Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My grand old lady

After my last post about my love of sewing I think my sewing machine must have decided she needs a rest! Because as I was sewing last night, all sorts of things started to go wrong which led me to drop her in to the repair shop for a service today. I guess she's entitled to have a rest now and then - she certainly works hard for me. She's way past her long service leave and still happily running with just a yearly check-up.

Of course the problem might have something to do with the rather ambitious project pictured above that I was working on: a new bag for myself made from quite thick fabric, and in some places many many layers thick. Probably a job for an industrial machine! Now, I know she's up to the job, but a little R&R is obviously what she's in need of before we continue (are you feeling sorry for her yet?) :-)

I'm not really into naming things, but if I did I guess my lovely old lady would be called Flossie after my grandmother who passed it down to me. From my research I think it's a 1950's model, which probably means that Flossie bought it soon after arriving in Australia from England. She gave it to me when I think I was in my late teens, and she would have been in her 70's. Looking back she must have had a bit of faith in me to give it to me - an impatient teenager!

Over the years I've loved and enjoyed her. Whenever I've tried other machines I've scoffed at their plastic frames and flimsy bodies, though secretly admiring their fancy stitches - at times I've wished I had just a couple of other stitches apart from straight stitch - zip zag would be nice, and perhaps a buttonhole function. But overall I'm happy to stick with her. I also have an overlocker that my mum bought me years ago from a friend of hers who was upgrading, and that finishes my edges.

I'm hoping one day to find out what all of these amazing looking feet pictured below are for, sitting in their original box. Look at the one in front - what could that possibly be for?? If anyone has any ideas please let me know.

If only Flossie (granma) was still around I could ask her about the feet and more importantly, talk to her about her sewing experiences... and I'd let her know how grateful I am for her gift that I've loved and cared for ever since.

So, my old pal Flossie, come back soon. I'm looking forward to tackling that bag with you. And I've got a few other jobs lined up for you too ;-)


  1. That's a beautiful old machine!! Gorgeous! You're a very lucky granddaughter. I can't offer you a zig-zag on Flossie, because that would be impossible, but did you know that Singer made indestructible "buttonhole attachments" that can be used on a straight stitch machine? I would guess that Flossie is a "straight shaft" (rather than "slant shaft") machine, so you would need the one that looks like this - http://www.tias.com/173/PictPage/1922516029.html

    They can be bought easily and cheaply on eBay or Etsy (I got mine for $11 USD). They attach like a walking foot, and actually move the fabric back and forth to "zig-zag." Totally awesome & clever basic technology. They also make buttonholes that are prettier and nicer than most modern machines can do. You need one!

  2. Hi Jo, I have my Mum's 1928 Treadle machine and my Mum-in-law's 1950 Singer electric knee operated machine. You can find year of make by getting onto the Singer site and typing in the Serial No. of your machine. The foot looks like a Ruffler foot, I'm sure the Singer site could by of help. They are beautiful machines:)

  3. I agree, it looks like a ruffling or pleating foot, not that I have ever actually used one. :-) Also, the internet is a great source of information on old Singers, you can learn a lot by just Googling your model number.

  4. Inder, you may have changed my sewing life - a button hole attachment!! It sounds like the best $11 I'll ever spend.

    Kathy, do you still use either machine?

    Kathy & Inder, thanks for your foot knowledge. I think I'll have a Google trawl around and maybe just try them out and see what happens - nothing to lose I guess!

  5. awwww... Flossie is a gorgeous grand old lady! It's good she has a well deserved little holiday :) How are you coping without her? All those feet attachments look fanscinating... I hope you discover something cool that they can do!

  6. Hi Jo,
    Yes, both machines are performing well!!

  7. Can't help you on those feet I'm afraid. Was your grandmother a "ten pound pomme"? (I love that phrase!) I remember my dad coming across all the leaflets, signing the praises and benefits of moving to Australia, that he'd got when considering the option. I was very disappointed that they hadn't gone through with it - and still am!

  8. I learned on a metal Berina, that was handed down to my Mom. That avocado green babe is has since been dismantled for parts, as it was beyond repair (read, serious abuse for a lot of years).

    You could take the feet to your dealer, as they will either know or have the books on what they do.

    Oh, on those bulky seams either use seam jumps or get a wooden mallet. I prefer the mallet as I can beat the living daylights out of them. Smushes them just enough to work, and I use a leather needle too boot. I'm on a Singer these days (that my sister got me for Christmas). A hand-me-down of a hand-me-down Berina died right before, as the timing belt went.

  9. Pardon my typos . . . stateside it early. That's my excuse.


Related Posts with Thumbnails