Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Daryle Lambert: Valuable Antique and Vintage Sewing Tools
Yesterday I wrote about antique and vintage linens & textiles, particularly "Samplers," so today I thought it would be a good time to expand to the sewing experience.
With the cost of clothing accelerating at such a fast pace and the quality of it declining, you might expect the interest in home sewing to gain popularity once again. There has always been interest in sewing collectibles, but the future trends might even increase this interest. Just last month, Cindy made the comment that she might have to find someone to make her a dress. She had an affair to attend and couldn't find a dress that she felt was appropriate or even fit well. Not only that, she told me she has a hard time buying clothing now because the clothes are "so ugly and trendy, and not made to fit someone like me." I wonder how many other people feel the same way.
For the home sewer, the modern machines might seem like the logical solution, but don't be surprised if you see the ladies, as well as men, begin to do some of their own sewing the old fashioned way. And, what will they need in the way of equipment and supplies to do this?
They may need thimbles, sewing birds, darners, pincushions, scissors, tape measures and needles for a start. Now that we have got those things out of the way, what's next? Thread, sewing boxes, thread caddies, a sewing machine, and several other additions.
Wow! Are you sure you want to start this venture? How sure are you that it will save money? But if this is what you decide to do, it might not be about money. It might just be for the fun of making something yourself that others will see you wearing or being used in your home. It might just be for the satisfaction of making something of high quality of your own design. Doing things the way your mother or grandmother did things can prove to be very rewarding.
I know very little about sewing, but this I promise you -- there is gold in those antique sewing articles that were used by your relatives. When I want to get general information on pricing, I usually start with eBay's completed auctions and Kovels price guide. These don't represent the low or the high end of the market, but I have found they give me a general idea about the markets for the items I am researching.
Lets start with the antique sewing box. A fairly common one made of wood can set you back from $150 to $750. If you really want to get fancy, buy the three tiered 1892 initialed pincushion I saw for over $4,000. While we are accumulating the other items needed, we might want to look at sewing machines. A Clark Foliage from 1859 comes in at about $5,000. The Shaw & Clark sewing machine will set you back about $7,000. This sewing thing seems to be getting expense, don't you think? I once bought a Singer Featherweight machine for under $100, and it sold at auction for over $500. That has been my best purchase in the sewing arena only because it hasn't crossed my mind to look. I'll need to reconsider when I go into an estate sale or even a garage sale next time.
Sewing birds and darners can be picked up for a couple of hundred dollars and generally, pincushions fall in $25 to $500 range. Most of the other accessories can be purchased for under $100. And guess what? We haven't yet thought about the threads and fabrics.
One of our 31 Club members, Ondre H., just finished selling a large group of sewing machine instruction books on eBay and was surprised with the results. They all sold, and most of the for over $30. Several did considerably better than that. Her father was in the business and had accumulated these over many years. They covered a wide range of machines, so the collectors were very excited to receive them.
Personally, I am not going to take up sewing, but collecting these items is a different story. There are many people who collect the items that had been used every day by their mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers. Finding these items and getting them into the hands of collectors who treasure them is a valuable service you can provide while you make money doing it. These kinds of items will be good purchases for those beginning their Steps with the 31 Club and will propel you upward so you can soon join those traders who are dealing in the higher end markets.
Anyone interested in vintage sewing items will benefit from having The Story of Antique Needle Tools by Bridget McConnel become part of their library. This book chronicles the history and diversity of needlework tools dating from ancient Egypt through the twentieth century.
Another great resource is Sewing Tools & Trinkets: Collector's Identification & Value Guide
You can get a really good price on these two book together from Amazon right now.
The 31 Club uses a wealth building plan that can help you accumulate enough funds to last a lifetime, buying and selling antiques, collectibles, and fine art. Join the 31 Club. Learn about Antiques & Collectibles. Learn How to Invest in Antiques & Collectibles and build lifetime wealth. The plan is in my book. When you join today, you'll receive my 220 page book, 31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles, FREE.
"...I spent about 15 years in the antiques and collectible field
and I can tell you this is one of the best books you will ever
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Hip to hem: Sewing makes a comeback