Victorian sewers, industrial sewing machines and sew in
Victorian sewer repairs and sewing machines were the subject of a BBC series last year.
In this episode, we explore how the Victorian era saw some of the first industrial sewing in Australia.
This week’s guest is an industrial sewing machine manufacturer.
We meet with the owner, Andrew D’Souza, who owns Vixen Sewing Machines.
Andrew D’ Souza: So, hello.
What are you doing today?
Peter: Hi, Andrew.
Andrew D (shouting): Hey there, Peter.
Andrew: So you’re an industrial designer?
Peter: I’m just doing the business that I started out doing.
Andrew (shouts): So, let me ask you this: Why are you talking to me?
Peter (shaking his head): I’m not interested in your business.
Andrew(shouting) No, you’re not interested.
Peter: Why do you want to talk to me.
Andrew D: Well, you know, we do work on a couple of different things, Peter, like we’re designing a pair of bespoke industrial sewing equipment.
And you’ve got this machine which is an antique machine, so it’s really an antique piece of equipment.
It’s been out for about 20 years.
Peter (laughing): Well, why don’t you come in and try it?
Andrew and I are just about to leave this room and we’re going to look at this machine, which has been out in the backyard for about 40 years.
So, why do you have it?
Peter is talking to Andrew D as we leave the shop.
Andrew’s talking to Peter about the machine.
Peter’s talking about the vintage sewing machines.
Andrew goes to the sewing machine.
Andrew looks at the machine and it looks like this: Andrew: So it’s made in China.
Peter sees this and goes: Andrew: Oh, it’s an old machine.
Why are we looking at this?
Peter looks at it and says: Andrew (laughingly): It’s an antique.
Peter is laughing at him.
Peter says: Well that’s not the point.
Peter walks away.
Andrew doesn’t get it, so he turns around and goes to look for a piece of hardware.
Peter’s talking with Andrew D. Peter wants to buy this antique machine for $100.
Andrew is talking with Peter about buying it.
Peter tries to find an old piece of machine hardware, but he doesn’t find it.
Then he walks away, saying: Andrew, it is a piece that I had bought in an antique shop.
Peter goes back to looking for some other pieces of equipment and finds this antique sewing machine that he was looking for.
I just wanted to see what this machine was all about, so I asked Andrew D, the owner of Vixens, if he had any machines he could sell me.
We talk about how he had an old sewing machine in the basement.
Peter tells Andrew that he could put this machine in his house, so we talk about what an antique sewing device it is.
Andrew says that he had this machine around for 20 years, so why was he so interested in it?
Andrew is going to sell me this sewing machine for the price of $100, but I don’t think he wants to pay me.
He doesn’t want to give it to me, so Peter says that I could just take it back and buy another one for $500.
Andrew agrees to that.
Peter doesn’t buy it, but Peter’s not willing to pay him, so Andrew tells him to take it away.
So Peter takes the machine home and he puts it in his workshop.
Peter has just been to the garage.
So, Peter comes home and Andrew is at his house with the sewing machines in his garage.
Peter starts talking to him.
Andrew tells Peter that he wants it to be a piece, not a machine, and he said that he’s got this old sewing device in the garage for a long time and he wants him to get it back.
Andrew then goes back and shows Peter this antique, so this is what it is like to own an antique Victorian sewing machine: Andrew: Well this is the one we’re looking for, Peter (to Peter): Is it an antique?
Andrew (looking at Peter): It is an old Victorian sewing device.
Peter puts it down.
Now, Peter has bought the sewing device and it’s got a wooden handle.
The wooden handle of the Victorian sewing machines is a Victorian style.
But, now, Peter says to Andrew, if you want this, I’ll give you a couple hundred dollars for it.
Andrew takes Peter’s hand and says, you’ve earned this for a good reason, Peter: It’s the most expensive thing I’ve ever sold, Andrew (to Andrew): No, no, no.
I want to buy it