Thursday, August 22, 2019

New program, old blog

I quit blogging because I was using an IPad on night shift and blogging was really really hard on it. My lap top had several issues with the keyboard and writing there was pretty crazy too. I wasn’t about to try it on the phone. So I finally found this program and paid $5 I think for a program called BlogTouch. It looks like it will work well.

So, what’s new. I got a new vintage machine, a 1987 or 1989 Viking Husqvarna 1100. A friend decided I was the person it belonged with so I agreed to buy it and she agreed to ship it. It is an electronic machine with different “cassettes” that give a variety of stitches, buttonholes, and embroidery options. Currently I only have cassette A, but it’s the one I really need. When I first tried her out she made a funny noise and blew out a puff of white smoke. Power was still on so I turned it off. My closest dealer said they won’t touch them because they can’t get replacement parts. I decided to cautiously try turning it back on and have since used it for a couple hours with no further issues and finding no deficits. I made a little video of working with a darning foot and free motion ruler. I also tested her out on some knit fabrics. This machine is the best I’ve ever used for knits. Here’s a link to the video. 

I made a bra :)

This is a Shelly from Pin Up Girls patterns. Beverly Johnson drafts the patterns and has classes on Blueprint. Additionally there’s help from two Facebook groups. As a 50 DD, I haven’t had a comfortable bra in a good decade. This one feels pretty good. It needs just a little more tweaking, and I’ll never put that much lace on my skin without a lining again, but, the band and cups fit! So of course I now have enough fabrics and laces for about 50 bras and have yet to cut out a second one.

Mostly these people’s fault.

I got a pair of Style Arc shorts and a Style Arc top done, but no photos. I don’t understand how the top came out too big, but elastic was effective for a save. Still working on a good woven bodice fit, I’m getting there. Seems that I need darts dropped as well as an FBA or Nancy Zieman’s pin and pivot method. Now I’m wondering if I do those two adjustments, should I be in a smaller pattern to fit the neck and shoulders? That could be the big solution!

I jumped off the top to Rebecca Page’s Bondi Bikini. Of course, I know it’s not going to look on me the same that it does on the model above. I’ve never found one piece suits comfortable as a lot of my height is in my torso, now I’ve got girth too and I insist on a two piece. There are instructions for a full bust adjustment for the top (why does the 5x require that? Shouldn’t that already be adjusted for large breasts?). There are no instructions for adjusting the lining of the top, which is cut very much like a princess seam and not like the top proper. I figure I’ll adjust with princess seam instructions but I haven’t cut it out yet. I started with bottoms and have them about half way, but that’s when the new machine arrived and I got a little derailed. Today I was feeling like I really should try and finish those bottoms but decided on a palate cleanser instead.

So I’m the proud owner of a potato zapper microwave bag and some coasters. Quick and easy.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Summer’s gone

