coffin can make it work, why can't I?

Well that's just what I did, make it work.  I spent an afternoon with some strips of curvy cut fabric and my little tiny 1/8" hemming foot.  I found that using a short stitch length made it much easier to learn how to control the fabric through the foot.

Here's a quick video I did showing my technique:

Once you get the hang of it it's really quite easy when you're practicing.  As these things often go as soon as you start applying the learned techniques to real garments it somehow becomes more difficult and mistakes become easier to make.  

Vigo what?...... Vigo who?....

Vigorelli  ZZ/A "ROBOT" Model
What strikes you first when gazing upon the Vigorelli is it's strange thread spool holders, and then maybe the color.  
There is very little information about this sewing machine besides the following statement mined from some blog posting comments, " Vigorelli was an Italian brand that started as a spin-off of Necchi (being Mr Vigorelli a former Necchi engineer) in the same town. The Robot model was the first one having an internal camstack that let you change up to 5 different stitch “on the fly”."  
It makes sense to me.

The Vigorelli is in the words of a friend very "sturdy" looking.  Indeed it is.  It's also quit a rare machine but not necessarily remarkable.  I spotted the machine at Sister Thrift, my favorite thift shop of course....  It was sitting against the wall and piled high with all kinds of other junk.  The only tip off was this ugly green plastic sewing machine cover of which I could only see the handle.  You know it had to be hidden because it's been sitting there the entire time I've shopped this thrift shop and I just noticed it.  It was sitting in some sort of home made sewing table and marked and astounding $49!  Wow, that's sort of pricey...  
 I pulled it out of the table and took it to the check out counter to examine more closely.  Of course the first thing I noticed is that it was entirely frozen up, as in, no movement whatsoever.  What luck!  I've never had the opportunity to bring a comatose machine back to life.  Listen...  it's an opportunity not everyone understands but believe me, those who know really know what i'm talking about here.  They've started to know me there at sister thrift and when they saw me looking at the Vigorelli they got pretty excited.  
I guess it's been hanging around for quite a number of years and I could tell they were anxious to be rid of this boat anchor.  They threw an offer on the table I couldn't refuse: $9.95 and I could leave the table.
SOLD!  I didn't even know until I picked it up later that it came with a whole bag full of feet and accessories including the holey grail of vintage machine paraphernalia.....   The original manual!  I could go on forever about this machine but I'm not sure anyone really cares that much about it being a rather unheard of name and questionable lineage.  I do happen to really enjoy this particular passage from the embroidery manual that was included with the machine.  I think it reaches much further than simple embroidery and it's good to see the manufacturer was passing these inspirational tidbits along to the home or "shop" sewer.

Here's a slide show of the entire photo album:

It took me around 10 hours to get it up and running properly.  This included lots and lots of oil and adjustments to the zigzag mechanism which only did about a half a zig before it zagged.  There are two remarkable features of this machine that sets it apart from other machine of this era.  It has a needle position selector that lets you select left, center, or right needle and...  it also uses a cam to activate the zigzag stitch.  This zigzag setup is similar to the Singer 500A but much more simplistic.  The cams are made of some sort of plastic and the Singer 500A is all metal in that department. 
All in all it's a pretty awesome machine that produces a very nice stitch.  Dream machine?  no......    but a good collector's items yes!  

OH yeah..   "Robot" referred to the automatic embroidery mechanism...   fancy right?

sewing on a different level.....

This week a few monumental things happened to sneak into my life...  They certainly didn't seem that way at first but I've become aware of the possibilities.   

The image at right was created by Tim who shares a love of vintage sewing machines.  I think it's pretty cool myself and I'm excited for him to work with other vintage machines.  He actually sent me a signed and FRAMED print of this art which is about the coolest thing ever...  I just realized exactly where I want to hang it.  The sewing room is a little hectic but the office will work out great.  I spend more time here anyway so I think that's fitting.

