Monday, May 11, 2015

Just Chain Stitchin’ Away!

MACHINE sightings in Italy!

In the touristy areas of San Gimignano and also in Florence, we came across specialty shops where talented machine operators would free-hand stitch your name, your initials, or any sentimental word or combination of words and phrases onto garments such as baby bibs, aprons, tote bags ----if you can write it out, they will stitch it!

I’m not sure if it was the machine with its “MADE IN ITALY” sign, or the colorful array of threads that caught our attention, but it certainly drew us into the booth!

Do you notice that there is no thread spool pin on top?

These chain stitchers work with a cone of thread placed on a spindle BELOW the machine, the stitching pulls a loop of thread up through the top of the garment, so the chain stitching is visible on the front side, giving the appearance of straight stitching on the back.

Very very cute!


Machine from the front!

I was browsing with Frieda this day –and she became a new grandma for the first time about a month ago, and she was deep into baby mode!

She chose a bib, and we asked the gentleman to personalize it with the baby’s first name – which happens to be HUNTER!

Check it out:

And then when we were in Florence, we came upon ANOTHER embroidery stall ---and I asked a little bit more about the machines.  They are manufactured by Corticelli, the same company name asCorticelli thread.  These machines are old and hard to come by….

I am fascinated by the skill it takes to steer from underneath while guiding from the top!

She did MY name!

There was also another vintage machine sighting – this one in Montecatini Terme:


A Necchi industrial treadle!


In a shop that sold buttons and trims!
((And for some reason, bras!))

As fun as the chain stitchers would be to play with – I really wanted to get my hands ((And my feet!)) on the Necchi industrial treadle!

Today has been a complete wash --- not really a wash, though wash was accomplished.  Mail order went out.  A massage happened from 3pm to 4:30pm.  And then we met up with Rick and Mona for dinner here in Winston because they were in town doing some shopping and we were able to celebrate Rick’s birthday dinner with him.

My entire day in a nutshell.

It will be early to bed –tomorrow is chock full of need-to-dos that need to happen before Wednesday’s flights to Alaska!

Catch you in the morning with more Italy photos!

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  1. Funny about the button shop/bra shop! There is a shop near our family home outside of Toulouse, France which sells needlepoint/embroidery supplies, as well as socks and stockings. Just must be a euro-thing.

  2. Wow! That was so interesting. Very skilled indeed. I agree about the Necchi. Would have been nice to get the feel of her. Still struggling with my newly acquired Singer Treadle. I am really good and running over my foot!.
    Welcome Back!

    Aileen in Florida

  3. Good grief Lady, you get some rest all that flying around is tiring stuff! Glad you are back on US soil!

  4. Those sewing machines are everywhere in Italy! 8 years ago, in Venice, we bought an apron and the young girl sewed my name on it- being the first time ever that no one asked me how to spell it: MARIETTA..no wonder, as I have Italian ancestry! LOVE my apron!

  5. I've been to Italy twice before and I've never seen these sewing machines. I'm going again in October so I will make a point to look for them. Thanks for the heads up Bonnie. Safe journey to Alaska on Wednesday. I wish you were going to be in Southeast Alaska again.

  6. Bonnie--I went to Italy 2 years ago it was awesome. We were in the Tuscany Valley too. I remembered 2 of towns you were in. I saw so many doors and front facades. Every time I wanted t g in a knitting shop they were closed--siesta time. never got to see any fabrics. That writing was awesome

  7. I strongly suspect that the selling of ladies underwear in haberdashery shops goes back many years to the days when these were exclusively female premises. My parents were amused to discover that their respective families had EACH run one in the 1890's, one in Liverpool and one in Cape Town! Also a very "respectable" trade for ladies to work in, as the clientele was almost entirely other women. No rough men in muddy boots!


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