Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pfaff 297 to the rescue - fabric sewing test mission update

Crikes, almost killed Blogger there trying to upload this lot of photos...will maybe have to stick to putting them all onto my Flickr or Picasa groups instead (maybe the latter as I think, actually, that's where all these photies end up - will have to check).

Anyhoo, back to the post. I was wondering about which sewing machine to use to get all this huge weight cotton together for my tipi. From some searching around houses, I unearthed a couple of beautiful treddle sewing machines which might have been able to do the job. However, my Mum then offered her electric household machine, the very one that had made all those wonderful Clothkits clothes from the past - how could I refuse! When it emerged gleaming from its beaten old cover, I discovered it was a Pfaff 297. Erm, yep, not a model I particular knew, but if it has survived god knows how many years in her household, it was hoping it was going to be okay for my tipi and that I wouldn't be ruining the family heirloom.

First up was the 9oz fireproof duck cotton inner...yes, not quite your conventional crafting fabric but this is Big Hairy Crafting! Ahem, anyway, I was quite sceptical the machine could take it. According to various books (of which more later), I am either going to have to master a Flat Seam or some sort of French Seam. Whichever I can figure out first, its still four layers of cotton to go through here, in a couple of stages, which is probably not the sort of thing you would do everyday with your machine really. Like I would know. 

As it approached the machine, like the gladiator entering the arena, rather than get crushed under a tiger, the machine just punched straight though it. Machine 1 Cotton 0. On to the 120z.

Now this stuff is h-e-a-v-y. When I tracked some down in my local crafting emporium, itself something out of a Sherlock Holmes book (definitely not the next Guy Ritchie movie - please just stop now Mr R! I know the divorce is coming up soon, but don't murder a classic while you are waiting for that decree nisi to come through), I only bought a metre's worth just to do these experiments on and to get a feel for the fabric. One metre of 12oz and one of 9oz almost killed me on the way home via the Tube. Must find a closer London craft shop to me.

After the 9oz test, I was feeling confident for the 12oz but still a tad worried. I wasn't sure if the smoke I could smell was eminating from my Dad's pipe as he stood feverishly near buy, in case a technical repair was needed, or whether it was leaking out of the Pfaff's motor but we went for it anyway and surprise, surprise all was actually quite well. Here are the results:

The 9oz is the one on top and the 12oz is the one on the bottom. A bit messy but pretty good huh! The Pfaff managed to creep back into its cover and wasn't squealing too much and my Mum seemed pretty pleased too, even if she got a bit carried away with the zig zag seaming on the second example (possibly one too many vitamin tablets there I think). 

Now I have the sewing machine sort of sorted out and the material chosen, I still need to get my wood sorted out to be stripped to dry over the winter and then make the templates from the pattern I have chosen. And fit in Christmas. And hoover. Its going to be a lonnnnnngggggg week.

Oh and yes, for those eagle-eyed among you, that is a copy of The Crafter's Companion in it which has some great ideas in. Once I have Project Tipi out of the way, or if I have time before Xmas, I might be able to use my left overs and sample bits of cotton to fashion something together - watch this space.

P.s. you may also want to update your virus checker as the latest news is that I have chicken pox and have had to lay up my needles for a while. Well, Queen Bee thought I was pretending to have man flu to start of with and is now busily joining my spots up with a pen to make interesting patterns (pictures not available). Anyone with any cures, do let me know.

1 comment:

Helen said...

Good luck with the tipi, and hope your surviving the chicken pox.

Thank you for your comment on my blog. I haven't published a tutorial for the moleskine wallets as the pattern will be coming out in a book this Spring, Pretty Little Cozies (Lark Books). Hope that helps!