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missing link

lin327 | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

A while ago someone had a link to a site that had reviews and comparisons of different patterns, sewing machines, notions, etc.  I wanted to join the site, but my ‘puter crashed.  Now I’m looking for the message with the name of the site and link…and I can’t find it!  I need to buy a new machine bvery soon because my old one died and I think I know what I want (Janome MC 6500 or a Pfaff model I can’t remember) and I wanted to see if there were any reviews for them.  Help!  And thanks!

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  1. Bernie1 | | #1

    Linda: don't know the link but I can tell you that the Pfaff top of the line machine is made at Viking in Sweden and I'm not sure where the Janome model you mention is made. If you go into Yahoo and type in the brand name there is a site there that does reviews and comparisons on prices. Picking out a machine is sort of like falling in love - you know it when you find it. Love your icon. Is that a self-portrait?

    1. lin327 | | #3

      :::Picking  a machine is like falling in love:::

      That's the thing about this Janome....the dealer said 1000 stitches per minute and I was hooked!  I just want to make sure I'm not thinking too much with the heart and not the head!  My problem is that I'm in crisis mode as my old one...an older electronic... the LED display only says H |...so either it's learned "leet speek" or the computer chip finally gave out.

      :::Love your icon. Is that a self-portrait?:::

      Almost...but not quite!  My hubby found it for me...so it's me...as Dave sees me!

      1. SewTruTerry | | #6

        I think falling is love is easier than picking out a machine.  But at least if you pick out the wrong machine you can trade it in without losing your house.

        1. lin327 | | #8

          And you can compare features between machines...and the dealer lets you try the machine and gives you lessons to get the best from it!  LOL!

          1. lin327 | | #9

            Looks like I'm getting the Janome 6500!  My hubby came home at lunch and took me to the dealers.  Yay!  1000 stitches per minute!  That should speed things up... The only unfortunate part is that instead of the dealer giving me lessons...I'm giving the dealer lessons on all the features!  And if I do a good job...she wants me to teach her how to do some of the other things she's seen on some of the things I've made.  I go into her place often to buy thread and notions and I always show off what I've made for myself. 

          2. carolfresia | | #10

            Well, if she can't give you lessons, maybe you could negotiate some extra accessories...


          3. lin327 | | #11

            They actually knocked a bit off the price... and I have something I made on display in the store.

            And she wants me to give lessons on detailing and embellishing using the machine!  For that she would pay me as those would be paid classes.  Is this how others got into lessons?

            Honestly, I never thought what I did was that different or special...until I came on line looking for ideas and discovered that much of what I was doing was a bit beyond most sewing people. (I hate the term sewers!) I found myself conversing and sharing ideas more with the advanced sewists.  That was a big confidence booster...and emboldened me to try more things.  Now almost everything I try turns out well.   I find myself helping others...either on line or in person.  I enjoy sharing what I've learned...if I can prevent one person from making any of the stupid mistakes I made over the years... and I've had some hilarious misadventures...some which would be perfect for the back page of Threads.  The escapade with 5 metres of teal coloured wool jersey springs to mind...

            Now I'm learning the ins and outs of sewing with hemp fabric in different weights and weaves.  I've learned a few tricks... some things hemp will do better than other fabrics...and I've learned a couple things that hemp will not do... An all together interesting experience.

          4. carolfresia | | #12

            And just as  important as saving newbies from making mistakes is reminding them that everyone makes mistakes, and it's all a good learning experience. I never thought I'd have that "been there, done that" feeling as often as I do--but I really think, based on some unscientific polling I've done of authors I've worked with and other sewing enthusiasts, that some things must be learned through trial and error. 

            E.g.: I've sewn in a lot of invisible zippers, and did a perfectly fine job the first few times. Then one day I lost my focus and goofed, and ended up with a very strange garment that wouldn't  zip unless the armhole went out the bottom hem and around the opposite side...or something. You know that fatal twist when you get one side stitched in backwards? Duh! that was the last time I made that mistake. Even though I knew full well (theoretically) it was the obvious outcome of getting your right and wrongs sides mixed up, I guess I had to do it myself once to really grasp it.

            Now, 5 metres of wool jersey sounds intriguing...there must be more to that than just ripping out a zipper seam!


          5. lin327 | | #13

            The wool jersey is an example of me at my creative best and worst.

            My favourite fabric store is Len's in Waterloo, Ontario.  They have fabric from various sources, including overstocks, remainders,  odd lengths and things that have hidden in warehouses since the dawn of time, waiting to be rescued by the good people of Len's.  There was group of fabrics priced at 1.99 a metre...most were loud polyester from the mid seventies...and hiding in the middle was a bolt of dark teal coloured jersey.  I took it to the cutting desk.  After half an hour of investigation...including the match test...we decided the fabric was indeed real wool.  So I bought five metres.

