Monthly Archives: August 2009

Singer Hemstitcher

Welcome to the wonderful world of vintage sewing attachments! I warn you, this can become a very expensive addiction. 🙂

Since some of you asked, I thought I’d write a little more about the hemstitcher. It is a wonderful, vintage attachment available for models 15, 66 (except 66-1), 99, 101, 127, 128, 201 and 221. Here’s the set for the 15 class and the 201:


The set consists of the attachment itself (note the huge hooked piercer),


and a special needle plate, an offset screwdriver and a special mushroom-shaped attachment screw:


There are five different needle plates available for the various models. Here’s the plate for the Featherweight (221K):


All of the machines that this attachment was designed for are straight-stitch only. The attachment pierces a large hole and then allows the machine to form a zigzag stitch to hold the hole open. For a nice hemstitch you would stitch down one side and then turn the work around and come down the other side. If you want a picot edge you stitch down one side only and then trim the fabric away up to the hole. It’s really very cool and beats the pants off the wing needle!

If you have one of these vintage machines and want to find an attachment that fits it, here is a list of the plates for each model:

Class 15 #121388
Class 66 #121389
Class 99 #121389
Class 101 #121390
Class 127 #121391 (needs screw #202)
Class 128 #121391 (needs screw #202)
Class 201 #121388
Class 221 #121392

Note that the set is always numbered #121387. The part number for the plate is on the underside and number #121388 for the 15 and 201 classes is the most readily available. The one for the 221 (probably because of the ever-increasing popularity of the Featherweight) seems to be the most sought after and therefore the most expensive.


Filed under Attachments, Sewing Machines

Singer 15-91

My new baby’s home! This is a beautiful, shiny 1951 Singer 15-91. It looks like it’s original owner barely used it. Even the wooden case is in beautiful condition (and it has it’s key!).



I’ve wanted this machine for awhile so that I could use my vintage Singer hemstitcher. I do have the attachment for the Featherweight but I think it works better on the 201 or 15-91. Plus, the hemstitcher for this machine is much more common and less expensive – everything for the Featherweight is high priced. I’ll probably sell the Featherweight hemstitcher since it’s unlikely that I’ll use it now. If you haven’t seen what the hemstitcher can do, here’s a sample:


Beautiful, isn’t it?

It’s 6:30 but UPS hasn’t come yet so I’m still holding out hope that the dotted Swiss will arrive!

UPDATE: 7:47, the UPS man just left the fabric on my doorstep! Off to the washer.


Filed under Sewing Machines

Weekend Sewing Plans

Happily, the pattern for my dotted Swiss blouse arrived yesterday. I am hoping that the fabric will arrive tomorrow because I really want to make this blouse over the weekend.

No more progress on the fitting of the McCall’s shirt. I’ve had something to do every night this week, unfortunately. I’ll be making view B with the single ruffle out of the white dotted cotton I bought from Gorgeous Fabrics last month.


I did manage to hem the red georgette blouse so I guess the week wasn’t a total loss, sewing-wise. 🙂 I’m also still working on a few things that I had intended to finish in time for my trip. I planned more sewing than I actually had time for – as usual!

I also have a new baby. She’s still at the shop but I hope to bring her home on Saturday so I’ll post a photo them. She’s a real beauty.


Filed under Fabric, McCall's, Sewing Machines, Simplicity

Tucked Blouse

Things were pretty hectic yesterday and today so I haven’t been able to finish fitting the shirt pattern I want to make next. I have plans tomorrow night and Thursday night so I probably won’t get back to it until Saturday.

I have almost finished my red rayon georgette blouse though. All I have left is the bottom hem which I may try to finish up real quick now. I made four 1/2″ deep tucks on each sleeve and four 1/4″ deep tucks on the bodice. I had planned on making more on the bodice but I discovered that a good 1/3 of my fabric was flawed so I ran short of fabric. Too bad because the fabric is absolutely beautiful. It has very slight variations in color making it look hand-dyed. (Please pardon the background – I’m in the process of relandscaping my backyard!)



Because I didn’t want the bulk of the tucks (especially on the sleeves) in the neckline casing, I made a separate casing with a crossgrain strip of fabric. Boy, that sure was a lot faster and easier than a 5/8″ double-turned casing!

I hadn’t planned on making yet another blouse with this pattern but when I saw the red georgette I had to do it. I hope it looks different enough from the others but, honestly, I don’t mind having multiples. Even in RTW, I am a repeat offender. 🙂


Filed under Fabric, New Look

Simplicity 3786

I’ve been thinking about dotted Swiss the past week or so. I mean REAL dotted Swiss not that stiff stuff from JoAnn’s with the glued on flocking. Then I saw this on Stitcher’s Guild:


This is from the Tessuti blog. Lots of great things there – do check it out!

When I saw that pattern in the Simplicity book it didn’t call to me at all but now, after seeing it made up I must have one of my own!


The pattern is on it’s way to me and I just placed an order for the perfect dotted Swiss from Gorgeous Fabrics. I can’t wait to get started on this!


Today I’m working on a red rayon georgette blouse and fitting a shirt pattern in between housework and laundry. I should have something to post tomorrow sometime!


Filed under Fabric, Simplicity

Anna Sui Silk Peasant Blouse Final

I finished up the blouse last night and I’m very pleased with the way it turned out. I really love this pattern! It’s wonderful to have something light and airy wafting around you on a steamy day. Now I think I need a pair of white jeans to go with this.


I made this version 3.5″ shorter than the others. It not only looked better shorter but it will also go nicely with my white shorts.

