Sunday, July 24, 2016

Peace Cottage Quilt A Long and a Trip to San Jose to Adopt a Brother

How are you progressing on your Peace Cottage?  Videos are FREE and are released weekly on McCall's website at

If you have been reading my blog you will know that I have completed my quilt top and am ready for the borders. In the pattern she has you cut the first border at a different measurement than I am using. I wanted to use a striped pattern for my border and miter the corners so I will show you how I do this.

I picked out this pretty striped fabric from Moda, Lizzie's Legacy 1850-1860. I determined what part of the stripe I wanted to show in my border and then trimmed 1/4 inch beyond that. You will want to open your fabric out and take your time cutting through one layer at a time to get an accurate cut to work from. 

Cut in one direction then turn your strip and trim the otherside if necessary. This left me with some pretty narrow strips. Don't throw these out! They make great "ribbon" to wrap gifts. I store them in a drawer and when I need something pretty I may take one or several strips and wrap the package or use them to tie a bag shut.

After stitching your border on two opposite sides and pressing them open you are ready to attach the final two sides and miter.  Here's how I do it. There are lots of ways to create a miter, this just works for me. When stitching on your final two border strips, stitch only to the corner intersection where your pieces will cross as shown in the photo below. Don't freak out if you accidently stitched a couple stitches past, you can tease those out with your seam ripper. You want your stitching to come just to that first border strip.

Press the strip open just like you did for your first strips. TIP: make sure that you use your fingers to open out your fabric completely when you are pressing open your border. Your border strips should look like the photo below with your second strip laying across your first strip.

Now take your top strip and fold it to create your miter as shown in the photo below. Take your time and fold carefully until your pattern matches up. Finger press into place and insert a pin to hold it.

Now you are ready to trim off the excess strip fabric. I trim right to the edge of border strip first as shown in the photo below.

Now you have a couple options for sewing your mitered seam. I like to press my seam with the iron first and then I top stitch very close to the edge of the seam to finish my miter. When it's done I turn to the backside and finish trimming the strip 1/4 inch away from the seam. If you don't want to do that, you can press first, then fold out and use the pressed lined as your stitching guidline to stitch your strips together on the backside of the fabric. Or you can hand stitch and using a hidden whip stitch, you can carefully stitch your seam.

On to the Piano Key Border. In her directions in the magazine she has you cutting little pieces and then sewing them together...I'm lazy and don't want to be there forever, so I modified this part and stitched strip sets together and then cut them to the width indicated in the pattern.  

Take a moment and lay out your fabrics to see if you like your colors sequence, maybe you need to add more variety, or more of one color, maybe something is sticking out that you just don't like. This is the time to audition your picks before you cut and sew.

TIP: If you are going to sew strip sets, I would suggest that you make your strips 1/2 the width of your fabric. In other words, if your fabric is 44" wide, make your strip set only 22" wide. 

TIP: Only stitch about 5 or 6 strips together in your set, if you do too many it becomes unwieldy and defeats the purpose.

TIP: Mix up your sequence, having a variety of colors in your strip sets will make it more interesting when you stitch the bits together.

Carefully press open your strip sets, again, finger press them open first to make sure you are getting your strip all the way open. Press all your seams in the same direction. Line up your ruler and make sure that you are squared up before cutting your strips.

Stitch your segments together until you have enough to create your border.  I mitered mine so I used extra lengths of border to be able to create the miter the same as the first border.

My supervisor Sophie and my husband John helping me display the This one is in the stack ready for the longarm. I hope you're having fun making your Peace Cottage! And I would love to see your's when you get it finished!!!

So, a while back I think I shared that I found a sweet little Vintage Pink Brother Sewing Machine on Craig's List. 

These are wonderful machines, powerful enough to sew leather, with an adjustable feed dog that will allow you to shirr the finest fabrics. Straight stitch only, they are wonderful for quilting and will never wear out! This is the same machine at the Atlas, they were simply branded differently. Here is a brief little history you might enjoy.

The Sewing Machine Industry In Japan
  Sewing machines were introduced in Japan in 1860. Japan had domestic producers of industrial sewing during the Meiji Period (1868 - 1912) and the Taisho Period (1912-26), but it took some time for them to be manufactured domestically, so the consumer sewing machine market was held by Singer sewing machines imported from the U.S.  After 1931, the high dollar/weak yen weakened the competitiveness of imported sewing machines and more sewing machines began to be produced domestically.  After 1937, trade became restricted, sewing machine imports dramatically decreased, and domestic production increased.
  As sewing machines couldn't be imported due to the World War, Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and Brother Industries Ltd. produced industrial sewing machines for military uniforms, at the request of the Ministry of Clothing.  After the War, the munitions factories were converted, and sewing machines were produced.  Conditions in post-war Japan were conducive to the creation of a domestic and export sewing machine industry:
Sewing machines could be manufactured as parts and subassemblies in separate businesses

A large labor force of machinists looking for work

Idle small-scale machine shops in the Osaka area

Surplus of machine tools from the war industries

The Japanese government was subsidizing up to 50 percent of the cost of imported machine tools.

Greater consumer demand in the U.S. market than Singer could supply

    Singer filed suit against some of the Japanese sewing machine companies for infringement of the Singer patent and the use of the Singer name (Seager), but also pursued the creation of a joint venture, the Pine Machine, with a subsidiary of Nippon Steel. The Japanese government did not give approval to the joint venture Pine Machine until the other domestic sewing machine companies were strong enough to withstand the competition.

    It was difficult for the Japanese sewing machine manufacturers to break into the European markets because Europe applied the same sort of protective tariffs that Japan used to keep out competition. However Japan solicited the aid of European machine tool manufacturers because an expansion of sewing machine manufacture in Japan would increase the demand for European machine tools. The Japanese sewing machine companies got big orders from German sewing machine companies by showing them that Japan was manufacturing parts for their arch-rival Singer.

   Sewing machine manufacture was just about the first major export industry developed in Japan after World War II.  

Well my friend Brenda fell in love with my little pink Brother and she asked if I ever saw another one to let her know.  I spotted one on E-bay and asked the seller to send me some additional information and photos, which she did.  After winning the bid I let Brenda know that we had to take a trip to San Jose to pick up her new little Brother!  So excited, we took off at 10am, forgetting about how far San Jose is and underestimating how long it would take with traffic. It was a fun drive with the song "do you know the way to San Jose" playing in our heads the whole way! 

And Low and Behold, 12 hours later we were home and Brenda got her little Brother! Only thing we need to get for it is a bobbin tire and we are good!  What a gem, not a scratch on it and it is in fine running order having been used by a woman that sewed professionally, it has been well maintained.  The cases on these machines are usually in poor shape, don't let that deter you.  The machine is solid steel, all metal!  Avoid machines that have rust, or are chipped and show signs of abuse.  Check the belts, run the motor, look at the wiring. All of which can be replaced, but don't pay more than you have to.  These machines can be found for very little money, but find them locally, they are VERY HEAVY and will not ship cheaply!

If your machine case has a musty smell, which many of them do. I have several suggestions.  First, take the case outside and spray with a fabric deodorizor like Febreze spray, let it dry in the sun.  If you are putting your machine away in the case for a while, tuck in a couple of Downy Fabric Softner Sheets. Also tuck in those little absorbant packets that come with your electronic equipment, they will help keep any moisture out. Do Not Store your machine in a moist area, like your laundryroom or a damp basement. 

For the bottom of your machine case, often times there are rips or tears on the fabric that was used to cover the box. Hey, after 60 years you might have a few scrapes too! Carefully use some glue on a tooth pick and work the loose fabric bits back into place and secure them. When all the loose bits are secured, use a good shoe polish and polish your base, buff with a soft cloth. You may need to do this several times to build up a good protective coat. If the base has a funky odor you can tuck the fabric softner sheets inside the base under your machine carefully. You will be well rewarded for your efforts!

If you need a manual for your Brother or Atlas here you go!

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