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Does anyone else follow the Fashion & Textile Museum on Facebook ? I've done so since I visited for their Liberty exhibition a year or so ago. They don't bombard you with posts and they're always interesting or just beautiful and often both like these Turkish sewing artifacts.

Vintage Machines / Do two black beauties count as a collection?
« on: June 13, 2017, 01:12:23 AM »
Well it happened sooner than expected! Instead of a motor for my first 201K, she now has a sister treadle in a cabinet which also has a motor. :D Feeling very lucky that my OH seems to be getting interested in the mechanics & electricals.

We got her home late tonight after bringing her back from Stoke Newington and she's already out of her more modern-looking cabinet than her 1947 serial number suggests. It needs some tlc on the scratches & a watermark. I do like the striped door, not inlay we're thinking.

There are several attachments, no ruffler but I have one anyway. There is a foot that resembles a darning foot although it's tiny - I suppose because the needle doesn't swing. There's a loose hanging spring, no idea where that goes.

A few pics just for now but none of the black beauty herself as she's out for inspection. Looks very clean but she's very dry too so this will take more of hubby's time and ther wiring is burnt at the socket end so he's already reading up on that (hoping the motor can just be rewired). At least I hope to be able to use the treadle in the interim.

Vintage Machines / Singer buttonholer
« on: May 28, 2017, 00:05:05 AM »
Since I bought my 201K I've been thinking of getting a buttonholer as they're so lauded by you vintage owners. I checked Helen Howes first and saw a black one that she said was her favourite and the same one in cream. I then found the cream one below (same reference number) on eBay looking in very good condition and with the original booklet too. I've got it for £10.81 including postage!  :D Hoping to find it lying on the mat when we get back from holiday.

Any tips on the best way of getting the settings right for a beginner on these fascinating devices?

Adding Zing & Bling / Lead content in rhinestones
« on: May 24, 2017, 19:44:39 PM »
I have to admit that I'm very happy with the brand of budget rhinestones that I've now found after trying a few different types. Their sparkle is really good but I recently wondered about them after seeing some Preciosa packaging with "lead-free". I'm not one for knee-jerk reactions but I do take it seriously so I checked with the supplier who confirmed that they do have lead content although gave no detail of their precise makeup.

From my research they are only an issue if they are digested and much more dangerous for children - hence the problem in the old days when lead containing paint used to be used on baby's cots. It's a timely reminder about never allowing a child to play with a hair ornament, however.

Apparently Swarovski crystals were only reconstituted to reduce their lead levels in 2012 so anyone with a used dress can't be sure how old the crystals are. Lead poisoning is a big issue for children and I understand there is no 'safe level' standard for children. The US Consumer Product Safety rules requires a maximum of 100parts per million for children's products.

I'm confident that it's safe enough to use them on dresses etc as intended but, nevertheless, I'm wary now of allowing my DGD to fix them directly onto her skin with eyelash glue. In ballroom dance competitions, children aren't allowed to wear any bling until the age of 12 although they may do so in shows, of course, and the dance floor is often sprinkled with crystals that have fallen off dresses.

In disco/freestyle comps very young children often wear totally blinged-up costumes so I think it would be helpful if more was known about this but not in a panicked over-reaction as the glue they're using to fix them onto the costumes may well be causing more damage to more people inhaling the fumes than the crystals are likely to do in normal use.

The Show Must Go On / Anyone done an FBA on a lycra leotard?
« on: May 24, 2017, 19:04:50 PM »
My DGD is a 32D but I often get away with her leotard patterns fitting well enough for just a little tweak.

Sometimes there's a bit more gaping in the armhole to be fixed than a simple tweak will resolve and I keep thinking I should try an FBA like this one  specifically for knits in a pattern without an existing dart. Has anyone else tried it or uses a different method?

Vintage Machines / Feet for Singer 201K
« on: May 15, 2017, 21:35:34 PM »
I'm short of a few feet for my 201K, namely a ruffler, pin tuck guide and something else that just slips my mind -  :[  . I see lots of them on eBay but they often say for several different machines including those that I think are smaller size models. The set below is selling for use with '201/221/66/28 ETC'. Will they really fit all these models?

If not, is there a way of identifying the right feet?

Overlockers & Coverstitchers / Bernina L220 coverstitcher on eBay
« on: May 13, 2017, 23:17:41 PM »
For anyone looking for a used Bernina coverstitch machine (same model as Juki MCS1500) you may like to know there's currently one on ebay here . It concludes Monday 21:24, not a lot of useful information from the seller so you may want to ask them precisely what it includes.

It's the model I bought about a year ago and it's been wonderful - very well behaved and not as fussy as many of the others seem to be (Juki excluded  ;) ).

If you follow this board you can't fail to have noticed that the vintage bug that I've been shaking off for a while is getting a strong hold of me! I keep seeing these lovely things everywhere I look - ok, it's not surprising as I keep checking eBay & Gumtree but I keep coming across them in shops now too. One thing that's making it difficult is not knowing the relative merits of some of the models I'm seeing.

