Friday, June 22, 2012

The joy of vintage sewing machines ...

                                                                            * love *

Do you own one or have a collection of vintage and/or antique sewing machines ? Most people that sew frequently seem to attract interesting sewing machines magneticly , like this W&W that sews left to right rather than front to back & has a cabinet dated 1855 .

         Sometimes not so interesting or attractive ones too , like sad stray unwanted pets they come home with us . This nasty looking Featherweight was bought to use for parts but ended up being a project .

Here it is after an insane amount of time & effort , like sewing clothes , saving sewing machines is a labor of love & not the most practical way to get a machine !

                                                                             BUT - there are many jobs that an oldie can perform sooooo much better than even my Viking top of line machine can ,  like this 1915 Singer treadle powered chainstitch machine I use all the time . It is fantastic for any seam you may need to do more than once , like in a fitting , test muslin , first time using a pattern or piecing difficult fabrics like velvet . Just pick out the last stitch & zzzzzzzzzziiiip - just pull the seam out with no strain at all on your eyes , nerves or fabric ! Also makes a virtually impossible to break stretch stitch . Also not affected by power outages : )
                                                                 Sewing folds of high thread count weave goods like silk taffeta ? My new machine goes waaaaah I don't want to & beeps & says "motor overload" on it's snazzy touch screen                      
                                                                                    Grab a can of spinach & heft this 40 lb chunk of glorious turquoise iron up on the table & pound thread through anything that won't break the needle ! Plus the bonus of feeling like you are behind the wheel of a 57' Chevy while you sit in front of it .
speaking of aesthetics , could a machine get much better than this 1926 White SMCo ornate casting in antique bronze finish ?!    No wonder they couldn't keep up with Singer , the time it took to cast this much detail & create this finish *sigh* . Makes Singer's black tipped -over-eggtimer design look like the push-them-out-as-fast-as-you-can cost saver it was . I also have this casting in a fine crinkled black finish .                                            
      But wait - There is also a whole 'nuther bunch of goodies to go with these old forgotten beauties - tons of gadget attachments !  Oh the fun of it ! My oldest obscure one is my arrasene embroidery attachment , an embroidery technique that was popular in the 1880's and used mostly chenille type yarns .        I have a little collection of some of the old goods made in silk and dyed the most vivid colors , some were in the original wrappers
                                                                              here is a link to some info on this subject :
Another was the chainstitch attachments that were used on rotary sewing machines like the White & Standard brands . There were single & two thread embroidery attachments that ratcheded a second thread around the needle thread to form interesting little loops
                                  but this is a whole posting unto itself !                                                          
 another great thing is that sometimes you find cute little ones in fun colors ,                                     cute + fun = appealing to young people !  a great thing to get them to sit down & learn a bit about sewing !                             
                                    and those crazy dials & levers !  get them hooked early !
                                                                                   Do you ever use a vintage machine over using your modern high tech one(s) ?   An old straight stitcher for perfect edge stitching , old ruffler attachment for trim ? A tiny free arm Featherweight 222k for sleeves or millinery ? If so post below !  Let's get these oldies out of the garage & back in use : )         


  1. Hello there,

    I am currently doing some research on Arrasene Embroidery and fascinated that you have obtained some original thread. Is this thread available for sale at all? I am after reds, oranges and greens.

    Thank you for your time,

    1. Hello ,

      I only have small amounts , and do not use the old goods , but rather a new rayon chenille yarn that is a good sub for the old silk goods .

      Try this :

      Good luck !