Darn, it seems like either blogging or sewing should get easier, but neither does. I have chronic life long depression I stopped treating more than a decade ago, perhaps that has something to do with it. Maybe it’s situational, as I’ve had keyboard issues seem to pop up too quickly with my electronics the last three years (letter a always being an issue!). We won’t even go into my issues with photography. As for sewing, there is my steadily growing obesity (fitting issues, design choices) AND shrinking free time. I’ve been taking on more responsibility with my grandson. He’s developmentally between 12 and 24 months but in a four year old’s body, able to see and reach anything on a counter. No dedicated sewing time with simultaneous Jed time. I still manage some sewing, and I like to think I’m improving at what the late, great Nancy Zieman called “sewing in 10, 20, 30 minutes”. While I love to go full steam on a project and finish in one or two sittings, I’m finally appreciating that you CAN get a project done before you are sick to death of it if you just work on it a few minutes over several days. You have to keep it organized and only pull out a limited number of supplies for the part of the project you are working on. I might skip clearing the cutting table and ironing board and only stitch (at my house surfaces call stray items like a cat lady calls cats). I might only iron/press, because 6 minutes is all I have to spare unless I’m giving up sleep, which I am not. Anyway, onward to sewing.
  I did not get as much done as I wanted, but I did complete the vogue trousers. Strange, they look much less like the pattern envelope and much more like my nursing uniform pants. That said, they are pretty comfy. I did my standard adding 1” to the front and back rise, after measuring the pattern, and still it came out to too much and I had to eliminate some at the waistband seam. I also gave myself extra girth and it turned out to be too much (in my opinion) to use a zipper with. This was after I inserted the zip TWICE to get a perfect invisible zip. I tried them on, they are supposed to have a partial elasticized waist so I expected some ease. There was enough ease that going to the trouble of finishing the waistband seemed silly, I pulled out the zip again and sewed up the seam, sewed in elastic to hold all that heavy linen up and called it a day. I like them all right, but I believe this is home dec linen. It’s a little scratchy and as mentioned rather heavy. They drape and swing, the pattern matching was fair. I would love to sew these up again in a lightweight woolen suiting with the contrast insert. God knows where I would wear such fancy pants to. A nice restaurant maybe?
Standing, its kind of obvious the pants are pretty big. I was fighting too tight and too short and I believe I fought too hard!
The designer is one of the best fit instructors in todays sewing industry, so I was expecting better. I think if I make them again I’ll have better success. I really do want that contrast pleat in the side.
I also tried out LoveNotions classic t shirt pattern. The pattern was free after following on facebook. It comes with a second front piece with a full bust adjustment already done. My fabric was a gorgeous but very thin and stretchy Japanese print I bought sometime back, perhaps from Girl Charlie? It has poor recovery and is just more limp than I like. The top is probably a good 4 to 6 inches shorter than I like as well. I am 5’11” and it’s probably drafted for someone at least 5” shorter than I am. I was grateful for the free pattern, which I’ll use again, so I bought some patterns during a sale. Another good sale came along and I bought more. Now I have about 8 of their patterns (some for kids) and I’m happy about that. They are the easiest pdf patterns I’ve ever put together. Even needing alterations, they seem to be a good choice for my body type. I made a rough muslin of their cigarette pants (no photos, you are spared!) the Sabrina Slims, and like those. The instructions are simple and clear, and the facebook group gives really fast feedback and advise to anyone with a question while sewing. I’m writing tonight on an I pad using Blogpad Pro app. I think I finally figured it out, hurrah! Ive been working on some other projects  I probably would have already blogged about except I was having fits using the i pad and didn't want to pack the laptop just to blog. I’m hoping to be more productive soon.  

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Summer vacation and sewing and machine nostalgia

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:

 Style Arc Rowes Tunic. I sewed my size without any changes to the pattern and I'm pretty satisfied with the fit.  I cut it dress length, thinking I'd probably sleep in it more than wear it in public. It's a little too short to be a dress, yet a little long as a shirt.  But, OK.  I've actually worn it in public a few times, which makes me happy.
 I debated an FBA, but think it did pretty well without.  Now I have a pattern that I can use as a gauge for knit tops.

I am not in love with the contrast yoke, but it is an improvement on the self fabric that I cut without respecting the fabric pattern. If I made this again, I think I would choose solids with some color variation at the yoke, neck, and arm trims.  I'd hem it somewhere between the shirt and dress choice.

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 took apart the project I took up to Maine, more linen.  They were coming together too large, so I wanted to take in seam allowances all the way back to the beginning, also allowing for all of them to be serged.  I have learned, as you can see, to pay attention to the freakin fabric pattern! I'm sure a better job could have been done on that side seam, but I can tolerate this and I'm fairly proud of that pocket placement.  These are taking longer in part because of the careful pressing I like to do with them.  When I have my window ac unit going, I put my ironing board in the hallway.  Generally, after I've finished sewing until I press, or finish pressing until I sew, I think of something else that needs to be done and put the project down.  These pants are more fitted with an invisible back zipper, a style I'm not at all familiar with wearing. I'm not sure if I would trust them in public with sitting and rising. If I try it, I'll bring safety pins.

