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The herd expands!

Brother select o matic, restored by Stitchified

I love vintage sewing machines. Their all metal construction, brilliant engineering, and retro lines make me swoon. I wish I could bring home every vintage machine I come across, but I’m pretty much at capacity over here. So I’ve tried to be selective and hold out for the perfect vintage zigzag machine. And that is why I pretty much imploded when I came across a craigslist ad for this beauty — my dream vintage zigzag machine, a Brother Super Select-o-matic or Brother HZ3B3 Model 100. It took a week to coordinate the sale, but it was so worth it. Restoring it took a couple of weeks, but I’m so in love with her now that she’s finished!

Before picture from craigslist ad

Before picture from the Craigslist ad. Such a dirty girl <3

The seller was an absolutely lovely woman. If we had had more time I could have spent hours talking to her! She explained that the machine had belonged to her late mother in law and hadn’t been used in years and years. Another fun fact? This beast is H-E-A-V-Y. In its solid 8 drawer cabinet, the machine easily weighs over 100 pounds. I’m sure my husband and I were quite the picture maneuvering this behemoth out of a second floor bedroom, but we succeeded.

Brother select o matic, restored by Stitchified

Action shot: cabinet restoration

I spent two weeks restoring the cabinet, which was definitely showing its age. It took over a dozen coats of Tung Oil and a lot of elbow grease, but it looks a million times better. It is still a little weathered looking, but I love it. It’s the perfect vintage piece to ground an otherwise bright space.

Brother select o matic, restored by Stitchified

The machine itself was really very clean inside, but the outside? Not so much. There was a lot of odd yellow staining. And.it.was.stubbon.  Given its age, I assume that it was nicotine staining? I used a lot of Qtips and barkeeper’s friend to remove the stains and polish the chrome. Unfortunately, I took off a little paint getting rid of the staining. I feel pretty badly about that, but I couldn’t leave it as it was either.

Originally, it had been wired with a knee control, but the lever was very squeaky and the cords felt brittle. So, I picked up a new cord block and switched over to a shiny new foot peddle. Once the machine was thoroughly cleaned I oiled it well — it’s been purring like a kitten ever since.

This machine is seriously fun stuff. It looks like an old vintage car with its powder blue paint job and shiny chrome knobs. But what really puts it over the top is the red “Switch Over Knob” which spins as it does the embroidery stitches. Totally gratuitous and squeal worthy! I’m adding a video because it really is too cool not to share.

A video posted by Jen (@stitchified) on

But she isn’t all looks, no, no. This baby sports a 1.2 amp motor — that’s twice as strong as my Janome Horizon. When you put the pedal to the metal, there is a slight but noticeable breeze — it seriously feels like it might take off and I love it! It goes through leather, vinyl, and canvas like butter. She uses a standard class 15 bobbin, so finding replacement parts (if I ever need them!) will be easy. I also love the way her gib pops open with a “snap-out race hook,” no screwdriver needed. It makes removing stray threads a snap (literally!), instead of a nightmare (ahem, I’m looking at you little Featherweight). I can’t wait to make bags on her! Or you know, maybe sailboat sails. Just because I can.

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday!

Pop out race hook

Genius engineering at work: Snap out race hook on the Brother Super Select-o-matic

As a PSA, I’m going to include some more nitty gritty info about this machine. There is very little info about this model on the internet, and I couldn’t find a manual anywhere online. The manufacturer didn’t even have a manual for this model, though they did provide a manual for an earlier model. So, feel free to stop reading here, though you’re welcome to dork out with me below :)


This machine is a “Brother Super Select-O-Matic” aka “Brother HZ3B3 Model 100,” and was manufactured by Brother in Japan, likely in the 1960s. An earlier version of this machine, “the Select-o-Matic” had a differently shaped Stitch Width Window which was located further to the left. A later version, the “Brother 210” is also similar, but replaced the Stitch Regulator with a reverse button, did away with the separate Stitch Selector Knob, and flipped the bobbin on to the horizontal axis. There is a great blog post about the 210 (and related machines) by Brooke at Custom Style here.

Like other Japanese made machines of the time, these machines were sold as badged machines in the US. That is, the seller’s brand was added on top of or in addition to “Brother” once the machines arrived stateside. As a result, this machine and other “Select-o-matic” models were sold under dozens of brands including Atlas, Wizard, and Coronado just to name a few. Crazy, huh?

