Saturday, 21 August 2010

A Sweat of Sewing Machines :)

Alright, I concede I don't actually know the collective noun for a group of sewing machines! However, 'a sweat' of sewing machines sounded appropriate since you'd get a big group of sewing machines in a sweat shop :)

My Mum recently said to me that she thought her sewing machine (the one above - a Cresta machine bought in around 1962) was destined for the sewing machine shop in the sky! The tension seemed to have gone completely wrong and she couldn't adjust it at all.

Last Saturday, in Lidl's, we noticed a special offer for a basic Singer machine for only £80 and we wondered if that would suit her. By a strange coincidence, on the same day, she decided to phone a sewing machine shop in Waltham Cross, not far from here, that do machine repairs and who have serviced it before now, to see if there was anything they could do...... and they say there most probably is and ....... DON'T THROW IT AWAY whatever you do!!!!

They basically said that the Cresta machines were good solid machines that were 'better than some of those cheap 80 quid ones you can get nowadays'! [Can't think what they might have been referring to! No coincidence that Lidl's is just round the corner!]

So, I picked it up from Mum's on Thursday and will be taking it down there today. Mind you, I have no idea how my non-driving Mum got it there before! It weighs a ton!!!

This got me to thinking ....... I haven't used my sewing machine for ages! For exactly the same reason! I wonder if they can put mine to rights? I have a couple of ideas that need a sewing machine but, like Mum, I had also thought that my machine had had it! This machine is a Jones VX540 that I bought in 1982. It is no where near as heavy as Mum's but, like Mum's, I can't see any plastic anywhere obvious! Anyhow, after a quick call to the shop, they said the Jones machines are also good machines, so it will also be going off today for repair.

What about this one? Well ....... I couldn't resist showing you this! Apparently, my Mum had this from when she was first married, so around 1957. It's an Essex Engineering Mk1 Sewing Machine and I found a brilliant website that tells a little of its history. This would seem to indicate that production stopped around 1956 but Mum is sure she bought it from a catalogue (possibly Kays catalogue) when she was first married, so perhaps they were on sale for a while after that?
As you can see, it is hand operated and when you look at it closely, it is a marvel of engineering. Everything is so perfectly made! From the days when we in England still made things to be proud of! [Oops ..... soap box moment ....... put that away now :) ]
Mum used it to make things for me when I was a baby. As a child, Mum also used to let me use it. My principle use was to run pieces of paper through it to make patterns!! Oh Dear!
Nevertheless, it still appears to work, although I haven't actually threaded it up to check. Still, I feel the urge to do so as I'm curious to see if it can sew even after all this time. It sews by producing a chain stitch..... there is no underneath bobbin.
So there you have it ........ three generations of sewing machines :)


RosyTint said...

Fascinating. I loved reading about these old machines and I'm pleased to see that you are getting them over hauled and that you're not simply replacing them. You're so witty, I love reading your blog : )

Elaine said...

Thank you Rachael :)

My ..... did you have a late night? Or was it an early morning? :)

The shop I took them to is called Rona in Waltham Cross and it's a fascinating place! They have a beautiful supply of fabrics and just about everything you could want for sewing.

And the machines !!!!

There was a marvellous beast that was all set up to show the embroidery it could do. Stunning! But not far short of £6,000 .... Ouch!

Mind you, I think I prefer the 'look' of hand embroidery but I can see the attraction of being able to do intricate designs quickly.

Also, lots of examples around the walls of the shop of quilts made with their machines. Some really lovely designs.

Oh for more TIME to do all the things I'd like to do. Sigh.

Elmsley Rose said...

Hi Elaine,
Just popped across from "The Unbroken Thread", after reading your comment about "funny thread twist" for the silk from Silk Mill.
It's "z" twisted instead of "s" twisted. Have a search on Mary C's site to learn all about that. And yes - it definitely affects stem and outline stitch - it reverses their effect.
All the best :-)

Elmsley Rose said...

Hi Elaine :-)

Just popped across from Kathy's The Unbroken Thread. "Funny twisted thread" = z-twisted thread. And you are absolutely right in that it reverses the affect of stem and outline stitch.

Knowing it's name (z twist) you can search further on Mary C's site for more information about it if you care to - she has a bit there.

Brazilian and rayon threads are normally z twisted, it's unusual for a silk.

Hope this is helpful :-)

Elaine said...

Hi Elmsley Rose,
Yes, thank you very much for the extra information. I wonder why The Silk Mill's silk came to be twisted in this way?

I will have to remember when I do get round to using it :)

Samantha Griffiths said...

Hi, I was just wondering if you had the instruction manual to go with this machine. I want to try my hand at sewing and have borrowed my mothers machine but she is really busy. Thanks

Elaine said...

Which machine are you referring to Samantha?
I have the manual for my machine .... the Jones one.
I'd have to ask my Mum if she still has the manual for her Cresta.
I'm not sure about the old hand-operated Essex one; have to check if there's anything in the box!!

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