Chandsew 406RB

Chandsew 406RB

Size Matters

Size Matters

Singer 153W103 Industrial

Singer 153W103 Industrial

Singer 316G

Singer 316G

Singer 301

Singer 301
A design revolution for Singer, this light-weight portable is a favorite with quilters. This example dates from 1951, but, interestingly, isn't badged as an anniversary model.

Singer 221- Featherweight

Singer 221- Featherweight
In remarkable condition. This one dates from 1956.

Singer 500A

Singer 500A
Reassembled and polished.

Singer 401A

Singer 401A

Singer 503A

Singer 503A
I've had a number of examples from the 400 and 500 series pass through my hands now, and as testament to their quality, they have all been in very nice condition; none, however, has matched this beauty for its near pristine state of preservation. While even on the cleanest example one must forgive a minor imperfection or two, this classic from Singer exhibits none! Truly as nice as one could hope.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Sales and Season's Greetings

I've very much enjoyed my Holiday Show and Sale. I've had some success "re-homing" a few of my machines, and the others, I must say, look stunning in their new display environment.

The pink Necchi Nora is gone! This was a tough one to lose, but with three Necchis, and this one the only one in fully-operable condition, it was the most likely candidate for a sale, and it found a good home with someone who appreciates Necchi's quality and, in this case, beautiful design (and color!).

I also found a good home for a 401A and a 500A. These are the machines I love most, and selling them has the benefit of my sharing that love. I do have examples of these in my collection, so it isn't a loss as much as it is the opportunity to share what I know about these wonderful machines.

It hasn't been all about selling, though. To have the space to spread out my collection so that it's seen as it should be seen, is the real treat here. While they are usually packed away, waiting for one of Mary's crafting events to call them into duty, they need the chance to be seen and admired. Now, it may be that this is mostly for my benefit, as I'm the one tending to the display, but I count this as a distinct pleasure.

In another week or two, my collection of vintage beauties will find its way back to my workspace; some packed away in corners, or atop cabinets and shelves, while a few may grace Mary's crafting (aka dining) room.

My latest acquisition, a Bernina 530 Record, will have to take center stage; it's just too nice to hide away. The Pfaff 130 will be that which I finally put to use for a project or two of my own: canvas bags for storing, shopping and the just plain schlepping of stuff.

But the bottom line may be that I'll have enough space freed up to more properly display my collection here in my "office". That is, until I find a few more machines in dire need of saving from oblivion. Then I'll be back to the task of finding places to hide them all before my next Show and Sale when they'll all, once again, have their chance to shine.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Happenings

Well, the holidays are upon us, and now it's time to take advantage of the gift-giving season and try lightening the load in the sewing machine department. It's always a challenge figuring out which machines to keep and which need to find new homes.

I've set up a nice little display of about sixteen machines. While not exhaustive of my collection, it is representative, though only about nine are for sale (with the others riding along in enthusiastic support). All in all, a nice little display that anyone interested in these vintage classics would enjoy.

It's easy enough to put on the block those machines that are duplicates of others that I'll keep. And then there are those that don't really fit the parameters (as I see them) of my collection.

But it all comes down to available storage space, and more practical reasons for maintaining a collection of sewing machines at all. Mary has her favorites, and her crafting events are best serviced by machines that are sturdy, dependable and able to hold up to some abuse. Throw in a few unusual machines for good measure (and visual interest) and Space Craft Center is good to go.

So those Singers of which I may have two or three each can go. These include a 500A, a 401A and a 404 (well I only have the one 404, but its condition is near perfect, and it's one whose sale might go a long way toward replenishing the kitty). And the 128 can go; it doesn't fit the profile of my collection, no matter how nicely it sews.

The Vigorelli should go; it isn't going to be used, and it isn't a well-know make, and it really belongs in a collection belonging to someone who knows these great machines.

The Necchi Nora. Now this is a tough one. Necchis are beautiful machines; so solid. But this one is pink which, in my view, adds a certain premium to its value. So of the three Necchis I have, this is one that might bring in a few bucks while at the same time delight a new owner.

That leaves two of the nicest machines I have, and these would be the toughest to lose, even at the premium prices I'll be asking. I haven't put a price on them, as I'm still somewhat ambivalent about selling these. How would I ever replace them? They are the Pfaff 130 and the Elna Supermatic.

