Sewing4Everyone

Singer 201K – An Iconic Machine

Do you love vintage sewing machines – the Singer 201K is one of those iconic models that sewing enthusiasts rave about.

The 201 series comprised of full-size sewing machines mainly made in the USA and UK. They were first introduced in the 1930s and production continued until 1961. Experts often view the Singer 201K as the finest domestic sewing machine ever made, and the models that exist today still work perfectly well – sewing and hemming in the same way they did all those years ago.

The 201 was the most expensive model – according to singersewinginfo.co.uk, the electric model cost £28-11s-6d in 1947. In 1950, for example, the average salary in the UK was just over £100, so the sewing machine cost most than your average worker would earn in three months.

However, Singer was famous for something other than sewing machines, and that was hire purchase. Tailors or seamstresses could buy the machine and pay for it over some years while they made their living from the sewing they did.

The Singer 201K would have been used as a hand machine or treadle for domestic work, but professionals could use it with a motor attached so that the machine could produce more than 1,100 stitches per minute.

Singer produced lots of attachments too – buttonholers, blind stitchers, zig-zag attachments. Professionals liked the large ‘harp’ space, as this made it easy to work with bulky fabrics. It was also an easy machine to use. Needle insertion and threading differed from other models. With the 201K, you had to insert the needle with the flat side facing to the left and then threaded from right to left.

Some of the 201 models (201D) were made in Germany, but the factory was closed at the end of the Second World War, while the 201P models were assembled in Australia from parts made in Singer’s Clydebank factory and bases and cases produced locally.

One of the fascinating facts about the 201K, as noted by sewing enthusiast Alex Askaroff, is that Singer presented the model to the then Princess Elizabeth to mark her wedding in 1947. A Pathe newsreel of the time shows the presents for the royal event, and there is a Singer 201K displayed next to the jewellery and other gifts given to the couple.

As Alex says, a smart piece of marketing on the part of the Singer, as the folks watching at the time must have thought to themselves the Singer 201K was a machine fit for a princess!

We love the Singer 201K, and if you want one for yourself, why not check out one of our fully refurbished models here?

Sewing Resolutions 2018

heavy-duty sewing machineDid Santa give you a heavy-duty sewing machine for Christmas or a used one? As January is just about upon us, it’s only right that we make some suggestions for sewing resolutions for 2018.

Here are ours.

Take on a challenge. If you mainly use your heavy-duty sewing machine for quilting, why not try something different in 2018? It’s a lot easier to learn how to sew these days, as there are so many tutorials on YouTube, sewing blogs and instructions in magazines.

Try different materials. Again, a heavy-duty sewing machine allows you to try out sewing projects using different fabrics. If you’d like to alter jeans, for example, this machine makes the job a breeze. You can straighten the legs, hem them or even turn an old pair into a pencil skirt.

When it comes to clothing, most of us tend to choose the same colours and patterns. Experiment this year with other colours to add variety to your wardrobe.

Make yourself an evening gown. This resolution might be the same as the challenge (though it doesn’t need to be if you choose a simple pattern). Every woman should own a home-made evening gown. Vintage styles such as patterns for the 1930s and 40s dresses are beautiful and almost universally flattering, thanks to all the drapery that goes on.

Learn a new technique. From staystitching to prevent distortion to curves, to clipping corners and curves, seam finishes and fussy cutting, professional techniques will make your sewing exemplary. There is an excellent guide to these methods here.

Make yourself accountable. Perhaps you’d like to start up your own blog or video channel on YouTube. While it is gratifying to gain lots of likes and followers (and really popular bloggers and vloggers can turn this into a business), a bonus is that it makes you accountable.

If you do embark on that big project and blog about it, it will be easier to keep up if you think people are charting your progress. A Pinterest and Instagram can do the same thing. You could take pictures or small film clips of your project as you do it.

Sew from your stash and/or recycle. If you got lots of odds and ends of material lying about, or you have old curtains, why not give them a new lease of life? Keen sewers often have a lot of fabric to hand, but it almost always doesn’t all get used up.

We hope that the list inspires you and you can put your heavy-duty sewing machine to good use. Happy New Year from all of us at Sewing4Everyone!

All I Want for Christmas is a vintage sewing machine…

vintage sewing machineHere are some great reasons why a vintage sewing machine is a terrific Christmas present.

It’s sustainable. Our collection of used, vintage and heavy-duty sewing machines are all lovingly refurbished to the highest standards. Used and recycled products use far fewer resources than anything brand new.

It’s a piece of history. Your pre-loved sewing machine comes with years of sewing in it, and perhaps fascinating history. Take the Singer 29K, for example. The pre-1970s Singer sewing machines were built to last. They were easy to use and straightforward, and this model is still used in leather workshops and by cobblers all over the world. It can be used to stitch leather, canvas, blankets and even rubber.

They are useful. The vintage sewing machine is the gift that keeps on giving. You’ve heard the saying give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime? The same applies to a sewing machine! Give a person a pair of trousers, and you clothe them for a while; give them a sewing machine, and they dress themselves and their family members forever!

