Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Sewing, vintage style.

Over at the Sew, Mama, Sew! Blog they've had a 'Sewing Machine Month' so, right at the end of the month I thought I'd witter on endlessly about my sewing machine(s). If you don't want to see the results, look away now!

I have three sewing machines. Shocking really. I do feel a bit guilty. But they all (well two of them) do different jobs, and if you sew as much as I do, you need at least two so that when you've burnt one motor out or broken the drive belt, there's still a machine that works! I suppose you could call me a bit of an enthusiast, which is the new, more polite name for 'sad person in anorak'. It's quite hard to go out spotting sewing machines though, have you ever tried?!


This one is a treadle machine, from the late 1920s, which Paul bought me :) (click on the pictures to make them bigger). It wasn't expensive either - you can buy them for about £30 these days. I've had a go at sewing with it but I think treadling and me need to spend time together and get to know each other. Ahem. It's like trying to rock back and forth with your lower half, while keeping your arms still enough to feed fabric through the machine and not keep waving about like an utter fooool! So helpful when trying to sew flat-fell seams!! How did they do this in the olden days?? Do you think they had Treadlerobics classes? Hmm...I think I'll stick a motor on it, then I might get more use out of it - at the moment it folds into its neat little table shape and serves as an extra desk...(sorry Paul)...

Jones blue

Mum's jones machine

These two Jones machines are my favourites, and they are the machines I use all the time. For everything! (go here for a history of Jones machines...it's fascinating, she said, in a geeky voice)The brown 1970s one (they loved their brown in the '70s, didn't they?) belonged to my late mum, and all my clothes as a kid were made on it! Oh boy, the Terylene, Crimplene and Bri-Nylon that machine has seen...! I love sewing with it, it is so mechanical, smooth-running and such a heavyweight old girl. The only problem is it gets hot really quickly and I think it really needs a new motor. So I have the other one for back-up (you know, like shoes?? or spare yarn??) I found the blue one (1960s I think) on eBay - it was £35! You can't buy a decent dress for that these days! I do like vintage machines though. They do free-style embroidery so well, and free-motion quilting - I don't need a modern computerised one (luddite!) or indeed a particular brand of Swiss machine they're always recommending (paying £500 for a second hand machine makes me feel queasy) But that's just what I'm used to. You have to be prepared to get the screwdriver out and adjust the tension if you want to use a mechanical/vintage machine but I think it's worth it for the stitch you get from it. I'd love to hear about your machines - do you use vintage or modern ones? There's lots on the Sew Mama Sew Blog about all that, it's interesting to see what people are using...Right. *rolls sleeves up* I'm off to find my oil can :)

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