Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Search for the Perfect Sewing Box

So I thought that now, what with the new machine and all, that it was time to get my *stuff* organized. You know, needles, threads, presser feet, fabric, patterns, etc. But finding a good sewing box has proved harder than I first imagined. The sewing box that I have been using lately is actually my mom's, and can I just say . . . they don't make em like they used to anymore. The biggest problem with hers is that the latch is tricky and so you can't carry the thing by the handle anymore for fear that it will explode on you.

As I've been looking around online and in-stores, I've been finding inadequate solutions. Too small, too item specific, not enough dividers, too many dividers . . . I am probably being way too picky, but since I can't just dedicate a whole room to sewing and therefore leave stuff up on the walls and all out and about I have to come up with something that is more efficient and concise and that can be tucked into the back of the closet when I am done so my house doesn't turn into total chaos. You hear what I'm saying. Or maybe you think I'm being anal about this. Either way.

I thought I would share something with you that I found whilst searching though that, well, you tell me:


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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kind of Really Impressed with Myself

July 24th, 2008 is a day that will live on in infamy. Probably. If my first attempts at sewing with my Confidence are any indication of the leaps and bounds in progress I will be making over the years in this particular craft.

The first night I had her, I wasn't able to do anything much aside from take her out of the box and gaze lovingly at her. I paged through the instruction manual and quickly realized from this experience that I had NO idea how to sew. This thing comes with 5 different presser feet (!) and does so many stitches and so on . . . I don't know. I'll tell you what, it's no Stylist. So I was quite intimidated by it but very excited to dive in. Then my in-laws arrived at our house with ice cream and toppings.

The ice cream won.

Then on Friday, I decided after the fam went to bed that it was time to try 'er out. So I threaded her up and threw some fabric in and off she went. At the end of that evening, I had this:
I recovered the throw pillow that resides on the guest bed (which is also in the Little Miss' room). I had leftover material from her headboard project and the remaining two panels fit perfectly on the pillow. So there you have it. This morning she saw it for the first time and got so excited about the caterpillar that she aimed and landed on his face for a big kiss. Did I mention we are big Eric Carle fans at our house?

I should interject here that I have PLENTY of projects that have been put on the backburner since right before the move. This was the first sewing I had done since then (3 1/2 months ago!) so I wanted to do something I could accomplish *quick* and *super easy* to boost my confidence in my ability to tackle my other projects.

The caterpillar pillow did the trick nicely.
As is always a fantastic move, tackling something you have never remotely attempted the night after your *quick* and *super easy* project, I decided to dive right into my first legit paying commissioned sewing job. Boo-la (Abuela aka my mother-in-law) decided a few months ago that she wanted to have her couch recovered. For those of you who have not seen her house, let me explain that she grew up in Mexico and raised her kids in the Dominican Republic. Her house is quite reflective of the Latin flair . . . she LOVES bright colors! So after we had searched around everywhere for some bright, upholstery grade fabric that she could purchase to do the job, I started ripping her couch cushions apart to try to figure out how one would go about making them. I have to admit, tearing the stitches out of her cushion covers made me very nervous as I have no experience with anything like this and had some doubts about how my version of the couch covers would turn out. Boo-la is a pretty laid back person, and she assured me over and over again that they didn't need to be perfect or have zippers or whatever, but I surely didn't want to give her *crap* so I was setting the bar high for myself. I mean, if she is going to insist on paying me, then I better make something worth being compensated for, right?
Well . . . tonight was the night. Here's how it went down:

I ripped the seams apart on the old cushion cover, salvaged the zipper, and used the pieces as a pattern for cutting out my new fabric (which incidentally is not *the* fabric for the final project, but the same type of fabric in a color that she decided was way too light once she got it):
Pinned and puzzled and sewed and sewed until I came up with this:



Yeah . . . I even figured out how to put in the zipper (I had never done that before!):
I guess this the machine is giving me some kind of *quantum confidence* that enables me to complete tricky never-before-sewn (by me) projects.
I'm just as surprised by this as you are. I mean really, who knew?

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Oh My Quantum Confident Happy Day!

Awhile back I checked in on my sewing machine (see below: The Singer Confidence 7470 . . . oohh ahh) . . . well, the one that I have been scrimping and saving for and shamelessly lusting after anyway. I found an awesome deal on it on the internet, but I wasn't quite "at the ready" with the cash-o-la. That sale came and went and the price was back up again.

