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Profile for KarenQuiltsTexas - Threads


Austin, TX, US

Quilter, Marketeer, Sewist, and user of vintage sewing machines... Ive had needle in hand for most of my life, and love creating. Lately, Ive been immersing myself in hand and machine quilting, and have been making clothing - the first since all that stuff I made as a young girl - when you just HAD to learn that sort of thing. I hope Threads continues to be a good source of meaty technique information, and doesnt end up like most of the good magazines out there - becoming headline covered, too little info, too much fashion junk!
Keep giving us the GOOD stuff to make our work easier and BETTER! - Karen Alexander

craft interests: embroidery, fashion, quilting, sewing, Vintage Sewing Machines

Member Since: 03/31/2009

recent comments

Re: Vintage Sewing Tools: The Singer Bound Buttonhole Maker

Thanks Kenneth. Mystery solved! As one who collects, restores, uses and trades vintage machines, I often acquire "that sewing stuff" that accumulates with a machine and sometimes goes along with it to it's next home - especially fun is going through the drawers and accessory boxes to see what sort of items can be found. I have two of these, but have never run across the kit! I think I could probably figure out how to draw the lines appropriately now, and will use your Tute to make one. Bound buttonholes have never been a strong suit for me, so I'll see if this helps me make them like I know what I'm doing!
- Karen Alexander, Austin, Tx

Re: How to Sew a Velvet Frock Coat

Wow, a very creative "reuse" design. Loved the peek into your workroom, tools and techniques. Curious about what sort of "shaver" you used... just a pet shaver? Also love the stands for your hams...!! you gave me a new way to see the antique linens I see at the flea market! Thanks for this great post!

Re: How to Create Echo Stitching

Great tutorial. But I'd suggest a different needle. A quilting needle is not the sharpest, it's actually a bit ball point, to handle the batting without pushing it through to the other side of the quilt sandwich. A sharp topstitch, with it's extra sharp tip and longer eye would give straighter penetration in heavy fabrics. I would bet this machine had a horizontal rotary hook as well... a vertical hook, with it's naturally straighter stitch quality would look even better. A rotary has an extra half twist in ever stitch because of the vertical nature of the needle thread meeting up and going round the horizontally carried bobbin thread! This type of stitching also looks lovely done with the double or reinforcing stitch!

Re: Underlining with Fusible Interfacing

Why do you consider non-woven interfacing "unsuitable"?

Re: Prevent Bias-Fold Neckline Edges from Stretching

Hmmm that final instruction... "sew the strip" begs more detail for me. Exactly WHERE to you place the running stitch relevant to the bias tape edges, and to the facing crease
Do you sew the running stitch on the edge of the bias tape at the facing side, catching the facing? Or just to the wrong side of the crease? One more picture of where those stitches are placed would have been very helpful! Loved the idea of using organza...

Re: Video: How to Sew a Blind Hem

Great video. I usually skip the hem tape, and with most fabrics, do a quick 4 thread serge on the raw edge to eliminate fraying, then run a blind hem!

Re: Roll Hemming a Curve Made Easy

Great article... I can think of some other things this might work well with. maybe hard to control slinky's and such?There are some wonderful tear away and wash away stabilizers available today, I think i'd go for those instead of the register tape - but that's certainly resourceful!

Re: Making Pretty Buttonholes

I was just glad to see someone using a Husqvarna machine rather than an Oh so expensive Bernina! Nice to see a lovely manually done buttonhole too - though there are many machines that will make a lovely automatic one. Though I've made a zillion buttonholes Louises "finishing" touches are new to me and will be immediately incorporated into my future technique - thank you for sharing!

Re: Four Serging Techniques

It's a Viking 936 for me after several years of trying various models, this machine has everything I need including coverstitch. I use it almost every day, as I make about 75% of my own clothing and am a quilter. I always serge the edges of every new fabric brought into the stash to prevent fraying - as everything is washed before going to the cutting table...
Thanks for the nice pictures of the "basics"...

Re: This IS Your Grandmother's Sewing Machine

This is my GREAT, GREAT Grandmother's machine. I have my grandmother's Singer. A model 66, circa 1948, her son's bought it for her upon their return from WWII, and it replaced a much older machine in her little wooden standard Singer treadle base - I thought it was much older (given it's non-electric nature), but when it was passed on to me recently, I was astounded to find the original sales slip (showing the trade in of an older model) and the date! I remember her using it many times. I replaced the belt, did a bit of cleaning and she still works like a dream, in spite of a lot of wear and tear. Grandma Birdie Lee Fillette raised 8 chilcren in Alexandria, Louisiana.
- Karen Alexander, Austin, Tx

Re: Starter Machines and Beginning Sewers

I teach beginning sewing, and owners classes at a local machine shop. I've heard many stories of dissappointment using this very sub-standard machines. The aggravation of using a cheap (cute does NOT mean that it works well!) machine is often enough to turn off today's short-attention span youngster from every trying sewing again. The BEST machine is mom's, used with mom's guidance. The next best thing is a structured teaching environment, where machines are provided and the class is taught by someone experienced in teaching youngsters - in a fairly small (under 6 kids) class... a hard thing to find. When your child is ready to sew - visit your LOCAL sewing dealer, ask them what machines they recommend for youngsters, get a demo, use the machine yourself, and buy a machine that has at least a 1 year warranty on parts and labor - anything else will not be worth the money or time spent. Expect to spend $140-150.00. $200 is better. Don't buy a machine with an old style bobbin and bobbin case - a drop in bobbin is easiest to learn. Start with easy projects - for example a pillowcase, or a small drawstring bag... and MOST important..HAVE FUN!

Re: Mystery Sewing Machine Foot

I agree with the earlier not that it looks like a very early zig zag foot, (maybe from the 1940's or 50's) with a channel to allow the attachment perhaps of lace or ribbon. It doesn't appear to be a Singer - attachments made by Singer were clearly stamped "SINGER" and/or had a part number on them.

It is definitely NOT a ruffler... which had even more adjustments! To see a good picture of an early (1949 printing) Singer ruffler, see Mary Brooks Picken's: "Singer Sewing Book", published by Singer, page No 113, 196. This is a great, though somewhat hard to find book on everything to do with household sewing.

The Zigzagger ws an extra accessory, I've seen very few of these "bare" zig zaggers. Later in the 1950's a very cool, and more palatable looking zig zagger came out with varied cams for different stitches was produced. The pages referenced above show the zig zag stitch used to insert lace and apply applique work.

This book is my "bible" for sewing (as it was my mother's"... and shows how to use all the "old" feet that came with your Singer. The "dressmaker" size machines all came with a Ruffler as a standard accessory, many, many are still out there, and they operate wonderfully with almost any modern low shank machine. Because machines soon appeared in the mid to late 50's with built in zig zag, these attachments were short lived, and soon discarded.

I collect, restore, and use many Singer models. This part may be from another machine maker, or one of the accessory makers. If it were made by Greist, it also would have been marked, but almost any other maker, would leave no mark!

- Karen Alexander
Austin, Tx
Singer 15, 15-31, 101, 201, 221, 14-91, and 401,