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!