brother jones, sister singer

I was recently gifted a Singer 538 from a work colleague, hitherto gathering dust in her mother’s loft for 20 years strong. To test drive her capabilities, I returned to Yoshiko’s Jumper Dress G from Stylish Dress Book: Simple Smocks and Tops. Unsatisfied with the fit and fabric of my previous attempt, I tasked myself with adjusting the pattern to accommodate my friend Claire – petite in every way and understated to the core.

The pattern is traced off a size small with adjustments at the underarms, hem and pockets. For a more fitted shape, I took 2.5 cm off at each underarm seam, blending 12cm down. I neglected to add the recommended hem extension and raised the length by 23cm (leaving a hem allowance of 3cm) to accommodate my friend’s slight frame. She also requested side pockets and inspired by Victory Patterns’  Madeleine, I had a stab at creating my own aided by top tips from A Fashionable Stitch’s Patch Pocket Tutorial.

Uncharitable as it sounds, my yen to stitch has not been instigated by a desire to create for anyone other than myself. Neither am I propelled to explore the commercial possibilities of garment making. The responsibility and self-imposed pressure of meeting another’s expectations is the exact opposite of what sewing affords me. However, some things and people are worth stepping out of your comfort zone for.

Unlike my preference for big and bold, Claire is a proponent of the plain – clean lines with no frills or adornments. People often assume what makes them happy would make you happy – children, religion, alcohol ….. dismembered dolls and asymmetric hair (yes, I’m as guilty as the next person). Making for someone else is akin to being a good friend – appreciating their perspective and resisting the urge to put your own spin on things.

So I crawled into the mental landscape of another and fought against my desire to highlight detail with contrasting top-stitch. And I’m so glad I did – the results are subtle and classic imbuing the Japanese stylings from the book which the pattern heralded. I’m modelling the results which were fashioned for my understated and camera shy friend, who is much more petite than I. However, I’m so happy with the outcome, I’m going to replicate for myself – albeit a tad longer and wider.

Brother Jones was my first – a thing of beauty in shades of baby blue. Aesthetically, I was underwhelmed when I first set eyes on the Singer. Much less delovely with her sharp angles and muted hues but possessing a functioning buttonhole and zig zag capacity. She arrived with a predilection for incessant stitch when switched on and I invested in a service to see if this could be remedied.

£45 later and I was rewarded with a workhorse of epic proportions. Appreciating her functionality on this project, has caused me to look on her anew and appreciate her form through a lover’s eyes. Her angular frame and colouration are now reminiscent of Art Deco, the sound of her mechanisms a song to my ear. This is a steed fit for the long game –  I’m not sure how Brother Jones has taken to his new sibling but she’s definitely won me over.

5 thoughts on “brother jones, sister singer

  1. I love the sharp detailing on the pockets – and the shape of them. brilliant, I am glad the singer worked out, its good to have a spare machine, and that singer should have a lot of metal in its construction as its a 70s machine (it also can take ‘cams’ like the 328 I have – I have never used them but am so curious), but equally, the brother, now that I am using the one I have, is a very sturdy machine – its a real workhorse, (I feel like I should be sewing miles of curtains or something when I use it).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! The pockets are my first attempt at doing something from my own imagination so I’m really pleased with them. And the machine is fantastic – it’s going to be my main machine with the Jones as a spare as the Jones is super temperamental with no zig zag or button hole function. I’ve been persevering with it for mainly sentimental reasons but the Singer is handling like a dream. I feel like I’ve cheated on my first love though! Am just heading over to your blog now to see what you’ve been up to.


  2. The unusual pockets take this up a notch from ‘simple minimal’ and I can see the daily workhorse appeal of it. I’m with you, preferring a bit of trimtastic going on but your friend must be thrilled to bits with this made to order classic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She is super thrilled Terri! I’m having a hard job convincing people now that I don’t want to make clothes for others on a more regular basis! Another friend has requested an identical one and my sister is hankering after a smock so I’m going to have to get faster at knocking them out if I want to make any progress with the next three projects I have in mind for myself! 🙂


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