Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sewing Bargains, Sewing Mojo And Maybe a Maternity Skirt

I've been busy being pregnant. Am now in the 33rd week of my pregnancy and really feeling it. I've been lethargic, tired and listless, but worst of all, I lost my sewing mojo for a couple of months. I've been trying to get back into sewing, but it seems to be just too much work. I stopped reading sewing blogs for a while, and that's probably why I've sort of lost interested in sewing in general for a while. But getting into the third trimester and really balooning out these last weeks, I've realised how desperately I need a maternity skirt. But wait-what about all those maternity skirts I made the last time? Well, I've lost a lot of weight at the beginning of this pregnancy, and I havent really regained it, so all my skirts hang 2 inches below my waist. And altering them seem to be too much work. And those skirts were sort of spring-y things, so I don't really have a winter maternity wardrobe.More about that later.

So what did I do to get my sewing mojo back? I started reading some sewing blogs again last night, picked up some sewing books, and looked at sewing-related books at Amazon, and the sewing bug started to bite again. And while I was browsing Amazon, I typed in "Patternmaking Made Easy (2nd Edition) " by Connie Amaden-Crawford, a patternmaking book I've been lusting over for ages and ages, and found a second-hand one for $67, instead of $95 brand new, and took the plunge and ordered it for myself as a mother's day present. Ever since I read about it somewhere, and seen some preview and read reviews of it, I've wanted one. I don't know why I obsess over patternmaking books so, but I just want more and more of it. I think I'm a patternmaking-book junkie. I've decided that I'd like to own Patternmaking for Fashion Design (5th Edition) by Helen Joseph-Armstrong , Basic Patternmaking in Fashion by Lucia Mors, More Dress Pattern Designing: Classic Edition by Natalie Bray, and Make Your Own Dress Patterns by Adele Margolis too somewhere down the line. Sigh.

Anyway, back to my maternity skirt. I figured that if I posted about making a maternity skirt here, I'll be bound to make it. Yesterday I went to Spotlight looking for a black knit ponti to buy, thinking they were about $12 a metre (which is one of the most expensive fabrics I've ever considered seriously buying), when at the counter, AFTER the one metre had already been cut,  I realised that it was actually $25 blardy dollars, and instead of a normal ponti knit, it was a super ponti. (Not sure what the difference is...) I decided to take it, since it was already cut. But I did feel quite annoyed with myself for spending so much on so little fabric. And it wasn't even really black-it was charcoal black. Ugh. So now,  after having spent that much, I HAVE to make the darn skirt. And soon if I want to wear it before I pop.

I drew a sketch of what I want the skirt to be.

I don't think I'm as curvaceous as the sketch makes out, but hopefully the skirt will be flattering for a 3rd trimester me. I think that the curved seam under the maternity panel is essential because then the skirt doesn't fall from the bump, but from the hips, which makes a soon-to-be-mummy look slimmer in the last few weeks. I find that when I wear skirts like that, I preserve the illusion that I'm not that big yet. I wanted something fairly plain, so a pencil look was ideal, because it would go with everything. But I also wanted something extra, so I added that little flounce at the back. Just for kicks.

Anyways. Although I lost that sewing mojo for a while, I'm still ever the bargain hunter, and I keep my eyes peeled for sewing-related stuff. I've collected some really good finds over the last two months, and only just got to post them today.

Find No.1: A Vintage Godfrey Sewing Machine in perfect working order.

This is a vintage original Godfrey sewing machine with a Wernard motor it excellent condition which I picked up for $10 at an estate sale in Ridgehaven. The thing is solid metal and weighs an absolute ton. It does. I can't lift it by myself. And guess what. It runs. Perfectly. At first I couldn't get the needle to move up or down, and I called a technician who said it would cost $70 for him to just look at it.  That's pretty good incentive for a person to try and figure it out and make it work. And I did! The motor runs great, the light still goes on, it does straight and zig-zag stitches, and even a one-step buttonhole! This machine must have been space-age for it's time. And I think it's probably 50-60 years old. It doesn't show its age in its innards though-they look brand new, not a speck of rust in them.

Here's a close up of all the stitches it can do.

 And there is a bonus-the machine came with a box of Singer attachments.

The box of sewing attachments alone are worth more than what I paid for the machine, especially this ruffler foot.

And a binder foot..
And some other feet as well.

I'm not sure what the first feet on the left is though. If anyone knows, please be kind enough to enlighten me.

I couldn't find much information at all on Godfrey Sewing Machines. If anyone knows any history about them, do feel free to post something in the comments section.

Find No.2 : Secrets of the Couturiers: Dressmaking Techniques and Ideas from the Great Designers

Found this at a book sale. It's an out of print book with chapters on Charles Worth, Vionnet, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, Cardin etc, as well as some of their favourite couture techniques illustrated.

Such a beautful silhouette!

Some information about thread-tracing grainlines on fabric for accuracy in fitting and draping, employed by Balenciaga.

Don't you just love the old modeling compositions? So elegant and timeless. Modern fashion pictures are so stark and angry sometimes, and meant to shock. 

Find No. 3: Enid Gilchrist's pattern drafting book on Sleepwear and Undies

I love Enid's old drafting magazines. They sell on Ebay for about $8-$12 each, but I found this at a Salvos for 50cents I think.

This is why I like it.

Her drafting style is no-nonsense, with a view to save fabric, so a lot of her designs use very little cloth. I don't think I'll get into making clothes for my Little Wyld Man, since opshops have children's clothes a-plenty, and KMart and Target sell serviceable things for $5. But I do love to look at the drafts.

That's all for now. I'll leave you with a picture of my Little Wyld Man, who is 14 months old this month.


  1. The attachment on the left hand side of your singer feet is a adjustable seam guide. You need a little screw and it then screws into the bed of the sewing machine if yours has a hole to the front right of the needle. You can slide and screw it wider or narrower distance from the needle for hemming different widths at a set distance- very handy attachment!
    I couldn't believe it,I have the same Enid Gilchrist children's drafting book that I was given by my Mum, it came from my Nana's sewing things.
    One thing about your Godfrey, it would be worth getting someone to check the electrical safety of it since it has a cloth covered cord, and is quite old-maybe one of the test and tag people who do it for a reasonable cost. They can tell you if its safe to use or if it should be re-wired. Happy Sewing!

  2. Oh...I just looked closely at the bed of your sm and it doesn't appear to have the holes necessary to screw the seam guid into. Hold onto it though, maybe one day you'll find a machine it fits into!


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