Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My "New" Sewing Machine

Circa 1953 (the last copyright date in the manual that came with it).
My "old" Singer (circa 1980s) had stopped working just a couple weeks ago.
The needle stuck, the bobbin stitches tangled, there was a grinding sound coming from the bobbin compartment and finally the feed dogs stopped working.
I hand cranked the machine and manually moved the fabric, to finish a couple small stitching projects before I pronounced the machine "dead".
I'm sure it can be repaired, but the "Tropical Fish and Sewing Machine Repair" shop in the nearest small town had closed years ago, so it means searching for a place in The City and hauling the machine an hour or more somewhere to be left for a week to be repaired at great expense.
Then last week an older gentleman came into the post office and asked if I knew anyone who could use a sewing machine.
Walter comes in often to say hello, but this day he was on a mission
 to empty the back seat of his Crown Vic.
He had somehow bought the sewing machine at a silent auction,
without meaning to, paid little for it, but now had to find a home for it.
His daughter already had two sewing machines
(I asked).
So, of course I said "yes", depending on how it looked and ran.
Walter assured me that the auction place had test driven the machine and said it ran great.
And yes, it was "free".
He didn't want money.  He just didn't want to be stuck with it.
So I brought it home.
My son helped me haul my old machine down from my studio and bring up the "new" one, grumbling the whole time.
Thirteen year olds have lots of more important things to do,
dontcha know!
But once we had the cabinet set in place and the machine flipped up in working position,
his eyes lit up.
The machine is a thing of beauty.
Sexy even.
Seth had recently made a pillowcase (with French seams!) in school
and has been itching to sew more since.
I threaded the machine easily and admired the pretty foot and how industrial the machine looks compared to its more modern sisters.
I got aquainted with the bobbin compartment and the bobbin thread winder and together Seth and I figured out how to back stitch, reading the manual.
The machine is so old that the stich plate doesn't have markings for seam widths, so someone had carefully placed a length of cellophane tape at the half inch mark.
Amazingly, the tape hasn't dried up and fallen off.
I tried a few stitches and then let my son have a go at it.  We both grinnned at the dainty, "ince-ince-ince-ince" (rhymes with "since") sound the machine made as it ran.  Beautiful!
I will just miss the zigzag feature on newer machines, but to be able to sew on something so old and elegant is a treat!
The machine came with a shoebox of attachments so at some point "we" (my son is fascinated too) will try out the ruffler and button hole maker.
You can bet that there will be blog posts about those experiments!
In the same shoebox, along with bobbins and other sewing machine bits and bobs, I found a pair of pinking shears, lovingly kept "nice" in their original box, and a lovely folio of sewing needles.  The shears are razor sharp and cut fabric like paper while the card of needles is also in very nice condition.  I will be listing both of those treasures for sale in my etsy shop...  but the sewing machine is all mine!
Why am I giving up a perfectly good pair of pinking shears?
Because while cleaning out my old machine's storage compartment,
I found I had 3 pairs.
I have a weakness for scissors and pick them up whenever I see a pair at a garage sale or thrift store.
Surely I can spare a pair, especially if they are kept nice in their original box!


Lorrie said...

That is an elegant machine. So slim and curvy compared to the newer plastic models. Love the description of the sound it makes, too.

Yvonne said...

They sure don't make them like that anymore.

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

You have been blessed.... you are almost poetic when you give life to this honorable lady. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Linda said...

What a gift! You HAVE been blessed!! I'm excited for you! I'm not sure about giving up those shears..... maybe you should give up some of your previously acquired ones? I love that Seth is interested in using the machine...that's so great!

~*~Patty S said...

That certainly IS a handsome machine and it went to a very good home ... extra nice that your Seth appreciates it too ...
btw I think a scissor collection makes LOTS of sense ... in fact I could see them displayed on a wall as a great architectural interest

Marlynn said...

Oh my, such a thing of beauty is that singer! You are a lucky ducky! I so remember the pinking shears looking just like the one you found in the box. Will need to go over and check your storefront out. You know, BFF, you are my enabler and I try to stay away but i then come sneaking back. Hugs.

Limner said...

Goodness. I wish I'd kept mine. :( The newer machines can never touch that make and model.

Jill said...

She's a beauty! I think she may deserve a name...do you ever name inanimate objects? I rarely do but sometimes it's fun. I have a couple of old machines that need a little TLC to get up and running. I was going to sell them but think I need at least one running as my younger girls get older. And, I have a 13 year old and yes, she has more important things to do than help me too!

daysease said...

I am trying to learn to sew *insert my own blush* but I am not getting along well with my machine. I know that hand sewing is not as convenient, but I wish I could master it to be faster, since I am not speaking to my machine for a little while. *sigh* but, I am getting a pretty good handle on crocheting! I made my first scarf and any botches turn into Barbie clothes, so I don't have to start all over again. hahahahhahahahah