Friday, January 21, 2011

Sewing with my Kenmore!

After having my vintage Kenmore sewing machine for months and months, I finally got it serviced this week! I took it Branum's Sewing and Vacuum Center. For only $65, it was cleaned, oiled, completely serviced, and they added a presser foot. I was so excited when I got the phone call from them yesterday telling me it was already finished, in two days!
I purchased it last June for only $30 at Catholic Social Services, a local thrift store. I learned how to sew on my mother's machine that is exactly like this! It feels great to finally use a Kenmore again. They don't make sewing machines like they used to. Everything is plastic now, and all old sewing machines were metal, a lot more durable. In the last 5 years I've broken a Singer and a Brother, both plastic.
Since I've been having problems with the tension on my Janome, a machine I bought brand new two years ago for about $500, it was really time to get the Kenmore up and running. My friend Sarah helped me take it out of it's cabinet on Tuesday, and we brought it across town to Branum's. 
As soon as I got it home this afternoon, I put it back in it's cabinet, not easy doing it by myself his time, and then I worked on some lingerie. It sews like new! A little loud, but that's expected with a machine like this. I'm so happy I can put off buying a commercial machine for at least 6 months now. The Juki I'm looking at is abut $1000. I'll keep saving though.
I finished this amazing eggplant and navy blue piece. It's beautiful! It was one that I was originally planning on keeping it for myself, but it's too pretty. I have to put it with the rest of the collection.
It was originally very long. I shortened it, moved the lace up. I also used the excess fabric and lace to create the bow that I then hand sewed to the bodice. This is one of the few that will be in my collection of lingerie that was not dyed a different color. The original colors of eggplant and navy were too beautiful to mess with.
The winner of the MLK purse giveaway is Rachel Thomas. Congrats Rachel! Hope you enjoy your new purse. Another giveaway coming up in February. Probably going to be some lingerie. Just in time for Valentine's Day! 
Enjoy your weekend everyone!

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  1. That is such an awesome redo. I agree with not changing the color and really like the addition of the bow.

  2. You are so right about the old Kenmores! Just found one, in cabinet, with cool original owner's manual and feet, just needs a belt and a little day at the spa-for-sewing-machines. (Also came with this cool mid-century modern padded storage-compartment chair...needs new upholstery but that's easy!) I have a cautionary tale, especially for young or new seamster-types, about sewing machine stores and salespeople, and wish I had known what I was doing when I was in my early twenties: took my old Kenmore from the 50s which I inherited from my mom to some random store/service place for cleaning and oiling (it may have also been having some minor problem, probably with the tension). They took it in for service but afterward I was wandering around looking at all the new (!) and fancy (!!) and exotic-breed (!!!) machines for sale, and feeling oh-so-deprived because the old Kenmore only did straight and zigzag and didn't have all those rounded curves like the new machines. Sure enough, the salesman talked me into a new machine. I think they took the Kenmore as a trade, but I'm sure I didn't get much for it. I limped along with the mushy-footed White for a few years, not doing much sewing except piecing quilt tops and hemming pants and skirts, and did not realize until a couple of years ago what I had done. I tried to do something creative with it, couching mixed fibers to a woven base to make a custom-made embellishment for an upcycled garment, and the poor machine barfed all over my project, and has barfed on almost everything since despite two visits to the bobbin doc. I have kicked and kicked and kicked myself--no, the evil salesman who talked a naive kid into spending hard-earned money on the unnecessary purchase of an inferior product. Now that the internet is such a vast resource for information and opinions, I really encourage anyone thinking of surrendering a plain-jane, rode-hard, functional ANYTHING for something sleek and futuristic-looking and recently manufactured. Do your research; you want to own something made far enough back in time that it was made in the right factories, in the right countries, in the right eras, of the right materials, but be suspicious of, and mostly avoid, plastics and sweatshop labor.

    Like your blog and plan to become a regular reader! Love to see young people sewing!