Vintage Sewing Machine Heaven


My mother had a sewing machine. I was never allowed to use it, but I was so fascinated by this little needle going up and down joining fabric together that I’d use it when my mother went out to feed the chickens.

Philip Treacy

RUDE Girl can relate to the above quote.  I was not allowed to use my mother’s Singer industrial sewing machine EVER.  She did not want it stuffed up.  And as we had no chickens to feed, there was no opportunity for me to be defiant.  In later years a friend gave her a household machine, so that she could do zig zag.  She hated that machine as it was too small with not much grunt.  The machine was given to me to use.  But more times than not, I would stuff it up, have to ask her for help realising sadly that she was not much interested in teaching me how to sew.

In the 1980’s I taught myself to sew and bought myself a brand new sewing machine and overlocker.  The machine was a basic Janome that recently was stripped for parts by RUDE boy.  The overlocker is still in use.  I now have nine (x9) sewing machines and three (x3) overlockers.  Seven (7) of the sewing machines are vintage and two (2) of these are semi industrial quality.

On 20 May, 2015, I posted a video about my sewing machines in use, over on our Facebook blog at Rude Record.   I would recommend anyone interested in basic sewing to purchase a vintage sewing machine. Get a good one and it will outlast the plastic models you buy cheaply today.

Photo below:  This fulled wool cloche capat [cap/hat] was made on my vintage Brother semi-industrial straight stitch sewing machine.  See more photos over on our Facebook blog at Rude Record [link above]  The head mannequin with buttons was rescued from landfill years ago.


Some might say RUDE are collectors of sewing machines, as we have more than a couple of them.  We do not consider ourselves to be collectors.  Maybe rescuers and repairers of sewing machines for our own private use, is more our thing.  There have been machines we have rescued, repaired and then replaced with better machines we have found at landfill.  We have gifted a couple of our sewing machines after they were replaced.

Our small sewing machine ‘collection’ fades into insignificance when you meet our friends Wayne and Judi McKail from Sew What in Maryborough, Victoria, Australia  This couple has over 500 sewing machines!!  They live and breathe sewing machines as a lifestyle.  And were recently featured on The Project TV program on Channel 10 across Australia.

RUDE managed to video the segment and upload it to YouTube, to ensure it could be seen internationally.  It runs for just over three minutes and is a lovely good news story.

Ask the question, Sew What? to Beat the Man!



6 thoughts on “Vintage Sewing Machine Heaven

  1. totally agree – i am still amazed that i bought the 62 serviced singer machine for 90euro….. and i know it will go forever and the motor is quiter than my own 1980s mainly metal singer.. i am showing 2 friends to sew and one has a loaner of a discount store from a friend that nevered used it. this sewing machine which probably cost the same amount and the sound of the gears and motor are HORRIBLE, its sufficient for her for now – but to me its the type of machine that would put you off sewing!!!


    • Yes Eimear, when you have been around vintage machines and sewn on them you do realise the limitations of the modern made from plastic machines. I was able to try a modern $12,000 quilting and embroidery machine once, and it did not impress me for grunt. I love the sound of the semi-industrial/industrial motors. It’s lovely of you to be teaching your friends to sew. I wish i lived around the corner from you. You could teach me some pattern drafting.


  2. I remember when our family shifted when I was little and my mum wasn’t able to bring her treadle sewing machine with us as there was no room in the van and it was too expensive just to go back to get it. She was extremely unhappy with the decision as she had sewn many projects on that machine and it had a lot of memories for her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agatha, I am betting you would love her sewing machine now. My mother gave me an industrial machine that sewed jeans. I kept the large table but gave away the machine. I wish i had not done that in hindsight, as I think I would be using it today for jean repairs, like that guy in Japan on the video you posted.


    • Thank you Aaron. I was watching a TEDx talk yesterday about 3D printing of ‘plastic’ garments. It made me even more determined to capture and write my stories about the days before computers.


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