Sunday, May 31, 2015

Machines that might come to the 2015 NC TOGA

Newly added:   Three legendary machines.  All as-found, meaning that I have not worked on them yet.  All turn freely.  Not included in the bullet list below (because I am running out of time!) but all have more pictures at the bottom of the blog post.

Wheeler & Wilson No. 9.  More pictures at the end of the blog post

DIBBS:  Singer 12 with original hand crank.  More photos at end of blog post

Pfaff 130.  More photos at the end of the blog post.

and now back to the machines previously listed in this post.

National Expert BT Vibrator.  EXTREMELY funky base included,  Or a cabinet.  Or both.

For treadlers within a 3 state radius of North Carolina, the highlight of the year is the NC TOGA. Not Christmas, not Thanksgiving, not their birthdays.  The TOGA, Treadle On Gathering and Academy.

What is it like, you ask?  Well, it is kind of like Burning Man.  Well, OK, it is NOTHING like Burning Man.  But you won't really understand what is happening until you get there, and I imagine that Burning Man is like that also.

Singer 66

I'll tell you more about it later if you like.  But today I want to show the sewing machines that I am offering for sale to other TOGA-attendees.  I will not ship them.  Really, so don't even bother to ask.  I will not hold them for you.  I want you to see and try before you buy.

Singer 15-125

I will bring these machines only if there is serious interest, meaning that you might actually wish to buy.  No commitment, if once you see it and you don't like it, no hard feelings.  I did it this way last year and it worked very well.  Everybody WAS happy, took their machines home and I had only hauled the machines that people actually wanted.

Singer 177.

It has been at least a year since I fired up any of these machines, and a couple of them are "attic-fresh" and untested.  I will test in advance any machines that people are interested in and as that happens I will update this post.

Singer 285.  It's reputation as the worst vintage Singer ever is well deserved.

I'll keep a list if more than one person is interested in the same machine.  First to ask gets dibs.  Look on the left hand side of this page to "view my complete profile" and contact me by email.  Or you can contact me through the NC TOGA yahoo group.  That is the only place I will list or discuss prices, btw.

Singer 306

If you are interested in buying a particular machine from me and want more information about it, just contact me.  You can also request more photos and if they are not buried in the back of the workroom  I will comply (serious buyers only please).

Singer 301

Another Singer 301.  Ask me if you want more than just the straight stitch foot.

If you plan to buy a machine from me and want a cabinet for it, just let me know.  Cabinets are free (with one exception) but I can only cram a few into my van.

Singer 328

DIBBS means that someone has expressed an interest and I will be bringing the machine.  If that person see them and does not want them you can still contact me and I will put you next on the list.

PLEASE NOTE that at the bargain basement prices I am asking all you get is the machine as is.  Missing or broken pieces will be noted as I check them out and pack them in the van.