As you might imagine, badged machines are notoriously difficult to track. They all have different model names, and even the manufacturer didn’t keep track of serial numbers or production years. I was very fortunate to find the original manual and warranty card in one of the cabinet drawers. I am uploading a copy of the manual (here: Brother Super Select-o-Matic Manual) and created a little diagram below to help explain how this machine works. I also found a Ruffler in the accessories box, complete with instructions. Here’s a copy of the instructions for that, too: Brother Ruffler Attachment – Manual.Diagram Brother Super Select-O-matic, by Stitchified

The machine has three modes: automatic zigzag, semi-automatic, and manual zigzag. The modes are accessed by manipulating the Switch Over Knob (Pull out for automatic and semi-automatic zigzagging, push in for manual zigzagging). The automatic mode is very familiar for modern sewists. In automatic mode you select your settings, and then the machine sews a given stitch (straight or zigzag). But the semi-automatic and manual modes? Whoa, baby. In those modes, the user *manually* swings the Needle Position Knob from left to right in timing with the Stitch Width Window to produce custom embroidery stitches. No, I’m not kidding you. It’s insane.  To quote the manual in all of its vintage glory:

“The variety of zig-zag designs that can be made on this machine by simple manual manipulation is unlimited. It depends entirely on the creative ability of the operator and the skill acquired in timing the movement of [the Switch Over Knob] with the stitch width.”

Well, thank you 1960s for the condescension. I’m not ashamed to admit that this operator has not acquired this skill. I’m seriously awful at it. Haha :)

Alright, that’s all the info I have. If you read this far thank you for indulging me and my dork-out session!

Happy sewing!



My new sewing room

When I first started sewing a few years ago, I would setup shop in the office. Every night I would put away my (crappy! infuriating!) computerized Singer sewing machine and tidy up my mess. Back then, all my fabric fit in one box (haha!) and I would work on one project at at time (LOL). So keeping things tidy was really very manageable.

But within a year I caught the quilting bug, and my fabric collection had became an unwieldy stash. I purchased a big girl sewing machine, and then a smaller Janome for travel, and then a Singer Featherweight. Around that time I started taking over the dining room. For awhile I was diligent and put everything away at night, and then um, I wasn’t. All my sewing stuff piled up with intermittent spells of “Oh my god, company is coming! Hide it all!”

Recently my husband pointed out that “there sure is a lot of dining room furniture in the sewing room, why is that exactly?” It was hard to admit that the dining room had finally lost the war, but it really had. And so, about three weeks ago, we officially began converting the space to a sewing room. Life changing! For the first time ever I can actually see what I have! Sitting in this space makes me so happy, even if it is a work in progress. Shall we take a mini tour of the place so far?

Sewing Room

First up we have a set of three BILLY bookshelves (from IKEA), which are sitting on (still-need-to be-painted) risers so they sit flush against the wall. This set is enormous and gives me plenty of room to display my fabric, fabric cutters, books, pincushions, and my favorite vintage toy sewing machine. I plan to add a curtain for some of the lower shelves to help hide the unsightly side of sewing (I’m looking at you fabric cutters!). And, of course, there is the obligatory craft room TASTRUP rug and little wooden mannequin. They make me silly happy!

I have to say, IKEA really is an awesome one stop shop for organizational goodies. While I was there I picked up a bunch of little organizer baskets and a 4 gallon KNODD bin, which is perfect for storing my unsorted scraps in. I also picked up an ALEX cart which holds all my WIPs, rulers, etc. Organizational bliss, I tell you!

There is still a lot to do in this space. For one, I need to retro-fit one of these sewing cabinets to fit my Janome Horizon. Once that’s done, the cabinet will get a fresh coat of creamy white paint and we’ll be good to go. The other sewing cabinet is newly refinished and houses my new-to-me vintage zigzag machine. More on that in a future post!

I also have plans to add a design wall to this space. I’ve been wanting a design wall for ages, and can’t wait to build it! I also hope to squeeze in a peg board to help organize some of my tools. And then there’s the matter of an old treadle machine that followed me home — I need to find a place for her to live in this new space, too. Maybe then she’ll get some much needed attention, haha.

Ok, there we have it — One WIP sewing room! Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Happy sewing!


