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vintage sewing machine

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vintage Sewing Machine: Sewing Terminology

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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.

 

Why More and More People Want to Sew

vintage sewing machine

Craft fairs are more popular than ever.

Thinking about buying a vintage sewing machine? Why? Our shops are full of clothes, but more people than ever are choosing to sew at home.

Once upon a time, sewing was a skill that most girls were taught. Certainly, young women would be expected to sew in the home – from creating their own clothes and outfits for their family on a vintage sewing machine handed down from their mothers to making cushion covers, curtains and carrying out small mending jobs.

Then, there was an about-turn in the 70s and 80s, as sewing was regarded with suspicion because it seemed too gender-specific. Modern women didn’t want to learn to sew. They wanted to learn what men were being taught, or skills that seemed less ‘feminine’. Groups that had favoured and fostered traditional skills such as sewing and knitting (the Women’s Institute, for example) were thought of as the preserve of older women.

A New Hobby and A Vintage Sewing Machine

A cultural shift took place in the noughties. Sewing and knitting were ‘sexed’ up. Debbie Stoller’s Stich and B***h reinvented knitting for another generation, turning it into a fresh, new hobby. The Women’s Institute started to attract younger members, who wanted to make their own stuff.

Numerous celebrities were pictured knitting as they waited between takes while filming (knitting, unlike smoking, is a good thing to do with your hands), and shows such as Kirstie Allsopp’s Homemade Home came on the scene. Home-made was officially cool once more.

Other aspects that play into people’s desire to sew are sustainability and provenance. Yes, our shops are full of clothes, but where do they come from and who are they made by? Made in China and transported here? Modern consumers have more knowledge than ever at their fingertips. The new sewers know that if they can use a vintage sewing machine and create their own clothing, they will do far less damage to faraway communities and the environment.

Craft Fairs

If ever there was proof of the popularity of sewing and crafts in general, look at the number of fairs and events that take place across the UK every year. From cross-stitch to quilt-making, there are any number of shows taking place. In the next few months, for example, you can visit the Abingdon Vintage and Antiques Fair, the Sew and Beads Quilt and Craft Fair in West Sussex or the Handmaiden Craft Fair in Essex.

Social media has played its part too. Sites such as Instagram and Pinterest are ideal places to showcase your home-made clothes and terrific skills. It’s terrifically satisfying to put up a picture of something you have sewn yourself and receive numerous ‘likes’, pins or comments expressing admiration. There’s nothing like a little external validation to cheer us up.

We think even more people will choose sewing at home as a hobby in the future. The home-made trend isn’t going to go away.

We specialise in the sales of pre-owned, heavy-duty and vintage sewing machines for domestic and industrial use. Contact us on (01782) 943667 to discuss your requirements.

 

 

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