Sew What?


If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might recall Butterick 4790. It’s a reprint of a 1952 pattern, 6015, often referred to as the “walk-away” dress, nicknamed because it was claimed that you could start the pattern after breakfast, and walk away in it by lunch.

Unless, after stitching down the first dart, your thread snaps and winds itself around an internal component, bringing the whole enterprise to a halt.

I have had a sewing machine for 15+ years (currently a Singer 5160), and this has never happened before. I mean, sure, thread snaps all the time, but to see it wound around the doohickey that controls the take-up lever; well, that’s new to me. There’s no thread in my way, and I could ignore it and rethread the machine, but when I turn the hand-wheel, the tension feels off. I’m afraid of it either seizing, or snapping the snapped thread further and winding it around even more internal components.

The screws that hold the machine together are recessed. Recessed farther than my screwdrivers will reach. So, in lieu of paying a shop take apart the machine simply to unwind a piece of thread, I went to Home Depot and bought a longer screwdriver. I undid the five screws on the back of the machine. The screw on the right, near the power supply. The screw on the left, near the needle/presser foot. After all that, I was able to remove one small piece of the housing, but still couldn’t reach the offending thread. I don’t want to cause any further damage, so I guess I’ll call around and see if I can find a shop that will cut me a deal on what I know is a quick “repair.” (One local shop has a $95 diagnostic charge!)

In the meantime, I am unable to “walk-away” in my dress. And the sewing portion of my Halloween costuming is on brief hiatus (public thanks to Big Red for offering up her machine while mine is under the weather).

Halloween Checkpoint

Costume One
Total spent to date: $81 (!)
Still need to buy: footwear
Remaining work: finish sewing costume; practice makeup; build/practice headwear

Costume Two
Total spent to date: $13
Still need to buy: fabric for costume, fabric for accessories, trim for accessories, spray paint
Remaining work: sew costume, sew accessories, cast/sculpt/paint jewelry

Icebox Cake! Calder, shoes, etc.

It’s another scattered, icebox cake post, kids. Without further ado:

August’s masthead is a tight crop of a photo I took of a Calder mobile (Red, Black, and Blue, 1968) which hangs in the Milwaukee Art Museum. Alexander Calder and Jasper Johns have been among my favorite artists since I was a little kid. I would have loved to have been in the room when Sandy Calder was doing a “Circus” performance. I’ll settle for having seen it on film numerous times, because it plays in a loop at the Whitney, where my mom used to take me every year for my birthday. To be fair, though, I wasn’t watching the loop as much as I was staring at the circus itself. I finally watched the film from beginning to end with my friend Mandy as we toured a traveling Calder show a couple of summers ago at the Walker.

I have, by my standards, a lot of credit at DSW. I spent an hour roaming the store yesterday, and managed to find one pair of shoes to take home. Maybe I’m sick? I’ll have to peruse their much larger online collection, and see if I can’t shake this bug. 😉

I have been busy, part I. I have (partially) reorganized my finished basement, in an attempt to uncover the living space that’s down there. I put together three sets of 3’x5′ shelves for all of the stuff that’s stored down there, and managed to unearth the sofa and carve out an area for my sewing table. I think I’ll get two more sets of shelves (open invite to strong, helpful people here: the shelving boxes are too heavy for me to lift) and finish out that wall. I still need to rummage through all the stuff that’s still scattered around, and take a lot of empty boxes to the recycling center. I have a tendency to keep every box that any appliance came in, just in case. (In the case of my rarely-used espresso machine, that box comes in handy as it actually stores the machine!) I am itching to get the basement guest room set up, but I am about to have three different people storing some personal belongings in there. The extra guest space can wait. Note to Scott, if you’re reading this: Maybe you can help me toss out my mom’s seemingly abandonded stuff to create more space for your stuff?

I have been busy, part II. Some squares might be 10 weeks away from planning their Halloween costumes, but my crowd has already been on it for a month. Hooray, hooray, my bestest costume buddy is flying in from Oklahoma just to party down with the Halloweeniest crowd around! Because there are always two parties, there will once again be two costumes. One costume is something that I have attempted over and over, but always bagged at the last minute because I have trouble getting one particularly important prop just to my liking. Lots of people offer suggestions, but it’s difficult to get any of them to actually work. This year, I am determined. Besides, the costume itself is almost done! Just a little more sewing, and the right shoes… and of course, that damned prop. The other costume is still being tossed around, but needs to fall into the theme of Heroes & Villains. I wanted to do Wonder Woman, just so I could get the boots (and, who am I kidding here, those rad wrist cuffs), but her outfit is skimpy and has been since her first appearance back in 1941. Yes, I checked. The metaphorical drawing board has lots of crumpled sketches right now.

Coming up: Soon, I hope to photograph and post my growing collection of handbags. Because they’re finally getting interesting. 🙂 Also, the 2008 Olympics are about to begin! I’m having a few peeps over on Friday to watch the pomp and circumstance of the opening ceremony. Veggie pot stickers, Chinese beer, and whatever my pals deem to bring on their own. And a globe, so we can find all of the guest countries! Fun times. I may have to ruin my progress in the basement in order to clear out the “public” areas for my party. Such is my life of clutter.