I don’t remember much about the sewing machine I used when I first started sewing. I’m guessing that I was about 10 years old. It was my first year of 4-H. I do remember that Mom had a really nice sewing machine for the time. It had plastic cams so it could make decorative stitches. I think it was a Necchi. I’ll have to remember to ask Mom the next time we visit.
The next machine I used was an old Singer loaned to me by my hubby’s grandmother. I don’t remember much about that machine.
Then in 1970 or so, my dad bought me a brand new machine, a Necchi 534FB. I loved that machine and I sewed for miles and miles. It had nine decorative stitches, it made decent buttonholes and it was a workhorse. I loved that machine so much that when my daughter got married in 1980, I found a used 10-year-old Necchi 534FB, and bought it for her. And I found one for sale online just the other day and I was truly tempted.
I love older machines and I’d like to show you mine. I don’t exactly have a collection but I do have more than the average person.
I purchased my first old machine at an auction for $5. I just couldn’t stand for that lovely old machine to go to the junk pile. It’s in a cabinet that is pretty beat up but it still sews. According to the serial numbers on the Singer website, it was manufactured in 1949. It sews straight stitches only.
When I started working in the sewing industry selling sewing machines, I kept hearing about the Pfaff 130 that was introduced in 1932. It has a straight stitch, it zigzags, it does a few special stitches. I found one online and it became “old machine #2.” It’s portable but it weighs a bunch. Manufactured in 1954, it also still sews.
Then one day, one of my sons came with a present he’d found for me at a garage sale. This old Singer doesn’t have a power cord or a foot control so he got it for a song. It is portable and was manufactured in 1927. I researched and found an estimated cost of between $60 and $70 new. I don’t know if it sews but isn’t it beautiful?
That same son found another old machine at a sale. It’s in a cabinet. It’s missing parts so again; I don’t know if it sews. It’s a New Home model NLB and was manufactured sometime after 1944.
I got to thinking about what a quilter needs in a sewing machine. Any of these machines would work for a quilter as far as I am concerned. I could get a power cord and a foot control for the two that are missing parts and we could have a regular sewing bee at my house and I could provide the machines. As quilters, all that is necessary is a good quality straight stitch. However, I’ll be the first to admit that I want a whole lot more. I want needle down, automatic presser foot lift, a walking foot, moveable needle position, a ¼” foot and a bi-level topstitch foot and the ability to drop the feed dogs. Those are just the things I want with the straight stitch. And I truly love the brighter lights and the large sewing area on today’s machines.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a peek at my older machines. As I was musing about these old machines and their capabilities, I thought of a new technique that they are capable of. Check out the webinar about Peg Spradlin’s innovative Fold and Sew technique. It’s quick, it’s easy and it uses pre-cuts (or if you have a large amount of scraps you can cut your own). Check it out.