Now the Pfaff, it must be said, is a monster! I find it bordering on the tragically hilarious that this is considered a portable machine; it weighs a ton! But it does come in an interesting base that is set up for table-top usage. And with that base attached, the whole is meant to fit into a leather case that hardly seems capable of holding so great a weight at all! One must wonder...

And then, if last, it's because it's the best (of course): the Elna Supermatic. This beauty looks to have just come off the showroom floor; it's that clean! I really think this will be staying in the collection. I can't see it ever being replaced. But where to put it? It isn't a portable machine, though it is meant to be. This one is without its carrying case, instead being housed in a beautiful, period cabinet which is, itself, in wonderful condition. Mary hasn't tried this one yet. When she does, she's sure to take note of its remarkable, watch-like characteristics.

But this sale isn't all about those machines that will (hopefully) be finding new homes. This is just as much about sharing the collection in its entirety; both those on the block and those accompanying them as adjuncts to the show.

And it is a show! A rare collection of classic sewing machines from an era of uncompromised quality and dedication to the domestic arts.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

About Those Photos...

Followers of this blog (or the occasional visitor) may have noticed the few photos recently posted of the inner workings of a Singer 500A, aka "the Rocketeer". You'll have noted, too, that there was no accompanying caption, or explanation of their reason for being.

In response to an inquiry from an interested party, I've taken a few photographs and posted them here for that person's benefit as I "talk" her through a minor, but important adjustment. Ah, the wonders of the internet, where I can lend a hand through the "ether" in hopes of getting another well-respected machine back on the road (I sure hope it's helped).

I doctor the images to highlight certain area or parts that I then refer to when carrying on an email conversation about options for adjustments and repair.

Many photos that I take for purposes such as this are fairly short lived. I remove them after I have solved a problem, or when others have solved a problem for me. Then it's back to this blog's original purpose of showcasing the different sewing machines currently in my possession.

No new machines for the past week or two. But always on the lookout.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Heading into the Holidays

We're heading into that time of year when many are in search of the perfect gift. And what better gift for the sewist in your life (even if that's you!) than a vintage sewing machine?

Buying, of course, presents little problem, as they are easily found on your local Craigslist, and, with a bit more involved, on Ebay. But selling is a different matter; the competition is many and varied. I'll be looking for ways to stand out from the crowd in order to achieve the price point I place on my machines.

I'm preparing to "show off" a number of my machines at an at-home holiday event, and I'm looking forward to the reaction of those invited to what is, in effect, a "tour" of vintage sewing machines from an era of increased reliance on striking good looks and the promise of remarkable domestic achievement. And there will be cookies.

I'm placing my machines about the living and dining rooms in what I hope to be as understated a way as possible (I don't know that I could well-explain a Singer Featherweight next to the toaster, or a Vigorelli Universal on the toilet tank), while highlighting  the obvious attributes of their immediate attraction. After all, it isn't every household that has need for so many sewing machines.

So which machines and why?

Well, the great names to begin with: Singer, Elna, Pfaff, Necchi. And then, all of them? No. I'm sure I couldn't find room to modestly display as many as twenty two (and counting) sewing machines. And, to be sure, some few are either repeats of the same model, or are similar enough that not all add more to the effect. But those that are recognized classics will draw their admirers if they are not often seen by members of this particular group of friends (a creative bunch), and will both instruct and amaze (well, that's my expectation, but then, these are my "babies").

So, while it's a bit early for holly and mistletoe – and none of my machines can easily be hung, even with the greatest care – the season's approach is in the air, and over a warming dinner of butternut soup with holiday cookies for dessert, I expect conversation to include a comment or two about our choice of decorations surrounding the dinner table.

I'll leave the bathroom to New Year's Eve.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Updates and Outtakes

It wasn't an especially busy week for sewing machines. I did take in a 306W for a general servicing. I hadn't seen one before, so it was nice to have one on the bench for a bit. And I picked up yet another 401A at a garage sale. I've continued with a number of postings on Craigslist of machines I have for sale. And I've been making an attempt at better arranging my shop/office for a better use of space.

