My World of Sewing Machines

All of the machines used in the production shop were purchased in semi-operable condition and repaired by me, Mike. I know them inside and out, some I am (unfortunately) more intimate with than others because of particular worn out parts that have needed special attention. Some of them even have names like Carl. Carl and I have come to an understanding and he does okay, he’s about 50 years old. I use old machines because they were cheap to get The Encampment Company off the ground but I have since fallen in love with their history as well.

From the 1900’s to the 1960’s the United States was the major manufacturer of industrial sewing machines with brands like Osann, Standard, Singer, and Union Special. These machines were shipped overseas to every corner of the earth where they were put to use producing clothing for a changing textile world in which the main production of garments was being moved farther and farther away from their retail markets. Kind of like what has happened with almost every other market over the last 100 years. 

In the 1970’s and 80’s the production of machines shifted to Japan with brands like Juki and Yamato; both great machine companies, A+. As garment manufacturers were able to start buying machines domestically the old Singer and Union Special’s were slowly taken out of service. But because of their cast iron frame and stainless steel parts, many of them have stood the test of time, at least the ones that aren’t holding down buoys off the coast of Conecticut. 

I personally love my machines and the willingness to keep them running has been a labor of love. Like any loving relationship there are good times and bad, sometimes they bite and sometimes I have to bite back. Those are sad, sad days at the Encampment shop. But they always help me make some tough clothes in the end, and for that I am grateful. 

Here’s some glamour shots, elles sont tres chic!