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Chaly

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I just finished a sewing project (a shirt for my daughter) and received many compliments yesterday from a sewing group show and tell I attended.  Most of the attendees do not have vintage machines and are amazed at how well the tools I used performed.

I used my Singer 101 for everything but the buttonholes.  The buttonholes required were very long and it was easier for me to use my Singer 421G with the Professional Buttonholer.

For my shirtmaking I use flat felled seams and my vintage flat felled foot worked beautifully for this project. I also used a narrow hemmer (for the front overlap and interfacing finish) and the adjustable hemmer set at 1/4" for the bottom hem.  All seams were flat felled with the exception of the shoulder seam which was a French seam.  Yes, even the underarm seam was flat felled on my Singer 101 - no open arm required ( I sew the armskye first and then in one step sew the arm and side seam).

Everything works so smoothly on my 101 - the maneuverability offers such precision sewing. I could never do this level of topstitching and turning fine point corners on a zigzag - I really need the narrow feed dogs.  For those who don't do this type of sewing it's hard to appreciate why the narrow feed dogs are so important.

The photos show the tools I used and the results on the shirt.  Also - a photo of the Burda pattern that I used for comparison.

I think these attachments are so underused.  Once you can master them after a bit of practice it's hard to surpass the results.  I now have several folks (many who have highly expensive modern sewing machines) on the lookout for some vintage machines and these attachments!

burdastyle 01-2008 #105 front.jpg  burdaphoto.jpg  shirt collar.jpg  flat felled seam.jpg  topstitching.jpg  shirtnarrowhem.jpg  shirtsewingtools.jpg 

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hilltophomesteader

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WOW!  You've done an amazing job.  I have to admit [hangs head in embarrassment] that a few years back I tried over and over to use a hemmer foot on one of my old machines....once.  Couldn't do it for the life of me.  My daughter (adult) wanders over, sits down at the same machine and whips out a beautiful hem.  "It's so easy!"" says she.  Harrumph.  Still couldn't manage it, lol.  Haven't tried it again since.  Nice job!!
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Treadle&Gears

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Reply with quote  #3 
What a great blouse!  I can't seem to get narrow hems to work as often either, but I do ok with the wider ones. 
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Kitcarlson

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Reply with quote  #4 
Beautiful in every way. Great talent, including Singer 101 servicing, running perfect.
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WI Lori

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Reply with quote  #5 
That is a stunning blouse, and a beautiful daughter!
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Lori in Wisconsin
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WI Lori
That is a stunning blouse, and a beautiful daughter!


Sorry for any confusion, but the photo of the gal in the blouse is the BurdaStyle magazine photo of the pattern not my daughter.  Anyway, I am flattered that the blouse I made matched enough with the Burda photo for this mistake to happen!  Thank you.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitcarlson
Beautiful in every way. Great talent, including Singer 101 servicing, running perfect.


Oh - thank you!  My 101 is now my favorite machine - such a joy to use for garment sewing.  It won't replace my 201 but it definitely has a niche for specialized precision projects.
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #8 
It's like time travel. Suddenly it's that first few years of Martha Pullen all over again. Back when you could do almost anything on whatever sewing machine - even a nighty year old one. Very nice indeed. I haven't seen anything quite like that since someone insulted vintage machines at the quilt club... and my friend Andrea came back two months later with a full size, all free motion, that she'd done on her 1947 15-91.  Yep. These old machines can still do a lot.... for the person who knows how to use them. =)
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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #9 
It's been an argument of mine for years that grandma's old straight stitch treadle was not as useless as some in the "modern" world think they are because they only straight stitch. I like to point out that with the proper attachment, they are just as usable as any modern sewing machine with the added advantage of not requiring electricity if they are a treadle or hand crank. 

I wonder how many people have never seen the amount of attachments, accessories and options some of the old machines had. Most of them go way back into the late 1800s. Greist gave us a myriad of useful attachments from around World War 1 into the 1940s, and more were added in the 1950s. Buttonholers were available in the 1880s, zigzag attachments were common enough by the 1930s, decorative stitch zigzag attachments too. Industrial machines were available in zigzag in the 1890s, such as the Singer Overseaming machine, which became the Model 32. I have a 32-1 treadle that does zigzag, made in 1907. 

When you add all the common attachments available with the old straight stitch machines like the ruffler, tucker, binder, hemmers and braiders we have a machine that can literally do anything our hearts desire. Only a reverse lever was missing, but even then those were available in the 1910s, such as the one on my Frister & Rossmann hand crank machine. 

