Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New (to me) sewing stuff

The Sewing Lawyer had a sudden, severe, sewing-related mania (clearly, it is contagious) this week which resulted in a drive to a not-too-distant town to purchase a rather large thing (luckily not for a gigantic sum); which hopefully will be more than another piece of furniture.  Without further ado, here it is.  Can you guess what's inside?


If you guessed a working treadle sewing machine, you are correct.  The contents, please.

Well, it's a Singer 127 (or 128; not sure, the manual - original - is for both).  She's in lovely condition - purchased in 1935, probably in Timmins, Ontario, by Émerilda, the grandmother of the seller.  The manual is in French which was Émerilda's mother tongue (though it's clear from the notes and clippings found in the drawers that she was fluently bilingual).

It seems from the drawer contents that Émerilda was still using this machine in the early 1970s, which is kind of remarkable given that my grandmother, who may have been Émerilda's contemporary, had an electric Singer (a Featherweight) much earlier than that.  I wonder if Émerilda got a new machine in the 1970s, or if  she used this one all of her sewing life?

 At left is the beautiful scroll-work and at right, the shuttle - all clean; no rust.  The leather belt is in place and she really goes!  So quiet!

On to the ephemera and tools that were stuffed into the drawers.  Alongside the usual suspects (bags of old metal zippers, spare buttons in pill bottles and bits of trim) were some intriguing items.

Don't you love these promotional rulers?  The lower one is a campaign item from a 1971 mayoral race in Timmins.  What a thoughtful guy to supply sewing notions as give-aways!









The next (left) is a mystery.  The round part is an expanding metal bracelet-like thing.  It stretches to fit over my wrist, but mine are on the small end of wrists so I'm not certain it's meant to be worn in this way.  Attached to it is this odd device (right).  The end piece is a very thin bit of metal which rotates (with some help).  The inscription is PAT 405/14 which tells me nothing in particular.  Does anyone reading have any idea what this is?
Perhaps the strangest item was this souvenir sewing kit (left) which proudly proclaims "Temagami, Canada".  (Temagami is a northern Ontario cottage/summer camp paradise.)  The clown's hat is a (plastic) thimble and thread is concealed inside his head.  Weird!  OTOH I wish we still lived in an era of sewing-related tourist drek.

To the right is a very handy hosiery mending kit.  Another promotional item.

The needle book at top is almost complete and very pristine.  The other side sports a photo of 4 biplanes flying over a very busy harbour.

The mending tape may be nothing to write home about but I like that it's in the original packaging.

The little taped booklet at the bottom of this photo is clearly Singer propaganda aimed at the younger set.  Inside it warbles "Let Us Send You a Singer Machine For Free Trial!" - beware of those dealers who sell (horrors) second-hand!  Inside the rear cover is a picture of a machine "For the Little Girl"; a Singer 20 (chain stitch machine) which "is at once a fascinating amusement and a means for instruction in an essential household art".



Last but not least is this intriguing clipping (click to enlarge to readable size).  It looks like a free-motion quilting item, but specially designed for making buttonholes.  "Twice as neat results in half the time, too!"  For "only" $1.00 or three for $2.50.  But wait a minute - maybe it was an expensive item after all.  Based on some other newspaper items bundled into the drawers, 89¢ would have purchased "strongly-made Blue Red-back Denim overalls" sized to fit children from 8-16 years from Simpson's, one of Canada's original department store chains.

I'm delighted with my purchase; the seller was happy it was going to a sewing home.

26 comments:

  1. Hi Kay!! WONDERFUL purchase!! I lived in Timmins in 3rd Grade...
    Soft hug,
    Rhonda, now in Montreal

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  2. I learned to sew on an old treadle sewing machine! My five-year-old legs weren't long enough to reach the treadle, so I turned the wheel with my right index finger.

    After a year or two that way my mom let me start using her electric machine.

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  3. What a wonderful find. My grandmother had a small sewing room with a treadle machine so it brings back happy summer visit memories. And what a fascinating collection of items. I'll be watching to see what the conclusion is about the mystery item.

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  4. I have the same one, and it works great. I have the manual in English if you are interested. I think you'll enjoy it, it's a workhorse... I've sewed many of an outfit on mine!!

