Mixing Business & Practical Pleasure
by April Henry
If I find something fun, unique and interesting, I enjoy sharing it with others. I'm that way about most things, actually. Quite honestly, that is how our business started. Finding the right vintage Singer Sewing Machine - the Featherweight, in particular, and the discovery of their accompanying attachments and learning how to use them applicably. That process of learning, led to collecting, which led to sharing, which led to demonstrating through photographs, which eventually led to an eBay business and then a bona fide website.
A demonstration sample is not totally applicable unless it is actually put to real-life use. I say that to myself. I can make sample strip after sample strip after sample strip, demonstrating the use of a particular attachment to be included with each purchase; however, that does not quite bring the same satisfaction as actually putting an attachment to my own artistic and practical use.
I am currently a contestant in a contest for a S.W.A.P. That's Sewing With A Plan. I had heard the term before on various other blogs, but wasn't quite familiar with the entire process until recently. I need to make 12 garments that all coordinate - tops, pants/capris, skirts, dresses, a jacket, etc... the contest ends mid-June. I still have a long way to go, but I recently finished a little blouse. The pattern I used provided opportunity for three different Singer Attachments. This brought me great pleasure!
(Click this photo for close-up view)
The first one was the Tucker Attachment. (It is one of my favorites because I have such a fondness for pintucks.) I needed to do 24 pintucks for the blouse and I enjoyed every single one. I discovered a hint a few years ago deep in the Machine Sewing Book (published by the Singer Sewing Machine Company) that the artistry is in the tuck, not the stitch... you don't really want your stitches to be seen. To do this, you need to set your stitch length to 15-20 stitches per inch so that they blend within the weave of the fabric. Having learned this, I have become very particular to see ready-to-wear store-bought garments stitched otherwise. I know, I know - occupational hazard to become stitch-picky.
(Click these two photos for close-up views)
The second Fashion Aid I used, which is probably my most-used Singer Attachment, was the Singer Buttonholer - the all-metal black one from 1948 - a Singer engineering marvel even today. Did you know that the Buttonholer was the most expensive attachment back in its day? Most all other attachments cost pennies on the dollar, but the Singer Buttonholer was priced at $9.95 - that translates to about $125.00 today. Try to imagine, if you will, how excited all the home sewers were to be able to make a consistent professional-looking buttonhole, without having to do a single stitch by hand. It was an amazing invention and the high cost was worth every penny dollar! That old invention is still arguably the best buttonhole maker compared to machine built-in features....... For SweetPea's blouse, I matched the little vintage buttons to the right cam size of 3/8 inch and as you can see each buttonhole turned out beautifully.
(Click this photo for close-up view)
The last attachment brought me the most satisfaction for this creation because it was the first time I have actually had the opportunity to put a Narrow Rolled Hemmer to practical use and not just do a stitch sample. My daughter is a tad long-waisted and the pattern failed to compensate, so I needed to maximize the hem without detracting from the overall old-fashioned feminine appearance. Fabric was a Lawn (no doubt that made the process a little bit easier) and I was so excited at the perfect 1/8 inch narrow hem result.
(click these two photos for close-up view)
So, while I achieved a real-life example of Singer Attachments for our business, I also had the pleasure of applying something artistic and practical for my daughter's blouse.