Friday, April 19, 2013

A box full of memories


Earlier this week I was happily sitting upstairs at my desk, still in my pyjamas, drinking my mid-morning coffee and reading blogs, when there was a knock at the kitchen door. Despite my protests at my state of undress, DH insisted on my coming downstairs, where I was greeted by my youngest sister who dragged me outside to see the surprise she had found for me for my birthday next week.

There, on the makeshift bench by the door, sat an old hand sewing machine, which she had just found outside the local antique shop and snapped up, knowing that I had been searching for just such a machine to replace my hated modern electronic one. Now it is sitting on the table in the conservatory while I clean and polish it, before trying it out for the first time.


Having checked a specialist website on old sewing machines, we believe it was made in the late 1920s, and in its probably chequered career it has lost all its spare bobbins and the key to its lovely wooden case. While DH ferreted among his hoard of ‘things that may come in useful’ for a substitute key, I went off to search through my crammed and untidy sewing-box for any bobbins left over from the ancient Singer treadle machine, which, in a fit of temporary insanity, I long-ago replaced with the modern monster.

After an exhaustive search I did indeed find a spare bobbin, which will soon be residing in the nifty accessories compartment in the sewing machine base, along with packs of almost vintage machine needles. However this was only the beginning.  

Having gradually emptied the entire contents of the sewing-box onto the spare bed in my search for the bobbin, I found myself trapped in a hoard of almost-forgotten bits and pieces, heavy with memories and nostalgia.


First there were the buttons, so many buttons. Spare buttons from clothes long gone, including probably almost every suit or shirt DH ever wore in his working career. Cards of buttons from abandoned knitting or sewing projects, mute testimony to my ability to get distracted, and a medley of old buttons, obviously kept just because they were attractive or unusual. 

Among these were three small, pretty, flowered buttons, which catapulted me back to our first married home and the flowered maternity dress my mother made for me and which I wore during both my pregnancies.

Then there was a chaos of hooks-and-eyes and press-studs (remember them?) and spare zips and bits of Velcro, and even the odd buckle from the children’s sandals, kept just in case…. Tangled among these was a somewhat dusty length of black velvet ribbon, which I last wore nearly forty years ago, when it did duty as a necktie for the academic dress required for me to attend the formal ceremony at which I belatedly received my degree.

In another compartment lurked the battered, curved top of what had once been a brass darning-mushroom, together with a small, heavy, horseshoe magnet for picking up dropped pins and needles. Both of these once belonged to my grandmother and were passed on to me by my mother for my little sewing kit, when I left home for college in the mid-1960s.

With those was the now battered felt needle-case or hussif, made as a Christmas gift for me by DD when still at primary school. The inner 'pages' are now rust-marked and one of the appliquéd holly-leaves is missing, but I still treasure it.


Finally, at the very bottom of the box, hidden under the dressmaking scissors and pinking shears, I discovered a couple of the tiny garments I made on my old treadle machine for DD’s Barbie doll back in our impecunious youth. I even made a snowsuit from old sheeting for DS’s Action Man, but that has sadly vanished.


Perhaps I should stop teasing DH for being such a hoarder, as I try to convince myself that what I've been hoarding aren't just things, but irreplaceable memories.


73 comments:

  1. What wonderful magical 'stuff'! Not to mention that treasure of a little sister you have ... :-)

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    1. I'm wonderful, I am. I nearly fell over the sewing machine, Broad, it was on the pavement outside the shp, and the price was so good I didn't even haggle. It was a magical find.

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    2. Yes, you are indeed wonderful, Baby Sis. Your eye for a bargain 'find' is second to none and I'm revelling in this particular one.:-)

      Broad, I'm a sucker for the kind of stuff that holds memories, which is why my sewing box and the drawers of my desk are always so cluttered. I can't throw away photos or books either, for the same reason.

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  2. Ooh, that reminds me of how as children one of our favourite pastimes was going through a box of old buttons and etc. I can't wait for the next time I have my three-year-old granddaughter here, and will pull out an old tin of buttons we inherited from my husbands aunt-in-law.

