MPB is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!



Jan 5, 2013

Sewing Machine Discipline + "You're the Taupe"!


Apologies, readers: I don't usually greet you from my bed but I've been feeling a little under the weather.

Michael had the flu all last week and thankfully I didn't catch it, but I did get a much milder virus of some sort.  No fever, but some thickness in my throat, a bit of coughing, that kind of thing.  I've been megadosing vitamin C -- 10,000 mg. daily! -- which seems to be helping.  But you'll understand why I haven't been sewing.

I did muster the energy this morning to go to the flea market, where I chanced upon an absolutely lovely Singer 128 handcrank.  I didn't have my camera with me, but it looked very much like this: very clean, and the wood case was in excellent condition.  The original crank was so much lovelier than the Chinese knock off I bought for my Singer 66.



You may know that the 128 is a 3/4-size machine, much like the Singer 99 or Spartan (192k) -- so cute.  The seller was asking $125, which seemed fair.

But I just had to pass it by, friends.  For one thing, I have a handcrank already (which, as I mentioned a few days ago, I never use).  Second, the 128 is a vibrating shuttle machine and I just can't work up the energy or enthusiasm to learn how to wind one of those things.  There's a reason all machines today use the standard round bobbin, right? (Although Singer sold this type of shuttle machine at least until the late Forties so presumably they stitch as well as the 15 and 66 models.)

I know many of you will commend my self-discipline and others will be shaking their heads with dismay that I could pass up such a prize.  I can't please everyone!  Even if I had the room for another machine -- which I don't -- this isn't the one I'd choose.  It would have sat I don't know where and collected dust.  I'd rather spend the money on fabric, or patterns, or on nothing at all.

In other news...can we talk taupe?  Look what I found!



Had you any idea that there were so many shades of this color that, really, even calling it a color is a bit of a stretch?

Taupe shows up quite a bit in the Pantone color forecasts.  It's even in Spring 2013.  Or is that gray?  No, I think it's taupe.



Taupe shows up on the runways occasionally too.  Cheerful!





But it's most commonly found in car interiors.  So if you want to look like the inside of a late-model Hyundai, wear taupe.



OK, it's time to take a nap.

Have a great day, everybody, and happy sewing!

P.S. Does anybody out there use a vibrating shuttle as their go-to sewing machine?  I'm curious.

41 comments:

  1. Hope you dodge the whole flu thing. I decided to have the flu shot this year, since they said it was the best match for all the yuckies out there. We shall see.

    Taupe is depressing :( We live near a gated senior citizen community, and they wear head to toe taupe. Even their cars are this color. Every time I see them I tell my daughter that if I start to wear taupe when I'm that age, remind me of how sad it looks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. AARGGHHHH A whole page of beige!!! Taupe is a posh name for beige.....and it makes me look like a corpse..which you think I'd like, being a goth and all but really, I don't :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. Urgh, seriously?
    I actually quite like taupe, occasionally. But it's much more an Autumn colour. Spring is the chance to beat those depressing January blues and whack out the colour. Corals, pinks, blues, oranges. So yeah, we're going to go with taupe...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm actually sewing a dress right now in a taupe crepe knit. That fabric curls like nobody's business! The lady at the fabric store tried to talk me into the black, she said it was more my colour. But I have so many black dresses and actually liked the taupe. I must be getting old?

    Feel better soon Peter.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Aw man, sorry you're sick. :(

    I love the taupe suits, actually! They're a nice change of pace from the usual black/navy.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Peter, I hope you and Michael feel better soon.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I want some sort of handcrank to teach the Bit to sew on. I've actually been eyeing the child machines, and I've about decided I want one of the Singers, simply because I can get parts for it if I need them. They just want sooo much money for what's essentially a toy! She wants to learn sooo badly, it's just that at four, I don't think that a powered machine is the way to go...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Remember, though, that while a classic handcrank costs more up front, you can sell it when you're through with it for what you paid for it or more: it will retain its value. A child's toy will be virtually worthless.

      Delete
    2. My 128 with the hand crank cost me about $55, so it's cheaper than a toy.

      Delete
  8. I have two vibrating shuttle sewing machines. They're no harder to use than the regular bobbins, and for years, one of them was the only machine I had and I made a lot of clothes, coats, costumes, etc. for my kids and my friends on it. I have a 128 with a godzilla finish and hand crank that I use to piece quilts when I don't want to have a cord trailing across the room.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I hope you're feeling better soon, Peter! Michael, too.

