I am very lucky…

I went to a thrift store today with my friend, to look at the furniture (because we’re hoping to find apartments in the cities we’ll be studying in soon), and I found the most perfect piece of furniture! A sewing table that came with an old Pfaff 360 (all for only 50 swiss francs! manual included)!

It’s more than a table really, it has 5 drawers that lock, the machine is on a piece of wood that descends into the commode. So when you want to sew, you open the door, pull the machine up (either half way, and attach a wood piece so the throat plate is on the same level as the rest of the table, or all the way to sew sleeves etc.), flip up a piece of wood and take the pedal out. It’s hard to explain so I’ll just show some pictures:

Look at all the stuff I found in the drawers! I especially love the bobbin holder attached to the door (and so many spools of thread!), and an embroidery hoop! When I was just talking about that last week! (The transfers arrived, just need to wait for my fabric to arrive from the states so I can start embroidering :) )

I’m just so excited about this. The machine works as far as I can tell, it’s definitely had a “check-up” since the sixties because there’s a new looking sticker on it from a place here in Lucerne that fixes machines. Only the bobbin-holder (is that what it’s called?) is missing, but my other machine is a Pfaff too, so I can take the bobbin-thingy from my newer one (or maybe I can buy a new one if I find one that fits?). But other than that, nothing seems to be missing, even the different presser-feet are there (and in a handy box too).

I haven’t tried sewing with it, but it runs so smoothly! It just seems like it’s very good quality. And it’s pretty too :)

There’s room for the serger too!

It’s just so perfect that I found this, because I spent the last week cleaning out all of the STUFF I have/had (Especially clothes, I have so many I never wear, it felt good to get rid of them), to make room for my sewing stuff. I’ve aquired so much sewing stuff, so I wanted to figure out a smart and organized way of storing it all. This little sewing-commode will definitely help.

I now habve 2 Pfaff sewing machines (this one from the sixties, and one from the eighties I got for my birthday 2 years ago) and a serger. Is it weird having so many sewing machines? It feels weird. How many do you have?

Make-Up Pouches

Wow, I haven’t blogged about sewing for almost two weeks!

I thought I’d be fine not sewing anything for three weeks, but I got a little antsy. I’ve been at my host-family’s house for the past few days (I spent a year in the states from 2008-2009, and this is my first visit after leaving!), and my first sewing machine (the cheapest brother model I got from amazon) is still here, unused since I left!

On Saturday we went to JoAnn’s Fabrics, and I got some cheap serger thread and a polka dot fabric. I decided to make a few pouches to organize my make-up, because I recently got a nice vanity-case-type “purse” from asos.com, and I went shopping at sephora (yet another store we don’t have in Switzerland :)). Since the make-up I got there is so nice, I want to store it in a way that will keep it nice and clean (I hate when stuff crumbles and smears on to everything else!), and I’m so happy with the results!

f.l.t.r.: roll-and-tie pouch for hair pins and rubber bands, make-up brushes etc. and pouch for jewelry

I’m not used to sewing stuff that’s so little. And I didn’t have an iron (so irritating! don’t know how I ever sewed without an iron!). But it’s so much fun to sew something practical! It made me feel productive and happy. I’ve been shopping a lot since I got to the states and it makes me feel guilty (even thought the dollar is so low right now). Sewing makes me feel better about that.

I’ll start updating my blog more when I get home (where I have an actual camera, not just an iPhone and instagram :)).

I’m in fabric heaven

I’ve spent 2 days in New Yorks Fashion District, and I don’t want to go back to Switzerlands small range of fabrics :(

I now know what wool crepe feels like! And what gabardine is! And chambray!

