Singer Sewing Machine 1953

Growing up in the 1950s all our clothes, except coats and undies, were home-made by our mother.

Mum was a dab-hand with her sewing machine and she made clothes for me, my younger sister and for herself.
sewing machine 6 kettlethorpeMum sewed dresses for winter and for summer; shorts for going on holiday; and blouses for school. She knitted cardigans, jumpers, gloves, scarves, hats; even once a woolly swimsuit.

She had a Singer sewing machine purchased in 1953 for £27 / 18s / 9d. My dad saved the receipt in case the machine didn’t work and he had to take it back to the shop.
sewing machine receiptThe sewing machine was the Singer 99 designed for family use with an oscillating hook.
sewing machine 1
sewing machine 2
The electric pedal was an optional extra which my mum didn’t want. She couldn’t afford it anyway but confessed that she was scared that she wouldn’t be able to control an electric machine as she’d been sewing for years with her mother’s manual Singer.
sewing machine
Mum used a paper pattern but she often adapted the patterns to make them more original. She made identical clothes for my sister and me, not because we were twins but because she could get more value from the fabric with careful positioning and cutting – almost two for the price of one!
Sewing 4 Sutton on sea 1956 Sewing 5 Newmillerdam 1956
As we got older our tastes diverged and we made our own choices of patterns and fabrics for the clothes our mum made for us. But in the sixties the days of home-made clothes came to an end as we couldn’t resist the lure of boutiques and department stores.
Mustn’t forget to add that mum made clothes for our dolls too. My sister still has her Rosebud doll wearing a skirt made for her by our mother. And, my sister has inherited mum’s Singer sewing machine and still uses it occasionally to this day.
Thanks for reading my blog today. You can read more of my memories of a 1950s childhood in ‘Cabbage and Semolina‘ and it’s follow-on, ‘Jam for Tea‘.


5 thoughts on “Singer Sewing Machine 1953

  1. This is wonderful. I teach a “Keepers at home” class (Titus 2) at my church. It is an effort to renew the home keeping skills in our young women. To my surprise and delight, some older ladies also attend and are learning how to install zippers and buttonholes. Home making skills like sewing and knitting are skills which are sorely needed today – and I am also able to amend my income by doing sewing for other people.


    1. Although I didn’t follow my mother’s example and make clothes I used a Brother electric sewing machine for years to make curtains and cushion covers. In other words, my sewing machine skills were limited to straight lines! Thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment. I think learning some sewing skills is a good idea for women and men. My husband is very good at sewing buttons back as his own mother taught him when he was young. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading my blog, June and leaving a comment. I didn’t mean to imply that we actually were twins – there’s 18 months difference in our ages. Just goes to show how easy it is to write meaning one thing and ending up saying another. Must get my editor to read my blogposts through too!!! I’m the fairer haired one but when we were that age everyone thought we were twins even when we were dressed differently because we were always together. My other sister still has mum’s button tin full of spare and re-cycled buttons including those from the dress mum is wearing in the first photo. We spent many happy hours sorting the buttons and using them as currency in make-believe play. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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