Skip to main content

When Vintage Is Better Than New

Most people know that I am a 'gadget gal". I love tools that work! What I love even more is finding an old tool that works better than new ones!
Voila! My favorite vintage sewing tool... The Florian Rotary Pinker.
One thing that I have never been very happy with (in any of its various iterations) are pinking shears or rotary pinking blades. They just have never cut well and they have all laid, unused and unwanted, in my sewing table's drawers. The Florian Pinker changed all that! It is is a marvel of usefulness! I believe that that it could well be the forerunner of what we now call the rotary cutter. The Florian Rotary Pinker came out in 1936 then, In more recent years, they were not in business, but a company in Oregon is now making them available again. I got mine from EBay. It is vintage, looks like it was just about unused, and it works like a charm. If a Florian Pinker ever need sharpening, which my does not, this company will happily service a vintage pair.
Another vintage marvel is this Simflex. I use mine for positioning button holes and button. I had considered buying a new one but the new wmodels look like they are cheaply made and I did not want to spend the money on cheap metal and flimsy construction. This vintage simflex (again found on Ebay) is another barely used find. It is beautifully constructed without being heavy. I think that the metal is of much better quality that the "new" version. It glides open and closed and I am delighted with it. New fangled versions are readily found on Amazon and most all "sewing" vendors online though I am not sure that I have ever seen them in stores...then again I can't say that I have evcer looked for one in a store.
Since I have been sewing shirts I found that, although I am well trained at judging a quarter inch (and my machine foot makes them perfectly) I was not used to either using or eye-balling 1/2" and 5/8" seams. I went on the hunt for a seam guide that would train my eye and make me more aware of the needle plate markings for these previoulsy, mostly un-used, seam widths. I had looked at this "Creative Notions" brand seam guide and it seemed to have promise. I even found a used one on Amazon that I decided to try since it saved me $5.00. Suffice it to say that I have returned to using a short stack of post-it notes and blue painter's tape.
This seam guide would be good for quarter inch seams, but it is fairly useless for what I wanted to use it for. It comes with a foot which I knew I would not want or need. The guide itself is made of sturdy plastic that is between1/8" to a 1/4" in thickness... the 1/8" being in the area that "houses" the double stick tape-- so it mostly a whopping 1/4" thick. The problem with using it for me is that it is too thick and the little screw-thing that is on the right side of my presser foot (as you look at the machine) gets in the way.
It's flexible in that there is a bend where the guide could fit over the front curve of your machine - if it is not in a cabinet. The 're-usable" tape is simply something like (if not actually is) Elmer's poster tape. The tape does 'revive' itself if you run it onder hot water --- making it re-positionable on your machine bed. This guide would work very well if your machine needs a short shank quarter inch foot...but it does not work well with the feet on my Janome 8900...maybe I will try using it on my Featherweight?
It isn't a bad tool - it just did not work well for and me and my current sewing set up. I have better, less expensive, options.
The picture below is of my sixth's a long sleeved "basic" shirt pattern from Brensan Studios. I am using an Alison Glass cotton fabric. My only negative observation is that it wrinkles a lot - and easily. Note well: when shopiing for fabric (especially if using quilting cottons for clothes) grab a handful of the fabric and crush to see how much, and how easily, it will wrinkle. None-the-less this will be a nice looking shirt and it will go with a lot of my tee shirt colors when I wear it over another shirt. I cut it extra large so that it would could used as an overshirt too. During the construction I tried an unsuccessful way to bind the armhole seams. The stitching was too dense to rip out (I had overlocked the raw edges) and did not have enough fabric to cut outanother sleeve. I took a deep breath and tried a drastic measure...cutting out the sleeve from the body of the shirt, then redefining the pattern pieces and resewing with a smaller seam allowance to make up for the cut out! Thankfully my bet paid off and all is well. Phew! Also note well: most things can be fixed if you think through it calmly. I am having so much fun with shirts!
Now I am just waiting for a button order to arrive so that I can add the buttonholes and buttons. Thank goodness that I can order button online these days! I would never complete anything if I had to wait for an off-island jaunt to shop! I can wait finish this one off and start another - with a different pattern and more luscious rayon I love rayon!
Food for thought:
Have you ever made a sewing mistake that you were not sure could be fixed? What did you do?
What are your favorite fabrics to make clothes with?
Favorite patterns???
Have you had good luck making clothes from quilting cottons? ("they" say that quilting cottons tend to be thicker than apparel cottons)
What are your favorite sewing tools - vintage or new??


  1. Was fortunate to find a Florian linker, love it.

  2. I love to make handcraft by myself. Currently, I need a rotary cutter because my old one is already damage. One of my cousins suggests me to visit here and also said that here I found a different kind of rotary cutter. If you had more insight into it, I would much appreciate it. Thank you.


Post a Comment

Share your thoughts! Thank you for taking the time to stop by!

Popular posts from this blog

Circular Knitting Needle Comparison

When I use something a lot I have to admit that I try to find the brand that works best for me. I never thought that I would ever be a scissor snob until I found Dovo  brand scissors and, of course I love my trusty Fiskars too . I became a scissor snob thank to Dovo.  Now I seem to be searching for the perfect knitting needles - the perfect one for me at least. I have been enjoying the 'chase' and I think I am close to knowing exactly what my preference is, and want, in a knitting needles .  I only use circular knitting needles. When I first taught myself to knit myself  that's what I used and my preference has not changed. I began knitting with Addi Turbo needles. That is the brand that my LYS sold and I have always loved how slick and fast they are. I have sets of Addi clicks interchangeables in both lace and regular.  Over time, I have discovered what I want in a knitting needle: metal, the pointiest tip possible, a fast knitting, slick, metal needle and a

Fabric Stiffeners and Hardeners For All Occasions Plus A Recipe For Home Made Starch Alternative

I have had to become better acquainted with various ways to harden, stiffen or prevent fraying in cloth lately. It has been an enlightening journey, and I thought that I would pass it along the lessons that I have learned about a variety of excellent products that suit any need to 'tame' fabric for a variety of reasons.  Fray Check. Who among us has not used this ubiquitous little potion over the years? It works like a charm to 'glue' up those raw edges on some of the most beautiful fabrics I use; ensuring that I can sew the fabric without fear of endless unraveling. This product has remained a favorite since I first discovered it many years ago. The only change that I think Prym/Dritz has made to it over the years is a finer application tip. I have re-discovered my admiration for this product as I was making a holiday gift from some beautiful cotton that was especially prone to fraying! I have also recently learned that Fray Check can be removed with rubbing

Sarah Ann Smith's DVD Art Quilt Design From Photo To Threadwork

This is your opportunity to win a copy of my friend, Sarah Ann Smith's new DVD! Keep reading to find out how! Sarah and I became fast friends when she lived here in the Great Pacific Northwest, before she became the famous quilt artist that she now is! We both are "what if" kind of people and we used to love to play together. Traveling, experimenting with new things and new methods. It was a sweet time in my life, and she has become a 'forever friend' no matter how far the distance or how famous she becomes! She has always been a personal cheerleader for me, and I am constantly amazed at what an inquisitive, 'how-to-do-it', kind of mind she has. I used to watch her mull over a concept. You could see the focus and watch the gears turning, and her solutions were /are always well thought out as well as beautifully executed.. I imagine that many of you are already familiar with Sarah's book , which I find to be a very valuable. It's