Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rimoldi Serger

Got the old serger working today.  Very nice when machines function properly!

Tack Buttons

My tack button order from YKK came in last week.  There are a lot of choices when it comes to tack buttons - a half dozen choices for materials and several dozen finish choices.   It's taken about three weeks of going over options, and what I can afford, to come up with this order.  I'm pretty happy with the way they look.

Still need to get a hand press to attach them.  I've done the hammer-thing with previous jeans and ruined quite a few buttons that way.

Left to Right - tin finish, plain steel finish, ebony finish

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Travel Kit, prototype #2

In between trying to track down hard to find, but necessary sewing machine parts, and performing tedious, but also necessary adjustments on my existing machines, I was able to squeeze in a little bit of sewing yesterday.  It's a rough prototype for a little bag that I'm working on as part of a work-trade arrangement to attend this years Firefly Gathering.  If it goes well I'll post more later. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Details Pt. 2

Montgomery Ward - Powr House chore coat

I really like the way the lines of the sleeve seams merge into the cuff seams.

Keyhole buttonhole

 Another keyhole buttonhole - two tone stitching

Serged/overlocked edge from a WWII army blanket.  I've been doing some research to figure out what machine would have been in common use during the 1940's for overlocking, and would have been used for military applications.  Probably a Merrow, but it could also have been a Singer. 
Either way, cotton thread and a high stitch count are where it's at!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Details pt. 1

I imagine that by now some folks are wondering why I'm not churning out hand-made clothes.  I mean, I was making a garment a week for about year, but in the last six months I've made only two things.  So why is that?  It's the details.  Yes, I could make everything on a few home machines, but what really interests me are the little things that give certain clothes, particularly vintage clothes, a real depth of character.

So, I've been researching the heck out things to try and figure out what makes certain things look the way they do.  A lot of it is the machine, which is why certain  machines have an almost cult status among people into such details, but it's also the material and how it's been treated.  For example:  cotton.  Raw cotton fabric shrinks, and so does cotton thread, but at a slightly different rate.  This can result in puckering around the seam, which then wears faster and creates more interesting texture as it fades.  Synthetics just don't shrink like that.  I could go on, but here's some images of a few things that I have that I find inspiration in. 

 Triple needle stitching, this seam is special because it's width is narrower than what you would normally find on a triple stitched garment today.

 Open-top buttons, with a two prong tack. Stronger than common closed-top tack buttons 


 Note the very high stitch count on this 1940's wool army shirt.  This makes for a stronger seam.  Also there is a luster to the thread.  Most likely it was mercerized, a process which passes the thread through flame and a caustic solution to remove any fuzzy hairs and strengthen the fiber.

The inside of the same seam.  Note the tight, close chainstitching.  I'm hoping to re-create the look and strength of this stitch for my workshirts.  All cotton thread is important.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Another Sewing Machine Update

Top:  Union Special 56300, single needle chainstitch.  Currently at about 90% functionality.
Above:  Rimoldi 184, felling machine, double or triple needle chainstitch.  This machine will be used for felling side seams on shirts and jackets - assuming I can get it to start making a stitch properly.

Both machines are part of a small lot I bought from a factory.  They were formerly used to make naval uniforms.

Sorry for the slightly different layout - has changed some things for the worse recently.  I'm currently working on a website, though it's pretty slow going.  There are many things that I'm more interested in doing than learning the nuances of web design.  You can check out the site I've been working on here.  Nothing is actually for sale, it's all just a place holder.

From Union-Made blogspot.  Check his site out; good collection of this type of ephemera.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Swifty the Rabbit

Well, I picked up three more industrial sewing machines last Friday - a single needle chainstitch, a bartack machine, and an felling machine for sewing shirt and jacket side seams.  And also Swifty, the antique cast iron hole punch.  All came from a closed-down garment factory that used to produced the work uniforms for the U.S. Navy going back to the 1950's.  It will be the last of my core machine buying for the time being.  I still would like a keyhole buttonholer and a few others, but I now have everything that I need to make jeans, jackets, shirts, vests, etc. with a reasonable amount of efficiency - my own little garment factory.  Will update with some images once they're operating correctly.

May Day