I am soooo excited, I finally got to go to Cincinnatti on Saturday and pick up my new Baby Lock Elizabeth sewing machine! She is amazing, I already feel so spoiled >:)
Right off the back I noticed how quiet she runs, she sews like butter. Chris was in the other room and didn’t even realize that I was playing around with it. Since I already played with Jo’s machine I had a good idea of how to do all the basics. The needle threader is super convenient and I don’t have to worry about licking the end of my thread ever again! One of my favorite features is the auto thread cutter, its always such a pain to have to search around for my scissors and end up finding them in the kitchen. Whoever came up with this function is a genius, thank you!
All the stitching functions are super easy and there are soooo many of them, there are three alphabets which will be great for making gifts. There are a lot of different button stiches as well, I haven’t tried any yet but I hear that this machine is known for its neat and tidy button holes. Check out all the stitches on the card, its crazy!
Here is a test run I did, I had to try out the little allligator, how cute is he?
Here is the dashboard, there is a pocket that you can save stitch patterns in, I haven’t started diving into that just yet though.
I already have my first project planned out, I’m so stoked to finally have a big girl machine!
One of my very best friends Miss Jackson had her 29th birthday this month, and she’s a real hip and sassy gal so I decided she needed a fun dress to rock out. I had this bright funky knit fabric that I bought on a knit sale and it looked perfect for her. She wears a lot of maxi dresses, and the Simplicity pattern 2219 view D looked like a simple and comfy dress that she would be into.
Here is Miss J’s version!
I have made clothes for people before but I have never made a dress for anyone, and the reviews I read about this one all pretty much said that this runs huge. I had wanted it to be a surprise, however the straps on this dress had to be finished with interfacing and lining. To have to go back and undo all of that would really suck- not to mention it would end up looking sloppy, so I had her come over for a fitting. I cut the dress in the biggest size on the envelope so that I could just take it and and customize it to her exact size. The straps were very easy to make, mostly just interfacing and then piecing them together. Luckily the straps ened up fitting her really well so I did not have to make too many adjustments.
The sides of the bodice were gathered at the straps, and this type of material isn’t great at gathering with a long stitch. I think it is too flowy and doesn’t hold as well as a cotton or stiffer fabric would. To gather it I ended up kind of scrunching it a I sewed the pieces together, which is a little tedious but it worked. The side seams needed to be taking in about 2 inches fter fitting her. One thing that was odd about this dress was that it called for actual lining on the inside of the bust. I suppose this made it a little mosre stable and less bulky, however since this is just a casual knit dress if I made this again I’d just self line it since his seems like it’d be more comfortable.
The rest of the dress was a breeze, just two panels for the skirt that I serged together. Instead of hemming the botto I just cut it since this fabric is so thin and doesn’t unravel. I think I may have cut it a hair short, but it still looks ok.
Here she is getting sasssy!
Snap crackle pop!
Since thisturned out so well, I decided it was worthy of adding one of my customized labels complete with an owl of course 😉
On a side note, I finally picked a new sewing machine and ordered it! I get to go on a road trip to Cincinnatti and pick it up in the next few days. I took your all’s advice and decided against getting a Brother, after talking to a Brother dealer in town, even they advised that the model I ws looking at is only sold in the mass market and isn’t one that they would recommend. Since I enjoyed Jo’s machine so much I ended up choosing a Baby Lock Elizabeth model. It has all the features I am looking for, even some that the higher end Berninas didn’t have, plus much less pricey. Here is a picture off the Baby Lock site, once she gets here I’ll add some in person photos! Uber excited!!
I have been rocking my $100 Singer for a while now, and I think it is getting to the point where it is hanging on by a thread <pun intended nyuk nyuk nyuk>. The bobbin is good for about 3 or 4 runs and then the thread pulls itself loose and I have to stop what I am doing and open up the machine and start messing with it and tricking it into working properly. I have tried everything, the tension, tightening and loosening the little screw on that plate thingy, nothing works for very long. Needless to say it is driving me nuts! Now that I have my new Serger that runs so well and makes such good clean stitches I really have the bug to upgrade to a sleeker, higher end, computerized model. However, good sewing machines (especially with all the features I want) come at a price- usually a high one. Lucky for me my husband is in the market for an upgrade on his hobby too- a new kayak playboat- so we struck a deal 😀 I get a new sewing machine and he can buy a new kayak. Guess we will be eating a lot of ramen noodles for a while!
My dear friend Jo heard about my quest for a new machine so she graciously lended me her Baby Lock Decorators Choice to test drive for about a week. This machine is fabulous! It has all the features that I am looking for: drop in bobbin (no more struggling and tighting screws), over 200 stitches including 3 alphabets and even a cute little crocodile stitch, automatic threader, automatic cutter, start and stop self stitching without the footpad- sorry don’t know the technical term, dual needles, and it can sew through layers of heavy fabric. It also has tons of accessories, and something she was sure about which I have now confirmed through usage; if you make a mistake or do something wrong it will pop up a message telling you what the error is and what to do to fix it. Pretty bad ass!
Here is the threading trail for the machine- it reminded me a lot of my Serger.
For my Mom’s birthday I used McCalls 6338 to make her the casserole dish carrier. This pattern had called for hot and cold prequilted fabric, but I couldn’t find any. The regular prequilted fabric was crazy expensive so I opted for terrycloth instead. Since she will probably use it for things other than casseroles as she doesn’t really make casseroles then I think the terrycloth lining will work fine. This was the perfect project to test out on Jo’s Baby Lock since it had so many layers of thick fabric, I wanted to see if it could handle it! Well let me tell you, the Baby Lock sewed through these layers like a champ! Here it is in action:
And through a layer of terrycloth, and three sheets of cotton:
And the finished product, not as sturdy had it been made with quilting but I think my mom wll like it:
Overall I am really enjoying the Baby Lock Decorator’s Choice. The only complaint I have so far is that since the bobbin drops in and the thread stays down with it, there tends to be kind of a sloppy start to the stitching because the ends get caught up, but its not a big deal, it can easily be pulled out and snipped.
I have looked for it online and have had some trouble finding it so I am not sure if it is even an available model. It is also pretty expensive, about $800. There are some models I have been looking at that are similar, the Brother IS Innov series have gotten great reviews on Consumer Reports, however the one that I think I am pretty dead set on is the Brother PC 420. It is very similar to the Baby Lock DC, all the same features, 294 stitches, and it is a Project Runway Limited edition so there is an added feature to create and program your own stitch. Not sure how it works or how much I will use this feature, but it sounds really cool!
This model has tons of great reviews, and it costs about $450-$500, more reasonable than a Baby Lock. I saw a lot of really cool embroidery machines, however I only use my machine for construction of garments and crafts and I know I will never embroider anything. If anyone has used this machine or has any other recommendations I would love to hear from you! I am trying to stay in the $500 range.
On a final note (off topic) my SuedeSays prizes finally arrived! I received the 2011 Simplicty Autumn catalog and the two Fall SuedeSays patterns yesterday, all signed by Suede. The patterns are pretty cute, I really like the jacket and the flowy bohemian top. I’m still enjoying summer, but these patterns make me look forward to Fall outfits!