BOO.

So like a crazy hawk I have constantly been checking around for deals and price comparing (and sometimes I google the Confidence just to gaze longingly at the picture on the screen and drool over the features) and lo and behold, THE AMAZING PRICE WAS BACK AGAIN. TONIGHT. I checked in my fund. There was more in it than I realized and with the price being down . . . it was time to jump!

My finger gave a little tremble as I hit the purchase button. My oh my what a wonderful day!

I doubt highly that my mom is going to be half as excited to get her sewing machine back as I am to be getting my new one. Thanks, Mom, for the loaner. We've had some good times together. I will always have a place in my heart for your Stylist which helped me learn that I was really interested in sewing as a hobby. Now that you'll be getting it back you can actually hem pants with stitches instead of watching Dad and his iron-on hem tape. Even though, from what I gather, he likes that hem tape.

Oh, but isn't she a beaut:


A little spec detail for all you sewing-type geeks. Everyone else, feel free to skip. I don't know if I even understand half the features on it which adds to the excitement as I will now have all this fun stuff to learn and experiment with:

Now introducing the newest Singer Computerized Sewing Machine, the Quantum 7470 Confidence.
This newest Singer machine has these great features:
173 built-in stitches
Drop & Sew™ bobbin system
LCD with push-button stitch selection
Block-style alphabet & numbers
Hand-look quilt stitch
6 styles of automatic precisely balanced one-step buttonholes - exclusive underplate system
Programmable needle up/down
Automatic tension
Drop-feed
Twin needle touch selector
Mirror image touch selector
StayBright™ long-lasting LED light and more. Buy a new Singer Sewing Machine today and start sewing the"Singer Way"
Features
Electronic Sewing Machine with Push-Button Stitch SelectionWith just a simple push of a button you have selected the stitch as well as the optimum settings for length, width, balance, pressure and tension.
Liquid Crystal DisplaySelect a stitch, and an illustration of the stitch is displayed on the LCD screen. The LCD provides clear and easy viewing of stitch patterns, including stitch width and length.
Built-In Stitches173 Built- in stitches for construction, fashion sewing, quilting, heirloom, crafts, home decorating and decorative sewing always ensures the perfect stitch for every project.
Built-In AlphabetPersonalize projects by adding a monogram, name or phrase with the Built-In block style Alphabet.
Built-In Stretch StitchesSpecially designed stitches that add strength and flexibility to seams, especially useful when sewing on knitwear. Some of the stretch stitches can also be used for decorative embellishment.
Hand-Look Quilt StitchThis stitch is designed to look like hand sewing for topstitching or quilting. The Hand-Look Quilt Stitch is especially valuable to quilters, crafters and heirloom seamstresses.
Adjustable Stitch LengthOptimal settings for length are automatically adjusted when choosing a stitch. They can be overridden to personalize length choice.
Adjustable Stitch WidthOptimal settings for width are automatically adjusted when choosing a stitch. They can be overridden to personalize width choice.
Center Zigzag TaperWhen tapering with the zigzag stitch, the stitch tapers to the center, not the left or right. This provides a more attractive look when tapering into or out of a point.
Automatic Tacking Stitch FunctionTie-off decorative stitches with just a push of a button. With 4 tiny tacking stitches the start and end of the pattern is reinforced. This ensures quality stitching and avoids raveling.
Automatic Tie-Off FunctionWith just a push of a button the 7470 will sew 4 stitches forward and then 4 stitches in reverse at the start of Straight Automatic Tie-Off Stitching. At the end press the reverse button again and the machine will sew 4 stitches in reverse and then 4 stitches forward and then stop. The Automatic Tie-Off Function reinforces the start and end of seams for stronger stitching.
Automatic ReversePush the conveniently located Automatic Reverse Button to sew in reverse and reinforce the stitch.
7mm Stitch WidthMost stitches can be set for a maximum width of 6mm. When sewing decorative stitches or satin stitches, the wide stitches are bolder and more pronounced.
One-Step Automatic Precisely Balanced Built-In ButtonholesChoose from 6 different one step buttonhole styles. Buttonhole sewing is a one step simple process, providing reliable results. Each side of the buttonhole is sewn in the same direction, creating beautifully balanced buttonholes.