I've been reading Helen Howes advice on buying a machine and think her suggestion of starting with a round bobbin machine is a good one. She specifically mentioned the 15, 66, 99, 201 & 185 but I'm struggling to get a grip on how these machines compare, their strengths and weaknesses that would help me know if one or other models would be the more desirable or best fit for me.

This page associated with eBay gave me a few pointers and made me think the 66 might be a good one to look for as it sounds a good all-rounder and I've not a specific type of sewing in mind so the ability to cope with both thick and thin would be an advantage.

Anyone want to offer an opinion or point me elsewhere to improve my research?

Embroidery Machines / How do the Brother F440e and PE700II compare?
« on: May 08, 2017, 22:35:54 PM »
I've found two used Brother machines for sale that I'm pondering over. The F440e doesn't come with the software (PE Design?) currently being offered with the new machine. I believe it's a basic form with the value of £349. The 'used' machine (only used once I believe) has a selling price of £650 which is actually more than the current price less the cost of the software so it's not a good saving if the software is desirable to have - I'm looking for lacey designs to make single colour motifs to sew on dance dresses btw.

The second one, the PE700II is not a current machine but looks like it may be similarly featured to me (who knows very little) but is available for £400. It has a USB port but uses a big chunky card and no software of course.

Could I ask for views on these machines please? Both seem to be based on a 7" x 5" hoop size and it may be that the end use may lean more towards one than the other but I'd appreciate any points of difference worth consideration that occur to you.

Many thanks

... unfortunately it's still in Germany and the cost of delivery is £100. What a fascinating piece of machinery in such a stylish cabinet - I'm assuming it does zigzag with all its dials.

Vintage Machines / How practical a buy?
« on: May 08, 2017, 20:34:45 PM »
I found this Singer 201K in a village shop and was rather taken with it although the metal lid of the compartment has a badly rusted area. It comes with some tools and appears to be in immaculate condition. It's been put on sale by the family of the original owner (1949).

Question. 1. How good a price is £75 do you think? I've seen some others in reasonable nick with more or fewer attachments for around £60 but not local. The shop said they'd take an offer, but what would be a fair offer?

Question 2. I'm not wild about the hand crank as I much prefer to have two hands on the work. I'd consider converting to electric and would love a treadle but I be better to look for an existing electric one at this price?

Question 3. How easy is it to find a treadle that would fit this machine?

Question 4. It seems to move smoothly although the price label is stopping a complete rotation. It's not set up to try it out but how foolish would it be to buy it without insisting on trying it out first?

Vintage Machines / Full set of sewing machine stitch cams on ebay
« on: April 28, 2017, 20:04:20 PM »
I've spotted a set of 30 sewing cams on ebay. The owner doesn't know what machine they're for and the bidding is currently at £1.99 so it might be worth having a look if you're interested in cams to fit an existing machine.

Events / Diana's Dresses - exhibition at Kensington Palace
« on: April 21, 2017, 01:10:19 AM »
A friend has asked if I'd like to go to see Diana - Her Fashion Story  being shown at Kensington Palace until 2018. I'm not a great fan of the celebrity aspects but I'm quite interested in the dresses themselves.

Has anyone here been and what did they think of it?

The Show Must Go On / Circle skirt hem 'cheat' for chiffon
« on: March 20, 2017, 13:05:22 PM »
I have my issues with chiffon  :devil: and a few battles with big ballroom skirts in the past too so this post on facebook caught my attention.

Has anyone ever tried this method before? I wonder how well it would cut realistically using that method but I suppose you can mark it then cut it. Otherwise, it would have to be serrated scissors I'd have thought to grip the fabric and stop it just sliding out from the scissor blades as they closed. If you hold it down it will distort it - bad enough on a table!

Do I sound chiffon phobic? :| I am.  :'(

Well, I never expected to be saying this but I need to consider the prospect of an embroidery machine after all. I've always thought they looked fun but the amount of applications that I'd have for them was so limited that I couldn't justify checking it out. That's just changed however as I've discovered FSL (Free Standing Lace) which looks to me like I could use to make motifs that I could sew onto dance dresses.

I've spent hours searching for them but they're usually the wrong size, the wrong colour, the wrong style, far too expensive, in China etc etc. Thanks to an innocent SG member's reference to FSL I'm now getting very hot and bothered about the possibilities!

I've no planned budget for this and the OH is still blissfully unaware so I probably need to look at trade-ins and auctions which means I need to have a good idea of what I'm looking for and I haven' all. I'm thinking that I'll need to know
  • the basic requirements for this technique
  • any obsolete formats/systems to avoid and just as importantly any obsolete ones that will still be fine for my purposes
  • any brand recommendations or rather ones to think twice about?
It's a lot to ask, I know but I'd be very grateful for any shared knowledge and pointers towards good sources of information/advice.   :) :D 0_0

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