Quick Weekend Therapy Sewing

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It was probably inevitable that I would end up with a fabric stash problem. I’m a pack rat by nature, I like to have things around that just might come in handy someday. I don’t mind having some basics (and not-so-basics) kicking around for when the urge strikes. What I have more trouble coming to terms with is the scraps. I can’t seem to throw away anything bigger than a square foot, so a frustrating portion of the stash ends up being these pieces lingering from finished projects. They do come in handy—for contrast details, bias tape making, piping, pocket linings; and the kids will dive through them from time to time, especially when Tyo is in a monster-making mood, but in general the amount generated is more than the amount used, and they’re frustrating.

The best way I’ve found to deal with them (when I have the time) is to just keep making stuff from the fabric leftovers until it’s all gone. This often gets derailed by other priorities, of course, but one can try (and at least the machine is all threaded up in the right colour.)

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I had not quite a metre (very oddly shaped) of this stretch lace left from a far more exciting yet less practical project that has yet to be blogged, pending a proper photo-shoot. >_< Anyway, I having already cut some Rosy Ladyshorts (cute pattern, free, go make some) from it, I figured I would see if I could squeeze a simple long-sleeved tee out of it using my handy-dandy old knit sloper.

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Obviously, I could. Not much to say, just a few details—for a light neckline finish I serged a band of white jersey to the neck, folded to the inside, and topstitched down with a zig-zag; it’s soft, a little tidier than just adding clear elastic, but not too heavy, so I think it pretty much hit the mark for what I was going for.

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The sleeve hems I just serged and folded over and topstitched—nothing special.

I added a band for the hem, as I have for most of my recent knit-top makes, because it’s both easy and nice-looking, which is a rare combination. 😉

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I then needed a camisole of some kind to make the thing wearable. I made one from some cream cotton-lycra jersey; this is really a wardrobe staple I’ve been avoiding making for probably as long as I’ve been making clothes here.

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I hacked my knit sloper into a wide-necked curve, (maybe a little wider than ideal, but it echoes the scooped neckline of the lace overlay well) and made a little tank-top.

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I didn’t have any fold-over elastic in the right colour, however, so I made bands using strips of jersey. If I had been willing/able to to make them as bindings, with the edges folded in, it would’ve worked really well, but with bands turning into knit tubes for the straps… well, there’s an ugly spot at the join. Some hand-stitching could probably pretty it up, but it’s not an ideal method.

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On the whole, though, it works, and both will be useful (if not terribly seasonal) wardrobe staples.

The only tragedy is that I burnt out the motor of my White, which is my go-to machine for knits (other than the serger) about halfway round the hem of the camisole. That was a lot of hand-wheeling to get it finished. >_< Next question: is it worth it to fix such a machine? A new motor can be had online for about thirty bucks (although Sew Classic won't ship them to Canada, apparently. Boo.) and my father-in-law has the know-how to attach one if I can get the right size and mounting-brackets. (This is still more money than I spent on the whole machine, by the way.) It's an internal motor, but still belt-driven and looks just like the external ones, to my untutored eye, anyway. /sigh. It was also my favourite machine to do buttonholes with the buttonholer attachment on. Double sigh.

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Of course, there’s still a little bit of the lace left. Time for another pair of ladyshorts?

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23 Comments

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23 responses to “Quick Weekend Therapy Sewing

  1. Gorgeous! What a terrific use of scraps. I can see why you don’t want to throw anything away!

  2. Very nice top and cami!

    If your machine is old enough to be all metal, then yes, you should definitely get a new motor. Old machines are worth spending money on. If it’s a modern plastic thing, it’s probably better just to go looking for a new machine all together.

    • It’s a 70s machine, but definitely mostly metal… and the only issues I ever had with it were motor related…

      • Oh nice! Fix it if you can! They don’t make them like that anymore.

        • Yup. Maybe you can find someone/someplace to ship the motor to who will ship it to you. I’m about to pry open the Singer 600e because i am rabid for the chain stitch function, and it needs a ‘new to it’ motor. I know I can! (god help me)

          I read a rule of thumb about saving/picking up stuff for later: if you know what you are going to do with it and you will do that within 60 days, save it. Otherwise, pass it up, another will come along.

          except for sewing machine motors…..

  3. I like the way your camisole mirrors the neckline of the lace overtop, looks much better that way. Sounds like the machine might we worth it; after all, you are comfortable using it, your fix should extend its life massively, and it will cost far less than getting anything half decent to replace it.

