Well, darn it. I know it's a pandemic and we all must make sacrifices. But still.
Our beloved bi-annual Great Plains Renaissance Festival was cancelled for the spring due to pandemic concerns. I must admit I was secretly glad not to have to deal with the cockleburrs and sweaty heat in unfamiliar clothes, even if I did enjoy parading around in them.
The hubs and I felt the need to connect with our friends though, especially since we live geographically further away. I suggested a short video to post to our private Facebook group page the weekend of the cancelled fair. But Kate was sheltering with our parents, away from us and away from her usual stash of costumes...
Magically, she came up with something. There's a reason friends who have had garments sewn by Kate call her the "Fairy Katemother."
Ryan and I decided to wear our coordinating Blue Bees outfits. No agonizing decision there; they were in the front of the closet, honestly. Our story for our characters has always been that we hail from the city of "War-drobe" in the land of "Spare-oom." Narnia fans will get this reference pretty quickly!
Thanks to the magic of the internet, Ryan and I were able to record our portion of the video and send it to Kate, who edited it together. Her thrown together costume was explained by saying that she had been vacationing in the Lone Islands.
Anyway, here's our little video message:
And here is Kate's outfit in a still picture. From top to bottom:
The hat is vintage 1960s from our mom. The scarf is borrowed from her as well.
The Chemise and Corset are from an earlier green and orange dress that has since been recycled into other garments.
The overdress is from my 10th wedding anniversary celebration.
The blue skirt is from middle and high school days of volunteering at a living history museum. (1870s)
The walking stick was most recently purchased to go with the blue bees dresses.
Check out our archived projects page for photos of the chemise, corset, and overdress as they originally appeared.
It started with a phone call from my mom.
She follows several homesteading blogs and youtube channels. One recent blog featured a lady who converted her old treadle sewing machine into a modern unit with, well, a modern machine!
Hmmm... I had an old Singer in an old cabinet. It belonged to my Great Grandmother Hattie Wolf, who got it in probably the 1930s. I used the cabinet, closed, as a table for my modern machine. But, here it is opened up and sitting upright.
There was a serial number on it that I looked up online. My machine wasn't a diamond in the rough by any means - it was one of the largest productions, had been electrified, and well used. It was valued at $50, far less than what I paid for the new machine!
Normally I take more time to make decisions that cost this much, but getting through the first month of this pandemic and making several difficult decisions at work had me feeling like I needed to make a big statement of positive self-agency. The machine was on order, and I was super excited!
Until I looked down at my feet. Notice something missing? No? How about the namesake of the machine's power: the treadle.
Yep. It had definitely been removed at some time to provide more foot room for the electrified pedal. This was about to get more expensive.
A quick trip to eBay actually produced results! I thought I only needed the treadle, but I couldn't find any model number for the base of my cabinet so I wasn't sure what might work and what might not. I was pretty sure my legs were universal legs, so I didn't need those. I was pretty sure I just needed the bottom treadle. I found this listing, which was $75 and thought the extra pieces wouldn't hurt.
Shipping was $85, though, so I just added $150 to my little project. Solid iron is no joke! It was worth it though, as I also needed the wheel and bottom support under the treadle. Wrangling the pieces together to form a working machine took about 5 hours. You can click through the slides below.
And here she is in action!
I could finally close the lid for the night. And put my old machine on top to finish the project I was in the middle of. ;)
Every experienced sewing person knows each machine has its own personality. I will have to find some dedicated time to learn this new one! Meanwhile, anybody want a few old "Singer" pieces for decoration?
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!