Get In The Queue

I am getting to the state where I have so many projects in mind that I can’t remember what yarn or fabric I bought for which project.  Partly, that is due to a bit of a spend up at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia a week or so ago where I was as tempted by the stands selling wool as by those selling  fabric and divided myself, and my money,  between the two – well, it was only fair.  I found the Olympia venue much more manageable than the Alexandra Palace show I went to in October last year which was almost too huge and overwhelming and, as a result, I didn’t spend quite so much there as I did here.

London Olympia

Anyway, I sort of had projects in mind for fabrics as I want to make another Coco dress not for my daughter this time, but for me.  Having already made one in a finer jersey, I chose a double knit jersey this time in a shade of blue I have heard referred to as ‘airforce blue’  – so it is sort of bluey, grey –  which I found at the expo for £7.99 a metre which I didn’t think was bad.  At the risk of looking like one of the crew on the bridge of the Star Ship Enterprise, I am doing the funnel neck version with 3/4 length sleeves and I need to hurry up because, when the sun comes out here now, it’s quite hot so I won’t have long to wear it.  I would have finished it by now but my Mum came back from the U.K. with me for a week and I went on a knitting fest with her as it is more sociable than disappearing to the sewing room – although I did manage a couple of trips up there when she dozed off watching her soaps.

On the same stand where I found the double knit jersey they were selling loads of lovely Liberty tana lawn for £14 per metre and I haven’t seen so many different designs available in one place for ages so I had to indulge.

This will be sweet for a little girl’s outfit  –  bless all those little musical kitties –

hellokittyliberty

and this one is Liberty’s Matilda Tulip design in a mustard and charcoal colourway which I fancy for a summery blouse or something.  If I make just a simple one it would go well with jeans I think.  (Just realised I have shown the mustard and navy together as if to prove my point.)

tana_lawn_matilda_tulip_03633162d_s13_lrg

I’ve had an antique Singer sewing machine for a while now and keep meaning to do something with it in terms of renovating it a bit and perhaps actually using it.  Mr. Tialys had taken it all to pieces for me and I had the sewing machine on a shelf in my workroom but I kept brushing past the stand in the shed on my way out to the garden and decided to do something with it.  The wooden table part was a bit yukky so I thought I’d give it a couple of coats of chalk paint and decorate it with an image of a pair of antique scissors.  I might do a bit more distressing but this is as far as I’ve got at the moment.  A lot of the decals on the machine are worn but I don’t think my fine painting skills are up to restoring those.  After a bit of research, I discovered this machine was made in Scotland in 1906.  The belt is missing from the treadle mechanism so I will have to search for a replacement online but, apart from that, I think it should work O.K.  There is also a large wooden cover for the machine – you can see the fittings for it on the top – and also a drawer – but I can’t decide whether to leave those in the original wood or paint them to match the top.  I don’t normally like painting over lovely wood but this isn’t that great quality so I will give it some thought.

Vintage Singer Sewing Machine 1906

After a bit of research, I discovered this machine was made in Scotland in 1906.  The belt is missing from the treadle mechanism so I will have to search for a replacement online but, apart from that, I think it should work O.K.  There is also a large wooden cover for the machine – you can see the fittings for it on the top – and also a drawer – but I can’t decide whether to leave those in the original wood or paint them to match the stand.  I don’t normally like painting over lovely wood but this isn’t that great quality so I will give it some thought.

vintage sewing machine

The ‘spooky’ thing was that, after I had had a little play with this yesterday, I looked in the T.V. Listings mag I get Mr. T. to bring over from the U.K. with him, and noticed that tonight’s Great British Sewing Bee episode will feature some of these vintage machines.  Apparently the contestants will be presented with a 1930s pattern and they will be making a coat.  I’ve never made a coat – let alone from a vintage pattern – so it will be really interesting to see what they do although I don’t think they will be cruel enough to make them sew the coat on a treadle machine.  Will they?

Have you got an antique or vintage sewing machine?  Do you use it or is it décor only?  If you use it, what do you use it for?  Just asking as I’m interested.

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  1. #1 by sew2pro on March 25, 2014 - 13:26

    Both my grandmothers had very similar Singers; one was recently sold before I could get to it. The other folded downwards and my mother has restored it into a kind of ‘console table’ I guess you could call it. It has two gorgeous drawers on each side that I used to love opening and closing when I was a child.

    When I was a teenager, I sneaked into the school craft room to use one such machine and as I didn’t know how to use it, I ended up sewing two stitches through my thumb. But no hard feelings!

    • #2 by tialys on March 27, 2014 - 11:26

      Well, it obviously didn’t put you off. I had absolutely zero interest in sewing at school – my sewing teacher at school called me ‘gormless’ – I had to look it up when I got home – so she’d be amazed to see I still sew today.

  2. #3 by katechiconi on March 25, 2014 - 14:26

    Love the mustard Matilda lawn! My mother had an old Singer on which she made endless clothes for us as children. It was a turn handle version rather than treadle, and I was always very impressed at how well she could control the fabric with just her left hand. One of the big treats of childhood was turning the handle as fast as we could to leave her hands free when she was making curtains or some other large item.

    • #4 by tialys on March 27, 2014 - 11:28

      I already have a top almost finished in the Matilda – just couldn’t resist. It did come in a fetching pink colour called ‘old rose’ too but I thought the mustard was a little different. Your mother was lucky not to have her fingers sewn into the curtains I would imagine.

  3. #5 by Ann on March 25, 2014 - 14:48

    My grandmother had a machine like yours which is interesting now that I think of it, as she took pride in being a businesswoman and was not especially domestic. Good thing she had it though, as my mother must have learned to use it as she taught me to sew. I inherited a 1960s portable Singer which still works beautifully. Can relate to feeling overwhelmed by super-large shows to the point of not wanting to purchase when surrounded by so much stuff!

    • #6 by tialys on March 27, 2014 - 11:31

      I don’t know when your grandmother was around Ann but, according to this week’s Great British Sewing Bee, it was very common for households to have a sewing machine although they were expensive and apparently gave rise to the first hire purchase agreements. I do love it when I can be entertained and subtly educated at the same time

  4. #7 by 1secondhandrose on March 25, 2014 - 16:57

    My Nan taught me to sew on a Singer treadle machine like yours, I love what you’ve done with the table 🙂
    Here’s a link where you may get the parts from (I found these when I was after something.)
    http://www.singersewinginfo.co.uk/parts_for_sale/
    Best wishes
    Rose H
    x

    • #8 by tialys on March 27, 2014 - 11:32

      Thank you Rose, that link is really useful. I really would like to use it if I can.

  5. #9 by Mike Kuznicki on March 25, 2014 - 17:45

    This machine looks familiar to me too, and we’re using a base like that as a plant table. Passing this on to my wife, who’s into all things sewing and will surely appreciate it.

    • #10 by tialys on March 27, 2014 - 11:33

      Lots of people use them in such a way as the base is beautiful in its own right. If your wife is into sewing though, I’m sure she would love to have a go at actually stitching with it.

  6. #11 by Jan Marriott on March 25, 2014 - 21:02

    never seen Matilda Tulip before….elegant.

    • #12 by tialys on March 27, 2014 - 11:40

      It’s lovely isn’t it Jan? It was difficult to choose as this particular stand had so many different Liberty tana lawns and reasonably priced too. They also had loads of other gorgeous fabrics – their stand is where I spent most of my time/money. I have checked out their online shop http://www.fabricsgalore.co.uk/ but they don’t seem to have such a large stock online so, next time I’m over in the U.K. I must pay them a visit in Battersea

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