Matters of the Heart in Story Format – Tales of a Vancouver Girl

Category: crafts

Sewing Adventures: My iron committed suicide

I own a vintage sewing machine that I scored for free from Craigslist a few years ago. When I got it, it was covered in grime, and was missing its motor. When I finally got a motor for it, I didn’t really use it other than for hemming curtains and sewing random stuffed bunnies. You know, practical things.


Oh lopsided stuffed bunnies. You are in party mode!

The machine is a beauty! All metal construction, baby-blue and cream in color, and not a dent.

After I cleaned my vintage sewing machine

After I cleaned my vintage sewing machine

Here’s a video I took of it sewing: Vintage Brother Model 280

Well, I finally took that machine out this weekend and made myself a polka-dot single-pleat skirt. I got the tutorial from here (although I can’t say I followed it that closely). I got the fabric from Dressew downtown for $9.99 a yard. I only needed a yard although I bought two.

I sent the following photo over to show 6pence2life, and my ibff of 7 years says to me, “I didn’t know you could sew!” Well, crap, neither did I!


Teegan took this photo of me wearing my polka dot single-pleat skirt.

Actually, my mum came over on the weekend and she talked me through the fabric cutting part and we talked at length the order in which I would sew the pieces. My mum is a very experienced seamstress (for hobby). She can draft patterns, and can whip out high quality dresses, skirts and even coats. This woman is also a skilled crocheter and knitter. I learned how to crochet and knit from books, but she corrected the way in which I hold my hook/needles and yarn. This explains why I never get hand cramps, have even tension, and can get a projects done in record time.

While putting together the skirt, my iron died. No joke. It committed suicide and nor I or Nathan can get it to turn on. I think the iron was about 7 years old. What baffles me is that my sewing machine is probably 40+ years old, and it hasn’t even thought of failing on me. Anyhow, because my iron died on me, I couldn’t really prepare my hems properly so I basted (more than once) before putting my fabric through the machine.

This made me think about how I could get a vintage iron. Or perhaps, I should heat up cookie sheets and rub it against the fabric. Desperate time calls for desperate measures.

Side view

Side view

Unlike the tutorial, I sewed up the sides first using french hems, and the elastic goes around in the casing at the top. The reason is because, if the elastic ever wears out, I can easily change it and don’t have to take apart the whole skirt. I also added a blind hem at the bottom by hand (although my machine has a blind hem option).

I’ve fallen in love again with my vintage sewing machine. I’m itching to sew more things!


Like a hen revolting

I finished knitting my Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater during the last Stitch ‘n Bitch! My sweater held my fellow stitchers hostage until I seamed up the sleeves (I crocheted the seam) and weaved in the ends. Basically, the stitchers starved with me (living off vending machine food) or fended off a husband until I was 100% finished. We were on the brink of madness.

If you don’t know who Elizabeth Zimmerman was, she was essentially a knitting guru who always had an awesome tips about sweater proportions, construction, and more. This particular sweater is called the Hand-to-Hand sweater.

Wearing it proud!

Wearing it proud! This is the back of the sweater…if you can’t tell.

If you’ve never knitted from an Elizabeth Zimmerman “pattern”, what you should know is that it isn’t your typical pattern. She speaks more of general construction of sweaters, and she might give you stitch patterns, but she basically lets you figure out specific techniques. It’s akin to someone telling you how a bridge is constructed but it’d be your job as an engineer to figure out the appropriate materials, techniques for creation, etc.

fisherman's front

Front of the sweater!

I actually have the “pattern” to this sweater in one of my Elizabeth Zimmerman books. It is only two or three pages in large font. I think I read those paragraphs for 4 hours over the span of a few days before even starting because I am paranoid about failure.

I was like a proud little hen walking around in my sweater. I was like a hen that has somehow taken over reign of the yard by wrestling the rooster to the ground and revolting. I basically feel as though I stuck it to the man in some way.

It was a wet spring day in Vancouver today and this sweater was all I wore. I mean, I wore pants and all, but I didn’t wear a jacket. I’m really glad it’s made of Fisherman’s Wool. It’s slightly water repellant, and I know it to be wet-dry-warm.

I am clucking over here.

That duck’s gonna pop some tags

I took Easter Monday off from work and decided to hang with Mother Nature. She’s been complaining that we do not spend quality time together. She’s been waking me up by putting the sun in my eyes, flaunting her fantastic weather and not caring if I notice (but really hoping I notice)…actually, I think Mother Nature might be a cat.

I headed out for a morning run. It was HOT out and I nearly melted because I was running hills. When I say “running”, I mean, “sluggishly putting one lead leg in front of the other and knowing that an ant is probably beating me.”

I spotted plenty of cherry blossoms on my “run” and the trees are starting to look like they have been frosted with pink icing.

Frosting on tree-shaped cupcakes

Frosting on tree-shaped cupcakes

Are you sick of hearing about these cherry blossoms? Well, gotta warn you, they will likely last for 2 more weeks. So hold your breath until then, and then make a wish.

I also ran by this house which I think is amazing.



During the last leg of my run, I ran into some squirrels playing. They were chasing each other across the street and back again. I actually laughed aloud. Probably looked like a crazy person since I was sweaty, dishevelled and laughing to myself. I ran into the house to get walnuts, but they were gone when I got back outside. I kept the nuts in my pants (ha ha – I’m immature) but I never did run into them again.

Come back! I have nuts to give. No, not that kind.

Come back! I have nuts to give. No, not that kind.

After lunch, Nathan and I loaded up the car with our lawn chairs and headed to a park by the river. He took a nap in the sun while I knitted. The ducks were floating by. One of them was quacking loudly and yelling at its posse. I could be wrong, and it could just be floating by and singing Mackelmore’s Thrift Shop. It’s gonna pop some tags. I am having a heck of a time getting that song out of my head.

knitting by the river

Take me to the river, drop me in the water…well, actually, don’t. Wet clothes are not comfortable.

Also stopped by my father-in-law’s house. Look at the size of the flowers on this plant.

Amazing blossoms

Amazing blossoms

The man has a green thumb.

Running for President of Sweater Council

Bean was wearing an olive green sweater today and went into a soliloquy about the greatness of sweaters and how they are amazing for fat days. Did not want to interrupt his artful speech to let him know that they are not a new high-tech invention. His speech was so artful, you’d think he was running for President (of Sweater Council). I may run against him in this fictional, made-for-tv election.

Met up with coworkers for Stitch ‘n Bitch so here’s the weekly progress on my sweater.

Ever growing sweater

Ever growing sweater

I’m on the easy part now. I’ve picked up stitches and am knitting downwards for the rest of the body. Hard to believe I was still on the sleeve just a week ago.

I like seeing parts come together and this is not just true for knitting but also for people, information, and projects.

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