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Thread: What were/are chain stitch machines used for?

  1. #1
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    Question What were/are chain stitch machines used for?

    The recent discussions of a Willcox & Gibbs and the Singer 24 got me thinking about this. I know they were used for feed sacks and the like - an easy to remove seam was an advantage there. I'm just not sure what else they were used for.

    I'm thinking a Willcox & Gibbs hand crank would be a neat addition to our growing herd!

  2. #2
    Junior Member Kittywolf13's Avatar
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    As far as I know they were used for everyday sewing. The chain stitch if finished off properly is just as strong as a lock stitch. You just have to be aware of that end!

    Now adays most folks use them for either mock sewing to see if the pattern worked and then snip the thread and unravel the hole thing without seam rippers to make adjustments or sew it again with a lock stitch, OR they use it for decorative free motion embroidery! They sew upside down so the pretty chain stitch is on top!

    Can you tell I've looked this up? Hahaha!

  3. #3
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kittywolf13 View Post
    Can you tell I've looked this up? Hahaha!
    Now why in the world would you have done that?

    Love the looks of your W & G. I think one like it would look great next to our Singer 13 - particularly if I could find one from around the same era (mid-1880's) that was in nice shape. I'm looking forward to reports of how yours sews.

  4. #4
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    I just read of a long armer who uses hers to sew the long pieces to the quilt to attach to the frame.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Kittywolf13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkCastleDH View Post
    Now why in the world would you have done that?

    Love the looks of your W & G. I think one like it would look great next to our Singer 13 - particularly if I could find one from around the same era (mid-1880's) that was in nice shape. I'm looking forward to reports of how yours sews.
    You know i will be telling the tale of how she sews! my treadle belt spool should be here next week at the latest! so exciting for me!!
    Proud owner of: Eleanor, a 1896 Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch Treadle; Tucci, a 1952 Singer Featherweight; my mothers Singer Touch & Sew 758; Brother XR 6060
    1910 Singer 66; Singer 99K Shadow, 1929 Singer 128 (currently w/hand crank)

  6. #6
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    Some pet food bags are closed by a sewn chain stitch.
    Pat H
    Carencro LA

  7. #7
    Senior Member QuilterGary's Avatar
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    Maybe I should get to piece with that away when I sew wrong sides together it would be easy to take out. I am getting better about right sides together.
    You will get what you expect to get.

  8. #8
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    My mom used one in college to get her home Ec degree - she says she sewed everything on it. Her's was HC. After she graduated her parents bought her a Singer FW.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

  9. #9
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    Now that I know that chainstitchers are good for general sewing I wonder why they're not more common? They certainly look mechanically simpler and that's usually a good thing. No futzing with bobbins! It does look like they'd use half again as much thread as a lockstitch machine since the underthread is basically doubled but I don't know if that's too big a deal.

    I love the casting on this one for sale on ebay but I can't bring myself to pay that price, particularly since the decals are either missing or were never there:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/1872-Wilcox-...-/310418999093

  10. #10
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    Civil war uniforms were chain stitched. One of the most imortant things to look for when looking to buy a vintage aurhentic one.

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