The 401A is from 1951. As I've now had a few of these on my bench, I noticed features specific to the year. I don't know these machines well enough to know just what changes were made and when, but a couple of things stood out as I worked on this one: first of all, the top cam-hatch has a decal on it, while later years do not (again, just when these changes occur, I haven't, yet, a clue). I also noticed that the screws used to attach the various adjustment plates are "bright" finished as opposed to the color-matched screws from later years. Little things, but a matter of interest when one delves into these on a fairly frequent basis.

This latest acquisition also had me in mind of some of the tell-tales of a machine's condition and potential value. When evaluating that potential, it's always best to do so before buying, but I'm rather quick to buy and slow to evaluate when, say, hitting garage sales on any given Saturday. It's only after getting my latest find back home that I begin to note any real problems (or lack thereof).

A few clues as to how a machine (in this case Singers from the 400/500 series) may have been treated throughout its life include: the condition of the various screws used throughout. If they show few signs of screwdriver wear, that's certainly a good sign. It means the machine wasn't roughly handled, or in for much servicing.

I now look at the spool pins as well; are they noticeably bent? Straighter pins have seen fewer hours of use. Are they yellowed with age and exposure? I like to see whiter/clearer spool pins (these are the plastic pins).

Perhaps most importantly, for me, is the condition of the machine's interior. This is where one can usually determine something about the life a machine has had. Clean, dry surfaces without any signs of grease and oil are always something I like to see. This latest 401A seems to have never been in for service; clean, dry and unmarked.

Of course, the condition of the exterior is very important. And here, too, this one is near perfect. While a few scratches or chips are the norm, and don't have too great an impact on resale value, a machine with no discernible flaws warrants an escalating premium. Here is a machine worthy of special consideration.

You can image the satisfaction there is in freeing from years of dirt, grime and disuse, a marvelous machine in near like-new condition.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Revisiting Number One – 1951 Singer 128

This was the first sewing machine I ever worked on, and, as little was needed, it didn't present the challenge I could have used at the time. I gave it an oiling back then, and made sure the thing worked. And, yes, it worked... very well.

I didn't know a sewing machine could make such fine stitches. I had to look close to see the individual stitches. Of course, until then, I hadn't paid much attention to stitches of any sort.

And I was taken aback by the age of this machine. This look, that Singer is famous for, was synonymous for all things ancient to me. Well, antique, anyway. Put one of these next to a stagecoach and I'd have thought they belonged to each other.

But this machine dates from 1951; attested to by the extra adornment on its badge. It has the blue band signifying Singer's 100th anniversary. This is the same year that Singer introduced the 301 slant-shank machine, with its modern, mid-century flair. Here we had the stagecoach trying to out-race the streamlined locomotive.

Today, I looked more closely at the shuttle bobbin, and paid attention to how its parts went together and how they worked. I knew this time that one had to insert the bobbin with its thread wound one way and not the other.

Threading this machine is easy and straightforward, though its stitch-length knob was another something I had to figure out. But soon, it was working as well as ever. And still that beautifully fine stitch.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A New Name. A New Purpose.

Same ol' look, but now with a new name to reflect new sensibilities. After having bought, serviced and sold a number of machines, I'm more confident in my take on vintage sewing machines and what they need to be kept in good repair. While no expert on any, and woefully ignorant of many, I've come to appreciate the way sewing machines work, how they're made, and what they need to be of use for another good many years.

I've now built up an inventory that far exceeds my wife, Mary's, need for machines for her crafting events. A few favorites have fallen from favor, and others have taken their places. I have duplicates of some, and others are perhaps a little too fussy to render good service to the beginner sewist. Others are more in the vein of the collectable, so not meant for the rigors of daily use, but are rather kept as great examples of what was being made in those last few years before the influx of foreign competitors and the advent of plastics.

So, this hobby has taken a turn. I can no longer justify the collecting of machines when there is little need and no room for them. Something has to give. And I did make an effort to stop the buying. But it wasn't long before I wanted another project. I just had to begin another. I do like bringing these little engines of domestic industry back to life. And I enjoy as much seeing them "re-homed" with others for whom they are bringers of pride and joy.

I turn then to servicing other people's sewing machines; to servicing yours if you have the need; have the machine I know well enough; have the means for dropping it off and picking it up; have the spirit to entrust it to a non-professional whose attempts at added value extend beyond the practical to the need to see some forgotten glory reborn.

