Friday, 18 August 2017

Modern Life Is Rubbish (And So Was My Latest Sewing Machine)


What a bloody dump! I complained to Jon as we walked home from the town centre, picking our way past stained mattresses, old fridges, knackered microwave ovens, rancid sofas and sacks of god-knows-what dumped on the pavement by Walsall's residents in the deluded belief that someone else will clean up after them. Since the introduction of the fortnightly bin collection and the council tip cutting its opening hours, our town has become an absolute disgrace.


Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a blue plastic case peeking out of a hedge, Hang on a bit, I think I know what that is. Gingerly we undid the catches and, much to our relief, the contents didn't reveal the corpse of an abandoned pet but an electric sewing machine! It weighed a ton but luckily we were only five minutes from home so Jon handed me the shopping whilst he, not trusting the stability of the handle, staggered behind carrying the machine in his arms. 


After a thorough wipe down with a cloth marinated in white vinegar I threaded the machine - easier said than done, it's completely different to my usual 1970s New Home model, then held my breath and plugged it in.


It worked!!


There's no instruction manual or model number marked on the machine but a quick search on Google revealed it to be an English-made Jones D-69 hailing, I think, from the early 1970s. There's even a couple of companies on-line selling reasonably priced copies of the instruction manual and spare parts.  


It has settings for Embroidery, Silk & Normal as well as all manner of scary looking attachments.


I'm afraid that hardware's wasted on me. All I need a sewing machine to do is to sew straight, zig-zag, put in a zip and reverse stitch.


I couldn't have found it at a better time. There's something amiss with the tension spring in my machine and I've got 50 vintage fabric wired headbands to make before we leave for the Towersey Festival on Wednesday morning.


Fifteen down, 35 to go!



WEARING: Made by me African waxed cotton culotte suit (last seen HERE), Tribal-style breast plate (Topshop via a charity shop)
What is it they say about one man's trash?

See you soon!

114 comments:

  1. Lol , Only you would be so lucky what a find, well done , Although i agree with the nightmare of two weekly collections with walsall council , Its not so bad for us only being just the two of us but for famlies its a nightmare XXX

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    1. Each time I drive along the road there is stuff dumped on the pavements, there is always a massive queue to get in the tip as well.

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    2. Yes, no problem for us as we don't chuck much away but it seems an impossible task for many people, doesn't it?

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    3. Jon actually got barred from the tip for a month as the workers didn't believe all the garden waste we'd bought was from a single residence, they told him that they suspected he was running a business!

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  2. So exciting! But you are preaching to the choir in my new found interest in vintage sewing machines. That one has the same striated face plate as my Singer 15-91. Be sure to oil and lubricate your new machine ~
    The hardware is wasted on me too, reminds me of medieval torture devices.

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    1. I knew you'd approve, Tami! I think you've got more machines than me!
      I must learn to oil the machine, I always leave it to Jon! xxx

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  3. A true treasure, and the timing is fantastic! Love the groovy case too, suits you

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    1. Perfect timing, you're right! xxx

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  4. That was a lucky find. I remember seeing the machine covers and I'm sure I had a similar machine that Philip found at a mill he was working at. There was no cover, it weighed a ton. My friend who just wanted to turn up her curtains ended up with it.
    I had a good rummage session at Tod on Thursday. I'll have to do a blog post.
    Have a good weekend you two and you are looking very delicious in your African outfit.
    The damn rain has started again now in bucket loads as we speak xxxx

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    1. It does weigh a ton, no danger of it slipping off the table, at least!
      Can you believe it? We had a mostly dry weekend. I won't hold my breath, it's a bank holiday weekend soon! xxx

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  5. Great find! My dear old Mum had a treadle Jones which she used when she was a running an occupational therapy unit for the elderly. Brought a lot of wonderful memories for her ladies (and gents) and they made lots of crafts to sell to raise funds for little trips and treats. Wish I had her old machine now but it disappeared when the hospital closed. I have now got my dear MIL's old machine, plus a new cheapie from Lidl - was under £70 and works a treat.

