Lots to Show and Tell

I’m back from the wilds of the Midwest and have lots to report.  I met my new niece Chloe who’s cute as a button.  Jack fell in love with her and was so sweet with her.  He loved caressing her little head.  So cute to see him be so tender.  🙂 

As for those of you asking for pictures of the dress in action at the wedding (ahem, Karen), sorry but no actions shots were taken.  I just was not in a dancing mood I guess, and I felt shy about asking anyone to take a picture.  Here’s my take on how the dress “wore” though.  I’m stealing the interview idea from Tasia

How did the dress look?  It looked pretty good standing still and as I was running. 

What do you mean by “standing still” and “running”?  Well, when I stood talking to people it looked great.  It was also fine as I was running to the wedding after the taxi driver dropped me off at the opposite end of the pier.  I had to sprint about two football lengths in 7 minutes with another wedding attendee.  Both of us looked mahvelous!  😉  

So how did it look sitting?  Funny you should ask actually, as that was the part with which I was most dissatisfied.  When I sat down at the wedding ceremony, my dress rode up so high pooling at my waist and thighs, almost 3 inches of my lining was left exposed for all to see.

Why on earth did it ride up so high???  Well, I suspect the underlining was the culprit.  I used silk organza because I was being all fancy.  The last time I underlined (the Christian LaCroix skirt), all I had on hand was cotton batiste, which worked, but this time I was prepared with yards and yards of silk organza.  As most of you know, silk organza has a stiff hand, which helps enormously with preventing SBS (Saggy Bottom Syndrome otherwise known as bagging out) and wrinkling.  It also has the added effect of giving the fashion fabric more body.  In the case of my Vera Wang fabric, too much body, as the brocade had body already, just needed the protection against SBS.  I should have used cotton batiste in retrospect.  *sigh*   Live and learn I guess…

Any other things you liked or disliked about this version of B5147?  I’m so glad you asked.  Dislikes: If you’ll recall, I altered the armscye to cut in towards the chest.  Boy was that a big oops and I will be putting that back in.  Now everyone has the viewing pleasure of the fleshy area between my arm and chest.  Isn’t that a great visual?  Bet you didn’t know that area could even be fat.  Likes: Love the scoop neck.  Not too deep but just deep enough.  I also pegged the skirt near the knees and really like that silhouette.  And I loved the sheathier look of widening the fisheye darts in the front of the dress; they were much more figure flattering.  I will definitely keep those changes for future iterations if there are any.

Will you make any more B5147’s?  Hmmm… Not sure.  My teacher Thea thinks that I can get a much more flattering fit with less fiddling around with a princess seamed sheath dress, so I am going to try another dress soon.  I’m considering the Simplicity Amazing Fit sheath dress, S2648.

What’s next in your project queue?  I am finally getting to my Fall coat for the Trench Sew Along.  I am making another Simplicity pattern, S5380.  I already have my purple wool, bought the purple charmeuse at the PR Shopping day a couple of weeks ago, and today I ran out to buy cotton flannel with which to interline the coat.  Not sure how much tailoring I am going to end up doing.  We’ll see how in depth I’m willing to go later.


Ok, enough with the pseudo interview.  Do you want to see pictures of my new baby up close and personal like?  I’m talking about the Singer Featherweight 221 from 1938 that received this past weekend.  Oh boy am I excited and yet a little intimidated.  The directions on how to just thread the machine don’t make any sense to me.  It came with a bunch of feet, most of which I have no idea what they are for.  Can any of you deduce their purposes?

Original manual!!!

My very own buttonholer!!!

Slightly broken zigzagger with inscrutable manual

Here are the feet for which I have no idea of their purposes:

I think this might be a quilting guide but a slightly bent one

a ruffler perchance?

some kind of binder? if so, what kind?

Let me know if you know what feet I actually have.  Can’t wait to start playing with them all.  I am super excited about the Singer Buttonholer!!!

Happy sewing everyone!

25 responses to “Lots to Show and Tell

  1. Hi Elizabeth,

    I just bought a Singer Featherweight recently too! And as of yet haven’t done much with it yet except look at it proudly. I’m a bit scared of it too. Anyway, as for the feet, there are a couple of great sites to help you –
    If you look closely at each attachment, you will see a five or six figured number, all of them unique and you can look them up here:


    This site is also very good: http://www.april1930s.com/
    As she gives very good detailed instructions and photos on how to use some of the attachments.


  2. I’m glad the dress performed as required except the sitting down part. Isn’t it riding up because of the extra space required to sit down? I’m curious to hear how the different linings effect the amount of ‘ride-up.’ The dress is, of course, gorgeous and the fit sublime.

  3. The dress looks great, and, really, sitting down is overrated. But look at all those cool machine feet! The first one is either a narrow hemmer or a flat feller, and the next one is a zipper foot. I wonder how that zigzag foot works?

  4. That first foot is a rolled hem foot; very handy to have. Some of the others look familiar, but my old Singer Sewing Book by Mary Brooks Picken (mine’s from the 50s, but there were several editions) is at home, so I can’t look them up. If you can get your hands on a Singer Sewing Book, it will not only help you identify the feet, but tell you exactly how to use them. Enjoy!

  5. The last one is a ruffler foot, the kind that will do varying amounts of ruffle, pleat, etc. You should be able to figure out how to adjust it by twiddling the little knob. If it’s like mine, the knob controls how much the fabric is ruffled with each tick of the little poky bit in the bottom, while the slots at the top right control whether it ruffles every single stitch (for a ruffle) or once every so many stitches (for pleats) However, the ones I’ve used have a bar that fits over the knob that holds your needle in, which yours doesn’t seem to have, so it might work slightly differently.

