If you follow me on instagram or Facebook you may have seen me post a photo this week of my Jones’ sewing machine. I’ve got a weakness for vintage sewing machines and at last count own 7 vintage or antique metal sewing machines which I have acquired from various places over the last 4 or 5 years. Oops. This Jones Family CS model E was one I spotted a couple of years ago at the Friday Flea market on Portobello Road. A lot of the traders on Friday have stock straight from house clearances and don’t always know exactly what they have, so it really is a goldmine for finding wonderful treasures. This sewing machine was no exception.
When I got it home, I opened the carry case it came in which, I forgot to mention, on the way home popped open and the machine almost fell out! It must weigh about 10kg and so I’m not sure the case is original because its very light and flimsy. Any how, it made it back without damage and when I unpacked it I was thrilled to find at the bottom of the box, a selection of fabrics, a half finished dress and pattern instructions and a few other paper bits. I was very excited and popped everything into a carrier bag and put it in my studio to look at properly later…and then I forgotten about it. If you’ve seen my studio you will understand how easily this can happen. After trying it once, the sewing machine has been sitting on display on the bookshelf in my studio ever since.
I’m pleased to say, my studio has recently undergone a huge clear out (well 3 huge clear outs in the last 6 months) and most recently, we moved everything round so the space make more sense and I’ve started rediscovering all the awesome things I’ve rescued over the years.
So, this brings me back to the box. There was a lot of interest in this sewing machine’s contents on instagram and I knew it would be perfect to document on here. It seems like the previous owner either forgot about it or something happened so they didn’t manage to finish the dress and having found that bag of contents and had a more thorough look, there were many interesting pieces to the puzzle..
Here are the contents in order of photos: A selection of fabrics including some stripy deck chair canvas and some mint green lining, an almost completed Clothkits Style 596 Dress (from a kit) and instructions, a Clothkits reorder form and the original envelope date stamped 28 March 1980 and labels, 2 Simplicity 8623 Girl’s sleeve pattern pieces, 2 newspaper traced bodice pattern pieces, a label from a step pump with instructions (random,) a Smiths Bros Tooting paper bag and perhaps the most interesting and revealing piece of the time capsule: a typed letter which appears to be more of rambling nonsense than actually meant for someone to read but it tells us a lot. Read on below, to find out what it says..
Letter reads (as typed):
sweet nice darling daughter that is what i amhe knew every thing address glad i haven’t got a roast dinner to do. slave come and have a cup of tea I’ve made its in the kitchen its two oclock and news time on radio two -pause in speech- its got marks all ready yes idont particularly whant the picture in there no. are you going to stick it on with blue tack-this is reported speech on the 7.i0.79 `at1 oclock in the paskes house hold in grove on the old side as has been for the last 12 years and is likely to be for many more years to come except that the number in the house is fluctuating as nicholas has gone to manchester university to study history and economics carol hopefully is leaving next year to teacher training college todo a Bed together with these hands that are typing this nonsense but for now she m st go and study little dorrit by dickens or else she wont be considered even for college-bye for now.
The rest is definitely non-sense. As is the other page.
I’m not quite sure whether this was more of a diary entry or an actual letter to someone documenting the day. Either way, I love that the date and time have been recorded..and it gives us a little insight into life at the time like snapshot on this day.
I’ll share more on the actual sewing machine and dress in part two. I plan to complete the dress..hopefully on the Jones machine..I need to buy some needles for it first. It takes rounded shank needles so I’ll need to find some. I did have a go on it the other day. So I’ll tell you about it in my next post.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this small insight into this sewing machine’s story. I love old things because of the history behind them and I’m always fascinated by any details I can find out about the items past or the previous owner(s).
Would you be interested in me documenting more of my finds? Have you found anything with an interesting story to tell?
Thanks for reading,