Friday, March 22, 2013


So... I'm not breaking any news by telling that Colette patterns newest pattern is a little shift dress. I have to admit that my first thought was of disappointment. It is a really simple design, after all. And a shift dress? I never wear a shift.
Image from the Coletterie
But I have to say the idea of it grew on me. I never wear shift dresses because they never fit me. If they fit in the shoulders, then I cant pull the dress down over my hips. So I actually do not know if a shift could be a good style for me. I like to showcase and define my waist, but the idea of a more freeflowing garment is very attractive from a comfort point of view. I also quite like the idea of this dress being a blank canvas. I like clothes with simple lines and fun details and this pattern offers me just this. It is the perfect pattern for creative embelishment.

So I ordered a copy. A paper copy, despite the offensive shipping costs, because I avoid having to spend an hour taping together a zillion paper pieces if I don't have to. And a Colette pattern is such a pretty object in itself... It was shipped today, so I probably have a couple of weeks to scheme while the pattern travels from the other side of the world. I have this idea of combining appliqué and cut-out to create a pattern in a contrasting color at the neckline.

I see this as an experiment in style. I'm actually quite curious to see if I can pull of a shift dress, when it actually fits. We'll see!

Friday, March 8, 2013

My machines

I thought I'd introduce my sewing machines, as I would not write this blog if I didn't have them. Well, one of them, at least!

First, my trusty Elna.

When I moved to Sweden 5 years ago, my boyfriend's mother asked if I would like to have her old sewing machine. I wasn't really sewing clothes at that time, but I thought it would be perfect for sewing all the curtains our appartment desperately needed. I've become quite fond of my Elna, and she does everything I want quite nicely, except for buttonholes. She doesn't like buttonholes. Or maybe it's me who is afraid of buttonholes... She is a Elna Special, from around 1974.

Last fall, I became quite obsessed with having a vintage sewing machine. I was quite into the little machines in a suitcase from the 50s, but also dreaming of having a threadle. So after scouring Blocket (the swedish Craig's list), i found my Husqvarna.  I like to think that I have a living piece of swedish history...

This machine is a Husqvarna CB, and from what I can tell from my research, from around the 1910s. It was the machine of the grandmother of the man I bought it from, and you can tell that she used it quite a lot, but also that she took good care of her. She produces a beautiful stitch, but is quite hard to threadle.

And then last week, this one arrived and stole the show...

She had lived, forgotten, in the basement of my boyfriend's parents until they realised I might like to have it. Eh, yes, please! I was not quite expecting for her to be so beautiful... She is a Singer 66K and the serial number tells me she is from 1916. The singer 66 was a very popular machine, so my machine is by ne means rare, but she does have a less common decal, called "Lotus" and inspired by egyptian flowers.

I had to take her apart and clean out 90 years of dust and oil her, but she is working like a charm. She also produces the most beautiful stitches, and the tension is perfect. She is in much better condition than my Husqvarna, which is quite worn in places.The stitches are quite long, though, and I am not quite sure how to adjust that. I'm also not quite sure I threaded her accurately... I wish I had the manual. But hopefully the internet will not disappoint!

So now I promised my boyfriend to make an entire project on each of my threadles. I'm a bit scared, as they are not really easy to control, but quite excited at the same time. A part of me says I should sew a vintage pattern, but that would also be a first. Maybe I should start with something simpler. I do have the pencil skirt from Gertie's book cut out from a burnt orange cotton twill, but I has lost interest as the color is so "fally" (yeah, I just made that word up). Wouldn't that be a good first threadle project?

What are your machines?