Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sewing Machine Collection

Some of you have asked about my collection of sewing machines.  

This Singer Sylist 533 made in 1978 was my first machine.  At that time I worked for Singer Corp. in the legal office on the 63rd floor of 20 Rockfeller Plaza... you know the place where the ice skating rink is.  Before I left the company for a job closer to home I went downstairs to the retail store and bought this showroom floor-model with my employee discount... and since the detachable table was missing I received an additional discount making this a very reasonable purchase. (nope don't remember what that was right now).  I used it on and off for years, sewing clothing for me and then my kids,  and occasionally I would take it to the local repair shop for a cleaning and tune up.  Over the years the fiberglass (?) cams that determine the stitch design have dried up and cracked and no longer work.  So this machine is relegated to the straight stitch only status as I haven't been able to find replacement cams.
 When we moved here to Tennessee in 2002, I began taking quilting classes, and I  found a wonderful repairman, Ted, who used to work for Singer.  While picking-up my machine from him I told him the story of the great deal and discount I got because the table was missing.  He looked at me funny.  Took off the case.  Reached in.. fumble fumble fumble.... and pulled out the detachable table!  It had been stored in the case the entire time and I had no idea... and apparently neither did the orginal salesperson!  

I was very frustrated being without my machine when it needed servicing and I was in the middle of a quilt project, so I began searching yard sales for a back-up machine.  Lo and behold!  I found this Singer Stylest 534.  There was no learning curve adjusting to this machine... and it has the same cam problem that my original machine does.... and yes, the detachable table is stored inside the case on this one too!

These machines aren't super heavy, but I envied those who brought Featherweights to class and began trolling yard sales and antique shops for one.


    I found this Free-Westing House with a shuttle bobbin (or bullet bobbin) machine made in the 1950s.   I believe the finish is called a's a gray unpolished look.  I had heard talk about the shuttle/bullet bobbin and never seen one so this came home with me for its "novelty".... and it is a very heavy solid metal machine.

This Universal was also made in the 1950's... one of many Singer knock-off brands.  Post-war, the Japanese cranked out machines like crazy and put any name or label on it that was requested.  It too is a very heavy machine.

This Aldens Deluxe ZigZag  was also made in the 50's.  Note the funky green color! and Chrome look dials and features... reminiscent of the 1950's cars.  I now had a machine that could zigzag, but there was no way to take it, table and all, to classes.

This Brother LS-2020 was donated to our church bazzar with a note saying it needed repair.  I took it to my trusty Singer repairman to see if he could do anything with it.  Of course he could!  It's only problem was the timing was off.  This machine is machine is made with lots of plastic and is, therefore, lightweight enough to carry to class.

  I found my first treadle at the Rte 127 Yardsale that runs through several states.  It was in a very plain boxy cabinet that I did not like... with this beautiful body ... 1921 Singer 66 Red Eye G8546619.  I found a second treadle in this beautiful cabinet with a very plain and worn Singer body.  I switched bodies and cabinets and now have this beauty.  (I sold the plain one a couple years ago).  It sat on display in my quilting room for several years.  Bonnie kept talking about and sewing on her treadles during quilt cam and that inspired me to have Ted take a look at it and see if it would work.  All it needed was a good cleaning and lube and a new belt!  I have been sewing on her ever since!

This 1946 Singer 15 AG724989 was given to me by Margena when she was downsizing her home and couldn't keep her entire collection.  There is a white plastic cased electric light that has been added in the back (not shown) that I hope to maybe replace with more original looking black cased light.

and finally.....

December 2013, on the way home from the Colts-Titans game, we stopped at an antique mall and I found myself a  1948 Singer 221-1 AH435380  featherweight.  She is wonderful for travelling and sews perfectly!