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Jul 19, 2010

My Fair Lady Monday + NO GOALS


Whoops, wrong pic.  Sorry, Julie!



Dear readers, I was at the 39th Street flea market yesterday with my friend Jamie, and look what she bought me!  It's an early Sixties straight stitcher -- my very first White sewing machine -- model 763, also known as the "Fair Lady."  (Still searching for the "Man of La Mancha.")







I'll be honest with you: nothing charms me more than gendered appliances.  I mean sure, this little (well, 25 lbs, easy) machine has fluid lines and cute curves, but I have inspected it top to bottom and while I didn't find a penis, neither did I find anything that screamed "Fair Lady," if you know what I mean.  Be that as it may, I love my new straight stitcher; I don't really zigzag -- the talk of the online sewing community.

This machine is so pristine I doubt she was ever used; the accessory box still has the needles she came with as well as an unopened tube of sewing machine oil.  No dust, no lint.

And speaking of dust and lint, she totally reminds me of the vintage Electrolux vacuum cleaner we had growing up. 



I have a whole album full of my "Fair Lady" pics here including some shots that are strictly gynecological so beware.

Do you call most of your home appliances "she" or "he?"  I tried to refer to my Singer 15-91 as "he" for the longest time but it soon became obvious that I was working against nature and I have resigned myself to my Singer's strong female identification and stopped making her wear boys clothes.  Sigh.

But that's not all I picked up at the flea market yesterday -- look!


Five more pounds of patternmaking porn!  The price was so right on this used textbook ($15)  I couldn't resist.  I've read that the Third Edition of this Helen Joseph-Armstrong classic is not the best (the Fifth Edition is the current one), but whatever; how bad could it be?  Are you familiar with it?  Does it prop up any windows or doors at your house?

Friends, in my new summer, post-vacation orientation, I'm not up to nagging you -- or me -- today.  I'm going to try to keep it loose this week as I settle back into the swing of things.

I'm still only on page 430 out of 826 in my Etsy dress pattern treasure hunt, so there's much work to be done.  I also want to get better acquainted with my White 763.  Maybe I'll make a movie!

I know how much you crave structure in your lives and where else are you going to get it if not here, but what can I say?  It's July.

I still want to hear what you've been sewing, and there's that appliance question...

So who's Canadian out there?

I'm all ears!

39 comments:

  1. Canadian?
    Yeah, that'd be me.

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  2. Canadian here, eh? Poutine and butter tarts anyone?

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  3. British by birth but Canadian by upbringing... Loud and proud...

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  4. No goals? And this week I'm ready for you! If you have a chance, go look at my trench coat muslin on the Trench Sewalong (Marfy Post #5). This weekend (and I only have Sunday to sew as I'm going to a music festival Thursday-Saturday, I plan to re-draft those sleeves. Wish me luck!

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  5. OMG -- Canadians...everywhere!

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  6. Yes, I too am proudly Canadian! Anyone for oil or maple syrup?

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  7. I have the same edition of Pattern Making and I use it quite a bit. I've heard the same comments about the Helen Joseph-Armstrong book; however, I contribue it to the unseen, nasty (at times!) jealousy between those who went to LA Trade Tech and those who attended FIDM (sort of the West Coast FIT). Those design students may look really chic, but underneath it all - they are poised to out design you at every opportunity even when t comes to text books!

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  8. OK, I'm no sewist, but even I can appreciate the Fair Lady. She's darling!

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  9. Um, wait a minute. You don't really still have the vacuum cleaner from when you were growing up, do you?

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  10. Now *that* is a pretty machine. As for me... Well, I need to finish my entry for the Sewing for Children contest. I see tons of embroidery in my near future. And that's my only goal for the week--to finish it... dress, slip, and panties too.

    I opened a new blog this last week just to separate my writing stuff from my sewing stuff.