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    1. Oh, do - she will love them. My mother had a splendid tin of old buttons, many of which probably came from her mother, but those didn't come down to me. My collection is entirely home-grown. That said, like you, we children (all girls) used to enjoy going through my mother's button box, but sadly I think it must be a female trait, as my grandsons have never shown any overt interest in buttons. :-)

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  3. Oh how gorgeous! I, too, still have my Mother's work baxket, full of old spools of cottons, a 'hussif' ('Houswife') full of old needles and pins, etc, etc - and the old button tin that I think came originally from Grandma. And Mother had a hand operated Singer machine, on which I learned to do (very wobbly) seams! In years gone by I used to make a lot of my dresses, and some for Mother as she got older, but on a more modern electric machine (I could control the seams better with that!) - said machine is now residing under my desk in the office, in case I should ever feel inspired to use it again!! Fat chance, I fear (I couldn't lift it, I suspect). Memories...
    How super of the 'Golden Olden Lady' (although not so much 'Olden', I reckon!) to find that for you - long may you enjoy it.

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    1. Helva, I am 56 next month. This to me is ANCIENT, 'cos I have never been 56 before. The name has been my internet ID for years - I wanted to call myself Goldenlady on a website after the Stevie Wonder song, but it had already gone, so I added the olden in the middle. On eBay I am Mrsmousetrousers. Mousetrousers is one of our nicknames for The Dog, but that had already been taken as well! Is there nothing new under the sun?

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  4. Oops! Obviously I meant basket - slip of the finger!!

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    1. Sadly, Blogger doesn't have a spell-check function in its comments box, Helva. :-)

      How good to have your mother's sewing box. Mine is my own, but my mother had a similar one, but on legs, which had been lovingly and beautifully handmade and french-polished by my father as a gift. You've just reminded me too that I forgot to include in my post the hussif made long ago for me by DD, which omission I have now remedied. :-)

      I too learned to sew on a hand Singer and really loved the treadle Singer because it gave me both hands free. I could never come to terms with the modern one and so stopped sewing entirely. That will now change.....

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  5. I love rooting around boxes that we fetch down from our loft which always bring back such happy memories. What a lovely find P, your sister did well and I'm sure you'll have such fun using your 'new' machine. Happy birthday for next week in case I miss it. Have a great weekend and enjoy your sewing.
    Patricia x

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    1. Thanks, Patricia, I intend to. :-) I know just what you mean about the boxes. Each one eats up an afternoon or even a day, which is probably why we still have some unpacked from our last move 6 years ago.

      It's a brilliant find and very welcome as I had my eye on an old Singer local to us on eBay and missed the closing date. Sigh....

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  6. What a super sister!
    That machine looks a lot more workmanlike than the all singing all dancing modern horrors...may it give you many happy hours.
    I could feel the delight of the rummage through your sewing box...all the treasures coming to light.
    Such a lovely post.

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    1. Yes, she's pretty good, Helen and I won't be swapping her or the others either. :-)

      The machine is really solid and straightforward and I've even been able to download the user's manual for it from the specialist website I mentioned, so I'm all set. It doesn't frighten me a bit, unlike the modern one.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post as I enjoyed going through the box. I've just rectified an omission in my post to show DD's needle-case.

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  7. Hari Om
    First - woohoo - really? Next week? ME TOO! (trade dates?)

    Second - that's a beaut machine! We have similar tastes as well as dates it seems. Sigh. Had to 'release' many of such things prior to coming to India. Did find storage space for all the very dear and absolutely irreplacable bits and bobs that have such memories as these attached. I loved taking this trip down memory lane with you. Thanks.

    [Techo note; have just taken up Google's invite to change to G+ comments on my blogs. 8-o It seems to be the way things are going so just plunged in. Don't get a fright next time you visit!) YAM

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    1. Next Wednesday, Yamini, and a very happy birthday to you for next week.

      It's a splendid machine and in excellent condition considering its age and the fact it has obviously been well-used. I'm sorry you had to give up some of your precious things and store the rest, so it's been fun to have you with me on my trip down memory lane.

      As for Google+ comments, you might want to reconsider that decision at this stage of development. There have been a couple of warning posts from a very knowledgeable blogger about the downsides of such a move:

      http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2013/04/blogger-and-google-continue-to-move.html

      http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2013/04/problems-being-observed-in-blogs-now.html

      I certainly won't be joining Google+ and I think a lot of other people won't be either.

