counting sheep

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vintage Retro Rick Rack Booklet

Let me share this little booklet with ya, I bet you rick rack lovers will find something in it that will inspire you to start using a little of that rick rack stash you are sitting on.
front of booklet, note the Singer in front of the apron'd lady... wonder which one it is? a 403?

showing cute ways to use rick rack...

you could make yourself some Elf shoes....

these flowers look different than the ones you see now...

jazz up your gifts with rick rack...

step by step buttonholes using piping?

interesting tips, you never know, you might find out an easier way...

tells you what all the different little packages of stuff are used for, not just rick rack.

the second page of "how to use it"

make a little tote...

the rest of the story on the little tote...

blanket binding instructions...

make a poodle skirt!

I love the soldier!

the end...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Today I got a box of RICK RACK!

Today was fun, I looked out on my little wooden porch and what to my wandering eyes should appear? A fat box load of vintage rick rack and trims! As I sat here tonight on my bed going through the box I could not help but notice the different brand names such as Sears, Penny's, Wards, Warrents and as always Wrights.

I remember when I was a young girl that both Penny's and Sears carried sewing machines and notions as well as Wards.  I have seen old sewing machine's with Wards emblem on the harp.  I have a Challenge sewing machine, a 15 clone that came from Sears I believe.  Eventually those things disappeared from our Department stores, now even Walmart is getting rid of most of their fabrics.  I think even Sears carried fabric for awhile.  Our mall used to have a Singer store that was quite large, it was there in the early 70's then Singer sort of went down hill from there.

Things like that come and go and they can also evolve into better venues like quilt shops that carry all the latest quilting tools and notions. Then there is good old Joann's and Hancock's. You get get quite a range of sewing notions and quilting tools in both of these great stores plus just about any kind of fabric you could want.  But we can't forget the online fabric shopping places!  Then there is always eBay where anything sewing can be found.  We are so fortunate to have so many places of choice to fulfill our sewing wish list.  Sew... LETS GET SEWING! we have no excuse!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Better Choices, my theme fo 2011...

public note to myself:   This year I will make better choices.  What I mean to say is I will have control over urges... I will strive not to spend money I don't have. I refuse to make promises and commitments that I won't or can't keep to others or to myself.
 I will watch what I put on my plate, I will strive to not have second helpings of anything. White sugar will become my enemy and fresh vegetables my best friends. I will endeavor to form good habits. I will build more backbone and work on my intestinal fortitude.  I will not only exert control over the plate from which I am eating but also will include the plate on which life dishes out its portions.
  I will set out to do the things I can do, well. I will not feel sorry for myself any more than necessary. I will not wallow in anything... I will be a better wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, teacher, shopper and sewist. I will listen to the inner voice that whispers to me not to do a certain thing and I will praise that voice on a regular basis in my church and in my community.  I will make myself learn more than I ever thought possible. I will pray more and expect more answers. I will realize that I am a micro fish in mammoth pond and that no matter what happens to me the world will and must move on.  I will face the fact that I am 57 and soon will click over to 58 and before you know it I will officially be a senior citizen. Once there I plan on fully taking advantage of everything available to me that is good.  I will do as Saint Paul said, I will think on the things of this life that are beautiful. I will strive to set the best example I can for all those that may notice me. I will finish what I start... now that I have said all of this I shall have a small drink and make a toast to myself.... and I shall do so in my retro apron....

A Wiggle Dress For Me? Really?

Well I finally did find a vintage wiggle dress pattern in my size, I can't really see me wearing it outside the house though...  But I want to make it so badly! I also want to look half way decent in it but unless I can loose a 100 pounds or so during the sewing of the dress I am gonna be disappointed!

I can see it all now... Hubby coming home from work on a Friday night...there I stand at the door in my wiggle dress, hair all did...I hand him a cold Corona and I sip my cold, cheap wine from a paper cup... Ahhhh.... romantic, ain't it?  A nice pot of sloppy Joe's simmering in the kitchen, Little Debbie cakes placed just so on my best paper plates. It don't get much better than that.

But I know it's only a dream... hopefully WW can make it come true. I have not given up all hope.   I will make it, it will turn out good and I will look very special...I just know it!

Can I get a woot woot?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Feed Sack Fabrics, Yesteryear's Stash...

I am a sap for old sewing booklets. I pick them up anytime I see them. I am like a mushroom hunter when it comes to old sewing booklets. I say that because I see booklets that other people look right over.  Which leads me to tonight's ramblings....

 I was thinking about feed sack fabrics. Maybe some of you who are young sewers don't know what the heck I am talking about but back during the war days of WW2 sewers didn't have the money or the time to keep the big and beautiful stashes that we hoard today. I am ashamed to say I have quite a load and not just one load either... I often wonder if my Mother would think I had lost my mind or would she swoon and sway and go gaga over my stash (I think she might)?

Anyway I pulled out one of my little booklets that was put out by The National Cotton Council of America which is located in Memphis, TN.  I thought you might like to see a few scraps from the book, no pun intended.