If one learns to do flat felled seams and narrow hems, a shirt or jacket or pair of pants can easily be made with nothing but a straight stitch machine and a buttonholer attachment. I do it all the time on my Singer 27K hand crank (my favorite work horse hand crank, 1906) and any one of my treadles such as my Standard "Slim" (1912) or my Minnesota A (1903). I keep a Singer 15 hand crank set up with a buttonholer attachment when making garments. Nothing but straight stitch and buttonholes. 

-Bruce


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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #10 
It's been an argument of mine for years that grandma's old straight stitch treadle was not as useless as some in the "modern" world think they are because they only straight stitch...

 
Yes, I agree, there's a lot of misconception about the actual usefulness of vintage sewing machines/attachments as real tools. When I first began trying to use the many attachments and had difficulties, I gave up.  Then, later, upon reading the vintage sewing books and studying shirtmaking, I came to understand these attachments are for real!  I thought, how could Greist and Singer make millions of these things, write about them in their manuals, and they don't work. I found out it was just my user error and lack of practice.

And I think there is nothing greater than a straight stitch machine for most applications. The next step is a vintage zigzag.  I do love my Singer slants (401, 500, 421G) for their functionality of twin needle sewing (who really needs a coverstitch machine when one can do such fine twin needle stitching on a vintage?) and the overcast stitch with overcast foot - this completely has replaced my need for serging.  And when needed, the zigzag is nice and does surpass the use of using the zigzag attachments on a straight stitch (much more control on a zigzag machine).  I really don't use the decorative stitches but of course they are fun to have.

My favorite, cannot live without, attachments are the hemmers (Singer and Greist) felling foot, buttonholer, zipper/cording foot, and hemstitcher (at some point I'll post my hemstitching results).

I would love to see any examples from your Singer Overseaming machine.  I'm also very interested is seeing how the older attachments work on the very early machines.

My Singer 99 hand crank does not get used much but I need to have a project, start to finish, using a hand crank.  I would love a treadle, but don't have the room to properly set up and use - so I read about all the folks here who restore and use these wonders.  I also have a Singer 12 hand crank that works lovely and I have a bunch of needles for it so I should try and use this as well - not sure what a good project would be for this machine - any suggestions?
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim/Steelsewing
It's like time travel. Suddenly it's that first few years of Martha Pullen all over again. Back when you could do almost anything on whatever sewing machine - even a nighty year old one. Very nice indeed. I haven't seen anything quite like that since someone insulted vintage machines at the quilt club... and my friend Andrea came back two months later with a full size, all free motion, that she'd done on her 1947 15-91.  Yep. These old machines can still do a lot.... for the person who knows how to use them. =)


I know so many folks who have invested lots in electronic embroidery machines only for them to sit and collect dust and then go out of date.  Like anything, a tool needs practice to get optimal results and people don't always realize the potential of vintage sewing machines since the mindset/marketing drives are always "new/modern is better".  

And let's not forget about the beautiful machine embroidery that was accomplished on these vintage straight stitch machines - I think to get to the level of what's published in the vintage books would take me an enormous amount of practice - but amazing work is possible - as you have reminded us.  
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hilltophomesteader
WOW!  You've done an amazing job.  I have to admit [hangs head in embarrassment] that a few years back I tried over and over to use a hemmer foot on one of my old machines....once.  Couldn't do it for the life of me.  My daughter (adult) wanders over, sits down at the same machine and whips out a beautiful hem.  "It's so easy!"" says she.  Harrumph.  Still couldn't manage it, lol.  Haven't tried it again since.  Nice job!!


Thank you and don't give up on the hemmers.  If you have a project that needs a hem give them another try.  It's just about have a certain technique that works - different for different folks - hence your daughter's success.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Treadle&Gears
What a great blouse!  I can't seem to get narrow hems to work as often either, but I do ok with the wider ones. 


Thank you!  I also think the wider ones are a bit easier - but same technique...
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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #14 
I'm still finishing the box top (coffin top) for the Singer 32-1 Overseaming treadle, but have done some test stitches while working on it. Basically, it's just straight stitch and zigzag. The series 32 machines came in a variety of "dash number" variants, each with a different stitch cam built in. Mine is a plain zigzag, but has a wide 1/4" stitch. There were a large number of stitches available, each machine doing only straight and the zigzag or fancy stitch ordered. While the treadle project is basically done except for the box top, I haven't taken photos of it since these early ones taken. 

