New Orleans House Project

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Trade Card Tuesday: Singer Costume Cards #2

Last week I shared some cards produced by The Singer Manufacturing Co. for the Columbian World Exposition in 1893.  The cards were designed to be a souvenir of the world's fair and featured Singer sewing machine owners from around the world.  The cards proved extremely popular, leading Singer to issue another set of costume cards in 1894.

Archangel (now Arkhangelsk) is a city in northern Russia, not terribly far from Finland.  Can't you just imagine living a semi-nomadic lifestyle in the frozen tundra, but having a Singer sewing machine to help you stitch all those heavy wool and fur fabrics?  

Next in our travels:  a Singer sewist from Boulogne-ser Mer.  Her costume is rather subdued, but the headpiece is wonderful!  I wonder how that was constructed?

I'm enjoying the traditional headwear illustrated in this group of cards!  

The "chimney pot" hat became symbolic of Welsh traditional dress in the mid-1880s.

Here is the only non-home sewing machine illustrated in this set of cards.  This looks like it could be a Model 18, which has been put to use creating headwear!

I've rambled on enough for today, but I'll leave you with one final image to admire.  In addition to the wonderful costumes, this card also hints at a tradition common to many sewists - enjoying music while stitching.  Wouldn't it be great to have one's family supply music to make the stitching merrier?  Could this be the 19th Century version of the iPod?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Grandmother's Choice: Alice's Flag

The block for week #7 of Barbara Brackman's BOW is Alice's Flag.  It is meant to commemorate the flag made by Alice Paul to track the states' ratification of the 19th Amendment.  Alice stitched a new star to her flag each time a state ratified the amendment.  At the time, 36 of 48 states were needed for ratification.  Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan were the first states to approve the amendment in 1919.  It took over a year for enough states to ratify the amendment into law; Tennessee was the deciding state in August, 1920.

In the interest of "git 'er done", I used fused my star using Heat 'n Bond Lite - friend to applique-ists everywhere.  Later today I'll use my fancy, modern sewing machine to blanket stitch around the edges of the star.  Now to choose fabrics for this week's block:  Rocky Road to Kansas.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Chocolate Therapy

Working with brown fabrics for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge reminded me of yet another unfinished UFO.  These 9-patch blocks were part of a swap amongst members of the Treadle On mail list.  The idea was to be inspired by chocolate and create 9 inch blocks that reminded us of candy.

There weren't enough blocks from the swap to make a decent-sized quilt, so I put them in the UFO pile to marinate.  I pulled the blocks out earlier this month and started sketching block arrangements.

I decided to alternate the 9-patch blocks with literal chocolate candy snowball blocks.  Today's chocolate therapy involved cutting the fabric for the snowball blocks and making a few additional 9-patches to have the quilt work out to a reasonable size.  I guess the best thing about this kind of chocolate therapy is it is calorie free!  

I'm getting frustrated by my current inability to stay focused on any one project until it is completely finished.  I have hope for this quilt, as most of the work is already done.  My goal is to keep this one on the front burner until it is finished.

If you're having a craving for chocolate, be sure to stop by Angela's Rainbow Scrap link-up.  I'm sure you'll find plenty of calorie-free fabric goodness!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Trade Card Tuesday: Singer Costume Cards #1

Since I discussed the Columbian World Exposition of 1893 last week, I thought this week would be a good opportunity to present some wonderful trade cards produced by the Singer Company.

Doesn't the woman's apron look like patchwork?
In 1892, the Singer Mfg. Co. commissioned a set of 36 advertising cards with the intent of giving them away as souvenirs during the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Titled "Costumes of All Nations", the card packaging reads: "These cards are lithographed reproductions of photographs taken on the spot in the various countries and provinces and colored there to correctly represent the native costumes. They are National Costume Studies, reliable and perfect in every detail."

Each card illustrates a native of the country or province in traditional garb, seated at or using their Singer sewing machine.  The reverse of the card has a brief description of the country and a few words about the Singer sewing machine office located there.  Distributed in boxed sets of 36, the cards are copyright 1892 by the Singer Manufacturing Co. and printed by J. Ottmann Lith. Co.  

The machines illustrated on the cards are mostly transverse and vibrating shuttle machines that were typical home sewing machines.  The machine in the card above is a VS2 (vibrating shuttle) with a fiddle-shaped base.  VS2 machines were manufactured from about 1887 to 1891.  The machine shape changed to a rectangular base after 1891 and was called a Model 27.

I chose this card more for the woman's costume than the sewing machine.  The embroidery and other details on her jacket are beautiful!  

The machine illustrated here was known as a Model 2.  It was literally the second production model and was manufactured from 1854 through the 1890s.  It was a large, heavy machine with lots of room under the sewing arm.

An industrial machine:  Model 29.  Used for sewing leather and making harnesses.

Illustrated here are two portable, hand-crank Model 12 machines. The Model 12 used a reciprocating
or transverse shuttle mechanism, and was manufactured for approximately 30 years, beginning in 1865.
The sewing machines are sitting on top of the wooden cover that was supplied with the machine.

Another set of charming costumes, and the sewing work appears to be embroidery done on a Singer sewing machine.

The "Costumes of All Nations" cards proved so popular, Singer soon issued a second set with different illustrations.  I'll save those for another day!

In the meantime, I located another website devoted to the World Columbian Exposition sponsored by the University of Virginia.  The focus of the article is the history of the fair and the effect it had on American culture.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Box of Chocolates!

