MPB is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!



Nov 30, 2012

The Flannel Shirt Project: To Treadle or Not to Treadle?



Happy Friday, creative people!

Having pre-washed and pre-shrunk my beautiful blue flannel from Mood, I am ready to begin making Michael's shirt.  This morning I'm wondering which machine I should make it on: I have so many options (ten, I think).  My choice in this regard is usually based simply on which machine is out, has sufficient clear space around it (as opposed to piles of whatever), and needs the least amount of prep.

Parenthetically, am I the only one who really doesn't care what color thread is in my bobbin so long as the top thread matches?  I hate wasting thread and anyway, having two colors of thread in your machine makes it very easy to see if your stitches are balanced or not.

I've been doing almost all my sewing on my Kenmore 158.141 lately.  One of the things I love about this machine is that you can convert the little hole from zigzag to straight stitch (see pic below), so it's almost as good at straight stitching as a straight stitch-only machine.  Maybe just as good.  Of course, the experience of sewing with this powerful machine is very different from using a Singer Featherweight, but they're both pleasurable.



That said, this morning I opened my Singer 66 treadle, which I haven't sewn with for a long, long time other than to play with for a few minutes here and there.  If you own a treadle you know there's nothing like it, but you could say the same thing about psoriasis.

Seriously, I love my treadle but, being a lazy person at heart, I usually don't feel like going to the trouble of treadling.  But this morning I was reminded how beautifully she stitches and I may just make Michael's shirt with it.  It makes for a better story too.





I am excited to get started on this project.  There is an eensy weensy difference between the right and wrong sides of this fabric.  So eensy weensy that I can hardly notice it and I'm wondering if I should bother worrying about it.  One side is ever-so-slightly fluffier.  Michael thinks this would be the side that would go next to the skin; I think just the opposite.  Hmmm...



Regardless, I hope to make good progress on the shirt today.

At the Salvation Army yesterday, along with the usual faded sheets and pilly fleece blankets, I found four huge pieces of black wool fabric -- the kind of thing you'd make a suit with -- for $2.99 each.  I passed, but now I'm thinking of going back for them.  I don't wear much black myself, but it's an incredible price for what it is and I'm sure I could use it for something -- a fabulous cape perhaps.  If I go back and it's gone, I hope one of you got it.  They also had an enormous piece of crushed velvet in a shade of acid green I only remember seeing through plastic slipcovers in the late Sixties, but I couldn't picture what I'd do with that either. 


Readers, that is all for today.  I expect to have more shirt updates this weekend.

Have a great day, everybody!

LATE MORNING UPDATE: Wool was sold, crushed velvet still available.  He who hesitates...

29 comments:

  1. Treadle to the metal!

    Fluffy side in, please (wearer's delight!).

    Buy the wool (THAT PRICE!) - you can felt it and make somthing chic for Cathy, your sister-in-law, and/or your mother.

    Speaking of her, is that Mother Lappin on that prophylacticly protected period piece? Her legs are reminiscent of Cathy's (the studied eye sees all).

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd say fluffy side in. Not just because Michael requested it that way, but I like the look of the smoother side a bit more.

    Go get the wool, snip a couple of pieces and see what dye remover and a bit of bleach does to each one. Sometimes a totally unexpected color results. I suppose you could consider dyeing the results if they aren't anything wonderful, but that's starting to sound like a lot of work.

    ReplyDelete
  3. After picking up a treadle recently, I now understand your dilemma. Not as quick but such a delight to use. Go for it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I recently opened my treadle after many years of not using it. I, too, am lazy. It was rather dusty and probably could use some oil, but definately attractive to sew on.
    Where did you find that couch picture?? I know there used to be hundreds of them out there, but the photo is priceless. (Little did they know where that picture would end up someday.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Go back for the wool, you know it makes sense:)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am one who encourages people to buy another sewing machine! I solved my treadle dilemma by taking out the Singer 27 Sphynx and popping in a 1941 66 (Godzilla finish - love!)which has the numbered stitch length settings and can back tack! These to modern conveniences really make a difference!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I did my first man's shirt and its muslin in my threadle, a months ago. It definitelly took longer to get the shirt finished, but it was really so much more fun to sew this way!


    ReplyDelete
  8. I recently bought flannel myself, for a short for my boyfriend and a dress for me. It had the same difference between the two sides and like you, I thought to put the fluffy side on the outside. Only that would make it look properly "flannel-y" wouldn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love to spin yarn so I'm no stranger to the treadle so I say go for it. If I can treadle my wheel for hours on end....

