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That time you became a stripper

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

…of sewing machines.
how to strip paint off a sewing machine stripping a sewing machine
(you dirty birdies! Get yer minds outta the gutters. What did you think I meant? *chuckles*)

If you’ve been following along at all, I fixed my Singer 185k3 Christmas present that arrived smashed up. The only thing I didn’t/don’t have for it was/is a case or base. I’m working on that.

Then I dismantled it again. Like, really dismantled it. Like my zipper bags? (are you freaking out yet??)
machine parts storage idea for dismantling a sewing machine for painting

Okay, so admittedly, I was totally okay until it was time to disassemble the tension assembly. I have never done this before. And even looking at this photo again today to crop and watermark it I was having literal palpitations. I’m not kidding. Gaaaaah. Keep on chugging, Erin. You’ve committed, now -

singer 185 tension assembly

(time for a glass of wine here)

Set it in some Dollar Store baking trays…then…

Bathed it in stripper using Dollar Store paint brushes, let it sit for 24 hours at a time –

singer 185 sewing machine how to strip paint from a sewing machine

scraped, sanded, cleaned, bathed in stripper again -

stripping a singer 185, in progress

lather, rinse, repeat (please note by this point I have stopped putting pictures on social media as I am starting to get flamed over email for my decision to customize my little machine – true story – but meh – I have tough skin – I just don’t have the time nor energy to reply to all of the naysayers…plus, my thoughts are – this machine didn’t end up in a dump somewhere OR salvaged for scrap metal $$$, I am actually going to use it and it’s my prerogative on how or what I do to it. So there.)

At this point I’m going to tell you: THIS SUCKS. If you can ship your machine off to have someone do it all for you, and it costs like $500 to do it? PAY IT. This is hard on your body. It takes a long time, and a lot of patience (both of which, notably, I’m lacking in. I’ll admit it.)

I did a lot of research on the products to use in this project. A LOT. Like, for months. I listed them below with links to Amazon. Most people out there are using Citristrip (aff link) BUT everyone I came across doing this were stripping older machines – with no doubt older paint technology. This paint did NOT want to come off. I stuck with the Citristrip (aff link), but I’d recommend if you’re going to strip a 185 yourself? try something a little more, well, toxic. Something that’ll melt the paint off the first time. All of the other bloggers I researched were stripping 80 and 100 year old black Singers with the Citristrip and the paint came off like butter. Not so here. I had to really fight with it.

Stripping the paint from a Singer 185 sewing machine

There’s quite a bit of pitting on this machine now that the layers and layers of varnish are off; I’m seeing quite a bit of Bondo in my OCD Type A future. Oh well. Good thing I’m not in a rush.

The nooks and crannies are the toughest part to get at. They take the longest and are the hardest on my poor fingers -

stripping the paint from a singer 185 sewing machine for custom repaint

After all of the paint was scraped off, I hit the machine with a lot of elbow and shoulder grease with #150 dry sand paper then steel wool (#1, #0, then #00). Again, as a reference, see the Amazon affiliate links below the post for the products I used if need be.

A really important part of prepping the machine for paint is removing all of the oil and grease that it’s come into contact with over the years AND from my fingers and the stripper.

So, the final step before the Self-etching Primer (see below) is to wash it down according to the instructions on the bottle with Grease Remover until your cloth comes out nice and clean.

I am tired. This is the toughest part, I know. And it’s the part that takes the longest. I have worked on this machine every night for almost 2 weeks, cleaning it, dismantling, stripping, rewiring.

Probably a good thing it’s taking me so long to sand it down – I’m having some trouble deciding on the custom bed waterslide decal I want to put on it and I feel like I need to be really sure about the color I chose. Or maybe - the colors. Heheh. And that part is a surprise.

So. Stay tuned for the next step – primer and filler. Maybe some color. Hang in there.


That time your hubby got you a sewing machine for Christmas,

Sunday, February 12, 2017

a pretty little jadeite Singer 185k-3, and it arrived in the mail smashed to bits -
Dismantling and cleaning of a Singer 185k Sew at Home Mummy Singer 185k Featherweight alternative

For the longest time I have wanted a Singer 221 – better known as a ‘Featherweight’ – it’s a vintage machine, made from 1933 – 1966 by Singer Manufacturing Co., and it was their answer to the age old problem of portability (or lack thereof):
courtesy of ismacs


Singer’s Featherweight machine allowed ‘little ladies’ to tote their machines around with ease as it weighed in at only 11lbs – something I found particularly appealing for my late night kitchen table sewing and retreats and Guild sew-in events. Something that I could tote more easily, something with a gorgeous straight stitch for piecing, and something that wouldn’t break the bank if I dropped it/broke it, etc. – something I was very concerned about doing dragging my big Janome 6500 (aff link) along with me everywhere (especially since that’s the machine I use for my little Etsy business).

The problem with the Featherweight is that they are very sought after and have become quite popular in recent years. Which has driven the price up. And I just couldn’t justify spending $3-400 on a little machine like that for just retreats and sew-ins, as much as I really want one.

Enter what I like to call “the poor man’s Featherweight”. Or I should say: “the poor WOMAN’S Featherweight”.

Just as cute. With a stitch just as nice. Not as lightweight. (Ha!) - the Singer 185 - a 3/4 size portable, low shank, oscillating hook machine that takes class 66 bobbins - and rings in at about $50.
Singer 185k - more affordable option to a Featherweight - portable vintage sewing machine restoration Sew at Home Mummy
...my little machine after weeks of cleaning and fixing and replacing parts - isn't she pretty?

I researched this machine for several months; watched for one for months at garage sales and estate sales and the like with no luck, and eventually gave in and asked at Christmas for hubs to buy one off eBay – play the online-auction-sewing-machine-buying-Russian-roulette-game. Ugh. We lost.

They had no idea what they were doing with respect to packaging a sewing machine – one piece of bubble wrap (literally) and a few sheets of newsprint in a box that was miles too big, and the machine arrived with the bakelite case smashed to bits, the bobbin winding mechanism destroyed – it had been punched through from the inside to the outside of the case, the original green tire visible when I opened the box from the outside of the case (not a good sign); the spool pin had snapped off flush with the body; the light broke; and the list went on.

Luckily eBay’s return policy is fantastic and the seller was good to deal with and I received a full refund as the machine was just not useable in the condition I received it in.

A few weeks of dismantling the machine, tinkering, replacing parts, cleaning, and more,

Restoring, Dismantling and cleaning of a Singer 185k Sew at Home Mummy
top L: the handwheel, bobbin winding mechanism dismantled for cleaning; top R after cleaning
bottom L: bobbin case before clean, bottom R: after cleaning


and I managed to get it turning-

video


and then stitching its first few stitches -

video


Next up to rewire it, which is always fun. I’ve done a few machine motors, pedals and lights now, and I’m excited to do it. It’s just a matter of trying to find the time. The other pretty major problem is that I have neither a box/base or a table to put it in. Which means that for the time being, any tinkering is just that. Tinkering.

I can’t use it until I save up even more pennies to buy a base or case for it. Here I have one of two options - buy vintage (which means I run the risk yet again of receiving something smashed in the mail from an online auction site, or something old, smelly, and not worth the money) or buy new (which means I'm buying something custom and handmade (no doubt gorgeous but costly, and the ideal option) or plastic and ugly).

 My friends say I should just make a case – why not? Oy. TIME. I NEED MORE TIME. Plus, who are we kidding - anything I make just isn't going to be as nice as what I can buy from a professional woodworker.

“Sunday-Stash-with-MolliSharing my pretty green machine today with Molli Sparkle’s Sunday Stash Share. I’m so proud of my little machine!!!

Make sure to pop over to see what he and the others are sharing from their stash acquisitions this week, there's always lots going on over there. Lots of juicy eye candy :)



Oh! And, don’t forget to enter my giveaway if you’re visiting here today from Stash share and you haven’t yet entered

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Giveaway! Aurifil, Stash Books, and a Fat Quarter Bundle!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Quick post today!

A little giveaway from my own personal stash today -

GIVEAWAY CLOSED! Check my Instagram feed for the Winner announcement shortly!

Thank you all for entering - and good luck!


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Bella Skill Builder Quilt Along: February Block, Navy, Orange and Reds

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Oh I have been having a bit of fun lately getting back into the swing of things again!

I always seem to have a bit of a tough time after the Christmas holidays finding my way back to my machine. It’s not that I’m not motivated – I think that it’s more so that I just don’t know where to start.

I think this year might be a bit easier as I aim to be a bit more organized with my life (which seems to be a much simpler task as the kiddos get a little older) – and I’m finding my way back to writing everything down.

I know. Archaic.

I’ve gone back to the ways of the “Planner”. “To-do” lists. Pencils. Pens. Highlighters. You name it. I’m writing. It. Down.
planner
stock image. I wouldn't photograph (or own) something so pretty....

I feel like I’m in University again. ((((flashback)))) And – I’m honestly loving it. I feel more in control having stuff on paper rather than in my phone/computer/___electronic device___. Am I the only crazy person out there who might just be moving backwards in technology just a tiny wee bit?

