Monday, May 31, 2010

A new toy...

Sewing machines come to live with me.  I'm actually not certain of the exact count at the moment.  I had a machine in college, a fairly stripped down junior-model Singer.  When i worked at G Street Fabrics, i bought my first vintage machine, an old Singer slant with all the attachments.  Others are ones that someone was going to junk, and wouldn't i take it?  I usually do, hoping i can maybe pass it to someone who can use it.  Recently my grandmother was moving, and planned to leave behind the Kenmore machine she bought as a young woman.  Yeah, it's at my house now.

And there are others.

So i hadn't really planned to buy another machine anytime soon.  But at the auction today, there was a lovely old Elgin treadle machine, in its cabinet - in need of cleaning, but relatively intact.  And there wasn't a whole lot of interest among the assembled crowd; a Domestic in a very Art Deco-ish cabinet had just been passed over without a single bid.  And i had a bit of room in the Jeep...

I'm tickled to have a treadle machine join the herd.  The friends i know who have used them have often come to prefer them over electrics, and i'm pretty sure i'll like the control at slow speeds for fussy bits, where i'm always nervous about nudging the pedal a little too hard, and it's also nice to have the off-the-grid option.  Photos to come, but field testing will have to wait for a serious cleaning and oiling, and possibly a new belt...

What do you love to sew on?  Do you prefer a different machine for vintage projects?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Literary kitty

A bit of fluff for a rainy Monday: Fitz catches up on his reading.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Aprons and caps

The Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences (you have to admire the sheer chutzpah of the name) published a number of little instructional booklets on dressmaking, patterns, and various types of garments, throughout the 1910s and 1920s.  They're the work of Mary Brooks Picken, who wrote staggering numbers of books on sewing and fashion over the course of her long life.  I've gathered copies of a few of the titles, and thought i'd share some of the pages from a 1922 volume, Aprons and Caps, which opens with the explanation,"Bustles, hoop skirts, and boned bodices come and go, but aprons, like table napkins, seem always necessary."

One imagines she would nod in approval at the renewed vogue of the apron after its near-extinction.