Summertime is my favorite because I get lots of time off to sew. Except this summer it was all about taking care of my mother-in-law. With very little sewing going on (I forgot to mention the 7 costume dresses I made for Steven's play but they don't count because it wasn't fun sewing), I started to go into withdrawl. I'm sure we've all experienced this some time or another. What I usually do is buy fabric when this happens. Well, I really don't need any fabric. I mean I REALLY don't need any more fabric! Besides, I didn't have time to go shopping and Bob was around much too much for package deliveries. So what's a girl to do?
I don't know if you noticed (how could you not?) but on Patternreview.com, there has been all sorts of noise about vintage machines. Of course I had to see what all the fuss was about. Now I'm hooked. You see it all started when I first saw someone, I think it was Donna Hodgson, post a picture of a Singer 500a Rocketeer on PR. It was love at first sight. Then I learned that they were from 1961! I had to have one for my birthday because you see, I'm from 1961 too, July 6, 1961 to be exact. (I missed blogging on my birthday because we were with my MIL.) When discussing this with a sewing friend, she decided to gift me a Singer 500a Rocketeer that needed some TLC. Yea! She sent it to me in time for the machine and my 49th birthday. She also included lots of accessories and goodies to go along with it. I immediately became discouraged because I couldn't get the brown stitch lever to budge, not one micro-meter. But while waiting to figure out how to fix it, I found another lovely Rocketeer 500a on Craigslist in the art deco cabinet for $125. All I had to do is drive a 4-hour round trip to pick it up. I don't think I would have gotten it except it had the cool cabinet and I had a morning to myself for the drive. I'm so glad I did go get it because it was working almost perfectly and clean as a whistle inside and out. It'll be my go-to machine when I want to use a Rocketeer.
During one of my stays with my MIL, I spent lots of time on the computer looking up information on vintage machines. This included browsing on Craigslist. I just about fell out of my chair when I found another Rocketeer 500a for $35 in a very nice vintage Copenhagen cabinet and they lived only two miles from my MIL. I drove down right away and paid the money and picked it up the next day. It's the machine I used to sew my niece's little outfit from my last post. It also came with lots of accessories and attachments. Now I own three Singer Rocketeer 500a machines. Aren't you jealous? I've got them all working perfectly now and plan to use them for my students when I either open a studio or start teaching again at the Parks and Recreation in a city closer to home. I really would like to find one more.
These next two machines are Japan made Super Delux Zigzag machines. The beautiful green one has a badge from Revere (the copper bottom pan company) and is dated from the late 1950's. The real surprise was that I found it in my own garage! I didn't even know it was there. Well, that's not true. It belonged to my husband's grandmother. For the last 14 years it has been sitting on the floor of my garage near the door where water came in. It sat in a puddle for the rainy season each year. I knew it was a bucket of rust and wasn't interested in it. Well, I went to throw it away to make room for my MILs things but decided to look at it first. It was a beautiful immaculate machine in a lovely shade of two-tone greens, and it didn't really need anything more than cleaning and a good oiling. Even the belt was in good working condition. I only replaced the bobbin tire and it needs some work on the pressure foot lever because it doesn't want to stay up. That's it, a machine I had all along, and it was free! It has a carrying box that needs to be recovered and it didn't come with any attachments, but it was free!
The pretty pink Japan made Kenmore machine from the late 1950's was another wonderful Craigslist find. I had been cleaning out my house anticipating having to bring some of my MILs things home. I had a lot of things to go to Goodwill so I decided to have a yard sale and I made $80. The pink machine was only a 25 minute drive and cost $50, less than I earned at my yard sale, and it came in the really cool Martha Washington cabinet. It came with lots of attachments too. It was sad when I brought it home because during the drive home the cabinet wire rubbed against the top and gave it a pretty bad scar but I think I can cover it up with some model paint. I just have to look for the light pink color at the hobby shop.
As if this wasn't enough machines, after my MIL has passed, I was given her Singer 221-1 featherweight machine. I've never really been a fan of these tiny machines, but this one means a lot to me because it was hers. It's the only machine she's ever sewn on and for that, I'll treasure it forever. It has the box with attachments and the card table. The table is in bad shape but the box looks pretty nice for its age and I know it was well used.
Last, but not least, is the Singer 66 Redeye treadle machine. I posted about this machine before, so I won't bore you with all the details. It's mine from my MIL's estate as well. So there you have it, how I went from owning one very loved Bernina 170 sewing machine to a herd of eight. I can't wait to start teaching classes so that my students can feel the power of a real sewing machine, not those plastic throw-away machines they are making nowadays and beginning students always seem to buy. Anyone want to come over and sew with me?