Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vintage Sewing Machines, and more

Singer Model 319K, made in Scotland late 1950s era.  Solid all metal gears.
Retro two tone green enamel finish.  Shown taken out of its
original timber cabinet and under restoration by Engineering Dept.

Been working on things to do at end of winter that can be done indoors.  Some of this is planning or research for a home wares and interior design services business we will launch, hopefully in autumn (for you in Northern Hemisphere, that means March to May 2013 !!).   It's all in preliminary planning stages now.  Names, registrations, Internet hosting, branding, business plans, inventory, and more !  Stay tuned for more on that as we develop it.

One of the things we decided to acquire for the business is some old sewing machines.  Not to sell, but to use for workshops in the shop.  Vintage sewing machines.  We started looking around online for old used ones for sale and now have a five, and plan to add another 1-5 to that.  Each one is carefully picked for its era, we are focusing on solid made machines with good reputations as mechanical electric sewers, mostly from the 1950s to mid 1960s era.

Maggie's Vintage Sewing Machine.  Late 1950s Husqvarna model with
amazing metallic green paint finish.  Currently being serviced.
I am still not sure I understand Maggie's interest, but her affinity for this
particular machine is very clear (she is protective of it and shoos away
the other cats if they get too close to it !)

Ian is spending evenings and weekends restoring the machines to perfect operations.  Some of this is less than simple.  Some of the machines have come to us with "issues."  Missing parts.  Retrofitted with the wrong parts, or with adjustments that have caused damage or poor function.  two take a special and hard to source needle and using the wrong ones causes problems.  We have had to research the machines and work out where to source the missing piece, and then Ian works on rebuilding it.  Sometimes he machines a missing part we can't get.  He has had to rewire two of the machines.  Thank goodness he has good skills for all of this.  In all, we have spent not a lot of money (average per machine between 35 and 80 dollars, some of these include cabinets or their old vintage cases and accessories).  And have found some gorgeous old models that now or soon will operate very nicely.  One (see photo above) fitted into a timber cabinet that I will paint to complement the two tone green finish.  They will be a great feature in our business and workshops.

ASCP colours on timber trim, from back
French Linen, Coco + Old White, and
Duck Egg over Scandanavian Pink 
Another thing I am doing is market research with specialist paints, that will be a feature and part of our business.  Here are a few samples of colours I have begun working with, from the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) range.  You can learn more about this very popular paint (overseas)at the  Annie Sloan Paint website.  Still not available here in Australia yet, but I brought some back with me from last travels through UK and USA.  Though, unsuccessful at getting the wax to use with it.  So I have been experimenting with Organoil's emulsified beeswax product and find its texture works well and it is a lovely wax to use, with citrus oil in it that makes it smell wonderful.  It seals off the chalk paint very nicely.

Tools !  paint and wax brushes
I am also working with a new paint, Volvox Clay Paint.  Has similar properties to the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and is available in Australia from Colours by Nature based in Bega, NSW.  I am using the same Organoil wax with this paint, and it seals it up beautifully.  But I just got shipments of  Fiddes & Sons Supreme Wax in Light and Rugger brown  I had to buy these overseas too, and got some from UK and also another source in USA, to experiment with sourcing and shipping methods.  I will begin experimenting with this wax this week to compare its use to the Organoil wax.

Wine O'Clock.  A break from
colour swatch and sample painting
When in UK and USA in June, I  bought gorgeous Annie Sloan and other paint and wax brushes.   I got one called Waxine from Stylish Patina-wax brushes, a shop in Falls Church Virginia (outside Washington DC)  I am enjoying these tools with the sample paints I brought back.  Next travel I will be buying a few more brushes for the dark waxes.

And, we are now working on building in back of our property.  Laundry, storeroom, and a big lofty roofed studio space with outlook to the garden.   Check out latest post on our back extension renovations, on sister blog Time and Place Design  The photos are not yet glamorous to look at, but they show early stages.  And I know some readers enjoy seeing those early before and construction pics !


  1. Oh Kim! I love love love Vintage machines! I currently have 2 in my possession...a 1947 201K in a little wooden table with matching stool and a 1951 Centenary Featherweight 221K. I still regularly use the 221k for machine patchwork piecing. These machines are so sturdy and well made.
    I am very excited to hear about your business venture too....I hope that it will all come together smoothly!

  2. Thanks for that Marieka, we will have to compare notes. Yes, such impressive machines, once working well ! Thanks for the good wishes too :)