Toy Sewing Machines, 12-28-23

Here are the pictures of all the toy sewing machines I’ve received plus a few others.

Note sewing bird on shelf and lovely red work
Chris – I see that you collect tomato pincushions, too!
New Years Day project
These are mine
Kathy got this wonderful blanket for Christmas!

Pattie traveled in her RV with 3 dogs to CA to work on the Rose Parade floats – here are some scenes from the working side of the parade. She has worked on the following floats: Illinois, City of Hope, Veterans, UCLA and Lions. I am going to look for these floats when I watch the parade.

I can’t even imagine how they do this – the flowers will go on last, right before the parade begins.

This is Welly in New Zealand, Sandy’s grandcat

Also from New Zealand – the Christmas Tree, Pohutakawa

My impatiens blooming in the basement

Sent from a reader who knows me well:

Regarding Norma’s funeral – I ordered flowers to be signed from the Country Threads blog readers. I know the florist did not understand but Norma will know and so will Sheryl.

I had another lady picked out who lives at Prairie View and is a member of our church to receive our next cards and just this afternoon I was notified that she passed away yesterday. I’m so sad I didn’t put this in motion sooner. Her name is Ihla and I’ll be playing for her funeral next week instead of organizing a card shower. I played for her husband’s funeral a number of years ago and he requested an arrangement of Clair de Lune and Jesus Loves Me. I will never forget playing it.

47 thoughts on “Toy Sewing Machines, 12-28-23

  1. Mary Beth in Missouri

    This blog was especially touching to me all the way from the toy sewing machines to Ihla. I have my sewing machine from childhood still in the box it came in. I was so careful to take great care of my special machine and I’m so happy I did. It’s more than 50 years old now.
    The Rose Bowl Parade preview pictures are amazing! Thank you for sharing.
    The New Zealand Christmas tree is gorgeous! I want one for my yard if it would survive our climate. I’m going to do some research.
    I’m so sorry for your special from, Ihla. I know her family will be comforted by your music at her service. There’s so much power in music and you are blessed you have a wonderful talent to share with others during their time of need.
    Mary Beth from Missouri

  2. Kathy in western NY

    At the bottom of the blog post that came in my email was a line that read “continue reading toy sewing machines” and I clicked on it to continue reading and seeing more pictures. That’s the first time I have seen that I believe. But want you to know it is there and there was more to read that took me right to your post on internet.
    I have one toy sewing machine that I keep on a shelf to admire. I adore the look of vintage sewing machines especially my tan 301. It sews beautifully and I call her Miss Mocha.

      1. Kathy in western NY

        Diane – they are rugged machines. I bought a luggage trolley to take it out in to sew with a group that made quilts for cancer patients who receive a tote bag with a book in it along with their quilt. We all said that machine sewed like “Butta” through that heavy canvas.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Kathy – oh, good grief, I wonder where that came from. doesn’t it usually just read as one without having to click something to read more? What I see is totally different from what you see.

      1. Kathy

        Just 2 additional pictures (your impatience and dog quote) at end along with text about the lady who passed you are doing the funeral music for was what came through once I clicked it. My usual email blog post from you must have been full??? Darn if I know either. Technology! Just as long as it keeps coming to me to read your news as well as the comments section, I am a happy camper.

    2. Carla

      Miss Mocha, what a perfect name! All of my machines, except perhaps the one from the 80s, are either vintage or antique. And all get a name once I have finished working on them. From oldest to youngest I have a Cleo, Birdie, Jane, Lenore, Carmen, Ivy, Prudence, Hazel, Hester, Beast (the only male), and Beverly. And 2 with no names because they don’t work. Yet. I won’t buy anymore, she said…..

      1. Mary Etherington Post author

        Carla – I’ve never even thought about naming my machines! You asked about the problem with one of my machines – Bernina 1230 – needle position won’t engage so I can’t move it to a 1/4” seam allowance. Thank goodness I have other machines to use.

        1. Kathy in western NY

          Carla, you own so many vintage machines and well named! To me the antique machines are so pretty compared to all the circuit boards on the newer machines. I have a perfect stitch 1960’s turquoise slant needle singer in a cabinet my grandma bought for me when I was a teen and now I know I will name it after her as you gave me the idea. Mary could do another whole post about our treadle, 50 and 60’s machines and how well they still sew. I’d wanna know what Carla’s male Beast machine sews????

          1. Carla

            Kathy, I have a Davis treadle named after my great grandmother because her surname was Davis. Another machine is named Jane because she is plain. All her decals are mostly worn away. My second treadle is Cleo in honor of the Sphinx decals, and the third treadle is Birdie in honor of the pheasant decal. The Beast is great for straight line sewing because his presser foot is strong and his motor must be as well!. I really want to get the cams working on him. I think they would be fun to sew. I truly have a machine to suit whatever mood I am in at the time. Now all I need is Time LOL

        2. Carla

          Your Bernina is a bit newer and thus outside my meager skill set. The Beast is from the 70s and I’m having a time trying to get his cams to work properly. I have isolated from where the problem originates, (stitch length regulator), but so far that’s all I have managed. He still does straight line quilting like a freaking champ though!