            For the first project I made a skating dress.  I used a polenaise (sp?) pattern from the eighteen hundreds, only considerably shortened.  I drew the design out so the front hem was at the top of the thighs and the back hem was just above the knees.  I made a half scale to work out the bugs in the design. And what a design!  It had wonderful princess seamed panels in the back that opened up at the waist into a half circle...while the front had little darts and seams that flared out.  I enlarged the pattern from the book, carefully cut and sewed it together...and it was wonderful.  It flipped and flared... I glided gracefully across the ice like Michelle Kwan ...okay I exagerate!  At least I didn't fall.  It had to be the dress.

            For the second project I was inspired by the assymetrical draped dresses of Ungaro.  I remembered an article in Threads about draping and designing...I glanced at the pictures and skimmed the article...it appeared simple enough.  So I started to hack into the wool and drape a bodice.  I carefully pinned it on my dummy...and it appeared to go well.  I had visions of myself in my designer knock off...going to my job interview...getting the job of my dreams...having Important Lunches with Important People...and all because of this dress.  It came time to design the skirt.  I remebered another article about slashing and spreading basic patterns into draped extravaganzas...or something.  I was in a creative fever...I was so inspired I didn't take the time to even worry about a sketch... or a schematic drawing...or anything that might impeded the flow of creative juices...

            I found a basic skirt pattern.  I slashed and spread...I barely glanced at the pictures in the article and didn't read a single word...the pictures made it appear simple enough that a child could do it.  I cut out the fabric for the skirt and pinned it to my dummy.  It looked fabulous!  This could be my greatest creation!  I could bee cool and chic like all those cool and chic ladies in the magazines. I could conquer the world in this dress!  I took it off the dummy and basted it together for a trial fitting.  I put it on and went to the mirror.

            Suddenly my vision wavered and the illusion faded.  I was losing focus! The wool jersey was heavy and the pleats of the skirt bulged outward and didn't lay flat.  The weight also stretched the entire bodice down...so the cross-over crossed below my navel.  I thought...I face my mistakes...I don't run away from them!  So I took apart the dress and tried to stablize all the cut edges.

            But that meant I defeated the stretchiness of the jersey...and the pleats still bulged.  So I hacked away again...turning the pleats to gathers...but then the swirly effect of where the bodice and skirt meet was gone.  But I didn't give up!  I took it apart again and tried something else.  By this time the jersey was stretched out of shape...with bags and sags where there shouldn't have been either.

            After several months I put away the hacked up remnants of the wool jersey and tucked away the fragments of a broken dream.  It remained in the back of my closet...a dirty secret...until I got enough nerve to throw it away.  If I ever got in vited to an important lunch...I would have to wear something else...

            I know what I did wrong now...read the articles next time...and a little pre-planning would have prevented that disaster.  And I should have know better than to combine draping and flat pattern manipulation in one garment...that never works!  Now I make sure I plan out my creations.

            As for invisible zipppers...Those things can turn on even the most experienced seamsters! (Like teamsters...only without a union!)


          6. FitnessNut | | #15

            Giggle, giggle....and a sense of déjà vu. Very well written, Linda. I've been there in more than one sense. You've reminded me of some of my more interesting creations both before and after design school. But I'm not talking!

            I've even been to Len's and found a few of my own treasures. My parents live on the border between Kitchener and Waterloo, and Mom is an avid seamster/quilter and my partner in crime, whenever we get together. Which isn't very often now that I live in Edmonton, but we try to compensate by email and phone. It just isn't the same, though.


          7. lin327 | | #17

            Oddly enough...I live near the border of the two cities also!  One of the deciding factors for why we bought our house was that it was a five minute walk to Len's!  I told my hubby it was because I liked the neighbourhood...without going into the specifics!  Every year after the Mennonite quilt auction the owner of Len's put's his best aqusitions on display in the Waterloo store.  Some of them are exquisite works of art.  Just mentioned because I went to gaze upon some of these yesterday.  I've never made a quilt in my life...odd because I was mennonite...but those are almost enough to make me want to try one.

            That was probably my biggest um--er--design opportunity...I learned many important lessons from that debacle!  Like planning...reading...thinking...!

          8. FitnessNut | | #18

            The world just keeps getting smaller and smaller.....

            Those quilts are simply amazing! My mother usually volunteers at the big quilt show each year and her reports are enough to make my mouth water....and maybe even consider taking up the craft. But no....I have a fixation with clothing and I'd better stick to it! I can appreciate the artistry from the sidelines just this once.


          9. lin327 | | #19

            I can relate to the clothing fixation...I make everything I wear...almost...and more often than not I arrive overdressed to most things.  I can't help but embelllish my jeans with little nailheads and stones... or add little lace overlays and inserts to my t-shirts...  even when I buy something like a plain sweater for these cold days I look at in the store and say:  Hm...I could embroider beads on this thing in no time!  I know some people make quilted clothing... so that could be a way to combine the two...oh oh I'm being hit over the head by my creative muse again!  Bye!