Playing catch up

Hello hello, my poor neglected blog! It’s been too long and I have so much to catch up on! I’ve had a very busy and productive couple months, even if I wasn’t able to keep up with it here on the blog. I did manage to take some pictures along the way though, so for this week’s Finish It Up Friday let’s do a quick recap… let’s see…

Birthday presents were made. Yes, that is totally a guinea pig in purple faux fur. Because, why not? I’m happy to report that he delighted my 8 year old niece.

Guinea Pig, by Stitchified

Late baby quilts were finished for our newest (and last!) addition. This one went right from the dryer on to the baby, so all my pictures are of it in use. Oh well, who doesn’t love chunky babies on their quilts?

Flying Geese Quilt, by Stitchified

My best friend from college welcomed an adorable little boy, and I made my first ever baby quilt for a boy! I’ve been hoarding these fabrics from Birch Fabrics for years now, and I was so glad to put them to good use. I’m particularly proud of the quilting on this one, check out those tiny quilted stars!

Boy Baby Quilt, by Stitchified

And there was this character, who my youngest cousin is entirely smitten with. Actually, I am too. He is now affectionately known as “cousin Melvin.” He was finished in the car enroute to his new home, so please excuse the odd background, haha!

Confetti Yeti, by Stitchified

A new pincushion was made… and then my oldest designed a stuffed animal version (pictured right). She had a blast, and those color choices? Hilariously awesome. Plus, that face is pretty priceless :)

Owl Pincushions, by Stitchified

Another good friend welcomed a baby girl, which was the perfect excuse to use some scraps. You know you love someone (and their child) when you dip into your Heather Ross stash!

HST quilt, by Stitchified

Phew, ok, I think those are all my major makes. Feels good to get caught up, thank you!

I also have some fantastic news to share, though I’m going to hold on to it for a bit longer. It will help encourage me to get back into the blogging habit. Update to follow!

Happy Sewing!


Introducing Nexus Moon

I’m still on a blogging-hiatus, but I just couldn’t resist playing along with the other makers in the 6 Weeks of Softies contest. If you haven’t checked it out, you should! There is such an amazing showcase of talent going on over there. Thank you to the organizers and sponsors for putting together a great lineup!

My entry was made with a very special girl or boy in mind, but more on that later. Meet Nexus Moon — She is a one of kind unicorn who loves dance parties, reading books under the covers, and cuddle time.

Nexus Moon, by Stitchified

She was made in a silky royal purple corduroy accented by a plush white velour blaze and under-body. Her hooves are made from soft genuine leather and slightly weighted. Her horn was painstakingly crafted from sparkly fabric (seriously, you should see the pile of reject horns that failed to turn correctly). Her mane is an all natural bulky weight wool yarn in variegated purple. Her seams are triple sewn so that she is truly adventure-ready. And, like all my toys, Nexus Moon is stuffed with 100% clean carded wool and filled with “hugs” from the preschooler in residence.

Nexus Moon, by Stitchified

Nexus Moon was adapted from Jill Hamor’s “Vintage Horse” pattern.  In addition to the sparkly unicorn horn, I’ve also modified her hooves, muzzle, legs and mane.

Nexus Moon, by Stitchified

I’ve also included a few details and embellishments for maximum play-ability. She is sporting a removable bridle made from sparkly silver ribbon and iridescent purple flowers. She can be dressed up or down thanks to her fully reversible saddle…  One side features crystal gemstones in a sea of “morning glory” peppered cotton. Un-snap the saddle to turn it over, and presto, her saddle becomes a coordinating floral print from Rashida Coleman’s Koi Collection.

6WeeksOfSofties 017

Regular readers know that I adore sharing my softies with children, but Nexus Moon has an extra special job ahead of her:  She is being boxed up and donated to a soft toy drive to benefit children in foster care, sponsored by Sew Mama Sew. I couldn’t be more thrilled to share her with a child who needs a little more magic in his/her life. I know Nexus Moon has fabulous adventures ahead of her; and I can’t wait for her to meet her new best friend!

Nexus Moon, by Stitchified



Blogging break

We welcomed a happy healthy baby girl in mid-November, and waved buh-bye to a hugely difficult pregnancy with hyperemesis. We couldn’t be happier!  I’m still sewing when I can (read: in five minute increments with a baby strapped to me!), but blogging just isn’t happening between work and home. Kids have these “needs” like eating — pretty selfish, really. Haha :)

I’ll be back to the blog once things settle down here. In the meantime, please follow me on instagram @stitchified. I would love it if you came by to say hello!

