Thursday, January 28, 2016

Super Supernovas

A few of you have chuckled about my "wall of shame" where I referred to a whole collection of Vikings that might not ever get fixed (but I do have a goal of fixing them). Now I fear I have a shelf of Necchi's that might have to be labeled a "shelf of shame" due to their various failures and mine.

Tuesday dawned and I was finally going to get my international shipping accomplished. There was a hold-up at the post office at my work and they finally said we-don't-know-what-to-do and I ended up taking the Domestic sewing machine to my local USPS. Only five minutes of looking at my forms and the paid receipt I received six hours after payment, they slapped the labels on and said GO! I headed on over to one of my favorite resale stores because it's senior day on Tuesday = 40% off. And there it was, a Necchi Supernova. Very dirty, in a cabinet, crumbling wires, but it was a Necchi! All of the moving parts moved but I knew this was dangerous ground so I walked away. Please note: I walked away. Once home I told my husband and he said "So where is it?" and I had to brag about my severe restraint: I didn't buy it...until I asked. We headed back and looked it over, figuring it wasn't a bad deal at $6. That's right, $6.

One very dirty Supernova
We got it home and I took it out of the cabinet immediately and started to put new wires on it. I used the same foot control but all new wire and their plug for the machine and my new plug for the wall outlet. We plugged it in and the foot control crackled. STOP! After much discussion I used a different foot control: SMOKE. So again it was STOP but now the multi-meter came out and all of the connections were tested. It was decided since both of the foot controls were older and untested maybe we just had two bad ones? I retried with a know good foot control and got the same result: crackling. Upon closer inspection of the plug into the machine, it looked like it I might have pushed the points into the wrong "lanes" on the cord, causing it to feed back into itself. That sounds very confusing so here's a photo:
Wire lays down into the channel (top) and covered with plate (bottom)
Not sure what's going to happen now but I'll clean her up and set aside until I can get more information about this model. In the meantime, I have another one that is working but has been languishing. I get it out and try to remember what was not working right and it comes down to the cams not turning.
Center spindle for the cam sorta turns but since there are no cams to fit maybe it does work right?
 Even more important, I do not have a cam that fits this model and I have two sets, just not for this one. Sigh. I put it back with notes on the label and hope I can find the right cams. Always hopeful.

One final look at that very dirty Supernova:
Yea, she needs a good cleaning and that's going to have to be enough for now. Shelf of shame? She joins two others that are for parts. Always hopeful.

Monday, January 25, 2016

New Leaf

The Big Room Switch continues as I sort and arrange the supply of sewing machines and all of the paraphernalia that goes along with repairing and selling them. Now that I'm past the shock of it and getting some of the less glamorous parts taken care of (boxes of foot controls, motors, and electrical parts) I've been able to examine some of the machines that have sat idle too long without any solution or even a label. I decided I needed something that could take the place of the large table that held so many of the repair supplies and found this rolling set of mesh baskets on Craigslist:
IKEA cart
It's really pretty big but I love how much it holds and with wheels I can pull it out to get to the shelves behind it, when necessary. There is a small cabinet next to this, holding a Singer 15-91, that I can put a machine on as a small workbench. It's not ideal but it does fit and works for most of the jobs I do. Bigger jobs will still require me to use the dining room table but it's not a bad compromise.

As I was checking up on various sewing machines that were a bit of a mystery, I found this one way in the back:
White 674
The case was marked "White - stitches" so I expected it to not stitch quite right. Nope, not a thing wrong with her. She is just lovely with a good stitch and she sounds so quiet. Accessories still need to be gathered but I think I'm going to pass on finding the right set of cams for decorative stitches. I've had this model before and know that the designs on the cams are a bit weird and they are difficult to remove. It still stitches zig zag and straight stitches with reverse and can even drop its feed dogs so it's a great basic machine. The case is in poor shape so I want to recover it and then find someone who will love it!

There were some machines that I found I don't have the skills to repair so I set them aside to work on over the summer because I'm going to get those skills real soon: I registered for Ray Whites Sewing Machine Repair Class April 21-23! I'm so excited! My husband has agreed to drive down to Missouri with me even though he's not taking the class, we have reservations at a local motel, and I got the class reservation confirmation this morning. Yea! There are rave reviews for his class and I think this is what I need to fill in the gaps of what I've learned ...but not enough or the right way. I'll keep you informed of my progress!

