Sewing machine addiction

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gdawgs

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I seem to have caught a little bug for sewing machines(even though I don't sew). They fascinate me. They are little mechanical wonders. I'm a mechanical engineer, so I'm drawn toward things like this.

My wife loves to sew, so there's often times a sewing machine whirring in the background. I was at a thrift store a couple months ago and saw a sewing machine case on a shelf. I picked it up and it was HEAVY. I saw Pfaff on the case and instantly knew I had to have it. I don't know much about sewing machines, but I know Pfaffs are a good brand. I slapped the $10 down on the counter and walked out with a big grin. Took it home and knew right away that it needed some work. So I took it in to a repair shop and had him look it over. The main cam stack was broken and needed to be replaced along with a couple other minor things. $200 to fix it so I did it. Broken ones sell for $150 on ebay, and fixed up ones sell for $600. It's a sweet machine. My wife has taught me some basics and it's kind of fun. She loves the Pfaff, but she will always have a special place in her heart for her Berninas.

So here's my problem. Now every time I go by a thrift store, I have strong urges to go in and look for sewing machines. They almost always have old ones that they are practically giving away. And the old ones are great quality compared to the new ones you buy downtown(unless you spend a ton of money). I have to resist the urge to buy them. I could easily see myself with a shelf full of sewing machines.

I think it would be a fun hobby to repair them, but there's a lot to know, and they are complicated. I may just buy a cheap one and tear it apart just for fun.
 

grassyriver

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I have this problem EXACTLY! I have probably 15 vintage sewing machines and 3 vintage sergers. I love them all so much. Most need repair. I'm trying to learn to repair them myself. I have one shiny metallic turquoise Morse machine that is my baby. I will love her forever. I stay away from the Singer ones though. They are built differently than the old Japanese ones I love.

$10 for a sewing machine and I would do the exact same thing!

My husband thinks I have a problem but he also has bought me sewing machines when he finds them too. Your wife is probably ecstatic.
 

Dahila

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I had it back in Europe, but I always liked to sew. Here in Canada I have my dream Singer, with many stitches and many options. It will sew the lather too. I spend like 4 hours yesterday, making table cover for a show.
I am obsessed with pens, from early childhood I collect them, unfortunately, i had to leave them in Poland, and my art books collection, and old irons, the last ones were so dear, but very heavy ;)
I do understand what the urges are about :))
 

Pepsi Girl

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Ahh! sewing machines,yes what's not to love! Your wife is right on Berninas are to drool for, old or new!!!
But I also love the little Singer featherweights, cute, adorable and very functional!
 

gdawgs

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The Singer Featherweights are a cool/cute little machine. My dad picked one up at a rummage sale a couple years ago.

I have no urge to by coffee cups. But like just about everyone else, we have a huge stockpile of them in the cupboard.

But speaking of coffee cups, last week my wife was drinking a coffee from either Caribou or Starbucks. Before you know it, I see her cutting, tracing, pinning, the typical sewing activities. You know those little paper/cardboard rings they put around your coffee cup to keep your hands from burning? Well that's what she was making. She took the one off her cup, made a pattern, and made up her own fancy dancy one.
 

navigator9

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I grew up learning to sew on my mother's treadle Singer machine, once my legs were long enough to reach the treadle. Later, I had a portable machine, don't remember the make now, but it was metal, and so heavy that it almost pulled my shoulder out of the socket when I lifted it. It was built like a tank, and silly me, I sold it so that I could buy one that was easier for me to lift. I still miss that old machine. The one I have now is plastic. It works just fine, but...there's definitely something to vintage machines and tools that were made in a time when attention was paid to detail. I recently bought an old, wooden, folding carpenter's ruler, not because I needed it, but because I think it's so beautiful. All of the hinges and end pieces are brass, the wood has a wonderful patina, and it's made not just for utility, someone actually paid attention to how this looked...it's beautiful. It was meant to be used and cared for and to last a very long time, not to be disposable. I love that there was a time when even small, utilitarian items were made with care and intention. I can't imagine that anyone will ever look at any of these modern, plastic machines with the kind of affection we feel for the older ones. I know that in my neck of the woods, it's hard to find anyone to repair or service sewing machines, especially older ones. So I completely understand your being drawn to these old machines, I say go for it, you never know where it may lead you.
 

