Life is indeed a stitch!
Berryhill Heirlooms and Susie Gay present techniques, heirloom sewing, hand embroidery and other musings that you will enjoy and appreciate. Come and join in the fun with Susie, a Home Economist, and savor a little rest from your hectic day...and yes, it's a Degree she uses every day!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Drunkard's Path Quilt Finish!

It's done. Another UFO is completed. And I can't believe I designed the whole quilt around the vintage purple and white Drunkard's Path squares.

This is my third quilt made and completed in a year and a half thanks to the pandemic. Many, many thanks to wonderful Lori M. who long arm quilted two of the quilts including this last one. She did an outstanding job on the Drunkard's Path Quilt using all different designs to fit the various squares and relate the designs back to the original Drunkard's Path squares.
After getting it back from Lori I brought Eva, my new Featherweight, downstairs to the dining room table (for more room) to sew the French bias I had ready to the quilt edges. Notice the little acrylic square on the needle right: it's an ingenious gadget from The Featherweight Shop, their Adjustable Seam Guide. It's very easy to use and comes with instructions and the screw and washer to set it up to the correct width. I'm using my 6" ruler to measure from needle to the seam guide. 
A French bias is just a bias strip folded and pressed the long way so there is one raw edge and one that is a fold. The raw edge is lined up to the already trimmed and ready (again by Lori) quilt right side raw edge.
Corners are folded up and back down to get the diagonal fold with stitching stopped before the corner and started again after the corner. After it's all sewn on the bias is pressed away from the quilt in readiness for hand stitching it down. 

The bias is folded over the quilt to the quilt back and stitched down, and the corner folds are also stitched both front and back. I sewed one side a day...Love having a goal and knowing when it would be completed!

I'm so happy to have designed this quilt! Another UFO completed, so what next?? Besides working on an embroidery project I could start to tackle the Featherweight Folding Sewing Table....

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Featherweight Love 6

 It's getting close to the end of this restoration. I have to put the Tolex I ordered into the case bottom. Then I have to start the painting on the machine bottom edges, which I suspect will take a while to do it carefully. "Bottom line" for this 221 Featherweight is the bottom of it got wet at some point in it's previous owners life. The cast aluminum has been "powdering" (for lack of a better word), it's exposed to the air and it is oxidizing. After contacting the Featherweight Shop for suggestions on how to paint the edges, I purchased a bottle of Ronsonol Lighter Fuel and some small metal bristled brushes. The brushes are to get the white powder off, then I wipe with the lighter fluid, then paint in small layers to build up the paint to match what's still hanging on. Should be interesting to say the least. What gets me is how did the original owners let this beauty get wet just on the bottom?? What were they thinking? but you never know what happens, you just try to fix the problem(s) and move on.

So, the easy part: new Tolex for the inside case bottom. The paper pattern is ready to go so all I have to do is lay it on the new Tolex and cut it out. I used wood glue on the case bottom and carefully smoothed the Tolex onto it and weighted it down with books (embroidery ones of course!).

 The case is finished!

 I started working on each bottom edge to remove the white powder and clean with he Ronsonol Lighter Fluid using those blue gloves so popular with Covid. (I knew they'd come in handy some day...)

Next, the machine. I learned how to take the motor off so I could get underneath it to remove the oxidation, then paint and polish. The black paint is from The Featherweight Shop and it came with a tiny brush.

I worked around the machine bottom edges. Then I noticed a couple of dings on the bed and on the rotary wheel:  easy touch up with the tiny brush included with the paint!! After drying, I installed the rubber feet and began polishing the machine to protect it. I'm fortunate as the decals are in really great shape: no damage from fabric sliding around over them. Here are the finishing photos! Look how she shines!!

See her scroll plate??

There is a "tradition" to name your machine after the previous owner. I contacted the store where I bought the machine and table and asked if they could find out the previous owner's first name. Her son was coming into the store soon I presume to collect his check from the sale. Her children decided to sell this beautiful 221 Featherweight Singer Sewing Machine after their mother passed away. 
So now this lovely machine is called "Eva".

Next is to work on the table...but after spending so much time on this wonderful project I'm going to take a restoration break. Until next time: Happy Stitching!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Featherweight Love 5: Mail Day!!

My purchases from the Featherweight Shop arrived today!! I'm so excited to get back to work on the1947 221 Singer machine.

First up: put the oil pad onto the drip pan and set aside. I'll install it after I'm done with oiling the machine.

Next was using this ingenious Jam Removal Tool for getting out tiny stuck threads behind the bobbin case base.

Tiny little threads (and there were plenty of longer ones I'd already removed) will seize the machine. I really didn't want to take the hook assembly apart...frought with danger if done incorrectly, and expensive to repair. This little tool worked like a charm!! The wheel now turns easily and the needle goes up and down. Yeah!!

Next up: deodorizing the case. I removed the awful mold in the bottom and bleached the bottom bare wood a few days ago. After sanding it still The Featherweight Shop to the rescue again with their special case deoderizing spray. I used five squirts in the case and closed the lid. (Three to four are recommended for smelly cases so I figured an extra spritz wouldn't hurt.) 

Then the most important part is oiling and lubricating the machine mind you, I still haven't plugged it in and turned it on yet. By the way, turning the switch on only turns the light on. The machine is "on" when it's plugged in....just an interesting little tidbit of info. I have three books on these babies, and of course, the Featherweight Shop has video(s) so this will be fun. I noticed after checking the thread removal the machine sounds "dry" so it should be humming nicely after it's oiled. Love the Featherweight "Sew Retro" oil with it's long applicator for this: makes it so easy to get just one drop of oil where needed. Can't wait to actually plug it in!!

I decided to put the drip pan onto the machine before plugging it in, and also the rubber feet. The machine had no feet at all when I bought it, and luckily I had a set of vintage screws that I cleaned up.

After correctly installing the needle (flat side of needle shaft to the left) and threading from right to left, I was almost ready to go. I plugged in the machine and turned the light switch. The light bulb was still good! I wound a bobbin from my other Featherweight (the 1937 one) and the winding went fine.

Next was threading the machine....good to go. But the machine wouldn't pick up the bobbin thread when I rotated the wheel correctly (towards me).....hmmmmm. Nothing seemed to work so I declared the workday over (since it was almost dinner time) and I wandered off downstairs to start dinner, thinking I was going to have to pull off the bobbin "guts" and set the hook timing. Oh well...

Fast forward to today after a good night's sleep. I went over several videos from The Featherweight Shop and I thought maybe I should re-look the machine needle positioning.  Maybe I had it "crooked" and the flat side wasn't facing exactly to the left, so I took it out and put it back in correctly and WHA-LA! It worked and the machine is now sewing! I must have been really tired late yesterday afternoon and just couldn't see straight to put that needle in the right way. The machine sounds so smooth, the stitch is really good and I'm very happy after several days of work.  Next up: the painting dilemma and waiting g for the Tolex I ordered for the case.  Happy Stitching!