I bought a spiral bound notebook and started systematically working my way through the fabric stores, writing down where I saw what. Today I even got swatches! I always feel shy about asking because I know I won’t be able to buy that much of every fabric, but hey, I’m here once a year or once every two years! I need to make sure I get exactly what I want :)

So I spent the evening cutting the swatches into nice squares, stapling them into the notebook and writing down what the fabric’s called, where I got it and how much it costs. I don’t think I’ve ever been this organized haha…

I’ve only bought one fabric so far, I found the perfect one for the embellished bustier! At Parons, they’re so nice there! I actually forgot to write down the name of this fabric, but it’s a dusty pink lycra-type fabric that has a satin-shine to it. I’ll go back there soon to find out the name…

Fabrics I’ve seen:

  • Shantung! So many pretty colors. I want to get some for the bustier dress (Gertie’s Online Course), but can’t decide on a color. I’m trying to find the perfect shade of dark seafoam and I’m also considering a nice, almost tealy, blue

like this with a dash of seafoam

or a blue like the dress on the right

  • A nice deep purple wool crepe (maybe for that Lucille Dress?)
  • Gabardines for more sheath dresses? (blue and green)
  • Houndstooth fabric
  • Herringbone wool
and so many more to be honest… I have to see what my budget can manage before I buy :)

I got a serger!

I ended up ordering the Brother 1034D from amazon, and shipped it to Switzerland (the $ is so cheap right now and it was still cheaper than getting a cheap one here..), and now I have a serger! Lucky for me I can start serging right away, we had the right transformer in the garage :) ALthough I still need to get thread…

Haha, at first I was so scared to press the pedal all the way down, because the light started to ficker when I applied just a bit of pressure. So I called my dad (scared the machine would break if I pressed the pedal down further), and after he got tired of me putting my foot on the pedal and then stopping and saying “no, I can’t do it!” he just pressed it down. And everything is fine. haha…

I have to admit, I don’t know what those cone-y things are (next to the machine in the picture), there are four of them so I suppose it has something to do with the spools? This is exciting! I have a machine I need to learn how to work!

I finally made the pattern for the skirt for the mint dress, and marked the pieces on the fabric. It was hard figuring out how to fit all of the pieces (with the annoying shape of the back pieces, the hem facing, and me wanting to sew the bodice pieces doubled up because of the sheerness):

(played around with the contrast so you can see the pieces marked, that’s not really what the color looks like!)

I’m off to cut!


I need help from anyone who reads this and has serger experience! :)

Since I’m going to the states in three weeks, I’ve been thinking of things I “need” to buy there (like kitschy royal albert tea-cups for my collection that currently consists of 1 tea-cup), and I thought that it might be a good time to buy a serger.

I feel like I’m getting to the point where I might be good enough to sell some of the garments I make on etsy. What I don’t feel comfortable with yet are the seam finishes. I zig-zag them but it’s just not the same. If someones going to buy a hand-made item from me(that won’t necessarily be cheap, since fabric here is expensive), I want them to be happy with it, and I want it to last. And ok, I’d like it even just for sewing for myself. I want nice seam finishes! Plus I might get interested in sewing knits again.

The reason I want to buy one in the states: it’s cheaper! Plus the dollar is really weak (when I was a kid I had the formula x dollars is x+ a half x swiss francs (1$=1.50 CHF), and now a dollar is about 0.80 swiss francs!).

I have to admit, I don’t know an awful lot about sergers, other than that they can finish seams by cutting and at the same time “wrapping” the seam-allowances in thread, and that the stitches are stretchy, so that one can sew knits with them. And I still need to figure out how I’d get it back home across the atlantic, but the bigger problem is: which one? I’ve looked at a few online and I’m thinking I shouldn’t go for the cheapest (which is what I did when I first got a 90$ sewing machine, it worked fine but I just don’t want to risk having to pay more for repairs than for the serger itself), but I can’t afford the fanciest ones either.

Does anyone have recommendations (model/brand/type)? What are the important functions for finishing seams? Is it ok to order online or should I look for a store in NYC and try them out? Or are they cheaper in stores in the US? Should I not be scared of the cheapest one (brother on amazon for $200) if I’m going to use it mainly for seam finishes?

I am reading a lot of stuff online about sergers (haha, I have no idea what they’re talking about most of the time), but I thought I’d ask here anyway incase someone reads this.

Sewing Plans

Since I didn’t find all the fabrics I needed for the projects I had planned, I need to re-plan. This isn’t really an interesting post to read, but it’ll help me wrap my head around all the things I want to do.


