pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Would it be wrong to put a new (and I do mean new, not just scrounged off another machine) sewing machine motor on a 95 year old machine?
I very strongly suspect this particular Singer (same type as this one) previously had a motor added, given that it came in a 1960s case which wouldn't accommodate a handcrank. Otherwise it'll just sit there with no way to easily power itself.

Oh, and for all the people who have been asking, here is a list of (working) sewing machines I now own...
Read more... )

Sewing machines currently being cannibalised for parts include the same model of Lada, three rusty things, and the Singer Futura... turns out the motor had overheated and fused the plastic gears sitting directly above it together.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
I'm hoping someone will have some idea of trends in applique/decoupage work, because I'm curious to know if this decoration is from a particular era.

Bentwood case

I'm figuring the machine this case belongs to has had at least two owners during its' 60 years of service -- one of them painted the case and managed to accidentally paint the sewing machine itself. Someone else then seems to have had the idea to use it as decorative furniture because they super-glued the bobbin winder tire in place, put not-quite right looking decals on the bed, covered the entire machine in clear gloss... including the paint splatters and then eventually it wound up at an op shop. With a motor, but none of the cables. At some point along the way, the machine probably was dropped, because the tension stud was bent.

Photos of the head when I put it back together again, right now rather vital pieces are soaking in kerosene.

I think I shall call her Echidna because of her cactus decoupage.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
I haven't used a sewing machine since the Lemair (they make washing machines and fridges these days) decided it didn't want to work any more, a few weeks after it's service warranty expired. Which was about 4 years ago.

Not entirely willing to spend more money, I just started handsewing more, but long straight seams are boring! And I spend so much time sewing medieval stuff, I don't have the time or patience to handsew modern clothes, too.
I pondered my options. A new machine is out of the question - too expensive and too much plastic that will break, given what I put the Lemair through - but if the problem wasn't with the electrical bits, then I would have a better chance of fixing it myself.

Enter my very exciting new toy: A treadle-powered Singer from 1939 (according to the serial number). I downloaded the instruction manual, oiled her up and gave her handwheel a spin... It works! It's like spinning on a wheel only everything is cast iron, and it is much quieter than the motor-operated Lemair ever was.

This is going to be fun, it needs a little TLC, but I think it's worth it.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Chrystel R. Brandenburgh. 2010. Early medieval textile remains from settlements in the Netherlands. An evaluation of textile production Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 2-1

Discusses pre-11th century textile finds from the Netherlands, including some fragments sewn with contrasting thread, hats sewn with decorative seam treatments, and some interesting Dublin cap-like-reconstructed headwear.

Edit: Click on the blue 'dynamic content' paperclip for an appendix of the technical textile details! Oooooh.

But, it also mentions this:

Mittens are present in two sites, Dorestad and Aalsum (figs. 21 & 22).22 In both cases coarse thick fabrics have been used, made of thin warp thick weft threads and woven with only a few threads per centimetre. The Dorestad mitten seems to have been primarily felted, which would have greatly enhanced its practicality. Both mittens were sewn very roughly with threads up to 2 mm in width.

Footnote 22 says, in part: The Aalsum mitten is dated between 700/900 AD. This date is based on associated finds.

There are colour photos, of the mittens too!
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Starting with Woven into the Earth
Read more... )

Then Nye Tanker om Skjoldehamnfunnet, which was more successful:
Edit: fixed the obvious misspellings.
Read more... )

Or, at least I think that's what it says. I can find plenty of other articles that describe what fabric various medieval patches are made from, but not how they were sewn to the garment.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Why is it that I seem to ask what should be simple questions, but it turns out people want to answer something tangential?

So, maybe this part of the internet might know, are there any other published examples where Viking Age garments have been sewn together with a contrasting-colour thread? (I'm not talking about 'ornamentation' like embroidery, or silk appliques or cords or braids. Just sewing the fabric pieces together. Or hemming.)

Because so far, it looks like there is some evidence from Jorvik and London, and that has been extrapolated to become a Viking world-wide fashion so everyone should have brightly sewn seams. Surely there's more than just that?

Quoting articles of varying quality. )
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
It looks like a 14th century heddle frame made from elk antler was found in Bergen, Norway, and had the extra holes made so that you could do 'double hole' rigid heddle weaving with pretty patterns.

Textiles and Clothing mentions the find, as does the book they're referencing

Øye, Ingvild. Textile Equipment and Its Working Environment, Bryggen in Bergen c 1150 - 1500. The Bryggen Papers, Main Series, Vol. 2. Oslo: Norwegian University Press, 1988. (ISBN 82-00-02537-3)

Or at least, I assume so since I don't have easy access to the book.

