Sewing4Everyone

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#SingerStories – Second-Hand Sewing Machines

IMG_8358Singer sewing machines feature extensively in our collection of second-hand sewing machines, so we were delighted to hear about an up and coming exhibition next year.

West Dunbartonshire Libraries and Cultural Services are looking for #SingerStories for a festival that will take place next year at Clydebank Town Hall. Clydebank was the home of the Singer factory, once the largest factory in the world.

The Libraries and Cultural Services want to hear from people who have memories of the factory, those who worked there, or their family members or anyone who has a Singer sewing machine and why it is special to them.

The factory was completed in 1885, and it gave Clydebank its most famous landmark – a giant 200ft clock tower, once the largest four-faced clock in the world. At its production peak in 1913, the factory occupied a site of more than 100 acres, more than double the area first purchased in 1881. It had manufactured more than 80 percent of the company’s product.

In 1913, it shipped 1,301.851 sewing machines around the world, thanks to its 14,000 employees.

Since its inception in 1851 to the production peak of 1913, the Singer Manufacturing Company saw continuous growth, but the First World War signalled the beginning of a general decline in demand for sewing machines and the Great Depression of the 1930s also hit hard.

During the Second World War, the factory won its first war contract and manufactured tools which were used for aircraft, munitions and equipment. The facility was also bombed during the Clydebank Blitz – March 13 and 14, 1941. It was extensively damaged, although no workers were killed on site. Sadly, 39 workers lost their lives in the town.

During the Second World War, the factory had its own Home Guard company. Platoon Commander Alexander Ballantyne was among them, and his actions during the Clydebank Blitz led to him being awarded the George Medal. He was one of only thirteen people from the Home Guard to receive this award for his work during the war.

When he retired, the Singer Manufacturing Company allowed him to stay in his tied house, rent-free, thanks to what he had done at the factory during the Blitz.

The post-war period saw a steady decline in orders, thanks to the growth in affordable fashion and technological challenges from other companies. In October 1979, Singer announced the factory would close in the summer of 1980.

 

The #SingerStories festival will take place next year – 3-5 May. If you want to own your little bit of a history, check out our range of Singer second-hand sewing machines.

 

October – Pants Month

refurbished sewing machineNeed a new project for your refurbished sewing machine? October is Pants Month so why not run up a pair?

Yes, we know. The American term for trousers can be a little confusing. We’re not advocating that you make yourself lots of knickers (unless you want to), but instead try your hand at trousers. After all, winter is just around the corner, and you’ll want to keep your legs warm.

One of the big bonuses of using your refurbished sewing machine to sew your own trousers is that you get to make ones that are perfectly tailored to you. The drawbacks of the ready-made are that they are often too long or too short. Most of us, after all, aren’t a standardised height.

Here are some tips for making sure you create the perfect pair of pants (trousers)!

Make sure you measure accurately.

You should measure yourself while wearing what you plan to wear under the trousers as this could affect the measurements if you plan to wear thick tights or Spanx. Measure at your waist and the fullest part of the hips. The tape should be snug, but not too tight. You want those trousers to be comfortable.

Choose the right pattern size.

Not all of us are a standard size 14. Maybe we’re a 15, rather than a 16 though. It depends on the style of trousers which size you go for. If the pattern is for very fitted trousers, then choose the larger size, but most trousers allow room enough for you to pick the smaller size.

Choose your favourite trouser style.

If you’re going to get good use out of your tailor-made trousers, then choose the style that you wear most often. Whether that’s straight leg, wide leg, harem style, cropped or slim style, you want something you know suits your shape and style.

Plan adjustments.

The great thing about sewing your own is personalising a pattern so you can make the perfect fit for you. Commons adjustments for trousers include adding or subtracting the length, altering the depth of the crotch, and adding or subtracting the width of the upper inner leg to suit the size of your thighs. If you know how to do all of these (or can learn), your trousers will be the perfect fit.

As velvet was a huge feature of the Autumn/Winter runways this year, why not make yourself some luxe velvet trousers to keep abreast of the fashion pack?

Sewing4Everyone specialises in the refurbished sewing machine, vintage sewing machines, heavy-duty models and more. Check out our range here.