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.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


I worked futilely on this post on my i pad probably more than an hour last night at work (if I'm surfing the internet it means I'm doing my job right: my home healther's are sleeping without needing much).  Finally I found an app called Blog pad Pro that seemed to be working wonderfully after I worked out a few glitches.  Getting the photos on was the biggest problem.  Finally I hit publish- no photos and only one paragraph of text.  Now, because I intended to dammit, I'm on a laptop to quickly pound this out before I have to wake up and get the kid off the bus. So- spring-

Arrives, and maybe, maybe I’m starting to throw off the lethargy of the winter. It went pretty deep this year indeed, I wasn’t sewing or exercising or much of anything. I used to take depression medications. Now that my kids are grown and I’m not trying to climb any professional ladder or trying to grow a romance I just let my mood be what it is, whether it’s seasonable or cyclic or whatever! Years ago, I read a best seller called “Listening to Prozac”. The author compared our use of SSRIs to change people with a norm of a depressed or dysthymic personality to the use of Valium on housewives in the 60sto make them calmer and more complacent. He theorized that sometimes we use those meds to make a person more tolerable, easier to like, more NORMAL rather than to treat actual illness. The psych nurse in me always agreed. Not to say there aren’t times when the meds are crucial, I know there were times when I really needed them to be able to continue functioning as a wage earning single parent. But now, I’ve got more leeway to allow myself a stillness, a withdrawal, and I’ve been wallowing in it. Time to get feet back on the floor again.

One of the things I did NOT stop doing was buying fabric. I caught one of those crazy Fabricmart sales. Among several incredible deals that day was about 2 yards of a wide interlock jersey by ArtGallery fabrics packed with a printed pattern by Style Arc, the Rowe Tunic, for $6.00. Good grief! It did take a good 4 weeks of thinking about it before I cut it out. Took a day to thread the serger and run test strips till tension/feed was correct. Then I had to thread the sewing machine, that was today and hurrah! I think I got momentum. Can’t really tell because I’m writing on night one of a five night stretch, I babysit weekdays at 3pm when my special needs grandson’s bus rolls up after 4 or 5 or 6 hours of sleep and we have to throw in a 4 hour CPR course Friday morning. Some of my inertia is exhaustion. But I have hopes.

The machine of my choice for knits has been my singer 401A, because it will zig zag.  I decided to make it even more fun and use these vintage ball point sewing needles, probably from the same era, 1960's.

49 cents at a store called "Allmart".

That didn't work well. I feared it might not, the needles were size 9, for sewing undies or something light light light weight.  I had to switch to a Schmetz Jersey size 12.  But I still had some more experimenting to do, because I've had this special stretch thread a year and not tried it.

This stuff has had many mixed reviews on the internet, and I followed some of the yea- sayers by going slow, decreasing foot pressure, slightly long stitches... Played with tension.  It would need another fabric.  I'm thinking I'll try it on spandex next, but not another jersey for a long time.  Best I could come through with was this:

Not at all satisfactory.  I switched to my usual well known run of the mill brand of poly thread and only had to play a little to get this, still not the best stitching this machine can do with the popped thread at the screwdriver's nose and the longer and shorter stitches without my intent.

I could work with that though. Especially as I was starting out with sewing the neckband pieces together, they had short runs of sharp angles that would be better on a sewing machine than on a serger. Not showing- sewing. So I got that done, then switched to serger to sew together the bottom open ends of the folded in half bindings and to sew the yoke to the back.  Which is when I noticed, hmmmm, this is kind of a stripe.  Pattern matching would have been nice!!  I have 3 options that I can see to complete this.

Ignore it.  It's on the back, nobody that doesn't sew will ever be bothered by it and I won't have to look at it if I look in a mirror.  It's the easiest and most likely to get finished way. I don't know that it would be the most likely worn way, because I suspect it would bug the crap out of me.