          10. Judygoeson | | #20

            Good for you, Linda!  Think how much beauty you are adding to the world!  And believe me, it can use all it can get from us!

            I like to add a little something to clothes I make.  It is like a signature!  Usually it's a fancy monogram or a discreet kind of border or something in my favorite nature designs like flowers, sunshines, autumn-type leaves and yes, even snowflakes!  They are all very inspiring.

            One time I took a class in making a quilted jacket.  It turned out to be fabric-manipulated and embellished!  We could choose our color combinations and go from there.  Well, I had a lot of remnants in red, white and blue.  I don't know why...I wasn't into flag making.  Anyway, one of the sleeves was a crimson print that was pleated.  The other sleeve was navy blue and waffle-smocked. For the back we learned to make a giant pieced fan.  The left front was done in a"split rail" pattern.  I must say that the colors combined very nicely.  The right front had a 12-inch block called "Judy's Star".  My name is Judy.  Talk about signatures!  It must sound like a mess to you but really, it did look rather extraordinary.    I do wear it, believe it or not!  My favorite national holiday is Election Day, which occurs twice each year.  So I wear my flag-colored jacket to the polls.  Sometimes I work there as a volunteer watcher.  Other times I simply go to vote.  Since I go early in the morning, the guys usually make sure I am the first one to vote.  Isn't that nice?

            Since you are from Canada, you may be aware of the "Maple Leaf" patchwork pattern which might go well for a jacket in subtle colors.  It would be nice in Fall weather and you don't have to wear it to vote if you don't want to.

            Before I close, I would like to tell you I agree with your word "seamster".  My grandmother was born in Lithuania.  She spoke English quite well...not so much with an accent but with a lilt.  She always said she wanted to grow up to be a very fine seamster.  Everyone chuckled at that word, but Grandma still used it.  As she reached age 80, she said to me "Always work very hard to improve your sewing.  And remember...if you can't be a very fine seamster yourself, get to know one!"

            Happy Sewing from JudyG

          11. lin327 | | #23

            Patchwork is beginning to sound like an interesting idea.  I have about four boxes of scraps that I can't bring myself to toss...how can one throw away even the tiniest scrap of silk?  And because I have no problem standing out in a crowd ;-)  My creative muse is beginning to scream...jackets...vests...a patchwork hippy skirt out of all those floral rayon scraps...when I went made all those vintage dresses from vintage rayon florals...embellished with those fancy new stitches in contrasting sulky threads...hmmmm...yesss....

            I think this seamster needs to get to work!

          12. FitnessNut | | #21

            Gee....with your taste in clothing you must have really stood out in the Mennonite community ;-)


            (PS Please take that comment with the intended sense of humour. I have no wish to offend.)

          13. lin327 | | #22

            Don't worry! No offense at all!  My parents were modern and english...my grandparents and some of my aunts and uncles weren't. I didn't express my taste in clothing until I was a teen...and I''m quite used to standing out in the crowd.  I don't mind...in fact I enjoy it.  Kitchener is quite consevative and I'm not...and many of the women in the community tell me they wish that they had the nerve to wear some less conservative clothing. 

          14. carolfresia | | #16

            Linda, what a great story! I guess you could try Karen Tornow's felting techniques with the remains of your jersey--they don't need large pieces! Don't you wish you'd bought 10 metres instead of 5?


          15. Bernie1 | | #14

            I'm looking for someone who can help me figure out how to expand a size 6 pattern to a 12. Can Threads help me with that? Or should I just toss my old Vogue Ungaro designer pattern and stop weeping over gained weight?

  2. carolfresia | | #2

    Linda, maybe you're thinking of http://www.PatternReview.com? Check that out--there are reviews there of all sorts of things!


    1. lin327 | | #4

      Yes!  Exactly!  That's the place!  Thanx ever so much!

      1. carolfresia | | #5

        You're very welcome. I happen to love that site and have learned a lot from all the pattern reviews. There are many patterns I would not look twice at, but when I see someone with more or less my body shape wearing the garment, and having had success sewing it, I realize I should take a second look. This hasn't helped reduce my pattern collection, obviously, but I hear that folded tissue paper is pretty good insulation...so I'll just stack the boxes around outside walls.


        1. lin327 | | #7

          ::::folded tissue paper is pretty good insulation...so I'll just stack the boxes around outside walls. ::::

          Hey!  That sounds like an excellent idea!  It's very cold this morning (I'm live outside of Toronto, Canada) and I think my work room could use a bit of extra insulation!  That and all those boxes of tiny little scraps of fabric left after cutting...too tiny to turn into anything useful...too pretty to toss out!

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