It could open up a whole new world. Join a sewing club, discover online forums, begin your membership of the WI, a vintage sewing machine can lead you to new friends.

It offers all sorts of possibilities. Love clothes? Making your own can be easier than you think and nowadays there are lots of ways to learn, from going to classes, to following online tutorials on YouTube, reading blogs, and subscribing to magazines. As well as making clothes, you can also teach yourself how to do your own alterations. Hemming trousers and skirts, or taking in clothes is a useful skill.

Or, if clothes aren’t your thing, if you can make your own curtains or alter shop-bought ones, you’ll never be short of a job. What about cushion covers, throws, quilts? The soft furnishing possibilities for your home are endless.

It’s a talking point. Most vintage sewing machines, especially the pre-1970s versions, are beautiful. Give it pride of place in your home, and all your guests will ask about it as soon as they come in.

It could be your hustle. A new trend is for people to find something to do on the side that makes them extra money. Buy a vintage sewing machine, and your hustle could be making clothes or doing alterations for others.

Sewing Programme Host Dies

used sewing machineThe New York Times last week featured an obituary that caught Sewing4Everyone’s eye – the death of Nancy Zieman, star of Sewing With Nancy.

Born in Neenah in 1953, Nancy Lea Luedtke learned to sew as a child. She later majored in textiles and journalism (an interesting mix!) at the University of Wisconsin Stout, and her first job involved working for a fabric chain, Minnesota Fabrics. She met Richard Zieman there and married him in 1977.

In 1979, she began a mail order sewing supply business, Nancy. Notions. By 1982, its success led to a fabric store in Milwaukee asking her to host a sewing programme, which first ran on the Satellite Program Network.

As cable television was in its infancy, not many people watched – something Ms Zieman later said was a good thing as she wasn’t great in front of a camera. The series folded after about a dozen shows when the store decided it wasn’t profitable.

Ms Zieman decided to do something on her own, and Wisconsin Public Television started broadcasting Sewing With Nancy in 1982. The programme was popular and picked up by public television outlets across America and Canada.

Ms Zieman was able to reach a large audience of those who did sewing seriously and the more hobby-based fans trying it out on a used sewing machine.The NY Times described her style as “nothing flashy”, but “straightforward advice, delivered with geniality”.

All in all, some 910 episodes went out, the last one ‘I Sew for Fun, a show on team sewing with children aged five to nine that featured her granddaughters.

The sewing host also published numerous sewing books and made appearances at expos and other events, such as the Sewing Extravaganza in 1992 in Florida. There, attendees flocked to see Ms Zieman, who wore a turquoise and pink suit she’d made herself.

Apparently, she was also a “go-to interviewee” for reporters writing about the increased interest in sewing. Her explanation was that people want to feel creative and that sewing offered the opportunity to create, when often work doesn’t.

[And a used sewing machine is a great place to start, if you want to get creative yourself.]

Published in 2013, her autobiography (written with Marjorie J Russell) is called “Seams Unlikely: The Inspiring True Life Story of Nancy Zieman,”.

Nancy Zieman died on 14 November at her home in Beaver Dan, Wisconsin. She was 64.

Sewing4Everyone is THE place to find an amazing used sewing machine, a best sewing machine for leather, vintage sewing machines, and more. Check our shop to find a competitively-priced used sewing machine you will love.

Picture thanks to Wisconsin Public Television.

 

Winter Hobbies – heavy-duty sewing machine

Brother Industrial Sewing Machine

Brother Industrial Sewing Machine

Now that winter is definitely upon us, it’s time to put your vintage or heavy-duty sewing machine to good use.

Sewing is the perfect hobby for winter evenings and wet weekends. And if you are prepared enough, you can use your vintage or heavy-duty sewing machine to make home-made Christmas decorations and gifts at a fraction of the cost you would pay for ready-made products.

heavy-duty sewing machineWant a little black dress in time for all those Christmas parties? The little black dress is a staple in any woman’s wardrobe. You can pick the pattern that suits your figure, whether it’s for an A-line midi dress that skims the knees, a shift dress that works perfectly with a pair of boots, or something longer and more formal. The Fringe Association blog has rounded up some LBD patterns, from a slip dress to a gorgeous long version with a sexy slit to the thighs.

For decorating ideas, look no further than Sew News and this free template to create your own advent calendar. It’s a multi-dimensional wreath calendar, and you can decorate the wreath leaves with hand-embroidered numbers in little hoops that look like berries.

Or what about some beautiful advent calendar bunting? The Sewing Directory has this lovely tutorial pdf you can download to create a unique, home-made decoration. You can fill the bunting pockets with little treats that can be opened on the day, just like a traditional advent calendar.

Or why not try out linen placements for your Christmas table? The Sewing Directory’s ribbon and lace placements are suitable for beginners – why not try it out with your kids, for example – and they are great for experimenting with your machine’s buttonhole foot.

skirtSome people opt for a heavy-duty sewing machine from the start, the reasoning being that the machine will handle lighter AND heavier fabrics, so if you plan to do a lot of work with denim, for example, the heavy-duty sewing machine is your best bet. We really love these Allfreesewing’s ideas for what to do with old jeans, including this fantastic pattern that will transform a pair of worn-out jeans into a pretty skirt. Just the project for cold, dark nights!

