I stumbled upon this ancient piece of headgear and have not been able to identify or date it.
I blame the internet for this purchase. Reading vintage sewing machine blogs led me to reading vintage sewing blogs. Which led me to vintage fashion blogs. Which led me to blogs written by women who recreate historic costumes and then get together for wonderful teas, dinners, and balls in fabulous historic settings.
So all in all I have seen tons of pictures of antique and vintage garments. And this is clearly something interesting. I just don't know what.
I have two big Dover books cataloging 19th century women's garments and I don't see anything quite like it in there.
It is hand sewn and the neck drape (dont know what to call it) is knit from wool, as is the trim on the hat (hat? bonnet?).
Becky pointed out that the knitted neck drape looks like hair.
It is lined in a blackish wool felt. This would have been a snuggly and warm head covering, with a long neck protector.
So I am looking for a name for the thing (which will help my internet searching) and an approximate date for this style.
And thanks to the gorgeous BF Becky for modeling!
She insisted on some "serious face" pictures because people did not smile in pictures back in the day.
Let me know in the comments if you can name or date this headgear!
Update: Bernadette informed me on Facebook that:
"The Windsor B is a National :) sold by Montgomery Wards. In the US it's worth the same as all the other National machines out there, people try to work out value by googling the name on the machine and think it's rare because not much information comes up. "
My friend Pam has an antiques shop in Texas, although she claims it s a junk shop. If so she has great taste in junk.
She runs into beautiful sewing machines while she is out looking around and often asks me "how much is this worth?"
And I laugh.
The answer is always the same: whatever somebody is willing to pay.
But I love seeing the photos and occasionally I am able to give her some useful information.
The latest one is a Windsor B in a lovely cabinet, and with nice decals.
I know nothing about Windsor B's, but I;m guessing someone out there does. Please chime in if you do in the comments below.
Here's how I know Pam. Once upon a time there was a wonderful woman named Jan. I considered her my BF. So did Pam. So did Becky. So did Nancy. And Jan really did have a heart big enough to be BFs with all of us. Really. And we are all still friends with each other. And we all still have, and forever will have, a gaping hole in our hearts where Jan used to be.
btw, before Pam got to the Windsor B, someone else bought it. Such is life. But I include it here because I assume you never get tired of looking at old sewing machines. I know I never do.
It had been quite a while since I worked on any sewing machines, but I got back into the swing recently. And it's about time to get back to blog basics.
The Hoard: My supply of vintage and antique sewing machines that I MIGHT work on someday. Untested and uncleaned. Just waiting for me. Because when you get the urge to work on machines, it is good to have 50 or so just hanging around waiting for you. And in this hoard were a bunch of Necchis. Pronounced, if you are an American "neck' ee". Everything sounds classier in Italian, so if you know how to pronounce this in Italian, spell it out for us in the comments.
I recently dug out ALL the Necchis I have been hoarding and checked them all out. All passed and are now part of...
The Herd: Vintage machines that have been cleaned, oiled, lubed, tinkered with, and tested until working perfectly. Some of these I think I will keep. Some I plan to sell. And sometimes I keep them until EXACTLY the right person turns up who obviously needs a specific machine.
Necchi BU Nova
There are actually three of these, one plain old BU and two BU Novas. I can see some mechanical differences but I really know nothing about Necchis.
Except for the fact that all these Italian Necchis just blew my socks off. If you have only ever sewn with a vintage Singer, bless its heart, it's like the difference between driving an ordinary car and driving a Mercedes. Not the best analogy, Ferrari would get the country right. But I have never driven a Ferrari and I used to own a Mercedes. It was 15 years old when I bought it and it consumed 10% of my gross income keeping it on the road the one year I owned it but it WAS a Mercedes and it was a dream to drive.
The BUs reportedly are great to treadle and I do have such plans. One of them was sold to me as a parts machine and was partially disassembled. I reassembled it and it works just fine. I re-dis-assembled it and have plans to paint it and keep it for treadling. Once I'm satisfied with this I will sell the other two.
BTW, the word "plans" always means: something that may or may not happen at an indeterminate future time.
It's easy to spot a zigzag machine: more than one knob or lever!
I don't ever discuss price on the blog, either buying or selling. Let's just say that I didn't have to think twice. And it's pink. That 1950's is-it-pink-or-is-it-beige color.
At checkout the clerk said, "oh, you got the Nietzsche machine." A mistake I have heard several times, which I why I am telling you all this so you can be spared embarrassment. For the correct pronunciation of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, click here. You're welcome.
It didn't come with cams, but I found some on eBay.
Two-speeds! One for speed, one for power.
Necchi Julia Supernova
I have really slowed down in machine acquisition (meaning less than a dozen so far this year) and have gotten rid of a bunch (half as many as acquired, as per usual). This was one I could not resist. And it was in a beautiful and very large midcentury modern desk which I regretfully left behind. Just. No. Room..
The bobbin cover slide plate was missing. I set up an eBay search and in about 2 months one popped up at a very reasonable price.
It came with ALL the goodies. This is why I took a chance, spent more than my usual top price, and didn't mind a bit even considering that missing slide plate. ALL the goodies.
All the cams, one of which claims to be a buttonholer and looks like it would take an engineering degree to master. (top left)
All the stitch designs are shown on this wheel, which you can turn to discover the correct cam and settings.
Flip the wheel over and there are even more stitch designs shown on the reverse.
And lots of feet too.
Necchi Free Arm Supernova
I don't have as many photos of this one as of the Julia, and wonderful as the Julia is, this one is the reigning monarch of the Necchi herd. Why? Two words
And another full kit of gear.
Only one thing could make this better. It could be not gray. Gray, my least favorite color. I'm pretty sure this also came in pink. And I have heard that it came in lavender. Lavender!
* * * * * * * * * *
Are any of these going in my (possible) Christmas CraigsList sale? Not on your life. Eventually, after I paint one of them, the other 2 BUs can go. Some day. If that ever happens, I'll offer them to my fellow fanatics around here first.
Some day I will meet someone who NEEDS that Nora. I'll know it when it happens. It'll be someone I know, not a stranger from CraigsList. This is the real reason I have 100 sewing machines. I get such a thrill out of matching the right machine to the right person.
The really high end ones with all the bells, whistles and attachments? Hoarded, like a dragon with her gold. But eventually probably converted to money. It's the sale of machines like these that keep this a more or less self-funding hobby.
Any Necchi fans out there? I have been told that they tend to freeze up if not used regularly because the engineering is so tight (you can insert a better technical term there) that if the tiniest bit of oil dries, it seizes. All of mine were turning when purchased and were oiled on the way in the door, but then sat for two or more years on the shelf. And all turned freely when I got them out. What is your experience with Necchis?
I am experimenting with using Google+ as a way to let people follow my blog, DragonPoodle Studio. If you are interested in repairing or restoring vintage or antique sewing machines, this blog's for you!