My wall of shame is turning into more of a storage unit but here's how it looked after a weekend of organizing:
This will motivate me to sell, sell, sell so I can walk around in there and keep me from buying that next "bargain" when I already have one of those models. Whew! The sewing takes place on the other side of the room and I hope to be getting back to that very soon. It does feel good to have all of this in one place and I'm not too mad at my husband about it now - but don't tell him that.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Going International

Although I write about vintage sewing machines and all kinds of sewing topics in this blog, I have a business of buying, refurbishing, and selling these sewing machines, too. The average sales are about one per week over the course of the year, possibly on the uptick this year, but it's all done locally. Until now.

In a prior post about a cool cabinet I refinished the top on and supplied it with a different sewing machine, I showed the original sewing machine, a Domestic 725:

Domestic 725

It's rather cool looking, a bit like art deco, no?
1939 home called Monte Vista in San Antonio
Imagine my surprise when I got an email from John who also admired this sewing machine and said he more than admired it, he wanted to buy it. I have yet to ship any sewing machine although I've received a few in shipments so I know how it's done. Here's the kicker: John lives in Scotland. I not only get to ship my first sewing machine out but it's international to boot!

Many emails go back and forth while try to figure out how to do this as painlessly as possible. Fortunately, USPS has you do all of it online, only having to get the correct weight from the post office which I can easily do from the post office at work. John will pay, I will ship, all will be happy but not yet. Here's how the packing up goes:

  • Wrap accessories up in bubble wrap, tape package together (was in two parts).
  • Wrap knee controller and power cord in bubble wrap, tape package together.
  • Wrap entire upper arm and bed of the machine in bubble wrap, nesting accessory packages on the bed and filling in space with bubble wrap. 
  • Pack bubble wrap into base, continuing to wrap and tape.
  • Wrap sharp corners with firm Styrofoam packing material and overwrap and tape.
  • Wrap more bubble wrap around entire head, taping firmly.
Sewing machine head wrapped with controller in front
  • Place in box and fit more bubble wrap into sides and bottom. Add wrapped controller/cord and paper manual. Include address of sender and destination on piece of paper.
  • Tape box shut and firmly tape.
Box 1
  • Place box inside of a larger box.
  •  Place firm foam rubber around sides, filling in any space with firm fiberfill.
Box 1 with foam padding inside Box 2
  • Tape box securely.
Now it's finally ready to get weighed but it is still under 30 pounds on our home scale. Whew! It's ready to set sail going to a country I've never been to. Sail away, Domestic 725: John awaits your arrival!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Moving Day

Long weekends can be wonderful and also challenging. We are in a deep freeze with two weekends in a row having below zero temps and wicked windchill so it's a good time to stay inside and sew. Taking a look at my UFO's (unfinished objects), I made up a black gingham apron with a corner of a vintage tablecloth for accent:
Gingham was almost cream so went nice  with tablecloth corner
Loved how easy it was and practical, too. Next up was a girls dress from "Girls Style Book" by Tsukiori in chambray with red gingham bias trim. These patterns are easy with simple lines that just beg for interesting fabrics or embellishment.
Pretend it's pressed and pins out of the hem!
Next up was the Kenmore 158-1980 where I had two models, sold one to a nice young couple, but the second one seemed to be doomed. Carolyn was interested but she wanted one with the bobbin case that would come out easily with just a small screw driver (or pin) to pull out the yellow "wings"that releases the case. This is especially good when you use fabric that is linty and you need to clean out the bobbin area frequently, a feature on my original Kenmore and I also grew to love it. When I sat down to make sure the machine was going to show its good side, it did not have the easy-release bobbin case. What? I was sure it did but maybe that was the machine that went to the young couple. Oh no, Carolyn was not going to like this but it was too late to get a hold of her. Besides, now that I was stitching that wasn't going well either. It was somewhat of a perfect storm of mistakes but Carolyn was gracious, tried sewing with it and explained her job as a professional seamstress. This was only going to be a back-up sewing machine but she did have to have the removable bobbin case. I was mad at myself for this big goof but we parted amicably. Now I had the time to take a look at my bobbin cases and try out two of the type she wanted.
Like this one (but cleaner!)
 It fit! I was ready to call her to relay the big news but then I sewed with it. Tension was very wrong (oh yeah, it was a different bobbin case) and the swing of the needle in zig zag left many skipped stitches. Sigh.