Oh speaking of fitting....  I sewed up another Burda 7768 in the pants version.  
OH man were they terrible!  Ok first off I had just enough fabric to get them going.  Have you ever cut out a garment and only had this much fabric left for practicing your stitches?  It was rough going to begin with and it didn't get any better.  I was thinking I'd be doing my top stitching on the new Pfaff 260 but it wasn't cooperating with the really heavy thread I wanted to use in the needle AND the bobbin.  Mind you I had done some initial testing when I first got the machine and it seemed like it was fine but when it came down to it the stitches weren't perfect.  So I switched gears. 
 Ok, I have an industrial machine that's made for this type of work.  What exactly is my problem by avoiding using this machine in the first place anyway?  Well I think I know and it's a bit of psychology going on here that I'll explain real quick.  I've always been one to reject the common knowledge, maybe call it a rebel streak.  Everyone knows that industrial machines are the best right?  Exactly.  I will make it my mission to squeeze those perfect stitches with thick thread out of a home machine just because I like a challenge. Ok, now you know...  it's much deeper and more vast than that but we don't need get bogged down in the depths of my brain do we?...  So I threaded up the industrial, took a minute to oil it up since i'm sure it was pretty dry and got sewing.  Oh, wouldn't you know it.  
Big long stitch length and beautiful stitches with the thickest thread I have.  The stitches on the inside are the Pfaff 138 pictured above and the ones along the outside are with thinner thread and the Pfaff 260.  I've got this baby adjusted so it's no harder to sew with than any home machine, perfect control.  I will say that it's so fast it'll break the thread if you're not careful but you don't have to sew that fast with it, just ease off the gas. I can go just as slow as any other machine....  It's like a sports car.  You can drive 20 mph in a school zone but if you stomp on that gas you'll leave tread marks on the road and likely won't even see those people crossing the street.

Ok back on track..  That Burda pattern.  The pants were horrific.  Big huge baggy legs that went out of style oh so very long ago.  I cut the legs off to make them shorts but still hated them even though I made the shorts version before and thought they were ok.  So getting away from what I didn't like which was the fit, let's talk about what I did like.  Or better yet why don't I make a little slide show with commentary to lighten the text load on this entry.  I threw this together fast although really it took longer than I expected since I've never done the picture in picture deal before.  

Gosh I have a few other things to talk about but maybe I should save them for another entry this weekend!  There is a point to this whole issue of yet another ill fitting project but I haven't got there yet.

sister thrift.....!

Whew..  where to start.  It's been a while since I posted yet it doesn't feel that way to me.  Currently I get about 14 blog related emails a day, some are keep up the good work type while others are quite intensive and require some serious communication.  I like both, but that's why I feel like I've been doing a lot of sewing typing lately without anything public to show for it...

Sister Thrift is my new favorite discount spot, it helps that it's a ten minute bike ride from my house!  I stopped by their other location on Saturday while I was in Burlington and picked up something I've been on a serious hunt for.  LOOK how pretty my new iron is!  I love the way the handle fits in my hand, molded so well.
 It has a sweet little indicator light to show when it's warming and an awesome fabric cord in amazing like new condition.  You're asking why...   I know you are.  Well I'll tell you why.  Because I hate fusing things with my regular steam iron.  It's got steam holes and fusing with it just plan sucks because it misses spots where the holes are.   Take a look at this sole plate, smooth.  Yes of course I'd love a clam shell press, wouldn't we all...  but right now this little number fits my budget at an affordable $2.99.  Yeah I need to pick up some steel wool to polish the brown junk off the sole plate but that's actually not even that important if I'm just fusing with it.

I've also had a firestorm of emails about vintage sewing machine!  Wow, people are really getting into them and it's so awesome.  In fact there are people who are REALLY into it, so much so it makes me look like a very casual collector.  Today at my local Sisters I saw a few Kenmore machines worth a photo.  As you might remember I like taking my camera so I don't feel the urge to, as a reader just wrote in an email, "pick them up like puppies and put them in my purse!".  That statement spoke to me for sure.  It goes hand in hand with a comment another friend made to me.  She said something along the lines that I'm like one of those people who has stray pets follow them home, except for me it's sewing machines.  I'd have to agree.

Want to see something that makes me feel luxurious?

Yes folks, I now have two sergers.  A fellow PatternReview member had this Janome sitting around unused since she upgraded machines and she offered it up.  What's interesting is that it's mechanically the same serger I already own in the Kenmore brand.  My Kenmore is from the late 80s and the Janome is newer but they are exactly the same under the hood.  To me this is a testament to a good design that didn't need improvement.  The Janome is running great now with a good cleaning and oiling.  The upper looper tension disk is out of adjustment so this weekend I'll likely tear it down and get it tight again.  I had to do the same thing on the Kenmore when I got it.  What you say do I need two sergers for?  Well how about having one set up for rolled hems and the other for standard serging.  I never do rolled hems because it's sort of a pain to switch the machine all around, now I can roll my hems anytime I want!

