Archives 7/15-7/21 2005-2010

hairy_machine_smJasmin from New Zealand sent me some photos of a machine she uses to sew lifeboat covers -it’s a part-time voluntary job she has maintaining an old crane ship. Some of you lead such diverse and interesting lives, it gives a girl pause. She doesn’t mention the machine brand only that it was originally a treadle (obvious to vintage machine aficionados) but mentions that their engineers wired it to an electric engine at some point. Jasmin says she’s very fond of it and that it still runs well although it requires occasional caution. There’s a larger image of the machine if you want to play guess the brand.

I’ve been working hard this weekend, so hard in fact I am anxious for the respite of the usual work week. I’m sure many of you can say the same.

Below is a selected excerpt of entries published here over the past six years. Again, bookmark the archives page for the nearly complete listing of the 2,000+ entries. Hope your weekend was great.

July 15, through July 21, 2005
Hangtags, labels & domain names- competing with your customers?
Shrinkage and fit
Speaking of tees
Sarah Wyman’s shoes

July 15, through July 21, 2006
Carnival of Couture: Jinjer Markley
Premiere Vision 2007/2008 Trend Forecast
Carnivale of Couture: Andy Chang & board shorts
Carnivale of Couture: Danielle Meder
Umbrella design
Carnivale of Couture: Gigi, Linda & Ella
Information addicts
Carnivale of Couture: Kathleen

July 15, through July 21, 2007
Ethics in clothing design
Vintage pattern book summary
Illustration software
Batch, UPS and Modular (Batch pt.2)
Ethics in clothing design 2
How to write an email
News from you 7/20/2007

July 15, through July 21, 2008
Rotary cutters, a guaranteed argument
Pop Quiz #475
Tracing and Marking

July 15, through July 21, 2009

Going from prototype to production sewing pt.2
Design Paralysis pt.2

July 15, through July 21, 2010
How to shop for clothes for sizing research
Pop Quiz: fix this dress
Pop Quiz: fix this dress pt.2

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  1. dosfashionistas says:

    I am guessing it is an old Singer. Mainly because a lot of the old industrials were.

    And I’ll bite; how do we know from the picture that it was originally a treadle? Is it the way the belt slants or something else about the belt?

  2. kay says:

    I’m going to guess that we know it wasn’t a hand-crank because the crank was set for the dominant arm in most folks — so if that picture wasn’t flipped, that machine is “backwards” for hand-cranks (and modern home machines.) And it probably wasn’t electric, because of the amount of brass used in the structure — which sort of leaves treadle and steam. I’m a little dyslexic (or at least right/left challenged) and I’ve always wanted to try sewing on a “backwards” machine.

  3. Felix says:

    I think, I found it. This should be a Singer Class 7-something, similar to these two: and
    Looking at the presser foot in the larger picture and comparing it to the pictures in the links you can see, that is not a “backwards” machine. No personal experience with a machine like this, just starting with my first sewing project.
    (btw, thanks for this fantastic blog with its loads of interesting information)

  4. Kathleen says:

    Hey, I know Chris at Artifact Bags. He’s a member of our forum.

    I’ve asked Jasmin to cough up the details.

    Welcome Felix.

  5. Jasmin says:

    Oh, it is a Singer, I got delegated to use it because I was the only person willing to take it on! It’s like my first machine, a fifties Singer, but wound back to utter basics for very heavy duty sewing. Inspired by everyones pictures, I think it is the harness version, flavour 7-35 as it looks about right, plus I vaguely recall being told it was an old harness making machine we got as no-one wanted it anymore.
    I’ll have to get more details from our engineers about the conversion (they all like steam, but there is the odd electrical type as well), the ‘thumper’ sounds right, it does thump as you go – and it is slightly unpredictable with the motor, you have to be cautious, or it will rev up and get going …. plus, it’ll start heating up on the crank if you go too long, you can burn your fingers!
    The needles are like a nail for carpentry, I’m always very careful around them, cos there is no stopping fast! You can wind back to raise the needle once you stop, but I try and organise myself to just sew forward every time, and make up patterns that just need you to go forward and not cut the thread as little as possible.
    The bobbins are amazing, long and solid, and you have to have a screwdriver to open the bobbin case out. It took me a while to figure it all out!!
    I just make up the patterns for what we need based on what I figure will work, and match up with the the object to cover – the last large lifeboat cover has worked out really well, and has been in place for a few years now. I’ll send Kathleen some pictures of the ship – the Hikitia is a steam operated floating crane that came over to NZ early last century, and a team of volunteers keep it running. If anyone wants more photos, just ask, I’ll be doing more sewing on Saturday :-)

  6. Jasmin says:

    I think this series were designed to be able to use a motor or treadle – this one has had a treadle ‘built’ by the lads as well as being wired up (and I have on-off buttons like a seventies spaceship).
    I actually have a 1921 Singer at home one of the guys gifted me too, his mum bought it second hand in the late twenties, and his wife used to use it all the time, but when they moved, there wasn’t enough room, so now I have it (my back up back up machine!). Sucker for machines …

  7. theresa in tucson says:

    That is a grand machine! The cobbler/boot repair around the corner from me has an ancient treadle he uses to stitch straps and I have seen videos of the machines the harness crew uses when they are prepping/repairing harness for Rodeo parade. They are all equally venerable machines.

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