  3. Ginger S

    I loved the pictures of the small machines. So cute. I’m sorry about the loss of your friend. I’m sure your music will be appreciated by her family and will reach her ears as well. Bless you Mary.

  4. Rita in Iowa

    I loved the pictures of all the sewing machines. Thank you for sharing.

    This is a little on the other side of things but when I saw the ball jars it reminded me that my husband and I plan to use these for our urn. It is much cheaper and we already have them. We have just finished our plans so our kids do not have to worry about it.

    Glad Patti is having fun in CA!

  5. Billie

    Love seeing the old machines. I have one of those sewing bird clamps too!

    Henderson, NV where it was 67 today!

  6. Martha W in WY

    I really liked Patti’s behind the scenes photos of some of the Rose Parade floats. It’s just so amazing that the floats are covered with floral blooms and such. I too have a small collection of toy sewing machines. However, I have no place to display them at this time. So sorry for the passing of Ihla. We just never know when our last breath will be. All we can do is take each day as it comes, enjoy life as much as we are able, and treasure our friends and family.

  7. Jo in Wyoming

    Fun blog today. I truly love the sewing machine pictures.
    Those floats for the parade are incredible to see on TV, I can only imagine how beautiful they are in person.
    Thanks for those pictures.

  8. Jill Klop

    Loved the behind the scenes pictures of the Rose Bowl float construction. If I watch a parade, it’s the Rose Bowl parade! Those toy machines are cute!

  9. Sibyl

    Mary, I was shopping today and saw 2 toy sewing machines. I took pictures to send you, but I’m afraid I don’t know how to do it! Do I use this site or can you give me some instructions? Thank you!!

  10. Jan Hebert

    Oh I’m so sorry that Ihla passed. And Norma too. Just a reminder to all of us that life is short and to make the best of it while we’re here. I loved the blanket Kathy received from her family, so thoughtful. And all of the mini machines! Loved them all. I have a few vintage machines but no toy machines – yet! Funny, my daughter Jaime just told me that she wants to take me to an antique shop near her where they sell tiny sewing machines! She wants me to pick one out as part of my Christmas gift. I’m looking forward to that! Jan in MA

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jan – oh, wow!! I wish I could go with you – how fun!! Be sure to show us your toy machine.

  11. Rhoda Ebersole

    How interesting to work on Rose Bowl parade floats .

    Those miniature sewing machines are so cute Where did you find all of yours Mary?

    Happy New Year everyone!!!


    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Rhoda – I used to visit flea markets, antique stores etc where I’m sure I found them all. I honestly can’t remember. Too old🙁

  12. Carolyn Boutilier

    Mary I could not see the pictures. I would love to see the toy sewing machines.
    Happy New. Carolyn b Shenandoah valley Va

  13. Carolyn Boutilier

    SORRY Mary, Found the pictures of the toy sewing machines etc. I went to bottom of email to More Pictures.
    Carolyn b Shenandoah valley Va

  14. Beryl in Owatonna

    The machines are so fun to see! I would like to have one but really don’t have a good place to display one. I ;do have my grandmothers’ treadle machine. I have the instruction book, dated 1926! I learned to sew on it. I have it in my living room. It still sews, could probably use a new belt! It is too slow for me though.

    The family quilt is so very nice!! What a special gift.

    Happy New Year everyone!! Thanks again, Mary for continuing with the blog about nothing!! I don.t think of it as nothing!!

  15. Sue Smith

    It came in perfectly (I think) on my PC computer. First your blog, then the photos and at the bottom where it said More Sewing Machines…in red. Clicked and then more photos and on to comments. Perfect! But remember, it comes to me on my big old computer. Wondering if that makes a difference?
    The toy sewing machines are so cute. There are so many different kinds. Amazing. And to think…they really work.
    Thank you, Mary, for sending flowers in our name to Norma’s funeral. So very thoughtful of you.

  16. Sandy

    Hi Mary, Stella and Luna will be pleased to see Wellys photo, she ate the left over garlic bread thrown out on Christmas day foe the birds, no wonder she is plump! Very windy and cool tonight, extra quilt on the bed! I also have a yellow blossom pohutukawa tree, but l think the blossom will b3 blown off tonight. The toy machines are so cute, take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

  17. MaureenHP

    Enjoyed the behind the scenes from the Rose Bowl preparation. It’s always fascinated me how they do all the flowers.

  18. Linda in MI

    I hope Norma and Ihla passed away peacefully in their sleep. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all go that way?

    I love seeing the toy sewing machines, I have two that I found and they didn’t cost much at all, now all of them I see are pricey and I have so much stuff in my small space I’m not sure I have room for any more. I don’t remember having a toy sewing machine as a child but I do remember my Grandma letting me use her treadle singer one day – under her watchful eye because that was her pride and joy. We made doll clothes but made them with needle and thread and any scrap of fabric we could get our hands on. There was a store down the street from our house that everyone called a dry goods store. They had hardware, little lumber, pots and pans, some farming clothes, things like oats and beans, a bit of candy and a few bolts of fabric. We use to go buy 10 or 15 cents worth of fabric to make doll clothes, I have no idea how much fabric it was but we thought we had a lot and very special that it was brand new.