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    2. Hari OM
      Thank you so much for the heads-up on the comments stuff Perpetua. You'll have gathered I am usually a great deal more cautious, but to be honest I do like the usability of the google messaging system. The only bother from my perspective (and it seems to be the key one really), is the non-google folks can't join in... which menomidagemudhead here had not thought through! Will be reverting all to Blogger only this very evening.

      ...and Friday is mine ! Here's to a good week. Cheers and thanks again. YAM

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    3. You're welcome, Yamani. I've followed that biog for a while and though much of it is too technical for me, he's good at pointing out problems like this. I'm not saying don't join Google+ (lots of people do) but the Google+ comments system ignores comments from those who aren't members and I think that's dreadful and completely against the spirit of open blogging.

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  8. What a lovely sister you have.
    I understand how you could have become so engrossed in your sewing basket. It holds the sorts of memories that I treasure above any 'things' - what you discovered was the minutia of everyday life - so precious. I'll bet that you could have spent hours in remembering if you'd let your mind wander even further. This was a lovely post and really got to me after a day spent helping my son and DIL settle into military quarters that are exactly like the ones we lived in, in a city we came to - for two short years - a lifetime ago.

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    1. Indeed I do - in fact I have four of them! :-)

      I had the most wonderful time, working my way through the random treasure-trove of little things, none of them of any monetary value, but all beyond price in the memories they evoke. I'm glad you enjoyed the post so much, especially after a day so full of family relationships and long-ago memories.

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  9. I love the sewing machine...are the bobbins the long thin ones ? I have my mother's old singer...looks a similar vintage to the Jones. I haven't used it for years, as I actually love my all singing all dancing modern machine, but I know with a bit of coaxing, it will work perfectly.
    The sewing box contents are wonderful, it must have been great fun going through it...the buttons are great, these things bring the past back so vividly dont they. I know going through my button jar will have me reminiscing just as much as looking through old photos....and how precious that needle case must be. I have loved this post Perpetua! Jx

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    1. They are indeed, Janice, and I'll have to track down a few more of them. Your mother's Singer sounds just like the one I learned to sew on. I wish I'd managed to master my modern machine as DH was so pleased when he bought it, but it really defeated me after much frustration.

      I now have a wonderful mental image of all my blog readers spending hours going through their button tins or jars, just remembering.... Older buttons are often so pretty and when they bring back to mind the clothes we used to have and the times when we wore them, we can become (to quote Tom Lehrer) "just soggy with nostalgia." :-) As for the needle-case, it will always be there.

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  10. All those treasures! I have a Singer sewing machine similar to your picture and I love it. Wouldn't change it for all the tea in China. Happy birthday Perpetua, and lots of happy sewing days too.

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    1. I'm sure you have a similar box of delights to go with your vintage Singer, Molly. I've always regretted getting rid of our old treadle machine when it needed repair. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. :-) Now to enjoy getting to know my Jones, which was made in the county of my birth.....

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  11. I smiled to myself as I read this post, knowing how often you have complained, both here online, and in person to me in the past, about DH being a hoarder of 'things that might be useful one day'. But I'm very glad to see you making confession in your last sentence of this post :-) I grant you absolution!

    I loved the historic photos too, especially the one of your Oxford graduation - youthful but still very recognisable :-)

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    1. Absolution gratefully received, Ricky. :-) I knew an old friend like you would recognise the contradiction in this post. At least my hoarding only fills a box or four and not an entire barn....

      It's fun digging out the old photos and nice to know I'm still recognisable after all these years. The academic hood in the graduation photo is the one I still wear with my choir robes.

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  12. I love a good root around - buttons are especially good for a nostalgia trip. Have you thought of having the pictured buttons incorporated into a necklace?

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    1. Now that's a thought, though I don't often wear necklaces. They are such pretty buttons I shouldn't just let them collect dust. I can just see you and others wandering down memory lane with your buttons before long. :-)

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  13. Me too - I have my mother's Singer machine and a work basket which belonged to my MIL. I love all the gold and silver medallions on the Singer and the beautiful scrolls of golden flowers - I wonder why they made them so ornate?
    Two lovely pictures of you Perpetua - when I look at my photos from that period I wonder just where the time has gone.

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    1. Isn't it marvellous how many people still treasure the old machines, Rosemary? Yes, they are beautifully decorated and my theory is that they are like this because the sewing machine was a C19th invention and people were very fond of ornate decoration back then. Just look at the decorative detail on Victorian buildings.

