Monday, January 31, 2011


My top of the line (when I bought it about 10 years ago)Elna 925 surger started acting up in early 2010. Of course the dealer has gone out of business and there is not another Elna dealer in South Mississippi. So I took it in to a generic shop in Mobile, Al. The repairman got it running, however within a day or two the pedal stopped working. I assumed (I know what you're thinking about assuming) that I needed to replace the foot pedal since the machine was working otherwise. My research and just let me say, I don't remember who I called but I was told that that pedal was on longer available and I would need to buy a Phaff pedal to use on the machine. So I go on line and purchase one (new). It worked for several months then the problem started all over again. Finally, I decided to drive 65 miles to Mobile, AL to have the thing checked out by the authorized Elna dealer. Just like going to the Doctor it worked and worked and worked while I was in the shop. The shop owner was anything but pleasant so I just took the thing back home. Naturally when I tried to use it the problem was still there. The next closest dealer was in New Orleans and I just didn't want to drive 95 miles for a repair. I called Elna who advised that customers could not send their machines directly to them and I would need to get a dealer to send it. As much as I hated to go back to the little shop in Mobile, AL, I wanted to get my machine repaired so I went back and the owner agreed to send it to Elna and would call me to let me know what the cost to repair it would be. A month passed and I called her and was told that Elna closed for two weeks for Christmas and it should just be a matter of days. I Called again two weeks later and was told she expected to hear from Elna soon. By this time I was doing hong kong seam bindings and whatever else to get by. Lots of extra work. After 7-1/2 weeks I got a call around noon today and was informed that my surger had been repaired and I could pick it up. I asked the price and almost fainted when she said $303 plus tax (10% in Mobile). $100 for service, 63 for shipping and $140. for a new pedal. It took everything I had not to loose my mind but I held on and made the decision to go pick it up because if I did not I'm sure they would have sold it as I paid over $1,000 when I purchased it 10 years ago.

During the hour and twenty minute drive I decided that I would not purchase the pedal and would just get the machine. Arrived at the shop and asked to speak with the owner. She came from the back room and went on to tell me that it was the pedal that was causing my problem. So I said just let me try it before I take it home. Well as fate would have it the door to the front of the machine would not close enough for the surger to engage. She took it to the back room and I followed. She tried it again and it did not work so she opened the bottom and a 10 years of lent literally fell from the machine. She was livid. She said this is an indication that this machine had not been properly serviced. She went to the phone and called Elna's customer service department to complain. After being placed on hold and transferred three or four times someone said they would call her back. I told her that I could not wait. She took the front door off and readjusted it and oiled the machine and tried it again. It worked this time. She wanted me to leave it and send it back and make them perform a proper service on the machine. I declined and told her that I would pay the shipping charge and pay for the new pedal. She agreed and I paid @217.00. I could have purchased a new basic surger for a few dollars more.

Needless to say my frustration level was extremely high, but I pat myself on the back for not acting out or being rude. After a few deep breaths I got into my car and drove back to Biloxi. I will not attempt to sew tonight because I just cannot take another crises. As Scarlet O'Hara said in "Gone With The Wind"....I'll think about it tomorrow".

I'm positive I'll be in a better mood tomorrow and I'll start on that red dress to go with the black and white houndstooth jacket.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Houndstooth for Bree

Since I am now retired, I no longer feel the need to speed sew, look for shortcuts or make do. I read an article about "slow sewing" and it really made the lights come on in my head. You see, I was one of those sewers who sewed all night and wore the garment the next day, and sometimes it looked like I did. Now I'm savoring every detail. I didn't like to use pins when I sewed but this summer I took a beginning quilting class and the instructor said at least ten times during each class "Remember you can't use too many pins". I took this with a grain of salt and figured I could just use one or two pins. After ripping out many many times I now understand that it is better to use the pins and have seams end together. Yea! So after all these years (40+) I am pinning all the way down to the end of the seam.

As promised I have the "Black and White Coat" completed. It went together beautifully with no problems. even at the lapels. I fused the entire jacket and fused a lighter weight to the upper collar and front facings and added more for the hem and sleeves. The lining has been in my stash for I don't know how many years and seemed perfect for this project.

I have never been satisfied with the buttonholes on my Designer 1 or the Bernina 1600. My Bernina 930 (I think that was the number) was a little workhorse and made perfect buttonholes. So since I really didn't want to make a mistake with a buttonhole that was not up to par; I sewed all the buttons on and did not use buttonholes. Instead I places large black snaps under the overlapping buttons and and very pleased with the look. Cutting the back flap on the diagonal is the last change I made to this pattern, McCalls 6264. I didn't cut the front flap on the diagonal because I thought it would be too busy.

