Sunday, May 3, 2015

Field trip

Last week my friend Jess and I took a li'l hour-and-a-half trip up the road to St Charles and visited the Midwestern outpost of Nick-O Sewing. This was my first time visiting an industrial sewing machine shop and, needless to say, I was pretty excited. A huge thanks to Bob and Dave for talking machines with us and telling us about the history of the St Louis rag trade.
The showroom is nestled in an industrial park just off of 70. We only drove past it once.

They have all sorts of machines on hand, but their primary focus seems to be on heavier models -- lots of compound-feed machines in there.

Backroom, full of old machines waiting for some love.

HD double needle.

 277/335-style clone with binder base.

Quad-needle chainstitch with roller puller.

The leatherworker corner: 341s and 227s. They had just sold a used Juki 441 ... sad that I missed it. Maybe next time.

We ended up walking out with a used Yamato 5-thread serger with safety stitch (chainstitch next to the overlock stitch). This came out of a St Louis garment factory that made dancewear. It was covered in glitter fuzz.

Z610 C5DA. It's gonna be a nice li'l machine to have around. Need to find out what the Z stands for ... and find a manual for it.

Whoever came up with the serger is a bonafide genius. If there's a machine that runs on magic, it's the serger.

This is emblazoned on the table. Fitting, since this is where we live.

We went to Nick-O in search of a coverstitch machine, and left with a serger, so we'll be back. I also gave them a wishlist that includes a 441 and shoe patcher. Good times.

Saddle stitch

I've been reading about hand stitching leather for a while now, and after hearing so many people recommend Al Stohlman's The Art of Hand Sewing Leather (1977) on, I bought it.
It's full of great illustrations and lots of weird emphatic old-man ellipses. A compact wealth of knowledge, truly.

This is one of the best resources for American Western-style hand stitching. I haven't looked too much into other styles, but Nigel at Armitage Leather has a great YouTube channel if you're interested in the English tradition.


I tell you what: they don't make sewing machine manuals like they used to...

 Singer 15-90.

Singer buttonholer automaton.

Photos of actual machines to come.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Glove fixin'

Been experimenting with patching blown-out glove fingers with scrap leather and Tandy's Eco-Flo leathercraft cement. So far so good. Dunno about that li'l hole in the tip, though ... we'll see about that.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ode to 206

Here's a nice little piece about Tom Bihn's Consew 206RB, a great sewing machine for bagmaking and sewing heavy stuff:

A gift

I received a squishy package from The New Yorker the other day and thought, Oh cool! a canvas tote. I was wrong: It's the worst bag ever. Which is funny, since last year I got a canvas tote from Entertainment Weekly and it's real nice. Go figure.

Too big for its own good and made from stinky plastic, with the fixed shoulder strap sharing a seam with the zipper, my first reactions was, The New Yorker is just mailing junk to people! They should've saved their money, lit it on fire, taken a picture of the blaze and then emailed me a copy of that picture with a note saying "We were going to send you some shitty promo-merch gewgaw, but we did this instead to thank you for renewing your subscription." To which I would have replied: "I'm glad you did that, New Yorker — that's much better." But then I calmed down and thought, Hey, you know what, someone probably spent three or four minutes making this sad little bag. I should give it a chance.
So far, I've come up with these possible uses. If you also have a too-big-it's-bad plastic New Yorker magazine bag, maybe this will inspire you:

>Trashcan liner in the bathroom.
>A place to store my horded fabric scraps — I'm thinking for Sunbrella, as the NYer bag probably also contains formaldehyde.
>A place to keep dryer lint, 'cause, you know, that comes in handy sometimes.
>Pine cone bag. Sometimes it's fun to throw pine cones onto a campfire, hey. (Do not get bag too close to fire! It will melt.)
>For a one-time transfer of a large amount of money. (Do not use shoulder strap for this application! It will fail.)
>When donating unwanted clothing to the Goodwill.
>For a one-time transfer of a large amount of drugs. (Do not use shoulder strap for this application! It will fail.)
>Cat toy.