Here’s a closeup of the bodice. I like a little bead or something finishing the cord ends. For some reason, the seam looks a bit wonky in the photo – probably from me adjusting it on the dressform. Why is it that you always see things in photos that you miss in real life?


Not sure what I’ll work on this weekend. I’ll have to think about that this afternoon. Maybe something where I can use the new binder…


Filed under Fabric, New Look

A New Binder

When I was binding my silk chiffon blouse I thought I really needed a smaller binder so I picked one up today. As you may or may not remember, I used a 1 1/4″ binder on the blouse. It was fine but a narrower binding would have been prettier.

The new binder is 3/4″ (part #5083/4) and I ordered a 1″ (#5081) to have on hand and may get the 5/8″ (#5085/8) just for fun. My friend thought I was crazy because the 3/4″ finishes to a fat 1/8″ but that is just perfect for chiffon!


Because the finished product is so narrow it was a little trickier to get it started. I finally pulled out my awl which helped me get everything positioned properly; it was easy-peasy after that. The finished binding is absolutely beautiful, just what I envisioned. Look at the difference between the two:


If you are wondering, I used this binder on my Bernina 1530. It will also fit on my commercial machines. I do own a real Bernina binder and it works great but no better than any of the commercial binders I own. The Bernina binder is about $200, the commercial ones run $20-40. Your machine must have attachment holes on the bed. If the casting is metal a skilled mechanic can drill and tap holes for you.

Now, you will have to loosen screws on the plate and get everything positioned properly for your machine but that’s really easy to do. Basically the left edge of the binding should run along the left toe of your presser foot and the plate should be as close to the foot as possible without touching the feeders. You will need a proper binding foot. For a Bernina, it’s #94 – for the classic models anyway. You can also have the right toe cut off of an open-toe foot at most industrial sewing machine shops. Or do it yourself with the cut-off wheel of a Dremel – just make sure you polish all the rough edges.


Filed under Attachments

Anna Sui Silk Peasant Blouse III

I worked on the blouse bodice last night. I decided to add a 2″ strip of the contrast to the upper bodice and then bind the center front edges.


Yesterday, Jan pointed out the adorable yellow birds on a wire in the coordinating print. I wish I’d read her reply before I got this far:


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s yellow gravity-defying sideways-sitting birds. I really don’t want to redo this! I will just hope that, like me, most people won’t recognize what they are. What do you think?

Because I used bias binding at the center front I needed some other way to close up the lower section since I wasn’t able to stitch it closed the conventional way. Ordinarily, I’d just leave it open but t’s too darn hot to have to wear a cami! I found these vintage mother-of-pearl buttons in my collection and used them to stitch the opening closed. Because silk chiffon is delicate, I backed the opening with a strip of bias handstitched to the binding.


Filed under Fabric, New Look

Anna Sui Silk Peasant Blouse II

I dreamt about this blouse all night, mostly about the sleeves. Happily, I had a little free time today and was able to get them finished. I had already planned out which part of the coordinate I’d be using as a hem band. I chose an area that had black at the top so that the French seam would not show through the chiffon. Because the fabric is so sheer, using a doubled band wasn’t possible.

The bottom of the sleeve is curved so I slightly eased the straight band at the seam.


I had planned to use a simple narrow hem but then I thought, why not make it a little more special with a bias binding? I cut the binding 1 3/8″ wide and used my 1 1/4″ binder. Because the fabric is so silky, I knew it would narrow a bit as it went through. Once you master your sewing machine attachments (practice, practice, practice) they make your life so easy! I bound both sleeve hems in less than 10 minutes, including cutting the bias.



All of this work was done flat and then a French seam was sewn at the underarm. Here’s the finished product:


Next I’ll be figuring out how to incorporate more of the coordinating fabric onto the bodice. The sheerness of the fabric complicates everything just a little bit!

Parting Shot: My best friends just returned from Europe and, knowing how much I love this sort of thing, brought me back some hand-made soaps they found in an open-air market. It smells heavenly and it’s wrapped in the Nice sports page!



Filed under Fabric, New Look

Hot Patterns Marrakesh Pants!!!

I was so excited about the 3 Graces Tees yesterday that I totally missed the new HP drawstring pant – isn’t it great? Every night when I come home, the first thing I put on is a drawstring pant and a tank. It’s all very pajama-like and the most comfy thing I can imagine wearing after a long day. Last Sunday, I wore that “uniform” all day while sewing! I’m embarassed to admit that my drawstring pants are all cheap RTW from Target and I noticed yesterday that one pair was falling apart – after only two months. So, this pattern comes at the perfect time for me to make some quality pants that I can actually wear out in public! I’m washing up some linen and cotton as I write so that they’ll be ready for cutting when the pattern arrives. Tip: washing and drying your linen at least three times makes for a really soft, slightly rumpled pant that does not require ironing.


I also want to say how much I appreciate the Hot Patterns envelope illustrations of late. Instead of the usual 9-heads’ proportioned Amazonian models, Trudy is now drawing real women. Don’t get me wrong, I think her illustrations have always been fantastic – it’s just easier now to imagine how the clothes will look on a normally proportioned figure.

I managed to get the Anna Sui silks cut out today. Having something cut and ready seems to be a recipe for successful weekday sewing for me. Even if I only manage 15 or 30 minutes per day, I feel as if I’ve accomplished something. Are you wondering what happened to the robe I was going to make? I didn’t have any fabric in my collection that I really wanted to use so I put that project on the back burner for now. And I’m looking for a nice terry or velour for the beach coat.


Filed under Hot Patterns