Let's see what happens...

Friday, September 9, 2011

A word about this collection...

I should mention that as this collection of mine is constantly evolving (revolving?), the photos I've been taking represent machines that are current to it. While one 401A looks much like any other, each deserves its moment in the spotlight, so what may appear to be duplicate photos, are in fact new images of new machines. I remove images of machines I've sold and add new images of new machines when I find the time to take them.

Today I'm posting photos of the machines that last spent time on my workbench: a 404, the 401A and that 503A. Each required a few hours of my attention, and all now show the the beauty that was hidden beneath years of accumulated dirt and grime. These now can be handled as one might a loved antique. Go ahead – rock that baby!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Few New Machines – Singer Centric

I hadn't gone a day or two after the last machine left the bench, when I began to feel the need to get another. I took a little trip beyond the Greater San Francisco Bay Area – richer hunting ground. That day, anyway.

My newest finds are members a that class of Singers that I've come to like most: A 404, a 401A and a 503A, each with its own attributes and personality.

I tackled the 404 first and must say, this is a truly beautiful machine. It's had little use, and its condition is about as nice as I've seen. It's a simple machine, so, easy to reduce it to that point where I'll then begin building it back up to about as nice as it's likely to ever be again. It came with a nice case too. I hadn't seen one of these before and was surprised that the machine served as the bottom of the case. Very nicely designed. This keeps the machine light enough for it to be considered truly portable. In fact, this machine would have been the worthy successor  to the 301A – itself heir apparent to the remarkable 221, the Featherweight.

Then a 401A. My favorite. All the bells and whistles in a no-nonsense, but still very attractive machine. This one, after giving it the treatment I give all my machines, looks great and should sew beautifully after an adjustment or two.

Finally a Vigorelli. Italian made. Very industrial looking. And green.

Pictured above you'll find a 503A stripped to the point where I begin its "treatment": hours of cleaning, some few minutes of oiling, and a final hand-rubbed polish.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A new day and new challenges

It was simply amazing to bring our collections together for our Show and Sale! To have that many machines on display at once was quite impressive.

Would I do it again? My aching back says no, but it was a real pleasure to hear the comments from those who stopped by to look, ask questions and buy.

I'm not sure if something like this is often done. I know I've never been to a "Garage sale" that was anything like this. We had thirty machines on display. All of them vintage beauties. We sold a few, and now, the rest are heading back to our standby market place, our local Craigslist.

Still much to do:  find that spool pin for Diane's Colanda so as to finalize a trade she'd like to make; marry the accessories hidden away in boxes and bags with their respective machines; fine-tune a couple of those machines that were a bit troublesome; and, finally, find a place to store all of this!

Great day with great people having a wonderful time with what we love most.

Now... on to new challenges (and more machines)!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Impending room!

It's difficult to contemplate just what a successful sale of my sewing machines would be. The more sold (if any sell at all), the more of my favorites gone. There will be holes in my collection that will need filling, and I'm not sure what I'd be looking for to fill the void.

I think that, as working on these machines has become a pleasant hobby, I'll look for SMs that I find fun to work on. This would include the Singer line from the 301 (and Featherweight) through the 400 and 500 series (slant-o-matics). These are those machines that I believe I best know.

I'll bid a fond fair well to those that find new homes, and there will be some satisfaction that I've given them new life and a chance at another fifty years (or so) of practical use.

And I'll certainly have in return, for those that leave the nest, something I treasure almost as much:  room! Room for more sewing machines, to be sure, but room for other interests and hobbies. My "office" has become a tangle of cords, cables and cabinets. Sewing machines litter the floor. Something has to give!

And so, this sale is a giving away of something important to me. I'll have shared the fruits of my labor and what talent I have for fixing things. In doing so, new friends will be met and new worlds opened for those just beginning their journey of home-crafted creativity – and of their appreciation of these classic treasures.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A "yard sale" like no other!

What better way to share our interest in vintage sewing machines than by hosting a "yard sale" (and show) featuring some of the best known makes and models from around the world?

Classic, vintage machines from USA, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Japan and Great Britain, including Singer, White, Necchi, Bernina, Elna, Pfaff, Juki, Morse, Brother and more!

