Oh boy! New toy(s)!

The other day the door bell ranged, and I thought it might be the tracing paper I ordered for pattern drafting.

The long & short of tracing paper in the UK…

Morplan ‘tracing paper’,
next to Big Bertha for scale.

I had previously ordered a roll of “tracing paper” from Morplan, which turned out to be absolutely useless for tracing. It was in fact opaque, despite being described as “tracing paper” and lightweight at 45gsm. Plus it was so humongous and heavy, it’s quite an ordeal to unroll and cut a piece off for use. Still, it would be too much of a waste to throw away. So I kept it for pattern drafting that doesn’t involved tracing, or for tracing commercial pattern with a tracing wheel. But for my current nth sloper project, I needed translucent paper so I can trace & pivot easily.

Before that I had gotten all my tracing paper in America. So I don’t know why it’s so difficult to get proper tracing paper here in the UK. I know others used greaseproof paper / baking parchment, and that was going to be my back up plan if I can’t find any proper tracing paper in the UK. But as they tend to be narrow, so require taping for bigger pieces, they aren’t my first choice.

Artifolk tracing paper,
next to Big Bertha & Morlan’s version for scale.

I eventually ordered 3 rolls of 33″ x 27 yd (84cm x 25m) 62gsm tracing paper from Artifolk.co.uk. They were the cheapest art / office grade tracing paper I can find and works out about £0.89/sq m if you order 3 rolls or more. That’s about twice the price of greaseproof paper, but you get the advantage of wider width. If you need wider still, London Graphic Centre has slightly more expensive 63gsm tracing paper rolls that are 40″ x 21.87 yd (101.6cm x 20m).

One thing I found out is that you can’t judge “tracing paper” by the paper weight indicator – the gsm number. I read a few discussions where people were assuming lower gsm means more transparent. As my experience with Morplan shows, that’s not the case. You must look for “transparent” or “translucent” in the description.

Morplan (white bag pattern)    vs    Artifolk (translucent sheet over sloper)

The new rolls I ordered are indeed proper tracing paper. They’re heavier weight, but similar to some of the tracing paper I’ve used in the past. So I know they’ll be fine.

But what an ordeal to get them delivered – thanks to the new & improved (not!) Parcelforce service. The door bell turned out not to be the paper. No, I had to trace my package online only to discovered it was sent via their new deliver to psychics only scheme. Basically, you had to guess when the courier will be at the door. No door bell, no sorry-you-were-out card. If you guess wrong, then your package is going back to the sender. Clever innit. Unfortunately my psychic power is a bit anemic and I nearly missed my package. Thank god for online tracking. But no thanks for having to trace and retrieved the heavy package from not the nearest post office, but the one 15 minutes away. British logic really confounds my simple American mind sometimes.

Now back to the door bell…This was in fact an altogether much more pleasant surprise…

My very first serger / overlocker

There’s a story to go with it as well. But first I have to thank Lakaribane for steering me towards a serger  instead of a handbag for my birthday present. I did consider the highly praised Brother 1034D as well.

But in the end I went for this also highly praised Bernina 1150MDA because I thought I might want 2-thread overlock stitches for a flatter seam allowance finishes on woven garments.

I was considering Juki too because I see it so often mentioned as an industrial brand. And industrial means reliable and professional right? But Juki seems hard to come by in the UK. Then I read somewhere that Bernina sergers are in fact made by Juki, but with a heftier price tag. And as my boyfriend’s paying…Mea culpa. I think this will have to be my Birthday presents for last year, this year, and next year.

It could have been worse of course. I could have gone for a Baby Lock Evolution like the Selfish Seamstress. But £1000+ present seems obscene to ask for. And I was paranoid that the miraculous Baby Lock air threading system will one day breakdown and leave me in tears. I work with computers. So I don’t trust clever clever technology!

But I almost didn’t get this Bernina 1150MDA.

I went down to the local sewing machine store and asked for Bernina 11-something serger. The guy told me they don’t make that model any more and tried to sell me a Frister & Rossman overlocker.

Now that wasn’t a clever move. Throw a curve ball at me like that and I’m more likely to walk out the store empty handed. I would have to go home and confer with my online sewing community first before making my mind up.

I had in fact come across mention of Frister & Rossman on an UK sewing forum, but hadn’t seen enough reviews & mentions to trust it. They did had the Brother 1034D. But actually, comparing the rolled stitch sample they had set up on the F&R and Brother, I had to say no to the Brother one. It looked crooked and amateurish. And I don’t know enough about serger to tell if the Brother was simply poorly set-up. The F&R sample seemed better. And it was branded Jaguar! Now that would have been funny to brag about. But it was a 3-4 threader.

I was about to go  home empty-handed, but decided to ask about the next model up in the Bernina line. That’s when he checked his catalogue and we discovered that we were talking at cross-purpose. They do indeed carry the 1150MDA – as advertised on their own website no less! But he thought I was asking about a previous version, a 1100 or something. Next time I’ll know to memorize the exact model number!

So the deed was done. The order placed. The boyfriend’s credit card handed over. It was to be delivered when they can source it from another branch in about a week.

Then a mere 2-3 days later the door bell rang and my present arrived. Hurrah! But my boyfriend made me wait till my birthday to open it up. Boo.

So, my birthday finally arrived. And here’s the Bernina 1150MDA strip-tease…


And that’s as far as I got with my new toys. Now back to that d*** sloper & fitting puzzle!  }:-|

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