Saturday, 29 August 2009

singing for my supper?

I have bought an old Singer treadle machine from a man in Tisbury. I've always wanted one and was inspired to scour ebay having read about John-Paul Flintoff's book 'Through the eye of a needle' in last week's Sunday newspapers. The book (which is also on order) talks about his efforts to make his own clothes and the impending demise of oil supplies. It also talks about the importance of making, not buying, the sense of satisfaction - all those great things that might be lost if the skills aren't continued, passed on etc.

The apocalyptic oil bit allowed me to justify buying something that I've really wanted for ages. Even if I use it twice, my offspring might appreciate the fact one day that there is a bit of machinery they'll be able to use when we're all living in some kind of Mad-Max fashion in 2050.

In a purely craft/visual way I like the way Singer machines look with their symmetrical drawers and all that heavy metal. I also remember reading about Singer's total dominance of the domestic sewing machine market with these contraptions. Just think what machine sewing did for women. I read Malcolm Gladwell's 'Outliers' this summer and he describes how some Jewish immigrants to the US transformed their lives and their family fortunes by using domestic sewing machines to start huge clothing retailers and manufacturers in the early 2oth Century.

I'm not sure my ebay purchase will have such a dramatic impact but it will force me to tidy up my room (again) and if nothing else, the kids might have some fun on it too.

2 comments:

Georgina said...

It wasn't a treadle, but I still mourn the hand powered Singer of my youth with its genial rattley-bang song and steady but sure pace

Only Me said...

It sounds great and they are very asthetically pleasing too. My mum's Singer was turned into a garden table which now seems such a shame.