    1. Betty Klosterman

      Linda in MI,
      The fabric was 36′ wide. 10 cents bought 4″ and 15 cents bought 6.” I was thinking $1.39 a yard, but that doesn’t compute. M-y 25 cents allowance couldn’t afford a whole yard!! Then I’d go home and sew doll clothes by hand while sitting under the neighbor’s big box elder tree. We didn’t have any trees and it was hot. I didn’t know that anybody else that bought fabric like that, too.
      Fast forward a few years. I was living in a dorm in Des Moines and had a job and a sewing machine. Barbie was selling like mad. Just what I had always wanted — a doll with boobies, not just the dumb little flat chested story book dolls. I didn’t have to worry about trying the clothes on the doll because the other girls were in my room doing that. Then I ran out of fabric and the ladies I worked with brought what they had. They were so happy to get the doll clothes for kids and grandkids. I still like sewing, knitting and crocheting for Barbies. Just have a lot more patterns.

  19. Linda in Michigan

    Mary, imagine my surprise when reading the blog this morning. I have that Gateway toy machine in the original box. Don’t remember how old I was when I got it (I’m 76), but I do remember trying to sew with it. We could never get it to work, and it seems like the thread would tangle under the face-plate.
    Interesting pics of Rose Bowl parade prep. My daughter marched in the parade years ago, so that was a big deal for us. I’m not a sports fan, but will be watching U of M, go Wolverines!

  20. Sunflower from Michigan 🌻

    Mary, I loved the photos of the sewing machines. I don’t own any like these but my sister-in-law has several. I’m always on the lookout for her if I see one. Hers are all metal, no plastic and most of the dozen she has do work. They’re cute and she displays them in her sewing room.
    I’m sorry to hear of the passing of Ihla. I’m curious about the spelling of her name, also.
    Kathy, your photo family quilt is wonderful! You’ll love it. And the red work quilt is beautiful! Such talent there.
    Patti, the parade float photos are so fun. I hope the weather is great for the parade. And, GO BLUE!!

  21. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

    Once again, this blog about nothing is full of info about lots of things!😀. I never had a toy sewing machine probably because they figured I’d never sit down long enough to use it😹. Kathy’s family blanket is beautiful and a very neat idea. I wish we could have sent cards to Ihla, too, Your piano playing will be beautiful. People do not realize what a gift you give by playing. Thank you. I love the Rose Bowl Parade, but I will watch even more closely now that I have seen Pattie’s photos. The New Zealand tree and flowers are so pretty. Thanks, Sandy😀

  22. Fran

    Enjoyed seeing the toy sewing machines. Thank you for sharing.

    I have a 301 that sews beautifully. Tan! But she has no name. I have her packed to go with me to retreat tomorrow along with my FW, which always goes with me. I will be gone for 5 days. Yes!

    1. Kathy in western NY

      Fran it sounds like your 301 and my Miss Mocha could be twin sisters. I use to take my 301 along on retreats too for a back up to my Janome traveling lightweight machine. Maybe you’ll come back from retreat with a name for her.

  23. Dot in NC

    My sister and I had a toy Singer when we were little, but it wasn’t that much fun to use. They all sew a chain stitch rather than a lock stitch, and it’s a bit tricky, at the end of a seam, to cut the thread and pull it out so the end doesn’t ravel. And it takes lots of cranking! Full-size hand-crank machines have gears, so that one full turn of the crank makes several stitches; I believe the toy machines need one full turn per stitch.

    My mother had a Singer 201 and an old treadle machine, and we learned to sew on the treadle, which moved slowly enough that my mother thought it was safe. We made lots of doll clothes. We designed the clothes by folding a square of fabric into quarters, fitting it around the doll with the folded corner under her chin, cutting off that corner to make a round neck, and cutting out a section under the arms to form the sleeves and side seams. Sew the underarm/side seams, slit it up the back, and turn under a single fold on all the raw edges, and you’re done!

  24. Jeanne in Co.

    Kathy’s photo quilt is a treasure. What a wonderful family gift. Our daughter made one similar to it for our fiftieth anniversary and had everyone sign the back, so it is a special memory quilt of the day we renewed our wedding vows.
    The red work quilt shown below the toy sewing machine is beautiful. The red cat looks like he is guarding everything.
    Loved seeing everyone’s toy sewing machines. Mary, you sure do find fantastic “buys” when you go shopping at thrift stores. Do you have a favorite of the toy machines?
    Have a happy and safe New Years Eve everyone. Jeanne in Co.

  25. Paula S.

    I loved seeing all the sewing machines. I have some of those and collect them because I wanted one as a child and never got one. Now I have a whole bunch of them. The pictures of the parade floats are so interesting. I don’t know how they have the patience to do all of that work that lasts for a short amount of time.

  26. Jeanie S, Central IL

    I am so fascinated by those tiny sewing machines, Mary. You have a great collection! I am surprised how many sent in their pictures.
    Thanks so much for this blog; I am amazed at how much I learn from you and the readers. I truly appreciate. 🥰

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