new machine: Janome 423S

I entered the present time:

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I brought my retro ’70 machine to Rijkers Naaimachines in Veghel and they explained it really is beyond salvage. It only sews backwards. For a reason. It’s busted and slammed stuck in reverse. It cannot be repaired. Bye bye cute retro Senwa:

If I wanted they had the modern equivalent of this to sell to me. The Janome 423S.

The 423S is mechanical machine, not a computerized Diva with sensitivity issues. And one with more features than a more basic type, this one can do button holes, has an adjustable pressure foot and a whole extra series of stitches.

The ladies at the drafting pattern lessons will be so proud, they’ve insisted for two years now I get myself a machine with at least a zig zag stitch.

The saleswoman gave me an extended explanation until she was sure I could take it home and play around with it without frustration. She suggested I make a drawstring bag for the foot peddle. An easy project that invites me to explore the machine. A wonderful suggestion!  🙂

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I got to learn threading the needle, filling a bobbin, various stitch widths and foots. It’s a free arm machine.

There are special stitches on there, I used a decorative one to sew down the edges: Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

The Janome 423S has a whole set of extra stitches and one of them is a straight line that is sewn threefold. Nice and sturdy! I tried it out to reinforce the draw string opening:
Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I don’t know yet what to do with the loose threads. Just cut them? I am having sewing lessons now and will ask tomorrow. The machine has all kinds of nifty things. How about a thread-through-the-needle-putter?

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I installed us in the upstairs room. I feel sewing!
Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel


intermezzo: putting thread on the bobbin of my foot threadle

had to wind some new thread on the bobbin for the under thread of the sewing machine. It is all done by hand (foot) and it’s a wonderful piece of machinery. I LOVE the gears and all the precise engineering:


look at that heart shaped gear, it guides the thread holder to an fro!
The tension is precise, there are fail safes and spots to put oil. I LOVE it!

my tools: books, machine, ‘dress form’

as I wait for my patterns to arrive:

Processed through USPS Sort Facility, April 20, 2013, 11:50 am, CHICAGO, IL 60666

let me show you what tools I own. My books, my sewing machine and my ‘dress form’.

these are the books:

  • Mouleren by Ton Verswijveren
  • The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant by Sarah Thursfield
  • How to Adjust, Adapt and Deisgn Sewing Patterns by Lee Hollahan
  • Knippen en Naaien met BURDA by Burda

The last two I got as a gift from two lovely friends who knew I’d be sewing a dress before I knew it myself.

Mouleren by Ton Verswijveren is all about moulage, the art of draping cloth around the human form and deducing a custom fit pattern block out of it. (I was looking for images on ‘moulage’ and got all bloody murder on my screen. It seems in the US it is the art of making fake wounds.)


It features everything from starting a simple piece of fabric on a dress form to having all the alterations in fabric and making it into pattern pieces.
Ton Verswijveren teaches this skillful art in the Netherlands and also sells custom fit dress forms.
I don’t understand everything I read yet but I do see a lot, especially paired with the reading of the next book:

The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant by Sarah Thursfield.

This teaches how to make a ‘block’ off of somebody’s body and how to use that block to make historic garments.

The next book I have not read well yet. It’s How to Adjust, Adapt and Deisgn Sewing Patterns by Lee Hollahan.
It has a special section about how to proceed when you’ve bought a commercial pattern, that will come in handy.

Knippen en Naaien met BURDA by Burda is a book in Dutch from 1984 and it teaches the basics. Including alterations and some simple patterns. Its title translates to: “Cutting and Sewing with Burda.”

I learned a lot from it. It has lots of pictures too.The only thing is it is in Dutch, which is my mother tongue, granted, but I’ve been reading up on sewing in English and I have difficulty translating the right terms back to Dutch.
The same happened when I thought myself to knit and to spin. At least I’m consistent. I do want to learn the proper Dutch terms though because I’ll be talking to my Dutch friends about this over at my favourite group at And I’ll be buying fabric in a Dutch shop which makes it necessary to learn the fabric names well. Because I’ve got a feeling that the right fabric will make this dress and the wrong one will be eaten by my sewing machine…


It’s an old foot treadle with a boat shuttle and a part to wind up the long bobins that go aboard that shuttle. It is a good piece of equipment. It runs smooth, it runs precise.
It goes forward and it goes backward and I can adjust the stitch length. That’s about it!

It does well with cotton, felt and leather. I am really looking forward to do a smoother fabric on it like silk chiffon. But I may start with raw silk first. That is, after I’ve made a few dresses in well behaving, easy to handle fabrics.

To test my knitting garments I made a dress form last year. A couple of knitter friends got together and had a fun afternoon taping each other up.

she has no name. And after being stuffed in ‘the wool room’ for a few months she now leans back pondering ceilings.
There’s a clothes hook in there but the hook came apart from the wooden part that fortifies her shoulders. She was meant to hang, not to stand.
Oh well, it did reach the goal of shocking me into a more realistic idea of my body and better ideas of what styles suit me.


While waiting and reading I felt I do need a tracing wheel. I went to the church’s second hand shop and found one. And some bias band of which I hear great things. There were also lovely ladies helping me to pronounce it right (another haz(z)ard of learning through books and internet, you never know what you are saying). Apparently in Holland we use a French pronunciation, “bee-yay band”, is this correct?

As a sewing Bumble I’m all for Bee Yay Bands!

picture by Mikateke | Kateryna Korniienko-Heidtman

The ladies at the thrift store also prevented me from going home with a non-souple gauze to make a toile/muslin from. Instead they sold me this old sheet. It is very soft, has a small flowery pattern and even a repairment. Done with love and care.

Talk about love and care, there’s a lot of cat help around here….

“you’ve been working too long, it’s time to nap!”