    ReplyDelete
  10. Depends on how much time. To be honest, I prefer my Brother sewing machine. It does everything and sometimes I need to do everything on a project. If I were making pillow cases I would probably use a treadle machine. It is just simple sewing. I only have three machines, two vintage and my Brother. I rarely use the vintage machines, but will about twice a year. I have set up two machines, a straight stitch one and my Brother. It was actually a great help.

    Go with whatever feels right to you.

    I love your fabric.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Would love to see what type of interfacing you choose for flannel shirt cuffs and collar and stand (and button placket?)!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Me, I would have made a BEELINE for the acid green crushed velvet; the wool would hardly have registered with the velvet in my sights! But it (wool) DOES have its uses: if possible I would have snatched up BOTH.(too bad you missed out; he who hesitates in a thrift store is LOST!) But the C.V. would have had priority!
    Oh, and, fluffy side IN, definitely. Flannelette is all about the snuggly-wuggly...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Fluffy side in - if it is fluffy now, it may well pill after a few washes and you may want that hidden! Oh, and I ALWAYS match the bobbin with the upper thread. I guess it is one of those things that I alway do (like pressing a seam after sewing it) and never thought that there was an alternative!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hilarious photo--made my day. Elle

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm with Michael, fluffy side in! Love the couch encased in plastic. I remember my grandmother having one in an acid orange color. Good times . . . .

    ReplyDelete
  16. Michael is right (not surprisingly!), fluffy side against the skin :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Fluffy side inside! If you use it as the public side of the fabric, machine wash agitation may cause it to really show wear, probably not pill, but it will look worse for wear sooner.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Fluffy side in, and for a practical reason: the outside wears much faster on cotton flannel so the greater fluff on the inside will keep the shirt comfy longer. Plus the outside will show wear less.

    Or you could say there's so little difference between RS and WS that you don't even pay attention to it!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Peter, sorry for off topic subject, just had to share. I went to a local thrift store today, just glancing before I left, saw 2 old looking singers, for sale for 30 bucks each. Both had wooden cases, one case had dent. Bought them and I think they may be a 1920 and a 1922 machines! I wish someone near me sewed so I could celebrate. Everyone I know just nods and smiles when I talk sewing.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I adore crushed velvet with a passion, and did you know you can actually crush it yourself (I think in several older sewing books upstairs). I even love acid green! I adore treadles. Unfortunately, down-sizing, I gave mine (to a good home). I LOVED making a midnight blue grad dress, vintage style, on it for son's friend. Loved that experience. We need sewing friends!!!!!!!!! Cathie, in Quebec.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I have one of those coral velvet octagon pillows on my couch! Historical evidence! Thank you!

    My mom had a treadle machine, which I used as a child. The loading of the bobbin was the worst of any machine I have worked with. Pre-1950 machines always make the best straight stitches, IMHO.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I vote that you treadle it for the entirely selfish reason that I use treadle machines, and I'm always curious to see what other people make with them. I make quilts, but I'd like to take the plunge into garment sewing one day.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Acid green velvet dressing gown with black wool facings?

    ReplyDelete
  24. What if you made a suit out of the acid green crushed velvet?!

    ReplyDelete
  25. The treadle sounds alluring, but terrifying -- like most things worth doing in life! Seriously, though -- I know there are a pair of ancient treadle machines in my in-laws' basement in New Jersey that I could have if I asked for him (my hubbies' grandparents were immigrant tailors from Germany). I have no idea what make or condition the machines are in and, more importantly, I have no idea how to actually OPERATE one. I always thought of them as antique conversation pieces that I don't have room for in my home, but if I could actually USE them for anything... What kind of sewing do these machines excel at? Feel free to point me to an earlier post. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Michael I have a couple of hints for you, in case you haven't thought of them. (And I'm sure you have!).

    On the sewing machine I learned to sew on, my grandmothers vintage 40s Kenmore, she stuck a piece of medical tape where the standard stitch allowance was so we knew exactly where it was.

    Second, on the treadle I had the pleasure to use to make a wrap around skirt in the 70s, I discovered something by accident. Depending upon whether I pushed the treadle at the front or the back with my feet, it would sew forward or backwards. I remember because it surprised me so much. It was a lot of fun, and I would love to own one.

    Hugs

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails