31 December 2014

Stashbusting 2014: A year in review

Happy New Year everyone! I can't believe it's the end of the year already! Where did the time go? More importantly, how did I go against my stashbusting sewalong pledge?

My pledge for the year was:

"I, Andrea, commit to using twice as many pieces of stash fabric during 2014 than I buy to add to it."

What that boiled down to was wanting to use two pieces of fabric for every one that I bought.

I think I managed to blog about every piece of fabric that I used up, so let's review my personal sewing for the year. (I'll list everything in the months that I managed to get the blog posts up)

30 December 2014

Refashion: Beach Cover-up

I have a few sarongs that I have collected from various overseas holidays. They invariably then sit in the cupboard, never to be used again. I got the brilliant idea of using one of these sarongs to make a cover -up for my daughter to use after swimming.

I settled on this bright yellow sarong with turtles on it that I bought on my honeymoon in Hawaii. I wanted to use something with a fringe that I could put at the hem and sleeves, and my only other option in sarongs with a fringe, had the pattern running in the wrong direction.

22 December 2014

Striped Shorts

This fabric was a relatively new addition to the stash (ie, I bought it this year). I bought it to make shorts, and that's what I used it for! Well, half of it at least.

17 December 2014

Dark Teal Shorts

This summer, just for a change, I thought I should get some essential sewing done at the start of the season so that I get as much wear out of my new clothes as possible before they sit, unworn and unloved, until the cold weather comes and goes again.

I have been in desperate need of new shorts for a while. Some that I made a few years ago are wearing out, and I had a favourite pair of denim Colorado shorts wear out. I bought them when they were selling off their clothes to concentrate solely on shoes (I made a joke, solely, get it?)

9 December 2014

Lingerie: Black Bra

I've been talking about making a black long line stapless bra for a while. I first thought of doing it when I was making my pale blue lace covered bra, back in July. Well, this is, but at the same time, isn't that bra. The plan was to make a longer line bra, with a 2 piece cup, and removable straps. What I ended up with was a 2 piece cup with permanently attached straps, only a smidge longer than bras I have made to date.

5 December 2014

Knitting Adventures: Another honey cowl

It doesn't seem to get cold enough in Sydney to wear coats and scarves all the time, but when I was in Tasmania during July this year, I always had something around my neck, and my tailored jacket that I made last year got a good work out too (and a few comments!) It was the first time that I'd worn my honey cowl for more than a few hours, and my sister in law promptly put in an order for one.

1 December 2014

UFO: Denim Shorts

If you get the feeling you've heard this story before, you wouldn't be entirely mistaken.

Here's something that I started years ago. On my design, I dated the top corner 23/6. They were meant to be maternity shorts, and seeing as the only time that I was pregnant in June was with my first born, that means that I've had this design hanging around unfinished for 9 1/2 years.

22 November 2014

Tutorial: Santa Sacks

The October theme for the Stashbusting sewalong was sewing for Christmas. I didn't quite manage to get anything Christmas related done during October, but I made up for it in November, by making my children some Santa Sacks. I also made one of my nieces one at the same time. I didn't take many pictures along the way, as I hadn't made up my mind until I was near the end that I would actually post a tutorial on how I did them. Don't worry though, it's pretty easy to do!

17 November 2014

A-Line Skirt, and making my skirt blocks fit!

So I decided to enter a contest. I joined the Pattern Review website last year, but have yet to even set up my profile properly (still no photo!) I did decide however, to enter my first competition with them. I made a skirt to go in round one of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee - based on the British Sewing Bee.

Original Front

10 November 2014

Black and White Striped Top

Continuing on from my list of priority sewing, this was actually the first thing that I finished of the four items I mentioned. Here is my new favourite top, made with the remnants from my striped long sleeve dress.

6 November 2014

UFO: Stripy Summer Dress

In my blog hop post,I mentioned four projects that I wanted to focus on finishing. Here is the first of them.

My husband started making this dress for me about 7 years ago. Yes, you heard right, my husband was making this for me.

Let's back up a bit. When I was studying fashion design (whilst pregnant with our first child - there's nothing like being a mature age student who's pregnant!), my husband decided that he would try his hand at a bit of sewing. He refused all my offers of help, saying that he wanted to work it all out for himself. He made me a few maternity tops (which was quite helpful, as I was up to my elbows in morning sickness and studying). He's also made himself a few pairs of pants and a shirt. In some ways it backfired on him though, as I frequently turn him away when he requests that I mend something for him. I know he's perfectly capable of doing it himself!

Back to this dress though. He decided that he wanted to make me a dress, and, using a block that we had made together to my measurements, he drafted his own pattern for this dress, to his own design.

He was doing OK til it came to finishing off a V shaped waist panel, and there it has stayed for the last 6 or 7 years. Until now!

25 October 2014

Blog Hop

Thank you to Sue from fadanista for the nomination for the blog hop. I love seeing all the new things that Sue has been making. She sets such a fast sewing pace that I can't always keep up with her new makes! I've been enjoying reading other people's blog hop posts, and seeing a bit about what makes them tick.

Always inquisitive about things like this, I did a bit of research to try and find where this blog hop all started, and for the most part have come up with other bloggers saying that they have done a bit of research trying to find out where it all started. Example.

I'm not sure if it started as the same blog hop, but I found lots of quilters participating in the Around the World Blog Hop (even with it's own button you can add!), some posts with slightly different questions to the ones that I will be answering here. One post suggested if you want to know where it started that you go back through the nominations and find the start. Which is what I started to do, but gave up after a while. My computer had so many tabs open that I thought it might rebel and crash on me, and I'd only gone back about a month!

The quilters questions seem to be aimed more at the creative process of their quilting, whereas the sewing blog hop seems to be about the blog itself.

Anyway, enough about that, I'm sure you're much more interested in my answers.

16 October 2014

Lingerie: Hand Dyed Bra

It's been a while between bras, but here's my latest.

I've been itching to try some major design changes, but after wearing the first ones that I made on regular rotation, I decided that it might be worth tweaking the design a little and buying underwires in the next size up. That of course meant other minor changes to my basic design.

The colour looks a little washed out here, in real life all the colours go together much better

12 October 2014

Stashbusting Sewalong: September Theme "Children"

I know I totally missed posting this in September, but I also missed sewing most of this in September! The (optional) theme for last month's stashbusting sewalong was making something for or inspired by, children.

I was thinking of tackling a quilt cover for my daughter, but really didn't have any time to even think about that, and as yet have still done nothing about it. My brother however, asked if I could make a few sleeping bags for his daughter. She is growing like a weed, and has already outgrown all of the sleeping bags made by my sister and I for her and then and my children!

9 October 2014

New Books!

When I first started thinking of making my own bras, I searched the internet for suitable books to help me on my latest obsession. It may have taken a few years for this obsession to become a reality, but now that I've taken the plunge into making my own bras, my thoughts turned back to that book that I was after.

Well, since I hadn't even been checking the exchange rate between the Australian and Canadian dollars, I decided there was no reason to put it off any longer, so I ordered it. And I didn't order one, but two books! That's right, the author of the Bra Makers Manual conveniently wrote another book since I found the original book! So I had to order them both! And some supplies while I was at it.

30 September 2014

Gritzner Durlach Sewing Machine

I've had this machine lying around at my house for a number of months now, but was a bit slow to do some research on it. It is a Gritzner, made in Durlach, Germany, which I'm sure in it's prime was a beautiful machine.

24 September 2014

Tutorial: Inserting Strap Retainers in a Dress

Whilst making bridesmaid dresses recently, one of the girls during her toile fitting voiced some concern about the sleeves, and whether they might fall off her shoulder, or have her bra strap showing. To ease her concern, I suggesting putting strap retainers in the dresses.

The sleeves on these dresses are more or less a pleated rectangle sewn into a strapless dress, giving the look of a short cap sleeve, or a very wide strap, whichever way you choose to look at it.

Never having actually had anyone take me up on the offer of using them before, I googled strap retainers to see if I could use the shared wisdom of the internet to help me with the best way to put them in. Alas, I came up empty, so had to use my own brain to devise the best method.

18 September 2014

Tutorial: Gathers

I recently came to the end of a couple of crazy months sewing dresses for other people. Sadly for my spring wardrobe (and winter for that matter), that meant there wasn't much time to do any sewing for myself! Amongst the eight outfits that I had on the go at once, were five identical bridesmaid dresses.

I don't know about you, but gathering is not my favourite sewing technique in the world. As I started writing this, I came across this tutorial on gathering with an overlocker, something I've never tried myself, so if you want to try that method, head on over and check it out. I'm planning on giving it a go in the not too distant future myself.

Here's how I did the gathers on all of my bridesmaid dresses. It's just your traditional sew two parallel lines and pull them up, but I thought I'd try something a little different when pinning the gathers down, and found that not only does I produce more even gathers, but it doesn't take as long.

30 August 2014

1953 Model 221K Singer "Featherweight" Sewing Machine

When / How Acquired

After buying my 1945 Featherweight, I still had my eye out for a bargain featherweight in excellent (or at least usable) condition. I reasoned that I could probably buy another featherweight for less than it would take to restore the first one to a workable condition. And I was right.

I bought this machine from eBay in April this year. Not only does it have all accessories, but came in it's original black carry case.

21 August 2014

Knitting Adventures: Blue Miette

I learnt so much from making this cardigan.

First and foremost, if you consider yourself a beginner in knitting, don't deviate from the pattern. It will only cause you heartache.

I learnt this the hard way, naturally. I chose the Miette design for my first ever cardigan (and second knitting project since finishing high school - you can see my first one here), thinking that it would prove a bit of a challenge with learning new stitches and techniques, but that it would be a good first major project. Then I came across a Miette knit-along, thanks to fellow blogger Sue, and after reading through a few of the changes that Gail had made in the knit-along, felt confident to make a few of my own.

2 August 2014

If I Lived in Tasmania, I Would Need a Really Big House

Why, you ask? Because of all the cool stuff in the Antique shops.

You may have noticed that it's been a while between blog posts. I'd like to say that it's because I've been away, which I was, but I scheduled one post per week to go live while I was on a recent holiday in Tasmania, so there wouldn't be a break. Problem being, I haven't written any posts since I've been back. And it's now been three weeks since I came home again. I blame my new cardigan that I've been knitting. All of my spare time that I would have been typing up blog posts have been overcome by knitting. Good news though, it's just about finished, so I'm pretty sure my next blog post will be the reveal of my Miette, and life can get back to normal, (whatever that is).

10 July 2014

Lingerie: Pale Blue Lace Covered Bra

In my efforts to stashbust fabrics that I already have, I needed new bra supplies, so went shopping recently for more bra supplies. It's becoming rather limiting to only be able to make bras that are mainly white.

3 July 2014

Jeans Refashion: My "New" Jeans

After seeing Yoshimi's recycled jeans, I had refashioning on the brain. After choosing the jeans I wanted to use from the five pairs I had available, I was torn with how to actually put them together. I searched and searched on the internet for more inspiration, made a pinterest board, changed my mind half a dozen times, and wished I had ten times as many jeans to cut up and make some skirts and stuff!

26 June 2014

Stashbusting Sewalong: June Theme "Containment"

After I made my little storage drawers a few weeks ago, I thought it was great that I had done something for this month's stashbusting sewalong theme of containment (even though it didn't involve sewing a stitch!), as I didn't think I would get a chance to do something else that fit the theme.

18 June 2014

Tutorial: Little Storage Drawers

I came across a box from an old phone recently, and thought it would make a nice addition to my storage for little bits and pieces in my studio. If I could find the other one. That wasn't too hard, and neither was putting them together to make a cute little set of drawers.

14 June 2014

Lingerie Sewing: My Third Bra

It didn't take me long after making my second bra to get to work on the next one. As I mentioned in the last post, I wanted to try bra wadding for padded cups, and powernet for the back band.

11 June 2014

Tips for Shirring with sucess

Take one enormous reel of shirring elastic,

one piece of fabric,

and a couple of hours later, you have - A dress

8 June 2014

Lounge Room Curtains

In making a house a home, curtains can play a big part. Since moving into my home almost nine years ago, I have made new curtains for almost every room in the house - some rooms more than once! Apart from windows that have not yet had curtains made, the last room to have new curtains made is the lounge room.

There were a few reasons why it took me so long to make new curtains for this room, not one of which because I wanted to keep the existing curtains. It's a big decision to make curtains for the most used room in the house.

New curtains for door

5 June 2014

Singer Model 20 Child's Sewing Machine

So, here's my second most recent aquistition to the Singer sewing machine collection. My husband has been keeping an eye out for a Singer Toy Sewing Machine. They are quite collectable, and quite cute too. I saw one at a local antique store a while ago, asking $495! Here's the low down on the Singer Sewing website, (not affiliated with Singer, but dedicated to all things Singer) and another great resource that I found - Sewalot.

How/When Acquired

I purchased this from eBay in March 2014. My eagle eyed husband spotted it, and I set to work on the bidding when there was about an hour left to run on the auction. I spent a little more than the budget he gave me, but still managed to obtain it for about a quarter of the same one that was available locally, inclusive of postage from the States. Still a bargain, I thought!

Fresh out of the box!

3 June 2014

The Importance of Cutting Accurately on the Grain

Have you ever bought a pair of jeans that didn't seem to sit quite right? I recently bought a pair of jeans from Jeans West, hemmed them so I wasn't walking on them (why do they always make jeans so looooong?), and then realised that the left leg wasn't cut on the grain. They kept twisting around so that the inseam was almost running down the centre of my leg (not that it looks that bad in these photos, I put them on 5 minutes before I took them back, just to take photos).

Wow, my hips look huge in this photo!
And the coin pocket is sticking out!

31 May 2014

Stashbusting May Theme: "Stretch Sewing": My Stripy Stretch Dress

This month's theme for the stashbusting sewalong is stretch sewing. Well, it happens that I have just the piece of fabric to fit the bill.

On a recent trip to the Fabric Store during the last school holidays, I was looking for some 100% cotton stretch fabric in two colours to start on my Alabama Chanin dress. Alas, I couldn't find two matching fabrics in 100% cotton in a fabric weight or colours that I liked. I was so sure that they would have the perfect fabric, so now I'm still stuck with nothing!

28 May 2014

Jeans Refashion. To Cut or Not to Cut

Carolyn always manages to inspire me with her beautiful creations. She recently posted about a skirt that she made from a few pairs of old jeans. One of the inspirations that she quoted was a jeans remake by her friend Yoshimi. How awesome are they? I love the side view where you can see an old button down fly that comes up from the ankle.

When I first saw Carolyn's skirt I thought that maybe I would cut into a pile of old jeans that don't fit me anymore and make a skirt from them, but when I read Yoshimi's post on her jeans, I changed my mind and decided I wanted to make myself some "new" jeans instead.

25 May 2014

Fabric-a-brac 2014

I first heard about fabric-a-brac last year, but unfortunately couldn't make it. This year, I only found out a week before it was on, and although I already had a few things on that day, I was determined to get there.

This annual event brings together those with too much fabric in their stash, and those wanting more. I used to think I was in the former category, but since linking up with women from around the world in a bid to reduce our stash, I've realised that I don't have that much fabric at all.

Two kids in tow, fresh from their swimming lessons, I set off to Fabric-A-Brac, with just enough time before I had to get home to take the older one to a birthday party.

22 May 2014

1945 Model 221K Singer "Featherweight" Sewing Machine

When / How Acquired

I'm sure the start of this story will sound familiar. I bought this machine from eBay on February 27 this year. Funny story on this one though. My dear husband has a habit of putting machines on my Watch list that he thinks I might be interested in (should I change my password so he can't get into my eBay anymore?) I knew that there was a featherweight on my watch list that I was really interested in and wanted to try my luck at getting. So when I read an email from eBay saying that there was an auction ending soon on a featherweight, (it had one hour left when I read the email), I jumped onto eBay, and without more than 5 seconds thought, put in a bid for it. I remember thinking, "wasn't the machine I wanted in better condition than this?" Then I looked at my Watch list and found the one that I was actually wanting to buy. Ending the following day. Oopsie! I sat for the next hour hoping that someone else would bid on it. They didn't, so that's how I became the owner of a this 1945 Featherweight. I did bid on the other machine, but having just bought one featherweight, wasn't willing to spend enough to secure the second.

19 May 2014

Lingerie: My Second Bra

Since I finished my first bra, I've been itching to make another one.

First things first though, I stocked up on some more supplies in preparation for future bra making - powernet, bra wadding, and tricot. I had to use all my reserves of self control to not use all of these things in this bra - I'm trying to only use one new technique at a time to see how they turn out.

I addressed some issues with shape that I'd had with my first bra, making some alterations to the shape of the band, and changing the bra cup to three separate pieces. I cut the back band on the grain instead of on the bias, which worked out really well. I used a different strap arrangement, and moved the strap placement 2cm closer to the centre back. I had planned to put the straps on with the slider towards the back, but changed my mind at the last minute and put the sliders closer to the front. It might make it easier to adjust the straps on the run (if that were required), but I have managed for the second bra in a row, to have the ring right on the top of my shoulder - not so comfortable. For the next one, I think I'll try this same strap design, but attach them the other way around.

16 May 2014

Sewing with Stretch Fabrics. Who Me?

This month's theme for the stash busting sewalong that I'm participating in, is stretch sewing, so I thought it was a perfect time to finish up this post that I actually started writing a couple of months ago!

I am a self professed non stretch seamstress. Apart from the odd alteration, I have been known to turn clients down in the past if they even mentioned the word "stretch".

There's a few reasons that I have avoided stretch sewing. Most of these stem from the fact that the fabric stretches. Yeah, kind of obvious I know, but this presents a few issues.

Firstly, you can't really make a toile to try out a pattern. Calico won't work, as it doesn't stretch! Unless you make a toile up in the same fabric as the final garment, you don't really get an idea of what it will do, so making things for others can get tricky. And if you're going to make the toile from the same fabric, you might as well just dive in and make the actual garment. (Which is what I usually do for myself,  not always successfully).

13 May 2014

My Sewing Studio: Storage Pigeon Holes

If your sewing space is anything like mine, you never have enough storage space. When I was living in a two bedroom terrace, my husband made me a beautiful timber cupboard and drawers for all of my craft and sewing supplies (however it all fit in there I'll never know). They can sit on top of each other to take up less space. When we started breeding, we had made the decision that I would quit my full time desk job to start my own sewing business, we moved to a larger house, and built a new garage with my own sewing studio on top of it. The cupboard is too tall to fit into the studio (due to council restrictions on height we couldn't build it as tall as we would have liked), but the matching drawers are still in use in the studio (with mainly craft supplies),
Let's play "spot the drawers" behind the piles of fabric!

10 May 2014

Menswear: Shorts for the Hubby

My husband often complains that I make so much stuff for myself, and the rest of the family doesn't get that much at all. When he asked me if I could make him some shorts, he was expecting that I would say no so I could get on with some other stuff that I am working on. Much to his surprise, I actually agreed to make him something.

I let him "shop my stash" and of the fabrics that he chose I picked out two of them to use. I have only made up one pair of shorts now, and I'll get to the second ones when I have some more time to spare.

30 April 2014

Stashbusting Sewalong: April theme "Colour": A Lego Friends Birthday Party

I have been working on a few things for my daughter's birthday party for a while, and realised quite by accident that it fit in with the April Stashbusting Sewalong theme of colour. I don't often manage to match my sewing to the theme of the month!

The theme of the birthday party was Lego Friends, and after coming up with all sorts of Lego themes for party favours, games and prizes, I thought that maybe we should tone it down a bit on the Lego, and pick a few key colours to stick with for everything else. I chose hot pink, cobalt blue, lime and purple. The hubby bought plastic plates, cups, tablecloths and napkins in these colours, and I set to work on some sewing.

My first idea was bunting! And lots of it. I made far too much to re-use it all in her room (but watch me try), but there was plenty to decorate the party. I actually only used two of the three lengths that I made (10 triangles each of three colours on each length). I kind of overestimated how much I would need!

24 April 2014

1937 Model 66K Singer Treadle Sewing Machine

When / How Acquired

This machine was the second pickup on a day in December, from an eBay purchase. I'd already sent the husband out to the Hills District to pick up another machine, and he was out when the auction for this machine ended. I paid for it straight away and shot a message off to the seller. She answered within minutes, so I rang her and asked if my husband could pick it up while he was in the area. Thankfully she was home, and hubby came home with not one, but two new treadle machines for my ever growing collection. They both had to live at the bottom of the stairs for a few days, but this one now lives in our main living area under our bedroom stairs, while the other one (the 201K), managed to score a new home in my studio.

It came with a few spare bobbins, but is in need of a new rubber ring for bobbin winding. Included were both the original and a new leather belt (which I still haven't tried to attach).

18 April 2014

The Fabric that Keeps on Giving

Is it just me, or does anyone else have a piece of fabric that they just keep using up for random things, and it never seems to run out? I have one such piece of fabric, and there's actually a reason that this particular piece of fabric keeps on going. We bought about 10 metres of the stuff. Why you might ask? We had a sofa bed that needed a new lease on life, so I was going to make a slip cover to go over it and new cushion covers. Before I had a chance to sew it up though, we changed our minds and spent a small fortune having it re-upholstered, so instead of looking like an awkward brown lumpy chair (let's face it, that's what it would have looked like with a slip cover), we basically got a brand new sofa bed.

And I was left with the world's largest piece of upholstery weight brown drill fabric to add to the stash. We're talking something like 9 years now, and I still have over 5 metres left.

15 April 2014

"Alabama Chanin" style shorts

I love the inspiration that I get from reading other sewing blogs. Last year I was reading a post by Carolyn on some experimenting that she was doing from a book on Alabama Chanin techniques. I fell in love with the style instantly, and started plotting how to incorporate the look into a project without having to spend too much time on handsewing.

10 April 2014

1953 Model 201K Singer Treadle Sewing Machine

When / How Acquired

This machine is an eBay purchase from December 2013. My husband's new hobby seems to be trawling through eBay, Gumtree and any other site he can find, looking for machines to add to our (MY) collection. Within the same week we came across two machines that were going cheaply, and picked them both up on the same day.

I had to rearrange my studio to fit this one in, and the other pick up of the day lives at the end of our hallway at the front of our house.

We purchased this from a young guy on eBay, who was selling it on behalf of his mother. It had belonged to his grandmother (his mother's mother), and was obviously a much loved family machine. I am honoured to have given it a new home.

4 April 2014

Lingerie: My First Bra

Earlier this week I posted about my adventures with making my own bra pattern from scratch. Here's my first effort at making a real wearable bra. The fabric that I used is a recent addition to my stash that I was gifted. I've gone with a polyester floral print, very lightweight and floaty.

After my little freak out over the ill fitting bra toile (let's just call it the ugliest toile in the world, shall we?), I did a little more research into using woven fabrics on bras, and came across this post from Madalynne which addresses just this issue.

This post advises that as a general rule of thumb, when making a bra band from a woven fabric, the band should be cut on the bias, (as should the lower part of the cups) to maximise the available stretch. Everything else in the bra should be cut with the grain for maximum stability.

I decided to make the first bra straight from the block, as I did with my toile, to test out what happens. This means a one piece bra cup, with three curved darts sewn into it. Of course this time the adjustments to fit have been made, and I added the seam allowances to the pattern before I cut it, to ensure accuracy. For the next one I'll be brave and start to play around with it. I'm thinking a three piece bra cup (princess seam along the bust point), then maybe a two piece cup pattern.

2 April 2014

Lingerie: Making a bra block

I was going to leave a post about making a bra until I had a finished bra to show, but my journey to get to a finished bra is half the fun (or agony as the case may be)!

I have been wanting to make my own bras for years, but for one reason or another have kept putting it off. As I mentioned a week or so ago, I have been accumulating supplies since late last year, and thought I was pretty much ready to go. I had a plan. I was going to unpick an existing bra, and use molded bra cups (I already had some for putting in dresses) and stretch fabric and whip up a few bras. I haven't gotten around to buying a book on bra making yet, but thought I'd have a look around the internet first to see if the book I had chosen was the most appropriate for my needs.

31 March 2014

Knitting Adventures: Let's start with a cowl

When I made my stashbusting pledge, I made a throwaway comment at the end regarding knitting. The more I keep reading about other bloggers latest knits, the more I think, "I could do that." Yes, I know how to knit, but No, I haven't knit anything since I was in high school (more than 20 years ago in case you were wondering.) The only things I can remember having completed in the past, was a vest, and a jumper. The most adventurous thing about either was a different colour for the ribbing in the vest, and decreases in the jumper (at least I think there were - I have since disposed of this jumper.) My knitting repertoire didn't really extend past knit and purl. Oh, and a book that I bought, and have pulled out of hiding to see if it will help me at all.

27 March 2014

1950 Model 99K Singer Electric Sewing Machine

When / How Acquired

My second antique (well, not really as it isn't anywhere near 100 years old) Singer that I acquired was a gift from my father.

In 2009 when I was heavily pregnant with my daughter, my father was in the process of closing up his sewing machine business, and had a garage full of old trade-ins and assorted other machines that needed to be stripped for parts. He had ordered a metal skip that we slowly filled up over the course of an afternoon. It was kind of fun unscrewing the machines and stripping out bits and pieces, anything that would prove useful when repairing other machines.

Metal skip bin (in front) with many sewing machine bodies!
Right at the end of the line of machines was a beautiful dome shaped timber case which I was dying to see inside, and dad made me wait right to the end to see what it was.

Inside the case a 1950 Model 99K "Portable" Electric Singer was hiding. It was in beautiful condition, but without bobbins or other accessories.

As a thank you for all my hard work (when all the non pregnant people had given up and gone back inside), dad gave it to me. How awesome is my father? As it uses different bobbins to the 1900 Singer however, when I got it home I wasn't even able to test it out.

Machine Specifications

A look on ISMACS International website shows that this machine was part of a production of 60,000, which were allotted on September 26, 1950.

The Singer centenary badge would suggest that the manufacture was not complete until 1951 however, and I can say with some certainty that it was manufactured in Great Britain! It says so on the machine!

Note the Centenary badging from 1951

It was made in Scotland to be exact. All Singer models that have a "K" came out of the factory in Scotland (the Kilbowie factory in Clydebank, Glasgow).

The machine is compact, 3/4 the size of it's full size mate the 66 (but it's still really heavy, weighing in at a little over 15kg!), with an extension plate that connects in on the left hand side, and is operated by a knee controller that slots into the base on the right. It has a light attached at the back, but it gets so hot I'm not planning on using it, but now have an LED light that clips on with a magnet that I can use, and move between machines. It is housed in a domed (bentwood) lid. Inside the lid are all sorts of clips (which I hadn't noticed earlier), which keep all the bits nice and safe.

With extension plate in place
Knee Operated
The light
Inside the case. Everything clips in. Somehow.
The machine bed is decorated with filigree scroll work, which has only one place along the front where it has been rubbing off, so I'll leave it as is and just give it a bit of a clean.

Models 66 and 99 are both oscillating hook machines. Before you ask, no I don't actually know what that means in technical terms, that's more of a question for either my father, or maybe my husband.

Work done on this machine

With my recent acquisition of an additional two Singer Treadle machines, with bobbins(!!) I was finally able to get this machine going in December. My father (along with other family members) was staying with me over Christmas. We looked at one of the other treadles first (more in a later post), and after he did a clean and oil on the other one, I did the same on this machine. All up it was in pretty good condition. The bobbin case had a build up of dirt and grease, but armed with a cheap paintbrush and an old machine needle, I cleaned it all out, and then oiled the machine. All by myself! My cleaning passed inspection from my father, and after a bit of adjustments, we did a test sew it worked beautifully!

Top: before cleaning. Bottom: After cleaning - much better!

My trusty paintbrush
I love the little button to release the bobbin!

The Inner workings
"Scroll" design on faceplate

Storage space underneath the machine

Dad removed the needle plate from the machine and polished out the marks left by needles over the years so it won't catch on anything. I still need to give the exterior of the machine a good clean, but it is in great working order, and I'm sure I'll have fun trying out all the accessories from my other machines.

Keep an eye out for a detailed look at my other Singer machines:

Overview of my Singer sewing machines

1900 Model 27 Treadle

1937 Model 66K Treadle

1953 Model 201K Treadle

1943 Model 221K Featherweight

Singer Model 20 Child's Sewing Machine

Do you have a Model 99 Singer? I'd love to see more! Feel free to leave the link to your related blog post in the comments below.