      I often look back at photos of myself in my youth and can't believe the decades that have elapsed since they were taken. The memories they evoke are still so fresh.


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  14. What a fabulous find and wonderful gift in that old hand-sewing machine. It looks like it is in very good condition too, and I hope you enjoy sewing with it. I just did a count up and there are currently six sewing machines in this house - far too many. Two are old treadles and one an old portable decorated a bit like yours. My father, among other things, bought, sold and repaired sewing machines for many years, hence the 'leftovers'. You have lovely memories in the sewing box, especially the dolls clothes. So cute. You look very fresh and young at your graduation, not as 'belated' as mine, which was less than ten years ago!

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    1. Gosh, you have the beginnings of your own museum there, Patricia! Mind you, you are very talented at sewing, so it's not surprising. If your father was so interested in old sewing-machines he might enjoy the link I posted to a virtual museum of vintage machines. I'm so sorry now that we got rid of my old treadle when it stopped working, but we were too busy back then to try to mend it.

      I was in my late 20s by the time I got round to actually turning up and taking my degree, so yes, still young. :-)

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  15. Beautiful post! You were one heck of a mum if you sewed clothing for Barbie and Action Man. Barbie got decapitated withing minutes of making it through our front door, so my Mum escaped that privilege. Gorgeous machine- I learned to sew on my grandmother's old Singer, which is still safe at my parents' home.

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    1. Thanks, MM. Not sure how marvellous a mum I was, probably more of a desperate one, who made the doll's clothes we couldn't afford to buy in our broke period. Glad to hear another old Singer is still safely treasured. I'd been looking for a Singer too, as that's the only make I was familiar with, but my Jones is a lovely machine and I've learned a lot about the firm in a short time. :-)

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  16. Happy Birthday - loved your trip down memory lane. I reluctantly gave the contents of my button box to the local Hospice Shop just recently.

    Have never heard of a Jones sewing machine.

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    1. Thanks, Susan. What a shame you parted with your buttons, but it was for a good cause and people do collect old buttons.

      I'd barely heard of a Jones machine either before last Tuesday. It was a British firm, based near Manchester, and later made knitting machines too. It was taken over by the Japanese firm Brother about 50 years ago.

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  17. Your post sent me down memory lane! What a lovely thoughtful sister you have. I learned to sew on a Singer treadle sewing machine similar in looks to your 'new' Jones that belonged to my Mother. My first sewing machine was a Singer, slightly newer, and had the adaptation for electricity ... which I never used. Now I have a Janome, and love it ... love sewing as well.
    As for your buttons ... as a child my brother and I spent many a long wet afternoon delving into the contents of the button box. Thanks for the memories:)

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    1. Isn't it great that so many of us have happy memories attached to things like this? Your mother's Singer treadle sounds just like the one I used to have. Unlike you, I was never really happy using its modern replacement and basically stopped sewing for that reason. I've always been keener on knitting than sewing, but it's never too late to learn!

      I'm glad to hear your brother enjoyed exploring the button box too. Perhaps I'll intrigue the grandsons yet.....

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  18. I think that my earlier reply dissapeared into cyber space Big Sis!

    Lovely post Big Sis & what a good find Little Sis. Are the spools the approximately inch long type rather than the flat discs of most machines? If so, my super sleuth DH will look out for them on his charity shop rounds.

    Talking about sewing memories I finally cleared out the off-cuts of old sewing projects a while back but have kept squares from each as a memory nudge.

    As you know my being almost six foot I found it almost impossible when younger to find clothes long enough – letting down hems and sewing clothes from scatch became a speciality. A bit easier now with some speciality shops and I may shrink as I get older!

    Do you remember my marathon sewing season in my teans when I made you a wool trouser suit (fully lined) then one for me (with a matching skirt) which I wore for my university interview? I also made one for Little Sis, I think, along with a mini version for her doll.

    For my wedding in ’74 I made my own wedding dress, bridesmaid’s dress for Little Sis and Mother of the Bride’s dress. I also altered soon to be DH’s cheap off the peg suit!

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    1. It's so annoying when that happens, PolkaDot.

      Just back from a day out to find your lovely long comment. Yes, the spools are the long thin ones like we used to have in the Singer machine we all learned on, so any spares your DH can find will be very gratefully received.

      I well remember how much sewing you did as a teenager and in fact still have the sketch you did of me wearing the trouser suit you made for me. It was SO smart. I also have indelible memories of the emerald green one you made for Little Sis, as it was her Christmas present and you and and our mother stayed up until 4 in the morning finishing it off. :-)

      As for your wedding clothes, I wasn't around when the work was being done, but I remember very clearly how lovely everyone looked.

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  19. Super-duper post, Perpetua. Love the photos of you, flowery maternity dress and all! I'm terrified of all sewing machines but if pushed, would prefer to have an old one than a new one. Coming from a family of tailors (not just Taylors) this is quite a confession. I did make my granny a needle case not too dissimilar from the one you have, though not as well executed!

    My lovely little sister knows me well enough not to EVER give me a sewing machine but delighted that yours knows you so well.
    Axxx

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    1. Thanks, Annie, glad you enjoyed it. Can you imagine what I looked like in that dress by the time I was nine months pregnant? A galleon in full sail springs to mind. :-) I think the old machines are much kinder to beginners than modern ones as you can be slow as you like until you feel more confident.

      I've never been good at sewing, even though my mother was an excellent dressmaker as were at least 2 of my sisters, but I would like to get back into it a bit, hence the search for an old machine and my sister's wonderful find. Watch this space.....

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  20. What a lovely gift from what I'm sure is an equally lovely sister (do I see her comment above?). I love these gifts that are stumbled upon by those who know us so well - and what an adventure it led you on in search of that bobbin.

    Your sewing machine reminds me of the one my mother-in-law had. It was her first Singer, which she did hold on to, even after buying a few with all the doodads and gadgets later in her life. Our niece has it now. Her grandmother would be pleased.

    Have a happy birthday, Perpetua.

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    1. You do indeed, Penny. She blogs as Goldenoldenlady. She'd be the first to say that it was pure serendipity that led her to it and I'm so pleased to have it.

      I love the fact that so many of these old sewing machines still survive and are treasured. They worked so well and set countless people free from the laborious hand-sewing which made clothing so expensive in time and effort. An under-rated invention....

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  21. What a great gift! I have many old boxes too – my husband found an old cardboard box in the garage a while back – it was full of sewing patterns from the 1970s when I used to sew a lot. Later we saw some patterns of the same vintage for sale in an antique shop – it made me feel ancient. Now I don’t know whether I should throw them away or sell them to the antique shop? Old buttons here can be very expensive. Some people collect them and make crafts with them, jewelry or glue them on frames, etc. I hope you will show us what you made with your new machine.

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    1. Those old sewing patterns can be collectors' items, so don't throw them away. With the trends in fashion for retro clothing and other items, surely someone will want them, so try the antique shop.

      Really old buttons are definitely collectors' items and can be surprisingly expensive. I don't think any of mine are very old, but some of them are pretty and certainly hold memories. Now to decide what to make with my birthday present.....

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  22. I have an old treadle machine that belonged to my grandmother, but I have never worked with it! I can't imagine really. You have me wondering, though, at maybe trying for the experience! I loved the photos of you at various stages, Perpetua. What a wonderful birthday gift. Your sister really came through, didn't she? oxo

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    1. Oh, you must at least try it, Debra, even if you never actually make anything you can use. :-) I always enjoyed using my old treadle and love the sound of an old sewing machine, much more appealing to me than the whirring of a modern one. Digging out the old photos is fun and I have quite a collection, so you may see others at some point.....

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  23. I am very jealous of your lovely sewing machine.
    I bought one from a secondhand shop in the 1970's and made a lot of my own clothes with it. I also remember very clearly the occasion when I sewed through my finger - the needle went straight through along the side of my nail! It didn't hurt but the difficult thing was that I was in my flat all by myself and I sat for ages wondering how I could extract myself from the machine. In the end I decided to complete the stitch then cut the thread!
    I thoroughly regret trading in my beautiful old Singer for a new electric machine, but it was the only way I could afford to buy it - and I did make a lot of my clothes, also some nice things for my mum. Nowadays I don't know how I ever had the time or energy!

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    1. It's lovely, isn't it? I'm really glad to learn that I'm not the only person careless enough to sew her finger with an old sewing machine! I did it when I was a teenager - right through the fleshy bit of my middle finger-tip, which still bears a tiny scar. I never did it again. :-) Once I left home I never made any of my own clothes again, but did make occasional things for the children, as well as the doll's clothes.