I could apply some trim.  This almost works, but I don't think it completely does.  It would necessitate changing the binding on the neck and arms to have some of that contrast too, I think.  They aren't sewn to the body pieces yet so that isn't a terrible amount of work. Kind of a lot of work for the quality of result though.

The third option is to cut another yoke out of a contrast fabric, probably similar weight black, unpick the first piece and put on the new one. That would also eliminate the pattern issue that is certainly waiting for me at the shoulders.  This has raglan sleeves too, sigh. I'll have to re cut and sew the neckband in the contrast, I think, and the sleeve bands.  Maybe not. I'm almost certain I have a perfect piece of fabric in the stash (thanks online fabric stores of America).

I'm pretty sure I know what choice I should make, don't know which one I will or when.  But I'd like to sew at least 4 wearable things by June.  I'm going on vacation to Portland Maine, by way of Baltimore northbound so I can fly (no airport here in slower lower Delaware) and by way of NYC via train on the way home.  You know I'm stopping if I have $10.00 left!

falling asleep and biting my tounge at the keyboard. Night, y'all.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Night and day

On the cat lady friend quilt. In an effort to get it done before Christmas, I started taking what I could to work with me. I haven't had the chutzpah yet to drag a sewing machine along- oh, once or twice I did but that's ANOTHER story. I do have a mini iron, ironing surface and cutting mat that I can slip into my work bag along with a pile of units to press or press and trim.

Dark photos portray my dark environment as it really is. Night shift, baby.  Any quiet activity that promotes the nurse to remain alert in the dark quiet of a home with sleeping people in it is encouraged, a definite benefit to the job. Still, lugging in a sewing machine might be a bit much.

I celebrated Thanksgiving's Day at my eldest daughter's house this year. That enabled me to sew up a Marci Tilton skirt quickly that morning, Vogue 8499.

I'm more interested in the pants, but the pattern needs significant grading up because it doesn't come in my size (very large) and a skirt is simpler by far to extend outward. The tulip shaped bottom is kind of interesting though, and the pockets are big enough for a laptop in one and a sawed off shotgun in the other (I don't own any firearms, but if I did and I wanted to conceal them...). I asked my youngest daughter, who is 6'2"and has her own body images to get some photos. This is what we got-

God love her.  Just as I believe I'm making some headway into accepting that I really am this heavy and I need to make friends with it or change it, she presents to me that I'm shrinking length wise!!!  I knew I lost an inch, from 5'11" to 5'10" in the recent past.  I think I look about 5'2" in this photo, and my feet are disappearing.  Had cute footwear too, darn it. She took more, but I can't stand it and they didn't show any of the features anyway. Not even the fabric details. Stephanie is fired. I have a tripod to dust off. I promise to work on photography skills.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

trickling along

creatively.  I have been puttering about either operating or working on sewing machines this summer, just at the speed of Mississippi mud before climate change.

NOT SEWING, but I have been very pleased with this garden.  I planned it, went to Lowes and got the lumber. I very craftily packed 8 ft lengths into my modest car with the male employees watching reprovingly (Where's her pickup truck?  Where's her MAN?). They also strongly doubted my choice in untreated lumber.  Organic, smorganic they thought.  Wait till those bugs come.  And that wood will rot.  It will rot, but I'm ok with that.  I got a bunch of good stuff out of there and I learned a lot. I think I'll put up two more beds next summer.  I choked some plants out, putting too much in there.

On to sewing.  I couldn't stand to work anymore on the bodice sloper for a while, so I switched to a woven camisole/tank top with darts.  I used a pattern I had on hand that did not have the "correct size" so I had to grade up. I'm fairly confident I did a good job of that.  I then made my first ever full bust adjustment.  In my previous life as a home sewer, pre-computer age, I never needed to do that. I was a fairly straight-out-of-the-envelope size 18 B cup.  It all would have went to hell when it came to crotch depth but that didn't matter then. I only sewed tops, dresses, and skirts. The first thing I discovered on returning to sewing was that I do need adjustments to patterns now.  Pants fitting wasn't too painful.  As I continue to gain more and more post-menopausal weight, the adjustments are getting more and more complicated.

