“What Have I Done”?

That was my first thought after I had written out the check to Tammy Gustin at Sips n Sews studio to purchase one of their industrial sewing machines, and had time to reflect on it.

Industrial sewing machines are not portable. They are bulky and difficult to transport; you may need to call a tech on-site if you can’t repair or adjust it yourself. They need to be oiled everywhere, and I mean everywhere (more on that in a bit). They are designed for practicality, not convenience; many adjustments on an industrial require screwdrivers and setscrews rather than dials. In short, they are higher maintenance than a domestic machine and a higher commitment to own.

I really had no need for an industrial sewing machine at home when I had access to the studio. But with the demise of the studio, I could definitely see situations ahead where I would want to have one at home. And I also wanted a piece of the studio as a remembrance.

Moving the machine

The first problem was how to transport it from the studio to my home. I set up an appointment on Lugg. Early the next afternoon a large pickup truck showed up at the studio, along with Kyle and Julio, my Luggers for the job.

Industrial sewing machines operate at very high speeds, so all parts must be constantly lubricated to prevent heat and wear due to friction. Many industrial machines have an oil bath beneath the machine, mine is one of them. The oil must be emptied before the machine can be transported, to avoid spilling it all over the place.

Flip back the machine head and you will find a large pan filled with about a liter of machine oil.

I brought a funnel and a container to the studio; Tammy scooped the oil from the pan with a teacup and we funneled it into the container for me to refill the machine at home.

The machine must be transported standing up, so Kyle and Julio set it in the truck bed and locked it down with straps. They did a great job moving it into my garage.

The integrated sewing table has a built-in worklamp. The first thing I discovered is the light didn’t work; the switch was broken. More on this in a bit.

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A New Beginning

It has been a while, hasn’t it? Quite a lot has happened in my life since the last blog post. My readers are completely forgiven for thinking I have vanished off the face of the Earth.

An Update on Me

For one, I finished my classes in the Fashion Department at City College of San Francisco. I earned two certificates of completion, one in Garment Construction and the other in Patternmaking. I have earned most of the credits necessary to complete a third certificate, Advanced Garment Construction, lacking only a class in Couture Sewing Techniques to qualify.

The culmination of two and a half years of work.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

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The Fashion Show (The Colorblocked Jacket, Part 3)

Sorry to keep you waiting on my fashion show debut!  Between class projects and getting my teaching venture off the ground, I’ve let the blog fall by the wayside.  It occurs to me I owe all of you a recap on how the fashion show went.

Here’s the completed outfit walking the runway at the City College of San Francisco Fashion Show, “Odyssey.”  The model is Damon Mahoney; besides his work as a fashion model, he is a fashion entrepreneur who makes an exquisite line of hand-painted scarves and accessories.  You can see his creations at his website.  He was fantastic to work with and he really sold the outfit on the runway.  I was so fortunate to have him model my outfit.

Runway photo credits: James Mace

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The Colorblocked Jacket, Part 1

My course in Apparel Construction at City College of San Francisco this spring encompasses three major projects:

  • A sleeveless sheath dress
  • A pant or pencil skirt
  • A machine-tailored jacket, made with fusible interfacings

So here I’m beginning a new blog series on the first project for the class, the sleeveless sheath dress.   Careful readers will note that project isn’t the same as the title of this article, so some explanation is in order. Continue reading