Sunday, May 3, 2015

Field trip

Last week my friend Jess and I took a li'l hour-and-a-half trip up the road to St Charles and visited the Midwestern outpost of Nick-O Sewing. This was my first time visiting an industrial sewing machine shop and, needless to say, I was pretty excited. A huge thanks to Bob and Dave for talking machines with us and telling us about the history of the St Louis rag trade.
The showroom is nestled in an industrial park just off of 70. We only drove past it once.

They have all sorts of machines on hand, but their primary focus seems to be on heavier models -- lots of compound-feed machines in there.

Backroom, full of old machines waiting for some love.

HD double needle.

 277/335-style clone with binder base.

Quad-needle chainstitch with roller puller.

The leatherworker corner: 341s and 227s. They had just sold a used Juki 441 ... sad that I missed it. Maybe next time.

We ended up walking out with a used Yamato 5-thread serger with safety stitch (chainstitch next to the overlock stitch). This came out of a St Louis garment factory that made dancewear. It was covered in glitter fuzz.

Z610 C5DA. It's gonna be a nice li'l machine to have around. Need to find out what the Z stands for ... and find a manual for it.

Whoever came up with the serger is a bonafide genius. If there's a machine that runs on magic, it's the serger.

This is emblazoned on the table. Fitting, since this is where we live.

We went to Nick-O in search of a coverstitch machine, and left with a serger, so we'll be back. I also gave them a wishlist that includes a 441 and shoe patcher. Good times.

Saddle stitch

I've been reading about hand stitching leather for a while now, and after hearing so many people recommend Al Stohlman's The Art of Hand Sewing Leather (1977) on, I bought it.
It's full of great illustrations and lots of weird emphatic old-man ellipses. A compact wealth of knowledge, truly.

This is one of the best resources for American Western-style hand stitching. I haven't looked too much into other styles, but Nigel at Armitage Leather has a great YouTube channel if you're interested in the English tradition.


I tell you what: they don't make sewing machine manuals like they used to...

 Singer 15-90.

Singer buttonholer automaton.

Photos of actual machines to come.