I have so many things to talk about I barely know where to start. Let's kick it off with the Burda suit jacket which was finished (so I thought) as of 8 pm last night. Alas, once I sewed the second button and tried the thing on, I realized that the fall of the lapel was weird (due to button placement). What I need to do is sew 2 more buttons and buttonholes, 2 inches above the others, to give another latitude of double-breasted closure.
I will say that my opinion of this jacket is vacillating wildly. For starters, it looks much better on me than on the dress-form (it's one of those "not as good on the hanger" pieces). Alas, for obvious reasons, I've spent much of my time observing it on the form.
I do see every flaw - the most notable of which is the crap quality of the pressed fabric. S pointed out to me that the fabric took better to pressing on areas that were fusibly interfaced vs. those that were pressed (but with a cloth!) alone. I was SO careful with that pressing and the fabric prep (BTW, there was no sign of things to come when I prepped the fabric). I don't know how observable it will be to those who merely view this as a garment I happen to be wearing (rather than something I painstakingly tailored and had an issue with). I suspect I'm overstating the problem, though I will most definitely choose my next fashion fabric more carefully. And it's going to be a long time before I use merino faille again.
On the up-side. I accomplished some good (if progressive) fitting and some very nice technique. And, dare I say it myself, the lining worked beautifully. Silk charmeuse, for its challenges, produces a finished garment that screams luxe. Honestly, this jacket looks like a million bucks on the basis of the interior alone. And the lining's celery-shade manages to be cool and verdant at the same time. In truth, even in the (relatively well-made) lining, there are many imperfections - but they're hard to spot cuz the gorgeous, satiny silk bamboozles.
I opted to sew the sleeves into the lining shell (rather than to hand insert them into the armsyces after attaching the rest of the lining). I was worried about how it would go as I haven't done this before and, I've read, it's less forgiving than sewing the lining in by hand. When you sew the sleeve into the armscye by hand, you don't need as much ease (or, to be more specific, you don't need as precisely the exact right amount of ease) as you do when you're bagging a lining with pre-set in sleeves.
Happily, my pattern pieces were spot on. I drafted the lining myself (with help from this great post), and I did well on that account. I meant to tack the sleeves into the shell, at the underarm, but promptly forgot until after I finished bagging the lining and sewing everything up. Having said this, I haven't found that the sleeve is shifting in the shell during wear or when I put it on or take it off. In fact, I think it's sitting nicely.
A word on lining: It's no quicker to bag the lining and sew everything in by machine, IMO, than to tailor it by hand and set the sleeves in separately. In fact, I think it's faster to do the hand work (if you're a confident hand-stitcher) because you can adjust your precision as you go. Once you've got that lining all machined together, it's hard to alter how it will fit in the shell - you've got to be SO careful that it takes that much longer.
One other point about the lining (which I'll likely discuss again): I didn't actually tack the shell hem to the shell after bagging it. I forgot that was on my list of things to figure out so I'll have to wait till next time to see how and if it's possible. However, as I made my hem quite narrow in the scheme of things, and as I don't have too much of a jump pleat in the lining, I sense the lining and pressing will keep the hem in place without issue. Time will tell.
I promise - pics are coming soon. I just need to do those extra buttons/buttonholes and wash my hair.
You might be wondering how it is that I've sewn buttonholes so blase-ly, given my well-known hatred of that activity, and based on some dicey end-results.
Well, my friends, this brings us to the exciting part of the post.
Meet my new sewing comrade:
|The Viking Husqvarna 190, Photo from vendor|
My husband looked over my shoulder while I was ogling this baby on Etsy and offered to buy it for my birthday (still 2 months away). I cannot begin to describe my feelings for this machine. I've only known her for 4 days but I really do sense my life has changed.
So many sewists get new machines, and post about them and - even as I love to read those posts (they thrill and inspire envy), I'm all like: I don't have that kind of money for a new machine.
(Disclaimer: I have a very expensive serger that I bought new, 2.5 years ago, and I love it every single time I use it. I in no way regret that purchase, which I managed to find the money for, so I'm not suggesting that I'm a starving artist or that others go crazy spending on their new machines (like it's any business of mine what anyone else does). I say, if you've been sewing for a lifetime and/or you've got an excess of funds, an expensive machine is de rigeur. I just don't know how I fit into either of those camps :-))
The Back Story:
I've been sewing for 3.5 years on a beginner model Brother machine, purchased (on a whim, also by my husband) from Walmart for under 200 bucks. I should have nothing but gratitude for that machine because, really, it has seen me through a tailored suit, bra-making of all kinds, numerous knits, and everything in between. But even in my gratitude, I have to admit that the machine is light-weight, fussy, can't sew a buttonhole to save itself, ruinous of certain fabrics and just not right for the sewist I've become. I've known for 2 years that I needed a new machine but, after I bought the serger - a very smart addition to my sewga room, I couldn't really justify spending another 2K on a great, new item.
Add to that the incomprehensibility of choosing a new machine, and I've been non-commital. I have very little exposure to different models. Natch, I've tried other machines (an Elna, a Janome, a Bernina) but none of them resonated - though they are all very nice - and I only tried one model of each brand. I have been so overwhelmed, so nervous about choosing incorrectly (BTW this is so NOT my personality), that I've let the task languish. Weird.
Now my husband is an ally in that, when I have trouble making a choice (like, once a decade), he swoops in and enables. I would not have bought my new machine (and I've got lots to say on how it's wonderful, below), but he convinced me it was no great risk, and probably a smart idea. And then he offered to pay for it.
To give you some sense of its value, as I'm about to tell you the numerous ways in which it is WONDERFUL, it cost - including 65 bucks of shipping - $350 all in. I mention this because I couldn't imagine a more perfect machine for me, and it was totally affordable even though it was delivered from America, and the thing weighs a lot. My point is, you don't have to spend a lot on a machine to get a terrific one.
About The Viking Husqvarna 190:
Over the years I've determined what I find important in a machine (afeared, natch, that I don't know enough to know what actually is important...):
- A free arm that's narrow enough to work on all kinds of narrow diameter sewing
- A mechanical machine (no electronic robot bits!)
- A machine that's been used for many years, with love and success
- A machine that's, nonetheless, in very good condition
- A great - and easy - buttonhole feature (the holy grail of features, IMO - many a great machine still struggles with the buttonhole)
- Beautiful, which is to say, optimally functional design
- European manufacture
- A metal chassis
- Ease of use (how do the presser feet work? what about tension fixing?)
- An even stitch
And another thing, I suspect one is nuts to buy a machine on the basis of looks (which I did not do) but if you don't consider the aesthetic, you're likely to spend a lot of time staring at a machine that doesn't appeal. The 190 is beautiful. So 1970s fabulous. It's black and brown with crazy, olde-style knobs and buttons. It's practically space-aged!
Miraculously, in the Viking Husqvarna (the last model to be manufactured in Sweden), I achieved all of these objectives.
I sense I've found a partner in this machine and that it will collaborate with me for many years and, for this, I am tremendously grateful.
My first experience of it (after cleaning and admiring), was to sew in a sleeve. It did this with grace in a fraction of the time, with a fraction of the effort, that the Brother would have taken (not to disrespect my former machine). The Viking is so elegant. So subtle.
At any rate, I'll stop now cuz I don't want to be one of those crazy sewing ladies, but if you're ever in the market to buy a vintage machine, I couldn't recommend this one more.
Today's questions: What machine do you use? Is it pre-owned? How do you like it? Let's talk!