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  5. Bondage Pavarotti, mwahahahahah!

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  6. Very beautiful and in perfect shape. And it is so nice that it found it's way to you. I sure hope I don't catch the bug. I have a 1946 FW and that will be my vintage machine (she tells herself). I'm not coordinated enough for a treadle. But oh, so beautiful.

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  7. The machine is beautiful! And Esmerilda probably was using this until the 70s. I know my grandmother continued to use her treadle machine into the 70s...it worked fine and she couldn't figure out why she needed a newer one.

    Love the things you found inside the machine!

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  8. It is beautiful! What a wonderful purchase.

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  9. What an awesome vintage find!!

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  10. Wow - what a find ! I saw a 127/128 in a cabinet in Toronto a few weeks ago, but in nowhere the condition of yours.

    Somewhere in all of the bits and bobs that came with the Singer 99s I brought home is a shuttle with a couple of bobbins - would you like them ?

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  11. Great condition! My family didn't have any treadles, although they had several occasional tables made from the cast iron bases. I'd even love to have one of those! I have one vintage machine, a 40's era Singer portable in a bentwood case. That'll do it for me. DH already thinks my sewing habit is certifiable! :)

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  12. How beautiful, and those special things inside! Enjoy.

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  13. What a wonderful treasure you have got there! This is just like the one that my dear grandmother used to sew with. I would love one of these beauties.

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  14. I bought my first treadle in the 70's and once I got the hang of rocking and stitching I loved how relaxing it could be. It gives you such great control over the needle that I miss it. Enjoy your new addition!

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  15. What a beautiful machine and cabinet! I, too, am glad it went to a sewing home.

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  16. That was a wonderful discovery! I am sure you will enjoy it for a loooong time

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  17. I think the mystery bracelet-thing may be a holder for a ball of crochet thread or a small yarn ball. The user would put on the bracelet, with the ball on the rod portion, and would be able to work with the thread handy, and not have to worry about dropping it. I'm pretty sure I've seen pictures of these somewhere.
    I'll be interested to see if someone who really knows can comment.

    Anne from Alabama

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  18. Oh, Kay, what a fantastic find! Lovely, lovely!

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  19. I think your mistery bracelet tool is a thread ball holder for tatting. I have seen a few of those.

    Rose

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  20. Lovely. I remember watching my grandmother sew on her treadle machine on her screen porch in Austin, Texas, when we visited her in the 60's. I also remember watching her use her washing machine with the wringer. So I guess her motto was, if it ain't broke, don't need a new one. When Grandma died in the 70's, my Aunt Ruth took the sewing machine. Oh, well....

    Rena

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  21. I think the PAT 405/14 refers to a patent number.

    BJ in Maryland

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  22. Beautiful machine! I love the sphinx decals. And what fantastic condition it is in!

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  23. I have my mother's Singer treadle which was purchased in 1925/26? Had the cabinet refinished and the head reconditioned. Mom HATED to sew, but had three daughters who made up for it! Unfortunately my closest brother dismantled all the attachments when he was a toddler, but I have been able to replace most. Enjoy!

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  24. Lovely! I recently aquired a Singler Model 15 treadle machine. I have a few parts to find before mine will be ready to sew with, I'm looking forward to learning how to sew on a treadle.

    Christiana
    sewamusing.blogsptot.com

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  25. My grandmother is currently 99 years old and was born in 1912. She still quilts by hand today as she has done all of her life she uses the bracelet to hold her spool of quilting thread so when she needs a new piece of thread for her needle she has the thread handy. What great finds you have!

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  26. I have one of these too. I also have the brown straight leg version. Not too sure if I like it. I'm thinking about getting it powder coated to black. To me it just looks nicer. Even better yet, if I can find the traditional black cast iron set with the matching wheel, etc. for cheap then I could change it to that.

    Are the legs on yours steel/iron/wood?

    Currently the machine is in getting cleaned and lubed. I have yet to use it bc I bought it at a garage sale for $25! The cabinet is in fairly good condition........and everything seems to work, it's just all really dusty! Can't wait to get it all clean, polished and back together to get going on it!

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