Readers, where does the time go? It's nearly 4 pm and I haven't done half the things I'd intended to do today. Do you make to-do lists? If so, do you actually do the things on them?
I just got back from my neighbor Irma's apartment down the hall (that's Irma up top), where I helped her get her old sewing machine up and running again so she could alter her husband John's pants. I am sometimes surprised how little people know about maintaining their own sewing machines and, frankly, it disturbs me. Excitable Irma rang my bell this morning and showed me her snapped rubber belt, along with another she'd bought to replace it but which was the wrong size (you'd think people in sewing machine repair shops would know what belt a Singer 66 needs but apparently not). I went over to take a look -- I was actually curious to see her machine -- and before I knew it I'd committed myself to picking up a new belt for her as well as a new bobbin winder tire, since hers looked like it hadn't been replaced since 1965, not that she even noticed.
Irma inherited the machine from her mother, and it must date back to the 1950s. She hardly ever oils it, has no idea how to replace the belt or bobbin winder tire properly, and has never thought to remove the lint from under the feed dog plate. In her defense, she doesn't sew that often anymore.
Helpful neighbor that I am, I found her the belt and new tire she needed (Singer sells them in pre-packaged sets these days, very cheaply, which they carry at the FIT bookstore), and after I installed it, I also oiled and delinted her machine. I am happy to say it is stitching nicely once again, and I returned home carrying a big container full of Irma's delicious homemade rice pudding and half a papaya. Works for me!
And speaking of sewing machines, look at what I saw at the flea market this weekend -- two old Singers in tables, totally encrusted with decades of dust. One was definitely a 99, the other maybe a 15, I'm not sure. I quickly ran in the other direction before I got seduced.
Instead, I bought a vintage Seventies Italian task lamp. Hey, it's almost my birthday month.
On my way home from picking up the sewing machine belt today, I briefly popped in to the FIT museum and caught the fun, small Youthquake exhibit that runs there until April 7. It doesn't warrant a trip all by itself, imo, but there's also the wonderful, enormous Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA(that's the Council of Fashion Designers of America) that's a must-see! (The FIT museum is free, btw.)
Meanwhile, in pattern land, my "exotic" harem/Jeannie costume has arrived. Could this be my next sewing project?
Actually, I could use a pair of pants, not to mention a few short-sleeve shirts since we're already having summer here despite it being March.
In other news, I went hiking again on Sunday and this time remembered to wear sunscreen.
Today I'm also trying to talk myself out of buying a hand crank sewing machine, or rather, I'm trying to decide whether I should just buy a vintage hand crank and look for a cheap motorized 99 or 15 model I can convert myself. So far I haven't seen anything in my price range on eBay, and I don't want to deal with a vibrating shuttle bobbin. (Anybody have any experience with those? What's the stitch quality like and is it a headache to wind the bobbin?)
OK, it's time to revisit that to-do list.
Happy Tuesday, everybody! Is it practically summer where you live too?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!