With an extra day at home, I had two wonderful ladies coming from a Friends of the Library group to buy sewing machines. Evidently, they had way too many young teens asking for books on how to sew and they wanted to give sewing lessons on sewing machines, ones that would work well and not be too expensive. They knew they hit the mother load when they saw my "Learn to Sew Sewing Machines" ad on Craigslist. With six sewing machines set up on the kitchen/dining table, they tried all six and said "Let's take them all!" so I was one happy business woman. They announced they would be back to buy machines for themselves so now we are friends!

After they left I had the task of moving my sewing room from one side of the basement to the other. It was decided it might be better to have all of my sewing stuff together and all of the "other" storage stuff in the spare room. Now, these are small rooms at best but it was going to be a big task. At the end of the day, all of it got moved but it's not a pretty sight:
Somewhat a "wall of shame" huh?
By count, there are 75 sewing machines either in portable cases or just as heads, and then about eight sergers, too. Something is going to have to be done. Next I prioritized my inventory with good machines on shelves with model numbers, machines that need help in the floor or listed for $10, and hopeless were broken down for parts. This is a big project but I hope it makes for less chaos in the end. Maybe this is what is due for having way too many sewing machines and not enough time or skill to fix them. Another sigh.

But hope does seem to spring eternal: I sat down with the Kenmore in hopes of getting it straightened out and last night it finally worked! There were some adjustments to the needlebar I had only done a few times before but it seemed I needed to finesse the width and position of the zig zag and move the needle bar down. Since I could not seem to get it to move down, upon closer inspection I did find out I could move it forward and backward. A small adjustment forward seemed to help the thread to catch in the hook on the left and right side of the zig zag. Much practice and "settling in" produced a fine stitch, even at the widest width.  This was indeed a silver lining.
Kenmore 158-1980

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Industrial Strength

Since the sewing machine garage sale I've been in touch with Tess who has been trying her best to fill orders for her hand made dog collars. Business is booming but her sewing machines have been giving her problems. The lovely little Kenmore 148-273 in a compact desk went home with her but, even though she loves it, there were problems with the heavy materials she was working with:

Kenmore 148-273
The belt kept slipping, stitches weren't quite what she had hoped for, and there were many emails back and forth while we tried to make this work. Finally I loaned her my Singer 201-2 since she needed something more heavy duty. I did advise her to seek out an industrial sewing machine since she needed piercing power for the nylon webbing and even sent a few links to local models for sale. I was trying to take a look at one, the Consew CP-206R but couldn't get the seller to answer back. Now I know why: Tess got there before me and bought it. Way to go Tess! There were still problems and I didn't know anything about this machine so I wasn't much help until I saw another ad for the same model. What? Was Tess trying to sell hers? Nope, another one came up for sale and I got it:

Consew CP 206R
It came in a portable case, something of a rarity for an industrial sewing machine, just perfect for the occasional user. I shied away from industrial's since they usually came with big, heavy tables with large motors than are mounted underneath. But I keep getting inquiries from people who would like to buy one so now I'm ready to start exploring at least this portable model.
Walking foot mechanism on back of the presser foot
The Consew CP 206R is a straight stitch with reverse walking foot sewing machine that does only one thing but does it so well. I downloaded a free manual but was scared to start stitching. There were warnings about throwing off the timing if you don't start the stitches right so I was very careful...but still got knots and loops of thread underneath. I stopped and got back in touch with Tess. She already had her's serviced and the man showed her how to use it. Well, I wasn't going to do that since I had the receipt for recent service on mine, I just needed to know how to get it started. Online videos were suggested so I watched portions of a very long one that gave me some good tips:
  1. Start with threads pulled out the back and hold them there.
  2. Put needle into fabric then lower presser foot.
  3. Move handwheel to make the first couple of stitches.
  4. With take up lever high up but in the decending position (going down) put foot on the foot control and give it some gas.
  5. Let the machine start and sew without me moving the handwheel: do not touch it!
That's what worked for me; apparently, if you get your hand in there to assist the handwheel you can mess it up. Now it stitched! It's pretty loud and feels stiff but I got it to stitch with the very heavy thread that came with it. Now I just needed a project to work on.

