Life is indeed a stitch!
Berryhill Heirlooms and Susie Gay present techniques, heirloom sewing, hand embroidery and other musings that you will enjoy and appreciate. Come and join in the fun with Susie, a Home Economist, and savor a little rest from your hectic day...and yes, it's a Degree she uses every day!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Antique Toy Machines 2

Toy sewing machines fascinate me. We still see them today in stores for children but most of them are mostly plastic and not really able to stand up to a child's exuberance. Toy machines of years ago are different: they lasted, are made of metal and some were even electrified or battery powered. They stood the test of time.

Two in my collection are Casige machines. This particular one is Model 2015 and made for little girls in the 1940s. It is electrical (I have not plugged this one in to test it....yet....) as it is missing the rubber belt on the wheel. I bought this one in a store in Dallas. It's pretty and my favorite color.
 The sides have decals, too.
My pretty blue hand crank Casige is stamped "Made in Germany British Zone". Some German munitions factories were retooled after WWII to make toys as they did prior to the war, as is the case for Casige. I'm thinking this one was made in the 40s or 50s. Here's more information on the Casige factory. And an explanation of the "British Zone" reference if you'd like to learn more.
This machine is a "Kay-EE Sew Master" toy machine. It's mounted on a wood base, unlike the other metal ones. The face plate is engraved with "Berlin Made in Germany US Zone". It's powered by batteries (I haven't tried that yet) and in good shape. This was manufactured in the 40s or 50s.
I hope you enjoyed these little, fun toy machines!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Antique "Toy" Machines

Who doesn't love a sewing machine? I do...I have 5 of them. Admittedly, that's a lot, but three of them are the same and getting old. If a motherboard goes on their computer (which can't be fixed now) I can always use it for parts. But I digress....

My collection of antique sewing implements includes five toy machines. I'm going to share two of them today. The first was my mother's machine and was made in Germany by Casige. It sews a chain stitch, and yes, I have sewn on it many years ago just for fun. The decals have worn, some of the metal is corroded, but I like it all the same. I'm guessing this one is about 100 years old.
The second one is somewhat of a toy but it was also used to repair clothing. When folks were taking the Grand European Tour they would pack one of these little babies into their trunk so they could repair anything while on their tour of many months. Pretty neat. This Singer is a hand crank and works quite nicely. It dates to 1920, maybe earlier. A clamp would be used to attach the machine to the table when in use to hold it steady.
Here's more eye candy. Last year I had the great pleasure to tour Harry Berzac's offices where he has an incredible international sewing machine collection. Below are two photos from that tour displaying just toy sewing machines.
 A wall of toy machines in Mr. Berzac's collection, each one identified and carefully labeled...
And the "Lilliputian" toy machine, c 1930, made in Germany, and it is a toy machine just about small enough for an American Girl doll.
Next time I will show you 3 more of my own toy machines.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Medallion Quilt: 2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back

I've been so busy ordering supplies and fabrics for the California Stitch-In and the Holly Berries Chapter Workshop (August in NJ) that I've barely had time to work on the Medallion Quilt I'm designing. And by designing I mean two steps forward and one step back but more about that later.

I sewed five-inch wide ivory Kona cotton borders to match the Medallion linen. I think a detailed quilting design, maybe in a red thread to match the Medallion, would be unusual and interesting on them. Next was a two-piece 3" (finished) square border sewn to the white borders using several fabrics. Here are the color choices in a mess of squares at my machine ready for assembly:

I decided on this sequence for them:
One of the steps back were the Kona cotton borders. I failed to correctly measure the top/bottom and sides of the quilt and then cut each white border to size. Well, I ended up with a wavy border that wouldn't lie flat. So I spent over an hour Sunday afternoon removing each border and THEN cutting to the correct size. Lesson learned and another opportunity to excel. After sewing them back on I sewed up each new pieced block border: 20 blocks on each side and 22 blocks for top and bottom. 

But there was one problem. The quilt, hence Medallion, is not a perfect square. It's one inch different between top/bottom and sides (sides are shorter). Oops...another opportunity to excel. I decided the best approach was to stitch each seam (except for each end square that has to match the top/bottom
square) again 1/32" in from each first seam for the sides. It would make the 20 squares fit perfectly and each "smaller" square would not be noticeable in the big picture. Here's a corner photo of the result.
I like the result so far.
The quilt is hanging over a stair rail for me to look at every time I pass by. Gives me something to think about for the next step. I'm getting close to finishing and am excited just thinking about sending this out to a long arm quilter (no, I'm not hand quilting this baby) and seeing it completed. Just have to decide how large I want this to be. Do you have any suggestions for the next row or two? If so, please send me your ideas. I would love to see what you think would work!