Anyway! I digress! I’m excited for my first new project of 2017 - and I hope you'll join me!


As one of their Partners, I’m participating in The Fat Quarter Shop’s Moda Bella Skill Builder Quilt Along, and this first month’s block was a LOT of fun (and easy!). The pattern is free and is available on the Jolly Jabber today so make sure to head over there and check it out afterwards, and there’s a kit for the quilt along available here on the Fat Quarter Shop's site!

Fat Quarter Shop's Bella Skill Builder Quilt Kit! - Ooooo - preeetttty....

A little background on my fabric selections-

I decided to go with a color palette that I loved and that was a little wintery – something that would look good in our master bedroom. Here I’ll be 100% honest – I don’t have a color scheme in my main bed – we moved in 2 years ago and the walls were all cream when we moved in, and they haven’t changed.

I went with grey curtains (because I needed curtains right away and didn’t know how I was going to decorate the room in the future) and I’ve been working on any and every other room in the house since.

The master bed will be the last to be done. I’m wondering if this is the case in every person’s house… (readers: thoughts on this?)

Anywho! Here’s my color palette inspiration:
Winter navy red color palette

…and here’s what that looks like in Bella (from Moda) solids:
Bella Skill Builder 2017 Sew at Home Mummy Color Palette

…I decided to add a pop of orange to the mix, just a little, to give a tiny bit of visual interest, so I added the Melon in. I may still add a darker red at some point, but I do love where this is going.

Without further adieu, my blocks for the month of February:
Bella Skill Builder Quilt Along February Block Sew at Home Mummy

(Don’t look too closely at my centers. They are not the greatest. I quite honestly will most likely be ripping these apart and re-doing them as my Type-A sub-conscious is sitting in the corner twitching right now – but these were done before I figured out a little tricky-pooh which worked well for me, noted below, which made my life a little easier)

And if you decide that you’d like to participate in the quilt along, here are a few little tips and tricks I found really helped me in my process – but make sure to check out the Fat Quarter Shop’s You Tube Page (here) for their video tutorial on these blocks -
- instead of pressing your seams open, I pressed towards my darker fabric; you’ll find that your seams nest better when you go to join them, centers will match better and will tend to buckle less (a trick I only ended up experimenting with at the end with my last block – oops – I might end up ripping out my others so that seams all lay a little flatter)
- a note to above – I was using the paper template and I have to think that if I had invested in the actual plastic Creative Grids Spider Web template I may not have had as much trouble with my centers being perfect. Speculation, but something to be considered, for sure! Paper templates are not nearly as easily used as legit non-slip super-grip fantastical plexi ones are.
- make sure to chain piece/assembly line piece – it’ll speed the process, especially if you’re like me and you have to work in spurts. I would sew all of the first seams in one sitting, then that night in front of the tv do all of my pressing, then the next sitting sew all of the next seams, and ‘sew’ on.

This block was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see everyone else’s blocks and color palettes, and of course for March’s block! Thanks to the Fat Quarter Shop for such a fun quilt along. Stay tuned for more fun!

Too cool–‘Reinventing the Wheel’ featured–and it *wasn’t* a la QuiltCon.

Monday, January 23, 2017

This is just a quick post here for a Monday morning – last week Mancuso (Quiltfest) featured my quilt ‘Reinventing the Wheel
Why QuiltCon shouln't be the only show modern quilters ever consider submitting to - Reinventing the Wheel by Erin Davis of Sew at Home Mummy
in their call for entries/newsletter for their Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, VA in February this year!
Mid-atlantic quilt festival newsletter
It was fun to see this in my email inbox last week -
Mid-atlantic quilt festival newsletter a
this was a bee quilt that won Honorable Mention in their Modern category last year (2016) at the same show (Mid-Atlantic).

Here’s the original post on the finish of the quilt when I didn’t get into QuiltCon.
I was upset when it didn’t get accepted to QuiltCon – and the reason for my write up today isn't to gloat about this, honest - but -
this post is my way of encouraging modern quilters (and quilters that don’t call themselves ‘modern’) to look outside of QuiltCon – QuiltCon is not the be-all end-all of quilt shows.  
Entered a quilt and didn’t get into QuiltCon? Enter it somewhere else. Consider another show – AQS, IQF, Quiltfest, the list goes on. The Big Boys who’ve been around a LOT longer than the MQG are seeing the need for ‘Modern’ themed exhibits and are always looking for entries.
There’s my 2 cents for today. Keep on truckin’.