Vintage Singer Art Embroidery and Lace Book

Just received a copy (printed 1941) of the vintage Singer Instructions
for Art Embroidery and Lace Work, and quite honestly am gobsmacked at
what could be made on vintage machines. Using only straight and or
zig-zag stitches (if one's machine had the latter built in), the sorts
of laces and openwork, not to mention shaded embroidery that are shown
are breathtaking. Am also amending my previous statement about how easy
it would have been for the average housewife to make "pretty things" for
her home/family. Guess as one practiced and gained competence, some of
the work such as true hemstitching, satin stitching, raised embroidery,
and monogramming became easier, but just looking at the various laces,
beadwork and embroidery done one wood veneer, makes my eyes tired.
Still, there are enough tips and tricks to apply when using today's
machines, and will give some try when practising free hand monogramming
with my vintage Elna Supermatic, but anyone waiting for Brussels or
English lace ought not to hold their breath! *LOL*
Candide
"Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level. It's
cheaper."
Quentin Crisp 1908 - 1999
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Reply to
Candide
Isn't that a great book? I have a couple of different editions of it, and am amazed and enthralled by the work that was done, in the earlier editions on only a straight-stitch machine.
Reply to
Pogonip
There was a member of our local needlework guild (sadly, now gone to the great sewing room in the sky) who used to do the most fabulous freehand embroidery on her sewing machine. She put her fabric in an embroidery frame as for darning, dropped the feed dogs, and just moved the frame around by hand. She did the most wonderful landscapes, garden scenes and whathaveyou.
Olwyn Mary in New Orleans.
Reply to
Olwyn Mary
I took a one-day course in that at the local Bernina store (a whole story in that, since I had a Singer) and learned quite a lot! It can be done. It takes time and patience. It is just like digitizing, pretty much. I figure if you are going to do a one-off, free-motion is the way to go. If you will want to use the same design again, then digitize it so you can stitch it out with repeated identical copies.
There are a few really good books around that give good tips.
Reply to
Pogonip
embroidery
Yes, will agree that like most anything else, if one sat down and put one's mind and heart into it, even the free hand embroidery/lace making shown in the Singer book could be done, in fact one would imagine with today's computer driven machines it would be a tad easier.
Candide
Reply to
Candide
We could probably do everything in the book if we really applied ourselves, but our first efforts would be not so great, and it would take a lot of time. Both to do and to develop some skill.
One of my copies is the reprint, and both of them are mainly for drooling over.
Reply to
Pogonip
> > > > Well there is free hand embroidery, then there is the lace making, > > beading, etc shown in the Singer book. Which by the way am gob smacked > > by how much this book goes for, one just closed on eBay for over 70 USD, > > with another going for high fifties. Am wondering if anyone actually > > completes any or all of the lessons, or just has the book on their > > coffee table for show. > > > > Yes, will agree that like most anything else, if one sat down and put > > one's mind and heart into it, even the free hand embroidery/lace making > > shown in the Singer book could be done, in fact one would imagine with > > today's computer driven machines it would be a tad easier. > > > > Candide > > > > > We could probably do everything in the book if we really applied > ourselves, but our first efforts would be not so great, and it would > take a lot of time. Both to do and to develop some skill. > > One of my copies is the reprint, and both of them are mainly for > drooling over. > > -- > Joanne > stitches @ singerlady.reno.nv.us.earth.milky-way.com >
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Reply to
cea
Oh, I'm so envious. Not of her current location, mind you--but of her skill at landscapes. That's been on my to-do list for years. I'm sorry you've lost such a wonderful, talented sewist. Has anyone seen (or done) the machine lace-making technique where you use washable stabilizer and just machine sew/embroider your design on the stabilizer, then the stabilizer is rinsed out, and you have this lovely drapey lace garment? (Another thing on my to-do list) I first saw lace being created like this at GStreet Fabrics in Fairfax, years ago. Cea
Reply to
cea
One protects the books, of course. So, no need to ship to the generous, big-hearted, kindly Cea, but thankyouverymuch for your offer. I do understand that it was from the goodness of your heart and not because you covet my treasures, oh no, not at all, never happen, of course.
Reply to
Pogonip
I did a small piece of lace on my 1961 Singer 503A once, just playing around. It was fairly decent so I used it as a yoke for my first DGD's dress; it was the first dress I sewed for her, when she was about a week old, now she is 21. Her Mom, DD, loved it. It is in the cedar chest to be used for another generation sometime. I used 2 strands of embroidery thread and a water-soluble stabilizer as backing. I did have a book on the subject, but sent it to a DN when I gave her an older sewing machine I had. Emily
Reply to
CypSew
Get that lace out of that cedar chest ASAP! The fumes from cedar will cause linen and cotton fibres to turn a horrible brown colour that cannot be washed/bleached out. Better to wrap in clean muslin (no fabric softener or scented detergent), or acid free tissue and place in an heirloom storage box. Worse comes to worse placed the wrapped item in a dresser drawer, but take it out every so often and wash the muslin/change tissue paper.
Candide
Reply to
Candide
I have seen instructions on how to digitize it, which is essentially the same as how to sew it out. It is essential that the thread cross itself frequently, to hold the piece together. You do it on water soluble backing, or tear away, or something you can remove easily when you have finished (but not before) -- I think you could play around with some backing and ends of spools and experiment to see what works.