      I can quite see why you had to let your beautiful old Singer go in the circumstances, but understand your regret. Hopefully it found a good home and is still treasured.

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  24. What a wonderful present, Perpetua - and so appropriate for it to be a Jones rather than a Singer! I love seeing photographs of industrious ladies in far off lands running businesses from their trusty hand or treadle powered Singers - I loved my Grandmother's hand Singer machine, but my Mum went electric early on.

    Sewing boxes - I recently sought out some darning wool to repair J's most favourite woolly jumper, but could not then put all the contents of the sewing box basement back in. So I spent a happy hour sorting through the buttons, which were the biggest culprit. Not many buttons ended up in the bin, but I found little packets of mother-of-pearl buttons which were on my own cardigan when I was tiny, and some others of my Grandmother's which I have reused a couple of times on blouses and cardigans. Too precious to throw out or give away, although I doubt I'll use them again. Having sorted out, reminisced over, and repacked the buttons tidily, everything fitted back in the box!

    A major joy of 'retirement' is to have the time to take pleasure in small things - which you so beautifully demonstrate time and time again.

    Happy Birthday for next week.

    Spindrift51

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    1. Thanks, Spindrift. I do prefer not to think quite how many I've now celebrated. :-)

      These old sewing machines are so robust and well-designed and as long as there are spares they can be kept going almost indefinitely. How unlike my much-disliked electronic one which managed to burn out its motor just when I really needed it for an urgent job. Enough to disillusion anyone.....

      I'm starting to think we're all guilty of hoarding buttons and I'm glad you enjoyed your nostalgic hour with yours. I haven't binned many of mine either, but I'm still enjoying sorting through them and remembering. Today I even found the fourth flowered button and 4 even smaller fabric-covered buttons my mother made for the second maternity dress she sewed for me. I I'll never use them again, but could never throw them away. These little things are so big in significance.

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  25. What a treasure!

    I remember my mother's button box. I wonder whatever happened to it.

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    1. Absolutely! I really couldn't believe my eyes. :-)

      I'm starting to think all we women of a certain age remember our mother's button boxes....

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  26. Oh how wonderful! I used to have a button box full of treasures too. However it got discarded in one move to many I fear. I remember my mother using just such a sewing machine. As a child I learned to thread it and do some basic work (I loved threading it but hated sewing!). That too got lost in one move too many.... happy memories - thank you for reviving them. And may you store up more happy memories with your "new" machine!

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    1. You too? We're going to have to start Button Box Anonymous or Vintage Sewing Machines R Us at this rate. :-) What a shame both the button box and your mother's sewing machine got lost along the way. Sadly that happens too often when moving house and you moved a long way! But the memories never get lost and I'm glad to have revived them. As for the machine, time will tell.....

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  27. I've no longer got my mother's sewing machine, which was passed on to our elder daughter, but I do have the sturdy sewing table full of - you've guessed it - everything to do with 'make-do-and mend'. Also, as you might imagine from reading some of my posts there are several button boxes with buttons never to be used again, I'm afraid. I would take up sewing with a machine if only I had a hand one like you - a wonderful present - and talking of old machines, I would love to own an old typewriter. I'm a touch typist and, despite the fiddle with the reels of ink etc. I would love the novelty of writing with one and hearing the tap of the keys. Do you enjoy the whirr of your sewing machine? What will you make now you have it?

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    1. We do love our collections of sewing necessities, don't we? I think our fascination with old buttons is because so many of them are so pretty and often made from materials that are so much nicer than our modern plastics.

      There are still a lot of old machines like this around at very reasonable prices, so it may be worth keeping an eye open in second-hand and antique shops on your trips. My sister found a Singer for herself not long before she found my Jones and both were in the same tiny Mid-Wales town. You might also come across an old typewriter in the same way. We found an ancient sit-up-and-beg model for DD many years ago for virtually nothing.

      As for what I'll sew first - probably cushion covers as they are simple and I need some new ones. :-)

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  28. I love making discoveries like this! It is fun to relive all the memories the items bring to mind. If we succeed in selling our home and moving to a smaller one I will have to sort through decades of "stuff", and am sure I will make many similar discoveries. It was nice to find your blog! I'm looking forward to reading it.

