Sewing4Everyone

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.

 

 

 

Antique Sewing Machines – the Bonita

More commonly known under the name Moldacot, the Bonita sewing machine slots neatly into the antique sewing machines category.

Have you heard of it? Probably not, unless you’re a super sewing machine geek (and there’s nothing wrong with those fine folks, we answer to the name of sewing machine geek with pride).

Sometimes described as a “mechanical marvel”, the Moldacot was patented in December 1885. The company was formed by Albert Moll and John Cottam in London – can you see where the name comes from? – and the machine (a small pocket sewing machine) was introduced in July 1886.

Antique Sewing Machines – Sales

The company did not make it themselves, but subcontracted instead to manufacturers in Birmingham, Manchester and Germany. The company also sold its product in the colonial countries – Australia and New Zealand.

The UK version was, at the time of production, the smallest sewing machine designed specifically for making tacking adjustments during fittings. How did it work? As you can see from the picture, the machine has a clamp which secured it to a table. Then, the needle bar pushes down and there is a spring return.

Some 60,000 machines were produced in total altogether (although the company had made rather more ambitious projections what they could sell), and even these did not sell well. The company lost £50,000 in two years – a small fortune in those days.

Failed to Sell

Why were the sales so bad? Unfortunately, the machine design hadn’t been fully developed, and it just didn’t work well. Luckily for its creators, Moll and Cottam, when it initially came out, the machine received favourable reviews. The two men sold their interests in the company not long afterwards so they could pursue other business interests. It soon became clear that the machine was…er, c**p and it failed to sell in the expected numbers.

The company eventually became the United Sewing Machine Co., but it went into liquidation not long afterwards.

Where does the ‘Bonita’ name come from? Some of the machines were renamed Bonita (beautiful) in what sounds like a shrewd re-branding exercise. Nothing like changing a name to pretend something is new and improved, huh?

IMG_4565A Collector’s Dream

As with many rare things, the scarcity of the machine makes it much sought after nowadays. Collectors love it – and not just people who like to add a sewing machine or two to their homes. If you’re into Victoriana or you’re an engineering enthusiast, you probably covet the Moldacot too.

There are lots of stories and legends surrounding the Moldacot, its production and the company behind it, helping to add to the antique sewing machines mythology.

Sewing4Everyone stocks a wide range of used and refurbished sewing machines. Check our shop to find your perfectly priced used model.

 

 

Heavy Duty Sewing Machine – Corset Making

heavy duty sewing machineAre you interested in making your own corsets – you might need a heavy duty sewing machine, depending on the material.

Corset wearing and making is something that has exploded in popularity. It’s partly thanks to the likes of the Kardashians, who have been pictured wearing them. (We wouldn’t recommend wearing one during a workout, however!) There’s also been a trend in certain figures – the super-curvy hourglass with an exaggerated hip to waist ratio, which most women don’t have.

Corsets can just look lovely for occasional wear, though. If you make your own, you get to create a customised product that will fit your dimensions. When you wear a corset, a made-to-measure version will be the most comfortable. And believe us, you want your corset to be comfortable…

Leather corsets can give you that cool steampunk look. You will definitely need a heavy duty sewing machine if you are going to work with leather, though.

Here are some tips for making your own corsets:

  • Use a basic pattern if you haven’t made one before, as corsets are complicated. A good design should be adjustable so you can fit it to your own measurements
  • Be honest when you are taking your measurements! We know this sounds silly, but precise measurements will give you the best results for your corset. A great pattern will suggest multiple places to measure. Good designs also allow about two inches at the back for lacing it up.
  • Corset Coutil is intended specifically for corsets. You need a sturdy fabric as corsets undergo a lot of tension. Leather is sometimes used too. Brocade is nice too, especially if your corset is going to be on show.
  • An underbust corset offers more comfort and is easier to make than an over bust corset.
  • Spiral steel flats are the best choice for the corset boning. If you plan to use your corset for waist training (i.e. reducing the size of your waist over a period of time), your corset needs to have about 16 bones.
  • You can use craft glue to tip the bones, so there are no rough edges.
  • You will need about five metres of lace for your corset. Cable cord is a good choice because the lacing needs to be sturdy.

There is lots of information about making your own corsets online. Check out these guides (WikiHow, Instructables) if you’d like to make your own. It’s a fun project to do, and you might find your skills in high demand if you can master the art!

Sewing4Everyone sells pre-used and refurbished sewing machines, including the heavy duty sewing machine. See our semi-industrial sewing machines here.

Celebrity Sewing Fans

pre-owned sewing machineHave you bought a pre-owned sewing machine and are poised to enter hobby world? You’re in good company.