Reply to
Pogonip
One of the more artistic and talented members of our local Weavers and Spinners Guild has done this, she just machine stitched randomly over water-soluble stabiliser. Of course, she then added more and more things into the mix, colored threads of different weights and all kinds of stuff. It came out as a piece of Fiber Art, but, frankly, it wasn't my idea of something I would hang on the wall. But then, to each her own. If I want lace, I'd rather go buy it, and then I'd know what it looked like before I started working with it. (Voices in background saying, "Oh, Olwyn you're just so PRACTICAL).
Olwyn Mary in New Orleans.
Reply to
Olwyn Mary
IIRC many types of machine or handmade lace are done on a backing (usually cotton tulle or linen lawn), with the backing simply cut away when the lace is finished.
Having only glanced through the Singer book with a cup of coffee (placed far away from the book, *LOL*) it isn't *that* difficult to do some of the laces in the book, provided one has mastered the skills of freehand machine embroidery. Some of the things which look interesting but simple to my mind's eye are:
Wool Embroidery on Net - basically working darning stitches with wool, to fill in meshes. The book tells one to make the mesh from the lesson on " Italian Filet", but today am sure one could find pre-made mesh with large enough squares.
Also interesting are "English/Eyelet Embroidery", and Cording work. Cording is easier today with modern machines and cording feet. Just requires practice in feeding the cord/covering with satin stitches, first in straight lines, then shapes/angles.
Think also one would also have to have good knowledge of sewing techniques (tension, threads, how to work with a particular machine), and of course patience. Think also Miss. Ahles book on heirloom sewing makes a nice compliment to the Singer book.
Candide
Reply to
Candide
There are several specialized feet for the old Singer machines. Two of the embroidery feet are for couching - one for one thread, the other for two threads. The sewing stitch stitches down the couching threads or cords. I have one of those, a free-motion foot for embroidery and darning, a faggoting attachment, several zig-zag attachments, a SingerCraft gadget for making fringe....possibly more that don't come to mind at the moment.
Reply to
Pogonip
machine),
Have always wondered about that vintage Singer fringe/hemstitch thing. They seem plentiful enough on eBay, but also seem more trouble than they are worth.
My vintage Singer attachment collection is limited to a roller bearing pinking machine. Haven't tried it yet, but seems interesting for pinking yardage before pre-washing.
As my main machine is a Pfaff, really had no use for Singer things, until acquired an Elna Supermatic, which takes the same low shank feet as vintage Singers. Just won a nice cache of feet/attachments that the seller wasn't sure of, but looking at the pictures, some seem to be Elna's and the rest Singer. If they don't work out, will mark em up and pass them along.
Vintage Elna Supermatics came with or one could order tons of various special feet. Triple binding, multiple cording, single cording, multiple tucks, darning, embroidery, stain stitch, and so on.
Candide
Reply to
Candide
A collection of feet and other attachments takes up much less space than a collection of machines. The pinker is fun.
Reply to
Pogonip
various
Girl! What cha doing up so late? *LOL* Me? Am doing the ironing, as the weather is so cool this late/early and it is very quiet/peaceful.
Well am on my way to having a "collection" of machines. Besides the Pfaff, there is the vintage Elna Supermatic beige/tan flatbed (Plana model), and now it's slightly older cousin a vintage green Elna Supermatic in the more traditional free arm style.
Bought the greenie mainly for the feet and other Elna doodads it came with as the beige/tan came almost barren of accessories. As previously mentioned, just won a nice set of feet, and if they all what I think they are (Elna), probably will put the greenie up on Craigslist or otherwise try to find it a home. Believe it or not, trying to nab a Melco embroidery machine, if one comes up on fleaBay at a good price. Don't like doing things by halves, and if one is going to have an embroidery machine......... *LOL* Gave up on a Singer hemstitching machine, as really do not have room for it at the moment.
Am looking forward to trying out the pinking machine. Have some projects I really need to get off my duff and get started, so maybe the thrill of using new stuff will prompt me into action.
Have been playing with my Elna, and am in love with all the various embroidery/heirloom stitches this vintage machine can do, not to shabby for a 40+ year old sewing machine. Think the ducks, cats, and geese will make capital trim for baby bibs and blankets. May cheat a bit and purchase nice ready made but plain, and whip the embroidery on, but still should make nice gifts.
Elna put out a great book in the 1950's that showed all sorts of embroidery on little girls dresses, bed, bath and table linens, as well as dresses and blouses. Will try my hand at doing up some towels and linens with the patterns from the book.
Need to clean out my stash of sewing supplies. Having purchased so many sewing boxes and like on eBay, my collection of unusable items is growing, and need to make room. Things like the Kenmore sewing machine manual, cams, buttonhole maker etc, that came with a sewing box. Don't have a Kenmore machine, and just noticed the manual attracted lots of interest on eBay.
Candide
Reply to
Candide
Am a night owl. Have arranged my work schedule for late in the day, and stay up in the late hours that I love. Summer especially, when the nights are cool and pleasant. I often get up fairly early, then take a siesta in the afternoon. Comes of having lived in the tropics, I guess, but it suits me well.
Some of the old machines are wonderful -- ok, actually, most of them are. What is especially good is that most of them will continue to work for the foreseeable future. It is not unlikely that they will still be sewing in another 100 years, if they don't get put into a landfill. We are not collectors, we are curators. ;-)
Reply to
Pogonip
I've never lived in the topics, but that's pretty much my routine, too, now that I don't *have* to get anywhere at a specified time. I love the late-night quiet time.
Beverly
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BEI Design

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