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  11. The Fair Lady is fair indeed. I love those perfect straight stitches! The built in handle on top was styled well, wasn't it? I bought my Rocketeer thinking it would be nice to have a vintage machine that zigzags and looks great, but it turns out that while it looks good it's a PITA otherwise. I'll take perfect straight stitches over a multitude of stitch options anyday. Seems like Jamie is a nice friend to take shopping!

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  12. Not Canadian and familiar with several pattern making books, but not that one. I have however been working with serger, sewing machine and elastic for two days and am now very pleased with my finished vintage inspired bathing suit...

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  13. Peter, I forgot to mention on that question you asked me about your 15-91 to mention the two grease pots. They are located above the electrical prongs but under the handwheel. See if they're leaking any. Again, unlikely but maybe they haven't been cleaned in long time.

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  14. Are sewing machine like ships: they are all female? I tend to think so...

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  15. About your exhausting etsy search....etsy and eBay aren't the only places to buy patterns. Just saying. ;-)

    (And I have a Search Box...no need to make your self nuts!)

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  16. Canadian here as well. :)

    This past week I've been sewing shirts for my husband (nice because he wears them lots, less nice because he won't let me take pictures and post them all over the internet!) and more kids' clothes. I swear I'm sewing children's clothes as a replacement for my children (who are spending the month with their cousins). This week I want to make myself a sundress from a 70s pattern I picked up at the thrift store, and start working on a jean-jacket for my younger daughter.

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  17. I am a Canadian too! I have dual citizenship. :)

    I think I agree with A Sewn Wardrobe--sewing machines are like ships, all female.

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  18. Hmm...interesting. How about blenders?

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  19. Alas, I have no vintage appliances. I covet and really wish I had a Black and Decker vintage classic iron. So wish. I would die for one of those. That definitely seems like a more masculine appliance, you know, applying steam and all that. ha ha ha.

    Gosh, I really want that book too! Not to mention the sewing machine. You are such a lucky duck. You make me green with envy....

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  20. Canadian as well. I have the 2nd ed. of the Armstrong patternmaking book (used it for my Home Economics degree)and I still haul it out now and again to tweak a pattern. I find it fairly easy to use, but then I had a class/teacher to help me back in the day.
    Hope you find yours useful!

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  21. Fair Lady is lovely! I have 2 boy sewing machines; Sergio and Kenny, and one girl, Lulu. All appropriately named by my 10 year old daughter. I'm getting my grandmother's Singer 301 in October, so we're thinking about what his/her name should be.

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  22. I lived in Canada last year, although the Quebecois would scold me for saying that they are part of Canada. Non!
    Full steam ahead with my summer sewing essentials, I zipped out a 70s top this morning. It came out a bit maternity, so I need to fix that. But I finally got my Ruby shorts on Burdastyle after many a 500 error: http://www.burdastyle.com/projects/crabby-nantucket-rubys

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  23. No penis? I mean, I doubt it would make the machine sew any better, but that part made me laugh.

    Most of my stuff is female. But I think my new craft table is male. Its a vibe thing. My iron is definitely male (no steam holes). My little car is definitely a girl. And yes, I name things too. The car is Little Silver Cat the table is Tally (well it is 8' standing up), my exercise ball is Bally. My dress form is Jersey Girl...

    Do you name your stuff, come on, fess up!

    not Canadian. evil exhusband born in Canada.
    Canada smart: send evil Canadians to Merika to reek havoc.

    Almost finished my skirt I started last week (up til midnight had to force myself to go to bed). I need to start work on the outfit for my company event next month. I am going to start with a test blouse in silk chiffon (that will probably coordinate with the skirt that I hope to finish this evening)!

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  24. Canadian, born in Canada and living on the west coast!
    My sewing machine's a girl for sure, as she's pink! White with pink but close enough.
    You have fantastic luck second-hand shopping! Great-looking machine there :)

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  25. Born in Baie-Comeau Québec, Concordia theatre educated, living in France.
    Working on Burda 7517.