Back of Consew with black bars of the walking foot mechanism
I remembered a set of heavy fabric placemats that I had started on so I got them out of my UFO (UnFinished Objects) storage and gave them a try. I didn't like the look of the heavy black thread so I tried some khaki colored thread that matched the thread I used on the one I had already quilted. It worked! On the first one I had used a quilting bar that measured the correct distance but there was no place to insert the bar with the walking foot on the Consew.  I ended up drawing stitch lines with marking chalk/soap and it went much faster. I couldn't tell the first one made on a regular sewing machine and those made with the industrial sewing machine. I added the bias binding and then hand-stitched it on the reverse side:
Yup, even camouflage on the table
Did they turn out better? Nope: they all look exactly the same. Was it easier? Maybe just a touch but what I noticed was when I came to the intersection of stitches it sailed right over them, no puckering or hesitation. Maybe this wasn't that heavy of a project but the camouflage fabric is canvas-like so with the batting and heavy backing fabric it was heavy enough to cause my regular sewing machines to labor. I'm very happy to put these placemats in my Etsy shop and I notified the person who requested them (sorry it took me ten months to get them done!) and now maybe I won't have to shy away from using heavy fabrics and projects like this. I'll keep it for awhile and when someone wants to buy one of my sewing machines for their heavy projects I can ask "Would you like to see the portable industrial sewing machine I have for sale?" I can speak more knowledgeably than just you-need-an-industrial-sewing-machine response. Honestly, I had about six people in the past year who might have bought this machine...but maybe I'll keep it.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Saturday dawned a cold day outside but it was a warm welcome that I got from the quilting group up in Cambridge at the First Baptist Church. Back in September I did a bit of show and tell at the first meeting of the  new year, talking about how great vintage sewing machines could be. A few of them were already believers but after my talk I sold several to members of their group and made some new friends. It was fun to go back and this time show them how they could clean their sewing machines inside and out. I loved to see what they were working on but especially all of those sewing machines! Of course, they were portable and mostly "white plastic" but they really had some very nice ones and I was only too glad to admire them:
I spy the Singer 99's bentwood case on the far right: yup, she bought it from me after my last visit!
They had already been working an hour when their leader, Gale, gathered them together around my small set-up of two sewing machines, a Signature from the 1970's and a Brother from the 1990's. The various parts were labeled and I talked about what could be cleaned on the outside and what could be cleaned and oiled on the inside. The top would come off the Signature sewing machine to look inside and oil, but the Brother was all sealed up, as most of their sewing machines were, too. We talked about what could be done in the bobbin area with a brush and a drop of oil in the right spot. They were invited to bring up their own machines and any questions and I had two nice women who showed me their sewing machines and wondered if they could be put to right again.

Here's the first woman with a very nice Pfaff that she said was not working as good as it used to so with a few screws removed under the handle this is what we found:
What is that stuff?
She was speechless. I wasn't sure what all of the junk was but it seemed like some kind of linty stuff so we got cleaning with sewing machine oil on cotton swabs. In the meantime, there was another woman with a Viking 150, I believe, that she bought at a thrift shop that she wanted to get working. It did work but seemed way too sluggish to her so we just took a good look at it:
The top did not come off but we found the bobbin area could be taken apart and, boy, was there a whole bunch of lint in there! While she worked away with cotton swabs and tweezers, I went back to the first sewing machine where it was now looking pretty good. While they worked on cleaning up their own sewing machines I walked around the room and talked with everyone and answered questions that I could but most women just wanted to know that their sewing machine was okay. Of course, they were fine and with their new bottles of Triflow sewing machine oil they hope to keep them running good. I bought a dozen bottles of Triflow as part of the class I hoped to teach but with no students I brought them along for the quilt group and sold all but two!

Back to the Pfaff that had so much lint, it was now cleaned up inside but as we were getting ready to place a few drops of oil in select spots I found a thread stuck in the take-up lever. Try as we might, it was going to need needle nose pliers at home to get it all out. The ouside was finally cleaned with TR3 Resin Glaze and now she was going home with her sewing machine looking and acting like new again. All of the lint cleaned out and a few drops of oil made all the difference so wait until that stuck thread was removed!

The Viking was now much, much cleaner and when put back together and tried out: success! It ran great, full of pep that it didn't have before. This sewing machine is going to be used by an exchange student who has shown an interest in sewing and now it will be a great machine to learn on. I think we all went home pretty happy with our conversations about sewing and the machines we use to accomplish it.

Back home again and working on my own sewing projects, but first I better order another dozen bottles of Triflow oil so I'm ready for the next time.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Other Duties As Assigned

There are many days when my job is busy and even hectic and at other times I'm at my computer all day in my office. Then there are days when we get to have other duties that make our jobs interesting. Just last month I made a series of costumes and props for a Star Wars themed break from final exam week. Today I fixed the new sofas that came not quite to our specifications.