Baby Girl



Baby’s First Dorm Quilt

I am so behind on blogging! Thankfully, I’m a little less behind on sewing. Apologies to those who might have seen this quilt top on Instagram, or in Cotton +Steel’s newsletter, like, um, weeks ago.

Baby Hexagon Quilt, by Stitchified

This quilt is for my new baby girl, who is due in just a few short weeks (ahh!). In retrospect, it’s more adult than I intended. I’ve affectionately dubbed it “Baby’s first dorm quilt.”  (And I’ll admit that I have started piecing a second more delicately feminine baby quilt. Babies deserve many quilts, right?).

The quilt features many of my favorite prints from Cotton+Steel’s new collections, which are just gorgeous. I really love everything about their spring collection, but my favorite thing is how easy it is to mix and match between lines.  I started with a Mustang layer cake, and mixed in a few prints from their basics lines and the butterflies from MoonLit. And did I mention it’s shiny? Yay for metallics!

To make the quilt top I used my Hex N’ More ruler and the #delightquilt pattern by JaybirdQuilts. I’ve had the ruler for awhile, but this was my first time using it. It really made cutting and piecing a breeze — no partial or Y-seams! will definitely be using it more often!

Quilt top detail, by stitchified

This is also the first time I’ve pieced on  my featherweight when accuracy counted… which means that my points are far from perfect. It wasn’t easy for me to let the imperfections slide, but I forced myself to let it go.  Practice makes pefect, right?

Next up. quilting and binding before this baby shows up!

Linking up with CrazyMomQuilts and Finish It Up Friday!


The Velveteen Rabbit

When I was a little girl my great grandmother sent me and my sister a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. She also included a cassette tape recording of her reading the book, and a handmade teddy bear for each of us.  That gift stuck with me and has given me a lifetime appreciation for the magic of toys.  Needless to say, the book is a favorite in my household — creepy references to a “skin horse” and all :)

So when I realized that my friend’s son was turning three, I knew exactly what to make him. Right down to the pink nose and coal black eyes.

Velveteen Rabbit, by Stitchified

The pattern for this little guy came from Jill Hamor’s book, Storybook Toys. This is the third project I’ve made from this book (other projects are here and here). While I do love this book, the patterns are short on photos especially when compared to .pdf patterns and blog tutorials. The pattern is entirely manageable though; no seam ripper required.

Velveteen Rabbit, by Stitchified

A few notes on construction… His body is a fawn-colored organic cotton velour. Most of the velour parts are reinforced with fusible fleece, except the ears and tail which were left fusible-free for maximum silkiness.  The belly and under-ears are organic cotton sherpa, which I’ve raved about before (seriously tactile heaven, people). He is gently stuffed with wool for superior squish, and weighted ever-so-slightly so that he sits well in the hand (or tucked under an arm).  He is also the first softie that I’ve made on my Featherweight, which seems only fitting since I’m told that was my great grandmother’s machine of choice.

Velveteen Rabbit, by Stitchified

And, of course, a copy of Margery Williams’s book accompanied the bunny to his new home.  I’m told that he was granted a place of honor “in the bed clothes,” which is exactly how I hoped his story would go. :)

Linking up with CrazyMomQuilts and Finish it Up Friday.


Partial Lonestar Baby Quilt

Partial Lonestar
I did it!  I’m still fighting my way through this pregnancy sickness (HG is nobody’s friend), but I’ve been determined to sew. It’s a sanity thing. The days are tough to get through, but I’ve been chipping away at my niece’s baby quilt nonetheless. Finally finishing is so rewarding and feels amazingly life affirming.

This quilt has been on my quilty bucket list ever since I saw Better Off Thread’s version 
here. I absolutely love the modern twist she gave the traditional lone star by turning it (literally!) on it’s side, and slicing it in half. I decided to leave well enough alone and didn’t change much on my version.

You can find a great tutorial for the lone star on here site 
here, though it doesn’t include instructions for (in)setting the star in the background — which I found a little tricky.  You can see my seam lines in the quilt top below if you’re curious. Granted, I (greatly!) complicated things by skimping on yardage, so I had to carefully combine what I had to cover the shortage. A quick word of the wise on the offset star though — you’ll need a lot of bias cuts to make it work, so expect a stretchy quilt top.

