great friends, grandpas and singers

About a year ago I got call from one of my favourite friends Drew, who I hadn’t seen for six months or so.

The conversation went something like, ‘Hi Leanne, I found an old singer sewing machine on the side of the road, it works, do you want it?’.

‘Sure’ I replied. I wasn’t sure, but I figured why not? ‘

Great’ said Drew and we haven’t seen each other since.

On Friday in the morning my Mum rang me to say that she was sorting out her cupboards, and did I want any of my Grandpas old sewing stuff, otherwise she was ‘sending it overseas’.

My Grandpa started his tailoring apprenticeship at 15 and worked in Camberwell all his life.  His business was associated with the menswear shop William Dick, and when I was young he still worked part time as a tailor in a little brick building out the back (in the Camberwell carpark where the Camberwell market is held).  The building has since been demolished.

grandpa's buttons

So I went over and looked through two piles of things.  So much great stuff … buttons, linen thread on old wooden reels, scissors, old measuring tapes.  It was so exciting.  And all packed in hand labelled boxes I remember used to sit stacked up on the shelves in my grandpa’s work room (we loved going to his work as we’d always get to go across the road to The Chocolate Box).

I thanked my Mum and took it all!  I now have the labelled boxes on the open shelves in my studio, and when I look at them I think of my lovely grandpa and the possible things I could make.  I am contemplating  button necklaces on linen thread, or necklaces with a bit of incorporated tape measure?!

Coincidentally I spoke to Drew’s partner Mich on Friday and she said she’d drop off the sewing machine Drew had found so long ago. AND IT IS SO COOL!!! On Saturday I opened it up and turned it on and I am in love!


It is just like the machines I remember Grandpa using.  It is nice and heavy and solid and sturdy.

It has a leather belt and a fab. light that you have to turn on separately.  The stitching goes forwards (with options for a few different lengths) and backwards.  That’s it.

I am REALLY looking forward to using it. New cottons, new buttons, new scissors, new machine, new ideas …


  1. I remember grandpa using those beautiful linens to hand sew perfect little buttonholes in suit jackets.


  2. Wow a fab collection of buttons & threads, if you ever need to dispose of any unwanted stuff, I’m happy to be on the receiving end….. Love it all


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s