I accommodated pretty well for the bigger bust with the FBA,  but the arm and neckholes were, yeah.  So I diligently measured and made darts and moved darts and redrew patterns, all that convoluted work.  I came up with this:

with more darts pinned in

Perhaps a little better, but not an exciting, flattering fit.  I revisited what I could find online about Nancy Zieman's pivot and slide method.  I ordered the book (I thought) and received a DVD.  I don't currently own anything that plays DVDs, so I reordered the book.  I looked at it, and noted she says your shoulders and armhole depth don't change with weight changes.  I believe they will if you pad enough fat onto those shoulders. 18 might not sound svelte to most people, but I was Army lean with 19% body fat, bikini strutting.  My measured top size is now 26 or 28. With results as above, I'm going to have to try going from the high bust measurement, thus a smaller size, and then slide out from there to accommodate the bigger parts.  I just don't believe I'll be sliding out from an 18.

 I had to abandon sewing garments when the thermometer hit 90. Unless I was going out doors, and sometimes not then, I wasn't putting on more than boxer shorts and a sports bra.  Even to try on was more than I wanted to do.  I marveled all summer at instagram photos of people wearing clothes. Menopause has been long, hot, and heavy in my world.

So, I switched to quilting for a while.  I finally decided that my very rare and old friend Shari deserved a cat lady quilt.  OK, Shari is my age, but we became friends at age 13 on an Air Force base where we were both brats.  Military brats form few if any lasting relationships during their travels, so Shari is one of only two people other than family I've known prior to age 30. The pattern I'm using is modern and so are the fabrics. I'm wondering if I have too many (very cool) cat prints and should have used a higher ratio of solids.  I can only tell when it gets done.


It took me a darn week just to pre wash, iron, and cut out all those curved pieces.  Thank God for  rotary cutters and acrylic rulers.  How the hell did women do those quilts before rotary cutters and olfa mats?  See my mock houndstooth kittys?  Day of the dead kitties?  I also have some Florida beach and bicycles for our childhood, and wild west mountains, for where she chose to end up. There are atomic cats and retro cats, cats in the garden.  Not old lady cats.

These are the first few blocks sewn.  There will be dark alternating with light blocks that form a secondary design of huge rings across the quilt. Pretty awesome design called Chic Country by Sew Kind of Wonderful, or same pattern by template is called Winding Ways and sold by Marti Mitchell.  Sewing those curves is supposedly intimidating, but there is a great video by SKW on Youtube and the blocks are designed to be trimmed down to size, not needing to be sewn precisely perfect.  Good damn thing, in my case.  I sew slow, and thus few quilts.  This will be, in fact, only my second quilt bigger than crib sized.  I'm highly anticipating getting to the quilting part, my favorite part. I struggle with the precision necessary with most piecing.

Finally, I finished those Style Arc Shelby Sweatpants, back in June, but there was no way I was going to put them on and get photos until it cooled off some.  I like the fit, with my standard crotch depth lengthening.  I added an inch to leg length that I would not add if I make them again.  Also, I'm not sure I wouldn't skip those zippered and bagged pockets and just pop in some side seam pockets, but if I went to the trouble I would certainly find better (higher) placement. They are low.

I was worried by the time I decided to put these on to photograph they would no longer fit.  I outgrew a couple things this summer.  Night shift in home health care involves very little activity, but still leaves you exhausted and not craving much activity daytime either.  The studies about sedentary lifestyle and disease links are hitting the news this summer.  Sitting for 6 or 8 hour stretches is more harmful than smoking a pack a day.  Linked to Diabetes, heart disease, depression, on and on and on.  I've started forcing myself to get up and move at least every two hours at work, and I've been trying to get in walks after work and doing fairly well with that.  I was so out of breath though, and then I was asked to pay $74. for a carton of cigarettes after taxes went up in Delaware.  So in another 4 hours I will be 9 days nicotine free!!!  I've been smoking 1 1/2 packs a day, and smoking for 44 years.  I'm hoping to take off quite a few pounds/inches, increase my activity stamina, and find a new job in the next year or two. I'll be freakin wonderful!

