Monday, November 29, 2010

1910 Singer Attachments




I thought I would show you all pictures of the attachments that came with my 1910 Singer. It was quite interesting to see the difference in what were considered standard attachments one hundred years ago and what comes with a machine today. Photo one is a "tucker", photo two is a "ruffler", and photo three is a "binder" for putting binding on a dress etc. It also came with a quilting foot, a hemming foot, and of course just a standard sewing foot. With my modern Bernina, I have a buttonhole foot, a zipper foot, a blind hem foot, and your standard sewing foot. Each foot is reflective of the methods of construction for the time as well as the styles of the day. One hundred years ago women's and children's clothing included multiple types of trims, ruffles, tucks, and other embellishments that would have been a must. However, a zig-zag stich still wasn't possible so buttonholes were worked by hand, and zippers wouldn't see popularity for another thirty-seven years. Today's sewers would be lost without an automatic buttonhole feature, not to mention the ability to sew on a button with their machines, and zippers have become an indespensable closure in the majority of garments. We can credit Elias Howe for both the invention of the sewing machine as well as the zipper in 1851, but the closure idea was a little before its time. B.F. Goodrich was responsible for giving us the name zipper for use on galoshes, but it still didn't become a popular closure until the 1930's when it was marketed for use on children's garments and men's trousers. Such a different world from the automated one we live in now, simply reflected in the common women's tools of the day. I'm anticipating being able to use these "new" attachments, taking a step back in time.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Century's Worth...

I sat down at my treadle this afternoon to work a little on new petticoats. Somewhere along the line, my needle tension went really wonky. I absolutely love my treadle, mostly because of the beautiful crisp stitches that it produces, but this was terrible! All of the thread was pulling through to the back and then knotting up. Nothing I did with the tension knob (small knob on the front of the machine - second picture) seemed to help. Then I started fiddling. The first thing I did was to completely remove the tension knob - didn't know that it would come off, but it did. Behind the knob I found little bits of fluff. Now, if any of you are sewers you understand the importance of occasionally cleaning and oiling your machine. Since I had started working on the machine, instead of sewing, I figured I might as well give it a good cleaning and oiling since I never had. I removed the side plate (second photo) and couldn't believe the inside. The dust and grime was incredible. I don't think that this machine has ever been cleaned, there was literally that much lint. While working on the sewing machine, I also removed any chrome parts that I could and cleaned and shined them. The beautiful thing about a treadle machine is the ease in machine repair. I am not mechanically inclined so I was a little fearful of taking this apart, but everything went back together again and is now working correctly again.
I've rambled on long enough for this afternoon, stay tuned for more info on my treadle as well as my mostly finished drawers.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Commisioned Baby Quilt

I was asked by a friend of a friend to make a baby quilt for her one month old nephew. This is the first quilt that I have been commisioned to make and it has been a little bit of a nerve wracking experience. First of all, quilting fabric is expensive here in the Vancouver area, is she ready for the cost of the fabric? Second, she left me with the choice of pattern etc., will it be what she hoped? I was assured by my friend that the cost would be ok and that what ever I chose would be fine as well. So I went ahead and it really cam out quite cute. I also had to make up an invoice for the bill. That was a first as well. (The ladies that I sew for at church are ok with me just giving them a total. Oh well.) So, here's the quilt. The poem on the label on the back says:

It's Your Quilt
It's OK if you sit on your quilt.
It's OK if your bottle gets spilt,
If you swallow some air and you burp, don't despair;
It's OK if you spit on your quilt.

There are scraps old and new on your quilt,
Put together for you on your quilt.
If your gums feel numb cause your teeth haven't come,
It's OK if you chew on your quilt.

We expect you to lie on your quilt.
If you're hurt, you may cry on your quilt.
On a cold rainy night, don't you fret, you're all right,
You'll be snug, warm and dry on your quilt.