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  26. I am a complete lurker, but this post brought me out- I bought the White 764 model at a yard sale this weekend. It is pristine as well, but has no accessories. No dust, lint, scratches, nothing. I can't wait to try it out.

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  27. I have a pink Kirby Sanitronic VII vacuum. Not only is the bag pink but the trim on the actual machine, handle, and cord are a dark pink color. I don't remember the date but it's old.

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  28. I love that book! Alas, the cost is truly prohibitive here in little old New Zealand, but I frequently borrow it from our faithful public library. I find it fantastically useful :)

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  29. Only Fifteen Dollars for That Book?!! Wow! What a steal! I had to ask for it for Christmas to get it ...

    I neither name nor genderize my sewing equipment.

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  30. That is amazing that it has never been used! It must have been an underappreciated gift or something...
    Maybe power tools are masculine?!!!

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  31. I have that very edition, and find it a useful reference. I haven't used it as much as I thought I would though, I'm still working on getting the fit right on my base patterns. The unfortunate thing about the book is that it's truly for the fashion industry and therefore has no advice about fitting, or developing a basic block for measurements that deviate from the standard. I've had a lot of trouble tweaking the bodice draft for my (very) particular physique. Nor does it explain any of the "why's" of pattern drafting. But still, great resource, especially at that price! And some hilarious design sketches, one of my faves on p592 - geometric draped pants twins avec parakeet.

    I've read that the Connie Crawford drafting book is also a good one.http://www.amazon.com/Patternmaking-Made-Easy-Connie-Amaden-Crawford/dp/0964951657/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279579590&sr=1-3

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  32. Love the sewing machine, it reminds me of my grandmother's. As for projects, I talked to our theater executive and the up coming shows. For October & Dracula she would like me to sew a Victorian nightgown for the leading lady and a coat with swing for the Count. I'm thinking perhaps an Edwardian Coat? Not too sure & could use some suggestions. Then in spring they are performing "Joseph" and I need to sew both coats again with swing. The difficult part is she is notorious for giving materials, patterns and measurements at the last minute not understanding that a quick sew only means it takes less time than an the regular pattern but might still need hours of work. I'm hoping to at least get the nightgown started soon.

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  33. I've never seen an old machine so pristine - what a find! I have a my Grandma's old 1960s Singer which came with its own great name, 'Blue Magic', although I confess I've never considered its gender. Blue for boys? I also have a green Singer 319k (1950s) which is tentatively titled the Green Fairy although 'she' weighs a ton. Sews a dreamy-smooth straight stitch and some fancy ones via a combo of cams and typewriter-style levers, but really who uses fancy stitches? Can anyone show me an example of stylish use of fancy machine stitches? I can't work it out. I also have a dear rattly little green Husqvarna ZigZag whose purchase I justified because I didn't own a free-arm, and besides, it came in an adorable red case with plaid lining. That one might also be a boy? The Husky?

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  34. dearest Peter, why the interest in who is Canadian?

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  35. Wow! We had that exact same Electrolux! It was duct taped all to heck and barely functioned by the time my mom would admit it was time for a new vacuum (that Electrolux was "state of the art in its day, you know!")

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  36. Wooo..
    London Ontario here.

    cruck: what to say when your duck gets stuck in a rut

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  37. BTW, I am in serious LOVE with your new White sewing machine! It's pristine!

    I'm looking at a Singer 328J with original manual and table not to mention cams and extra feet. Still not as pretty as your Fair Lady!

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  38. Perhaps you should have asked "Who is NOT Canadian?"

    That's a beautiful Fair Lady. I don't need to tell you--don't actually use that "vintage" oil when you start using her. New oil is a must, and new lubricant if they call for that (Featherweights do).

    That Armstrong book is a great find! I got one in the 70s (for Christmas) and treasure it. You can pretty much draft anything from that book. If I were going to draft, that's the one I'd use.

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