It started when our old leather sofas could no longer be repaired and were getting pretty shabby looking. The search for new furniture was long and arduous but we finally ordered two long sofas, a few chairs, and several cubed ottomans. The big day came for delivery and when the sofas appeared there was a bit of head shaking. Was this the color we wanted? Somehow it looked "off" so the samples were brought out and, much to our dismay, they were the wrong shade of brown, more of an olive brown. At first we were just happy to have the new furniture in place but then the consensus was it needed to be the color we originally picked out. After many phone calls and much finagling, we were able to order the right color sofas and kept the olive tone models and were charged a much smaller price for their mistake.

For the most part we are happy but then we noticed only the bottom cushions were tethered to the frame and the back cushions are just loose. But we ordered them to all be tethered! After a round of sighs I suggested we might be able to do this ourselves so I got to work. Vinyl in a similar color was found and small D-Rings were bought so I brought my Singer 201-2 into work for the day. Here's one of the vinyl straps with a D-ring attached getting sewn into the end of the cushion, right above the zipper pull:

As only a 201-2 can do, it sailed right through the many layers of vinyl and the nylon zipper teeth. Here's how it looked on the inside of the cushion:
and then on the outside:
The D-ring gets snapped into another clip that is tethered via an elastic strap. Although the bottom cushions are tethered on both sides, it was only going to happen on one side of the back cushions due to their construction. Here's the ring with the elastic strap:
We only rigged this up to the sofas that are not inside the library itself, where they are at the entrance and actually outside in the hallway. I know that sounds strange but our buildings are connected and the library is on the third and fourth floor of one of the centrally located buildings. That hallway and lounge area gets a lot of use and we just didn't want those back cushions to wander away. Here's the whole thing done and in place:
That's right, you can't even tell. It's supposed to be that way, just like underwear: you need to have it but we don't want to see it. I could do this because I knew I had a sewing machine that would sew all those layers of vinyl, my trusty Singer 201-2. Have I mentioned I love that sewing machine? Indeed I do.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Yes, we are Still Stitching

As promised, I watched the film Still Stitching, produced by James and Brenda Wolfensberger of New Savvy Productions and think it's worth the price in time and money to watch. At first, I thought a film only fifteen minutes shy of two hours was going to be just too much, especially since I watch so few movies or even television (how do you think I get so much done?) but they captured my attention right from the start. If you enjoy looking at and talking about vintage sewing machines, this is one of the few current films that will satisfy your longing. Maybe it will stir your interest in further collecting, too, so this could be an enabler device!

Following a chronological timeline of the first lock stitch sewing machine in 1844 to the late 1960's when plastic took over metal components, we get to see those first machines and detailed explanations of how they worked. I loved the ideas put forth about fashion and how it has changed because clothing no longer had to be sewn by hand with the introduction of the mechanical sewing machine. Of course, more was said about Isaac Singer since he captured the market, but Wheeler & Wilson, White, National 2-Spool, Free Westinghouse (just like mine!), Davis, Elna, Necchi, Pfaff, and Kenmore were all described as we viewed these works of art. There was education, to be sure, but the presenters were clearly lovers of these old machines.

So who were the presenters? Scott Kennedy, Danna L. Fore, Cathy Racine, Joseph Brennan, Karen Castor, Will McCann, Terry Crawford Palardy, and Renato Pace. Of these eight people, some names I recognized, others were new to me, who got into this hobby (for most of them) for a variety of reasons yet clearly love what they are doing even if it's now a business. After watching these experts talk about their machines, I really wanted to know who they were and how I can visit each one since we are such kindred spirits but I had to wait until the end when each one was identified and a bit of their history was revealed. Wow, was that ever neat! Cathy Racine's father was an auto mechanic so she had been exposed to mechanics early. She found that after teaching autistic children all day it was refreshing to be able to work on a sewing machine, to fix it, and find it stayed fixed, implying her students were  not going to get "fixed" or remember lessons from day to day. That resonated with me, too. A final comment by Will McCann was a fitting way to end the film when he said we should have a convention where those of like mind can gather to hear experts talk about and give lessons and we could just be together. Yes, that does sound like an event I would like to attend, too. How about you?

