Wednesday, June 20, 2012

(Over) Dressed for the Occasion

I'm a big fan of historic movies where they all have horribly boring lives, but always stick to the requirements of society, and make "dressing for dinner" look like so much fun. Women had a dress specific to every occasion, whether it be for afternoon tea, riding a horse, or evening wear.

These days, society requirements have become a bit more casual, but we still have clothing specific to an occasion, and most people want to be in line with what everyone else is wearing. Well, after an experience I had today, I say it's time to step up the formality and let the jeans take a vacation.

I wore the Fantasia in red brocade to an appointment today. On my way home I decided I better save myself a trip and stop off at the grocery store. At first I felt a bit conspicuous walking up to the door with my long fish tail train swaying behind me, but before I could even pull out a grocery cart, a woman leaned over and said "Beautiful Dress!" I smiled and said thank you. As I looked up, I could tell right away this was going to be a different shopping experience. Right away, people made eye contact, nodded, and smiled at me. I didn't even make it to the produce when an employee asked me if I found everything alright (there is nothing in my basket yet!). As I make my way through the busy store, men step aside for me, women are friendly, and employees are exceptionally helpful. In my 30 minutes there, I received 4 compliments centered squarely on what I was wearing. Then I locked my keys in my car (that's another story altogether!). While I waited for my husband to come to the rescue, I contemplated on how what I was wearing completely changed my experience.

In the midst of my contemplation, my husband drives up. "I unlocked it for you...and by the way" he says " look lovely!" That makes 5!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Morse Sewing Machine, a question of popularity?

Today while I was updating my "about me" section, it made me think about the relatively unknown Morse brand sewing machine. Who has ever heard of Morse? Who hasn't heard the name of Singer? I found this great ad  for the Morse machine from 1963:

As a way of rating popularity, I looked up the words "Morse Sewing Machine" in the google key word tool. There were only 2900 monthly searches as compared to 368,000 searches for "Singer Sewing Machine".  Though it's not a true comparison of popularity- modern sewing machines still use the name of Singer, and Morse is no more- it saddens me to see such a fine machine lost in obscurity.

I wonder about the history. How did this happen? Did they advertise to the right crowd? Was the machine too expensive? Made in Japan- were people hanging on to WWII prejudice? Was the quality in question? Was it bought out by some larger company and then shut down? In those days, purchases were not made lightly, and products were meant to last. The Morse company went to the bother of qualifying for a Good Housekeeping seal of approval which meant something to the housewife. What more could someone do to get noticed by the public?

My mother bought this now unknown used machine for something like $35 around 35 years ago (As compared to a new $800 machine I bought that lasted for only 8 years!). She bought a New Home sometime after, but hung on to the old Mr. Morse intending to give it to my little sister who is now a beginning sewist. My sister took it for a short while, but wanted a modern machine with all the standard stitches. It took me a while but I convinced mom to let me have it, and I love it. It will sew any kind of fabric from fine to thick with perfect tension and feed. The machine sews quickly (which I need!), has no problems with winding a bobbin or using different kinds of thread. Though it won't do an automatic button hole, I'm not bothered by that because I learned long ago how to set my zig zag length and width to make a button hole manually.  If this were my only machine, I admit that I would miss having a blind hem stitch, but 99% of my sewing is with a straight stitch anyway. This machine gets much use.

My mom came over not too long ago and again mentioned giving the Morse machine to my sister. Sorry mom, but she had her chance. Mr. Morse doesn't want to sit under her table waiting and waiting for a little love while my sister stitches away on her modern plastic model. Mr. Morse and I have a love affair with each other, and he belongs to me.

Thank you Ron Anderson of  A1 Sewing Machine Specialists at
for providing a copy of this letter found inside of a manual telling us more about the origination of the Morse Sewing Machine:

Sorry folks! I can't help you find parts, nor do I own a manual. Good luck with your search!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Style and Pattern Giveaway!

Are you ready for some great summer sewing? We finished the Spin Skirt pattern just in time for summer and it's a winner when it comes to wearability. I've been wearing this skirt for several months while we finish with all the details for publishing, it's become my favorite go-to skirt for so many occasions. You might have seen me wearing it at the Puyallup Sew Expo.

Go to this page to see more photos of all three views:

With the "reveal" of this skirt pattern, I promised a giveaway. I also said that if I had 200 likes on FB, I would give away a second pattern (so you have more chances of winning!). To enter the giveaway, do one of these three things (or all three!)

1) be a follower and make a comment below.
2) "like" on FB and make a comment.
3) Get on, or be on the mailing list and make a comment at
For still another chance:
4) Get a friend or friends to comment (your friend must mention you by name also) to get another entry.

To be chosen, you must make it easy for me to contact you by email through your submission methods. Otherwise, your submission will be voided and we will pick another entry. The deadline will be midnight, Wed. June 13. 

Good luck!

June 15 update: Winners Announcement! (Drum Roll Please!)
Congratulations go to Tanya Fletcher and Daina Priest! 

Okay girls, don't waste this fabulous luck of the random draw by letting this pattern sit in solitary confinement on the top of your sewing pile. It is meant to be used, worn and loved, and should you decide you don't have the time to put it to use, I have a long list of other gals who will gladly take your place. Speaking of that long list: I send a big hug and a thank you to all who entered. I really wish I could give a pattern away to each and all of you!  To Tanya and Daina: Please send photos! We want to enjoy your lovely creations too!