Love note to a red silk Ogden Cami and a beautiful Bernina 830

This silk is luscious and the sewing machine a dream come true. Here they are together.

So I’ll start with the machine, which I first wrote about here. I have made quite a few things with it now, and have come to the conclusion that it is absolutely the best money I’ve ever spent.

It is so sexy, don’t you think? That elegant design, the small freearm just waiting for small cuffs to be sewn. The large table that makes holding your fabric so easy. And the sewing feet that are so easy to change over with a single hand, while your other hand is busy holding the garment. Just such a lovely, practical and smooooooth design.

Here is a quick video I’ve found showing how to use this machine. Simplicity itself.

And here’s one showing how to clean the Bernina 830 record from this same era. The top, side and bottom plate all pop open, as does the bobbin case. It’s then so easy to care for as you can get in there to clean and oil all the bits and pieces. Elegant and uncomplicated. Love it.

So I’ve been very happy sewing with this machine for the past few weeks, and while I’ve just found out that my Pfaff will survive after all (the problem was with the pedal, not the machine itself which was a big relief and is now fixed at long last), I think the Bernina will be in regular use. Particularly for top-stitching and blind hems, which I now know come out looking far better on this old Bernina than on my much-later-model Pfaff.

Which brings me to my lovely new cherry red silk Ogden cami. Which I made from (wait for it) 70cms of remnant silk which I picked up for (wait for it) $8 in a fabric shop recently.

Me in my sewing space, otherwise known as the lounge room. With a special appearance from Le Pooch in his usual position to oversee the sewing process. He has a tough life, clearly.

Seriously, who gets a beautiful couture silk top for $8? That’s just nuts!

And it’s beautiful silk too – with a liquid-like flow and a slight east-west stretch.

Sewing liquid silk that stretches – shouldn’t that be really hard? And it was tricky at times, in the sense that this stuff just slips through your fingers and is hard to keep hold of. But once it’s on the machine – easy! And I just did not expect that on a 1974 machine.

With only 70 cms of fabric, there were some compromises needed. The front was one piece, but the back has a seam down the centre which is not in the original design. I always do an FBA on the Ogden cami, which you can see in the photo above – but piecing the lining piece? That was necessary to get this top to happen. I didn’t have enough fabric to do a lining at all on the back piece.

So while it’s an Ogden cami in its heart, there were some significant compromises needed to get it out of such a small piece of fabric.

Still, pretty good huh?

I used the blind hem foot to do the hem. Usually I do them by hand, but I thought I’d give this a go. It worked so beautifully that I don’t think I’ll be hand-hemming much at all in future. I probably ironed it a bit over-enthusiastically, so there’s a prominent ridge in the photo above. But the hem itself is beautifully flexible and so neatly captured.

It was at this point that I started to breathe the words ‘I love you’ to this machine.

This was as close as it gets to zero waste sewing. The scraps of fabric left at the end were so tiny, I could best describe them as ribbons.

Anyway, so there it is. My lovely pinkish-red silk Ogden cami made with fabric leftovers, on a lovely old recycled sewing machine. #fashionrevolution I’m with you all the way.

On a final note, my sewing space is so nice to be in at the moment. We have a vine growing on the outside of this west-facing window, and at this time of year the red colour in the leaves is pretty glorious. They seem to be especially bright this year. So here are some final photos of my authentically messy (but nevertheless lovely) sewing space, just to remember it by.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. cynthia says:

    I got my first 830, brand new, in 1978. I made my living with it for over 35 years before it finally gave up the ghost. Sewing with it for 8 to 12 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week, I figure I got a hundred years of home sewing on it at least. I was fortunate to get another one, same model, a few years ago & am still using it almost daily.


    1. So good to hear that Cynthia. I fell in love with a 1230 a few years ago, which was so smooth and precise. But I didn’t buy it because I was worried about the electronics going. With the 830 I feel like I’ve got the precision but without the risk of the internal computer dying on me. I really do love it 🙂


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