Embellished Bustier: I will take a look around the fabric store in my hometown Lucerne and in Zürich and see if I find something, otherwise it’ll have to wait until after NY. Done: pattern, color-scheme, small embellishments To-do: fabric, notions

Red Lace Dress: has to wait until after NY. Done: chose color To-do: lace, underlining fabric, notions, draft pattern and test it

new sewing list:

1. Red Dress: want to start making it tomorrow. Done: fabric (the red cotton-lycra from Paris) To-do: last detail decisions on the design, buy notions (zipper and grosgrain-ribbon for waist-stay)

2. Mint Dress: will make it after the red dress from a pastell mint-colored fabric I’ve had for a while, and I want to use some of those vintage buttons I bought. It will be a 50ies inspired summer dress (I’ve been getting ideas from those magazines!), and because the fabric is very simple I want lots of nice details (scalloped hem, fancy neckline, buttons etc). Done: fabric To-do: decide on a design, draft pattern, buy notions,

3. Bustier “Bombshell” Dress: will be made sooner than I expected (after the mint dress probably), because I bought Gertie’s online bombshell dress course :) It uses a burdastyle pattern I wanted anyway, and I love listening to sewing videos! Maybe because I don’t have real-life friends to talk to about sewing haha :) Done: bought pattern To-do: choose color (dark green? teal? blue?), buy fabric, print and assemble pattern, buy notions

4. Tweed “Chanel” Dress: I originally wanted to make it in the fall, but now that I already have the fabric, I’m so excited about this project! So I might make it earlier than I’ll be able to wear it :) Done: fabric, pattern (probably the butterick sheath dress pattern with a few changes to the skirt and neckline to make it exactly what I want, or maybe I’ll draft a pattern) To-do: (under)lining fabric (wouldn’t red be fun?), notions (zipper, grosgrain fro waist-stay

I’ll write more about the designs of these dresses as I get around to makng them :)

Home again

Well, I’m back from Paris!

I ended up not buying nearly as much as I thought I would, which is great :) I spent more money on food, and didn’t go shopping that much. Most of the time was spent walking around, talking and enjoying being on vacation. I would’ve liked fabric for the Lucille Dress though (since the patttern arrived while I was away) and the bustier. I’ll just have to find something here or when I go to NY in August.

I found 3 fabrics: a tweed-like fabric (with the exact “design” I wanted! little V’s), a red cotton-lycra fabric with a bit of stretch, and nautical print viscose!

And they weren’t expensive either :) I got all three from the “coupons de saint-pierre” shop, where you get three metres for either 10, 20 or 30 € (there was a beautiful teal silk for 30 € but it wasn’t on my list and I wanted to avoid “impulse” buying). Mine were 10, 10 and 21 € (the tweed was on sale from 30). So I have 3 meters of each so hopefully I’ll be able to make more than one thing from each of the fabrics!

I went to the Porte de Vanves fleamarket and (even though I was a little late, most of the stands were closing) found 3 magazines from the 50ies (I will be posting lots of images from there as soon as I get around to scanning them) and a few vintage sewing notions, including some embellishments for the bustier:

I love the safety pins! And the nylon bias tape in the old plastic packaging. first I thought I wouldn’t use the bias tape, but I took it out to feel it, and it so soft, thin and delicate! I’m not really a fan of bias tape, but I really like the feel of these!

So much sewing inspiration in these old magazines! And I love looking at the old ads, it’s interesting to see how advertising changes and adjusts to whatever lifestyle people find desirable. I think advertising is a good “mirror” of society, it let’s you get into people’s minds. I think that’s why I like Mad Men so much, because the whole advertising industry is just a great perspective to look at a certain era (especially the 50ies and 60ies).

If you’re ever in Paris, go to this flea market! Take the metro (line 13) to “Porte de Vanves” and when you get out, it’s really close (Avenue Georges Lafenestre and Avenue Marc Sangnier). It’s small but I like it better than the famous Clignancourt one. That one’s so touristy and last time I went there, there was so much cheap crap.

So since I didn’t find everything I need for the bustier I might put that project off for a while (after I get back from my trip to the states in august), and will instead be using the red fabric I bought, and a mint colored fabric from my stash to make two dresses.

the patterns arrived! I might even use the sheath dress pattern for the red fabric

this is a cell-phone picture of all the things I bought:

the most expensive thing was the “flowerbomb” perfume. I’ve been wanting it for a long time but it’s so insanely expensive in Switzerland… the rest is all cheap stuff from vintages stores (plus a pair of shoes that was on sale and is probably not great quality, but I like them a lot).