a machine for miss martha (and the frances blouse)

Hopfully everyone is keeping well and staying safe……..I hadnt realised the last post I did here was the 29th March…… and now in July. In my head I am still in April, or it could be September, and only for there are still strawberries in the garden do I know it is still summer. I am enjoying seeing all the making that is going on in lockdowns…. one such inspiration is my friends daughter Martha aged 10, who lives in the opposite side of the country.

Martha has been sewing a lot more lately (mainly for her teddies and dolls), and her mom was sending me pics of various projects, and I was sending on any tips or diy patterns I thought may be of interest. One tip I sent was to old odd socks for doll clothes as they had a tube stretchy construction, and wouldnt fray. So Martha acted immediately (seemingly before breakfast) and by the afternoon the collection was complete, and photographed.

Martha uses a hand crank machine, but I was thinking if I came across a small electric, she would have a bit more freedom as she could use both hands (My own sewing started on a hand crank). I also knew of one which was unused in the resource centre where I had been teaching sewing, which I arranged a trade with them for it.

The machine is an 1980s Singer Featherweigh 324 and it is seen as a childs machine, which was why it was probably not used in the centre. The featherweight 324 gets mixed reviews. It is nothing like the classic Feather weight 221, but it is a handy little machine all the same. It comes in a useful carry basket and is super light and small. it has 2 speeds, fast or slow so useful for r juniobeginners! The other quirks are the threading is different to other singers and the foot is very light and this does give it a dinky feel, however, it can do zig zag and a few other decorative stitches as well as having a free arm. I was happy with how it worked on testing it and figured better sew a full project on it to make sure it was worthy of such a talented and busy maker as Martha.

The project I used to do a full sew on the small singer, was the Frances Blouse (its free), and it is exactly what I needed in my wardrobe, ie a white casual top. I had some white linen ends from lord-knows-when and scrap elastic so off I sewed! The construction is so straight forward and I think I cut it out and had it sewn in 2-3 hours. I have since made another from a silk dress (bought in charity shop for €3.50. I am always surprised that so many party dresses end up in charity shops and often with very few wears. I made the neckline smaller on the silk Frances. I have worn both tops a few times already, and anticipate wearing both a lot more. Its a very versitile top and super quick make.

Other sews of the summer include, updating a short sleeve pink knit tee (favourite Mean Girls quote), embroidering sleeves on a navy dress, trying out a hat pattern (elsewhen Joan), and plenty of masks…. the first ones I did were practical plain navys and blacks and I have since broadened the range to include off cuts of silk and chintz (masks now mandatory here, so may as well make them interesting). I have also started back sewing classes in the community sew room and we are doing masks – its turned out to be a very useful way of teaching sewing to beginners, as well as making something useful and as we are using old fabrics for the masks it really feels like sustainable sewing at its best!

stay safe, and happy sewing

2 thoughts on “a machine for miss martha (and the frances blouse)

  1. upsew says:

    thank you Linda, the barbie shots are fab a..rnt they.. My favourite is the one carefully accessoried with the dogs! its such fun getting pictures of this lil lady’s makes, a few weeks ago there were pics of a cardboard ‘spanish’ guitar fully decorated…..

    Like

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