You’re Never Too Old to Sew

IMG_7342A second-hand sewing machine from Sewing4Everyone might not be as old as 72, but a fantastic story on WBTV last week proved just how useful an old sewing machine can be…

What’s even more remarkable is the age of the sewer involved. Most mornings, centenarian Eva Bossenberger (who lives in Zionsville, North Carolina) gets up at the crack of dawn and sits down in front of her seven-decades old sewing machine.

Mrs Bossenberger spends hours every day, sewing together bits of material to make dresses for children in countries where it isn’t easy to get clothing. The outfits are part of Operation Christmas Child, a programme run by the charitable organisation Samaritan’s Purse, which sends out gifts to children in need all over the world.

According to the WBTV website, Mrs Bossenberger told reporters that her pastor had asked her if she could make 180 dresses for little girls which would be included in their shoebox gifts. The lady happily rose to the challenge, and since December of last year, she has sewn 114 dresses for girls in Bolivia.

She said she had been delighted to get to one hundred completed dresses, thought the pressure was still on. When asked if she would watch the news feature about her and her endeavours, Mrs Bossenberger said she didn’t have time as Christmas was coming and she still had more dresses to make.

Well, if that isn’t an incredible story about what can be done with a vintage or second-hand sewing machine, we don’t know what is!

Many people buy sewing machines because they want to make clothes for themselves or their families. There can’t be many people who purchase them with the express intention of making essential things for unknown people across the world. There’ll be others, of course, who end up making clothes for charitable purposes some of the time, and that’s amazing too.

If it’s something you want to do, then there will be plenty of aid organisations willing to take your efforts. What the enterprise will also do is give you plenty of sewing practice. Like 100-year-old Mrs Bossenberger, you’ll be knocking up those dresses in no time. If you baulk at the challenge of 180, we don’t blame you, though…

Sewing4Everyone offers a wide variety of refurbished sewing machines for sale – including a second-hand sewing machine if that is what you want. We sell reliable, quality machines and every model comes with a full instruction manual and handy help guide – an investment for years to come.

 

Support Your Local Sewing Shop

heavy-duty sewing machine

Singer 96k industrial sewing machine

Need some sewing supplies for your heavy-duty sewing machine? Can we encourage you to shop locally?

Globalisation means there are fewer sewing and haberdashery stores than there once were. Fifty or 60 years ago, it would have been commonplace for every town to have a shop that sold supplies for sewing machines, heavy-duty sewing machines and regular ones.

Most households would have had at least one person who knew how to sew, and clothes were mended and repaired or created from scratch. Local sewing and haberdashery shops catered to their needs – you could stock up on all kinds of fabric and materials, needles, thread, zippers, buttons, pins and more.

Sadly, many of these shops are long gone. It’s had to be an independent shop these days, as rents are so expensive, but those few sewing and haberdashery stores that survive are a delight.

There’s something about the smell of a haberdashery shop that is nostalgic. It’s a distinct aroma, the smell of cotton and large swathes of material waiting to be cut up to the customer’s requirement. (And there is also something special about watching someone cut that material, the skill they use to cut it so quickly and cleanly.)

The best shops are usually staffed by people who are sewing enthusiasts themselves and can give you plenty of advice and help with your own project. You’ll find patterns, unusual materials which will make your own project 100 percent unique, and beautiful buttons that can add zing to an existing coat or jacket.

Some local shops even offer sewing lessons – and if you’ve just bought your heavy-duty sewing machines and you are at a bit of a loss as to how to use it, we can’t recommend these lessons highly enough. Another bonus of lessons is that you will meet other sewing enthusiasts, and those friendships are likely to last beyond the classes. After all, you’ll probably want to meet up with your new friends to discuss ongoing projects or show off your stuff when it’s finished.

Because we specialise in the sale of the heavy-duty sewing machine (as well as refurbished sewing machines and second-hand models), the ethos of shopping at small, independent sewing and haberdashery shops sits well with us. You might have to travel a little bit out of your area to find one near you, but go on. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

London Fashion Week 2017

pre-owned sewing machinePeople who buy a pre-owned sewing machine tend to have an interest in fashion – and September is an important month when it comes to the fashion calendar.