If you would also like to watch this film, I invite you to go to Still Stitching where you can watch the preview for free. If you would like to experience all of it and save some money enter the code sewmavin to rent the film for 30 days at 50% off or use the code to buy the DVD for 15% off. This offer is good until the end of January, something nice to do when it's too cold outside to be running around and we look for inside entertainment. John has extended this offer to me and I could have made you email me for the code but I really just want to make it as freely available as possible. Yet, if you do watch Still Stitching please consider making a comment in this blog post so we can all enjoy your opinion of the film. This is a great community of vintage sewing machine fans and we would like to hear from you, too.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Learning to Sew

I've been so excited to have a new class offered in our local community ed programs: Vintage sewing machines! Since I have so many maybe I should take this class and see what I've been, wait a minute, I already understand quite a bit about vintage sewing machines and how to use them. Maybe I should be teaching this course. Well, as it turns out...I AM!

That's right, I proposed a class in learning to use your vintage sewing machine and they thought it was a great idea. Beyond the basic organization for the two nights of teaching, I've recruited a fellow sewing enthusiast, Susan, who is willing to help me if the numbers are more than six. There is an online catalog that contains the description of the class and what you will learn as well as the time and cost.

But now I am sad. I have no students. I was warned that it might take awhile for this to catch on as that's  typical for this community but I was still hoping for at least four students so we could get the ball rolling. If you are interested in taking a class like this and you do not live in Minnesota, please take a look at your local community ed classes to see if something is offered. You might not have thought to look into a resource like community education. If you do live in the Twin Cities, well...get going!

What has been happening here in Sewing Machine Mavin's life? My computer went down for a couple days and that caused a bit of panic but my dear son-in-law, who is handy with computers, took it home and replaced the video card and now we are humming again. Whew! That was close.

Along the lines of sewing, I took a favorite old fleece top and cut it apart and made a new one. It was a success, the first of this kind for me. 
Fleece shirt patterned after an old worn out one

With Christmas over, fabric sales are great with 70% off holiday fabric and other clearance fabrics at 90% off plus an additional 20% off the whole bunch of fabric that I purchased. That got a few of the fabrics as low as 72 cents a yard and that's pretty exciting. Sorry, no photos of stacks of fabric this time.

Stay tuned to a fabulous opportunity to see a new movie, Still Stitching by James and Brenda Wolfensberger. As part of this blog, I'm going to review it and you will have the opportunity to purchase at a reduced price or watch it streaming for half price during the month of January. I think we are going to like this but please check back again soon for this great opportunity!

Friday, January 1, 2016

When Old Is Made New Again

Those who have been reading this blog know I love vintage. My friends know I love vintage so they sometimes pass along items they think I might be interested in. A big thanks goes to Natalie who gave me over a dozen of her husbands silk neckties. Having retired and no longer in need to so many ties, he went through them and according to Natalie "When he's willing to let go of anything I just go with it." The ties sat around for many months until the craft fairs were over and then I got going on making those ties into two items for my Etsy shop, a foot stool and a pillow. I didn't dream these up myself but found them on Pinterest. With only photos I did need to figure out how to make it happen.

Much of it depended on finding a footstool so it was my lucky day when I spied one at Goodwill for $5, plus it was seniors day and I got a further discount. Yes, I nearly ran out of the store! Once I had the base, I could measure out the circumference and decide how many ties it would take, then make a template for each wedge. I got the idea to take the wide pointed end of the tie and have it hang over the edge and that turned out to be a good decision when it came time to actually fasten this to the footstool:

I left the footstool intact and just covered over it, tacking the intersections with decorative nails. What about the center? It needed to be pulled down so it got a button and the cord through the shank was pulled through to a hole on the bottom. I had to put a small piece of metal to tie it off so it wouldn't pull back up but it seems to be very sturdy:

Now that I have cut off the larger end of the 14 silk ties, I still had a sizable length of tie left over. In comes the idea of making a pillow by weaving the short ends like a lattice pie crust:

I really had a difficult time making it square but in the end it did measure out to a nearly perfect 16" square. I mounted it onto a section of new coat lining, added upholstery fabric from the compact cabinet project, installed a zipper and it was nearly done. Although I wanted to serge the edges the ties interfacing was too thick and kept jamming the two sergers I tried. I ended up trimming first and then using the serger to provide the stitches on the edge, no cutting. I like the pointed end of the ties hanging over the edge, too, deciding that's where the zipper needed to go.

With a custom made pillow form, it's complete and in my Etsy shop. I even had to made a new category: Home Decor. Not exactly easy to do because I had to figure it out on my own, yet it was very satisfying to have them done.

A fitting post for the first day of 2016 where I used something from the past that will decorate someones home in 2016 and years to come. Welcome the New Year!