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    1. How thoughtful of your mum? What a lovely idea.
      Jon keeps suggesting I get a new machine - I'll bear the Lidl ones in mind just in case! xxx

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  6. What a great find! I have a new machine and it's ok. I miss my mom's old one

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    1. Karlene! Lovely to hear from you. I did buy a modern one when I first got into sewing but it was really flimsy compared to the old workhorses! xxx

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  7. I still have my Nan's Singer 99K. She left it to me when she passed away in 1978. xx

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    1. I've got one of those, too! I grew up with it! xxx

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  8. Good find! The G-clamp is completely random, by the way, nothing to do with sewing; it might well have come off a knitting machine. My main machine is a Jones 1909 Medium Treadle, rather like the one in the second advert down; it only goes forwards but I love it to pieces because there's virtually nothing that can go wrong! I recently completed a commission to make 30 bags out of reclaimed marquee canvas (heavy stuff!) on the treadle, with ease, having blown up my computerised "professional" machine on bag no. 4...

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    1. Blimey, it must be a good machine if it can tackle 30 canvas bags! xxx

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  9. PS - the G-clamp - unless there's a hole on the lower side of the case? Might have been to hold it still on a slippery surface. Easier (and better) to use a carpet tile!

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    1. Good point! Thank you, I'll have a closer look. Mind you the damned things so heavy it'd take an earthquake to shift it. xxx

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  10. What a find! This really does look like a beautiful piece of machinery.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. They are great looking pieces of engineering, aren't they? xxx

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  11. Well, that was a lucky find! Well done to you!!!!

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    1. I was convinced there was going to be something nasty in the case, I was relieved when it was just the machine. xxx

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  12. Well the recycling goddess was certainly looking down kindly on you! How fantastic!
    I've got a manual singer but haven't plucked up the courage to try it...I am still mentally scarred from my needlework lessons at school I think!
    Arilx

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    1. It took me decades to get over that single term of sewing we did in domestic science.xxx

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  13. Excellent find! That was my first, nobody else can use it sewing machine back in the day. I loved it; fab colour, great case and it went like a dream. Have loads of fun with it. It's shocking that people can chuck stuff like this, but another mans trash, as you say.
    Loves ya!
    xxxx

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    1. I love the colour! I wonder why they decided to make sewing machines in plain old white.
      Love ya! xxx

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  14. I'd like 1/2 dozen of those headbands please! What a terrific find, and so sorry for the trash left for pick-up.

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    1. Shall I deliver them to your cabin? It'd be my pleasure!
      Fly tipping makes me so mad! xxx

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  15. I'll have to bring my mother for a visit she can strip down a machine and put it back together blindfolded (part of her seamstress training) she'd be able to tell you what all the extra bits were for.

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    1. You're on! They're scary looking bits of kit, aren't they? xxx

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  16. My mum had that very machine in the 70's, I remember the blue plastic case so well! Such a great find, and in your sewing hour of need too. Brum is also paralysed by household waste chaos, though we are fine here in Worcs, hope it is all sorted soon but it makes you wonder just how much is actually waste xxx

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    1. The blue plastic case is so cool!
      I'm pleased to see an end to the Brum bin man strike. It's a nightmare here with fly tipping and overflowing wheelie bins. I don't understand what on earth people must put in those bins, we struggle to fill ours once a fortnight! xxx

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  17. Well worth stumbling through the rubbish!
    You must be the most glamorous seamstress in modern times, in your fab homegrown outfit. I especially love the border use peekaboo!
    xo Jazzy Jack

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    1. Every cloud and all that!!
      It took me ages to position the border when i cut out that culotte suit, I was surprised it ended up looking half decent. xxx

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  18. I had that exact same sewing machine in the 70s when I was a teenager, think Mum bought it for me. No idea why, as I loathed sewing at school and still do! Can't remember what happened to the machine, I probably left it behind when I left home.

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    1. Hi Sooze! We did a single term of sewing at school when I was 11 and I bloody hated it. It put me off for years! xxx

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  19. one of those pieces of hardware is a zipper foot. One the left in the middle, with the big screw. You move the foot from left to right and tighten the screw. What a score!

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    1. I suspected as much, it looks similar to the one I use already! Great to have a couple, customers are always busting zips when they insist on trying stuff on that's obviously too small! xxx

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  20. I'm so pleased for you that out of the debris you found something so gorgeous.

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  21. Well done! Trust you to find treasure discarded amongst trash!!

    Happy thrifting ;)

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    1. Thank you! eagle-eyed, I am! xxx

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  22. What an excellent find! How weird that showed up when yours was playing up.
    Zxx

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    1. As Beth say, almost serendipity! xxx

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  23. What an amazing find, I'm so pleased for you, it couldn't of found a better home! It amazes me what people throw out as rubbish, I don't understand why people don't donate stuff like that to charity shops if they just want rid. I've always wanted a vintage machine one day, they seem so much more reliable. We used to use old Singers at school and they stood up to so much abuse, whereas my modern one regularly pitches a fit.

