|Singer 99K Cabinet|
Later on I'll be exploring which machines and cabinets, if any, are interchangeable. There is nothing to think about with the little 3/4 size Singer 99: it fits its cabinet and its cabinet fits it and neither will play well with others.
I'm new to the whole vintage sewing machine thing, so if it ever sounds like I know what I am talking about, guess again. Another purpose of the smackdown is to get to know my machines better and think about things like the differences in needle plates and cabinets.
|Dressmaker 132 cabinet|
DRESSMAKER 132Currently housing the Dressmaker 132 is the smallest cabinet. The knee opening is too narrow and I sit canted half sideways with one leg under the machine and one stretched out to the side. An ergonomic nightmare. Another deal breaker: it has no drawer at all. These are the reasons I hate it.
|Dressmaker, well used|
SINGER QUEEN ANNE CABINET No. 40 (or similar to a No. 40)
|Queen Anne style cabinet|
Singer cabinets have their own names and style numbers and I have run into them from time to time but couldn't find a complete pictorial list. The ISMACS site lists a No. 40 Queen Anne sold with 15-91's, but the photo is not identical to mine. The style of this one does not appeal to me, but the nice wide knee opening makes it very comfortable. The center drawer is adequate for my straight stitching needs. I like the split top, which gives some extra room on the right for scissors and other necessaries.
SINGER CABINET No. 65
This cabinet currently houses a Singer 306 in the early stages of recovery from a life of hard use and abuse that included overdosing on the sewing machine oil. I'm considering soaking the sewing machine in kerosene but wonder what one does with a leftover bucket of used kerosene at the end of the project. Do you know?
And although I would rather have this cabinet in the living room just on looks alone, it does have one drawback. There is a bar across the bottom at foot level and this prevents the controller (aka foot pedal) from sliding back to a comfortable position. I could solve this by installing a knee lever if the internal clearances will allow for it.
I love the 1940's feel of this cabinet and the little sewing chair. There's a resonance there that sings to me. I was born in the late 40's and although my mom's taste ran to Danish modern and my grandmother's ran to the mid-Victorian, the picture books of my early childhood were filled with drawings of furniture just like this. And it has truly awesome drawers.
The chair was a Habitat find, love at first sight all the way across the room--it was that 40's resonance again. $15, some Restor-A-Finish, a scrap of fortuitously perfect upholstery material from my stash and a staple gun created one of the most satisfying quickie projects ever.
BTW, none of the cabinets looked this good when I bought them. Howard's Restor-A-Finish is the answer. Great stuff.
SINGER 401 CABINET
This is a late entrant in the smackdown. I had 15 minutes of free time on Friday and happened to be near my hometown thrift shop and stopped in on a whim. I had been there just a couple of days earlier, and this was not there then. I peeked inside the cabinet and there was a lovely shiny 401 (my current 401 is not so pretty). Also included was the manual and a complete box of attachments. It was marked "Clean Me Up And Take Me Home for $25" although both the cabinet and the machine were nice and clean. The next day was half-price day so I set my alarm and got there at opening time and bagged it all for $12.50.
|Blecchhh: plywood and particle board|
Apparently the rot set in at Singer earlier for the cabinets than for the machines. The serial number on the 401 that was inside the cabinet dates the machine to 1956. The earlier cabinets are solid wood. This one is particle board and plywood covered in formica. Ugh. It is also that horrible "blond" color that my Mom loved in her Danish modern. At least the formica kept its color, though, while my Mom's dining room set turned a couple of different shades of orange over the decades.
One of the DDs calls what I do "geek quilting", and so in the spirit of geek quilting I am including here the spreadsheet on which I recorded the dimensions of the cabinets. Perhaps it will be useful to someone else. Keep in mind that except for the ones labeled Queen Anne and No. 65, the name of the machine is not really the name of the cabinet.
|Singer 99||Dressmaker||Queen Anne||Singer No. 65||Singer 401|
|TYPE OF TOP||one leaf||one leaf||split leaves||split leaves||panel removes|
|MACHINE OPENING, WIDTH||12||14.5||16.5||16.5||16.5|
|MACHINE OPENING, DEPTH||6.75||7||7||7||7|
The knee levers are hooked up to those button controllers, which connect to power cords, some of which are interchangeable. After I decide which 2 machines I want to keep I will consider which cabinets will house them.
The straight stitch walking foot is here. I'll be playing around with pressure foot pressures and the walking foot and decide which machines make the best stitches.