Partial Lonestar top, by stitchified

Because the quilt top was so stretchy (and because I was too scared to attempt a new FMQ design!) I decided to keep things simple with the quilting. I stitched in the ditch inside the star, and then quilted 1″ lines radiating out of the star. I love how the diamonds in the negative space echo the piecing in the star.  I’m pretty pleased with how the quilting came out, even if those bias edges caused me a lot of heartburn. If I make another bias-tastic quilt, I might be a little more generous with my basting.  Oh, and though you can barely tell they are there, I added a few lines of hot pink contrasting thread to the quilting. Love it!
The quilt is backed in a navy polka dot, and bound in a cheery white and pink polka dot.

Partial Lonestar -- backing (by Stitchified)

I even managed to take this one out for a real photo shoot! It came with us to our CSA where I found a nice spot in the shade of the old silo. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get many good shots because it was a crazy windy (Hurricane Arthur had only just cleared out). What I did get were a few hilarious outtakes, which at least show off the background I was *attempting* to capture. Better luck next time, quilt team :)

Outtake, by stitchified

Linking up with CrazyMom and Finish it Up Friday!


SewTogetherBagI am very lucky to have a support network that contains a few female powerhouses. And this year has made me particularly grateful for each and every one of them. 

Which is why I was extra happy to stealth-make a #SewTogetherBag for my dear friend, and kindred spirit, MamaPeaches. And mail it off as a surprise just because. Bwhaha. Yep, I’m sneaky like that. 

This bag came together easily, even if it did take me a month to actually finish. It is definitely easier the second time around!. I used both my Featherweight (master top-stitcher!) and my Horizon (hooray for layer-devouring Accufeed!) which is becoming a favorite setup for bag-making projects. The exterior is an Echino print, and the interior is Essex Linen in sand. The zippers are, of course, from Zipit including an exterior brass zipper which is completely drool worthy. 

Quality testing sewtogetherbag

All zippers underwent rigorous quality control testing, and passed with high marks for “swishyness.”

And while I tried to tone down my usual rainbowgasm palette, I just *had* to hide a few splashes of color in the pocket linings. For added luxury, the needle pad is a double layer of turquoise wool felt, and the mini pin cushion is wool-stuffed. I hope she likes it! 

SewTogether InsideAnd now, in closing, a little PSA: Every quilter needs at least one of these bags. Pattern here. They are a must have for EPP and sewing retreats. Seriously. Friends don’t let quilty friends go without. Besides, secret sewing is pretty much the best! :)

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday at CrazyMom!


Casige Toy Sewing MachinesMy husband scored a pair of Casige toy sewing machines at the Brimfield Flea Market this weekend. I am ecstatic! They date from the post WW2 era, and are stamped “Made in Germany, British Zone.” Researching the pair has proven surprisingly difficult.  Casige was an extremely prolific toy maker, with over 80 models were made between 1902 – 1975.  With so many models out there, it’s really difficult to track down exactly what I have here. I think the red one is probably a Model #1015, but I haven’t found a good match for the larger silver one. It’s going to make it tricky to find replacement needles!

They came to me absolutely caked in dirt. I’m no neat freak, but honestly they were too dirty to enter the house. I spared you all photos of that hot mess. Honestly, I thought the larger one was tan colored when it was fresh from the fair. Thankfully a few sprays of Tuff Stuff took care of the worst of the grime, and revealed a silver machine (not tan!). Though there’s still *plenty* of cleaning work to be done.

Silver Casige TSMI started taking the larger silver one apart, and let me tell you… it is rust city. I was able to loosen the screws after a long soak in WD-40, but the one on the base plate is still stuck. The chrome pieces are soaking in vinegar to take care of the rust. I haven’t used that technique before, but I have my fingers crossed! I’ve used WD-40 to clean the gunk in the machine head, which has things moving more smoothly.

Casige Restoration WIPThe next question is whether to stick to restoring, or do a full repaint. I usually try to keep things original, but I think the finish on these is too far gone. Which begs the question… if I repaint, do I go crazy with a dark royal purple? Or play it cool with a more vintage appropriate powder blue or something? Hmmm… decisions! What do you folks think? Linking up with WIP Wednesday!

Restore TSM by Stitchified