Sewing4Everyone

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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.

 

How to Use your Used Sewing Machine!

used sewing machineMany people who buy a used sewing machine have some rudimentary knowledge of sewing, but what if you’re a complete beginner?

First of all, congratulations on taking that first step! Your used sewing machine will provide you with years of service. It’s a great investment. Here are some ideas for getting you started on your sewing journey. We’ll turn you into an accomplished seamstress in no time!

There is a brilliant and thorough guide to using a sewing machine here by Dwellonjoy. The writer reckons it took her longer to write the ‘how to’ post than it did to figure out how to work her used sewing machine.

Another great website is How to Sew, which offers sewing tips and patterns for beginners.  First projects they suggest include winter coasters, star pincushions, Easter egg decorations, Valentine’s Day garlands, place mats, Christmas cocktail napkins, tissue holders, hair turbans and more. All of them are straightforward and yet satisfyingly crafty at the same time.

Another useful resource they offer is How to Thread Your Sewing machine, two tips to make the job easier.

Patterns will refer to different kinds of stitches so make yourself familiar with the differences between basting, zig-zag, double needle and more here.

We’ve blogged about it before. You can find many inspirational and helpful videos on YouTube. Often, it’s much easier to learn by watching someone do something – and with YouTube, you can watch over and over again. There’s a beginner tutorial here (part one of five).

Does your local community college offer lessons or evening classes? Learning with others is incredibly useful, and it can be a way to make new friends too.

Buy a book. The great thing about a physical guide is that you can have it open next to you, beside your used sewing machine. A Beginner’s Guide to Machine Sewing: 50 Lessons and 15 Projects to Get You Started is one we recommend. Get it here on Amazon.

Finally, this won’t be news to most of you, but the best way to learn to sew well is to practise, practise and practise some more! Why not offer a hemming service to your family and friends? Unless you’re buying tailor-made, it can be difficult to buy trousers that fit perfectly, and many people need them taken up. You’ll be very popular if you can offer this service to people!

Sewing4Everyone specialises in the used sewing machine, refurbished and heavy duty sewing machines.

Image by rok1966 posted to flickr and shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

 

How to Grow Followers for Your Sewing Blog

vintage sewing machineDo you love sewing and your vintage sewing machine so much you have to write about it all the time?! We don’t blame you! Sewing is something that has become more popular in recent years.

Older generations all knew how to sew, but sewing as a skill died out in the late 20th Century. Clothes had become so cheap, it didn’t seem worth making your own. But then ethical concerns came in – how were these cheap outfits being made? And is it sustainable to create a demand for tops and trousers that can be thrown away after only a few wears?

There are lots of brilliant sewing blogs out there. If you want to create one or you want to make yours more popular, read on for our tips to grow your followers…

  • Link your blog to your social media accounts. WordPress, for instance, can be set, so your blogs appear on Twitter, and Facebook et al. the minute they are published.
  • Follow other people with the same interests. They will follow you back, and you might find their audience likes what you do.
  • Write relevant information that helps people. If you type sewing queries into Google, the autocomplete will often suggest what other people are asking – things such as how do I care for my vintage sewing machine, or how do I use a heavy-duty leather sewing machine. A mix of general and niche is good.
  • Make sure your blogs are easy to read. Use short sentences and paragraphs, and check for typos before you publish.
  • Use plenty of pictures – or videos. They often demonstrate a point in the best way.
  • Use good keywords thoughtfully. Keywords are the words associated with a particular business or topic that people type into search engines.
  • Guest post on other sewing or craft blogs. If you can offer well-written, useful information, other people will want it. Encourage guest posts on your own blog.
  • Update your blog regularly. You don’t want to bombard people as they will stop following, but once a week is a good target to aim for.
  • Respond to likes and comments. It’s only good manners to reply to any comments. And it makes people feel the time they have taken to say something was worthwhile.

Good luck with your sewing blog!

Sewing4Everyone specialises in the sale of refurbished sewing machines, including the vintage sewing machine. Check out our full range here.

 

 

Why Second-hand is Best!

IMG_4725Sewing4Everyone specialises in the sale of second hand sewing machines (such as this lovely Singer 29k sewing machine), but why is it better to buy refurbished sewing machines, rather than new?

In general, second-hand goods are much, much better for the environment. We live in an age of things. If you talk to your grandparents, they will tell you people lived with a lot less stuff in Ye Olden Days. And you know what? They didn’t suffer for it.

