embracing the grey, novum machine and martha stewart skirt

The Novum was in the charity shop, and I am still wondering why I got it! – there was a logic at the time.  The machine motor sounded fine but , I thought it best just to get it repaired properly and hope it wasn’t a dud.  I should have inspected under all the grime, as there is some surface rust, not a lot, but enough.   Curiously the machine was made in Ireland which was nice to know, and it had a basic booklet, and it also had some extra feet and fittings so that’s handy.

grey novum


It also has some corrosion on the chrome (why oh why do I feel the need to rescue these things – I am beginning to learn to walk away) but the rubbing with aluminium seems to have smoothed out a lot,. I am less happy with this machine than the Brother Jones, as its a bit tatty here and there and the threading goes to the side, and also the bobbin winder does not work(I cannot loosen the needle), and the light fitting needs to be replaced – however on the other hand, it does sew evenly and beautifully, it has the presser foot adjuster and feed dog adjuster also but it doesn’t feel as nice as the Brother!  The other reason I thought it a good idea to have an extra machine, is for these ‘sew social evenings’ so people don’t have to lug over their machines……. and I don’t have to unthread and lend my main machine…. and its good to have a machine I don’t feel too precious about for others to use!  So that’s justified its presence, and not quite the cost of repair.  Eitherway, it is now part of the ‘better not get any bigger’ collection, and one way to get to ‘know’ a machine is to do a project from start to finish.

To do a test run project, I thought I would try out this skirt from Martha Stewart, its supposed to be done in a leather/suede type fabric, and has been sitting on my pinspiration pinterest board for a long time now.  I had got this tweed fabric in the charity shop, and I am a sucker for tweed.  There was just enough, and it is cut on the cross grain.

martha stewart no sew wrap skirt in tweed


Originally I was going to cut the skirt and just bind the hem, but then I figured the tweed could do with a bit body and also lining, so then I thought if I sewed the lining onto the skirt  and then turning it inside out it could give a nice finish – which it did, I then pressed and top stitched the scallops.   I had a few options on lining and was going to use cotton, but finally decided on ‘polester habotai ‘silk” lining as it could look well on the turn over without being too flashy.  I am really glad I did, I adore this skirt love-it love-it love-it.  I had low-to-no expectations, and am so pleased with it, and I would highly recommend it as an easy-ish quick make and it gives the quirky twist to a tweed skirt.  Its incredibly comfortable, although I did cut it to big.  I added an extra 14cm to the overall width to be sure but I really did not need this (it just means the first wrap goes around my waist more to the back) and could have just gone with the Martha pattern (I am a uk 12-14 in a skirt).  The other adjustment I made to the pattern was to add a seam allowance all around to allow for the ‘hem’.  

martha stewart no sew wrap skirt in tweed


Wearing the skirt as a back-wrap didn’t seem as comfortable for me as putting it to the front, so I pinned it in place,to decide the placement of the ‘poppers’ (I had thought of buttonholes I thought it would take from the simple look of the skirt), and although it may not have needed it, I put a quick stitch on top to keep the top of the pleat in place which works on keeping the fold of the wrap even (does that sentence even make sense……..hope so …picture below in any event).  If I was to make it again, I would interface the waist area.  

So a grey skirt sewn on a grey machine, and I have finally bit the bullet and decided to stop dying my hair (a habit from my 20s) not too sure how much grey is there but I am sure time will tell. 

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5 thoughts on “embracing the grey, novum machine and martha stewart skirt

  1. wrongdoll says:

    I can totally see why you bought the machine – it's so pretty – I guess there is a limit to how many antique machines you can own though – or is there? You could go all out and create an All Saints display on a wall in your house – In fact how cool would that be!! I really like your idea of testing the machine by making a whole project from start to finish – I am going to do the same with my Singer 538 when I get the chance. My friend is hankering after a smock so I need to be brave, bite the bullet and actually make something for someone else! I really love this pattern and tweed is an excellent choice. I've saved it for the future, when I manage to get some of that elusive time!

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  2. Eimear Greaney says:

    Thanks Aimee, The all saint was in my mind as I have a green broken alfa also (un-repairable but just as well) . I have semi taken over another room in the house as a sewing area so the three old machines will live there on a shelf in between times (we are in the process of slowing doing up a terraced house), as my workroom is rather small. Brave you making something for someone else. I tend to only really make for my sister and now my niece…..your finish is so fine and some great detailing (mine can be rushed) so you may start getting orders if others find our you are making clothes for others, the wrap skirt is incredibly handy – I think the piece I had was barely 1m x 150cm, but its hard sometimes to prioritise what you want to make and have time to make, and have the correct amount of fabric for. best of luck with your next projects!

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  3. wrongdoll says:

    I've just googled Alfa and found a green one which is my favourite colour – I love the thought of you with all your antique beauties! I only wish I had the space. I live in a small flat and as I have no prospect of a dedicated sewing room, I have had to adjust to the fact that my sewing paraphernalia has the right to be in every room. I am most desirous of workroom and an All Saints style shelf – super cool. I'm definitely not in the market for making for others on any kind of grand scale – I'm too selfish and it's not my motivation to sew. But I'd like to make something for a close friend and my sister as they have been very supportive of my endeavours and it's something nice to do for them. Love love love the Martha Stewart skirt – so glad that's made it into my sewing sphere. Now for the real world – time to get up and go to work!

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  4. Eimear Greaney says:

    The alfa isnt mine really, its my partners sisters and it was in the garage so I sugested we take it out of there as it would just get rustier etc. anyway it was checked and bobin too seized so it may make it to freecycle at this stage as even though we live in a bigger place than some years back we both can accumulate stuff at a rate of knots! I would love to have some form of dedicated minimalist style with one outlandish collection, but I dont think I could sustain it. The Martha skirt is well worth a go, I think I would interface the waist area the next time and perhaps omit waist scalops? and I am hoping my sister will try this one and like it as I want to make it again! (sisters are super easy to sew for)

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