Monday, January 28, 2013

New additions to the family...

...the family of sewing machines! That is steadily growing.

I've been on a bit of a sewing machine binge lately. To be specific, a Singer binge. And it all started one morning at 6 am when I saw "singer" go by as I scrolled through the TV guide. I've never been a tv shopper, but within ten minutes I found myself calling HSN and ordering a machine.

Oh god. A new avenue of shopping.

To add a little context, I have been in the market for a new machine for a while now, and this one was crazy on sale.

So far I'm happy. I haven't sewn anything with it yet, besides repairing some pants, but I did use a new machine as an excuse to go to a sewing machine class. I highly recommend it. I've never gone to a class like this before. I was surprised how much I forgot about using machines. Even little things like "keep the presser foot up when threading."

It's nice to have a refresher.

The next Singer to work it's way into my heart, I found on eBay. No doubt in another wee-morning-hour troll through the internet. It's amazing what one can come across.

Gaw. A pre 1871 Singer 12 "New Family."

So in love!!! This baby needs whole post of it's own. I'll do that as soon as my treadle belt comes so I can get it up and running and have something fun to share.

I say "pre 1871" because the serial number is too early to show up on Singer's published list of dates. 

Now, for today, I dedicate this post to the third Singer to come home with me. I bought it Sunday morning. My husband and I went to darling Boulder City for lunch and, of course, popped into the antique shops. There was a Singer in a wooden carrying case that I have been eyeing up for about a year. I always noticed it but it never crossed my mind to buy it. 

Today it was 20% off, and in the wake of the antique machine coming home with me, my interest was piqued and I bought it. 

Welcome home little machine!

It was a little dirty, but not bad at all. Miraculously, it had all it's original parts. The power cord was a little funky, so I was afraid to plug it in. My husband looked at it and decided it wouldn't blow up in my face, so I gave it a go... and the light worked!!!!! OMG OMG! 

After a little googling I came across the manual and found out how to thread the top, wind the bobbin (nifty contraption!) and insert the bobbin. I hand cranked and it worked!

But then the sad face appeared :(

It didn't have a foot pedal. I was so disappointed, until I remembered a funny looking metal bar hiding up in the case top. From somewhere in my brain, "knee lever" popped into my head. Sure enough, the machine has a hole in the front. The lever fit in, with some wiggling, and with a bit of hesitation I pushed on it. Whrrrrr.... OH MY GOD it works perfectly!!!! I was so amazed. What are the chances this dusty machine I found, on the floor, tucked in a corner, sitting neglected for who knows how many years, actually works!? So thrilled.

You can see the knee lever in the picture below. I never thought I would be a fan of a knee lever, but I must say it's really convenient. Less cords tangling about and very easy to control. You press your knee outward against it to start, then release pressure and the lever falls back with gravity.

I am impressed. This machine stitches beautifully. 

As far as I can tell, from looking at the serial number, as well as other investigating, the machine appears to be a model 99K13 from 1931.

Oooo goody! Hiding under the machine, in the space that appears when you tilt the machine back, there was a box with all the little attachments and extra bobbins and even some needles.

I'm curious to find out what some of the extra feet are. This one, below, is especially crazy! Some kind of ruffler, perhaps.

In the interest of keeping this machine in the best shape possible, even though it runs, I will be taking it to the repair shop tomorrow for a tune up, cleaning and oiling, and to check the wiring, which every machine needs, new or old. Don't forget to take care of your machines, so they are always ready to go when you're inspired to start stitching! 
Brush out the lint regularly and keep some sewing machine oil handy. At the class I went to they recommended a sable brush, like from the art section. Something like this works infinitely better than the cheapie little plastic brush that comes with machines. It grabs the lint instead of just moving it around. Also, don't ever blow the lint, by mouth or air can, it can push the lint further into the machine, and in a computerized machine, it can get into the computer. Yikes.

And just for fun...


  1. I love your little 1931 Singer. I've been craving a Featherweight for years since I first started quilting in the 80s and ladies brought them. Couldn't afford it then, and now when I might be able to, I hesitate because I have three modern machines and a 1908 handcrank one also. You can see mine in my blog entry here.
    You definitely have caught the bug. Welcome to the club!

    1. Oh I have sooo caught the bug! Old machines are so exciting! Now that I'm more aware of them, and of the different types of machines though history, I'm definitely looking forward to finding more and bringing them home. Working or not. I think it would be a blast to restore one someday.

  2. What a cute little machine! I've got a hand crank 99 from 1932 and I love it. The crazy looking foot you've got pictured does look like it could be ruffler/pleater foot. It should have a forked piece on the side not pictured that hooks over the side screw on the needle bar, which moves the bit that pushes fabric into a tiny pleat. Let us know how it works :)

    1. Aha! I knew it must be something like that. Actually it doesn't look too different from my ruffler now, though I have never used even the modern one so I'm not too familiar.

      And it's so cool to know someone else who has basically the same machine and enjoys it. I can't wait to get it looked at and start using it. I'm itching to go sew something on it now but I don't want to push it and mess it up before a pro looks it over.

  3. Yay! I'm so excited for you! Love the little video bit, too!

  4. The "click-CHICKA" sound of old machines is so cool. When I use a machine, I rely on my mother's Cabinet Kenmore (circa 1977). It's a war horse, but utterly lacking in romance of your antiques!

    1. No! The Kenmore is the best! I learned to sew on my mom's 78/79/80(?... Idk) Kenmore. It has such a special place in my heart! Total war horse! Sooooo heavy.

      I've been trying to replace it, since my mom wants it back. That is one loud machine, though, for sure. I believe mine's the 12 stitch in that great, retro, yellowy color :)

      Aww the memories of my first adventures in sewing....

  5. Congrats!!! Who says guys are the only ones who get power tools ;)

    I have two vintage machines and a modern one. A 1930s Phaff, 1930s singer 201 and 1970s white. The singer an Phaff get all the work though, I use them and their attachments extensively, they are so sturdy and reliable.

    Hope you have tons of fun!!!