When you buy second-hand goods in general, you cut down on manufacturing demands, and you keep items out of landfill. Huge amounts of man-made goods are routinely thrown away, but refurbished sewing machines give longer life to items other people can use. Let’s save the earth, one Singer 29k sewing machine at a time!

If you are someone who likes good-quality items refurbished sewing machines make perfect sense. You will get a reliable, premium machine at a reasonable price. Wouldn’t you rather spend money on a stellar, old sewing machine than a brand-new lesser make? Here at Sewing4Everyone, we sell some of the best makes of sewing machines there are – the Singer 29k sewing machine, for example, and the Jones Brother Heavy Duty sewing machines.

There is also the thrill of the hunt that comes from second-hand shopping. If you love sewing you will know there are iconic sewing machines out there. By browsing these pages, you’ve just found your paradise!

Finally, a second-hand sewing machine is an investment in quality. We only provide the very best refurbished sewing machines. We hand-select our machines (and we are experts when it comes to the world of the needle and thread) and we are always on hand to give you advice, should you need it. Your sewing machine will be an investment for years to come.

The quality is assured. Before our machines leave us, they are serviced by our trained sewing machine mechanics to check that they meet our standards for reliability, performance and style. Our heavy-duty sewing machines are perfect for thick and/or tough fabrics, and you’ll receive a manual and help guide to get you started.

Why not start your sewing adventure today? From the Singer 29k sewing machine, to the Janome Semi Industrial Zigzag Sewing Machine, we’ve got them all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Singer Sewing Machines – Facts

singer 29k sewing machine

Singer 29k sewing machine

If you’re a fan of used sewing machines, then the Singer name will be familiar to you. Singer is synonymous with sewing machines, and for almost one hundred years, it was the best-known sewing machine in the world (and still is to an extent).

There are plenty of interesting facts about Singer. Here are just some of them…

  • Isaac Merrit Singer (1811-1875), the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine company, patented a prototype sewing machine that could sew 900 stitches in a minute
  • Singer is thought to have fathered at least 24 children with his wives and mistresses
  • used sewing machines

    Singer Model 1

    The first Singer sewing machine was known as the Model No. 1

  • Singer’s general manager George Ross McKenzie was given the job of finding Singer’s first overseas factory. A former Scot who’d emigrated to American in 1846, he chose Glasgow.
  • The company soon outgrew its Glasgow location, and it purchased land in Clydebank – the Kilbowie factory and building was completed on this in 1885
  • By the summer of 1885, Singer’s Kilbowie factory was the largest one in the world
  • Best-selling Singer domestic sewing machines include the Singer 12K, the Singer 99 and the Singer Featherweight. If you like used sewing machines, you’ll be able to find these
  • Clydebank’s most famous landmark was the Singer 200ft clock tower – the largest four-faced clock in the world. Each face weighed a massive five tonnes, and it took four men 15 minutes twice a week to keep it wound up.
  • The company began mass-producing domestic electric sewing machines in 1910
  • Singer’s success was also credited to its instalment payment plans. The company offered credit purchases and arrangements for rent to own where people could rent the sewing machines and eventually buy them
  • In 1913, at the peak of production, the factory shipped more than 1,301,000 sewing machines around the world, thanks to its 14,000 employees.
  • The factory was bombed during the Clydebank blitz in March 1941. No-one was killed at the plant, although 39 workers died in the town
  • Many Singer used sewing machines and vintage models are now collectors’ items
  • The Singer Corporation is now part of SVP Worldwide, and it produces a range of consumer products, including electric sewing machines.

Sewing4Everyone specialises in the sale of used sewing machines, including Singer sewing machines. Check out our range to see if we have the sewing machine that suits you needs.

 

The Story Behind a Pre-Owned Sewing Machine

pre-owned sewing machineSewing4Everyone prides itself on its collection of antique sewing machines and the pre-owned sewing machine. One of those we have is an untouched Singer 99k, still with its original paperwork and dated back to the outbreak of World War Two.

The Singer 99k was introduced in 1911 and production continued until the 1950s. It was created in response to the demand for lighter, more portable machines that didn’t need a special table. In the 1920s, Singer introduced the possibility of an electric motor for the machine, making it the first portable electric sewing machine.

