are ladies that need a lot of attention, but their company is so rewarding.
To start from the beginning, we are presently helping our parents move from a home they have been in for forty years to a seniors’ home. There is a lot to go through – some is moved with them, some is passed on to us, some is given to charity, recycled or discarded. It is a massive undertaking and I empathize with those who have to do the same.
The lovely thing about it all is the history. Objects seem to have no allure for me unless there is a story attached to them. We have come across this wonderful photo…
The lady on the left is my aunt and on the right is my mother. I know that my mother always sewed – altering and mending, remaking and recycling everything she could get her hands on. My aunt was formally educated to be a seamstress when she was a young girl in Europe. Although she was too elderly when I knew her to be doing any sewing, I heard her stories and saw her photos. The dresses in this photo were made by her. She could make anything for anyone, creating her own patterns along the way. I was very pleased when my mother passed on to me their now Vintage Sewing Machines (VSM).
My aunt’s VSM is a Singer 15-88. This lovely lady is called “Ilona”. Her serial number tells me she was born between 1948 and 1954 in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada. Considering my aunt came to Canada in 1948 that sounds correct. She, like me, would not have been able to survive without a sewing machine! Ilona is now dirty and her gears are frozen and she is missing her treadle belt, but I’m going to get her going again. Some of her decals are missing in the front where my aunt’s hand rubbed, but that I will never repair – there is a story behind that wear.
I seriously thought this face plate was brass when I first saw Ilona, apparently it is a shiny chrome. I’ll get her back to form.
Fabric fibers, spider webs and dust in the bobbin shuttle/hook assembly.
Even more sadly the treadle cabinet is broken and will have to be repaired.
Luckily the original manual for this Singer 15-88 was in the treadle cabinet drawer, along with many other nifty gizmos for Ilona. I’ll have to show them to you someday. This manual is for a Singer 15-88 and 15-89. The difference being a Singer 15-88 has a treadle stand and the Singer 15-89 has a hand crank on the side, which makes it portable.
Ilona is an oscillating shuttle sewing machine. The hook in this bobbin shuttle rocks back and forth – something new to me. My Janome 3160 QDC has a rotary hook. It travels in circles around the stationary bobbin.
I call my mother’s VSM “Maria”. What’s interesting about this lovely lady is that the badge on her says “Ford deluxe” but she wasn’t manufactured by Ford Motor Company. Through the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, the Japanese manufactured many sewing machines based on Singer sewing machines. They were so much alike that the parts could be interchangeable. Quite often they were given American names. Large retailers would also purchase them and place their own names on them too. They were usually quite colourful and even more importantly, well made.
It might be difficult to see from this photo, but even under a layer of dust and dirt, Maria’s colours are fabulous!
The paint is a bit chipped, but hopefully Maria cleans up well and no one will notice!
At least this bobbin shuttle/hook assembly looks cleaner. This might be the VSM that my Mom says she “dropped something in it and it doesn’t work anymore”! Oh well, I’ll clean it out. We’ll see.
I do love that badge.
As with the other sewing machine cabinet, this cabinet shows some damage too. If I can’t fix it (I know nothing about woodworking), I shall have to be on the look out for another cabinet.
As I was taking photos, I noticed Sophie giving me a hand (teeth?) removing some stray threads.
How can I help not being inspired by these lovely ladies, Ilona and Maria, who produced such wonderful garments …
I certainly have learned a lot about these VSM’s since receiving them from my mother and I plan on learning and doing a lot more with them. My husband, Mr. Green Thumb, asked me the other night, as I was sewing on my Janome 3160 QDC – Are you going to take that one apart too? No, I said, not yet anyway. I don’t know anything about computerized sewing machines … yet!
If you know any thing about these VSM’s or have any other information that can help, we would love to hear from you!
I just want to give credit to the different web sites that I have come across that have helped me. If you need information too, check them out!