grassyriver

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I agree that there's something remarkable about a well made item that is meant to last. That's one of the things I love about these machines. Many of them just need cleaning and oiling and a few small fixes and are as good as new. Singer featherweights are adorable. Has your dad got it up and running? I only avoid Singers because I am NOT mechanically inclined and they are more complicated to fix than the others in my opinion.

Should you develop an obsession I've found this website to be a great resource for purchasing many different vintage machine manuals (about $10 each). http://www.sewingmanuals.com/ Having the manual is invaluable for repairing many machines.
 

Dahila

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Like navigator I had learn to sew my clothes at very young age and on my mom old Singer. When I go back to the time, I have to admit that stich was much better than the ones I have in my new (not so new anymore) singer. The old one has actually one stich, and button to go back , that it. I had made so many clothes on it:)) When I had my children I got an electric Singer, which was a really good machine, but I miss my youngself at my mom machine :)
 

gdawgs

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I agree that there's something remarkable about a well made item that is meant to last. That's one of the things I love about these machines. Many of them just need cleaning and oiling and a few small fixes and are as good as new. Singer featherweights are adorable. Has your dad got it up and running? I only avoid Singers because I am NOT mechanically inclined and they are more complicated to fix than the others in my opinion.
The Featherweight they bought was in working order when they got it. That wasn't a $10 purchase though. They paid a bit more for it, but I think it was still a fair deal.
 

Pepsi Girl

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I learned to sew on mom's old "White". It made a knee lever instead of a foot, so you pushed it with your knee to the side
Anybody else have one of those?
 

DeeAnna

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Boy, that's a blast from the past, Pepsi Girl! My mom's 1950s Singer has a knee lever too. I like the lever better than a foot pedal, but the only way a knee lever machine will work is if it's in a cabinet designed for the machine. I wonder if that's why you don't see them anymore?

Edit -- here's Mom's machine. It came with special cams you could insert in the large center knob at the top. The different cams let you sew with unusual stitch patterns in the days before computerized controllers. It was a pretty fancy machine in its day.



 
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gdawgs

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My mom also has a knee lever Singer. Hers is a bit newer though, mid 60's model, but it looks very similar to your pics DeeAnna. It also has the cams.
 

Susie

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But speaking of coffee cups, last week my wife was drinking a coffee from either Caribou or Starbucks. Before you know it, I see her cutting, tracing, pinning, the typical sewing activities. You know those little paper/cardboard rings they put around your coffee cup to keep your hands from burning? Well that's what she was making. She took the one off her cup, made a pattern, and made up her own fancy dancy one.
I crochet zarfs, (coffee clutches/java jackets/coffee sleeves/cup holders/whatever you choose to call them) so tell your wife not to feel alone. That was a project begging to be made.
 

navigator9

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I learned to sew on mom's old "White". It made a knee lever instead of a foot, so you pushed it with your knee to the side
Anybody else have one of those?
My aunt had one of those, and I used to sew on it, too. I still miss the knee lever every time the "gas pedal" on my portable goes sliding across the floor, out of reach of my foot!
 

Pepsi Girl

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My aunt had one of those, and I used to sew on it, too. I still miss the knee lever every time the "gas pedal" on my portable goes sliding across the floor, out of reach of my foot!
I have a Quilters edition Bernina and it has a knee lever to lift your pressed foot so you have both your hands free to maneuver the fabric, and I love it. But, I can't tell you how many times I've lifted the foot while I'm sewing. :-?
 
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