  • Empty Singer treadle.  Any of the treadleable Singer machines mentioned will fit in here.  The plain basic 5-drawer cast iron model.  Working but I haven't done anything to it other than oil it and make sure it is functioning properly.  Medium cosmetic condition. 
  • Singer 27, Sphinx decals, medium amount of wear to the decals.
  • Singer 328, reportedly treadleable but I have never tried.  Takes flat cams, and the zig-zag cam will be included.  More cams available upon request.
  • DIBBS.  Singer 15-something (26 through 29 probably), very old and without a motor boss but with a motor. How is that possible, you ask?  with a very clever wrap-around from the back access port.  Sphinx decals in medium bad shape.  Eminently treadle-able.  Attic fresh.
    • Oiled and checked out. Stitching properly, nice balanced tension.  Turns freely and smoothly.  Needs bobbin winder tire and motor belt (if you plan to use the motor).  I did NOT test the motor. slide plate is present but spring is broken on one side.  has bobbin case, some light corrosion inside but it works fine.  stitch length lever works.  tensioner works properly.  UPDATE:  I found the controller but have NOT tested it.  Proceed at your own risk with the antique electrics!
  • Singer 177, treadleable zigzagger.  Budget model with an underpowered motor but that won't matter if you treadle it.  Made in Brazil and not too many of the turn up around here.
  • Singer 237.  very popular treadleable zigzagger.  Has motor on it now.
  • Singer 66,  a later model with a back tack (reverse).  Treadleable if you add a spoked hand wheel.  If you want to treadle it ask me for a spoked wheel (but I am not selling the spoked wheels generally).  Has motor on it now.
  • Singer 306, cosmetically unappealing, bobbin case missing (Cindy has them) but a lovely, lovely stitcher and a treadleable multi-stitch machine. Has motor but the wiring is shot --- that won't matter if you want to treadle it.  Takes flat cams, and the zig-zag cam will be included.  More cams available upon request.  Takes class 206 needles and bobbins and a few will be included.  Cindy can supply you with more.  
  • DIBBS:  Singer 223.  Oiled and tested, all functions working, including motor.  treadleable zizagger WITH A BLIND HEM STITCH built in. Feed dog drop.  this model is a personal favorite of mine. I have wiped the surface layer of dust off of the exterior but it would benefit from a more thorough cleaning.
  • DIBBS:  Adler Belvedere.  Oiled and tested, stitching nicely.   one of the coolest looking mult-stitch machines I have ever seen.  Perhaps treadleable but I have not tested it (will test before bringing upon request by serious buyer).  It's potentially fatal flaw is an internal nylon gear, but it is working well now.  Has motor now.  Controller came out of a cabinet and does not have a bottom to it.  If you use it table-top I would advice taping a piece of plastic over the bottom of the controller,  Needs new light bulb.
I don't have extra hand cranks so I can't supply them but you can get them easily from Cindy or from  You may also need to buy a spoked wheel for the hand crank conversion.
  • Singer 185, 3/4 size machine, hand crank adaptable and a wonderful machine.
  • DIBBS:  National Expert BT Vibrator.  Oiled and tested, stitches well.  Shuttle and two bobbins.  3/4 size, long bobbins, wheel knob rather than hand crank.  and cabinet that fits it but it will not fold down into it.  Regular needle slid down a tiny bit works fine.

None of these can be treadled or converted to hand crank.
  • DIBBS:  Singer 301, black. Tested and stitching nicely.  Bobbin case and one bobbin.  electric, cannot be treadled but a favorite with quilters for its light weight and portability.  Button controller.  Previous owner spliced an extra length into the power cord so it is VERY long.  that could easily be removed by someone with minimal electrical skills.
  • Singer 301, mocha, ditto.
  • Singer 301 cradle, which allows the machine to be EASILY put in and out of some (but not all) Singer cabinets.  I have a couple of them.
  • A Singer cabinet that will fit the 301 cradle.  in decent cosmetic condition.
  • Singer 348, tailed, cannot be treadled.  Lovely aqua color. Takes flat cams, and the zig-zag cam will be included.  More cams available upon request.
  • Singer 337, same family as the 348 a straight stitch machine and zigzag machine.
  • Morse 3/4 size long bobbins, tailed, takes regular needles.  Sadly NOT hand crank adaptable.
  • Singer 285.  3/4 size, not really hand crank adaptable.  Absolutely adorable.  Absolutely horrible machine.  Fascinating in a train-wreck kind of way. Worst drive train mechanism EVER.  It is in a case that also fits a 185 and the case is worth the price I am asking for it.
  • DIBBS   Singer 15-125.  Oiled and tested, stitching nicely.  with potted motor and therefore not treadleable.  Same mechanically as the workhorse 15-91 but a much prettier two-tone green. button controller is also green.  NOTE:  head only, needs to be in a case or cabinet to stitch.  
  • DIBBS:  Singer 201-2 with potted motor.  Oiled and tested, making nice stitches.  has motor and controller. power cord in rough shape (spliced and/or taped, tape coming off). Running with motor but very slowly:  could be controller needs to be cleaned, could be motor issue, could be that power cord.   in funky but fairly sturdy case with the bottom of the case missing.  bobbin winder needs to be adjusted.  Light works.  I have wiped the surface dirt and cobwebs off, but a good cleaning would help. 
Singer 15 with interesting motor attachment.  base shown is not included

My prices for the ones with issues or bad wiring are designed to tempt you into taking them off my hands.  Ditto for the Singer 33* machines.  Not bad machines, I owned one and sewed on it exclusively for over 45 years.