Exclusive 3-Step Infinite Length Bar-Tack ButtonholeCreate a buttonholes with endlessly long sides. This is ideal when sewing non-traditional sized buttonholes. There are no size limitations with this buttonhole.
Electronic Twin Needle ControlStitches are automatically adjusted for twin needle sewing with just the touch of a button. Twin needle sewing creates two parallel rows adding a decorative touch.
13 Needle PositionsNeedle position can be adjusted for techniques, such as inserting zippers or cording, and also topstitching.
Programmable Needle Up and DownSelect whether the needle is up or down when the machine stops. It is beneficial to have the needle stop in the down position when appliqueing, quilting or pivoting fabric. When removing the fabric from the machine, it is easier if the needle is raised to highest position.
20-Space MemoryA memory bank holds full names and simple phrases.
Editing CapabilitiesEditing is simple. A cursor button can be moved through the 20-space memory. If a stitch or letter needs to be removed, use the editing button.
Mirror Image*Just touch a button and stitches can be mirror imaged.
Continuous Pattern*Just touch a button and stitches can be sewn either as a single pattern or can be sewn continuously. (*Only specific stitches can be mirror imaged and/or sewn as a continuous pattern.)
Error Messaging4 audible and visual warning messages alert the sewer. The messages make for trouble-free sewing.
6-Second ThreadingThread a machine in 6 seconds! No tediously following manual's instruction to thread the machine, just follow the arrows on the machine...and you are threaded in a snap.
Automatic Needle ThreaderAfter effortlessly threading the machine this feature automatically threads the eye of the needle!
Audible ToneAn audible tone confirms pattern and function selection.
Automatic TensionThis system ensures stable stitch quality, whatever type of fabric is being used.
Automatic Presser Foot Pressure ControlThe amount of pressure exerted on the fabric by the presser foot against the feed dogs is automatic. Sew from the lightest weight tricots to the heaviest denim, without making adjustments.
Jam-Proof Bobbin SystemThe bobbin case floats above the hook, precluding thread jams. The machine will not jam, even when sewing on sheer fabric or no fabric at all! The bobbin loads from the top, so it is easy to insert the bobbin. The clear cover makes it easy to monitor the bobbin thread supply.
Automatic Bobbin Winding ClutchNeedle bar automatically disengages when winding the bobbin, making bobbin winding more convenient.
Extra-High Presser Foot LifterWhen the Presser Foot Lifter is in extra-high position it offers more clearance, which is needed when placing multiple layers of bulky fabric under the presser foot.
LED Lifetime White LampThe lamp illuminates the sewing surface for optimal viewing. The long-lasting bulb (100,000 hours) stays cool, regardless how long the machine is operated.
6-Segment Feeding SystemThere are 6 points of contact between the fabric and the feeding system. The more contact points the better the fabric feeds. With 6-segments even lightweight fabrics feed smoothly.
Box FeedThis is a feed dog motion that moves the feed dogs in a box motion, rather than the historic arc motion. Box motion assures perfect feeding throughout the entire feed process, as the feed dogs are always in perfect and equal contact with the fabric and presser foot.
Drop Feed DogsA conveniently located lever, easily and effortlessly moved, will lower the feed dogs for free-motion embroidery, monograms, and for attaching buttons.
Aluminum FrameThe internal skeleton of the sewing machine. This rigid support holds all the mechanisms in perfect alignment for perfect, skip-free sewing.
Electronic Stitch FormationAll stepper motors are electronically controlled. Digital electronic control of the stepper motors that control the pattern formation allows for perfectly formed patterns every time.
Optimum Power ControlThis is a SINGER® name for a control system that senses when additional power is required to maintain speed through thick or changing fabric conditions. This feature is most useful when sewing through multiple (6-8) layers of fabric.
Electronic Foot ControllerGuarantees consistent sewing speed with no jump starts.
Snap-On Presser FeetChange from one to another effortlessly with a simple push of the foot release button.
Dust CoverCovers the machine when not in use.
On Board StorageKeep the accessories in the Extension Table Storage area, and they are always within reach.
Included Accessories
Zig Zag Foot
Applique Foot
Zipper Foot
Blind Hem Foot
Sensor Button Hole Foot
2 Spool Felts
5 Pack Needles
Large Spool Cap
Medium Spool Cap
Small Spool Cap
Bobbins
Screw Driver
Double Needle Spool Pin
Seam Ripper

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