Wednesday, June 22, 2011

TOGA: Days 2 & 3, sewing and a tale of two machines

Day 2 of the TOGA (Treadle On Gathering and Academy), Monroe NC

Lots of things happen at a TOGA.  Machines for sale.  Other stuff for sale.  Classes.  A guy doing scissor sharpening.  Young kids sewing and helping people and otherwise behaving impeccably.  I"m not making this up and I'm not exaggerating.  I had a marvelous time but most of this post is just about sewing machines.  What a surprise!

I took three classes and I did take pictures but I am not comfortable with posting people's faces without their permission.  Besides, you have all seen rooms full of women sewing.  What you may not have seen is a room full of women sewing on ALL kinds of sewing machines, from antique hand cranks through vintage electrics and vintage electrics converted to hand cranks, to the very latest whiz-bang electronic plastic wonders.  (No, I am NOT sneering at them--I own two of them myself.  They are just fine as long as you keep them in their place.)

Of course I was hoping to find a beautiful antique machine that rang my chimes and was for sale at a price that would not stop me.  I did see the EXACT machine that I would have bought and it belonged to a lovely young woman named Ada.  Lucky Ada.  This machine has inlaid mother-of-pearl and what looks like hand painted ornamentation.

I had a terrific time looking at everyone's machines and came home with a new lust-obsession:  a Singer 316G.  O.M.G.  What a beast!  The most muscular looking Singer I have ever seen.  No pic, stupidly.

When I returned to the hotel after Day 2 the DH was surprised that I had not bought a machine.  I did see an adorable chainstitch treadle.  The treadle pedal looked like two footprints.  I couldn't face trying to get a treadle home with us.

The DH asked me how old my oldest machine is (1921).  He then told me that I "needed" to buy a machine from the 1880's.  After more than 20 years of marriage he still manages to astonish me at times.  I do talk to him incessantly about sewing machines.  He talks to me incessantly about sports.  I always assumed that we were both paying an equal amount of attention to one another.  Does this mean that now I will have to start following his discussions of college football coaching strategies?  

On Day 3, sitting on the floor along the wall, I found this sad looking little machine.  Tag was marked "National (?)  $5".  It has the leaf tension and bullet shuttle that I associate with machines in the 1880's and is almost certainly older than my next oldest machine.  The price was definitely right.
I can find neither a brand name nor any kind of number on it.  This style of machine certainly does go back to the 1880's but machines like this continued to be produced through the teens.  Apparently this is not good enough for the DH.  He says I should keep looking.

I wish I could convey how hilarious this is, Mr. Football having any kind of opinion about sewing machines.  Totally out of the blue.  Are you reading this, honey?

It is rusty, not only on the chrome (?) parts but on the body and the rust extends under the paint.  It was, of course, frozen solid.  The chrome on the bobbin slide plates appears to have bubbled up off the underlying metal.

Instead of the liquid-wrench-and-a-hairdryer trick, I sprayed it and set this puppy out in the North Carolina summer sun.  It "only" got up to 96 degrees F today, but that was enough to do the trick.  Had to tap the slide plates gently with a hammer, but I have it stripped down now.  The mechanism is still frozen, and tomorrow I will clean off all the drippy Liquid Wrench and miscellaneous gunk and take a closer look at what might be stuck.

A quick swipe with sewing machine oil reveals the remnants of some lovely decals.  In most places the decals are completely gone, with only an outline of glue to show where they once were.

The most amazing thing about this machine:  it weighs in at a mere 16.5 pounds.  For a cast iron machine, that's almost "featherweight".

If I am ever able to identify it, it will probably be from this access port cover on the front above the stitch length lever.  If you recognize it, please leave a comment!


  1. Oh I hope you can get this little lady up and running again. I have a Singer 66 in sad shape waiting on me to get over being scared of cleaning it. I silvered the decals of the only head I tried to clean, now I'm afraid to mess another one up.

  2. DD#2 has a friend with a bead blaster. Saw one of these in operation on "American Restoration" and long to have one of my own! (industrial equipment the size of a couple of washing machines). This one may be the candidate for bead blasting and a repaint. Stay tuned!

  3. Your elderly lady is going to be gorgeous! I would try to keep the decals and just live with the fact that the rest of the machine isn't as nice. Remember she is over a hundred years old!

    After silvering a part of one of my machines, I now only clean my machines with Singer sewing machine oil.

  4. have the same machine. Its a national made under the brand name Run Easy

  5. 96? It barely hit 69 here today (Central NY). Whew. What fun. I am glad to hear that electric machines found their way to the TOGA. Am planning one here for the Fall. Small venue. Limited numbers

  6. Anyone know of any plans for another TOGA in or near NC? I would love to attend!


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