Tag Archives: vintage

7

THREADING THE PFAFF

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I’ve really loved getting comments from other owners of the Pfaff 1222E. There’s nothing quite like “I’ve had this machine for 30 years and it’s never let me down” to really make you appreciate a well-built tool. If you’re interested in learning more about this machine, check out my other posts on the Pfaff 1222e: my initial review, and an update on the machine with tips on finding feet and extensive comments!

If you’re having problems using industrial cone threads or home-sewing spools on your vintage sewing machine, I have a bit of advice on threading and tension techniques.

threading Pfaff 1222e, made by Julianne

When the machine was new-to-me and I was using spools on it, often the thread would get caught on the rod that the spool spun on. From a long-forgotten website I got the advice to set my spool on the right rod, and to create an additional thread guide by putting a cut straw on the left rod. I cut a groove to hold the thread and melted the edge with a lighter to lessen the friction.

I use this technique with every single spool. and it definitely helps the thread flow through the machine.

threading Pfaff 1222e, made by Julianne

For those unfamiliar, cone threads hold 1,500+ yards of thread, whereas spools hold 250-500 yd. Since sergers use so much thread, it is much cheaper to use cones on that machine, and it’s simpler for me to have mostly cones instead of matching spools. In LA it’s easy to find inexpensive cone thread. You can even get factory overstock: for $1 you’re getting at least 500 yd and sometimes even 3000. The selection is a grab-bag, but I always check to see if any of my most common colors are in the bins (all but 4 of the above cones were purchased for $1 or less).

I prefer to use cone threads for my home sewing machine, but they present a challenge with threading. Where does the cone go so that the thread doesn’t get snagged? There are stands for cone threads available, and they work fine, but I already have enough stuff on my sewing table.

threading Pfaff 1222e, made by Julianne

threading Pfaff 1222e, made by Julianne

I have a handy shelf above my table, and all I did was screw a hook into the underside. The cone sits on my table (and gets knocked around sometimes, but it doesn’t matter). The thread feeds up into the hook, and then into my machine at the same angle as a smaller spool would.

threading Pfaff 1222e, made by Julianne

threading Pfaff 1222e, made by Julianne

Because the cone doesn’t spin, the top thread often doesn’t have the same tension as if I were using a smaller spool. Instead of dialing my tension knob up to 10, I just loop the thread around the bobbin guide and I’m good to go!

threading Pfaff 1222e, made by Julianne

At a recent sewing meet-up, Sandra adjusted the tension of my bobbin. She says that you should be able to hold the thread tail and hang the bobbin without it rolling out.

Different threads have different tension requirements, and your fabric and needle type can also effect the quality of your stitches. All these variables can be overwhelming when you’re learning to sew, but over time they become second-nature. Happy sewing!

5

NEON RAGLAN

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One thing I love about Burning Man is the wide range of costuming. Bikinis in the daytime, and sweaters galore at night! My neon fleece sweatshirt was perfect for the playa, and has been essential to my survival in Monterey this winter.

neon raglan sweatshirt, made by Julianne

Even with a Disaronno-induced hangover, it’s impossible to be cranky when I’m wearing this. Now where are my damn french fries?

neon raglan sweatshirt, made by Julianne  I used a charming vintage pattern from 1972 (mine was bought at Fabulous Fabrics, which sounds like a delightful business model). The previous owner copied the pattern onto interfacing in order to make fitting changes, so I did the same.

Copying patterns (rather than making marks and cuts on the original printed piece) is a new step for me. I enjoy the meditative preparation, and my tracing the design onto fresh paper makes me feel really free to make all sorts of changes.

Like all recent projects, this was made entirely out of stash fabrics. Isn’t it convenient that I have yards and yards of neon fleece just sitting in my closet? Having not bought fabric for the past few months really helped me realize just how much fabric I already had. Ridiculous!

neon raglan sweatshirt, made by Julianne

It’s sewn with all neon threads. It can be worn with the seams on the inside, but I rather like all those perfect lines of serging. It adds to the whimsy, and we gots to have that.

The bright neon fabrics make me feel like a kid, but wearing a sweatshirt while many of my campmates head out into the night wearing a single pair of tights and a lace corset makes me feel kinda like a mom… a warm mom. Not that marriage = end of sexiness, but yeah, when it starts to get a little chilly I start piling the layers on.

neon raglan sweatshirt, made by Julianneneon raglan sweatshirt, made by Julianne

I keep playing with the idea of puff-paint decoration, with a clear memory of picking at the pointy dots on my mom’s reindeer sweater in the 90s. With neon or glitter paint, it could be quite hipster-ironic. But what image? Lithium is always a good choice, but maybe I should do something stranger. Suggestions?

neon raglan sweatshirt, made by Julianne

There is another coordinating shirt, left back in LA for the time being. This top also inspired an awesome snugly onesie, but that will have to wait for another post…

0

KNAVY KNITTING

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Last December I finally sat down and taught myself to knit, with one major goal in sight: to make my own socks. And it happened!

knit navy socks, made by Julianne

I started these socks in May, and finished them in August! But I only worked on them when I was waiting for something else, like at the post office, or on a road trip, or babysitting.

knit navy socks, made by Julianne

I used a vintage Bernat 50/50 wool/nylon blend, and made them up on my #2 Addi Sock Rockets (which I love, duh). I followed Liat Gatt’s tutorial for toe-up socks on magic loop, which was very easy to follow. Although the process took forever and I made a few mistakes, at no point did I actually feel discouraged.

knit navy socks, made by Julianne knit navy socks, made by Julianne

For some reason I started these out on #6 needles, and although the size was fit, there were way too many holes and gaps in the fabric. Duh, right? knit navy socks, made by Julianne

knit navy socks, made by Julianne

The m1r and m1l increases were certainly a pain in the butt, so next I’m exploring other techniques of adding stitches. I’ve enjoyed kfb before, but I’m also intrigued by this method of working yo without a hole.

knit navy socks, made by Julianne

The first time I wore these socks was to watch the man burn at Burning Man. It seemed like an appropriate place to realize such a persistent goal, and my toes were toasty! I’ve actually already finished my second pair, which I will post in a week or so.

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