Another old Singer Machine

It was never my intention to collect sewing machines but when you are offered something like this you have to say yes.

Singer 27K circa 1900

Singer 27K circa 1900

This beauty was being used as a sewing table by someone who didn’t want to use the treadle machine – but who now needed the space. The cabinet is a really nice piece of furniture on it’s own – but the fact that it hides a machine built in Scotland in 1900 makes it super special.

Nice cabinet hiding a fab machine

Nice cabinet hiding a fab machine

Real drawers on the left...

Real drawers on the left…

Treadle mechanism hidden behind mock drawers on the right

Treadle mechanism behind mock drawers on the right

The machine is in desperate need of some TLC , and a lot of oil! The treadle was locked solid but is moving now. I will have to have some patience and spend time of this machine when I can to bring her back into full working order. I am sure that once everything is moving and back in order this machine will outlast me. Everything (other than the treadle band) is solid metal and very hard wearing. I cant wait to try this out properly by making something on it – I am sure that the treadle action must be very therapeutic.

This has obviously been well used in the past as the decal is worn at just the point that you would hold your right hand whilst working. I have identified the decal as ‘Sphinx’ or ‘Memphis’.Whichever name you give it the pictures are beautiful.

I can work quietly on all the sewing I have for clients knowing that behind me all of the little nooks and crannies are slowly drinking up the oil I have put on them.

Sphinx or Memphis - beautiful whichever.

Sphinx or Memphis – beautiful whichever.

Please don’t offer me any more machines – The Management has been quite impressed with this old lady but if she was joined by lots of similarly aged friends I think his patience may be tried!

Pirate shirts!

The management requested another ‘fun’ shirt a little while ago. Not one to disappoint I decided that it would be a good project as part of his Christmas gift. As you might have predicted, a last minute panic ensued and one of these ended up as an IOU under the tree as it was still in pieces.

The self drafted pattern was already made so there were no fitting problems or other obstacles to prevent this being a really easy project. So…, to make the project more interesting to me I decided to make one of them entirely on the new to me 1945 hand cranked Singer (Molly).  One made on the ‘all singing, all dancing computerised Pfaff – and one VERY old school. Can  you tell which is which?

Which is which?

Which is which?

You want more detail, huh?

Pirate shirts

Edge stitching and buttonholes

Pirate shirts

Edge stitching and collars

Have a guess and I will say which the Pfaff and which Molly constructed in the next post.

I really enjoyed the process of making these – it is so easy to just rush headlong at something you have made before and this made me really slow down. That might have been irritating to some people but I found the repetitive movement really relaxing and almost meditative. The management came in whilst I was making the second shirt (on Molly) and is now convinced sewing is dead easy – ‘You just go like that (make hand cranking motion) until it’s done’. Thank you dear. Now that they are finished they count as shirts 6 & 7 in this years SAM. Clearly I am not going to be able to finish this challenge since it is December 31st now.

All that is left for me to say is Thank you to all of you who have followed my blog, and made a comment or two, throughout the last year. I wish you all (and all the other sewers in the community) a Happy, Healthy, and Wadder Free 2013.

Old Singer – Happy Hoody!

Oh boy, am I a happy bunny!

I have been looking out on ebay and such for a hand crank Singer sewing machine for a little while. I can’t really explain why I really wanted one so much but I know that other bloggers have raved about their old machines (which oddly seem to be capable of so much more than we expect) and the Singer buttonhole attachments that go with them. I also learned to sew on an ancient Black and Gold Singer – though that one was electric.

I managed to get a buttonhole attachment on ebay but lost out on the machine in the last seconds. Grrr. Back to scouring the interweb.

Well… I got one! And isn’t she a beauty!

Beautiful Molly

Beautiful Molly

From the serial number I have discovered that this machine was built in Scotland in 1945. Despite the age the machine is in very good condition, even if the wooden veneer on the base is a little the worse for wear. I can handle that. I didn’t expect to find the accessories box still to have feet in it, and a selection of vintage Singer machine needles (still in their paper packets). For some reason the management decided it should be called Molly – hence ‘she’.

I collected the machine on Sunday and managed to attach the buttonhole attachment to it on Monday. What fun trying that out! Even with my computerised Pfaff machine (which is the one I use most) there is a little variation in the buttonholes made. Given that this is a straight stitch machine , built in 1945, and an attachment that hasn’t been used in donkeys years it gave surprisingly good results. This is an attachment that doesn’t have ‘cams’ and the adjustment is still a bit of a mystery to me but I suspect that once set up this will be well used. I would probably still like to get one of the attachments with the cams that make keyhole buttonholes – they look so nice on jeans and jackets.

Buttonhole samples

Buttonhole samples

I may try this out for the buttonholes on the blouse I am making for my daughter (which is coming on fairly well – photographs later) as I really want to use it on a ‘real’ project.

P.S. Still in the local pub for their WiFi – no solution from my ISP so I shall be moving soon. Hopefully I will then be able to post without having to buy a coffee! (I know – I should have a decent drink since I am here).

Mystery tool? I have one of those!

Intrigued by a thread on the Stitchers Guild site titled ‘Mystery tool’ I had to look. I was amazed to recognise a gizmo given to me by a friend after her mother died – I hadn’t tried to do anything with it so the comments on the thread made me dig it out and try it. Sadly there are no instructions – or it was considered so obvious at one time that none were needed.

But what does it do?

It seems to have the pieces that Pina shows – but also has two needles which resemble hyperdermic needles (hollow centres) and a long needle threader. This has been in a drawer for at least 5 years so it was well overdue for investigation. With a little effort (and the help of a threaded loose needle) I was able to get the thread down the tube and within range of the threading aid. With the needle pushed onto the tube  I just pushed it through the fabric and left a loop on the back before pulling the needle back. I think if I had repeated the action it would have given a more secure marking but it really does leave a tailors tack!

Threading up
Tailors tack!

With a little practice I think this could be useful !

I have just checked You Tube and there is a video of an old commercial – this thing could be really useful – check it out. (P.S. Mine is not for sale!)