The UK’s £66 billion fashion industry accounts for 6 percent of the UK’s market, and £28 billion is the direct contribution to the UK economy (up from £26 billion in 2013).

London Fashion Week (14th to 19th September) is just finished. What did the show bring this year? For a start, the week was launched by the British Fashion Council, Dame Vivienne Westwood and the Mayor of London’s announcement that the fashion industry was to lead a campaign for ambitious climate action.

They reached out to fashion brands and businesses and asked them to commit to green energy suppliers by 2020. The date ties in with the Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change.

Brands already committed to the campaign include Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Stella McCartney, Marks & Spencer and Vivienne Westwood.

The UK is half-way towards its climate change target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

Caroline Rush, the CEO of the British Fashion Council, said: We are proud to launch this ambitious campaign to encourage our industry to be leaders of global change. It is our hope that the Fashion SWITCH campaign encourages brands and businesses to increase the demand for green energy; helping accelerate investment and the rate and scale of renewables in the UK.”

Fashion-wise, rope belts seemed to be a thing, tied around trousers, coats and jackets, along with smart tailoring – something anyone who has a pre-owned sewing machine will relish. Checks on checks seemed to be another key trend. Again, something you could replicate at home with a little smart joining together of two items. Pink – dusky pink in particular – was also everywhere on the catwalk. Buy yourself some metres of it in raw cotton and run up a beautiful skirt on your pre-owned sewing machine!

There were also plenty of dresses worn over trousers and white, ruffle-y dresses that looked distinctly bridal, but which weren’t aimed at that market. It might be a brave woman who wore one for anything other than marital reasons, though…

We’re delighted that there has been such a push on environmental action this year. After all, we encourage recycling and the home-made with the sale of the pre-owned sewing machine, heavy-duty machines et al. It’ll be interesting, too, to see how the high-end trends and predictions filter down to the High Street, too.

 

Sewing Sisters – Bringing Hope to Yazidi Women

IMG_6872Many of us are lucky enough to use our second-hand sewing machine to support a hobby or even a job, but what if you needed sewing to rebuild a shattered life?

This week, we are focusing on the charitable project, the Sewing Sisters, a collective of 15 volunteers who are based in the Rwanda Community Camp in Qadiya, Iraq. The project was set up under the auspices of the Lotus Flower charity and The Kindly Collective, and it supports women by teaching them income generating skills such as sewing and tailoring.

The project works mainly with female Yazidis refugees who have fled from so-called Isis soldiers who view the ancient Kurdish minority as ‘devil worshippers’. According to The Kindly Collective, many of the Yazidi women have suffered through unimaginable atrocities – from brutality at the hands of the Daesh (including kidnap, rape and slavery). The Collective says it is not surprising that many survivors find it hard to cope after surviving. Many of them have also lost family members.

The region is under significant financial pressure, so the women are in dire need of alternative ways out of the poverty cycle. Sewing Sisters gives the most vulnerable women in the camp the skills and confidence to sew – creating school uniforms that Lotus Flower sells to local schools.

A second-hand sewing machine and sewing instructions can save lives and make a huge difference to displaced and vulnerable communities. Those who were taught to sew have also become trainers and instructors, passing on their skills to others in need.

One of the women to benefit from the project is 24-year-old Sindus, who was interviewed for a feature in Grazia magazine. She was pregnant when the Isis soldiers drove into her village in 2014. She and her husband fled, and she gave birth to her child while on the run, but after her husband went off to search for food, she hasn’t seen him since.

Sindus is qualified as a Sewing Sister trainer. The project, she says, has introduced her to new people and helped with her depression. If her husband ever does return, she says she can’t wait to show him her tailoring skills.

Although Sinjar was recaptured from Isis in 2015, ongoing political and military conflicts mean that the Yazidi people cannot yet return home. You can donate to the Sewing Sisters through The Kindly Collective.

Sewing4Everyone offers a wide variety of refurbished sewing machines for sale, including the second-hand sewing machine. We also offer vintage Singer sewing machines. Check out our range here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second-hand Sewing Machine – Good for You!

second-hand sewing machineYou don’t need to convince us that sewing is good for you. Arm yourself with a second-hand sewing machine, some quick and easy projects and self-fulfilment is only a few hours away!

But there are plenty of other reasons why sewing is good for you. It’s good for your mental health and your social life. And it can help the environment. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of sewing…

Sewing is a mindful activity.

We live in busy times, and many things clamour for our attention. The internet and TV bombard us with marketing messages, while our social media feeds demand huge chunks of our time. Sewing is a focused activity that needs concentration. Threading your needles, feeding the material through your second-hand sewing machine, tacking, cutting out material – all these tasks need you to focus. Mindful activity is also relaxing and stress relieving.

Sewing can introduce you to new friends.

If you’ve just bought a refurbished sewing machine and you are new to the art, then you might want to join a class. Your local community centre or adult education classes might run sewing groups. There’s also the Women’s Institute. Learning with others is fun and educational. Why not sign up?

Sewing can prolong the life of your clothes.

And that’s good for the environment. Because clothes can be so cheap nowadays, it’s tempting to throw them out when tears develop or zips break. When you know how to fix things, you’ll be able to keep clothes for much longer as you’ll be able to repair them on your second-hand sewing machine. Once your skills develop, you can also look at embellishing old clothes. Add sequins, turn curtains into cushions, make dresses into skirts or tops and more.

Sewing can bridge generation gaps.

Want to develop closer bonds with your grandmother, another elderly relative or someone in your community? Ask them to teach you how to sew. Years ago, most women knew how to use a sewing machine and could turn up hems, add darts and more. We’re sure they’d love to share their knowledge with you.

Sewing is good for dementia patients.

Care homes often use sewing or knitting as a form of therapy. Because many dementia patients knew how to sew or knit years ago, the activity is familiar to them – even when other activities have become daunting.

Sewing is creative and rewarding.

Yes, you might be able to buy a fantastic dress, but imagine turning up at a wedding in an outfit you’ve made yourself. “This old thing? I knocked it up over a long weekend…” Sit back and listen to the coos of admiration and envy!

Ready to begin your sewing journey with a second-hand sewing machine? Sewing4Everyone stocks a wide range of second-hand sewing machines, including vintage sewing machines. Buy one today and find out why so many people find sewing so rewarding.

Cleaning your Used Sewing Machine

used sewing machineHave you bought yourself a used sewing machine? Naturally, the ones we sell are top quality items and will last you a long time. But sewing machines need a little love and attention if they are to work optimally and be one of the things you can leave your grandchildren!

Sewing machines will gather dust and tiny bits of fibre. Cleaning them helps performance.

Firstly, read your manual. Individual machines will have different components, so it’s important you clean according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have lost your manual, you might be able to find one online. Search for the make and model of the machine and Mr Google may well provide!

Gather together any tools you might need (a plastic brush, oil, cloth etc.) and turn off your machine, unplugging it too. Make sure the needle is in the ‘Up’ position, and remove the needle and pressure foot holder. Slide off the flat bed attachment, and slide the needle plate cover towards you. There will probably be lots of lint and dust underneath this.

Do brush your machine regularly. Many devices come with a small plastic brush that is used to clean out all the lint and dust that gathers in a sewing machine. If you don’t have one, you’ll find them in specialist sewing shops or computer supplies as they are also used for computers. Tweezers are also useful for removing gatherings of dust and lint.

Talking about computers, you might be tempted to use an air duster spray to blow out the dust – just like the ones that are used for keyboards. They use cold moisture to get rid of the dust, and this isn’t good for the metal parts of your used sewing machine so don’t use them.

Oil the machine precisely as the manufacturer’s instructions tell you. Some machines do not require oiling. Don’t over-oil either, as it will be messy.

Clean small parts at a time. This will help you do it precisely and minimise the risk of damage to your used sewing machine.

Keep your machine covered when not in use. Again, many machines come with a dust cover, and that’s for a reason. Use it to minimise dust build-up.

Change your needles as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Sometimes, this is as little as every four to six hours of sewing.

With any luck, regular care and attention will ensure your used sewing machine is good for years to come!

National Sewing Month – September

refurbished sewing machineIf you’ve just bought one of our refurbished sewing machines, why not join in with National Sewing Month?