Two collectors will be reducing their inventory, while at the same time sharing a few of their "gems" at this show and sale presented in the way of your typical yard, or garage sale... but with a difference: this will be dedicated exclusively to vintage sewing machines!

Save the date: Saturday, August 20th, 2011 in San Mateo, CA.

What is an Elna "Grasshopper"? Just how does a Necchi Wonder Wheel work? What was Brother turning out in the sixties? Why are Singer Featherweights so popular with collectors?

Have you always wanted to try a Bernina 830? How much does a Pfaff 130 weigh? (a lot).

Enjoy an afternoon with like-minded enthusiasts, looking, trying, learning – maybe heading home with the sewing machine of your dreams!

Do you have a vintage sewing machine gathering dust in your attic? Bring it along to find out just what you have, and just what would it take to bring it back to life.

Stay tuned for more details...

Friday, July 15, 2011

A new direction...

Well, the thing is, my focus is on vintage machines of a certain look, one that evokes the forward-looking design sensibilities of a new era: the Fifties, with its tail fins and metallic colors!

So this new acquisition represents something of a change in direction for me, albeit a temporary one: a step back in time to that venerable design sense that gave us so many of Singer's classic sewing machines.

What am I talking about? A beautiful example of Singer's model 221, the Featherweight! (there it is, up at the top).

While not on my list of favorites, this one called out to me for its condition alone. It really is stunning. A collection of sewing machines can certainly make room for something as gorgeous as this!

This is from 1956. It has the "striated" faceplate more reminiscent of the Art Deco period than the Victorian as evinced by Singer's earlier models. This more masculine look is something I can appreciate. It is quite light for a sewing machine, and has proved itself a favorite with quilters for its portability (think quilting classes and quilting bees).

I may not introduce this little gem to the general-use category of those other machines that Mary uses for her crafting events. This, I think, is worthy of more limited use, perhaps for Mary alone. But, to be sure, it will make an appearance at future events, if just as a highlight to my collection.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

To the Moon, Alice!

So, looks like this is the first post for July 2011. What better way to start off than with this tribute to the end of NASA's Space Shuttle Program. I say "Keep 'em Flying!"

It's true, if you've seen one, you've seen 'em all. Well, maybe not. Here's another lonely orphan from the Slant-O-Matic Rescue Mission: I had just purchased a 500A for my sister, but, as was related in an earlier post, I opted to withhold that in favor of a 401A that was is beautiful condition. That Rocketeer just wasn't up to snuff; needing as did that faceplate.

Well, this one came up on CL, and it too had issues, but the one helped the other out and this is the result (see pic of the new 500A up there at the top).

I learned a few things with this refurbishing: how to better adjust the play in the cam stack selection mechanism, for one.

This one is now ready to join its stable mates in Mary's retinue of crafting-event sewing machines.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Wonderful Day of Sea, Sky and Crafting!

What a great weekend for gathering at the coast. A weekend of good people, good food and good times! Mary's third crafting event (Space Craft Center Splashes Down in Half Moon Bay!) was a great success. It can be said there was a buzz in the air, as friends, old and new, gathered for two days of celebrating the hand-made arts.

A word about the venue: The Johnston Ranch is an historical property just outside the little, coastal town of Half Moon Bay on the Central Coast of California. While just minutes from the hustle of the City, this quaint "Village by the Sea" boasts beautiful scenery and wonderful things to do.

The Historic Old Coastal Railroad Station, located on the Johnston Ranch, was the setting for this event, and as an ode to handcrafting, what better than the birds singing in the adjacent fields, and the pleasant breeze off the bay.

And, of course, my collection of vintage sewing machines made their appearance. All were plugged in and ready to sew. A new acquisition was on the bench: a Singer 500A was getting "the treatment"; a minor overhaul that promises it many more years of enjoyment for its next lucky owner.

You'll note too, a few machines are gone from my gallery. A Singer 403A (a true classic in fantastic condition) found its way home with my sister; and its "little sister", a Singer 404 will be flying back to Dallas with my niece, whose first foray into the world of sewing netted a new apron in the Millennial Tarten. And the Morse 4300 has a new owner, as Catherine B. drew the winning ticket in the event's raffle.

All in all: the perfect day!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sold a 401A!