Now if you are new in the land of sewing you might think "big deal." Well actually its more like big money, well maybe a little money anyway...  Just look on eBay any given day and use the search words "feed sack fabric" and see what comes up.  Open up the listing and if the seller has good pictures look closely at the fabrics, they are kinda awesome. They were made into lovely quilts, doll clothes, dresses for all, dish towels, pillow cases, shirts for guys, table cloths, baby clothes, maternity outfits and you name it!

Well you ask, "how did they get this fabric called feed sack"?  Their sugar came in a sack, their flour came in a sack as well as coffee, salt, cornmeal, oatmeal and even chicken feed. My own Mother bought flour in a 50 pound bag  (she made biscuits 3 times a day) which gave her a 30x34 inch piece of fabric. The fabrics were vivid with cheerful patterns too. She would wash the sack after taking it apart, hang it on the clothes line and when it was dry it became part of her stash. Think how we get ours these days... kind of makes ya feel guilty...  They would even save the string from the bags.  The largest pieces of fabric would come from feed bags, about a 40x54 inch piece and who could have needed it more but the farm wife.

Patterns were available that told you what kind of sacks you needed to make the garment.  Can you imagine having to do that. At least the math would have been simple!  So if anything should inspire us to finish that sewing project it would be the simple story of America's original stash...the lowly feed sack. Remember this "waste not-want not."  so... LETS GET SEWING GIRLS!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pin Cushions are awesome...

I love pin cushions. They speak to me. I can't hardly pass an old one by, they call to me. I can always tell when one really sewed and used their pincushion or it just came in a sewing kit they picked up or were gifted and they never really used it.

I made this one using an old zinc lid and some grunge soaked cheese cloth draped over my pin cushion I formed from stuffing and covered in muslin then I used wire to make the separations and glued the whole thing down into the zinc lid and added the grungy tag.

This is an ancestor of mine from the civil war. I was selling some old civil war era bone buttons (pantie waist buttons) and used a card to attract buyers. I sold a lot of these to people into primitive crafts.

(some grunged fabric drying)
 Sometimes when I am in my grunging mood (I love primitive decor and textiles) I will whip up a few. I used to sell tons of stuff on eBay, maybe some of you who collect old stuff purchased something from us. We sold under the name of papnap. We sold tons of antique and vintage buttons, sewing notions and things I made from time to time.  Because I looked for these kinds of things whenever we were out picking or hunting my love for pin cushions grew. I have found some unusual things stuck in old pin cushions, fish hooks, thumb tacks, hair pins. I have found things pinned to them with old black safety pins, like religious medals, hair ribbons and even 4H ribbons.  Next time you find an old one in an auction box or at an antique mall really look at it. Think about yours, is it special to you? If not make it so, add a bit of you to it. Find the best looking old pins you can with glass heads and add a few or whatever reflects you! Now get busy and create!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Thats Why They Call It Tension Baby...

There is nothing worse than messed up tension on your old vintage sewing machine especially for the new sewer who is scared to death of the "TENSION KNOB THINGY!" Yikes!  Well actually the tension is not really that scary and actually there are two tensions you have to deal with, not just the knob thingy but the tension that controls the bobbin thread, that tension is sort of like the troll that lives under the bridge. Don't mess with him unless you absolutely have to!

Let me esplain Lucy... Unfortunately the tensions on your machine sometimes have to be adjusted or fiddled with a little bit. Why? Well... because fabric thickness varies, and not only that but the texture of fabric varies as you well know. So you gotta set the tension so it sews right on whatever kind of fabric. Mostly you will adjust  the top tension but sometimes you will have to fool with the bobbin "troll."

So by now I am sure you figured out that the top tension knob thingy controls the the thread that comes out of the needle and the bobbin tension controls the thread that comes out of the bobbin.  Those two threads have to pull together to form a stitch. But enough said about the technical part, what you really need to know is how to set your tensions right so you get a straight smooth stitch on top of your fabric and that when you look on the underneath that it looks just as good.

OK so... the tension knob thingy is regulated by turning left or right, rightie is tightie and lefty is loosey.   Turn to the right and your tension gets tighter, turn it too much and your stitching will pucker or gather up the fabric. Turn it to the left and it your stitches will start laying flat again.  However if you turn it too far to the left your stitching will look loopy and crazy. Sort of like your other half when he has had one too many....

There are lots of other little things that will have bearing on how your stitch looks but I am not that long winded and maybe that's a little too advanced for the new sewer but fine materials and fine threads and needle sizes can all cause tension issues from time to time. But for basic cotton fabrics and size 11 to a 14 size needle and good old Coats n Clark 6 strand cotton thread this will work.

There are a couple of old timer tricks that wouldn't hurt for you to know either.
1. Never adjust your tension unless the needle bar is down (for newbies
 that's the little lever in the back of your machine that you put the foot down with.)
2. When you put your bobbin in your bobbin case (if you have the kind you have to hold in your hand and load with your bobbin that is) hold the thread and let go of the case, they say it should just hold its weight without coming out. Some older sewers I know swear by this.
3. Thin fabrics like silks, linings, laces and so on use a fine needle, fine thread and a LIGHT TENSION.
4. When I am using cotton fabrics like for a quilt or to make an apron my top tension is usually always set on 3-4. I might have to go to 5-6 for a real heavy fabric but I increase it just a little at a time to see how it looks.