A Primitive Frame for Weaving Narrow Fabrics by Otis Tufton Mason (1901) has some undated rigid heddle frames.

This frustratingly set-out partial scan of a larger file that for some reason I can't navigate, has some really interesting things...

OB318 might be a warp-spreader?
OB34 a winding pin?
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (pirate)
Some interesting bits and bobs:

From a footnote in English medieval industries : craftsmen, techniques, products edited by John Blair and Nigel Ramsay
which is also online:

64. Wooden spools from 12th century York, 13th century Kings Lynn, 14-15th century Hull: Morris op. cit. note 46, 46-7

The Morris reference is Morris, Carole A.(2000) Craft, industry and everyday life: wood and woodworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and medieval York, p.2335 ?
Anyone have a copy I could take a peek at?

There is also a reference in LF Salzman English industries of the Middle Ages, being an introduction to the Industrial history of mediaeval England (1913), according to Blair and Ramsay, but I can't find it.

ETA: Some odd things in the YAT Photograph Archive
(There's something wrong with the search function, so this is just from browsing.
Ref: 002151 'Textile and textile tools from 16–22 Coppergate' has lots of little wooden pointy things
Ref: 003399 I suspect this is the famous band-box.
Ref: 002159 Cowrie shell!
Ref: 002152 and 002209 Looks like a hank of yarn
Ref: 002214 Bone and antler pin beaters
Ref: 002400 Slickstones/Linen smoothers, would it belong in a sewing kit?
Ref: 003125 Ropewoods?? from Norman York. They look like a <ahref="">tent-toggle-thing to me
Ref: 003337 A medieval paw print from a roof tile!
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Continued on from the first post about skeins and spools:

I'm waiting on a pile of ILL requests to be sorted out, since it seems a few requests got lost somewhere overseas.

Shaleigh Lewins has come to the rescue again with textile-related photos from the Oseberg find.

I suspect that the loop of string at the centre bottom of this photo may be a skein*, but then what is the knotted up stuff at the top? (from here)

This extensive quote from Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia, says that "The yarn was made into a ball or a skein, both of which are known from finds from prehistoric times. Bobbins of weft thread, a skein-winding reel of the "niddy-noddy" type, and a swift are documented in the Oseberg find."
Not that I can find anything else about the existence of such bobbins.

From the medieval London finds, there was a little splinter of wood with silk wrapped around it (sorry, not moving far enough to get the reference today), which might be some more evidence for [ profile] jillwheezul and [ profile] mmy_me, and the idea that thread was left on the spindle after the whorl had been removed... thereby turning into little sticks when dug up by archaeologists?

Or, I'm just over-analysing again, it happens.

Just for reference, a 15th century niddy-noddy (at the bottom of the page, final image.)

*Also, top left-side, there are basket fragments! Hooray!
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Jōmon period archeology (14,000-400 BCE Japan) has revealed red-laquered yarn tied up into hanks. (Google translate:
English version without pictures:

I remember there is *somewhere* in *some* era a find of wool balls, maybe found in a basket. Anyone know what I'm talking about?
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Yep, I've decided that that I want to start working on my Viking-age accessories, including putting together a little sewing basket that I can bring along with me to events and displays and things.

But, some things are harder to figure out than others. The big one (right now) is what to put spun yarn on to, for sewing.

  • Woven into the Earth suggests, based on ethnography, the use of a Nøstepinde

  • There's that line-winder/lucet thing that might have been used for butterfly skeins, if you squint.

  • There are two niddy-noddies from the Oseberg ship, but they seem to be pretty large. (Second last row from the bottom, right.)

  • Do what I have a habit of doing; wrap it around a simple-looking shuttle and pull it out when you feel like using that particular wool as the weft.No evidence as yet though for that idea.

  • Rolling it up into little balls seems to work better with thicker wool, then sewing-thread-weight

ETA: Forgot one! There are also pierced metatarsals that seem to be either buzzing toys or spools. But, that one needs to be researched a little more.

Anyone have any firmer evidence? Or anything else I've missed?
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Cool things from the Historiska Museet.
Read more... )
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Findings: The Material Culture of Needlework and Sewing
By Mary Carolyn Beaudry
Partially online on Google books:
Page 34 has a really cool-looking 17th century pincushion, that was origially found with pins stuck in it.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Oh my god!

I just figured out how darts work in shaping fabric!

Suddenly, non-geometric sewing doesn't seem so scary.

PS. This painting looks eeeevil.


pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)

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