Yes, I do realise that it’s hard to see what exactly the connection might be between the funky tricycle in the picture and vintage Singer sewing machines, but bear with me, dear reader, if you will …
For reasons that are far too boring to go into here, Elsie and I need to find a new home for our beloved Christiania cargo trike, and I’m rather hoping that having the phrase “Christiania for sale” in the title of this blog post may help us to do just that.
Lest your curiosity be aroused, let me tell you that this fine machine is a one-size fits all Christiania Classic with a galvanised steel frame, disc brakes on the front and roller brake on the rear, and it has 8-speed hub gears so it’s very low-maintenance. You can, as many Danes do, get a couple of kids in the box (both seating and canopy for them are available) and keep fit while you make it one less car on the school run, or you can get three Singer portables or one Singer treadle in it, which is the best I can do by way of a connection. You can also get a hundredweight of mangels or mangolds or mangelwurzels in it, but that’s another story. (and one best forgotten if you ask me – Elsie)
We bought it new in June 2010, it’s in jolly good condition, and the current list price including the extras ours has is something over £1800. We therefore start talking at £1100, and an email to sidandelsie (at) btinternet.com will start the process whereby you can become the new owner of this versatile and very environmentally-friendly vehicle.
OK, advert over, so lets move on to sewers.
What is the word for somebody who sews? If you’re British, and the somebody who sews is employed in a factory to sew on a machine, you call her a machinist, which is fine, even though a machinist is also a bloke who works machinery such as lathes, milling machines and so on.
But what is the Brit word for somebody who sits at home and sews, if she uses a machine but isn’t a dressmaker?
I keep seeing people on the interweb use the word “sewist”, which is an abomination guaranteed to offend the sensibility of any right-thinking person. Using “sewist” is even worse than using the word “harp” to describe the throat space of a sewing machine irather than the irritating musical instrument often played at downmarket English wedding receptions in an attempt to lend an air of class to the proceedings .
But what about “sewer”? If you’re in the US of A, the word rhymes with “mower” and it means somebody who sews. But if you’re a Brit, it rhymes with “brewer” and it means a pipe which conveys sewage.
So I have two questions. Is “sewer” actually in real-world use in the US to mean somebody who sews? And is there such a thing as a British term for somebody who uses a sewing machine at home but who isn’t a dressmaker?
Come to think of it, make that three questions. If it’s not a sewer, what is the American name for the big pipe under the road which takes away your sewage?