- Bruce 1. Singer 32-1 front, edging in the rough.jpg  3. Singer 32-1 head end.jpg  5. Singer 32-1 back view .jpg  SIL10-1792-118a.jpg  SIL10-1792-119a.jpg  SIL10-1792-128a.jpg  SIL10-1792-129a.jpg 

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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonesHand52
I'm still finishing the box top (coffin top) for the Singer 32-1 Overseaming treadle, but have done some test stitches while working on it. Basically, it's just straight stitch and zigzag. The series 32 machines came in a variety of "dash number" variants, each with a different stitch cam built in. Mine is a plain zigzag, but has a wide 1/4" stitch. There were a large number of stitches available, each machine doing only straight and the zigzag or fancy stitch ordered. While the treadle project is basically done except for the box top, I haven't taken photos of it since these early ones taken. 

- Bruce          


This is fascinating!  It looks like some of the stitches use the reverse function?  If so, this really seems an advancement for this date.  Does the machine have a special foot to use with the zigzag to accomplish a true overcast?  You are very lucky to have this in your collection!
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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #16 
The Singer 32 model that does overcasting has a special foot/drive setup for that. The entire Singer 32 line was one special machine after another. One has to wonder how long it was before Singer developed the interchangeable cam and feet we find on the modern domestic machines. 

The entire catalog of Singer machines is available online at the Smithsonian. 

https://www.sil.si.edu/DigitalCollections/Trade-Literature/Sewing-Machines/NMAHTEX/1792/index5.htm

Yes, I was lucky indeed to find my 32-1 machine, luckier still that it was plain zigzag and not just one of the specialty stitches! Believe it or not, this project started out with just the beater head from Shopgoodwill.com. I had to manufacture a missing foot leg, a complete bobbin winder assembly, the missing zigzag control knob, a thread guide on the needle bar, spool pins, a missing screw for holding the front end of the back kidney plate and build the entire table, drawer, support post and coffin top on an old model 1891 Singer treadle stand I restored from an "end table" someone had done with a couple of old Singer treadles. They had no machines in them, and one cabinet was toast, the other restorable (still in pieces). It's a long and compicated project which I hope to finish this year, minus a new set of replicated decals which will be another project. Lucky indeed! This is one of the prized pieces in my collection and will see plenty of use when done. 

Here are a couple of photos from the Shopgoodwill listing. You can see the piece of bent metal someone put on there for the missing leg. I literally had to carve one out of a solid piece of steel to replace it. All 3 legs on the Singer 32 are removable.  You can see the other 2 legs sitting on the bed of the machine in the Goodwill photos. I had to replace the screws on those as well.

It came with a zipper and cording foot on it. I managed to get an original Singer 32 wide foot for it, which was also lucky for me. I would hate to have to carve one of those out! 4. Replacement Zigzag knob and original foot-23 March 2017.jpg  DSC00203.jpg  DSC00208.jpg  DSC00213.jpg 

- Bruce 213863519359ME.jpg  3616078193510ME.jpg  5221979193511ME.jpg 

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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #17 
No matter what I do, the pictures get put in out of order unless I rename or re-number them. Sorry about that. Also, here is a better link to the Singer catalog that doesn't start at the Singer 32. 

https://www.sil.si.edu/DigitalCollections/Trade-Literature/Sewing-Machines/NMAHTEX/1792/index.htm

-Bruce (still working on my morning coffee)
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #18 
Wonderful story on how you brought this one back to life.  There are many many details you had to deal with - such expertise!  Keep us current on your project and share any overseaming stitching.
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Rodney

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Reply with quote  #19 
Chaly incredible job on your daughter's shirt!
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seb58

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Reply with quote  #20 
WOW that is an amazing job!
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johnstuart

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Reply with quote  #21 
This is one cool machine Bruce, very nice work on it. It will still enable you to place this in a table as well if needed in the future, everything is still within the original parameters to do so. Looks somewhat original. I think it would take me a couple of years to make that foot lol

  John Stuart
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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #22 
John, scroll up in the discussion and you will see the treadle project I did for this head. I have it almost completed, just need to finish the box cover (coffin top) and make some repro looking parts for the knee lift. It's a special project and a keeper machine. Reproducing the decals will be a major project for the future. The front decals were gone; the decal there now was part of the refurb done probably in the 1930 or 40s I'm guessing. The decals in the back are original, displayed now after I carefully removed the black paint that was covering them up. I can use these as a pattern to copy. 

I will probably do a write up on this machine when the project is finished, although I don't know where I will post it. Maybe just a series subject here on Victorian Sweatshop. 

- Bruce
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #23 
Getting back to using vintage attachments - today I used the Singer multi-slotted binder (with Singer 101) on some 1" wide bias tape (made using my vintage pinker attachment using the straight blade).

I have not used the binder in some time and it was so easy - no pinning or ironing.  It's hard to see but the edge  bound was curved and even this didn't give me any issues.  I'll have to remember to take this attachment out more often.

binder.jpg  binding.jpg 

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