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    1. I can't understand for the life of me why the previous owner didn't phone the furniture and electrical charity shop in town - they do free collections. It's so lazy just to chuck it in the street!
      I bought a new machine when I first got into sewing but ended up donating it to charity, it was far too flimsy! xxx

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  24. Wow! What a lucky find!
    Love that African culotte suit too!
    xox

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    1. Thank you! Loads of Asian ladies told me that they the fabric when I wore the culotte suit to town today! xxx

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  25. In my neighbourhood it really could have contained something like a severed head!

    That's such a beautiful machine too-why did they stop making attractive sewing machines in favour of big plastic ugly things? I'm so happy it ended up with you, not someone selling it for scrap metal.

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    1. Ha! That's sounds like Walsall, we were a bit wary about opening the case!
      I don't understand why the sewing machines of today are always white and ugly. Surely colour can't be that expensive to manufacture? xxx

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  26. Wow, what a beauty. I can't believe that someone tossed her away. Makes me sad that that is the fate of so many of these lovely old machines. Sprogzilla's school recently lobbed out an old Brother from the Art Dept of much the same era and the wee soul carried it all the way home for me. Those old machines are the absolute bizz. They will last a lifetime with a bit of TLC and have much better stitch quality than new machines. What a lucky find. Sorry to hear about the rubbish in Walsall. Glasgow gets a bit like that in places too. It is depressing and makes the place look terrible. Loving your gorgeous kitchen and outfit. You have as much style with interiors as you do with your wonderful clothes. Xx

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    1. It makes me sad, too. I hate to see perfectly good stuff going to landfill. I can't understand why the previous owner didn't just ring one of the many local charity shops who sell electrical goods and arrange to have it picked up rather than chuck it in the street.
      What a lovely compliment, Kelly - thank you. xxxx

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  27. I'm SO glad you rescued this beauty!! I hate seeing perfectly good objects thrown out. That's a shame about the rubbish dumping problem. I'm afraid that our own area has a bit of an issue with people dropping litter and fly-tipping. We're literally right next to the Brecon Beacons National Park (where they'll chop your hand off if you drop anything) but because our valley has a history of not being that attractive (coal mining), people don't seem to respect the area as they should. The Council are launching a big clean-up campaign in September, I hope it works.

    Enjoy your machine - my sister-in-law has one very similar to this, I've used it a few time. All you really need is a straight and zig-zag stitch as you say! xx

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    1. I wonder if is because we live in former industrial area and people have so little pride in their surroundings? Surely it's good for everyone's spirits not to have mattresses and old fridges littering the streets?
      Too many fancy features on a sewing machine scare me to death. Sewing doesn't have to be complicated! xxx

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  28. The more basic the machine the less to go wrong! It looks splendid and once the manual arrives it will be easy to do a basic service. Most problems are accumulated lint and easy to remove.

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    1. You're right, Maureen. My old Singer just sews in a straight line, nothing else and it's still going strong after a century!
      The "new" Jones came with a dinky little brush to remind me to dust it frequently! xxx

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  29. That was my FIRST sewing machine ack when I was a student. A fiver from the charity shop round the corner. I jumped in at the deep end and made three ball gowns for myself and friends. As you say it weighed a bloody ton.

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    1. Three ball gowns? That fiver you spent repaid itself in dividends! xxx

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  30. Opening hour cuts at our dump also plus fortnightly bin collection. No wonder the country is plagued (allegedly) with rats. What a star find to make amongst all that discarded shite. Seventies machines were built to last, I reckon mine's indestructible, although fair to say, I don't give it much of a workout. You'll whizz through the headbands in no time.
    Xx

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    1. I don't understand the mentality of these councils, the money they save in cutting bin collections and tip opening hours are all spent on clearing up after the fly tippers!
      Old machines are the best. I dread to think how much a modern equivalent would cost. The "cheap" modern ones look so flimsy! xxx

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  31. What an amazingly lucky find! You two remind me of The Wombles!

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    1. Haha! I loved The Wombles as a child. Maybe that's where my habits some from! xxx

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  32. Since you name your VWs, Vix, you might extend the honor to this sewing machine. "Serendipity", perhaps?

    Can't imagine tossing this beauty as trash! When I was a mite, I rode the treadle foot on the "sun porch Singer" when my mother did quick hems and repairs. I learned to sew by the book and pattern using the school's fleet of White cabinet machines. Mum's last sewing machine was a commercial grade Pfaff. When we cleared the farmhouse, a minor miracle occurred when one of the hired movers shyly begged to be allowed to take it home rather than to the dump. What a joy to be able to tell my mother, then in a nursing home, that her pet Pfaff was hard at work helping a young family launch a curtain/upholstery business! Do wish Serendipity's former owner knew it landed safely on your kitchen table.

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    1. Serendipity she now is, thanks Beth!
      I was always a bit scared of the treadle machines but I used Liz's old Singer a few years ago and became a convert.
      How lovely that the commercial Pfaff (great name!) found herself a new home. Your mum would have been thrilled. xxx

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  33. Oh wow! It's a beauty, and looks like it fits into your home perfectly! What a lucky find!

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    1. It's so pretty, isn't it?! xxx

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  34. Bwahaha!!! This is the best find. So glad your eagle eye was still sharp after being dulled by all that trash. This machine is spectacular. And in the nick of time! Santa Vix won't let all those kids go without their headbands. I love your culotte suit.

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    1. No rubbish dump or skip is safe from my eagle eyes. I'm always stalking the bins at the end of festivals, too. One year one of the caterers had dumped all their unused veg, flatbreads and yogurt. We didn't need to buy food for weeks! xxx

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  35. That was a lucky find, Vix, and a timely one too. My Mum's sewing machine, which still baffles me, has a lot of additional hardware pieces like yours. They really freak me out, so I'm glad even you, who can use a sewing machine, haven't got a clue what they are. Isn't it a pain that people dump their rubbish everywhere? It's happening here too, although by the sound of it, it's much worse where you are. Fingers crossed we still have weekly bin collections, but taking things to our dump costs money, which most people aren't willing to pay. xxx

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    1. I hate litter louts. The first thing I do when i get up each morning is to walk down the avenue and pick up all the takeaway boxes and beer cans abandoned in the street overnight. Drives me daft!!
      Sewing straight, zig-zagging and reverses are all most people need on a machine although the zipper foot is brilliant - so many vintage dresses I find have dodgy zips and they're so easy to replace. xxx

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  36. What a catch!! And to timely too. I agree with Melanie - you've got an eagle eye! This jumpsuit is fabulous, love the colors and pattern, and you look smashing doing your sewing! <3 <3 <3

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    1. Thanks, Natalia! I do love African waxed cotton! xxx

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  37. such a beauty of a sewing machine!
    did you spend her some oil? and please don´t store it with the pressure foot up - this will weaken the spiral spring that provides the foot´s pressure......
    sorry - i´m an old sewing machine witch ;-)
    xxxxx

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    1. I didn't know about not storing it with the pressure foot up. I'll make sure I do that!
      Jon's oiled it but I should learn to do it myself. xxx

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  38. What a wonderful find! I have recently acquired a hand cranked Singer from one of the nurses I worked with on placement. She only wanted £20 for it and it is in full working order.

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    1. What a bargain! Here's to many years of happy sewing! xxx

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  39. Vix! What a treasure...and literally it was a treasure partly hidden in the hedgerow.

    You know I'm all for the vintage sewing machine...mine may not be classed as vintage, but it is circa about 1980 and I love it to bits. I really don't know if I'll ever upgrade.

    I do spot a zipper foot in the mix there. Just in case you ever decide to make Jon trousers, :)

    I'm curious about how you make your wired headbands. Did you begin with a pattern or did you draft yours based on a ready made one? I know you're busy but I'd love to read details if you've got time.

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    1. Hi Sue! I suspected that was a zipper foot, it looks similar to the one I already use, I'll have a bash with it an see how both compare - one size seems to fit all machines, I think! xxx

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  40. This machine looks like a copy of Singer model 15-91 .

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    1. It may well have been, Singer were the originators of the sewing machine, Jones were their British counterpart! xxx

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  41. So true, Vix! My grandmother's sewing machine runs so smoothly, unlike our modern one. I'd sew so much more if our one wasn't so difficult to use.

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    1. When I was a ten I used a Victorian Singer until my parents bought me a modern machine as a birthday present. It was so complicated I didn't sew again till I was in my 40s! xxx

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  42. It looks lovely too!
    I only ever go forward, reverse and zig zag too - it's enough for me.
    You've given me the idea of looking for an online manual for a 1960's Brother machine I have, which has never been serviced since I had it (it was my mum's originally). xxx

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    1. All those fancy features are wasted on me!
      I bet you'll find that Brother manual - and probably a load of spares, too. The internet is brilliant for stuff like that. xxx

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  43. I took a quilting class and one of the ladies collect sewing machines and each time she would bring one of them and use it. Some of were pretty interesting. Actual the newer ones and all those fancy stitches one never use...Coffee is

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    1. All those fancy stitch features are lost on me. As long as it sews straight I'm happy! xxx

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  44. Who would throw such a beautiful thing out?!? I think fate had a hand in you finding it. Some of those attachments look like they belong at the dentists lol! xx

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    1. I blame all these programmes, books and magazines obsessed with decluttering. People chuck stuff out without any thought for where it will end up.
      Arghhh, dentists. I spent an hour in the dentist's chair last week after breaking a tooth! xxx

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  45. Machines from that era are such workhorses, and built much more solidly than new ones. Good on you for spotting it amongst the trash, but then again, you have an eagle eye for the good stuff. Glad it works well and you're able to get those headbands done.

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    1. They're good looking, too, aren't they? I was dreading trying to sew those headbands on the old machine, it would have taken me an age as the thread keeps snapping. xxx

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  46. Oh wow!! I am so happy for you! I love your house, by the way. Have fun with your treasure.
    xo
    Lynn

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    1. Thanks, Lynn! The kitchen is in dire need of redecorating, it's been 10 years! xxx

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  47. you got a real find there! The tools look like they belong in a torture chamber! Hope you get many happy years of use!

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    1. Thank you! Those bits are a bit gruesome, aren't they? xxx

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  48. GirlLondon is desperate for a sewing machine!!!!

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    1. If she didn't live an ocean away I'd give her one of mine! xxx

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  49. Wow, what a score! That is a really nice machine. And you couldn't have found it at a better time. Even the case is cool looking. A while ago a dear friend gifted me with her mom's Singer Slantomatic. I think it's from 1959. The thing is like a tank with a huge fold out table. And it runs like a dream. Vintage sewing machines do hold up better than newer ones with all their plastic parts that wear out.

    Enjoy your new toy!
    Theresa

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    1. You're so right, my Victorian Singer, although a bit laborious to use, still runs as smoothly as it must have done 120 years ago. Things were so much better made. xxx

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  50. Who in their right mind dumps something like that? I could understand (although not condone) dumping it if it didn't work. But, good news for you!
    Have fun at the Towersey Festival
    xx

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    1. I know, utter madness. There's a charity shop five minutes away that specialise in electrical items and advertise free collection. there really is no excuse! xxx

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  51. That was such a fantastic blog bringing threw all my sewing years. When I was 11, a million years ago I started learning sewing at school. At home I was given a sewing machine treadle singer from1880. I was so keen to sew and my mother couldn't sew so a friend taught me how to thread and treadle and I made my first clothes on it. Thanks for the memories.

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    1. A million years ago! You do make me laugh, Sally. I'm impressed that you got a friend to teach you to sew when your mum couldn't help, that's dedication. xxx

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  52. What an amazing find and great that it works too. The things people throw out!

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  53. You'll be off to the festival today, so have fun! I wish the trash fairy would bring me a sewing machine - though a new chazza has opened in town, so I know where i'm heading on Saturday.

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    1. Oh, that's exciting! Maybe mention to the volunteers that you're after a sewing machine. They might have one stashed away somewhere! xxx

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  54. I found my Singer 99K abandoned on the curb with a pile of rubbish too! And it works :-) I traced it by serial number, and it was made in 1962, it is an electric one.

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    1. Brilliant! Even older than mine. Aren't people ridiculous?
      I was watching a TV news item about the rubbish piling up in Birmingham due to a strike by the bin men and noticed a sewing machine in the street next to a bin, I was half tempted to rush over! xxx

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  55. Ahhhhhh!!!! Such treasure!!!!! I have a really old New Home, and something else obscure who's (whose?) name I can't remember. I just know it's heavy and not made of plastic. Love the shots of you in situ. xoxoxoxo

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    1. The old machines are the best! So sturdy! I must admit we were a bit wary about plugging the old girl into the mains! xxx

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  56. What a find! Our councils have a twice yearly bulky goods collection when the opportunity to hunt for other people's treasures arise and that eliminates the dumping during the rest of the year, thank goodness. You are amazing! (I'm with you on the only needing forwards, backwards, zig zag & zips). Hope you got all those headbands made. You are one glamorous seamstress in one very interesting kitchen. xx

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    1. I've heard about the Australian system of bulky goods disposal, such a brilliant idea. I can't understand why our council can't adopt something similar, I've even contacted them to suggest it. xxx

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