My parents were born in the depression and because I came along late in life feel more like a boomer than anything else, and had parents who repaired, re-used, upcycled, and stretched every penny, and that even applied to my mom and her sewing. She worked as a seamstress to help pay the bills before she went back to school, at 50, to become a nursing aid.

Some folks say, and maybe those are the ones that sell needles, that you should change your needle every eight hours or after every project but if the needle isn’t bent and just has a little burr, you can touch it up.

You can usually hear the needle popping when it has developed a burr before you can see it with the naked eye, and will be most evident when you are sewing lighter fabrics.

My 1902 Winselmann has an interesting bobbin winder, with an extension to the right of the bobbin tire and this was used to de-burr needles. It just takes a second to do as you wind up a new bobbin.

In the modern day you can use a needle sharpener, as these are still available, or go to a sporting goods store and pick up a fish hook sharpener with a slot, which is normally used for sharpening fish hooks.

A few light passes on the hook sharpener is all it takes and then that needle (this works on normal sharps) will be good for another day of sewing.

The commercial sharper is easy to use, just drop the needle in point first and turn the sharpener a few times.

The hook sharpener… just a few light passes as you turn the needle in your fingers works wonders. It is a diamond grit also used for putting a really fine edge on knives and also touches up scissors nicely.

Happy sewing.

The Singer VS Machines: 1885 – 1960

Singer 128 – 1924 – La Vencadora decals

Launched in 1885, the Singer VS (Vibrating Shuttle) machines had one of the longest production runs of any sewing machine and were originally treadled or hand cranked machines, with later versions coming as electric models.

Singer 28 – 1908 – Victorian decals

The 27 and 127 were the full size models (usually treadled) while the 28 and 128 were the 3/4 sized “portable” versions which sold in the millions and are perhaps what people think of when they picture an antique sewing machine.

Singer 27 – 1911- Memphis decals

Even after they were eclipsed by more technologically advanced models they continued to sell well into the middle of the 20th century, their simple and robust design and an enviable stitch quality is one thing that kept them popular among sewers, and now collectors and modern sewers still seek them out.

They are abundant machines, unless you are looking for a hand cranked model 27, or a 28 or 128 in a treadle… both variants are extremely hard to find.

The VS machines did not change much over their 75 year run, the 127 and 128 added an ejector for the shuttle, and a built in upper tension release. As time went by the ornate decals gave way to simpler gold patterns, the La Vencadora decals are in my opinion, the most beautiful Singer ever offered.

Some pictures…

Singer 28-9 – 1912 – Victorian decals
Singer 128 – 1948 – Celtic decals – For Sale
Singer 128 – 1934 – Celtic decals, in a library table. – For Sale

Happy New Year from all of us at In Stitches

Happy 2019 !

Pearl is showing off a 1912 Singer 28-9 here, this was a transition model between the earlier 28, and the 128 and you can see where the Singer badge was re-located on this machine to cover the old lower mount for the bobbin winder.

This machine belongs to our permanent collection and was a gift from a dear friend.

Singer 503J Restoration

Pearls of Wisdom – Check For Threads

“When you are servicing a machine always remove the hand wheel to check for thread, you might just have enough to make a nest…”

This ball of thread was behind the hand wheel of a Husqvarna…

Elna Grasshopper

The Elna One never had a name but has been lovingly referred to as the Grasshopper, it was designed in the mid 1930’s but because of WW2 did not see mass production until after the war had ended. 

We just finished this one up for a customer…

Singer 503J – 1961

This beautiful Singer 503J has been lovingly serviced and restored, and has been cleaned and polished to a mirror finish… and could be yours. 

We have a lovely blonde cabinet from the same era waiting for it, and can deliver in the Edmonton area for a small fee. This machine can also stand alone and can be carried in a case although it is a little heavy, relative to new machines.

This machine is complete with original accessories, cams, and manual, also has a new power cord and led light upgrade.

We can also add a Professional button-holer that was designed for this machine and works wonderfully ($30.00 with purchase). 

Contact us for more details.

Buttonholes, With a Twist

This little tip was given to me by my friend Lynne, and I should have used two strands of button hole thread but wanted to show the contrasting thread here. 

By doubling the thread one pass becomes two, and two become four for extra strong buttonholes. 

Making button holes… 
Double threaded from the top on down… just like when you do double needle work.
Use a size 14 -16 needle to handle the two threads that pass through a single needle.
Singer Professional Button-Holer – top loading cams. 

Once upon a time…

Sears Canada closed their doors almost a year ago, and so many of us probably remember when the Christmas catalogue was the best thing ever.

I was coming back from a house call yesterday, which was an enjoyable visit where I fixed and set up an industrial machine, added a ruler foot to a long arm quilting machine, and had to deal with some hyper affectionate puppies. It is an occupational hazard and I do carry liver treats for the cats and dogs I so often meet.

I stopped by the thrift store to drop off some donations and wandered around, found this later model Kenmore which looks like it was never used, and could not leave her behind. 

She runs smoothly and quietly, makes a rather excellent stitch, and in looking, I see that Sears in the US does not even carry Kenmore branded machines any more, these models were made by Janome and tend to be rather well made with a steel chassis and decent build quality.

I have already ordered a set of accessories and this machine should make someone very happy, they really don’t get any easier to use than this.