I told Bree that I would make her a red sheath dress to go under it. This one can be dressed up or can be worn with jeans. I'm sure she'll enjoy it. I post a picture of her modeling later. But for now here is the completed jacket.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Busy Saturday

Ever had one of those days where you are busy, busy and at the end of that day you feel that you really have not accomplished anything.  That was my Saturday.  After my appointment this morning, I called the granddaughters to see if they wanted to go to lunch with their Grandy.  Oh yes.  We went to a restaurant in the "hood" because I wanted catfish.  Well low and behold the establishment was now under Asian management.  The food was ok but I was just a little annoyed that the ownership didn't reflect the residents of the area.  Also, they had an up-charge because I used my debit card.  More annoyance!  The girls were annoyed because I was annoyed.  Hard to explain why.  Bree went on to tell me that the hair salon and the nail shop did the same thing.  Didn't realize this was a new trend.  I guess I knew the customer ended up paying but it was included in the price.  I think I would feel better if it were included in the price.  What do ya'll think?

One of Bree's friends, after discovering that I sewed asked me to make her one of those "black and white" coats.  So I said I didn't understand what a black and white coat was other than maybe a color blocked, plaid or zebra print.  "No" she replied but it makes your eyes feel funny if you look at it too long and the print runs diagonal.  So I googled it and found that it was a large "houndstooth" check.  I told her that I would make it for her at no charge but she would need to purchase the fabric.   Good, another excuse to go to the only fabric shop in town, Hancock Fabrics.  Upon entering the store I spotted a very tall woman with the jacket made out of the very same black and white houndstooth print.  As I got closer, I noticed that it was a short hair faux fur and was beautifully made.  Let me just say that sewing people can ask each other anything about whether they made what they have on or not and no one is ever offended.  Soooooo... I walked right up to her and asked and she pointed to the area where she got it.  As we talked I discovered that she had a really deep voice and big hands and the biggest high heeled shoes that I had ever seen.  Upon a closer look I determined that she was or had been a man.  Oh well she was quite attractive.  Said she was a designer from New Orleans and gave me her card.  I looked around and didn't see any black and white hounds tooth of any kind.  I asked my favorite sales lady and she said that there had been some but apparently it was all gone.  Of course I couldn't leave the store empty handed so I discovered on the value plus table (special purchase bargain fabrics) several pieces of knit fabric that would be ideal for tops etc. and because of the MLK 5 day holiday sale it was 50% off the already cheap (I mean bargain) price. At the cutting table I spied a bolt of giant black and white houndstooth outerwear fabric. Bingo! The sales lady at the cutting table explained that it was on hold for one of the employees. The assistant manager overheard the conversation and said it had been on hold far too long and to sell it if I wanted it. It was just enough to make a jacket. So I purchased it knowing that it probably would not be there the next day, and I used my 40% off coupon to boot! So I left feeling perfectly justified in my obsessive fabric purchasing behavior once again because I got everything (8 pieces 3 yds each) for $62; never mind that I have enough fabric in my stash to make everyone in Biloxi at least one garment. This was just enough to fill in the extra spaces in my newly reorganized (because its the 1st of the year) sewing room. I'll post a pic of the room later.

Later the same day Bree's friend called and said that her stepmother said she didn't need it, so forget about it. Bree agreed to let me make if for her. She's so *#!@ picky about what she wears I was very surprised but excited about making it.

So far I've cut out everything; houndstooth, lining and interfacing. Tonight I start the process of putting it all together.

Show and tell next time!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Trinity's Outfit

My Folk

Let Me Introduce Myself

Hello Out There!

I'm Grandy; short for Grand Diva.  The name was given to me by my dear friend Stanley when I was trying to decide what my grandchildren would call me.  First he said Diva and I said that was too Grand.  Naturally he put the two words together and came up with Grand Diva and Grandy for short.  It stuck and my grandchildren call me Grandy.  For some strange reason my daughter, Danielle calls me Grandy as well.

I also have three (yes three) little dogs:  PJ, a cream Toy Poodle 5 yrs old, Toby 4 a red toy poodle and Petey  3 a black and white Havanese.  I refer to them as my boys or the boys as well as by name.  As there is dog drama in my home on a daily basis I'm sure they will also be included in my blog along with grand daughter news and my favorite creative outlet.

I love sewing as a creative outlet.  (Code for Fabricaholic).  I love beautiful fabric and I have collected it for years.  I've tried to get rid of it several times but to no avail.  I can always find a reason to keep it because I know just what I'll use it for and of course how much it set me back per yard.

So come along on this journey with me and perhaps you'll find my blog informative and interesting and get a laugh along the way.  Hope to hear from all of you.

I've attached a few photos.