August 5, 2013

lovely old lady

Not me, of course. Although with a birthday this week, I am feeling a little old. The lady I'm talking about, though, is this pretty little 1928 Singer 99.

Don't you have a Singer 99 already? Well, yes, yes I do. But a girl can never have too many sewing machines, right? (Ahem)

Last week a friend sent me an email asking if I'd like to adopt a vintage sewing machine. I looked at the pictures she sent, gazed up into the living room where my 99 is sitting, still unworking in it's bentwood case and over to where (one of my three) Brother machines (one is loaned to a friend though, so really only two) was tucked behind the piano and thought, "Four sewing machines is probably enough." And then I said "Yes! I'd love it."

Will, wonderful man that he is, didn't even bat an eye when I told him I had an antique sewing machine in the back of my car. He just hauled it into the living room for me, where I spent the better part of the weekend futzing with my new toy.

Because this one? She works. And her decals are all perfect. And ALL the attachment (The ruffler foot! It's so fun!) are tucked into the original box.  She's a little stiff from years of disuse but inside her little drawer were all the little bits that she came with 85 years ago. And after some oiling and a little coaxing, she's been whirring along. Well, not whirring, still chugging a little, but the more I use her, the better she's running. I suspect that I need to open up the machine a little more to clean out decades of fluff and grease to really get her going.

I'm still getting used to the knee pedal, which, after years of using a foot pedal feels a little strange. But I'm getting there, and so is Evie, who has already finished a toy she was making on it and who has her eye on the one in the Bentwood case, if we can get it working (now that I have one working, I think I can figure out the other. Yeah, yeah, that was my reasoning all along) because she would like a machine of her very own please.

There's something so beautiful about these old machines, I don't think the new ones, snazzy as they are (and I could never give mine up. It makes perfect button holes. And pretty stitches! And, you know, does things like back stitch and zig zag. All very necesary) will ever be as elegant. And the fact that after 85 years, some of which were spent sitting unused, she fired up the first time, well, that's pretty amazing.  I know it's a cliche but I really think they don't make them like they used to.

Now, I need to find a good dress pattern for some back to school sewing. Any recommendations?