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        1. Divy’ing It Up [addendum]

          Some (profane) complaints have been recieved as to no recent updates, especially after claiming there would be updates made.

          Here is a quick run down of some recent projects/findings: all of which can hopefully become thier own posts, but due to extreme lack of time, these current topics are without sufficient documentation to have complete reviews until further notice. Please bear with the Brother DB2-B791-015 in the meantime, with these incomplete but highly regarded ideas, dimensions, postulated postulations, for the chopping block – on the chopping block.

          Yes it’s true. In the Chicagoland area industrial sewing machine shops do exist.

          Industrial sewing on Lawrence: This is a mom and pop kind of place with sea-green carpets on the floor, a couch and coffee table in the front to watch the passerbys and a lot of extension cords and industrial sewing machines as back-drop. However, do not let this keep you away, the place has many machines to choose from and at very fair prices. Some notable machines, a Pfaff 145 walking foot that works with ease, an older Singer bar-tacker, and a truly industry only Brother bar-tacker. The couple also has – manual and neumatic – grommet/rivet setter’s, stacks of miscellaneous folders, and drawers full of presser feet. Although the presser feet were not cheap, at $17 for a generic 212 compensating foot – at least the price of the actual machines makes up for that (the gentleman was asking $650 for the Pfaff). All in all, the couple has about 1600 square feet of sales space with a homey atmosphere to offset/contradict the industrial machines. Find this shop on the south side of Lawrence Ave between Elston Ave. and Pulaski Rd. More details to come later.

          Industrial sewing on Irving Park: Open on Saturdays till 1pm, this older fellow has a very organized 800 square feet of space with some of the best new industrial sewing machines. He has everything from Pfaff to Consew to Juki, and even Singer. Some used machines are delt out of the doors also, but on a limited basis, so be in touch with him directly if looking for something specific. With the entire east wall – top to bottom, end to end – ladden with drawers and shelves like the study of a great author who’s books are instead sewing machine parts and miscellania, this guy has his system down to a “T” . Two generic zipper feet, and a ten pack of #23 gauge needles were purchased for $11.50, which at this rate is the best deal in town*. Look for this shop directly across the street from Independance Park at the corners of Avers Ave. and Irving Park Rd. in the botton of an apartment building. More details to come later

          Shoe making supplies on Roosevelt: Okay, this shop does not do any trading of industrial sewing machines, but instead is a small mecca to the local Cordwainers and Cobblers. I. Sachs Sons, Inc. is a store completely devoted to shoe making and shoe repair. They provide everything from Barge glue, to leather pelts (vegetable-tanned, chrome-tanned, and rawhide), leather and rubber soles (both cut and sheet form), Velcro, laces (cloth and leather), linen thread (waxed and not waxed), knives for skiving, needles for running thread, etc., etc., etc. Because the Brother DB2-B791-015 is invested in shoe production this is a major staple of it’s diet and will continue to shape some of things being made here, and written about here (thus the change of title recently, as hand sewing is becoming more common). The shop is located at Roosevelt Rd. where Desplaines St. t’s into it, beware though, the hours of operation aren’t for the masses; Mon-Fri 7am-3pm & Sun 7am-2pm (i.e. closed on Saturday). More details to come later.

          What The Brother? Footwears, and a new Dow Weathermate bag.

          Dow Weathermate Pack: This is a response to some of the “short-coming’s” of the walking bag. The Dow Pack was made to test out a simplified version of the walking bag, which basically means taking the materials issues of that bag and putting the pattern into a concise regularized piece/plan. Whereas the walking bag was segmented together in an effort to use up old bits of Cordura denier 1000 and Ballistics, the Dow Pack would be single sheets (of the appropriatley adjusted dimension) of material – on the whole – about 58″x20.0625″. One thing to note, is that the Dow Pack was made with the non-sheen side of the Dow Weathermate exposed to the elements, instead of using the sheen side as the exterior (it has shown some wear by abrasion, unlike the non-sheen side which appears to hold up a bit better). The Dow Pack, has a liner too (also Dow Weathermate), and a bottom boot made of 1.9 oz. silicone coated ripstop. As for the layout of the bag it is everything the walking bag was/is except the compression straps, outer quick acces (to the inside cavity), and lastly the inside section to hold a stiffener for the back support – have been omitted. Instead of the pampered padded shoulder straps, the Dow Pack uses 2″ seatbelt webbing, without a sternum strap. So far so good, this is a very simple, very dependable bag. More details to come later.

          Moccasins: After discovering I. Sachs Sons, making a pair of shoes had to happen. With some materials already at hand: two types of very soft and pliable leather, which of course suits Moccasins very well, there was only one choice to go with. At I. Sachs Sons some waxed linen thread was purchased along with very heavy hand-sewing needles, a sheet of Vibram rubber sole and a few leather-midsoles. With the proper tools available, construction was actually pretty simple. Some time was spent working out the pattern for the in-sole, and the heel cup, but all in all these were quick and easy. Of course in hindsight there are many things to be altered to make a superior shoe for next time. The main consideration now is how to line up identically cut in-soles, to their corresponding soles, when there is an opaque material between them. Also, cutting technique has been raised as a serious place for the success or failure of any shoe, because a lot of the sole is cut in one motion across the entire path of the soles perimeter, this is something which will require patience and time. The Moccasin set is/was a great test for some hand-sewing techniques too around the toe, as the toe and top of it’s area are two separate pieces that get mended together. This long-winded discussion will be revisited.

          Chukka Boots: These are not completed yet, but they will be very soon. The Chukka Boot exploration is the first run with more advanced shoe making procedures. Most of which right now is in cutting of the sole, glueing of the soles, and shaping/stretching leather. Unlike the Moccasin, this pair of shoes/boots have mostly been stitched on the Brother, with only a small amount of hand-sewing around the arch of the foot, which has yet to happen. The boots primary material is actually rawhide, which is supposedly not the material of choice due to inconsistencies in the grain and it’s un-predictable ways if and when it’s exposed to other outside forces, however this is the least expensive choice for now, which makes it easier financially and mentally, as it sucks to make a pair of expensive shoes that don’t fit in the end. But, for now, the rawhide has been very cooperative and shows a lot of potential for future deployment. The next few steps are: trimming of the last layer of out-sole (Vibram rubber), soaking the tops again and using some handmade forms to stretch the toe area out to approximate dimensions, hand-sewing the mid sections (where the toe materials meet the heel’s materials), placing the eyelets for lacing, preparing and installing an in-sole, and then finally any polishing or treating of the leather once the boots are ready to wear. Gulp.

          *Neither of these above mentioned shops carry thread of any sort.