    The dress is gorgeous, but I agree with Thea— I’ll take princess seams over darts any day of the week, and I don’t even have your curves to fit. 🙂

  6. Oh, the little arm going over the needle screw I’m talking about on my ruffler foot looks just like the one on your zig-zagger foot, by the way.

  7. The feet are, in order:
    a rolled hem foot
    zipper/cording foot (not adjustable)
    no idea
    you’re right, it’s a quilting guide
    edge stitching foot–excellent for applying ribbons or trim to a edge
    tucking foot-makes tucks of a fixed size, and marks the next one
    bias binder
    adjustable hemming foot

    Have fun with them!

  8. Oh awesome, love that you used my Q&A idea on your own post! Easier than just writing big blobs of text 🙂 The dress looks fantastic!

    And, I was going to comment on the feet but it looks like Laura has them covered. Except for the third one which barely looks like a foot at all! Maybe it’s not, and it’s some sort of guide or other attachment?

  9. The item in the third photo is a seam gauge – it actually faces the other direction from shown in your picture. There should be a screw hole at the right side of the machine’s needle plate, put the guide over the hole, insert screw, adjust distance required from the needle and presto! easy to keep your seams all exactly the same width! My new machine doesn’t have the hole there so I can’t use one of these anymore… *sighs* I do miss that… (The dress looks great, btw)

  10. Your dress is gorgeous. I think you’ll love S2648, it’s the most flattering dress I’ve ever made.

  11. I have no idea what any of those feet are, but congrats on your purchase! I agree that princess seamed garments are very flattering and easy to fit.

  12. I enjoyed the interview and the dress is drop-dead-gorgeous. Or, rather, YOU are d-d-g and the dress shows this off very well!
    Congrats on all the goodies. I got a Featherweight a while back and I have enjoyed it, too. Truth be told, I could get by with it as my only machine, but don’t tell anyone. It is darling.

  13. Laura said:
    “The feet are, in order:
    a rolled hem foot
    zipper/cording foot (not adjustable)
    no idea
    you’re right, it’s a quilting guide
    edge stitching foot–excellent for applying ribbons or trim to a edge
    tucking foot-makes tucks of a fixed size, and marks the next one
    bias binder
    adjustable hemming foot

    The one she had no idea about is called an “edge stitcher”, and according to my 301A manual you can use it for sewing/inserting lace, making hems, making french seams, and pintucks. Your manual should have pictures (well, illustrations) of each of the feet as well as a short description on how to use them. It’s in the back of my manual.

    Your bias binder may be like the one for my 301 which is multi-sized, look to see if it has several grooves in it that are different “widths”. If it is like mine, it will have slots for 1/2″ (largest) down to 1/4″ (smallest).

    The 8th picture (under the binder) looks a lot like what my manual calls an “adjustable hemmer”.

    HTH! Glad you had a good time at the wedding! 🙂

  14. E – welcome back and glad to hear you had a great time at the wedding. Aww I bet Jack was sweet and charming. He is such a cutie pie.

    Yikes – sorry hear about the dress riding up and the other exposure issue. As you say, you live and learn.

    Congrats on bringing home your new baby. She looks like she is in fantastic shape. I see you already got lots of answers on the feet. My featherweight is sitting around gathering dust.

  15. Right after the quilting guided foot is a seam guide, which is missing it’s screw. This is a particularly awesome design. It screws into a hole on the sewing machine bed and you tighten it down at 5/8″ for example (measuring from the needle) and run your fabric edge along it for perfect seam depth. There are modern versions of this, but they don’t seem to tighten very well. You won’t have any trouble threading her, until you get to the needle, then it’s completely bizaare compared to modern machines. The needle hole goes from side to side and it’s threaded from right to left. Modern machines are threaded front to back, because the hole “faces” the sewer. I learned on a FW many moons ago, and when I got one of my own recently, I had forgotten about this little change. Also, don’t ever try to unjam anything by turning the handwheel backwards while the machine is threaded. Yuck. It’s manufactured with such precision, there is no tolerance for thread getting down around the bobbin case. A beautiful machine. You may find that you need a new belt or electrical supply (mine smelled quite a bit when I used it-that burning electrical smell). Parts are readily available for these beauties. Don’t use the oil or lube that may have been in your accessories (unless it is brand new). Buy new oil and lubricant. The lube is still branded by Singer–don’t use just any white grease. I’m no expert, but I attended a maintenance class which was great fun.

  16. Your dress looks fantastic. If you keep it up you are going to be the sheath queen.

  17. Hi Elizabeth!
    You might want to check out this blog (which I found through Peter, naturally) — she has some terrific tutorials/demos on how to use vintage feet:

  18. Your dress looks great! 🙂

    The top two feet you have are rolled hem & a zipper foot (this is the nice kind that makes putting in invisible zips super easy- I love mine). And the bottom one is definitely a ruffler.

  19. Forgot to say how beautiful the dress is, and how wonderful you look in it.

  20. Have you ever seen ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’? What’s a wedding without a race to get there on time? I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. I still think the dress looks beautiful, despite the slight performance flaws. You live and learn, live and learn. Is it very common to have one-on-one sewing teachers in the States? Sounds like decadent luxury to me… Enjoy your weekend!

  21. The dress is beautiful and you look stunning in it. The flaws you mentioned in your interview are minescule when weighed against the fabulousness of this dress and the lovely fabric it’s made in.
    I love your Singer – what a little beauty!

  22. I am sure you looked gorgeous at the wedding! Princess seams are magical; I suspect you will be a convert. I only knew the rolled hem foot–love mine! They are tricky to use but produce really great results. My tip is to zigzag your edge first so the foot has something to grab onto.

  23. I have nominated you for a Beautiful Blogger Award. See here for details: http://didyoumakethat.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/beautiful-blog-award/

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