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Monthly Archives: November 2012

J’habille ma poupee avec Singer*

Just a quick post today to show you all the wonderful, amazing and gorgeous birthday gift I received earlier this year from Dajarra. My birthday occurred while we were travelling overseas and because you pretty much can’t beat spending a birthday in France, I didn’t expect a present (except maybe a glass or two of champagne…) at all. So I was very surprised when Dajarra ran to me, extremely excited, while we were perusing the goods at a flea market in Cannes claiming that he’d found my birthday gift.  I present…

Singer toy sewing machine

This box, ladies and gentlemen, holds one of the famous Singer Model 20 toy sewing machines. I’m sure you’ve all seen and heard about these, but I’m so excited to own a very nice 1950s French model.

In its natural habitat

Singer began producing these in around 1910 and continued into the 1970s, with a few updates and modifications along the way. I’ve not been able to discover the exact date of mine but have narrowed it down to the 1950s. Click here if you’d like to read more about these beautiful little machines.

French instructions…if it doesn’t involve ordering a meal, I won’t be able to read it!

My machine, and box, came with all the original instructions and other bits and pieces – except for a sewing pattern for doll clothing, apparently. Currently scanning eBay to get my hands on one!

Gratuitous glamour shot

*Translation: J’habille ma poupee avec Singer = I dress my doll with Singer

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How about that time I delved into making menswear…

…and discovered that I actually liked it!  In fact, I can’t wait until my next menswear project.  It all started out with a little experiment where I went from this:

Despite appearances in this pic, it’s not a women’s shirt!

to this:

Yay! Pink flowers!

Dajarra came home from work one day last week looking a bit forlorn so being the caring person that I am, I asked what was wrong. He pointed to the bottom of the shirt he was wearing and showed me a hole.  And next to that hole was a small tear.

The death knell…

Since both the hole and tear were near the edge of the bottom of the shirt, and because it was such a favourite (it was first bought years ago as a fancy going out shirt and then devolved into a work shirt) I thought I could simply chop the rips off and re-hem it, but on closer inspection it looked like it was just one muscle flex away from falling apart completely so I decided to pick the shirt apart to use as pattern pieces to try to make a new one.  I’ve never made a proper shirt before so it was interesting to learn how all the pieces went together and I tried to take as many notes as possible (though I did get completely carried away with the seam ripping at times and forgot to note some important, tricky bits – grrr me!).

Sad, unpicked shirt

Warning!: if you decide to this yourself, beware of unpicking the underarm sections – especially if it was a much loved shirt…ugh!  Because I knew the original shirt fit so well I knew I wouldn’t have to make any alterations to the pattern, except adding a little more to the seam allowances.  I then pinned the old shirt pieces to paper and traced around the edges. I used pins stuck through both the fabric and the paper to mark other details such as button holes, stitching lines, etc.

Making the new pattern

I then marked all these details carefully onto the new pattern pieces…

New pattern

…and got to cutting out the new fabric. Because this was supposed to be only a muslin to see if I could actually put the blighter together I wasn’t too fussy with the fabric I used and went with the largest piece I had that I didn’t mind wasting. I then started to put the shirt together – most of it went together like a dream but some parts (remember how I said I forgot to take notes on some important steps?) took me an age to figure out. It took lots of running to the wardrobe to check out the construction of other shirts to work it out. After Dajarra saw the beginnings of the shirt he immediately declared he loved the fabric and would actually wear the shirt out of the house, so I began to take care with some of the details that I would ordinarily just skip through on a muslin.  Like this:

Amazing cuff break facing!

and this:

Collar

I had so much fun and learned a heap making this shirt and I’m actually immoderately proud of this humble achievement, even though there are definitely a couple of parts that just aren’t right. I’m really looking forward to making another one that’s not made of pink, floral bedsheets.

Voila!