The 99k in our warehouse has to have a brilliant story behind it, seeing as the owner never got to use it… We don’t know, but we thought we’d try to imagine what happened to the owner of this beautiful pre-owned machine…

The Story Behind a Pre-Owned Sewing Machine

“This is the Singer 99k.” One of Mrs Gray’s talents was her ability to speak through a mouthful of pins. She patted the box. “I expect we’ll be busy over the next few months.”

Rose sipped her tea. Mrs Gray never needed much in the way of response. You just had to nod here and there. There was something she had to tell her employer, though, and she dreaded saying the words.

“I reckon there’ll be a rush on people getting married, don’t you?”

Rose found herself blushing. She lived in hope of marriage herself, though George had made no mention of it. They’d been courting for five months now and she thought that plenty of time for a young man to make up his mind. The outbreak of war would surely force his hand?

“People might not have time for wedding dresses, though,” Mrs Gray mused, and Rose’s heart sank. She’d set her mind on a beautiful organza, peach-coloured dress. Never mind that her seamstresses’ wages would barely cover the material costs. Or that George was yet to propose.

“We must give them beauty and hope in sad times!”

Mrs Gray stared at her. Responses from Rose were rarely that passionate, but she nodded, slowly.

“Yes, we must. I’ve had enough of black-out curtains, I can tell you.”

“I’ve signed up for work at the factory.” More unexpected words from Rose. The factory did more important work, she reckoned. And the pay was much better.

Mrs Gray made herself another tea. “I don’t know if we really will be busy. If this goes on, they’ll probably start rationing clothes as well as food. I’m too old for another war.”

She shooed Rose out, locking the door to Mrs Gray’s Finest Dresses.

“Come to me before you get married. I’ll make you a dress. No charge.”

Rose beamed at her, the vision of the organza dress appearing once more in front of her eyes. George would indeed propose some two weeks later. And a week after that, he’d be killed – an early casualty of a devastating war.

Want your own, amazing pre-owned sewing machine? Sewing4Everyone has a great collection of refurbished and second hand sewing machines.  

Photo from Charmainezoe on flickr reproduced thanks to Creative Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antique Sewing Machines – Singer 29K

singer 29k sewing machine

Ever wondered what the deal is with Singer antique sewing machines and the numbers? They refer to the patents. Isaac Singer got his first patent for a sewing machine, and that was Singer 1, and thus each new model was numbered accordingly.

The Singer 29K was originally made for industrial use and was favoured by cobblers and other sewers working with goods such as gloves and bags. The machine’s narrow arm and revolving foot could sew in any direction. It has no underneath feed, instead a foot that walks the work through the machine. The small container in the middle of the machine was for oil to lubricate the thread.

The machine can be used to stitch leather, canvas, blankets, fabrics and other material such as rubber. The recommended maximum thickness is about 3mm. Parts are easy enough to pick up too, and there are lots of films on YouTube showing you how to use the machine to best effect.

The Singer 29K was mainly manufactured in Singer’s Scottish factory in Clydebank. Singer initially set up a factory in Glasgow in the 1860s. The country was chosen as it has iron-making industries and cheap labour. The first factory was near Queen Street train station, but production soon outgrew the premises. Manufacturing was moved to Bridgeton, but again in time, the buildings didn’t meet the requirements.

singer 29k sewing machine

In 1882, George McKenzie opened what was to become the largest Singer factory in the world at Kilbowie, Clydebank. Built above the plant’s middle wing was an iconic, huge clock tower – 200 feet tall, and with the name Singer clearly emblazoned on the front for all to see.

The completed factory covered almost a million square feet and employed some 7,000 employees, producing an average 13,000 sewing machines a week. As it was so productive, the US Singer company set up Singer Manufacturing Company Ltd as a UK-registered business. At its peak, the factory employed 16,000 people.

The factory closed in 1980, and the buildings were demolished in 1998.

singer 29k sewing machine

The pre-1970s Singer sewing machines were built to last. They were easy to use and straightforward. The Singer 29K machine is still being used in leather workshops and cobblers all over the world – an example of just how amazing the antique sewing machines are.

Sewing4Everyone sells antique sewing machines, vintage sewing machines and refurbished models. We have a wide selection of machines available. If you’d like to discuss a machine in detail, please contact us on 01782 943667.

 

 

Antique Sewing Machine – Singer 30K

antique sewing machineAre you lucky enough to own an antique sewing machine? Is it the Singer 30K? Lucky, lucky you…

Before we explore this iconic model, let’s take a look at the man who gave it his name – Isaac Merritt Singer (pictured left).