Morse 3/4 size, long bobbins

Singer 237

Singer 223.  Photo is not of the actual machine. The actual machine has not been cleaned up yet.
Singer 348
Singer 337

Adler Belvdere

I never got around to my usual Christmas CraigsList sale in 2014.  I've been sidetracked from fixing them to the painting and decorating of machines.  But I do still have plenty of machines and I really need to clear some of them out.  Some are very common around here, some quite unusual.  I hope you have enjoyed seeing them.  And if you are going to the NC TOGA please buy one (or several!) and help me make space for the new ones that will inevitably follow me home.

Now back to the newly listed treasures.


SINGER 12, the model that put Singer into dominance in the domestic sewing machine market


and a look at the 201 that someone has dibs on.

machine is now in this case with the missing bottom

finish is rough, but the camera flash makes it look a bit worse than it really is. 

this photo on the other hand makes the finish look a bit better than it really is

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Vintage Sewing With Ancient Aliens

more about this lady later

I may or may not be able to attend the NC TOGA (Treadle On Gathering and Academy) in June.  My buddy Art calls it sewing machine summer camp.  But I have been thinking about what I might take to sell at the swap meet portion of it.

Machines, obviously.  Then I thought about thinning the herd of vintage sewing goodies.  And I had to confront a DREADFUL FACT for the first time.

I cannot part with them, and that fact makes me a collector.

OK, those of you that know me can stop laughing now.  Yes, I have 100+ sewing machines in the house.  But I am NOT a collector of sewing machines.   Really, I mean it.  I like fixing them up and they accumulate, that is all.  There are very few of them that I would not part with under the right circumstances.  I can prove this:  see the last post about the gorgeous near-mint PINK 15-clone that went to Barbara.

Yes, I have a LARGE studio stuffed to the gills with fabric, tools, accessories and other goodies.  But they are all meant to be used and shared.  Collecting = hoarding, not sharing.  I can prove this too:  vintage sewing books, Greist hemmers, and more than one skirt marker (among other things) have gone to various sewing buddies.

Before this week I would have said that the only things I collect are Folkwear patterns.  I have been buying them since the company began back in the 70's.  I have almost all of them.  They never leave the house (never loaned out, ever, no matter how much I like you.  So there.)  I have made many things from them in the past but mostly I just want to own them.

So now I have to face the fact that I also collect wooden vintage sewing thingys.  And last week I hit the jackpot at my favorite thrift shop.  I first spied the scissor-holder-becomes-duck thingy which was IDENTICAL to one I found a couple of months ago.

Then I spotted a similar duck shaped thread-but-not-scissor thingy.  AHA, perhaps someone cleaned out a sewing room.

Quickly found a couple more pieces, including another ducky scissor holder, although it needs a spot of glue and a replacement for a pin cushion.

obviously needs some vintage scissors

The piece-de-resistance was the gray alien doing her mending.

I absolutely adore the TV show Ancient Aliens.  The premise is that aliens from other planets have visited Earth throughout the ages influencing our development.  I don't take it seriously, in fact I usually fall out of my chair laughing several times during each episode.  It is deliciously ridiculous.  I love the unexplained ancient mysteries (ever heard of Puma Punku?) and love the extensive video footage of places like Nazca.  I love the fractured logic by which they decide that all the advances of human civilization can be explained by aliens.  But instead of ancient aliens, I think that ancient humans were capable of all of this stuff.

One of the ancient alien theories concerns a group called "the grays".  And another theory is that aliens came down here and were so smitten with the hot Earth girls that they mated with them and therefore we are descended from them.

Why did it have to be just hot Earth girls though?  (Perhaps because most of the people who believe this stuff are guys living in their parents' basements?  Just a thought).  Why couldn't the girl aliens have been smitten with the hot Earth stud muffins?

So this is my theory about "Tuesday mending".  Gray girl alien comes to Earth, finds a lovely guy, marries him and adapts to our culture.  Does her mending.

It's the only logical explanation.  The piece was made in Yugoslavia (before it fractured into several separate states), but I have known people from Yugoslavia and none of them were gray.