Marie Louise – 1911 Singer 31k20

Sometimes machines come to you with stories…

Marie Louise was a French seamstress who worked for LaFleche Tailors, a company that was established here in 1906, and eventually closed after 101 years of business in 2007, because of a lack of skilled tailors, and competition from Asia.

The LaFleche brothers came here from Quebec to start farming but when that did not work out it was a good thing that they had brought their sewing machines with them.

They eventually became the clothier for anybody who was anybody, and their clients included Prince Charles and Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. They also made all the uniforms for Greyhound drivers and did this until they closed up shop. Generations of Albertans went to LaFleche for their graduation suits, and one story I read was that of a local farmer who came to them every five years to get a new wedding and funeral suit.

This Singer 31k20 tailor’s machine was made in 1911 and I strongly suspect it was originally owned by, and used by the original LaFleche brothers and later came into the hands of Marie Louise, either when the shop closed 12 years ago, or during a period when they would have been upgrading to more modern machines.

I will always wonder if this machine made a suit for a prince, or a prime minister… at 108 years old she is in wonderful condition and sews beautifully, as one would expect.

This machine will stay in our permanent collection.