For my first real vacation in probably 4 years, I visited my son and his little family in Portland, Maine. It's a coastal town and their beaches look like this.
Incredibly clear ocean water, of course, COLD!! I waded some, but couldn't talk myself into a swim. I was very willing to eat fresh caught lobster and oysters from here though.
I took a ferry ride and darn near froze to death. I am so grateful I decided to put on pants and carry this light hoodie. I had been thinking shorts and tank as I'm pretty much always warm. But the wind off the North Atlantic is no joke.
I brought a fully serviced and completely accessorized Singer Rocketeer with me, along with a couple sewing projects in hopes that maybe I could get some sewing done. I did not make it very far. We kept too busy playing tourist. However, I left the machine, a travel ironing board and an iron, and thread, scissors, seam ripper, needles, oil, etc. for my son. He has expressed an interest from time to time and I bet winters there would be a great time to hunker down with a Singer and an iron.
What happens when a vintage machine addict gives away a machine? Two more come, that's what. I aquired another 201-2 in need of some TLC and a few parts, annnnnnnnnnnnnd! Not what is generally thought of as vintage, but more than 20 years old. A replacement model for the Kenmore that took me all the way through my child raising days! I burned it up doing unauthorized maintenance on it years ago. They put in trip wires to fry the mother board if you take out certain screws, the bastards. Replacing the board was cost prohibitive, and buying a comparable new machine was also cost prohibitive. That's when I started on my vintage machine journey, and I still love my older machines. But I'm so thrilled to have this one back as well. Turning it on it gives a quirky little sound that just warms my heart. The stitches are gorgeous, and it is even quieter than my 201.
Crazy though, the first project I decided to start after bringing this home was certainly able to be done on the Kenmore, but was definitely stressing it a little bit. I immediately switched back to the singer 401A (the rocketeer's older sibling). This machine has a presser foot that you can fit SIX US quarters underneath. I'm not sure exactly how high that is (update: a websearch says it's about 1/2 inch. Less than I thought). The old saying about those all metal beasts is that if you can fit it under the foot you can sew it. So, this is cotton clothesline rope wrapped in quilting cotton being sewed into a coil to make a throw rug. You can make it as big as you desire, just keep the rope coming up on the right side and it only grows to the left of your machine head.
As for garments, I've made some progress. Photos are so darn hard for me. I think the biggest issue for me is seeing my weight and age in a photo. I'm always a little shocked. The weight has hit a point where I'm getting ready to seriously battle with it. I've gained and lost before, but never have I been this heavy, or old and joint and pulmonary function compromised. Still, I have improved my fitness before, and I have been a non smoker since last Oct 1 after 43 years of smoking. I believe if I commit, I can lose quite a bit of my extra poundage. It would feel so much better to not carry it. I would like my photos better. Asking adult children to take the photos hasn't worked very well, so I'm now trying to take selfies, with a tripod and using the timer since my camera does not use a remote. This will take some work to get better framed and focused shots. I downloaded a new trial version of photoshop elements, but it is very clunky on the one computer that has a big enough screen to warrant using an editor. Not worth buying for the performance I'll get out of it. So, room for improvement in the photo department as well as the sewing/fitting. I do prefer to spend time doing things I'm still learning fairly frequently. Here goes:
This is 100% linen from Fabricmart I believe, at an obscenely low price last year or the year before. Maybe other people don't like huge blue flowers, but it really appeals to me. There's some scraps of it in that rug I'm making above. The pattern is a little variation of the Purl Soho Anywhere Tunic, a very nice free pattern available at the link. Of course I had to supersize it, and then I lengthened the hell out of it. The head and arm openings are folded over twice and then stitched down. The seams that start where the openings end are stitched and then the allowances continue the twice folded and top stitched down treatment. I added BIG patch pockets. The side seams were serged wrong sides together, then french seamed for additional protection from fraying. Simple double fold hem. I used elastic with my drawstring ties that meet on the sides and don't have to bother with tying. This dress was made for my summer days of too hot for sleeping in anything, and then I need to pop on something fast to get my grandson off the bus, answer the door, direct traffic for the odd carwreck outside my house (it's happened twice, not yet with the dress). This covers everything but doesn't cling, it's linen with pockets. I could tolerate it for quite some time in the hot, hot, humid, humid heat. It's also good for sleeping in.
I've sewn some shorts as well, just too boring to photograph. Soon on my table I have a classic T from Love Notions I want to try. Knits used to knock me down in my family sewing days. I have a serger and a lot of places on the internet to get good sewing advise, so I'm hoping I'll be much more successful.