I was talking to my mom a couple of months ago and mentioned that I had decided on my birthday present to myself this year: a walking foot for my Bernina. I am one of four and my parents now have 7 grandchildren; we have never been wealthy so big presents just are not a thing in my family. I was just prattling, definitely not angling, but she got all excited and said she wanted to get it for me! It is true that I am hard to shop for. I don't want much (except fabric...) and what I do want I can easily get for myself. She was thrilled to have a solid gift idea of something I would love and use often.
A big package arrived around my birthday, containing not only my Bernina Foot #50, Triple Soled Walking foot (WARNING: a video auto-launches if you click the link; turn the sound off), but also a couple of books and some home-grown and dried herbs.
I had occasion to put it to use right away, sewing on the shiny side of satin. It was fairly easy to set up on the machine and worked extremely well. However, I would love information from those of you have a Bernina and use a walking foot. It made the machine "heavy" and tight--I could definitely feel the machine struggling to keep the needle bar moving and when I used the hand-wheel it was quite hard to turn. Any ideas what I am doing wrong? Or is this normal? I think it can't be normal because I couldn't have sewn much longer with the walking foot on or the machine would have completely frozen up. It took a little while to recover after I returned to a normal foot; the tightness did not immediately release when I took off the walking foot.
I mentioned last month that I participated in the Dandies and Quaintrelles Full Moon Ride (if you click on the link, you'll see that I made the collage of photos!). This month was the last of the season. The theme is "White Nights" and you dress up in white or light-colored clothing. D&Q rides are all about the vintage fashion, so you can really do it up without looking ridiculous.
When I went looking in my costume closet last month for white dresses I ran across a vintage lace dress I'd forgotten was in there. I bought it as a freshman in college. It looks home sewn, though it has a label that says "Nadine." I love the metal zipper! (I don't know why the photo is upside down. I've been having a little trouble with image rotation in Flickr recently. It is right side up in my Flickr account, if you click on the photo.)
It had a lot of dark discolored stains on both the lace and underlay and nothing I'd tried had lightened them, but I couldn't bring myself to the rid of the dress. Since I last tried to treat the stains, OxyClean has come on to the scene. I figured I had nothing to lose, as the dress was unwearable, and soaked the lace in OxyClean for several hours. Amazing! I didn't take photos of the stains on the lace beforehand, unfortunately, but here is an example of a stain on the sheath underneath. The sheath did not respond as well to the OxyClean, but still showed some lightening of the discoloration. The dress is still not fit for prime time, I don't think, but was definitely wearable for a night-time bike ride.
I was entirely thrilled about the dress. Then I put it on. Hmmm. I recall it fitting like a glove when I was a freshman in college. Although I managed to zip it up this time, I was a little concerned about getting out of it. One of the hazards of living alone is that your only option for getting out of too small clothes is calling the fire department! As it turns out, I am somewhat larger than I was as a (under 100 pounds) freshman.
Even if it had fit, however, it would have been impossible to bike in, as the sheath was, ahem, very tightly fitted. To those of you for whom vintage is sacred: You should probably click away. Though to be fair, I was not the first to change up this dress. I am almost certain that it was once full length, very Jackie O. in Camelot (she loved long white dresses). When I got it, the sheath had been very roughly chopped off and I believe was hanging raw and much longer than the lace. The person had taken the trim off the hem of the lace, shortened the lace (albeit somewhat unevenly, as I discovered when hemming the sheath), and sewn the trim back on. So I don't know what happened when they got to the sheath.
At any rate, when I went back in to alter this, I realized I must have altered it when I first got it to let it out at the waist a bit. Even when I was teeny weeny this was too small for me (perhaps a girdle is the difference). The photo shows the narrowed seam allowance where I let it out before.
This time I undid the hem (which I had put in, somewhat badly, nearly 20 years ago) and then unpicked the side seams to within 2 inches of the underam. I drafted a side insert panel that would give me the maximum amount of body movement for biking, though I narrowed it after I took this picture and thought to measure the maximum width of the lace. No point in having extra, unusable volume in the sheath!
The sheath fabric is a polyester crepe underlined with some sort of tricot, otherwise unlined. The fabric edges were left raw. After the Oxy Clean soaking and air dry the sheath part seems to have shrunk a bit while the tricot did not. So I had to do a little smoothing in my sewing. I sewed the matte side of my rayon satin as the outside; I didn't want the panels to shine through the lace and advertise that I needed more room! The color match is amazingly almost perfect, and the panels are completely unnoticeable in the wearing. The shiny side of the fabric is on the inside. Since I was sewing on the shiny side as the "wrong" side, I used to the walking foot to keep the satin from sliding around and feeding unevenly. It was perfect (aside from the machine tightening up, as mentioned above)!
Finally, I was ready to ride! Here is proof of how unphotogenic I am. The photo was taken by a friend who is very photogenic; those people do not understand that you can't take one picture and call it good! It was another lovely ride through city (don't worry, I wore my helmet while on the road). This was the last Full Moon Ride of the season and seemingly hundreds of people showed up! Our caravan was about five minutes long and the passersby kept asking us what we were about. We ended back at Logan Circle again for a lovely impromptu party. Now the next thing we have to look forward to is the Tweed Ride. I can't wait!
You MUST check out this awesome YouTube video. It condenses 100 years of fashion into an amazing 100 seconds. Apparently it's an ad for a shopping complex in London.
Autumn Sewing Miscellany
7 hours ago