Sunday, 1 May 2011

Arts and Craft Chair Project and My (Very) Old Singer

I love old things, especially those which follow the William Morris quote, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" and both my old Singer sewing machine and my newly acquired Arts and Crafts chair live up to this.
This is my very first sewing machine, bought for the princely sum of £20, back when I turned 20 in 1978, and like the original machines bought on credit from my sister who I had to pay back at £5 a month.  I wonder how many of you know that Isaac Singer actually pioneered credit so that everyone could afford to buy a sewing machine?  I have made evening dresses, wedding dresses, cushions, baby clothes and quilts on this machine, and even now it is the machine that I prefer to use when I just have to sew up seams and put in zips as I sit at my kitchen table.  On another forum, there was a discussion about the age of our old Singers, so I googled the registration number and was delighted to discover this old war-horse was made in 1920... meaning my fave machine is 91 years old and still sewing beautifully... I love it.

Now, as you may be aware my firm Teachers TV closed on 29 April, so I thought to mark my redundancy I wanted something tangible and for a number of weeks I have lusted after an Arts and Crafts chair in a local antique shop which needed a little bit of TLC.  Although I did get a bit of a shock when I checked my credit card going through and the owner had mistakenly tapped in £50,000... I nearly had a heart attack before I started on it!
So I am going to learn how to replace the seat and re-weave the rushing in the seat... which is rather loose and certainly would not weight bear at the moment.

And I really like the stylised inlaid lilies, which may not be the most elegantly inlaid but to my eye make this an honest chair which will become more beautiful when I re-rush the seat.

So this is going to be my project for Handmade Monday which is run by Wendy - please go and take a look at the other projects being undertaken by the folk from the UK Crafts Forum.

I will update you when my rushes arrive and I start weaving.


Anonymous said...

those old sewing machines are beautiful x

HandyWoodcrafts said...

EEk in 1978 I was 8. I am dreadfull with names but isn't there someone on the forum who does seat weaving? good luck with the restoration and at 50grand I'm sure you must have had kittens lol.


Carolee Crafts said...

Congratulations on your buy and well worth the money, cannot wait to see if finished. I remember these old machines and the ones with the large metal manual pedal which my Grandmother had in the corner of her kitchen. Wonder how many of the new machines will make it through this long?

Wendy said...

I also love the old Singer sewing machines but alas have never owned one. I also remember the treadle ones!
Enjoy your project, looks exciting!
Thanks for taking part in HM x

Your Friend Susie said...

That is an awesome machine, I love that you still use it. I had an old White (I believe that was the brand) that was a treadle that had been converted to electric, but gave it to my brother years ago for lack of room. I just purchased my first Singer (was a Kenmore girl) and I hardly sew, but am trying to learn. Anyway, yours is lovely, I LOVE old things.
That chair is something else. WOW.

cj said...

What a lovely chair, it's great you're going to be able to give it a new lease of life. I have my Grandads singer in the loft, I keep thinking about digging it out!

dreamstar said...

What a lovely post and really looking forward to seeing how you progress with the project.
Good job you noticed the mistake on the credit card, i would have really panicked!
Fantastic sewing machine and great that you still use it.

Caroline Lovis said...

Thank you for the lovely comment you left on my blog I'm so pleased it led me to yours. Love the old sewing machine, I have one of the old treadle table machines which I've converted into a display table but I've always got an eye out for another. Look forward to seeing your progress with the chair.

Picto said...

Gorgeous chair, can't wait to see it back as it was. I'm a big fan of William Morris and his style. One of the things on my wish list is to visit the William Morris House.

Jan x

Kat Shenton said...

Oh I can't wait to see this finished!! I think it's gonna look amazing.

And I wasn't even alive to see the 70's, however I would love to own a machine like that! What a beautiful piece of workmanship.

Clare said...

I have an original singer machine that was my grandmothers. It packs away into its own box with all the original accessories. I have made curtain, ballet and skating costumes and much more on it