Possibly the UK’s most famous DIY-er is Kirsty Allsopp, who has spent the last few years encouraging all of us to learn how to sew, knit and make our own furniture for our homes, but she’s not the only one with a passion for the home-made.

Another famous sewing fan is the American actress, Katherine Heigl. According to her official website, sewing is her new passion thanks to the photo-sharing site, Pinterest. Katherine’s mother sewed, but it hadn’t seemed like a cool hobby at the time.

However, when Katherine and her sister started following Pinterest accounts, this sparked the interest. Katherine decided to make baby clothes for her two daughters, and her mum bought her a sewing machine. She describes her hobby as “therapeutic”.

(We like to think it might have been a pre-owned sewing machine!)

Here are some others who can’t resist the call of the needle and thread…

Dannii Minogue’s famous older sister sometimes passed on her clothes. Dannii wanted to personalise them, so used her sewing skills to do so. Sweet, and environmentally friendly at the same time!

Julia Roberts took up sewing as a hobby to give her a ‘thinking’ hobby as she got older. Apparently, she’s a dab hand at cushions.

There’s a terrific picture of the actor Paul Newman sitting on a bed hand-sewing what looks like a jacket. Added cool comes from the Siamese cat stood next to him, who may or may not be criticising his skills.

While on the European leg of her ‘Femme Fatale’ tour, the singer Brittany Spears posted a picture on Twitter of her getting sewing lessons in Sweden from the wardrobe team. Handy, really. Especially when you are the mother of sons. Boys have a tendency to rip and destroy clothing, don’t they?

[Incidentally, if you have just bought yourself a pre-owned sewing machine, you might want to follow Brittany’s example and get some lessons before your start.]

Eva Longoria makes her own kid’s Hallowe’en costumes, which is kind of cool when you think how much easier it would be for her to buy something.

Betsy_Ross_sewingWe’ll finish with Betsy Ross, the woman linked with the American flag. The story is likely a myth, but it goes that Betsy, a seamstress living in the 18th Century, made the flag in 1776. She was visited by George Washington and asked to make up a flag for the new nation. Washington and the Continental Congress had come up with a design, but Betsy amended it so the cloth could be folded and cut out with a single snip.

Would you like a pre-owned sewing machine, perfect for starting your sewing hobby or even a business? Contact us on (01782) 943667 to discuss your needs.

 

Vintage Sewing Machine: Sewing Terminology

SONY DSC

Have you just bought yourself a vintage sewing machine? Good job! Now the start of a fantastic hobby can begin – the art of sewing.

First of all, like any other hobby or interest, sewing has its own language and learning what everything means will help you make the most of your vintage sewing machine.

Let’s get started…

FABRIC GRAIN – this refers for the way the fibre pieces weave or knit together to create the fabric. If you look closely at a piece of material, you will see this. (Leather and fleece don’t have a grain because they aren’t woven together.)

‘RIGHT’/’WRONG’ SIDES OF FABRIC – most materials will have sides that are meant to be seen and not meant to be seen. Usually, this is easy to tell. The ‘right’ side will be more vibrant and colourful, especially if it is a print.

PLACE ‘RIGHT’ SIDES TOGETHER – this is an instruction you will often see in patterns. It means that you put the sides of the fabric you want to be seen and sew together.

SELVEDGE – this means the self-finished edge of the fabric. A selvedge keeps the fabric from fraying or unravelling.

STITCHES AND SEAMS – a stitch is a loop of thread created by a needle pulling it through the fabric. A seam is a line of stitches that either holds two pieces of fabric together, or it can be used as a decorative line of stitches.

BACKSTITCH – this is when you sew backwards over your stitches and it stops the ends of your thread from unravelling. If you backstitch too much, you will create an untidy lump of thread so it’s best to do it a little at a time.

BASTING STITCH – a set of long stitches that is usually employed to hold something together temporarily. You might use it to keep together two pieces of material while you sew those two to something else. You can baste stitch by hand, or use your vintage sewing machine to do so, setting the machine to its longest stitch.

TOPSTITCH – this is when you sew along the top, or ‘right’ side of your fabric. It helps to give a more professional look, and it is usually runs parallel to a seam or the edge of the material.

SEAM ALLOWANCE – this is the distance between the edge of the fabric and the line that has been sewn. Pattern creators always include a seam allowance so that your finished item matches the intended measurements.

HEM – the edge of the fabric, which is folded under and sewn to hide the material’s raw edge, and stop it unravelling.

INTERFACING – material attached to the ‘wrong’ side of the fabric to help strengthen or stiffen the material. This is sometimes done around armholes or necklines.

Sewing4Everyone sells vintage sewing machines, refurbished sewing machines and heavy-duty machines for domestic and commercial use. Our machines are high-quality, premium items, and we know you’ll love the model you buy! Check out our range here.

 

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Message