Tuesday, 1 October 2013

A new sewing machine

 Well, it's new to me.

I've acquired a Singer 28K handcrank; her serial number dates her to the first half of 1908. She came from a rural car-boot sale via a friend, for the grand sum of £8.
Singer 28K handcrank sewing machine made in 1908
Singer 28K, made in Kilbowie, Clydebank
Scotland, in the first half of 1908.
We put her on my dining room table, changed her needle, wound her bobbin on my 1914 Jones Family CS (as the Singer's bobbin tyre is missing), threaded her up - and she sewed. Not quite perfectly yet; the tension mechanism needs a thorough cleaning, and the stitch length adjuster is jammed, but the application of plenty of WD 40 followed by a good dose of sewing machine oil in all orifices and wherever metal meets metal will soon solve that problem, I have no doubt. 

Jones Family CS 'as supplied to HM Queen Alexandra'
with 'coffin top' case seen behind.
The lid to her accessories compartment is missing - I think it was a sliding lid, so it must have slid right off - and she has neither accessories nor cover - which I think would have been a 'coffin top' similar to that of my Jones Family CS, seen on the right here. The desirable bentwood cases came a bit later, I'm sure.

How many domestic machines of any type are still perfectly functional at 105 years old? There are literally thousands, probably millions, of century-old hand-crank and treadle sewing machines still doing useful, often vital, jobs all over the world. I wonder if the men and women who made these machines a century and more ago had any idea at all of the heritage they left us? I wish my old machines could talk! I'd love to know about some of the garments they made, the women who used them and the conditions in which they were used. Gas-light? Oil-lamps? Or did they push a table to the window and place the machine there when they needed to sew? 

I hope to get into some of the 'better' vintage-style fairs by doing 'craft demos' with one or other of my vintage machines. Some of them will offer a free stall if you will do a demo or teach a class. 

So I must get on to doing tutorials on here - quick and easy lavender bags will be the first one, I think. I make a start on it tomorrow, as it's forecast to pour with rain so there'll be no gardening for me.

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