Saturday, 9 November 2013

Tip Shop Overlocker

People have been asking me for ages now why I don't have an overlocker (Americans call it a 'serger'). The reason is not knowing how they worked and it would obviously raise the level of complexity of my life a bit. Not to mention that they're expensive: New ones were a lot more expensive than sewing machines, so I looked at second hand (eBay). Very expensive there too (more than $100).
The tip shop had one last week for $30. Here it is,
It looks a bit plastic for me so I asked a friend and my partner (by SMS) if it was any good. My friend is my enabler, so she said yes. I picked it up and ooh... it passes the weight test. About 15kg. The tip shop guy plugged it in for me and tested it. Well, the motor went, so I was in.

The machine was made from 1981 in Japan (I just changed that from "France" - where did I get that from??). Funny, my new favourite machine is from 1891. Anyway, the manual was very clear (got it from so after a good clean I read how to thread it and set the tensions. Also disconnected the knife (the default behaviour is to cut the fabric as it gets fed through) because I'd like to do the cutting. EDIT: Re-enabled the knife - Oh, so handy!
Test fabric was denim and the results were a lovely chain around the edge. Might not use it for every garment but it's a good thing to have if it's needed.

Embroidery on the 320k

I made a romper suit for my niece's son the other day from a 1950s pattern. The instructions were bloody awful (confusing and ambiguous) but there was supposed to be a train transfer in the packet. Well, it was second hand, so it wasn't there. I traced the pieces (train and carriages) in coloured felt and embroidery was the only way to do the smoke, wheels and linkages. Here's how it turned out:
The 320k came with a darning/embroidery foot and an embroidery hoop.They look like this:
The hoop is supposed to keep the fabric tight but I couldn't get it on half the time due to stitching, folding etc which of course are far more common on little kids' clothing. So, here is how you do it without the hoop: Pull the fabric tight. Then the foot was the only special item needed.
Cover the feed dogs, attach the special foot, hold the fabric tight and move the fabric where you want the stitches to go. The result isn't too bad for a first attempt and I can see many places this can be used (practically anything can be personalised now!)

Friday, 8 November 2013

A "new" machine

On Gumtree a week ago there was an ad for a fiddle base VS2 for $150! How couldn't I buy it?
So, picked it up Saturday morning and by the afternoon it was at home:
Isn't she lovely? Came with the original coffin top too:
I love this machine. I wasn't able to use it until Wednesday but when I did, I tried out a 1940s buttonholer:
Now there's no reason the swiss zigzagger won't work on this machine. 1891, vibrating shuttle, will probably work with any attachment that works on a 66/99/201/221 or 222 so I'm keen to make something on it.