This was another of Diane's SMs (sewing machines). This, too, hurt a bit. I had to remind myself that (A) it wasn't mine, and (B) I have one! This one was from 1960, so fifty-one years young. No doubt, Singer's top of the line, and a machine never to be matched.

I do, however, have the very core of the collection I'm interested in: Singer Slant-O-Matics from the 301 to the 500A. I still need a 503A of my own, and I'm on the hunt!

Singers will be well represented at Mary's Space Craft Center crafting event in Half Moon Bay this coming weekend. I won't have the full contingent of vintage machines that I had there last week, but I'm thinking, in addition to my singers (301, 401A, 403A, 500A, 185J), the Brother Select-O-Matic, the Elna Grasshopper, the Morse 4300 (of course. It's being raffled off!)... What else? It remains to be seen. See you there?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sold Two Machines

Well, I sold two of Diane's machines, the "Bisque" Featherweight and the 503A "Rocketeer". The 503 is that one seen in my photo section taken apart for a light reconditioning.

I hated to let that Rocketeer go, as I grew somewhat attached after giving it a thorough cleaning and oiling. It really did respond well to the attention I gave it. It's in very nice condition and a little time "in the shop" did wonders. This is what I enjoy most about these vintage machines: breathing new life into them. I'm sure it's good for another fifty years.

So, I'll have fewer machines at Mary's next crafting event on June 26th, but those that I'll bring are very representative of my collection, and will show well, I'm sure. And of course they'll be available for those signed up for sewing projects on the 26th, as well as being available to all for testing and trying on the 25th when Mary has planned an open house in the evening. Another great opportunity to to see these vintage beauties.

And, yes, there will be a few for sale!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Space Craft Center in Half Moon Bay!

Well, I had my sewing machines at Space Craft Center's HMB event, and it was a very nice day in the cool of the coast to spend working on projects, as others there were doing, or working on machines as I was doing.

We had 15 machines up and running, and it was an impressive sight; the colors, the sounds and the comments (my Elna "Grasshopper" won praise for its fine stitch and delicate manners).

I took apart Diane's 503A to the extent that I would normally for a good cleaning, oiling and adjustment. Without any need for parts or repair, this is a good, intermediate servicing, well above a simple "lube job", but not a restoration by any means.

Edie was there with a number of machines from her collection including an Elna Supermatic from about 1955, and a couple of toy machines that surprised with their quality of design and construction; one of these was a replica of her Supermatic with a hand crank and chain stitch capability. The other, while still a toy, was made of cast iron, just like its "big sisters".

Saturday was a day for setting up and getting things just right for Sunday's event. We had a gourmet pizza dinner that evening at the train station, then enjoyed a private tour of The Johnston House, that little colonial saltbox that is a symbol of HMB's connection to its Victorian past. A wonderful time with a fine walk among the poppies and the roses before our own little step back in time.

I brought Edie's Supermatic home with me for a little maintenance of its own. It will need a part or two, but promises to be up and running as the very nice machine it was designed to be.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Show and Sale in Half Moon Bay, CA June 12th, 2011

Just a reminder that my collection of sewing machines will be on display and available for use at Space Craft Center's crafting event next week, June 12th, in Half Moon Bay, CA.

If you've ever wanted to see or try vintage machines, this will be a good time for that. I'll have the bulk of my collection there, as well as a few machines belonging to others that will be for sale.

I'll be answering questions about vintage sewing machine collecting, maintenance and repair. If you have an older machine gathering dust in the attic, this will be your chance to find out about its suitability for rescue, repair and use. Keep in mind that there are many who believe these older, all-metal machines are the ones worth keeping.

If you've been to Half Moon Bay, you know how quaint a town it is, perfect for strolling Main Street looking in windows, shopping for souvenirs and grabbing a bite to eat.

The event will be taking place at the Old Coastal Railroad Station that is now used as a community venue, and is just next to the historic Johnston House, "The White House on the Hill", an authentic saltbox house once owned by a pioneering family from the area. I believe that a special tour of the Johnston House will be offered to those attending Space Craft Center's event. Visit Space Craft Center's website for more information about the event.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A New Addition

I was out today, scouring the neighborhood for yard sales. I spied what looked like a sewing machine's cabinet on a driveway among other, much less interesting stuff. I pulled over and asked if the little table was indeed a sewing machine table, to be told it was.