Oh gosh what else...  may as well get it all out while I'm sitting here right?  These Burda shorts have been done for a while but they're hard to photograph.  White doesn't have any contrast and when I include the navy accent pockets it's too much contrast and looks creepy.  I also learned that it's really not the best to top stitch on corduroy.  The welts make the stitching look crooked and funny no matter what you do.  Yeah, take a look at that stitching...  nice isn't it...  uggg.  So you see why I'm having trouble getting these posted.

I think I've sewn my last Baja shirt for a while.  I made up at least four or five of these numbers and I can safely say I've sewn it to death.  This last one I made up in this really awesome fabric the Islander folks sent me.  It's the same fabric that I'm pictured in on the pattern envelope.  I made the extra small size this time and it fit my friend Derian really well so he's keeping it.  I sewed this up on my Singer 99 and it was so much fun!
 I've never sewn anything on a straight stitch only machine and it felt so sweet and innocent.  I serged all my seam allowances first so it was just a matter of sewing the pieces together.  I even did some extra top stitching because I was having so much fun!

And...   just in case you haven't had enough yet.  We were out at Cranes Beach this weekend.  It was overcast but I was able to capture some pretty amazing photos.  Here's a slide show:

burda shorts, sort of.....

I had fully intended on doing a review of my new Burda shorts but not feeling very creative the photos just didn't come out the way I wanted them to.  It was cold and rainy today and the idea of wearing shorts even inside the house for a video seemed unlikely.  I will say the shorts turned out very nice indeed even though I made them out of less than lovely fabric.  This pattern has a lot of little details and I figure the entire project probably look around 17 hours.  Yeah, 17...   but I wasn't complaining, instead I took my time and tried to enjoy each little step of the process.  I'll make the video, maybe tomorrow morning...

So instead of a shorts review I did a bit of a video review of the new Pfaff 260.  This video took me a LONG time to shoot with many many takes and retakes.  It's a simple video but for some reason I was stumbling through it, again, it's hard to pump out creative projects when you have to try this hard.  In the end I think it's pretty good.

This brings up another point.  Some people seem to think I have too many sewing machines.  Is this even possible?  I obviously love sewing machines for more than just their function and this is a very hard concept to explain to a regular user.

Machines in general make me happy.  I justified to one friend the other day that I don't know what else in the entire world I could spend $25 and get as much joy and entertainment.  Ok yes I admit...   I do have a few machines that are sitting on the floor and not
being used.  So I'm contemplating selling off one or two.  The $2 Kenmore is one such example.  This is one big ugly machine but man can it sew!  It's got a brand new 1.2 amp motor on it which is almost as strong as it gets in the home machine department.  There's no embroidery or fancy anything going on here.  The feed dogs are nice sharp teeth that will pull anything you got under the foot.  Admittedly the only reason I really keep it is because it's the only machine that my high shank Kenmore buttonholer will fit on AND that motor with foot pedal is worth around $50!

The other machine I'm considering passing along is the Dressmaker.  This is essentially the same machine as the ugly Kenmore but in a much prettier package, in fact many of the parts are totally interchangeable.  Cool huh!
 It has a much weaker motor than the Kenmore but what it lacks in strength it makes up for in beauty.  This machine is smooth as silk with very little resistance between the motor and the needle.  If you're sewing at full speed and you take your foot of the pedal the machine will continue to sew for quite a few more stitches.  The one disadvantage it shares with the Kenmore, they're both left needle machines.  This means the needle is fixed in the left needle position.  Arguably I prefer this over a fixed center needle machine but at this point I almost require a left, center, right needle position selector.  There is a "fancy" Dressmaker 7000 pictured at right that includes an embroidery function that takes cams AND has the needle position selector.  It's not quite as pretty but to me it would be much more functional.  I think it's because it has more functions that it's not as clean looking.  The Dressmaker label was somewhat generic so it's possible this machine was made by a completely different manufacturer.  However...  I certainly don't need another machine.  What it comes down to is both the Kenmore and Dressmaker are fine examples of Japanese made machines and I appreciate having at least one of them.  Sigh...   ok i'll keep them both for now, see how hard this is?

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