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Nov 27, 2010

One small step in the struggle against entropy!

Friends, one of the leitmotifs of my life is the continuing battle against chaos.  It's challenging, living in a Manhattan apartment, no matter how spacious relatively speaking, to find room for two chihuahuas, twelve sewing machines (fourteen if you count the sergers), two adult men and a glamorous cousin who likes to crash at a moment's notice and rarely picks up after herself.

That's why I am so excited to share with you my most recent eBay impulse purchase which arrived not an hour ago.

It's a vintage Samsonite train case that to me epitomizes the glory days of jet-age travel and all things Doris Day.  It's for Cathy.  Well, rather, for Cathy's mess.

You might think that a model would take great care of the tools of her trade.  Not so, readers!  This dusty old Glad bag may look neat, but it's constantly turning up in the most inconvenient places, it's Ziploc unzipping and spilling its mainly-expired, five-and-dime-store contents all over the place. 

But thanks to my new purchase, look:

The bag goes in the box...close the lid.  Perfection!

I love these old Samsonsite cases and can't stop thinking of all the things I could put in them, half of which I would buy simply to put in the case.  Which would sort of defeat the purpose.

Meanwhile, friends, this weekend I am considering actual downsizing.  I think -- think -- that it's time to pare down my sewing machine collection.  It's not that I don't love them all, but I hate having things around I don't use and it has become increasingly apparent to me that at least four of them have never been sewed on for more than twenty minutes.  I'll let you guess which ones.  

Stay tuned to MPB as I decide which to keep and which to re-introduce to the vintage sewing machine market.  It's a nail-biter!  Will your favorite make the cut?

The weekend is here and we're off to Michael's parents -- not quite the glamorous excursion that warrants a Samsonite train case -- but at least we won't have to cook.

Have a great day, everybody!


  1. Love Doris's coat! I believe I have the 1959 Vogue pattern for it: Should I make it? (I know, off topic...)

  2. You have 12 sewing machine & 2 sergers! Wow Peter! That's unheard of.

  3. Well, that train case certainly evokes the era (now long gone) when travel was glamorous (and people dressed for it)and there were specialty cases for everything (I'm still on the look out for a Samsonite round hatbox). There was also no frisking, walking through metal detectors, metal wanding, backscatter machines, or 'enhanced pat-downs' (sorry, but this one makes me feel that the TSA has decided that we are ALL criminals and need to be put up against the car with our legs spread).

  4. I remember when I was a preschooler and my aunt came to visit and she had one of those cases. I thought it was oh so glamorous!

    Just today I was thinking I need to get back to work on my sewing machines so that I can decide which ones I'm going to keep and which ones are going back to the Goodwill...

  5. I believe that my obsession with bags, suitcases, totes, duffels, and train cases can be traced to my early exposure and imprinting on ladies I saw at the airport (including "stewardesses") when we went to drop my father off for a business trip. I was only about five, but seeing those bags and dreaming about their mysterious contents did something to my mind. Now I have to impose a rule. When I add a bag to my collection I am required to give away TWO!

    I would never impose this rule on my sewing machines, though. Not yet!

  6. They also had bigger seats, more foot room, lovely full meals served without muss and fuss,more oxygen in the cabin. Flying was a joy back then.
    When I saw the train case I thought you might be using it to store sewing supplies. I have one of those train cases from the 60s. It is gold not cream, which is so classy.
    I know you will be keeping the treadle or you will be regretting it. My mother had a treadle in the 60s and I sewed on it and it was fun.

  7. Must be a MEME thing - I've been looking at these on e-bay, the same sort of colour and everything (we call them vanity cases in UK). Good luck pruning your machine collection!

  8. I recently saw Rita Hayworth's train case at the Lily Library in Bloomington, Indiana. Hayworth's train case was filled with monogrammed makeup cases and illustrated love letters from her then-husband Orson Welles. Talk about glamour!

    I don't suppose Cathy keeps any love letters lying about?

  9. Tsk Tsk Tsk Peter...Andy bought a Caboodle makeup case months ago for when his identical twin sister Samantha comes to visit.

    (Remind me to send you pics from Halloween this year).

  10. I like words and I can't wait to use "leitmotif"!! Thanks for increasing my vocabulary! :)

  11. Frankly, 8 machines would be too much if you lived in the middle of Kansas and had an 800 sqfeet garage. You're lucky Michael is a patient man :-)..

  12. love the case - reminds me of the two my mom had when we were little which she let my sister and I keep our doll clothes in.

  13. My mom has one of those in blue, part of the complete set she got as a graduation present in 1959. The rest of the set is no longer used as those steel-sided monsters weigh a ton. But she wouldn't consider a trip without her vanity case.


  14. heh heh heh.. "Bag goes in the box...close lid." Please, please don't bother unpacking. I thought the picture at the top was Cathy at first.

  15. DO keep the genie! I'm using one now (albiet a starlet) and its a dream!

  16. Hi Michael!
    Great shopping, this Samsonite! I am also trying to organize my sewing stuff and bought recently a sewing basket from the 60's, with those thin and tall legs and I am soo happy!

    I do not have so many machines as I want, just four and no serger, but I used to have six and decided also to downsize my collection to add later more interested models, at least for me. The first one I sold was easy, my first bought, very-commom Singer Merrit. But I also had a very old Elna, one of the first to be produced, and decided to sell, because I liked to sew more my Featherweight. It is hartbreaking, but I also do not like to have things around without using! Now, what I do with my machines, is to set a type of work to each one. Costumes and free-motion embroidery I do with one of them. Occasional patchwork, small repair work, courses etc, I sew with the other and clothes with another model. Maybe it is an idea to keep your collection in use.

    Now, from all your machines I love the straight-stich ones! Take some plastic out of the collection and keep the ones with the nicest stichtes!

    Greetings from cold and sunny Germany,



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