pfaff 91 and quick run up

A few years ago I was teaching sewing and if attendees wished, they could bring in their own sewing machines – which was useful as some had machines they could not use.  Most times its mainly that the machines were family (mother/grandmother) machines and they ended up having them, or the machine was bought with the intention of learning to sew.   One woman had the most gorgeous Pfaff which was over 60 years old.  She was unable to use it, so she brought it along to find out how to use it.  It really was such an advanced machine, and considering its age, it must have been the rolls royce of its day, it had a wonderful sound, and a load of decorative stitches and still managed to look understated.  Anytime I was setting up the machine to show her anything on it, I was loathed to stop sewing on it!

So when I was browsing machines, this caught my eye.  It was not quite like the other pfaff, much simpler, but the look of it was so simple and I thought the simple finish rather appealing and ‘what the hell’ I bought it!  I was also taken by the year of purchase, 1967 – I have a special interest in machines of this time as its my birth year, and subconsciously I am thinking, look how well this machine looks for its age, look how well it works……..The machine had this cute case, like air hostess luggage, and the attachments and original book and receipt.

When it arrived, the plastic pieces had cracked.  – however, as old plastic can be brittle and its only the front plate and button (in the back of my mind I figure it could ultimately be 3d printed and interm fixed with sugru) so I overlooked these as the mechanics were ‘the thing’.  So off to test – and the feed dogs were half frozen – they moved back and forwards, but not up and down.  (I did get a partial refund from seller when I send a video of the feed in action).  I got it serviced (I did look at the mechanism but did not want to mess about with it myself too much) and now its working well.

Its a good machine and the big appeal here was the free arm, as I like the idea of using this one for a lot of sewing.   I have done a few jobs on it and its good.  I am getting used to it, and the only think I am noticing is the feed, while its perfectly fine, its fractionally less than my other machines.  Its a tiny tiny issue, and its really still me getting a feel for the machine, but if I was to compare it the the Elna, the Elna wins re stitch and feed, but then again if I was to compare it to my own Singer Excell that I have had since 1989 they are on a par (the feed of the Excell can be a bit ‘clampy’ whereas the pfaff is a bit light – and Morgan who serviced the machine said he raised the feed dogs slightly so it must have been lighter again).

I really do like the look of this machine (shallow I know), the extension tray is very handy, and although I prefer a top loading bobbin, this one is not fiddly to change so that’s great.  Interestingly it also has a plate that can be turned upside down for darning (ie it covers the feed-dogs)   It doesn’t have a seam guide but I have put some tape there.

One project I did run up on it was this blouse (its a free download).  I had to go to a ‘thing’ last week and it was a bit formal so I wore my grey wool trousers, a yellow cardigan (reworked a few months ago) and figured what would work well with it – would be a white blouse.  I was under a bit of time pressure (needed it the next day) so I figured I would try fabric shop, charity shop, regular shop in that order.  In the fabric shop there was this white fabric and it was perfect (I even bought extra once I found out it was on sale) and ran this one up.  Its a lovely pattern and useful top and I felt rather smug that sewing this took less time than wandering around shops trying stuff on.  The fabric has great weight, but also has a small percentage of spandex which give some softness.

The yellow cardigan was an upcycle I have been messing about with since December and finished last month and worn loads since.  It is a mans knit which I got and used wear (while all the time trying to figure a more flattering cut).  I recut to a round neck cardi with a tie at the neck, and I half lined it – there was the intention to so some beading or embroidery but I as I still seem to favour plain, I left it for the while.  The ties could have been made a bit longer, and I still have fabric, so am wearing as is for the while.  The ties this length are less fussy so I like them this way.  I attached the bands at the front in a slightly clunky way at the neck – as I changed my approach half way.  Its a little off and I think in only a way I would notice, but as its a first time try out with this pattern I am pleased and the main change I would make in the next is to have the back side seams 1cm in.

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Peppermint bag and Elna Lotus ZZ

I have been doing a few change arounds the last few months, and with all the reviewing, too-ing and fro-ing I ended up buying three new-old sewing machines and selling the novum and brother sewing machines from last year/year before.

I was a bit up to high-doh anyway as we are planning some works on the house and was getting easily distracted.  I also had decided that I did not really use the novum or brother as I don’t really like sewing on them, and then somewhere in this (twisty) logic was the decision to buy a machine I did want to sew on – at this stage I was also having the feeling that whatever about buying vintage dress patterns,  I was really in the big leagues here (and also glad I stopped at three machines, as I was getting carried away).   Anyway I sold my machines locally and some patterns (and a dart board!) and started a bit of a wish list…..

One of the machines I got was this Elna, and got rather suckered into the idea I was buying a design classic.  This one has a zig zag option, and I think from 1968.  Such a cute machine, and it was in great condition.   I decided to sew a small project on the machine to try it out.  ‘The project was making the ‘peppermint bag’ as I will be showing others how to make it in next weeks workshop.

Its really gorgeous, has a lovely motor sound and so beautifully put together.  Its only as  I was sewing on it I appreciated it more.  All the levers work as you would expect and the tension is preset and quite perfect.  I kept checking the stitch on a white bit of fabric as it was so tidy.  Its a bit heavier than I expected, not quite what you can put in your handbag, but it is incredibly compact and has the novelty/convenience of the accessory tray (there were 2 pieces missing -seam ripper and oil tube- so I filled them with my own seam ripper and a chalk pencil).    It is not the fastest but fairly nifty all the same , but it does sew so well, I kept admiring the stitch, really beautifully balanced.

The peppermint bag went together well – cute pattern and got to use up some liberty pieces I had been hoarding for a while, as well as some of the wool gabardine from the christmas dress….

Peppermint Bag

And just to illustrate how small this sewing machine is ….

It also came with a mystery tin and curious and all as I was about the machine, I was dying to see the contents of the tin (machine was bought on ebay).   Not sure what some are for but did justify the machine purchase in part by the pack of  singer machine needles which was tucked in there as well!  I have put the little black dust brush on the shelf ready for work (its a good brush) so forgot to put it in the other photo.

The plastic box is half the workings of a stitch marker of sorts, there is a single turn foot, zipper foot but not sure if the other is an embroidery foot – any clues on the black screw end? Its the thing-a-majig in-between the gold thread and small screwdriver!

Bianca 1 and Bianca 2 – skirt and shirt upcycle

I have been sewing a lot, and blogging less.  Some of my sewing has really been going in circles – normally I like to make something, finish and move on to the next but the last few months I have been sewing a few things at the same time, and dawdling on the finish.  Bianca making

I started these Bianca’s ages ago.  I used the Wear Lemonade Free Bianca pattern and thought it would be a cute update for this ‘blackwatch’ plaid skirt, which ultimately I think it is.  I cut the plaid as usual for the main body, but had not enough to plaid match sleeves fully so I only matched them on the cross grain.  Personally I don’t mind this as it looks even.  I did not like the Bianca collar and perhaps its because I don’t wear shirts (?) but eitherway I tried doing a more casual collar with notches.  I still think the collar is too tight but other than that its a sweet blouse.

bianca finish

 

At the same time, I decided I really needed a white blouse with peter pan collar so I upcycled a white shirt to make this.  To add a bit of interest I tried out a lot of the decorative stitches in the machine in a grey thread.  I have yet to put a button and loop close at the back but at least they are both now FINISHED!

white bianca shirt upcycle