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My mystery sewing box find

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    Posted 5 days ago

    (19 items)

    Hi all. Going through my Gran's sewing basket yields many vintage items. One is this little plastic case, with 10 little inserts. They can be removed,and sit on little pegs. They are numbered as well, A1-A10, with tiny symbols. Does anyone have any idea what it is? Have a fabulous day!

    Mystery Solved
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    1. keramikos, 5 days ago
      MarleneCapeTown, Interesting.

      Possibly sewing machine cams?, e.g.:
    2. MarleneCapeTown, 5 days ago
      Hi Keramikos, glad to see you again! Thanks for the links, I checked it out, but doesn't seem to really match. Mine has a hole in each one, and the symbols don't seem to be stitches. More like arrows on some and linked diamonds on others....hope it turns out to be a toy I can play with, maybe if thread is wound in a certain way, you can"knit" an item :-)
    3. keramikos, 5 days ago
      MarleneCapeTown, You're welcome. :-)

      Sewing machine cams didn't all look the same. It was probably a combination of evolution and brand. Here's a link about Singer cams:
    4. keramikos, 5 days ago
      Here are some that look more like yours:


      Set of 30 vintage dressmaker deluxe zigzag sewing machine Decorative stitch cams / discs. These are numbered one through 30.

    5. MarleneCapeTown, 5 days ago
      Oh wow! I had no idea! That is absolutely what they are! Thank you Keramikos, once again Sherlock Holmes! Relieved now the mystery's solved, but disappointed that they're not a gadget I could make fun things with, lol.
    6. keramikos, 5 days ago
      Ta da! Twins:


      Sep 19, 2012
      Vintage Sewing Machine Parts - Stitch Pattern Cams
      When I bought the Empisal sewing machine, she (I've named her Iron Beauty) came with a retro container filled with plastic knobs. There was no mention of these knobs in the manual - which is a scant document - so I asked a few friends. The consensus was they might be attachments altered the stitches, in order to do decorative stitching.

      After googling I was pretty sure they were correct, and in fact what I had was a box of plastic Cams, also called 'stitch patterns'.



      Empisal is a leading supplier of sewing machines, overlockers, ironing equipment and haberdashery items in Sub Saharan Africa.

    7. MarleneCapeTown, 5 days ago
      Keramikos - you are an internet Wonder! I had to laugh when I saw the pics, yup, twins! I do have my Gran's old sewing machines, but embarrassingly, don't know how to use them. When we get around to selling them, I must remember to include these cams,I'm sure that the owner-to-be will be delighted. These old sewing baskets really have some interesting things in them, still enjoying my treasure hunt :-)
    8. keramikos, 4 days ago
      MarleneCapeTown, You're welcome again. :-)

      Hey, I can't always remember how to use my own sewing machine. When I want to do something special, such as make a buttonhole, I'm like, "Um, how does that work again?" };-)
    9. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 4 days ago
      Cams were SO fun to try out but soon got put aside....unless you were sewing for little girls, there were not many items one would need to trim with all those decorative stitches. Maybe napkins and placemats could be fancied-up if you so desired.

      Keep looking in the sewing box because there’s a metal ‘arm’ that will fit in that little round hole and attach to the stitch width controller....that’s what will make the cams do their jobs.
    10. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 4 days ago
      Oops.....I just looks at one of Keramikos’ snips....that brand of machine has a different mode of controlling the stitch that the use of the metal ‘arm’ I described. My mom’s machine used the ‘arm’ with the cams.

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