Where did all the Vintage Singers Go?

In case you’ve been in the market for an antique or vintage sewing machine and have been unable to find one, I know why.

Kevin and I spent this weekend in New York City.  On Monday morning after our visit to the 911 Memorial, we walked through Chinatown and up Broadway toward Soho.  In the midst of the shopping district we walked by Spitalfields; a store that usually wouldn’t catch my eye.  But given that there were about a hundred vintage or antique sewing machines in the window display, my interest was aroused.  We walked into the store and to my amazement, the walls of this otherwise uninteresting store were lined with rows and columns of these old beauties.  Most were Singers but there were a few Pfaffs, Whites or other less well-known brands.  There were also some old industrial machines and spools but neither were as interesting as the hundreds of sewing machines.

The back entrance
Many more than one could photograph……
Shamefully, I couldn’t see any attachments in the machine cases.
If you’re a sewing nerd like me, you’ll want to check it out sometime.

Mira’s Sewing Lessons: Pajama Top

About a year ago, I blogged about teaching Mira to sew her first pair of pajama pants.   Unfortunately because we live hours from each other and because visits are filled with other fun activities, we have little time for sewing.  However on our last visit we had a “sewing date”.  Her choice was to make a pajama top to match the beloved but now “high-water’ pants she made last year.  She designed the top, using a complimentary flannel print for the sleeves.

So proud in her new pj top

Hmmm. So how could I help Mira sew a pj top with no buttons and yet so she could pull it over her head?  With not many patterns to chose from, I bought a raglan knit pj top.  By cutting it several sizes larger than her size, cutting out the neckline to fit over her head and by placing a small amount of elastic at the neckline we were set to sew.  As far as the fabric type, pre-washed flannel is great for a project such as this because the fabric is easy to sew and it doesn’t ravel easily so there’s no overcasting.


Me:  “What’s the first safety rule for sewing?”

Mira:  “Never put your fingers near the needle.”

She passed the test and we were ready to sew.

Little did I know that Mira was envisioning a hood on the pj top.  So when the sleeve and side seams were done, Mira said, “Now, let’s add a hood”.  (Guess I’ve made sewing look way too easy).  Her bathrobe has a hood, so I traced the pattern and we had a hooded pj top.

What a proud girl she was, every step of the way.  Sewing (and trying on) time took about one hour.


Catie did art projects with her grandpa while eagerly awaiting her turn at the sewing machine.  At age 6, she’s not quite ready to sew independently, so we came up with a plan to sew quilt pieces.  It worked beautifully.

Cate sat on my lap and when needed at the beginning and end of stitching a square, she toggled to reverse the stitch.  It was perfect for her – she was involved and still safe.  Meanwhile, her foot stayed right on top of mine.

 What a fun time we had.  To be continued….

Scarves are all the Rage – in Spain

Scarves:  A fashion detail that continues to separate European and USA fashion.

Traveling in Europe reminds me of how much I love scarves.  No matter what time of the year, women (and some men) wear scarves for warmth and/or for fashion and with just about any type of attire.   I do wish this fashion trend would take hold in the US – we always have a little bit of the scarf thing going on the in the USA but it’s minor compared to what one sees when walking the streets of a western European country – especially France and Spain.

On our recent trip to Spain my travel mates took photos of the many beautiful tourist sites, but I took photos of scarves.  Here are a few of the lovelies.  Most are from markets, where prices are often several Euros.  Enjoy!

Double-click on photos to see more detail.

It would be so easy to sew one of these

Pashmina in its glory.
Crinkled fabric is all the rage. Maybe it's time to experiment?

For style and warmth
Beautiful lace with tassel trim

Which of these do you think we could sew?