Born in 1811 in New York, Singer was an inventor, actor and businessman. (And a colourful character by all account as he is thought to have fathered at least 24 children with various wives and mistresses).

Singer is best known for making important improvements to the design of sewing machines and he founded the Singer Sewing Machine Company. His machines were popular because they were practical, suitable for home use and could be paid for in instalments.

Singer expanded into Europe, setting up a factory in Clydebank, Scotland in the 1880s which was controlled by the parent company. Singer became one of the first American-based multinational corporations. By 1885, Singer’s Kilbowie Factory was the largest one in the world. It could manufacture 8,000 sewing machines a week, employed 3,500 people and its machines were sent around the world.

singer 30k sewing machine

The factory was bombed and extensively damaged during the Clydebank blitz in 1941. The factory eventually closed in 1980.

The Singer 30K model is a chain stitch miniature sewing machine which was introduced in 1912, with the company commissioning 5,000 machines from the Kilbowie factory. Another 10,500 were commissioned between January and June 1913, but production then stopped. The antique sewing machine 30k has 75 component parts, all specifically designed for this model. It weighs about 5kg with its cast iron base and is 12 inches long. It takes the same needle as the Singer 24.

The machine is well engineered and solidly built, and it’s also bigger than the other miniature Singer model 20. The basic Singer 30K had a base that could be screwed or clamped to a table. For extra money, people could add an ornamental base to make the machine portable. These are very rare.

There is speculation that the Singer 30K was produced to temporarily fill a gap in production at Singer’s huge Clydebank factory. Singer already produced a chain stitch machine (the 24) so it seems peculiar that they chose to do another one.

singer 30k sewing machine

The factory switched to arms production during the First World War, so this too might have contributed to the cessation in production. Nowadays, the machines are rare – a real example of an antique sewing machine collector’s item

Antique Sewing Machines – the Singer 48K

 

singer 48k sewing machine

When it comes to antique sewing machines, a well-known example if the Singer 48K machine.

The 48k machine was only made at Singer’s Kilbowie factory in Clydebank, Scotland between the years 1900 and 1913. According to the company records, at least half a million machines were made, and at the time were priced at £4 12s 6d – roughly £460 in today’s money. It was Singer’s cheapest selling family sewing machine.

The 48K is a transverse shuttle model – the shuttle moves from left to right. Its other features include

  • A hybrid shuttle
  • A self-setting standard 15×1 needle and not the old round shanked, 12×1
  • An upper tension control sited right of the faceplate
  • A shuttle eject mechanism
  • Black hand wheels – this is probably because some countries taxed machinery import with plated parts, as they were thought of as luxury items.

Attractive Antique Sewing Machines

It is a very pretty-looking machine. Singer only decorated the 48K machines with the Ottoman Carnation ornamentation and the Ottoman Carnation with Indian Star decals. Why? The idea is that India was an emerging market at the start of the 20th Century, and the use of the Indian Star sticker was a deliberate attempt to stimulate the market.

What makes the Singer 48K something of a mystery when it comes to antique sewing machines is that it used technology which was outdated at the time. Other Singer models were better machines, and far more up to date. Why produce something like this?

singer 48k sewing machine

The theory goes that the machine was designed to compete with German-made, high-arm (the high arm allows free movement of the material) machines that had dominated the British market for many years.

Designed for Export?

Another theory is that it was intended for export to developing countries, but the majority of advertising materials (and there aren’t that many) relate to Singer 48K machines being sold in the UK. There are also adverts for it in New York and Russia, though!

Nowadays, the Singer 48K is a rare thing, which perhaps gives credence to the idea that 500,000 machines were not made. Some experts on antique sewing machines have disputed this number, claiming that a sewing machine that only shows up every six months on eBay is very rare. The primary production period seems to be 1902-05.

singer 48k sewing machine

It is thought that production of the machine might have stopped for various reasons. Number one that it just wasn’t that great a sewing machine. Another reason might be the start of the First World War and the drop in imports of German goods. There was no longer a need for a machine that competed with the German high-arm sewing machine.

Whatever – the machine is something of a mystery, and that makes it very exciting indeed!

Sewing4Everyone sells refurbished and antique sewing machines. Check out our range to find out more.

 

 

 

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