Celebrating Vintage Sewing

A few months ago the new Galloway Textiles Collective ‘Intertwine’ got together for the first time with their first show opening this week at the Nail Factory Gallery in Dalbeattie. http://www.nailfactory.org.uk

I was very pleased to be asked to be part of the group, an exciting prospect to work with 13 other artists.

The Exhibition Poster

The Exhibition Poster

When I first started sewing as a child I did this on my Grandmother’s old foot pedal operated Singer Sewing Machine. Since then I have worked on many different makes and types of machines. Recently I was given a Singer machine from around 1930. I was dying to try it out and wanted to use it for my art work for the ‘Intertwine’ exhibition; using my work to celebrate these amazingly sturdy machines.

The Singer VS2

The Singer VS2

I decided to use some of the images I took during a visit to the Singer exhibition at Clydebank Museum and Gallery last year. See my blog post https://isabellbuenz.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/singer-sewing-machines/

I used the images of a logo, the Singer Clock tower and an advertising poster, changing them into black and white backgrounds for my framed work.

Vintage image from the Clydebank exhibition

Vintage image from the Clydebank exhibition


The Singer Clocktower

The Singer Clocktower


The Clocktower image changed into a black & white background

The Clocktower image changed into a black & white background

As usual I was going to make outfits from tea bag paper…this time, tiny versions that would fit my frames and would include some colour. For this I created repeat patterns from some of my other Singer photographs and manipulated the colours.

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Above mages used to create my 'fabric'

Above mages used to create my ‘fabric’

Next, I printed these onto tea bag paper sheets I had cut to A4 size so that they would fit through my printer. This always takes many attempts and jamming of the printer which REALLY tests my patience. The results are worth it though. I finally had 4 sheets of each design. The tea bag paper doesn’t take on ink the same way printer paper does: the ‘dress fabric’ just shows a hint of the design in pastel shades.

3 different patterns based on images taken at the Clydebank Singer exhibition

3 different patterns based on images taken at the Clydebank Singer exhibition

My dress designs were based on vintage sewing patterns and styles.

Some ideas for the wee dress designs

Some ideas for the wee dress designs

After deciding on the various shapes and combinations of ‘fabric’ and style I had lots of fun cutting and stitching my tiny dresses and matching handbags.

Preparing the sailor dress: adding the collar

Preparing the sailor dress: adding the collar


Happiness is a working vintage sewing machine!

Happiness is a working vintage sewing machine!


This old Singer is coping well with the tea bag paper layers

This old Singer is coping well with the tea bag paper layers

All that was left to do then was to finish the frames with backgrounds and outfits and deliver them to the Gallery. Hope to see you at the Intertwine Show.

Wee dress with petticoat

Wee dress with petticoat


Dress and handbag with pleats

Dress and handbag with pleats


The finished Sailor dress and handbag

The finished Sailor dress and handbag

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