  4. What a sad story about your sewing machine! I have been known to have old equipment (a vintage knitting machine) repaired at more cost than the purchase but that wasn’t anything major like replacing a motor (it doesn’t have a motor) and I knew I was unlikely to find a cheaper one in working order. I guess that’s the real issue here: Can you use other machines to do the jobs this one did, and do them as well? Or can you get another machine to do that cheaply? And is there any guarantee spending the money on the new motor will restore the machine to its former glory?
    All difficult questions.

    I like your top(s). I also obsess over using up every remotely useful bit of fabric, so I completely understand. And I’ve put off making basics like camisoles for a long time. It’s just a lot of work for something so simple. The necklines work well together though. Much nicer than they would have if you had used some RTW camisole.

    • You know, replacing a motor sounds scary but really it’s a matter of undoing a few screws and a belt—not that big a deal if the replacement motor fits, anyway. The only thing that makes me nervous is whether the generic replacement motors can be attached to the internal mounting bracket…

      This is the only machine of the ones that I HAVE that has its particular range of stitches (particularly a three-step zig-zag), and it’s the only one that works with my vintage buttonholers and has drop-able feed dogs. It doesn’t do anything spectacular, but it has a lot of little features that I like in combination. I guess what I’m saying is I’d be willing to spend about fifty bucks fixing it… but not a couple hundred. (Although it’s still better than a new machine I’d get for a couple hundred.)

      Glad I’m not the only one with scrap issued! 😉

  5. Christine

    Ooh, the hem on the cami is so nice! (I have issues with hemming knits… how did you do it?!)

    • I’m going to credit this one mostly to a nice, beefy cotton-spandex knit. 😉 It’s just a simple zig-zag hem with a serged edge on the inside. I lower the pressure on the presser foot (another feature of this machine that I like) and while I often use Steam-a-Seam in the hem to stabilize it, I couldn’t find my roll this time so I didn’t… so it’s mostly just a nice fabric. 😉

  6. I have the same problem getting rid of biggish ‘scraps’ too. I have just bagged up some to give away on free cycle as they are big enough to make kids clothes but little kids. I am making some into undies right now. I don’t go into making pouches but that would use some up. I love your lace top… it will be very useful me thinks.

  7. Oh, do you say undies (underwear)? Oh sorry about your machine… what to do, what to do??

  8. So nice! I have to admit I expected you to be wearing the lace with a tulle skirt by the end. 🙂

  9. So pretty! So you recommend the Rosy Ladyshorts then? I have the pattern, but I haven’t tried it yet because I’d always just used the Kwik Sew that was my TNT….sadly, I lost my modified pattern pieces in the move, so I’m back to square one anyway.

    And yes. I could easily be a member of fabric scrap hoarders anonymous. 😉

    • I have made it twice—the first time I tried to substitute jersey bands instead of stretch lace, and they were wedgie city. But with the wider (and thinner) lace on this paid I don’t find that at all. So it’s good when made as intended (which is really as a pattern should be 😉 ) but won’t be my one and only. 😉 I like the feel of stretch lace finished underwear, but it’s not the most durable…

  10. Jackie Ries

    I had that problem with my old Bernina 830, while finishing a quilt. I took it to the old sewing machine guy who fixed it, saying that the motor needed new brushes. Inexpensive repair and DH nodded with understanding about the brushes. Whatever they are. Take it to your OSMG and enjoy many more years of sewing with the machine.

    • I actually had my father-in-law, who is an auto mechanic, look at it and while the brushes are toast, the source of the problem is the part that spins against the brushes that has lost one of its little metal plates. Brushes are easy to replace, that part, I think not so much… But you’re right, a visit to the OSMG is probably called for. 😉

      • Jackie Ries

        Just have him get another motor for you and your FIL can attach it. I’m sure that he’ll like getting the machine back to work for you.

  11. I am the same way with fabric. I rarely buy fabric with a particular project in mind, and I hate throwing away any amount of fabric (unless I can say for certain there is no way I can use it). Recently I started using my fabric scraps to make a crazy quilt. I make 15 inch squares using whatever scraps I have on hand, and it helps with my pack rat problem a LOT. It doesn’t help as much with the larger pieces, but at least it’s a start…
    I may have to try out that cute ladyshorts pattern!

  12. thingsimakeplusrocks

    Oh, I love it! I’ve been wanting to make a lace top myself, but oh boy, my sewing queue. lol Maybe I’ll knit one? But that queue is even longer…

  13. I have the same problem with having to keep scraps, but don’t ever actually do anything with them, which is problematic. I have visions in my head of all the nifty things I’ll do with them one day… turns out I need more one days.

    Your camisole and lace top are very cool, and they seem to be to very much your style, I can see why they’ll be staples. I think they look lovely on you!

    And that’s so sad about your machine! Good luck whatever you decide to do, but I hope it lives again.

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