Personally, I blame Helen. She gave me her mother's treadle and I had lots of fun restoring it. That got me started reading the TreadleOn bulletin board, and I started lusting after other vintage sewing machines. It also lead me to the Vintage Singers yahoo group, which includes electric machines through the early 1960's. More machines to lust over.
Or maybe I should blame Jan. After all, she found the first in what became a long line of machine acquisitions this fall. A lovely 301 from the Habitat store.
But I was determined not to fall victim to the most serious form of the disease. Some of the other sufferers on the boards have more than 50 machines. I already had 9 before all of this started (embroidery, industrial, several sergers, decorative stitch, straight stitch, etc.). I had to have a strategy.
This was it: every machine I own has a specific purpose, something it does exclusively or better than any of the others. I had to stick with this.
Surely you can see where this is going. It became an exercise in creative thinking: how many reasons can I think of for buying a sewing machine?
Obviously I need a sewing machine that is perfect for teaching children to sew. Never mind that I don't currently have any children around clamoring to learn to sew. That's irrelevant. When one shows up, I MUST BE READY.
The 128 is a 3/4 size machine, which makes it more appealing to smaller folk. People on the boards say that children prefer a hand crank. I still remember that terrifying moment, age 12, when I first put pedal to the metal on my Mom's 1939 singer.
$22.50 and about that much again in parts (hand crank and some extra bobbins).
That was my first venture into the world of CraigsList. Uh Oh! SO many sewing machines, many in my $25-or-less price range. And on CraigsList in another town I found a version of myself with a more advanced stage of the disease. In her living/dining room area she had 6 treadles. She had 8 portables on display on her dining room table (those were the ones for sale). She made reference to at least 2 more treadles and several other portables lurking in other corners of her apartment. I drooled over all the ones for sale but left with only two.
The previous owner had dis-assembled it for cleaning and what I bought was the pieces in a box. No foot pedal but the one from my 301 worked on it. I gave it a thorough cleaning, oil and lube. It is running smoothly and I have sewn a few minor things on it.
$10, plus 2-3x that in parts: foot pedal of its own, miscellaneous small parts including new thread pins. Shown in the photo are bamboo skewers used as thread pins.
The price does not factor in the fact that now I have an excuse to search out and buy slant-shank attachments. And I have done so.
I replaced the missing parts, oiled and lubed it, but haven't done any cleaning on it yet.
$25 + about that in parts (power cord/foot pedal, presser foot screw, bobbin cover). The hinge on the light cover is broken at the top but it works fine that way.
|306 partially disassembled|
The fun is in the fixing, and there has been plenty of fixing to do on this machine. It was filthy, the photos don't convey the degree of grime. It is just as grungy inside. It had not been oiled in decades, best guess. There was a thread jam that was not accessible--I had to take the bobbin mechanism apart to get it out. It is now clean on the outside, oiled and lubed (but not de-grunged on the inside) and it is sewing a beautiful stitch--by handwheel only at this point. The insulation is completely gone off of the wires in many places and more of it shatters and falls to the floor every time you touch it. I bought replacement wire for it but the rewiring is a task for after Thanksgiving, if not even later. After all, it's not like I don't have other machines to sew on.
So what is the justification for this machine? Uh, wait a moment, I'm sure I will think of something....
- The cabinet was worth the $20.
- It kind of looks like a 319, which I still want
- It came with a box of attachments in pristine condition, which I could sell on eBay. Except I won't.
- It has a straight stitch throat plate, which means that I could get rid of my vintage Japanese straight stitch machine, which I love for piecing. Except I won't.
Yep. But MUCH cheaper.