Working with brown scraps as part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge has definitely had me thinking about chocolate!  In fact, I was inspired to dig out a chocolate-themed UFO and take some steps toward finishing it.  I hope I'm able to show it in a more finished state later this month.

Brown 16 patch blocks are my offering for today.  

There are other rainbow scrappy irons in the fire, but they will have to wait for another entry.  I'm linking up with the other Rainbow Scrappers at Angela's blog and then off for a major overhaul of my sewing room.  Please send a search party if you don't hear from me for a while!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Trade Card Tuesday: Davis Sewing Machines

The Davis Sewing Machine Co. began producing sewing machines in the late 1860s.  The Davis product functioned a little differently from most sewing machines of the time, as it moved the fabric forward using a "vertical feed" mechanism.  I've never seen a Davis, much less sewn on one, but my understanding is the vertical feed was produced by the needle and presser foot and the effect was similar to today's walking foot.

A lovely "before & after" card illustrating the ease of home sewing with a Davis Vertical Feed Sewing Machine.  The uniqueness of the vertical feed was a featured selling point in Davis advertising for many years.

Apparently even the angels sang the praises of Davis vertical feed sewing machines!  

The company was incorporated in Watertown, NY, but moved to Dayton, OH in 1886.  By the late 1890s, the vertical feed mechanism was no longer in production and Davis machines featured regular feed dogs.  Around this time the company also became involved in producing machines for sale by other companies and the machines were stenciled with names chosen by the vendor.  Davis made sewing machines for Sears, Roebuck & Co. for many years, including the popular "Minnesota" line of machines.  The Davis SM Co. went out of business in 1924.

This dapper paper "doll" may have been produced in conjunction with the Columbian World Exposition of 1893.  Held in Chicago, the Exposition was staged to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus landing in America.  Exhibits from all over the world were on display and sparked an interest in cultural traditions.

The Exposition also featured technology, so many sewing machine manufacturers had displays of their machines and examples of work that the machines could perform.  The images below are from a souvenir booklet that extolled the wonders of Davis sewing machines.  
The cover of the booklet echoes the world's fair theme, with women in ethnic costume in a classical pose in front of buildings from the Exposition.  According to the text inside the booklet, this image was copied from a silk tapestry made with an "etching" attachment which allowed the Davis machine to embroider on silk.
The back cover of the Davis souvenir booklet features goddess-like figures surrounded by symbols of America.  The center figure probably represents Columbia, or Miss Columbia, a female figure meant to represent America.  Columbia is usually portrayed as a classically-attired goddess, wearing a Liberty Cap (or Phrygian cap) and holding other U. S. symbols.  The booklet illustration was also copied from a silk tapestry embroidered with a Davis sewing machine.

Further reading:

Pictures of actual Davis Vertical Feed machines:

Columbian World Exposition of 1893:

Miss Columbia:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Different Kind of Hand Sewing

One of my priority projects for this weekend was to work on hand-piecing the Sunflower block for Barbara Brackman's Grandmother's Choice BOW.  I picked my fabrics and had my templates ready for some fussy cutting.  But as I played with the fabrics I realized my choices just weren't working.  No problem - I moved on to piecing two other Grandmother's Choice blocks.

The two blocks I needed to make had already been cut for machine piecing, but in the spirit of hand sewing, I got out my trusty Singer Model 99 hand crank.  I've bragged about this machine before - it's hard to beat a hand crank sewing machine for piecing accuracy.

Easy peasy - the New Jersey block was done - and had nice accurate points.

Next up:  Aunt Eliza's Star.  Very happy with the result here!

OK, it's taken me way too long to finish this entry.  I'm watching the Saints on Sunday Night Football (it's kind of a special game tonight!) and have every intention of working on the binding on this quilt.  Since I've had a day of hand sewing, I'll link up to Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching to share some hand stitching inspiration.  

Go Saints!
Addendum:  Saints win and I finished binding the quilt - I'm a happy camper!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Foolin' Around with Brown

The Rainbow Scrapsters have been challenged to use up their brown scraps this month.  I started out easy and grabbed some scrappy 2 inch strips (I'm a loyal follower of Bonnie Hunter's Scrap User System) for some quick brown 9-patches.
These were snapped outside this morning before the sun was really high in the sky;  even though I tweaked them in Pixelmator, the colors would've shown up better with more daylight.  I'll have to remember to photograph the rest of this month's brown blocks in brighter sunshine!

I've pretty much decided I won't be making any more Granny Squares and Greek Squares for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I think those two quilts will look better using just rainbow colors (and some varieties like pink and teal), so I'll be trying to move the blocks to the design wall for finishing inspiration soon.  

OK, technically it's a combination house and bar, but when you see an orange, ah...building,  it gets your attention!
Of course, it's hard to ignore inspiration when it strikes.  As I was driving home from work this week, I was waiting in line at a 4-way stop and as I looked out the car window I realized I was looking at an orange house.  Although orange was the Rainbow Scrap color for September, the little light bulb still went off in my head.  I immediately started thinking about a rainbow scrap quilt based on New Orleans house colors!  Thanks to Sheila, I already have some purple happy, scrappy houses in my collection, so adding more New Orleans inspired colors is a logical next step.

I'm going to go link up with the weekly Rainbow Scrap party over at SoScrappy's blog.  Lots of brownie goodness to be seen, so please do check it out.  After that I'll be prepping a project to keep my hands busy during the Florida-LSU game later this afternoon.  Nothing like a college football game to encourage hand sewing!  Unless the game is just too nerve-wracking, of course!