    I don't own a hand crank machine but it's tempting (as lw above mentions, there's a benefit to no cord) especially when I want to watch a movie and sew at the same time and have no hand work to do....

    Despite the taupe, I'm pleasantly surprised to see that red and navy are on there - that means I'm still 'fashionable', since I started using those as go-to colors for a more versatile spring/summer wardrobe. I also like the lime green and tangerines - I use those colors when I make my son clothes, in combination with tan and brown, because almost no one puts their little boys in those colors and they're highly visible so I can find him easily if he runs away from me in a crowd. Plus, they make it easy for others to help find him. He's a terror.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My 1904 Singer 27 sews a beautiful stitch with a vibrating shuttle. It is no my go-to machine because it has no reverse and the stitch length regulator is not numbered. It would be great for quilting, though. The vibrating shuttle does make more noise than the oscillating or rotary hook machines.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am so sorry to hear you are sick, and Michael, too. Sounds rough. Feel better soon! Taupe is a great neutral for me. I cannot wear beige or caramel - they are too warm. But taupe is a gray with red & blue undertones and it is swell on my skintone. Swell, I tell ya!

    ReplyDelete
  12. While a VS machine isn't my "go-to" machine, it's still one of my favorites...... especially if I'm feeling a bit under the weather!

    Watching a bobbin wind on a long shuttle bobbin is one of the greatest little joys anyone with an affinity for mechanical gadgets can have. I could watch that mechanism make perfectly wound bobbins all day long.

    It's "bullet" shaped bobbin case is as close as I'll get to owning a gun or joining the NRA.

    And then there is the "hic-up" the machine makes for every stitch - watch the action of the needle bar as it makes a stitch and you'll know what I mean. Makes me smile every time!

    Lastly, a well tuned VS machine, especially a treadle powered one, makes the most satisfying "ka-chick, ka-chick, ka-chick...." as it sews. One of the most wonderful sounds of the mechanical universe! I feel another satisfied smile coming on!

    And for those of you who are wondering, yes, a VS machine can make as perfect a straight stitch as any other machine.

    So, when I need a little "pick-me-up", the machine that will always put a smile on my blue face is a VS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does the long bobbin hold as much thread as a class 15 or 66 bobbin? More or less than a class 221 bobbin?

      Delete
  13. Sorry you are feeling under the weather! I do think sometimes taupe can look blah, but I actually liked some of those Pantone colors!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Peter,
    (Sorry you're sick...I'm just beginning to get over my cold.)
    You have no idea how elegant you would look in a beautifully cut TAUPE suit! You're one of the few with the right colouring....and think of the fun you'll have deciding what necktie to wear with it!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sorry about your cold. I have vs and never use it although it is the machine I learned to sew on. I always feel bad when I find an old machine that as Charlie Brown said about his Christmas tree " needs me" and I pass it over. But as my partner Leo says " scott you can't drag home every misfit machine in the world"
    As far as tuape I say nope!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have a handcrank 128 and love it! I totally agree with Bobbin Doctor, the bobbin winding is a delight to watch & I could watch it all day too. It also makes a perfect stitch and will sew quite a few layers with no protests. The hardest thing, although only occasionally noticed is trying to steer the fabric with one hand, left hand at that (great if you're left handed, I suspect :). Also sews with ordinary needles so no probs there! Taupe is not a colour I can see myself in, suspect it would make me look a little washed out!

    ReplyDelete
  17. My vibrating shuttle Singer 27 is my go-to machine for piecing quilt blocks. It works well and, as others have said, the bobbin winding mechanism is really clever.

    I've read that initially VS machines were cheaper to manufacture, so that's why they were so popular initially. But that shuttle swings back and forth under the machine, and when machines started being converted to electricity it made the machine shake because it was going so much faster than when it was treadled. That's why VS machines died out.

    ReplyDelete
  18. F'r gawdsake peter.. STAHP! taking all that vitamin C!

    10,000 mg. is FAR TOO MUCH and can have possibly TOXIC side effects plus cause KIDNEY STONES! 1000 mg, no more, and even then, don't take this much on a daily basis!

    If you want a GREAT remedy for flu, try pouring hot chicken soup over raw, freshly chopped garlic and immediately eat it all up (Add parsley to kill the bad breath) I call this my "magical misery cure" I swear by it ever since a friend made some of this for me when I was laid out with wretched flu (the kind that sends achy shooting pains all through your body) I ate one bowl of this and in 15 minutes I "took up my bed and walked", and never looked back! Of course, now I am lucky to have a BF who is a Chinese medicine practitioner , with any number of amazing Chinese remedies to hand for flu or anything else that ails me..but the "magical misery cure" still stands!

