Thursday, 25 October 2012

Alto - The Future of Sewing Machines?

For as long as I can remember as a child, we had a vintage Singer sewing machine stand sitting in the hallway at home. The machine had been replaced by a marble top but the cast iron base with it's treadle and wheel were a constant source of amusment for my childhood self (and the occasional snagged finger - ow!)

The first time I laid eyes on the fabled Singer machine that belonged to said treadle was when a mum from school unveiled her prized - and in working order - 1938 Singer machine during rehearsals of "Fiddler on the Roof". In my excitment I proceeded to stab the needle clean through my index finger.

Singer's 160th Anniversary Machine

In the 80-odd years since the hey dey of the gorgeous-yet-functional Singer machine, domestic sewing machines have not been the pack leaders in form and design. With the exception perhaps of the fancy unfolding Elna LOTUS or Singer's 160th Anniversary Edition machine, there have been few truly beautiful and functional sewing machines since.

Elna LOTUS - a design classic.

So when a machine comes along that defies convention of both form and function, we definitely sit up and pay attention!
Introducing "Alto".

British designer Sarah Dickins has come up with an absolutely stunning concept machine that not only changes the way we look at sewing machines - but also the way that we use them!

The Alto eliminates a foot pedal by using a pressure sensor built into the base of the machine. It also allows for a change in speed just by moving the fabric! The simplified threading process and large base area also allow for super-easy sewing.

Alto has been submitted as an entrant for the James Dyson Design Award as a machine to service the "make do and mend" trend of simple home sewing.

Leather casing! Oh my!
 We think it's pretty darn sexy. Check out more pics on the James Dyson site.

Could you see this adorning your sewing table? I sure could (if I had a sewing table, that is...)


  1. Wow! That is one SEXY sewing machine! How cool. I daydream about getting an old Singer, but I have no need for it, so unless someone gives me one, I should hold off. Also, the furniture I've collected from the street means there's not much room left in our house.

  2. wow I LOVE it!! Have never seen anything quite like it. Not sure about the leather - very tactile and lovely - but I'd worry it would wear over time with lots of use. Gorgeous machine though, will be very interested to see if it 'gets legs' and becomes commercially available. Cat.

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