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Archive for the ‘Sewing machines’ Category

Today I’ve been sewing on “Lavinia,” my Singer 15K treadle machine from 1907.  First I cleaned her and oiled her, and then we made some Maple Leaf blocks.  She sews such a lovely stitch!

I’ve been trying to determine which sub-category this Singer 15 fits into — I know she’s not a 15K80 or 15-96.  At first I thought she was a 15K30, but when I saw a photo of that model, I realised the bobbin winder is in the wrong place.  The letter K just means that she was manufactured in the UK, at Singer’s Kilbowie factory in Clydebank, Scotland.

Lavinia’s bobbin winder is in the lower position.  The 15K30 photo I saw had the bobbin winder in the higher position, near the top of the machine.

I like to think that someone spent many happy hours sewing on this machine.  Look how worn her decals are on the machine bed!

I’ll keep looking for her model sub-group, but it doesn’t really matter.  I just love to sew with her, and I’m planning to spend many happy hours with her, too!  🙂

Happy Quilting!

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My latest project has been to clean and restore this sweet little Vibra handcrank machine to good running order.  She really is small — her base is 12 inches long, 6.5 inches wide, and 1.5 inches tall from the bottom of the cast iron feet to the machine bed.

She is badged as a “Vibra,” but she’s really a Jones CS in disguise.  All Jones CS (cylindrical shuttle) machines have that large screw on the top, between the spool pins.

I found some information about this model and a photo of a similar machine at the Antique and Vintage Sewing Machine Virtual Museum.   The serial number of my machine is 510728, so I think she was made in the mid-1930s like the example machine on the website.

The chrome on the balance wheel, faceplate and slide plates is all beautiful and smooth.  There were some dark spots before cleaning that I thought might be pitting, but luckily it was only dirt!

After cleaning, she just needed some round-shank needles and a new rubber tyre for the bobbin winder, and I was able to order those online, as well as an instruction book,  from Helen Howes Old Sewing Machines   — no affiliation, just very pleased with the excellent service and valuable advice.

Now my little Vibra is working perfectly!  I need to do something about her poor old storage case, which is in a very sad condition…but that’s a story for another day!

Happy Quilting!

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This is one of my much-loved vintage Singer sewing machines.  She is called the Bluebird of Happiness, and she’s painted pale Sky Blue with dark blue accents.

She is a 359K straight stitch machine, manufactured at the Kilbowie factory in Clydebank, Scotland.   She has an EY serial number, which is not listed in the Singer archives, but from Internet research, I think she is probably a 1967-1969 model.

I have heard this model described as “low end,” but that phrase sounds so derogatory.   I think she’s a wonderful sewing machine, so I prefer to think of her as “priced for the modest budget.”  🙂

There is nothing low-end about the way she performs — a nice even stitch every time, and she is extremely quiet for a 40-something-year-old mechanical sewing machine.

I wanted to be able to use her for a full range of sewing tasks, so I have been buying new accessories for her from time to time.  She now has a vintage Singer buttonhole attachment for dressmaking:

and a vintage Singer zigzag attachment for overcasting seams and making decorative stitches:

I also wanted to piece quilt blocks with this machine but was having difficulty maintaining a consistent 1/4-inch seam.  I looked all over for a Singer 1/4-inch foot to fit her and could only find one for Featherweights (Singer 221K) that would have to come from America, and it was very, very expensive.  So….I made my own 1/4-inch foot adaptation for this machine using a low-shank connector and a snap-on foot that were salvaged from another brand of machine whose motor had burned out and couldn’t be repaired.

See what the Bluebird can do now!  We were happy before, and now we’re overjoyed!

Happy Quilting!

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This is George, my Brother Window-Matic sewing machine, after his “rejuvenation” last year. My other vintage sewing machines all have girls’ names, but my little daughter insisted that a “Brother” machine had to have a boy’s name.  So, George it is.  🙂

I love this sewing machine so much — it works perfectly, and it’s very quiet.  I wish I could find out more of its history, but vintage Brother sewing machines are very difficult to trace.  The Brother company doesn’t have an extensive database of serial numbers online like the Singer company, but if you write to them and send a photo of your machine, they are very helpful and will send you whatever information they have.

