Sunday, 25 October 2015

The buttonhole Trials...

How do you know if your sewing machine will do the job you want?
This came up when someone I know was thinking about buying their first sewing machine.

Of course, we all have different ideas about these things, and about what we want a sewing machine to do, I make clothing, costumes, and I do patchwork and quilting, and I also make bags and 'stuff'. I am thinking of attempting a bra one day... Don't hold your breath.

I am also quite lucky, in that I have used a variety of machines at one time or another. I started on my Mum's old black and gold Singer. Straight stitch only. Forwards only. No fancy bits. She got that part exchanged for a Pfaff, way back in the 1970s. Nice machine.
I was given a Singer by a Scottish Dancer, I used my MiL's New Home, and I part exchanged the Singer I had been given for a more modern Singer. That was in the 1980s. It was a Singer Serenade, I believe, ( can't be bothered to run upstairs and check- it is still there) and when the tension on that went dodgy I got my beloved Bernina.
Add to that list, the Husqvarna I used on a visit to Amsterdam, ( gorgeous zip function, to die for...drool, Kathinca... best zip insertion I have ever met) and my friend's Brother, and her later Bernina, and I think you can say I have met a few.

So, what advice did I give?

Try the buttonhole function, and the zip insertion, and check what feet are available!

This inevitably led to my having to do sample buttonholes on the three machines currently residing in my house.

Want a look?
 I think you can see, the balance is out. I have one wider spaced line of stitches, at the top, and a narrower spacing under that. There is room for some adjustment on these, with the stitch regulator on it, but you still end up with uneven lines of stitches. Also the gap between the lines is a bit wider than I would prefer, and you end up with a fray-ey bit in the middle. This is the only buttonhole style built in to the Singer.

 The Bernina does a much more acceptable standard buttonhole, and a choice of styles. It also has the lovely feature, that it memorises the first buttonhole, and then reproduces the same buttonhole for multiple times.
I found the keyhole buttonhole slightly less good than I liked, but a second one done over the first gave me a result I would be very happy to use.
 Now, I think, this Brother gives a very good buttonhole result. It has the function to put the button you are using into a bit at the top of the buttonhole foot, and it measures the length required for you. and all three buttonholes are acceptable just as they are.
The only downside for this one is, that there is a little lever to put down when doing the buttonhole which is what actually sets the length, and it will not work without this. This means you cannot really do a buttonhole outwith its pre-determined range. The range is good enough for most purposes though!

Overall though, with all their different features, I still love my Bernina the best....

What do you look at, or would you look at if you were looking for a new machine?

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

a quilt finish

For her birthday, DD2 asked for a quilt. No other requirements, just, Mum, please make me a quilt.
Now the birthday is in early October, and the request came in early September, so, plenty of time to make that quilt, yes?

Well, other than that I also work full time, and have one or two other responsibilities, yes, that is bags of time...

I thought hard about this, but actually, I knew what I wanted to make, and I wanted nice cheery colours,  and to make something she would love despite all the inevitable flaws...
 this is where I started. A simple but scrappy look, And it grew.

slowly I added to it.

and eventually I had thirteen like this...

which needed twelve to go between...
to make this.

Put on a spare bed

 and here is the back
and the obligatory rolled up shot..

Did I make the deadline?    well,  not quite.
The little one came home the week after her birthday, and I did manage to get it done for then.

And, I think she likes it.
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