Mini Sewing Machine from the 1940s

Contributed by Antiques Roadshow - Beverley

Mini Sewing Machine from the 1940s

This was made by the Essex Engineering Works based in Wanstead, E11 in the late 1940s. They were marketed at teenagers, and sold cheaply. The contributor can remember her grandmother sewing all her clothes on this machine. It's a sign of a make-do-and-mend culture - a time when people made clothes for their families to save money. Now, clothes are so cheap there is no incentive to make them.

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  • 2 comments
  • 1. At 17:52 on 30 May 2010, Julia Paul wrote:

    I have one just like that! Picked it up in a junk shop in the early 60's for about 4/6d. Money was tight, so taught myself to make my own clothes on it. It has a simple chain stitch mechanism, no bobbin, so have to tie off loose ends, but still works perfectly.

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  • 2. At 11:43 on 1 June 2010, Maudie_Cornwall wrote:

    We had one of these at home in the late '40s early '50s. My grandmother and great aunts were all dressmakers or milliners. One of my great aunts, a spinster, lived with us. Her contribution to the household was to make all the clothes for my sister and I (often from 'cabbage' she acquired from the cutting tables where she worked). My sister and I complained so much about having pins sticking into us while being 'fitted' ( we dreaded getting home from school to be instructed to take of our dress and stand on the table as this meant a 'fitting' was about to take place).Great Aunt Ethel solved the problem by running up dresses/coats for us using this little machine. We could then try them on and be 'fitted'without the dread of pins. She could then simply pull a thread to undo the chainstitching before sewing up permanently on the treadle lockstitch machine. A very powerful memory!

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