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Apr 27, 2020

A Run on Sewing Machines? + Project UPDATES!


Readers, is it possible -- could there actually be a run on sewing machines?

A very unscientific hunt on Amazon reveals that many of the popular lower-end models -- Janomes, Brothers, Singers -- I was accustomed to seeing offered are currently out of stock.  Could that many people sheltering in place be purchasing sewing machines, perhaps to make masks or simply to entertain themselves?  I have heard anecdotally that many people have been dusting off their machines but I don't think the people I know--most of whom are already avid sewers--are representative of the public at large.  I am curious to know what you think or may have heard/experienced.

In other news, the sewing continues here, albeit somewhat sporadically.  As I mentioned recently, I've been doing a fair amount of shopping for vintage patterns and vintage fabric on Etsy and eBay.  Here are some of the latest arrivals (with a few more still in transit):

I think I shared a photo of this vintage Thirties evening ensemble with you already, before I had it in hand.  This has to be one of my most glamorous patterns.


I was very excited about this vintage 1959 Vogue swimsuit pattern: so much so that I made a muslin using an hibiscus-print remnant that closely resembles the fabric pictured in that pattern illustration.  I love when that happens!


This swimsuit has a boned bodice!

Another 1930's pattern is this 1937 Advance dress pattern that is a copy of Mainbocher's wedding dress for Wallace Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor.


The Mainbocher original on the left, the Advance copy on the right.
It's cool to be able to make those kind of connections -- a bit of fashion history!

Two more swimsuit/romper patterns, the first from the early 60's and the second from 1949.  I think I'm ready to stop buying swimsuit patterns.



And here are some fabrics.  The first is a cotton organdy which I think is from the 1930's: just 36" wide.  There are four yards which should be plenty.



I thought I would use it to make this vintage early 1930's mail order pattern from my pattern stash; I even made a partial muslin of it.  I like the style of the dress but I don't think it's quite right for the fabric.  I think a smaller print or a solid would work better, don't you?



And finally, this weekend I received this lovely floral silk crepe de chine, also an eBay purchase.  I don't think it's truly vintage but to my eye it has a 1930's look to it.


In other news, I celebrated a birthday last week and Michael baked me a lemon meringue pie.  It was delicious!


And that's about it.  We've all been hanging in there.  With Michael able to do his voice teaching online and me continuing to work from home just as I normally do, our lives don't feel radically altered.  Still, it would be lovely to have things return to the way they were.  Will that happen any time soon?  I'm not sure.

In any case, be well, everybody, and happy sewing!

27 comments:

  1. on our neighborhood Next door group someone posted about wanting a sewing machine - said Amazon wouldn't have any in stock until June - I heard Walmart was also out of sewing machines. Several people posted that they had an unused machine the lady could have. Seems like there has been at least a modest run on sewing machines.

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  2. He bakes TOO?!?!?!?!?!?!?

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    1. Fantastic! I'm still waiting (28 years + counting) for Mr Spud's 'famous apple pie' to materialise.
      A belated Happy Birthday to you, Peter.
      Spud

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  3. happy late birthday, Peter!
    everyone i know who has a sewing machine (or three) has been sewing more lately, so i believe it when, like flour and packaged yeast, i hear there's a run on them. between baking and sewing masks, i've been busy, busy, busy!

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  4. Happy Belated! The pie looks delicious. I've been wondering about the same thing if there has been an increase in sewing activities as people are staying home to save lives. In this part of the sewing world, elastic seems to be a scares commodity.

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  5. Kathryn SteiglederApril 27, 2020 at 7:20 PM

    Hi belated birthday, Peter! the pie looks yummy. My local sewing machine shop where I hang out a lot, was allowed to stay open by local authorities because they were deemed essential to repair sewing machines so people could make masks. Tim tells me that he is swamped with people who pulled their old sewing machine out of the back of the closet and want to make it run. So maybe, some of those people might find out that sewing is pretty fun! At least I hope so. Stay safe

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  6. Hi Peter,
    Happy belated birthday!Can you believe?
    Amazon & Joanns are out of sewing machines? And 1/4" elastic, interfacing etc!My insane gigantic fabric/notion stash seems rather sage like now. Hopefully the new sewing mojo will continue and people will stick with it.

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  7. friends and acquantances have been calling, texting me for help getting some machine from somewhere threaded... running etc etc. A month ago I was crazy with calls from pals who were interested in making a mask or two get some machine out of the closet running for them. Glad to help... and glad there's an appreciation again for stitching

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  8. Happy Belated Birthday, the pie looks scrumptious. Lemon Meringue is my favourite pie EVER!!!

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  9. I have some vintage patterns I'd love to send to you!They were part of a friend's mom's estate. I've had people give me three machines in the last year! Then I drove 650 miles to Oklahoma to buy a Bernina 830 in its fabulous red case!

