Thinking about buying a vintage sewing machine? Why? Our shops are full of clothes, but more people than ever are choosing to sew at home.
Once upon a time, sewing was a skill that most girls were taught. Certainly, young women would be expected to sew in the home – from creating their own clothes and outfits for their family on a vintage sewing machine handed down from their mothers to making cushion covers, curtains and carrying out small mending jobs.
Then, there was an about-turn in the 70s and 80s, as sewing was regarded with suspicion because it seemed too gender-specific. Modern women didn’t want to learn to sew. They wanted to learn what men were being taught, or skills that seemed less ‘feminine’. Groups that had favoured and fostered traditional skills such as sewing and knitting (the Women’s Institute, for example) were thought of as the preserve of older women.
A New Hobby and A Vintage Sewing Machine
A cultural shift took place in the noughties. Sewing and knitting were ‘sexed’ up. Debbie Stoller’s Stich and B***h reinvented knitting for another generation, turning it into a fresh, new hobby. The Women’s Institute started to attract younger members, who wanted to make their own stuff.
Numerous celebrities were pictured knitting as they waited between takes while filming (knitting, unlike smoking, is a good thing to do with your hands), and shows such as Kirstie Allsopp’s Homemade Home came on the scene. Home-made was officially cool once more.
Other aspects that play into people’s desire to sew are sustainability and provenance. Yes, our shops are full of clothes, but where do they come from and who are they made by? Made in China and transported here? Modern consumers have more knowledge than ever at their fingertips. The new sewers know that if they can use a vintage sewing machine and create their own clothing, they will do far less damage to faraway communities and the environment.
If ever there was proof of the popularity of sewing and crafts in general, look at the number of fairs and events that take place across the UK every year. From cross-stitch to quilt-making, there are any number of shows taking place. In the next few months, for example, you can visit the Abingdon Vintage and Antiques Fair, the Sew and Beads Quilt and Craft Fair in West Sussex or the Handmaiden Craft Fair in Essex.
Social media has played its part too. Sites such as Instagram and Pinterest are ideal places to showcase your home-made clothes and terrific skills. It’s terrifically satisfying to put up a picture of something you have sewn yourself and receive numerous ‘likes’, pins or comments expressing admiration. There’s nothing like a little external validation to cheer us up.
We think even more people will choose sewing at home as a hobby in the future. The home-made trend isn’t going to go away.
We specialise in the sales of pre-owned, heavy-duty and vintage sewing machines for domestic and industrial use. Contact us on (01782) 943667 to discuss your requirements.