Today, I thought I'd share with you a half scale garment I've been working on for a historical pattern making class I'm in. This is fairly typical evening silhouette from the third bustle period (Victorian Era circa 1880s). I absolutely love working with half scales, even more so on my Featherweight!
Just like in garment construction, fit is key. Presser feet are no different.
Usually when people talk about presser feet, they're talking about the whole slew of feet types that accomplish different specialty functions like zipper feet, or buttonhole feet. However, regardless of function, each presser foot attaches to your machine at the shank via a thumbscrew or a separate mounting mechanism. Over the years, shank shape and height have evolved depending on the manufacturer. More importantly, each machine only works with presser feet made for its specific shank type.
The two most common hook types are rotary hooks and oscillating hooks. Rotary hooks spin around 360 degrees while oscillating hooks rotate about 200 degrees before doubling back on itself and never complete a full rotation. For the vast majority of people, there is no practical difference. As a rule of thumb, rotary hooks are capable of achieving much higher top speeds because there is minimal resistance on the hook when spinning all the way around. Oscillating hooks on the other hand, need to reverse momentum with each oscillation, thereby introducing a ton more resistance and vibration
Prior to going vintage, I've spent more money than I'm willing to admit on many different modern machines. I've tried everything ranging from bare bones Singers, budget Brothers, mechanical Berninas, and computerized Janomes.
I remember feeling completely overwhelmed with machine choices when I first started getting into sewing. Like with most other purchases, I waded through myriad of reviews online. What I found was that even after countless hours of research, I'd constantly get sucked into feature creep--drawn by the allure of more stitch patterns and more automatic features. And while all of this sounds terrific in theory, I found out (the hard way) that I didn't need or even want these features in practice. In fact, sometimes, just having those extras can make basic functionality on your machine less practical to use!
One of the things I really like about puppet building is that it draws upon such a wide variety of skills. Students learn how to cut fabric from a paper pattern, work with foam, learn about fabric nap and grain lines, learn how to sew darts, apply proper pinning technique, practice hand stitching, and best of all, get to explore their creative side by customizing their designs!
I've talked a lot about vintage portables in the last couple months, so today I'm going to switch things up a bit and weigh in on the extreme opposite end of the spectrum, vintage industrial machines. While similar to domestics, industrials are typically built for highly specialized operations and perform those functions quickly, tirelessly and efficiently.
Ray White is highly regarded as one of the most knowledgable vintage machine repairmen still around today. He is truly from a different era--heralding from the days when companies actually took pride in their craftsmanship and offering superior customer service--well before planned obsolescence was invented.