The sewing machine I had -- a 1966 Singer Touch and Sew -- was only one year newer than my mom's, but unbeknownst to me that machine marked the beginning of some unfortunate design changes, and it had to go in the shop all the time. The nylon gears finally crumbled away about three years ago. The cost of the labor to have it repaired was prohibitive, so I began to research fixing it myself. In that process I inadvertently got sucked into the vintage machine subculture -- which is populated by some very helpful people:)
After joining some yahoo groups (in particular, vintagesinger and wefixit) and asking some questions, I decided that instead of trying to fix my old machine I would see about getting one that had consistently good reviews. Lo and behold, on my local craigslist there was a Singer 401 from 1956!
A young man was selling it. It had been left behind by the former homeowners. He knew nothing about it and it needed some work, so I offered what I thought was a fair price and brought her home. Over a period of several weeks, I cleaned her up (like a lot of mid-century items, lots of nicotine stains), ordered a few parts and installed them, basically just fiddled around with the machine. I did finally take it to my local sewing machine repair shop just to make sure I had everything set right.
Now I did not have a lot of prior experience working on sewing machines, but there is a lot of good information and also good resource people in these yahoo groups. The internet has made it possible to learn how to do so many things that would have been virtually impossible before. So I was able (with my on-line connections) to get her in good shape, oiling all the necessary places, figuring out problems, taking things apart and putting them back together.
|A peek into the side above the needle|
|Some of the stitch possibilities|
There are two storage drawers in the desk. In the top one I keep my extra feet, bobbins, sewing machine needles, etc.
The bottom drawer has other sewing machine accessories: extra discs (which change the stitch patterns), a buttonhole attachment, and a monogram attachment (which I haven't used yet). I like collecting all the available accessories :)
I'm not a person who really names her appliances, but if I do give her a name, it will be Cordelia because I bought her on Cordell Street. Do you like how she looks? I admit, after my mom's pretty blue machine, the two-tone beige and cream had to grow on me. But after all the loving care I've put into her, I love her. I love her quirky good looks and all her knobs and levers. And I mostly love her because she does just what she is supposed to do, and does it well -- sew.
|My lovely Singer 401|