Hidden Gem

About two years ago I inherited an old sewing machine in a table that belonged to my mother-in-law’s mother. Because it had not been used in more than 25 years, I was afraid to use it. So I never really opened it to look at it. All I knew was it was a New Home machine, was old, and green. Avocado green from the 60’s.


I had never heard of New Home so I just passed it off as a small name brand. It did not, however, go completely unused. I have a 20 year old Kenmore machine that I bought brand new right out of high school that had no real home. I have used the kitchen table or a desk in the past. I even resorted to putting it on the floor of my apartment using my knee to drive. My roommate thought I was crazy, but you gotta do what you gotta do. This old sewing table was perfect and my machine finally had a home. I no longer had to use the kitchen table that shook when I was too driving fast.


A little back tracking here. We live in an old house. I mean old. Our house is celebrating its 120th birthday this year. Yeah, that kind old. It’s a farm house but it ain’t tiny. There are three bedrooms and the smallest is 17×19. Most masters are that size in new homes! And that’s the smallest! Since we have 4 boys and they have only started growing, they needed more space for their beds and to play inside, and out of the way. So we swapped rooms. We moved the boys into our 20×20 room and we moved into the small 17×19 room. I joked to my husband that we are adults now since we have a sitting area in our room. We could have had one before, but I had too many things stored on the floor instead of taking it to the attic. The swap helped with that part.

When I was moving my sewing machines, I decided to dust it off a little and check out the inside finally. I did, after all, have my machine sitting on top for the past two years.  I laid out both leafs and lifted up the green monster sleeping inside. As I was looking at it I found the manufacturers plate and that’s when I got excited. New Home was a brand of Janome. WHAT?! I had a Janome machine sitting under my nose, literally, for the past two years and I didn’t even know it! DOH!


My husband reminded me that while his grandfather was tight fisted, he was not going to waist money on a cheap machine. I’m still too afraid to turn it on before I get it serviced. It’s missing the owners manual, but I still have the parts list and the pattern cams for making decorative stitches. Now I have to learn how to thread this vintage machine and get to sewing!


Here’s to some happy sewing!!

Mama Bear 

Call Me Captain… A Tutorial

One of the things that I love to do is sew.  Right after high school I bought my first (and only) sewing machine.  It got some minor use those first few years.  I tried to throw myself in to making a quilt, but I never finished it and finally threw it out several years ago.  Once, I had to hem something, and instead of putting in on a table like a normal person, I set it up on my living room floor.  I plopped myself on the floor, using my knee push the peddle.  My roommate at the time never even thought to remind me that we had a perfectly useful table not 10 feet away.  I think she liked to laugh at some of the things I would do.  Hey, I’m here to please!  Any who, I like sewing.  I find it calming.  Even when my project is difficult and makes me frustrated, I love sewing.

Just before my week long hiatus, Buddy and Happy discovered the child sized apron in the pantry.  They then proceeded to wear it like a cape.  I love their imaginations!  Running around like little superheroes.  Love it!  While this was cute, all I could see was someone getting seriously hurt.  Besides, there was only one apron and three boys trying to wear it all at once.  Thus enters the sewing machine.  I had seen several patterns on Pinterest for capes and decided to make some for the boys.  Enter a trip to wally world to get some supplies.

– Satiny fabric for front in 3 colors – 3/4 yrd each
– Satiny fabric for backing – 1 1/2 yrd
– Small amount of a silver fabric – 1/8 yrd
– Velcro

Soon I was whipping up some little capes for my little superheroes.  I didn’t use a pattern, I just kind of went with what felt right.  Rebel, I know.  I cut their initials out of the silver fabric and used a paper template that I made.  Then I placed the top fabric on the backing lining up the corners and sides.  Cut the extra backing fabric and save for other capes.  Then cut both pieces of fabric at the same time along the fold.  This will give you two “capes”.   I saved the second backing for another cape.  Remember, I’m making 3 capes.  Also, be sure to press your fabric first.  It will come home very, very wrinkly.

Now, with both pieces still together, fold in half long ways.  From here decide which end will be the top.  Cut a very, very gentile curve starting from about 6″ down the side to about half way to the fold.  This creates the neck of the cape.  Keeping the cape folded, cut another curve across the entire bottom starting about 4-6″ up from the bottom.  Keep the scrap top fabric that you just cut off, this will become the tabs for wearing the cape.  Now to attach the letters.  I used a temporary spray adhesive to keep the letters in place while stitched.  I probably should have used some kind of stabilizer, but remember, rebel.  This did make the cape and letters pucker a little, but I wasn’t worried about perfection.  These boys needed some capes ASAP!!

Do you still have that scrap top fabric I told you to keep?  This is where you need it.  Cut a strip about 3″ high along the longest side so you’ll have a strip about 3″ x 16″ or more.  Fold in half and sew a 1/2″ seam all the way around all sides.  No turning whole needed.  Huh?  Yes, no turning whole needed, just keep on sewing till you get back to where you started.  Now, fold in half and cut into two 7″ strips.  Trim the corners, turn, and press.  See!  Easy tabs!

Time to make the cape!  Place your two sides right sides together.  The letter should be on the inside.  You can pin it, but I like to live dangerously so I just held it together as I went.  You probably should pin the tabs on at the corners of the neck though, leaving a little of the ends extending past the edge and the finished ends tucked to the inside between the two pieces of cape.  (It will look like it has little ears.)  Using a 5/8″ seam allowance, I started at about 2″ from one tab in the neck section and back stitched several times over the tabs to reinforce them.  Continue all the way around and back stitch again at the second tab stopping just past it.  DON”T CLOSE THE WHOLE!!  Trim the corners, turn and press.  Now you can close the whole and attach the Velcro to the tabs.

TA DA!! Capes!!

Heroes for the Day

Heroes for the Day

Yes, it looks like they are peeing into the fireplace.  But, hey, they are superheroes and some times that means putting out fires!  Thanks for hanging in there with me through this one.  It is my first tutorial, and next time I will take pictures along the way so you can see what the heck I’m talking about!

Until next time!