I think I must be in possession of the only old Singer sewing machine still in the wild. All the others have been rounded up and herded into the windows of All Saints fashion stores throughout the land.
My mother’s machine still works, after a full service about 40 years ago, although it does only a simple locked stitch in straight (or wobbly) lines – no bells and whistles. I have now found out it was made in 1918 – more pictures at the end of this post.
As for the All Saints windows, no bells and whistles there, either. Not even any promotion of what’s inside the store. I assume the shop is full of “garments”. What a lovely old-fashioned word – from the Old French garniment, from garnir – to furnish.
From my very early childhood I recall the words “Gamma Garments” from TV but I misremembered where I had heard this. It was a haberdashery shop in the soap Coronation Street, while I had wrongly remembered it as the setting for the sitcom The Rag Trade. I find now that the garment workshop was actually “Fenner Fashions”. The abiding memory I have from The Rag Trade is Miriam Karlin as the stroppy shop steward, with her catchphrase “Everybody out!”
The Rag Trade was first made by the BBC in the early 1960s and then revived (in colour) by London Weekend TV in the 1970s. The recordings of the third series were (annoyingly) wiped by the BBC, but others are now available on DVD…
But back to All Saints. Although I have never ventured beyond the window wall of sewing machines, I can see the brand has a certain style. Have a look at this video on the website. And the company certainly do a lot for reusing/recycling old “junk”…
And here are some more views of my own Singer sewing machine. And I’m afraid I lied about it living free – in fact it was gathering grime at the back of a cupboard under the stairs.