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Topics - Acorn

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Vintage Machines / Featherweights for Dummies
« on: December 28, 2017, 12:14:49 PM »
Well, she's here.   :D 

I have been prodding and poking here, ferreting around in her innards and generally trying to get to know her.  She seems to be remarkably clean - almost no fluff anywhere, just one little loop around one of the rods inside the face plate.

I am being vey cautious and checking everything I can before even plugging here in, so I have oiled all the bits the manual tells me to.  I have also checked the grease tubes on the motor, and they appear to have little or no grease in them.  So my first question is where to find 'Singer Motor Lubricant', because the manual tells me bad things will happen if I use anything else.

I have found this on Ebay, which is presumably the right stuff, but has a frightening postage charge

Or there's this, which also comes from the US, but the shipping seems so low that I'm afraid they would be sending it by pigeon.


"As a special end of year treat we're giving you 25% off, but only when you shop at You just need to use the code BOXING25 at the checkout to get your discount. Don't miss out though, the sale ends on 31 December!"

I bought 5 Style Arc patterns on Christmas Eve, from their pre-Christmas sale.  I'm not sure I should be allowed anywhere near the site today...  :o

Burda Style are offering a bundle of 6 patterns (sizes 44 to 52) as free pdf downloads for today only.

Vintage Machines / Urgent advice please!
« on: December 21, 2017, 12:12:03 PM »
Yesterday we found a Singer Featherweight in a shop locally.  It seems to be in good order - clean and nice, in its box, with cables and a box of what looks like feet (I didn't look for very long).  I think the price is probably reasonable - £85.

Mr Acorn has decided that he would very much like to buy it for me for Christmas.   0_0

Please can someone tell me what we should be checking?  I am very nervous about the electrical side of it.  We don't have the expertise, although my Dad certainly does - but he is not on the spot.  I don't want to get it and then find that it needs a lot of work before it can be used.

I asked the seller about it and she said it had come directly from a house clearance, and she thought it looked good, but hadn't tested it.

Oh, and I have no idea about the age - I wasn't considering possibly owning it! - but it was black with gold decals and had a small green booklet that doesn't say 'Featherweight' on the cover.  Unfortunately I can't remember what it did say.

Adding Zing & Bling / Finished!
« on: December 17, 2017, 19:49:26 PM »
I have just finished making a hot water bottle cover which will be one of my Mum's Christmas presents. 

It has been far more complicated than you would imagine - mostly because it is very tricky to add a drawstring channel at the top of something that has bias binding around the edges, but also because the first run of the embroidery went seriously wrong one colour before the end when the machine reset itself and I forgot that I had adjusted the position of the design in the hoop, and the second run went wrong because I forgot to reset it to the beginning and it started at the end with the wrong colour thread.

Extra brownie points to anyone who can spot the totally deliberate pun contained within it  :D ... I'm relying on my Dad to point it out on Christmas Day.

Current Projects / It is finished!
« on: December 04, 2017, 15:39:59 PM »
When I was 19 I bought some packs of Laura Ashley pre-cut hexagons and a piece of cheap contrasting material, and I started to make a quilt by hand.

Every stitch has been done by hand: piecing, quilting (in the ditch - yeuch!) and finishing.  It has been put away for long stretches of time, particularly when I realised that I didn't have enough of the contrast and it took me years to find material that was the right shade of black (the contrast that forms a diamond in the centre of the quilt is black with a tiny red and cream pattern, the outer contrast is black with slight dark blue marbling - but, strangely, they go together well.)  The second photo shows both background fabrics.

It is very far from perfect, although all the corners match properly, it is nice and square and all the stitching is good and secure - it's the quilting that isn't brilliant - but it is a quilt with a history.

I wonder what I would have thought at the age of 19 if you had told me I'd finish it in the year of my 30th wedding anniversary...

Patterns Discussion / Coat Pattern
« on: November 09, 2017, 10:24:35 AM »
I had to order half a metre of softshell fleece from yesterday - they were the only place with the colourway I need to make a hat for my Mum.

Anyway, that meant £5.95 delivery, which was clearly terrible with just half a metre of fabric... so, to cut a long story short, I seem to have ordered three metres of coat fabric, and three metres of lining to go with it.

The problem now is that I can't find a pattern that works for me.  I want something fairly shapeless (like me!), three quarter length, and with a hood (and 'generous' sizing!)  That hood seems to be causing problems.  My first port of call is always Style Arc, but they have nothing.

Has anyone seen anything that sounds at all like that?  Or can anyone suggest somewhere for me to look? 

The Cafe / Today is 'Iminei Day'!
« on: November 08, 2017, 11:14:07 AM »
I declare today to be 'Iminei Day'   0_0  :toast:

Iminei, you are not allowed to do any housework, or anything tedious, unless it directly benefits you. 

You are required to do only things that make you happy.

While you think about what to do, here is a hot chocolate from me.

Meanwhile, a few of us will be sneakily making dolls in the image of... well, someone who shall remain nameless on this thread.  We won't stick pins right into them, but we will worry them with the pins, just enough for the odd paper cut or twisted ankle.   :angel:

Machine Accessories / Needles and Threaders
« on: October 29, 2017, 18:28:24 PM »
I have been having trouble with the automatic needle threader on my embroidery machine.  It appeared that the little metal hook was too high for the eye of the needle, and so was slipping to one side or the other.  I checked and re-checked that the needle was in as high as it would go.   ><

Eventually it occurred to me that the problem had started when I started a new pack of needles (75/11 as opposed to my usual 90/14).  I tried another needle from the new pack and the problem was just the same, but when I changed back to a needle from my previous pack there was no problem at all.

Has anyone else found this?  Both packs of needles are Hemline ones.  I have just ordered some Schmetz to replace them (my preferred brand, but not available locally).

Your Favourite Suppliers / - Free Shipping..
« on: October 20, 2017, 09:56:56 AM »
... on orders over £20, with voucher code 'Shipping'.

Shipping is usually £5.95 or free on orders over £50.

Sewing Machines / Twin needle carnage
« on: September 20, 2017, 12:32:20 PM »
I have been making a top (knit and woven) on my 10 year old Pfaff Classicstyle 2027.  It has been sewing beautifully - straight stitch and zigzag - but as soon as I put the twin needle in it goes to pot.  If it doesn't jam straight away it sews a few inches with great loops of thread on the back and then grinds to a halt.

I have threaded and rethreaded, following the manual to the letter.  I have redone the bobbin and cleaned out the fluff - when it grinds to a halt it seems to be because some of the loops have got jammed in places where there ought not be any loops.

The tension is fine for normal sewing, and this seems to be way beyond a few loops being caused by slack tension anyway.

I have done my top stitching with two lines of straight stitch, which is perfectly satisfactory, but my eyes haven't uncrossed themselves yet.

The twin needles have worked perfectly before now (although I do now remember that I had this problem last time I tried, and I then switched to my other machine.  I don't want to have to do that on a regular basis though.

Has anyone got any ideas as to what is going wrong?     :'(

The Cafe / Yay!
« on: September 17, 2017, 13:47:14 PM »
I've just walked past the shop that used to be Aberdashery in Aberystwyth...

... and there is FABRIC in there, and two vintage sewing machines in the window.  There's no name on the board above the window, and no information other than the opening hours, but clearly Aberystwyth is getting a new fabric shop!!!    0_0

Google didn't help me, but if anyone else knows anything at all, please let me know! 

:toast: :toast: :toast:

In the wardrobe / Waterproof Coat
« on: August 31, 2017, 10:18:07 AM »
I have just ordered this fabric (fleece lined softshell) to make the Style Arc Casey coat.

I have had a sample of the fabric and have rigorously tested it - it genuinely does seem to be waterproof (as the listing says) and not just water resistant.  I soaked and squidged and dropped water from a great height, and not a drop came through, even when I pressed the fabric tightly.

I am concerned about the seams being waterproof.  I was thinking of using something like bondaweb to make sure that the horizontal seams stay pressed upwards on the inside so that water will not fall directly onto the stitches.  The shoulder seams, however, look pretty vulnerable and I was wondering about using liquid seam sealer.  Most of the information I have found talks about using it on tents, and just mentions that it can be used on rainwear too.  Does anyone have any experience or recommendations?  This is the sort of thing I have found, and the phrase 'almost invisible' makes me very nervous.  I assume I would apply it on the inside, and this one appears to be removable with a damp cloth before it dries, but...  :o

Any other advice would, as always, be very welcome...

... and at some point I will have to think about either making a matching hat or adding a (possibly detachable) hood.

In the wardrobe / More Bootstrap Bafflement...
« on: August 18, 2017, 09:38:40 AM »
I am 5'6", which I understand to be pretty much the height most patterns are designed for.  Bootstrap patterns are customised to my measurements anyway, with a very clearly stated height of 5'6".  I am pretty much balanced in terms of leg length and torso length.

So did I have to take 7 inches off a skirt made from a Bootstrap pattern (not a simple task as it was a mermaid skirt and shaped all the way down), and 6 inches off the cropped trousers that I made a few weeks ago?

I haven't had any problems with their patterns for tops, although as I like my tops quite long this may just not be apparent.

Am I missing something?  Have other people had this problem?  I thought about fiddling the measurements, but really - if a skirt is 7 inches too long, how much would I have to take off my height to get a skirt the right length?!?

The skirt pattern is this one - described as 'knee length' and shown as being a little longer than calf length.

The Cafe / I know where all the needles go...
« on: August 07, 2017, 16:38:35 PM »
Have you ever wondered what happens to all the needles that you lose, that never turn up again?  Well I've found them all.

I needed to wash my large pin cushion (there was a very ugly incident involving a bowl of cereal), so I removed all the pins and put it in with the washing.  When it came out I gave it a squeeze (ouch!) and discovered that there were some needles hidden inside.

Half an hour later I had extracted 46 needles, and I know there is at least one more in there.   :o

Now if I can just figure out where the odd socks are...

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