I've never seen a Singer 328K, but was looking at one now (and you can see it up there in my selection of photos). It looked to be in good condition and the price was right (even then, I bargained the seller down a bit).

When I got it home, I was surprised at how good its condition was; almost unused, it seemed to me. And taking it out of its cabinet, it surprised me again with its lightness.

I normally take sewing machines apart, even before trying them out, as my interest in them is more for their mechanical content than anything else. This one however is disappointingly clean, straight and in very good working order. I gave it a quick dusting, buttoned it up and put it back in its cabinet. Ready to go.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sold a Pfaff

The Pfaff 130 has been sold. This was not my machine, bur rather one that I worked on then sold for someone else. I learned quite a bit about these classic sewing machines, though need to learn more. Fantastic machines!

I have another Pfaff 130 that will need a little maintenance before it ends up on the block (so I'll keep that photo here as it's the same machine, essentially). It will be on display at Mary's Space Craft Center crafting event in Half Moon Bay on June 12th and 26th. If you haven't seen or worked on one of these, you'll have the chance if it's still available (and if you are one of the lucky ones to sign up for that event).

Keep in mind that a Morse 4300 Fotomatic III will be raffled off at that same event (see the picture above). The Morse is a great machine. Much thought and innovation went into these machines; they were quite advanced for their time.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A new addition to the Singer family!

I picked up a Singer 403A made about the mid-fifties. Very clean condition; I'm thinking a 7 or 8. You can see it up there between the 401A and the 404 – right where it belongs.

It's a ZZ machine, and is essentially the twin of the 401, but instead of a cam-stack, it requires that a separate cam be installed for each decorative stitch. Many like this feature, as it allows for a simple switch of the cam for any given stitch rather than referring to the stitch chart under the "lid" of the 401, then setting the knobs accordingly.

This fairly completes my collection of the best of Singer's Slant-O-Matics from the "all-steel" era. I'm missing the 503(A).

Let's run through those I have then: The 301 was the first of series with an all-new design and all-aluminum construction; then, in the 400 series: the 401A, 403A and 404. Rounding things out is the 500A "Rocketeer".

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New additions to the gallery!

I've added a few new photos of machines that have passed through my hands (some are sticking around).

You'll note I've grouped the Singers together at the top. These have become my favorite machines, as they are easy to work on and easy to find parts for. Japanese machines are grouped at the bottom.

I'd like to thank Diane J. for access to her collection of wonderful machines; some of which are pictured here. A number of these are for sale, and will be available for purchase at Space Craft Center's next event in Half Moon Bay, CA. This will be a great opportunity for those interested to try these machines.

I'll have my entire collection at the HMB event, plugged in and ready to go!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sold my White Rotary

Because my main thrust will be vintage machines from the '50s and '60s, I thought I'd let the White Rotary go. It found a happy home, but won't be a part of what I show in HMB in June.

I've been busy with a few new projects and will post photos soon.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A couple of new projects.

The White Rotary and the Singer Featherweight are a couple of machines I was working on over the weekend. Incredibly different machines!

The White hadn't been used in many years (would be my guess), as it was in need of more than a basic cleaning. Lint had compacted under the throat plate, and there was a rat's nest of bobbin thread behind the bobbin.
As well were frayed wires requiring a complete rewire of the machine.

The Featherweight needed a more basic cleaning and a new belt. These are highly prized by sewing-machine collectors, and it's easy to see why. Lightweight, fine quality and a pleasure to work on.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Got the BelAir going!

I pulled the wiring from a JCPenney 7000 and was able to get the BelAir operating. I still need to affix a spool pin and give her a try, but at least she's "on the road". This is a Singer clone from Japan (see photo above); very heavy. Will need a case.

Sold my Dressmaker S-2402

Well, I did need to "thin the herd" a bit, and while this machine was perhaps the most versatile I had, it didn't quite fit my idea of "vintage". So, on with the hunt!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yahoo Groups I've joined

I've joined a couple of Yahoo Groups as a means of garnering more information regarding the maintenance and repair of my machines. Already I've learned a few things that will no doubt prove invaluable, not only for any work I might need to do to keep my treasures in fine fettle, but for chasing down desirable machines while weeding out those with lesser reputations.