    ReplyDelete
  19. You made me laugh... Again. Sorry you are sick, though. Is it my screen, or is your pillowcase Taupe?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I've gotten over my aversion to grays and taupes - could the graying of my hair have something to do with it? Now I see them as a sophisticated alternative to the ubiquitous black. Certainly none of the models shown look anything like a car interior. The thrift shop fabric from yesterday really looks good with your coloring.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hey, that's what I was going to say...your pillowcase *does* look taupe....

    ReplyDelete
  22. I would have only referred to the taos taupe as taupe. The dresses look like gray and brown to me. Hate those men's suits with the short crotches and exposed ankles. Hope you feel better soon.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Good grief, Peter, you look like the Doge of Venice on his death bed!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Good Lord !! Who is that in the picture at the top? You know, the guy with the green cap and taupe pillow case? You need to tell him to go to the doctor, he looks sick!


    Get better and change your pillow color to yellow or pink for good health darling.

    ReplyDelete
  25. All of the taupes in your Pantone screen shot look like pinky taupes to me, rather than yellowy taupes. Those colors would actually suit a summer person. I love Pantone.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Healing rays are being sent upon you and yours.

    Peter, try the old remedy of freshly boiled water with the juice from half a lemon, and some raw honey (the kind where you can taste the bees). It's too acidic and hot for bad things to dwell in your throat, but soothing at the same time.

    There's always hope for taupe. So long as the undertone is sympatico, it's a "go"!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Uuugh - every shade of taupe makes me look like I've got the flu. Feel better! Michael, too.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Barb aka WoodencanoeJanuary 6, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Yes, I have a hand crank Singer that I use at my off-grid cabin. Making curtains in a big storm when everyone else has no power is great. There was enough thread on the bobbin the right colour, but now I'm thinking I don't know how to wind more on, but it sounds fascinating.
    Flu shots work for me - haven't been sick in 10 years and going through chemo during that period too. Get well,listen to your body. An infusion of fresh ginger or tea works well too.

    ReplyDelete
  29. YES! I have a shuttle machine, with the cute boat bobbin and I love, love it. I just wanted to stop by and say that I came across your blog a little over a year ago and it absolutely helped inspire me to get my own treadle. Thank you! I actually wrote my first blog post about my machine yesterday: http://jeanniebeans.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. I have a little 28K with VS that I picked up for 25 euros - I won't be using it often as I have a veritable stable of sewing machines, but it is very pretty. Also it, and its treadle big sister 15-30K, will be very useful when the lights go out! (And just to gloat a teeny weeny bit more, 15-30K only cost me 30 euros plus an exciting expedition into the Belgian countryside!)

    ReplyDelete
  31. I think I will have to try taupe for myself. Funny that my livingroom is taupe but I never considered wearing it.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi, Peter. I have a handcrank and a treadle that are both vibrating shuttle. Like you, I don't use the handcrank much, but I do love the treadle. But, shuttle bobbins come in a lot of different lengths. Learning to wind a bobbin is easy, but only if your machine is adjusted to your exact bobbin length. How to change that adjustment was the hardest piece of info to find. It's like a secret. But, someone clued me in and now I even quilt on my treadle. Lane

    ReplyDelete
  33. Taupe is the vehicle to show off other colors!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I agree with Sufiya about the Vitamin C - way too much for your body to process - all you are doing is making high-quality pee...
    ~Kelly

    ReplyDelete
  35. One of my two go-to machines is a New White Peerless VS. It's a hand-crank too. It was a pain to use until I swapped the needle bar so that it uses modern needles.

    It's great for when I don't want to wake my husband up by using my big treadle machine. (Although, I think that the White VS bobbin winder is an evil, evil machine.)

    ReplyDelete
  36. The only downside to the bobbin in a VS machine is the quantity of thread it holds. I have a crinkle Centennial so it looks like VS made it into the early 50's. It's actually more portable than my Kenmores, and perfectly lovely in it's bentwood box, standing on the cusp of antiquity.

    ReplyDelete
  37. First time on this blog. It's really cool. I'm a man who sews (a little) and want to build my wardrobe exclusively from my own hands and parts of a sewing machine. Looking forward to more of your advice. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails