I’m writing my post on Sunday night, because Monday we will be driving all day to pick up the kids from their Christmas vacation with their Dad. When this posts on Tuesday, we’ll be busily celebrating our Christmas with the kids. I am so excited! Before Tuesday gets here though, I’ve been a bit reflective today on 2015.
My Greatest Accomplishment in 2015: The Epiphany Bag
I spent a lot of time thinking about what my favorite accomplishment was this past year. I scrolled through my Instagram feed looking for a completed project. The only one I could immediately think of was the purse I made for my Mom for her birthday. Looking through my pictures, I was disappointed to realize that all of the projects I wanted to finish this past year did not get finished. I just didn’t have the time, and that makes me sad. I will be making a change here and there so that I have the time I need to work on these projects in 2016.
Nope. Not even one.
When the new year comes around I never make resolutions. I don’t believe in them. I do believe in deciding what I want my goals to be for the year and making a plan to achieve them. But resolving to get certain things done? That never works well for me. Because if my plans change, or whatever I resolved to do doesn’t get done in the way I hoped it would, then I feel like I’ve failed. And rather than set myself up for failure I just plan out my goals for the year. Goals can change, and when they do it is often done without thought of failure but with adaptability and acceptance that things can, and (usually) will, change.
So… What are my goals for 2016? I would like to get one quilt top WIP quilted and bound each month. I currently have 5 quilt tops that are ready to be finished. So I should have them all done by May. I signed up for the Bag of The Month Club which runs from January to June. I would like to get each bag completed within the month it is released, with the exception of May and June. We’re usually doing our summer preparation in May and we are usually vacationing in June. I also would like to sew one additional bag (from a different pattern I already have) monthly from January to April. After returning from summer vacation, I would like to continue sewing two bags per month as well as start, and complete, one quilt per month.
Pretty ambitious goals, but I am determined to get an Etsy shop up and running so that I can sell bags. I also love to quilt, and I don’t want to see that fall by the wayside while I sew my bags. So I will be making sure that both sewing endeavors get equal(ish) time. Other than making sure that I have time to sew, I just received a tool that will help make my goal of selling bags a reality: My new industrial walking foot sewing machine!
Rex RX-607 Z Industrial Walking Foot machine
Meet the newest addition to my sewing room: Dexter! Mister knew I have been scouring Craigslist for a used industrial walking foot machine that was portable and he ended up buying me one for Christmas. I had previously shown him a picture of a Sailrite machine on Amazon as a general guide of what I was looking for. He did a crap-ton of research (as per usual), and discovered that the Sailrite, Thompson (no longer manufactered), Omega, Techsew and Rex are all essentially the same machine. The Rex machines had negative reviews, but most of them were centered around the fact that the machines required some small (VERY small) assembly and didn’t look pretty. The Sailrite seems to currently be the popular machine as they have a lot of good tech support and the company does quite a bit of work to get these machines ready to sew right out of the box; including setting the machines into a nifty box. Mister knew I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a machine like this and that I am capable of getting a machine serviced and ready to sew without any stress on my part. Considering that, he was able to save a couple hundred bucks by going with the Rex rather than the Sailrite. To that I say: BRAVO!! (And THANK YOU!!)
Dexter in a table that previously housed a Singer 347
Mister and I went to the hardware store to buy some wood to make a box to set the machine in. After getting home he suggested that he had a sewing table with a Singer 347 in it that he bought for $15 at Goodwill, and Dexter would probably be better off set inside. He was right… it fits great! We spent Saturday rearranging one area of the hobby room so we could get the table and sewing machine set up. Side note: Mister is now refusing to call our shared hobby room the “Hobby room”. He says I’ve taken over 95% of the space so it is now officially the “Sewing room”. He’s not wrong.
Noting stitch lengths Dexter
I spent Sunday playing around with the machine. The machine was really tight to begin with, so I wiped off excess oil from some areas and oiled other dry areas. I used some lithium grease on a section of gears. It had almost no lubrication there. I ran the machine for about two hours and it definitely loosened up over that period of time. I also made stitch length markings on the machine, since it didn’t come with any on it. It doesn’t come with any lighting either, so Mister gave me a magnetic LED light that has a flexible neck. It is working out very nicely so far. The machine is set up like a vintage singer, so I am already very familiar with how to manage the tension and how to oil and maintain it. Bonus for not having a learning curve to deal with there!
I had a test piece of various fabrics put together that I used when trying to find a machine that could handle the thickness of bag seams I would be sewing. I had two pieces of Annie’s Soft & Stable, 1 piece of Pellon Peltex 70, 2 pieces of quilting cotton fused with SF101 Interfacing, and 1 piece of vinyl folded four layers thick. This was pretty much what I was sewing through when I made my mom’s handbag; the vinyl was the same thickness of a strap tab. Mister and I pulled out three vintage machines that he thought could handle that much thickness. All three failed when it came to the strap tab. I didn’t use my PQ1500 on this piece, since I had already sewed Mom’s bag with it and knew it could handle it, but it strained a lot and skipped stitches coming off of the strap tabs. I used the same test piece in Dexter and it handled it perfectly! No skipped stitches at all! I’m in love with this machine!
Stitching on vinyl
While I was trying to loosen up the sewing machine I decided to run some vinyl pieces through it. The longer piece is two layers thick and the smaller piece is four layers thick. This machine makes perfect stitches and handled it beautifully. After playing around with it for a while and seeing what it can do I decided to name it Beast. Mister suggested Dexter. And since it powered through all that material without remorse, I figured it earned the name. So Dexter it is!
I think I’ve chattered on long enough. This week my last sewing To-Do for 2015 will be to write one last post on a quilt I finished earlier this year and completely forgot to blog about. I will have it posted no later than New Years Eve so that I start off 2016 with a clean slate!
What were your favorite accomplishments in 2015?
What are your goals for 2016?
This week’s To-Do list:
- Write last blog post for 2015
- Celebrate the new year!
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