Brimfield Review: Vintage Sewing and Crafting Finds
Brimfield: it's the largest outdoor antique show in the US (or so it says on their website). There are fields upon fields of antique dealers, and there's no single space to find vintage sewing/craft supplies. There are so many sellers that you probably can't see it all in one day. Having said that, I did see a fair number of sewing and craft-related items for sale. I went on the first day of Brimfield in September 2016, so my impressions reflect that. You may find lower prices as the week goes on, but most things I saw were priced with a higher-end customer in mind.
The show spans about half a mile along Route 20 in Brimfield, MA. See the map below for an overview of the different sub-shows, which take place in fields off of the main road. There are parking lots mixed in here, too. We paid $10 to park for the whole day. Brimfield takes place three times a year, in May July, and September.
Vintage Sewing and Crafting Finds
I was on the lookout for patterns/books, fabric, sewing machines, attachments, and craft-related supplies in general. I didn't see too many patterns, and most of the ones I saw were priced higher than I wanted to spend. I didn't see any vintage/antique sewing books. I saw a decent amount of fabric, but much of it was quilting cotton and/or home decor fabric.
There were some vintage printed feedsacks and lots of vintage linens (see my two posts on turning vintage tablecloths into skirts). There weren't any big deals to be found on fabric, and knowing that I could find similar items for far less (see my post on finding cheap fabric), I didn't buy any fabric at Brimfield.
I saw at least eight Singer Featherweights (I lost count; there may have been more), most of which were in good working condition. Some had cases and accessories/attachments. They were all in the $300-400 range, and several dealers offered to let me try them out on the spot. Many dealers had electricity running in their booths. While I would like to own a Featherweight, this would have eaten up all of my money for the day, so I didn't get any of them.
I like fixing up junkier machines (see my three other posts on fixing up Singer 99ks), so I kept hoping to find a cheap Featherweight that needed some work. No such luck. At Brimfield, you're more likely to find good quality machines with a price tag to match. If you want a sewing machine in good working order, it would be a great place to see your machine in person and test it out before buying it. I saw a lot of people who had wheeled shopping baskets, which seemed like a good idea if you're planning to buy something heavy like a sewing machine.
In term of machines, I mostly saw Featherweights, as mentioned above. I saw a couple of Singer 15-91s and a couple of Singer 66s. There were a smattering of rarer/interesting machines.
I saw a couple of cute children's sewing machines, but they looked more decorative than functional, so I passed on both.
I loved this blue Sew Handy machine, but not the price tag, so I didn't get that either.
This black, industrial-looking Singer caught my eye, but I really didn't want to carry it all the way back to the truck. (Side note: there are porters who you can pay to do this, if you find something tempting enough.)
And I love old thread cabinets, but they're always pricey. These were no exception.
I did buy a few sewing items. I found some cool patterns from the 60s/70s from a pattern company I'd never heard of before. I'll have to figure out how to adjust them for my size, probably, but they were only $1 each, so I figured it was a safe enough gamble. I'm not entirely sure what a vintage size 18 equals now. Stay tuned for posts where I try to make these.
I also got this Modern Home Sewing Machine manual ($1). I'll be honest--in my head, I mixed up Modern Home and New Home. I have a New Home sewing machine that I don't have a manual for, rather than a Modern Home. It never hurts to have extra sewing machine manuals, though.
I was excited to find this White zigzagger attachment ($15). I'm in the process of fixing up a White Family Rotary sewing machine.
And I have a soft spot for pretty wooden spools of thread ($1).
I bought all of this from the same seller, and she was the only one I saw with pretty reasonable prices on her sewing items. In retrospect, I should have grabbed this seller's card or noted her booth number. I don't even remember which field I was in. It was toward the end of the day, and I was a little disoriented and overwhelmed by that point.
All in all, it was a fun day, and there was a lot to see, even if I didn't end up buying too much. Next year, I want to catch the vintage textile show in Sturbridge, MA that coincides with Brimfield.