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  10. Happy Birthday Peter. I love lemon meringue pie. My dealer has lower end machines. They will deliver them curbside. When I first saw the Advance pattern I thought of Wallis Simpson dress. I hope people will keep sewing when all this ends

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  11. Happy belated birthday - I'm an April bod too. But I got ginger tray bake for mine! Most of it in the freezer - I feel a lemon meringue pie is the best birthday cake ever! I'd also be tempted to eat too much of it in one go! LOL! Some gorgeous patterns there - especially the swimsuit - now I could do with one of those designs! Thank you for the vintage trip - how elegant the first dress. Ginger Rogers springs to mind there. And oooh such yummmmmmmmy red floral fabric!
    I see the cases are dropping in NY finally - great news, continue to be safe - a second wave is too scary to contemplate!

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  12. happy birthday, and fab looking pie! they are lovely patterns..the simpson copy is really gorgeous

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  13. Hiya, Happy birthday!!!! And as a haberdashery shop owner, I can attest to this. We were SWAMPED just before NZ went into level 4 lockdown,and as f today we have gone to L3 and we did 40 deliveries and I've had to raid my own sewing machine stash at home to help customers. Sewing, kitting, tapestry, cross stitch, the works.

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    1. My kingdom for a few yards of 1/4" elastic! It's harder to find than diamonds on the beach!! Everyone is 'mask-crazy'!! Well thank God I'm strictly a vintage machine user........sooo many of those new buyers are in for unpleasant surprises when they find out how much those plastic machines can't do! Then they'll be a made rush to return them for refunds!! LOL!! I hope the pattern companies will start offering more men's patterns with this sudden interest in sewing!

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    2. Scorp,

      Did you ever think you'd see the day when sewing machines would be sold out? Never you mind what will happen as they "notion up".

      Vintage machines purr, but some of the new ones have parlor tricks worthy of a second glance. Peter's Hello Kitty machine has proven it has value and abilities.

      Speaking of Peter, did you see he got pie! That husband of his precluded my presumption; [in a hushed stage whisper] I always thought there was "pie deny" in that household [lips pursed, eyebrows raised, chin down]. But I'm happy for his birthday celebration, happy, happy I say.

      As for dude patterns getting revitalized, glaciers melt faster than menswear inches in any direction, and there isn't anything new for pattern makers to say. Perhaps the lock down will unleash a male Mary Quant's crisp new take on the modern man? Or, the whole uni-sex thing will have a second act, as we're all scrounging to get by, and it's vastly more cost-effective to be able to swap costumes with anyone.

      Back to your kingdom - is the sewing situation expanding? Have your haunts become more of a live-in design studio?

      Off to open, and eat, a can of pie filling; I have a birthday coming up.

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    3. Test? Always a pleasure to hear from you! I'm terrible at remembering birthdays so let me wish you a happy one now, also remember that according to Alice in Wonderland there are 364 unbirthdays to celebrate!

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  14. Wow. That muslin is stunning.I saw the pattern on your IG feed, but I didn't see you'd gotten that far. Wowzers. Happy birthday, may all your machines purr like happy machines do, and may we all live to see the other side of this.

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  15. Love your blog. It's great to see all these old vintage patterns. I love the styles but wonder if anyone could really wear them?? Happy belated Birthday.

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  16. Beautiful muslin test! I agree with you about the red fabric -- maybe something with bigger flowy-re panels? Happy birthday!

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  17. Seamster East at aol comMay 1, 2020 at 2:18 PM

    I've seen sewing machine prices all over the place. Some "get it out of here" prices, some prices so outrageous they don't qualify as fantasy. Initially, a lot of people looking to buy (or be given) a sewing machine to make face masks. Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace were overloaded. Some ads were fake, one claiming -- nay, INSISTING -- to be a Singer Model 24 (a chain stitch embroidery machine), but showing a Model 201 (Singer sold as a professional dressmaker's machine). Today, a lot of machines are ads repeated for several weeks running. I have also seen a LOT of fabric ads, many if not most at bargain prices, except cotton for a while. I bought some cloth because of the price. Also some fake ads. Today, most fabric ads seem to be ongoing repeats of long running ads. On a different note, some guy in Queens is advertising various Corvettes at about 5,000% of "normal" prices. (The market for "classic cars", including Corvettes, has been dropping rather dramatically for quite some time.) I suspect the guy made a deal with a used car lot/dealer for him to get half of any price he gets "over" market value.

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  18. Always enjoy reading your blog. This is my escape from the pandemic-bore we are going through. Yes, this blog and my Singer 201-2, of course. Happy belated birthday Peter!

    -Frank

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  19. I love that Simplicity 3955 early sixties pattern, I have a girlfriend in Australia who would look great in that. BTW, It is Wallis Simpson, (a woman can never be too thin nor too rich) lol.

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  20. I find it relaxing to browse through the vintage sewing machines up for sale on places like OfferUp. LetGo, Craigslist, etc. Recently I've noticed many brand new machines, still in the box, being offered in my area at exaggerated prices. Apparently people are profiteering toilet paper, hand sanitizer, face masks, and now sewing machines. Times like these seems to bring out the best and the worst in people.

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  21. Here is a relevant article from the Japan Times about the rush to buy sewing machines: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/04/21/business/demand-sewing-machines-diy-masks/

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