Archive | June, 2015

A Sewing Time Capsule: Part One

7 Jun

Sewing Time CapsuleIf you follow me on instagram or Facebook you may have seen me post a photo this week of my Jones’ sewing machine. I’ve got a weakness for vintage sewing machines and at last count own 7 vintage or antique metal sewing machines which I have acquired from various places over the last 4 or 5 years. Oops. This Jones Family CS model E was one I spotted a couple of years ago at the Friday Flea market on Portobello Road. A lot of the traders on Friday have stock straight from house clearances and don’t always know exactly what they have, so it really is a goldmine for finding wonderful treasures. This sewing machine was no exception.

When I got it home, I opened the carry case it came in which, I forgot to mention, on the way home popped open and the machine almost fell out! It must weigh about 10kg and so I’m not sure the case is original because its very light and flimsy. Any how, it made it back without damage and when I unpacked it I was thrilled to find at the bottom of the box, a selection of fabrics, a half finished dress and pattern instructions and a few other paper bits. I was very excited and popped everything into a carrier bag and put it in my studio to look at properly later…and then I forgotten about it. If you’ve seen my studio you will understand how easily this can happen. After trying it once, the sewing machine has been sitting on display on the bookshelf in my studio ever since.

I’m pleased to say, my studio has recently undergone a huge clear out (well 3 huge clear outs in the last 6 months) and most recently, we moved everything round so the space make more sense and I’ve started rediscovering all the awesome things I’ve rescued over the years.

So, this brings me back to the box. There was a lot of interest in this sewing machine’s contents on instagram and I knew it would be perfect to document on here. It seems like the previous owner either forgot about it or something happened so they didn’t manage to finish the dress and having found that bag of contents and had a more thorough look, there were many interesting pieces to the puzzle..

Here are the contents in order of photos: A selection of fabrics including some stripy deck chair canvas and some mint green lining, an almost completed Clothkits Style 596 Dress (from a kit) and instructions, a Clothkits reorder form and the original envelope date stamped 28 March 1980 and labels, 2 Simplicity 8623 Girl’s sleeve pattern pieces, 2 newspaper traced bodice pattern pieces, a label from a step pump with instructions (random,) a Smiths Bros Tooting paper bag and perhaps the most interesting and revealing piece of the time capsule: a typed letter which appears to be more of rambling nonsense than actually meant for someone to read but it tells us a lot. Read on below, to find out what it says..

Sewing Time Capsule Contents

Sewing Time Capsule Fabrics

Sewing Time Capsule DressClothkits Pack




Letter reads (as typed):

sweet nice darling daughter that is what i amhe knew every thing address glad i haven’t got a roast dinner to do. slave come and have a cup of tea I’ve made its in the kitchen its two oclock and news time on radio two -pause in speech- its got marks all ready yes idont particularly whant the picture in there no. are you going to stick it on with blue tack-this is reported speech on the 7.i0.79 `at1 oclock in the paskes house hold in grove on the old side as has been for the last 12 years and is likely to be for many more years to come except that the number in the house is fluctuating as nicholas has gone to manchester university to study history and economics carol hopefully is leaving next year to teacher training college todo a Bed together with these hands that are typing this nonsense but for now she m st go and study little dorrit by dickens or else she wont be considered even for college-bye for now.

The rest is definitely non-sense. As is the other page.

I’m not quite sure whether this was more of a diary entry or an actual letter to someone documenting the day. Either way, I love that the date and time have been recorded..and it gives us a little insight into life at the time like snapshot on this day.

I’ll share more on the actual sewing machine and dress in part two. I plan to complete the dress..hopefully on the Jones machine..I need to buy some needles for it first. It takes rounded shank needles so I’ll need to find some. I did have a go on it the other day. So I’ll tell you about it in my next post.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this small insight into this sewing machine’s story. I love old things because of the history behind them and I’m always fascinated by any details I can find out about the items past or the previous owner(s).

Would you be interested in me documenting more of my finds? Have you found anything with an interesting story to tell?

Thanks for reading,

Daisy x


Mending Monday: Repairing a seam – denim

2 Jun

Mending Monday: Mending an open seamThis week I’ve done another really simple repair. I’ve got this vintage denim jacket which used to be my Mum’s from circa 1980s. It’s probably a size too small for me across the shoulders but although snug, it fits (just about) and I love it. The downside to this is the seams which take the most beating are the back shoulder/sleeve seams and over the past few years the strain has caused the stitching to open up. It’s really quick and easy to repair these seams by going over the same stitch line that has come away. One side has an actual hole (which I only just noticed) and the other has just started to come apart. Here’s the before and after of the seam with the hole:Before and AfterThere is a special stitch you can use to reinforce these seams (see image below). I use the Janome 7025 machines in all my classes and it has a straight stretch stitch which is really strong and basically like 4 stitches in place of one usual stitch. This is stitch is perfect (even on non-stretch fabrics) for seams that take a lot of strain like this one. If you don’t have this stitch on your machine a straight stitch will still do the job. I would make it slightly small than usual to make it a bit stronger so turn the stitch length down to 2 instead of the normal 2.5mm.

For the side where the seam had completely opened up:

  • Turn the jacket inside out and identify the seam which needs fixing
  • Pin together edge to edge


  • Stitch along original stitch line making sure you go over the first and last couple of stitches which are still intact to make sure you reinforce the old stitches
  • Use a zig zag stitch or overlocker to neaten off the edges

MM5Denim2When I did this and looked onto the right side I noticed the crossing seam was also coming open so I turned it back inside out marking the beginning and end point of the weakened seam with a pin to make sure I knew where to start and finish and went over this seam as well.

*Tip* When repairing 2 crossing seams it’s important to identify which seam should be stitched first. If the crossing is open you’ll be able to get in and stitch the seam right across without stopping before you stitch down the crossing seam. If you’re not sure, try looking at another crossing seam which is intact. Which has been stitched first? Whichever one was stiched last, you will stitch last. If the ‘cross roads’ is still intact then stitch in as close as you can get to the seam and back stitch.

MM5Denim3When stittching down two crossing seams ensure the seam allowances are facing the same way (usually towards the back of the garment.) This will stop the seam twisting around and help it lay flat.

I basically did the same with the other arm. Although the seam wasn’t completely open on this side, one of the seams had come apart and so I went over this row of stitching, again with the straight stretch stitch.

Here’s the before and after for that side:

MM5DenimBeforeAfter2I wear this jacket throughout the Spring and Summer months so will get a lot of wear out of this for years to come. As always, let me know if you try any of these repairs or alterations using the hashtag #mendingmonday. If you want to learn hemming, how to sew different types of buttons, taking in garments to improve fit and how to mend rips and tears, why not join our mending Club? You can book a single session or all 4 weeks. All the details are here.

Thanks for reading!

Daisy x