Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It lives!

...And I don't mean the dust bunnies under my sewing desk...those are still not quite at the point of staging a hostile takeover. (Note to self: sweep soon.) No, I'm actually talking about this:

New Home Rotary Treadle Machine

I bought this machine just over two years ago. I had just gotten my "big kid" job, and a paycheck to match. There was one lone antique store on the route I took to work then, and I stopped by one afternoon to look around. I spotted this machine almost immediately, but it took me another month or so, visiting every so often, to decide to buy it.

Condition: Not too shabby!

The cabinet and hardware were all in pretty good shape, and a little fiddling in the store established that all the parts still moved. My mom helped me get it home and let me store it in her garage until I found a place for it upon moving into a new apartment. I got a new belt for it from Lehman's at Tyler's recommendation, and Mike helped me install it. Brave man; he sliced his hand in the process, but the task was accomplished!

And...then the machine sat there. For a long time. I put photos on it, took pictures with it, and got frustrated when I couldn't make it work. So it sat there. And then yesterday, right before I was supposed to go meet a friend for dinner, I decided I was going to make it work.

As it turns out, all I had to do was tighten the belt. I took several inches out of it, re-attached it, and finally figured out (thanks to a little internet research) that you have to use both feet on the treadle. Or at least...I do, since my foot doesn't cover enough area to move both the front and the back of the treadle from one position. Your mileage may vary. Anyway, it works! I didn't get a chance to thread it up, since I had to change and dash out the door for my lady-date, but I'm beyond thrilled at finally getting it running!

Since I have two 1860s dresses in the very beginning stages (as in, I just finished cutting skirt panels and am ready to begin skirt assembly), I've got romantical ideas of sewing them on an antique machine, just for kicks and because, seriously, how awesome would that be? So I think tonight will be fiddling with threading, tension, etc, and then some actual sewing!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


All right, so I just started sewing again after giving myself the summer off. And by "sewing," right now, I mean that I ironed ten yards of organdy and cut panels for the skirt of another 1860s dress. However, because the world does not stand still for creativity, I also had to do some laundry tonight so that I could be decently dressed at work tomorrow. Since I had no sewing projects in appropriate shape to bring with me to my parents' house (where I am very, VERY fortunate to be graced with free laundry!), I brought my computer instead.

And then I said, "Self, wouldn't it be great if you re-designed your website? That maroon and tan color scheme is soooo 2008." So I sat down with Photoshop, Notepad, and a full clip of crazy and re-coded my entire site. It looks so much simpler now! You wouldn't think it would have taken me...oh...four hours?

Anyway, I'd take it very kindly if you could go peruse for a few minutes...and let me know if there are any broken links or funky bits of text or anything. Sometimes monkeying with code for so long means my vision starts to swim and I get careless. ;)

Oh! And the blog has a new look, too, but I can't claim credit for that, really. They had a nifty new "design" feature that let me just putz around with it...way more simple than building code from the ground up!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Back on the Horse

Well hey there. I hope everybody (all like...three people who see this, anyway!) had a great summer. I know I did--I gave myself the summer off of sewing and crazy week-after-week events, and I found it quite relaxing. I spent quite a bit of time with my family, and especially with my sister. She's lived away from home for the past few summers, so it was really nice to be able to just go hang out with her whenver we felt like it, instead of having to plan a whole trip just to spend a few hours together.

I did go to a great reenactment at the beginning of August, however--the Siege of Old Fort Erie, in Ontario. I made myself a new chemise to wear, but that was it. Samantha gifted me a bonnet when she visited in May, and she made me this beautiful apron, too.

Silk bonnet, linen apron.

I do believe that both pieces are entirely handsewn, and the only thing I did on either of them was to sew on a button to the apron, and put in a buttonhole. It was magical. I wore clothes that I didn't have to make! I could get used to that...

Another of the bonnet, because it is wonderful and I don't do millinery.

Gwendolyn made herself a new dress for the event, which you should go read about on her website. Tyler also produced two of the niftiest pairs suspenders I have ever seen in my life.

Y-front suspenders on display.

I'm unsure of exactly the documentation, but they are documented. I absolutely love them. Tyler purchased the tape for his at Needle & Thread, and he made Mike's out of woven-patterned, sewed into strips, from his not-unimpressive stash. The button tabs are leather, and both gentlemen report that the Y configuration of the front allows for greater freedom of movement than conventional straight up-and-down suspenders.