Darned Jeans Pocket using Singer 201k

The first job for today was to finish what I first started last night; darning the splits in my husband’s jeans. Both the back pockets had pulled away the fabric onto which they were stitched and all four top corners needed to be reinforced and the missing threads darned over.

The particular challenges with this sort of mending relate to the different densities and thicknesses of the fabric layers. Sewing in close alongside the pocket edge is difficult as the foot is naturally deflected by the vertical edge of the pocket piece and when sewing back and forth across the top of the pocket corner the foot is required to rise up and over the ramp in both forwards and reverse. I could have minimised the deflection issue by using my new ‘Slim Jim’ foot but because of the need to ride up and over different thicknesses I chose the normal presser foot as it is hinged. I minimised the deflection by loosening off the presser foot pressure.

The job was performed on my usual machine, the electric, 1939 Singer 201k and a size 12 needle. The needle ought to have been a 14 or a 16 for this sort of fabric but as I presently have only 10s and 12s I simply went slowly over the thicker sections, occasionally just ‘handing’ it for a couple of stitches where it crossed the thread bars and had no trouble. The thread in both bobbin and upper was a cone of core-spun overlocker thread which I always use for these jobs as it is a good match for faded denim. Because of the need for cones to feed off vertically I run the thread from a large, industrial-type thread stand bought from Barnyarns.

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Low Shank “Slim Jim” Sewing Machine Foot

A very exciting day for me today as Helen Howes has one again come up with the goods and provided me with something I have wanted for ages; a ‘Slim Jim’ presser foot. Although I knew, by definition, that it was a slender foot with equally-matched limbs it was still a pleasant surprise when I saw how dainty it actually is in the flesh and for this reason alone I have included a photograph which shows it next to the normal, hinged foot from my Singer 201k so that the two may be compared.

I have long wanted one as I often use the edge of the presser foot as a sewing guide and it is useful to have both prongs equal in width so that the foot will be a true guide in either direction.

The first thing I have tried it out on is baby run-and-fell seams and tiny, parallel pin tucks (see photograph). I predominantly sew baby clothes am working at a particularly small and dainty scale and having a foot which allows me to get right up close without the edge of the foot hitting and being distorted by the previous line of pintucking means I can make my pintucks smaller and closer than ever which I am particularly pleased about.

The only downside is one that can easily be remedied; because the foot is so tiny it makes much less contact with the feed dogs than feet which are wider and longer but this is easily rectified by simply tightening down the presser foot tension to compensate.

A Lined Shirt (from “Pattern Making by Paper Folding” by Miss F. Heath, 1910)

A Lined Shirt.

The measurement required: – The size round the neck of the intended wearer. The collar is one-and-one-sixth of the neck. All the other measurements are derived from it. The body of the shirt is made in one long piece three-and-three-quarter times the collar length, folded nearly in half, the front being only one-quarter of a collar length shorter than the back. The width of it is one-and-a-half the collar length. Where the fold comes is the top of the shirt.

To Cut The Pattern.
As the back and the front of the body of the shirt are alike at the top, in making the pattern it is only necessary to cut the back-half. Take a piece of paper two collar lengths long, and one-and-a-half the collar length wide; fold it into four each way. Keep it folded in half lengthwise, and curve out the arm-hole from one-third of a division across the top, to the point of the first division downwards. Keep the piece you have curved out.

To Cut The Sleeves.
Take a piece of paper once-and-a-quarter the collar-length long, and two collar lengths wide. Fold it lengthwise into eight. Open it out, and then fold and cut a diagonal line through the two middle divisions. Take one of the pieces and fold it down the middle, as shown by the dots, by making the straight side lie on the sloped side. That will leave a single piece of the paper at either end which must be cut off. A small piece must be sloped off the bottom to prevent too sharp a point, and the top must be shaped. Use the piece you cut out of the armhole as a guide for that, as the top of the sleeve and the armhole must be alike.

To Cut The Neck.
The neck should not be cut until the shirt is partly made. A pattern the exact size of the piece required to be cut away can be made by cutting out a circle, the diameter of which is one-third of the collar before the turnings are allowed for, and then flattened a little (rather more than is shown in the diagram) at the top and bottom, and marking a line across it about one-eighth from the top. The following directions for making up the shirt are given, because they will simplify the work of teaching a large class. They have been found useful in the London Board Schools, as a great many shirts of this pattern are made every year for the Industrial Schools.

Directions for Making Up.

The Lining.
This should be put on first. Open the shirt flat, and then tack, and afterwards hem on the lining, giving exactly one-half of it to the front, and the other half to the back. Leave unhemmed three-quarters of an inch at the ends, until the seams are finished, in order that they may not be interfered with.

The Side Slits.
The side slits must be the same length as the armhole, measuring the front breadth of the shirt.

The Front.
The opening for the front must be cut about half-an-inch to the left side of the shirt, and must extend half way down the front.

The Front Piece.
This must be carried down from an inch to an inch and a half below the opening.

The Sleeves.
The sleeves must have the straight part to the front of the shirt.

The Sleeve Slits.
The sleeve slits must be half the length of the wrist-band.

The Wrist-Bands.
The wrist-bands must be divided into three, and all the gathers must go into the middle third.

To Cut the Neck.
Fold the front over as it should be if buttoned, and place the neck pattern on it so that the crossway line may meet the top of the shirt, and point A touch the middle of the front. Cut round it, leaving nothing for turnings.

The Gussets.
Gussets must be put in at the top of the sides and sleeve slits.