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Oct 18, 2013

Getting Started on the Mustard Jeans + Oiling My Buttonholer



Readers, it is so very important to maintain our sewing tools if they are to perform for us at their best.



My Singer buttonholer dates from the late 1930's and I couldn't guarantee it has ever been oiled -- certainly not be me.  After making dozens of buttonholes in the last few weeks, I decided it was time to give it a little TLC.

Fortunately, mine came with its original manual, which clearly illustrates all the (many) oil points.







I used Singer oil, which is very light.  I turned the butterfly nut that moves the buttonholer through its full rotation to loosen things up and sewed a few practice buttonholes.  It moves so much more smoothly; I wish I had done this when I first received it.



When I was done with that little chore, I started work on my mustard pants, which I'll be making from Kwik Sew 3504, a men's jeans pattern.  I don't expect any surprises but you never know.





I tweak this pattern a little every time I use it.  This time I wanted a slightly snugger fit in the center back so I took a little out of what will end up being the center back seam.



I bought matching mustard Gutermann thread, which is always nice to have.



Even though I purposely offset the seams, I still didn't manage to get the center point where the flat-felled seams overlap in back perfectly centered -- I overshot it (in precisely the opposite way I did the last time).  Is there some trick to this I'm missing?





Alas, life goes on.

Readers, that's all for today.  I expect to finish these pants this weekend.

I do hope your projects are going well.  When's the last time you oiled your buttonholer (or your sewing machine), btw?

Have a great day, everybody!

Can anybody guess which 1939 film featured this song?   (Hint: RKO)  (If you're on a mobile device, click here.)

30 comments:

  1. Oh hey! I got that very buttonholer because of you...and I love it! I should really love it and oil it now that you mention it. I oiled my 201 on Monday....she gets heavy usage so gets a drink about once a week. Can't wait to see your new pants. Enjoy your weekend Peter!

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  2. For the CB seam- how about if you stitch the right side to right side first, turn the flat-felled seam allowances inside, and top-stitch? Who would know the difference? I've been one to cheat at solitare though... just sayin'

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  3. Is it just me or is there something of the double entendre about asking if you've oiled your buttonholer?

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    Replies
    1. Listen, woe be to you if you have a rusty buttonholer.

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  4. Oooh, nice buttonholer! The last time I oiled my Singer 201K sewing machine was about two weeks ago. I even greased the gears, and it appears to be running smoother and quieter. The project I just finished was a few women's black t-shirts in matte jersey in sizes x-small to large to sell in a yard sale that I plan to have sometime in the near future.

    Anyway, I think the pants are coming out great! If the center back yoke seam is bothering you then why not take out the center back seam, match up the points where the yokes meet by hand basting them together, then machine stitching them? I'm guessing the reason the yoke seams don't match up is because of the feed dogs pulling the under layer more than the top layer when you're stitching the center back seam. You're pants are coming out great though! :)

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  5. Honest to god, I think I have an old buttonholer like that in the crawl space.

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  6. My favourite colour! Can we match? Hehe. :)

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  7. Hey Peter, where did you get the mustard fabric from?

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  8. On my seams I line up the seams with my straight pin through the stitches and pin on each side my aunt taught me that way and it has never failed.

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  9. Ugh... matching flat felled angled seams can be so annoying. Let's see if I can explain one method...
    Without stitching, press the folds where they will be when stitched. Then lay the two pieces together so that the seam edges meet as you wish them to and then pin that dang seam so that it can't move from that spot! Open the pressed folds and stitch as usual.
    Hope that makes sense!

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  10. Mustard is good. Am making mustard leggings :-) coco

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  11. In the latest news, I just bought a buttonholer like yours on eBay. Lol.

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  12. Did you tack the seam before stitching it? If not, then that is the trick you are missing: solves most such problems for me. If you did tack, then I have no idea.

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  13. Holy Moly....don't get your finger caught in that thing - it looks really dangerous. I've seen (and used) some pretty old ones, but can't say I've used this type. It would be interesting to see how this works!

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    Replies
    1. Here's a YouTube video I made of me testing it out:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6hTNQmgG3w

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  14. Do you prewash/shrink your twill? I made some pants using a cotton twill and did preshrink the material, although it seems like they still shrunk in length. I'm thinking about making some denim pants since I don't care for the stretch jeans out there that don't work well with my matronly body. But I wonder how much preshrinking I should do. I read that Tommy Hilfiger rarely washes his jeans. I don't think I could do that!

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    Replies
    1. I washed/dried the fabric once. I expect them to still shrink a bit but I will probably air dry them moving forward.

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  15. Thanks for the heads up to oil the buttonholer. I have my mother's old Singer one and it hasn't been used in many, many years.

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  16. Start about a half inch before the match point and machine baste across it for about an inch. use your walking foot, to make sure the two layers stay together. Don't remove the pin until you're about to hit it, most times you'll miss it. If it doesn't match, you only have an inch of basting to remove and try again.

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  17. Yay for mustard pants! The last time I tried to oil my machine I couldn't get it apart all the way and the thing that prevents the bobbin from being too full fell off into the depths of the machinery. Someday I'll find it...

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  18. You inspired me to try out my recent purchase of this type of buttonholer. Cleaned and oiled it as it was caked with old dried oil. Everything is moving nicely now, but I'm having problems with one side of the buttonhole being much more dense than the other... I can't quite figure that one out. I have another one -- the newer one in the green Jetson's case that currently is making much nicer buttonholes. I wish I could figure out the problem with the older one.

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    Replies
    1. I have had this problem from time to time too but only with certain thread/fabric combos. What I do is go around 1 1/2 times (it's the return up that's denser) -- i.e., down, up and then down again.

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    2. Thanks Peter! I've used other buttonholers, but this one is new to me, so I really appreciate the great idea! It is much easier to use than fooling with those templates... Thanks again.

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  19. You're so right about oiling the attachments as well as the machine. When I inherited my grandmother's Singer I knew it had attachments for doing zig-zag stitches and buttonholes. But it had been sitting around, unused for so long that both attachments had seized up and I couldn't make either one work, no matter what I tried. I ended up having to special order a new buttonhole attachment, and it works ok, but I don't use it very much because I have that same problem with one side being more dense on one side than the other.

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    Replies
    1. What may help on this sort of problem is "solvent cleaner": it can deal with dried-hard lubricants, which can be worse because of accumulated dust. They can be used for cleaning old parts in a workshop, this isn't that novel a problem.

      The problem is not so different to that of cleaning the carburetor on an old-style auto-engine, or the injector pump on a diesel which is a high-precision mechanical device.

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  20. The song is from The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, with Fred Astaire...don't know who played Irene.

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    Replies
    1. Bravo, Marc! -- You are our winner (and only contestant).

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    2. I think it was Fred and Ginger's last movie together.

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  21. Marc,
    It was Ginger Rogers with Fred Astaire in The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle. Great costumes in that movie... Irene Castle wore some really fun, and fashion setting, outfits!

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