I discovered that Brother started making sewing machines about 1951.  I found some dated photos of earlier and later models on the Internet, so I am estimating that this model is from about 1955.  If anyone else has this particular model, I would love to hear from you.

I bought a nice little sewing machine table for one of my old Singers, but the machine wouldn’t fit into it.  Happily the table was a perfect fit for George.

Here it is when it’s just being a table with the sewing machine stored inside:

and here it is with George folded out and ready for sewing:

Happy Quilting!

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We had a fantastic holiday in Northumberland.  We went to the beach, explored castles and took long walks every day.

I took my Featherweight (Singer 221K) with me for a little relaxation sewing in the evenings, along with a box of pink and green strings that I’ve been saving for a travel project.

I like string blocks because they are so easy and stress-free when I am sewing in less-than-ideal conditions.  There are no instructions to follow, and the seam allowances don’t have to be a perfect 1/4 inch.  I was sewing on the dining table, so I used thick bath towels folded over as an ironing pad for my travel iron.

Here are the first four blocks where the pattern is beginning to emerge.

I finished three more blocks this morning, and this is what I have so far.

We didn’t find any quilt shops in our travels, but I did buy a lovely bar of soap that was wrapped in nice quilting cotton.

And that little piece of fabric wrapping has found its way into my quilt!  🙂

It’s going to be a very nice memento of a beautiful summer getaway.

Happy Quilting!

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I have a zillion projects in the works right now, but as soon as I saw Judy Laquidara’s new pattern, Paint Stix, I loved it and knew I had to try it right away!

I’m using some fabric from stash that I have always liked but found difficult to use before.  This pattern seems just right for it.

Here are the first six blocks:

I am sewing on “Ethne” today, which is my Singer 319K from 1960.  She uses special 206×13 needles, which are difficult to find these days.  Just last week I was lucky enough to find some more needles for her, so now we are off and running again.  She has many amazing features for a 50-year-old sewing machine, including some incredible embroidery patterns.

To see what other quilters have on their Design Walls today, please visit Judy’s blog for a list of links.

Happy Quilting!

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After we left our children at school the other day, my friend Jeanette asked if I could come around to her car because she had some sewing stuff in the boot (trunk) for me.

It was 30 metres of grey corduroy!  Some of it has been cut, but most of it is still on this huge (and heavy!) roll.  She had started recovering her living room sofa but got frustrated along the way and decided to just buy a new sofa and be done with it.  I don’t blame her — that’s a very hard job.

It’s lovely fabric, very good quality but too thin for clothing — so what in the world can I do with it?  Our living room is mostly jade green, so grey corduroy won’t work for us.  I’d really like to use the fabric for some kind of charity/donation project.

I thought about making reusable grocery/shopping bags for the next school fair and decorating them with brightly coloured twin-needle machine embroidery — but that’s my only idea so far.  Even Nigel the Quilting Dog is drawing a blank on this problem!  😉

And my biggest dilemma of the day — do I have to count this fabric in my stash report?  Yes, I suppose to be really “legal”, I should count it.  And then when I sew it up, I’ll get to count it as a big finish.

I have been sewing a lot this weekend but haven’t finished anything yet.  I’ve been using two of my favourite vintage Singer machines — that’s Nancy, the 185K, on the left, and Gloria, the 404G, on the right (and the corduroy in the middle!).  😉

Here are my figures for the week:

Bought this week:  0
Received as a gift:  33 yards (30 metres)
Bought year-to-date:  16 yards
Used this week:  0
Used year-to-date:  24.5 yards
Used (net):  -24.5 yards

To see how others are getting along with their stashbusting this week, please visit Judy’s blog.

Happy Quilting!

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