There were vintage machines acquired and tinkered with, another time to discuss those. Contemplating a video for the "newest" one.  Video for the quilting of the quilt too.  I'm really hoping I get motivated sewing garments with the weather and my commitment to activity- I'll need clothes to put on!!!

And maybe print this up poster size to keep the inspiration strong on exercise.  Is that my butt?????
I knew when this style started trending a couple years ago not everyone should wear it.  Ahem.  I do like the camouflage with roses, hearts, and peace signs.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Singer 306K reference for bobbin/standard needle modifications

If you are looking for the post where I am taking this machine apart, it's further back here.
My 306K has been waiting far too long for bringing back to life, maybe 2 years now.  I didn't know a sewing machine could be a UFO!

There are two small problems with the machine still: I snapped off the stitch length regulator lever, and it takes an obscure needle only used for these swing needle Singer models. The lever has turned out to be sightly scarcer than many vintage machine parts are.  I have a fair supply of the needles, but they only come in two sizes and only in sharp, no heavy duty or ball point or other specialty.

Standard 15x1 sewing needles used in domestic machines today (and most vintage, except for this small series of  "swing needle zig zag" machines) are about 2 mm longer than the 206x13 needles my 306 requires. If you try to use a standard needle for zig zag or specialty, it slams into the bobbin case and scratches it up and can put the timing off.

There are two very good options to modifying the machine to take the standard needles, and one bad one.  The bad one is to change the timing, which can end very unwell.  The second is to buy a different bobbin case, which may or not need some work with a dremel or some other tool to open the slot a little further.

This post describes how to modify the bobbin case for a  Singer 306k:  Andrew Caddle- bobbin case conversion.  This post by the same author suggests the Riccar 806 case can be used without any configuring:  Andrew Caddle-alternative-bobbin-case-available.  I am not inclined to go fiddle with a dremel, but I can find the Riccar bobbin case on ebay for less than $16 (free shipping!) so I'll probably go that route sometime soon.  Just not yet.  Andrew's posts are very well illustrated and explained, if you have or are considering a 206,306,319, or 320 go have a look.

Also, In Stitches Vintage Sewing posted the following in a facebook vintage machine group recently:

"What you need is a new bobbin case that fits the machine, has enough room to allow the swing of a standard needle, and in the case of the 306,319, and 320... a slot to match the extra guide pin in the hook assembly.
Sounds impossible ?
The modern replacement for all these machines is a Singer 20u bobbin case (part number 541678) and if you have a 206 you can pop it right in and start sewing.
In the case of the 3xx machines in this series, the 20u case has to be modified to add the guide slot it lacks... judicious use of a Dremel with a small cutter and diamond coated grinder yielded very nice results. After cutting, the slots were de-burred and polished and then tested in a 319k. (Last pictures).
The vibration of the rotary tool will probably loosen up the spring tension screw... that will need to be reset before you start sewing."

I wasn't sure I could give a working link to a closed group link or I would have. He also had great photos.  I particularly like the tip to check the spring tension screw on the bobbin case after you are finished!  Details!

As for my lever for my broken stitch length regulator, I let one slide by and I bought a second that didn't fit, although the seller said it came off a 306k.  Next payday, if still available, I will buy the entire assembly from another ebay seller and see if I can get that to work. $16, shipping included.  Not an expensive hobby, just one requiring patience.

It took me so long to find the above references, I wanted to file them away somewhere that my foggy brain could find them when I finally come around to needing them.  Perhaps they could help someone else find their way as well.  My 306 sews very lovely tiny tiny stitches without my being able to change the length, these machines are so worth rescue!