Sunday, November 18, 2012

Metallic Thread on a Vintage Machine

For the experiment, we have three types of silver metallic thread.

Sulky Gutterman Pearl Cotton metallic DSC02618

The Sulky and Gutterman were almost identical, so the Sulky 7001 metallic silver is what was used for the samples.

As instructed, the bobbin is wound with the metallic thread. DSC02620

Then the bobbin thread is pulled up to the top. DSC02621

 and away we go....warming up on muslin, on the pic below you can make out the tension issues I ran into with slight puckers showing up on the left side, stitches nice and flat on the right.


Below a sample on a quilt sandwich (no hoop, so much better control)


 and finally on a scrap of China Silk doubled up and back in the hoop.
Wrong side

Right side
silver wandering

for comparison the original sample pic Metallic stitch 3

Just when I thought I had a handle on this all over pattern, the hoop was my biggest obstacle, getting caught on the darning foot, and other parts of the machine.  Aside from needing more practice to get those motifs the right size and uniform, the sample pic looks a little more raised than my sample.

Here is the pearl cotton metallic.  I embroidered over the top of the first sample, and it is more raised as you can see.  What I need is a thread that is somewhere between the two. Can you tell I was tired by the time I tried this.  On the Pearl cotton you can not pull the thread to the wrong side of the fabric, and you can see the knot that formed because of it on the lower center of the pic.

I also tried it without a hoop (something I do not recommend if your fabric is very thin).


In the end, I still need more practice, and a bigger hoop.
The conclusion of this project is that the fine metallic Sulky is so thin it creates a very light and lacy effect.
The Pearl Cotton metallic is very pronounced, and adds a bit of stiffness to the fabric, more so than the thinner Sulky.  I am pretty pleased that the Pearl Cotton worked at all in the bobbin, it was so thick, I imagined it would get hung up.  Also I have to mention that because the Pearl Cotton is a thicker thread, I couldn't get a lot of yardage on the bobbin itself.  So this is something to consider if you are embarking on a project like this.  Measure out the yardage on the bobbin and plan your design accordingly to minimize thread tails.  If I were to do this again, I might take a few stitches to start, leaving a tail, then start the pattern.  Also I would draw a light sketch of the pattern before starting.

Exploring the Possibilities in a Vintage Machine

Today's computerized machines come with a million fancy stitches, and youtube videos to entice you with the possibilities of embroidery and buttonholes, and hemming, tucking, then they link you to other videos featuring specialty feet, and Oh wouldn't you love to have this fancy foot, look what it can do.  Some of these machines can be as expensive as a new car, that's my only objection.  At the free motion quilting workshop there was a sea of Berninas (mostly because the local dealer has a cult following), I showed up with a 50 year old machine and it was like a museum piece.

How many of us actually use all of the features?  With garment sewing all you really need is a good straight stitch.

 We get machines without exploring everything the machine is capable of.  I've decided, no new machine until I explore everything my Singer will do.  For this experiment, I'm starting off with the most basic of machines, a Vintage Singer 15-91.  It has a straight stitch and back stitch, so it goes forward and backwards.  Originally it came with a box of attachments.

For the next few blog posts, I'll be going back in time with my Singer Sewing Book, published in 1949.
I am most intrigued with the Fashion Stitches and Monogram techniques in the book, because between you and me it doesn't look possible to successfully create these stitches.

Metallic Stitch

Metallic Stitch

Boucle Stitch

Boucle stitch 1

Spiral Stitch

Spiral stitch

Here's to hoping my next post isn't about tears, best absorbing Kleenex brands and the frustrations of working with a Vintage Machine.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Learning Curve

Any time you are learning a new skill, know that there are people who do it better and can show you how.  There are things that we can teach ourselves but if you are on a time line, there's no better way than to get lessons with a competent teacher.  Here is the proof.  

My first attempt at free motion quilting on my own.

After a 7 hours of instruction.

Here is what is great about this, I can now finish 2 quilt tops in my stash and get those projects in use.  I can finally work on a quilt project that I bought the fabric for 12 years ago, I can finally make a cover for my headboard in whatever color or design I want, and I can finally forge ahead with that quilted suede skirt I've wanted to add to my wardrobe.

Find a great teacher, pay them for their time, and it will pay you back 10 fold.

Oh and this is the machine I used, so you really don't have to go crazy spending money on a specialized machine to start learning the techiniques.