As it is winter and cold, why not try out these scarves from Martha Stewart’s website? You take two pieces of fabric, one a wool material to keep you warm, pair it with cotton and voila! Simple and straightforward, and you can pick out the cottons that suit the individual person you are making the scarf for.

Have fun with your winter sewing projects!

Sewing4Everyone can offer you the perfect heavy-duty sewing machine. To see our selection, check out our shopDenim skirt image courtesy of imsewcheap.blogspot.com

Vintage Sewing Machine – Make Your Own

IMG_8979Did you buy your vintage sewing machine to create your own clothes? A story in the Eastern Daily Press caught our eye this week, reporting on a woman who has set up a company to cater for pear-shaped women.

It’s a common problem. Most ready-wear clothing is made for a particular body shape – the straight up and down one. Pear-shaped women, i.e. those who have bigger hips than shoulders, struggle. Skirts and trousers might fit at the waist, but they will be too tight over the hips. Or they gape around the middle.

This is precisely the problem that Vicky Young from Harleston faced. She describes herself as pear-shaped and realised there were plenty of other women suffering from the same problem, so she decided to c create clothing especially for this body type.

She already had sewing experience, having worked as a bridal seamstress for years, and having recently undertaken a City & Guilds Level 3 in dressmaking, which included pattern cutting.

Her company is called Kookie Cat, and she makes smart- straight-legged trousers, jeans and two types of jersey dresses. All her clothing comes in sizes eight to 18, and it can be custom-made if people send in their own measurements.

Vicky told the Eastern Daily Press that she knew it was very frustrating to go shopping and find that none of the clothes available in the High Street fitted. Her company was all about finding sizes and patterns for people who didn’t fit one size or a standard shape.

If your vintage sewing machine is to be used for making your own clothes—or even to set up a business, just as Vicky has done—we definitely approve. You do need a certain amount of skill to be able to alter patterns so that they are customised to your or others’ measurements, but it is one of those very satisfying things to learn.

We’re big fans of learning to sew through lessons. It’s sociable as well as the best way to pick up tips and work out what you’re doing wrong, but there are also some terrific books that can really help if there are no sewing lessons available near you.

One is Complete Dressmaking Skills by Lorna Knight, a step by step guide which also offers couture techniques.

If you like the Great British Sewing Bee, then Claire-Louise Hardy’s Fashion with Fabric has more than 20 patterns/projects you can do.

The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking by Wendy Ward covers the basic techniques for making clothes, and for everyday clothing too, rather than more formal outfits.

Sewing4Everyone is the best outlet for a vintage sewing machine. We also sell refurbished, heavy-duty sewing machines.

Home-Made Halloween

refurbished sewing machine

http://lincolnstreetblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/eighteen25-feature.html

Hooray – Halloween is coming up, which means lots of opportunities for using your refurbished sewing machine to create home-made costumes and gifts.

We know that Halloween is big business these days, and the shops are full of ready-made costumes, but there is nothing as charming as a home-made outfit. We’ve pulled together some great ideas for creating spooky outfits, gifts, decorations and more.

All you need is a refurbished sewing machine, plenty of enthusiasm and a desire to get creative.

refurbished sewing machineThis thoroughly creepy Pennywise costume on the Coolest Homemade Costumes website made by Kimberley is based on a pattern for a tank top and shorts, while the ruffle neck was made from a frilly skirt for a toddler. Isn’t it great? (And super-scary!)

By the way, if you have ever wondered why people find clowns scary, reasons include not knowing who is behind the mask, and because they have often been associated with danger and fear. It doesn’t help when so many horror films keep using them too!

Sewing.org has some wonderful, free patterns for Halloween. Projects include these fun lampshade covers – great if you are planning to have people around for a party. Or check out their instructions for how to sew a cape. The good thing about a cape is that it can be used on many other occasions. World Book Day, for example. Or your child might like his or her cloak so much, it gets worn daily!

refurbished sewing machineEver wanted to make your own witch’s hat – in a personalised size too? Delia Creates offers this detailed tutorial for the DIY hat that will fit any head size. You will need to do a few calculations, but other than that it is relatively straightforward.

Another easy idea is these Halloween cushions, pictured above. Once you have the hang of these, you can make up a whole batch of them as gifts, or you can keep them for 31st October year after year. Christina on the Lincoln Street blog made hers from flannel, although a stiffer fabric would also work. Once the cutting out is done, you can knock these up in no time on your refurbished sewing machine.

Elsewhere in the craft space, Readers Digest has some terrific ideas for home-made, cheap Halloween decorations, and if you love cooking, BBC Good Food’s Halloween baking recipes include spiderweb cupcakes, ghost cakes, toffee apples, Devil’s food cake and a pumpkin cider cake.

Happy Home-made Halloween!

Sewing4Everyone is THE premier destination for anyone seeking a top of the range, refurbished sewing machine. We also stock vintage sewing machines and heavy-duty models which are ideal for leather and more. All machines are serviced before dispatch and come with detailed instructions.

#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.

 

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