The celebration of all things needle and thread is an American initiative promoted by the Sewing & Craft Alliance in partnership with the American Sewing Guild. It began in 1982 when the then President Ronald Reagan declared September as the sewing month “in recognition of the importance of home sewing to our nation”.

The organisers say it presents the perfect opportunity to indulge a passion for sewing or introduce yourself to the craft if you’re a newbie – or the recent purchaser of one of our refurbished sewing machines! Free sewing projects and guidelines for sewing, craft and applique and embroidery articles are available on the Sewing & Craft Alliance website (www.sewing.org)

Sewing, the organisers reckon, is creative, therapeutic and calming, and its effects can be celebrated all year.

Ways to get involved include:

  • Teaching a member of your family or a friend to sew
  • Volunteering your time at a voluntary organisation to teach sewing
  • Sew more often – find a new project, start making your own clothes or do some repairs that you have been putting off
  • Sign up for some sewing classes
  • Create your own sewing group or circle – it’s much easier to learn (and fun to do) if you have company.

You can’t accuse sewing of not moving with the time, as free projects for September include a sew your own Kindle cover and a 1 in a Minion quilt.

Themes for past years have included Go Green, Sew Green, which encouraged people to use organically-grown fabrics and to re-use, re-make and restyle. Here at Sewing4Everyone, we definitely encourage reusing and refurbished sewing machines, so fabric scraps used for contrasting pockets or applique work well here, as does snipping buttons from old jackets to use on a new suit.

Sewing isn’t just fun, though. It can be a terrific way to save money. Hemming skirts and trousers, replacing buttons or zips, and repairing rips and tears are a better way to budget than buying new items (and then adding to landfill). And it’s always wonderful to create or recreate something through sewing. The results can be dramatic, and that can be with just a few hours spent on your refurbished sewing machine.

We hope you find some way to celebrate National Sewing Month!

Where Does Quilting Come From?

heavy-duty sewing machineA heavy duty sewing machine can make light work of the thickest quilt – but have you ever wondered where this hobby comes from?

Quilting can be enormously satisfying, as well as very creative. Quilts can be personalised to the recipient, and there are many beautiful examples of specially made-quilts. Quilting uses a needle and thread to join two or more layers of material together, and a heavy duty sewing machine or a machine with a walking foot will make light work of this task. The most commonly-used stitches are rocking, straight or running stitches.

People have been quilting for practical and creative purposes for centuries, although few surviving examples pre-date the 18th Century. At that time, silks were the most commonly used materials for quilts, and quilted petticoats were popular.

By the end of the 18th Century and into the 19th Century, changes in textile manufacturing saw the spread of printed cotton fabrics, and these were incorporated in quilts. Cottons were pieced together using a mosaic patch work method. By the mid-19th Century, cotton was much cheaper and rich, contemporary quilters began to favour silk and velvet. Synthetic dyes had been created too, which gave rise to vibrantly coloured and patterned cloths.

In Victorian homes, you might see patchwork cushions, throws, tea cosies and more, beautifully embellished and trimmed.

The wholecloth quilt flourished in the late 19th and early 20th Century, particularly in Wales, the Scottish borders and the north of England. A wholecloth quilt is as the name suggests, made from one continuous piece of fabric. They rely on elaborate, decorative stitching and often incorporate embellishments such as beading. Quilt stampers were professional markers who drew the designs onto plain or pieced material. Different areas developed their own unique style – feathers and twisted ropes were common in the North Country, and in Wales, you would find leaves and spirals.

In Colonial America, quilts were mostly wholecloth and medallion style (a quilt with a central ornamental panel and borders). Patchwork quilting dates back to the 1770s and quilts often mixed silk, linen, wool and cotton in the same piece. As paper was so scarce, women often used letters, newspaper clipping and catalogues to provide the pattern and insulation.

In the UK, quilting became less popular in the 20th Century, thanks to two world wars and a scarcity of materials, and competition from commercially made products. But by the 1960s, there was a resurgence of interest in this beautiful art form, and in 1979, the Quilters Guild was established to ensure the craft was kept alive and passed on to new generations of quilters.

A heavy duty sewing machine can help you with thick quilts, as can a walking foot. Check out our selection of sewing machines to find what you need for quilting.

 

With thanks to the Quilters Guild.

 

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