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    1. Hello Kristie and welcome to my blog. Yes, this kind of discovery is such fun but very time-consuming as I usually end up looking at absolutely everything. :-) Good luck with your potential down-sizing. I don't envy you the sorting out process. Now I'm off to visit your blog.

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  29. Such wonderful things here ... where to begin! The gorgeous floral buttons? The tiny Barbie clothes? That gorgeous sewing machine? Oh you lucky lady to have that! Happy sewing :D

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    1. Thanks, Annie. After I posted this I actually found the fourth of the floral buttons in a corner.:-) As for the Barbie clothes, you could get patterns for them back then and it was so much cheaper than buying them ready-made. The machine has now been cleaned, oiled and polished and is ready for work!

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  30. How lovely. My mother had a similar-looking machine, one with a treadle that she would let me work for her if I would "keep it steady".

    I have two quarter jars full of buttons. :-)

    Pearl

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    1. Your mother's treadle machine sounds just like the one I used to have when we were first married, passed down to me by my mother-in-law. Sadly it is no more, hence my pleasure at the new acquisition.

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    1. That's a LOT of buttons, Pearl. :-)

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  32. How very sweet and how very kind of our sister to find the machine for you.
    All those bits and bobs of yesterday, how sweet it is to come across them and remember . . . . .

    Now where that old sewing box I used to use so often?

    Happy Birthday, dear Perpetua.

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    1. Thanks, Friko. There's a nice pile of cards in the kitchen waiting for tomorrow. :-)

      It was indeed very kind of my sister to find such an appropriate gift and I shall so enjoy using it. As for the remembering, I really started something when I went through that box because the memories keep coming back to me. Perhaps you should have a good look for your old sewing-box.....

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  33. I want to steal your sewing machine! Especially as my rather newer one needs some TLC. Likes to power away when it isn't even plugged in!

    And the hussif. Still have one of mine that I made for my mum :D With a cute little person on the front, and little appliqué characters.

    How times change, and yet, you have got something back with that wonderful present. Belated birthday greetings.

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    1. LOL and thanks, roughseas! The great thing about the older ones is that we stay in control at all times. It's a shame you're not in the UK as there seem to be still plenty of this type around if you look for them. It's certainly one of the nicest birthday presents I've ever had.

      Did you make your hussif at school like DD? I think it was one of those items widely made in school craft lessons - inexpensive and not difficult to make and always useful to the recipient. Not sure they are still made. As you say, times change....

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  34. Another owner of two Singer sewing machines, one was my Mother.'s, hand operated, just went forward. It was one of the first made after the Second World War and bought for her by my father so it must bit just a bit older than me.

    The second machine is mine, bought some 40 plus years ago when I was making clothes for myself and my mother. It was suggested that I had a more modern electric machine that could do more. I chose a Singer 727, used it quite a lot for about ten years.

    One thing that has helped me use a sewing machine is that Isaac Singer was left handed, hence the wheel was turned using the right hand so the left hand could be used for guiding the fabric. Obviously that doesn't matter on a modern machine but I am minded to get a machine out from under the stairs and make some cushion covers. The Great British sewing has inspired me but will I find the time with three knitting projects, family history, volunteering at local archive, reading all the wonderful blogs and even doings a few housewifely duties?

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    1. Singer sewing machines seem to have an enormous fan club, don't they? Yes, the two old Singers I sewed on in the past just went forward too, as does my 'new' Jones. It was a bit of a shock to get an electric machine which could go backwards.

      I had no idea that Isaac singer was left-handed, but it explains a lot. :-) The reason I loved the old treadle machine was that it left both hands free to deal with the cloth, but even though I'm pronouncedly right-handed, I always seemed to be able to guide the cloth OK with the hand Singer. Now to get back into practice with my Jones. I too am planning to make cushion covers with it.

      I haven't seen The Great British Sewing Bee, but if you really want to make those covers, I'm sure you'll manage to squeeze them in among all your other activities. :-)

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  35. Hi, I've just blog hopped here from another blog and caught sight of your 'new' sewing machine. I've got 2 vintage Singers and have got my eye on a treadle which is residing unloved in a friend's garage. I could really give it a good home. Happy belated birthday.
    Love from Mum
    xx

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    1. Thanks, Mum, and welcome to my blog. You're obviously a vintage sewing machine fan, so I do hope you get the unloved treadle and bring it back to life. I still regret getting rid of my treadle all those years ago.

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