FREE ALPHABET LETTER

  • This fun Psychedelic Alphabet  continues this week with the letter L, available free in 3" size til 16 July 2020.

LATEST FREE DESIGN

  • This week I'm doing something I've never done in more than 10 years of the site's existence: I'm re-running a freebie from several years ago.  This week's Freebie first appeared on 22 April 2016, in honor of Prince, who had passed away the day before. I've occasionally received requests for this one over the past few years, but in recent days I have had a barrage of e-mails about it. Here it is again, for those who missed it four years ago.
  • I also don't normally offer the freebies in more than one size, but I've made an exception and posted this one in 5" size  as well, along with a few other purple designs. You can find them on their own freebie page. Watch this space next week for another special free design in the purple series. 

 NEW DESIGNS

  • Following up on Helga's query from last week about Canine Scentwork designs, I've added several more to the Dogs catalog:
  • And a Mini Dog Nose design won't go amiss either. Find it in the Minis collection.
  • I love this funny smiley face. Find it in the People & Faces collection.

JEN'S PROJECTS

Two little girls and a hamster:  thereby hangs a tale . . .  and a  new Christmas ornament.

Click here to see the latest addition to my personal Christmas collection.

JEN'S MACHINES

Singer 194M

Here's a Singer so rare that even the International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society (ISMACs) has no mention of it on their site.

Based on the "M" in the model number, it appears to have been produced in Singer's plant in Monza, Italy . 

Information from the Monza plant is sketchy to non-existent, since its records were apparently destroyed in a fire, but I did see this model in a Singer advertisement from 1964, so based on that and on the general look of the machine I'm confident to say it's from the early 60s.  Its sister model, the 193M, has a look more like the old black Singers; this one is more like the "updated" models such as the 185, the 191, and the aluminum 201s. 

It was seized when I first acquired it, but I was able to get it freed up and repaired, and now it's sewing well. It's a class 15 straight-sew machine, and although it's pretty basic, it's a good, reliable stitcher. I quite like its vaguely industrial appearance, and of course its easy-on-the-eye color. That said, though, I must admit that this rare model will never be my top choice as a go-to machine, mainly because I have several 15-class SS machines to choose from. 

My quibbles are really quite minor: for example, I don't like that the stitch length lever can't be locked in position. This was common in early models when the reverse was just introduced, but by 1964 Singer was manufacturing much more sophisticated machines, so this may have been an economy model. It also has some bits made of plastic, like the face plate on the stitch length lever, and the knob on the lever itself.  It's still all metal inside and is certainly sturdy and solid, but still . . . 

I don't know how many 194Ms Singer produced; I do know that in my 10+ years of searching out machines I have never seen another one, and I have been unable to find anyone else, including experts, who has run across one either.

Its rarity is the main thing makes it desirable, and I'll most likely keep it until I'm ready to liquidate my entire collection. 

Singer 185

After WWII, Singer's most popular models underwent a re-design, sporting cast aluminum housings in contemporary colors. The adorable 99 -- Singer's 3/4 sized machine -- was one of these, re-issued in the 1950s as Model 185. Mechanically it's identical to the 99, but with an "updated" appearance.

Most of the 185s were made in this two-tone seafoam green, although a few were produced in beige/tan. Today the beige ones are quite rare.

I love these little machines, and I confess to owning four of them (plus a few 99s as well). Mine were  manufactured from 1954 to 1961 in both the Kilbowie (Scotland) and St Jean sur Richilieu (Canada) plants. These are standard low-shank, class-66 machines with Singer's drop-in bobbin design. The housing is aluminum, but the innards are still all steel, making them robust and solid. They are also simple to operate and maintain, and nearly impossible to throw out of time.  

Their compact size and ease of use make them a perfect choice for teaching beginners to sew. In fact, as a young child I learned to sew on my mom's model 99, and my fondness for these adorable 3/4 machines probably stems from that early experience. 

Back then my main interest was making toys for myself and my siblings (a hobby I continued into adulthood, sewing for craft shops and designing toys for several magazines).

When the novice stitchers in my craft group tried their hands at making teddies, the 185 proved itself easily up to the demands of sewing the plush fabric.

Here's Antonia's bear posing next to the machine that created him. Isn't he sweet?


These lovely little machines can still be had for a modest cost -- much less than the price of a Featherweight and almost as cute. Just six months ago, I bought  one at a local thrift shop for only $10! There wasn't a thing wrong with it except that it needed a belt, and for that price I could hardly leave it behind. With the new belt and a bit of oil, it's sewing perfectly and ready to get back to work. 

NEWS & DOINGS

  • Windows 10 suddenly stopped accessing my main drive this morning, so I've had a bit of a panic getting the site update completed. It was fine and then it wasn't. I am apparently in a war of wills with Microsoft. 
  • We still have a very low infection rate in our area, and it's deemed safe to shop and socialize and eat out, though masks and social distancing protocols are still in place. We are not taking any chances so are sticking close to home and minimizing our exposure. Makes for a bit of a curtailed life, but better 6 feet apart than 6 feet under. 
  • I've been spending much of this home time making Christmas items, including embroidered gift bags. We now have more than enough to wrap for everyone on our list and still have some left over, but I've decided to do a "gift bag of the month" gift for my friend's birthday and I've started on those. Apparently these are addictive to make once you get started. I began digitizing typical expressions of my parents, and those have led to even more bags. I'm sure they'll be a surprise for my siblings on Christmas morning. 
  • Lately I've been using my Hightail account to send download links for design orders, because so many of my e-mail attachments were being stripped out by people's security software. If you place an order and don't see it within a few hours, please check the spam filter on your computer. For some reason -- probably because it contains a download link -- the Hightail e-mails are sometimes diverted there.
  • Also, unfortunately, Hightail keeps the links active for only a week. If you place an order and aren't able to retrieve it within the week, please let me know.
  • I'm continuing to tinker with the site, so if you happen to notice any missing images as a result, I'd love to hear about them. Just let me know which pages seem to be missing images and I'll make the repairs.
  • If you've ever wondered what size of design you should purchase for your project, you might want to check out this discussion of how to make a paper template to try a design against your work, even if you don't yet own the design.
  • If you're confused about the ordering process and would like more information, there are instructions here; if you're curious about why it's set up the way it is, you can read a bit of the history at length here.
  • When sending me your list of designs, please be sure to state the name of the design you want exactly as it appears on the site, in order to avoid confusion when I'm filling your order. Because these are electronic products, I won't be able to replace a design if I send the wrong one because the name was incorrectly stated!
  • Very rarely, Paypal fails to send me confirmation of an order, and if that happens I may not realize that something is amiss. If you place an order and don't hear anything from me within a few hours, please do let me know and I'll make it right.
  • I have updated the instructions for turning just about any embroidery design into an ornament, either felt-backed or embroidered on both sides. Find these new instructions here.
  • And always, if you have ordered some designs and have not had a response me within 24 hours, it means there's a glitch somewhere, so please please LET ME KNOW!  If I don't hear from you I won't know that my message didn't make it through, so please just send a quick e-mail to say you didn't get the designs, and I will make it right or issue a refund.

FEATHERWEIGHT TOTES & COVERS

Interested in making one of the lovely sewing machine totes and cases that are all the rage on line? They come in a variety of styles, but all look great in plain black with vintage decal designs stitched in gold! 

Find all manner of decals at this link, or grab the same set that Andrea and Cheryl used for their projects. On that same page, you'll also find links to on-line sources for patterns and instructions.

Andrea made the slipcover shown above; the tote at left was created by Sylvia, while Cheryl sent in the picture below. You can find many more images to spark your imagination if you search "Featherweight Case Covers" on line.

  • Check the bottom of each site page to find additional freebies, or click here to find some Potter-related free designs!

Look for more freebies throughout the site!