Saturday, January 27, 2018

One down, 99* to go

*just a rough approximation

all photos containing sewing machines by DragonPoodle, and I don't have to give myself permission

So, my sister-in-law Patty came to see me.  We did our usual:  fine dining (Waffle House this morning) and boutique shopping.  If charity run thrift stores can be called boutiques.  We wouldn't know, we don't go in actual boutiques.

photo by Pat Byers, used with permission.
Why is there a room with no sewing machines here?  Keep reading

We also attempt to unload lots of stuff on each other, as our respective studios tend to fill up with the junk treasures we buy at the thrift shops.  I got off easy this time but she went home with a 3 foot tall stack of cotton velveteen and my entire collection of neatly cataloged embroidery thread in every color there is.  Never use it (and saved the silk embroidery thread in case I ever do). 

photo by Pat Byers, used with permission.
And an Irish pub.  Again, why?..........

I have tried unsuccessfully in the past to give her a vintage sewing machine, because I had heard her cuss her more modern machine.  I gave up a long time ago, but this time she mentioned a friend who was sewing tiny clothes for miniature dolls and I said that a hand crank was what was needed.  And then Patty said that maybe she needed one herself and that she had given the modern machine to her daughter.

Folks, you will NOT be surprised to hear that I had just the thing. 

I had always planned to convert this to hand crank, but I had other plans as well that didn't happen.   You can see the chips on the bed, especially in front. I was going to try some cosmetic disguise procedures involving fingernail polish and decals, but Patty is ready for this machine NOW and the only other one I had ready to go out the door was a questionable Taiwanese 15 clone.  In black.  This is pink.  So, no decision at all really.

It needed a new bobbin case, and I had a little drawer full of them.  Old machines sometimes come here to die and become organ donors.  Although a new bobbin case is pretty cheap if you need one.

I had oiled it when I bought it but hadn't even wiped down the surface.  It was very clean inside though, which is what really matters.  It had been sitting on a shelf for at least 4 years waiting for me. 

not the best photos you have ever seen, but hopefully you can note the absence of grunge and varnish.

We got it out and when I say "we" I mean Patty.  It was turning pretty freely but after I showed her how to oil it, it spins like a top.  Even the reproduction hand crank works very well.  They don't always do that, btw.  And it makes a perfect and perfectly balanced stitch.

Modernage, made in Japan.  Straight stitch only.  Very cool looking stitch length dial and reverse button.  Feed dog drop, although FMQ on a hand crank is a thankless task.

Took off the original balance wheel to add a spoked one and hey presto--the bobbin winder still engages and works perfectly.  That doesn't always happen either.

A feature I REALLY like on class 15 machines is when the bobbin cover flips up out of the way instead of sliding.  And if you use the machine table top WITHOUT a case it is even easier. In fact, this is the ONLY easy way to change a class 15 bobbin.  Take note, Patty, because I forgot to tell you this when we were talking about cases.

Not all machines will function naked like this.  Some models HAVE to be in a cabinet or case because otherwise some of the working bits attempt to slam into your tabletop, and it just won't sew that way. 

So, did you figure out why a castle and a pub are featured above? 

Because Patty's craft obsession is with miniatures and she makes fabulous ones.  I have one with a dragon guarding its jewels.  One daughter has a scene with Marie Curie discovering radium. 

All photos in this section by Pat Byers.  Used with permission.

had to include a sewing themed one for you, dear readers!

She has a Facebook page, Pint Size Spaces, and there are lots of photos there.

and a web store Pint Size Spaces

and she recently exhibited at the Southern Christmas Show in Charlotte.

Why not stop by her web store?  And while you are there, go ahead and buy something.  You know you want to.  Tell her I sent you.  You won't get a discount but we will ALL feel warm and fuzzy about the whole thing.

Long time readers will know that I never plug products or businesses.  I will tell you by brand name what worked for me and where I got it, but that's all.  But hey, this is my sister-in-law.  And miniatures!  Who doesn't love miniatures?  Anyway, it's my blog and I can break my own rules whenever I want to.


So, the blog post title?  One machine out the door, approximately 99 still here.  Always.  I always want to downsize, but they keep finding me and sneaking in here.

How many machines do you have?  Has that number stabilized, like mine?  How many are for your own use?  How much do you worry about your own sanity?  How much do your close family members worry? 

Do you have a plan for what happens to them when, ahem, you no longer have a use for them?  Do you have it written down and stored with your will?  (I do, lol, but really, I do!)

Love to hear from you on this!  Younger readers may find this morbid, but me and most of my friends are old ladies.

Not my sister in law Patty though.  She is MUCH younger than me.


  1. Such a fun story today! Love the pink! I have some machines hanging around, waiting for homes, but none of my 301s are going anywhere. I turned one Spartan into a handcrank. Thanks for sharing!

  2. That's a very nice machine and so clean inside it looks brand new. I have 11 machines in good working order and one 66 parts machine. I told hubby if I go first he can call my TOGA friends and ask if they want any of them. That goes for fabric, yarn, and all the other stuff too. You can't take it with you, at least that's what I've heard.

  3. I just added more machines recently, so I've lost count. And my office is being painted, so everything is crammed into another room. I can't even sew. The Necchi Supernova did make nice stitches today, so there's that.

    I've been trying to pick up parts for a couple of machines, to make them usable. I have a bobbin and shuttle for a New Home. And a shuttle but no bobbin yet for the White VS. I am going to get some of these ready to go as we might be moving this year. I need to figure out which ones to keep.

    I really like to use my machines. I want to spend some time using that Davis. If I get too many machines, the older ones sit too long.

  4. Fun post! I wish I could re-home a few more of my machines, but alas, don't know many folks locally who would be interested. I've already tried to give vintage electrics to family members, but only minimal success there. I think my stash is stable at around 15 machines right now. Dear Hubby and I keep talking about moving when we retire; a move would probably see me paring down to only a few well-loved essential machines!

  5. I also have 99* that need rehoming. Much easier to catch than release, eh? I don’t have any written instructions for disposing of my collection, just a few ideas rattling around in my head. One option involves matches, but I’m not there yet.

  6. Dear Cheryl, For me there was no need for an explanation of what "99 to go" meant! Your sister-in-law's miniatures are extremely creative and quite well done! What fun. How many SM have I?? Yes, a very good question! I'm really determined to find good homes for these babies. A few years ago I threw out all the plastic Singers which I had gotten to learn how to open them, for when my friends asked me to fix theirs. I once spent 2 hours trying to open one. I never did practice on them, they were so ugly. 2 friends' machines are here for therapy. 3 are actually here for me to use. Plus, 2 very old ones for historic interest. I've just re-homed 3. 6 are needing to be processed and re-homed. 2 are for parts. 2 are waiting for a certain SM repairman to pick up and use for parts (Elnas). Do you keep a log of what you did to each machine? BTW, I am currently considering another Singer, not a Red Eye, but similar...mostly bc it's pretty, and it has this fascinating knob near the stitch length control area and I HAVE to find out what it is! Curiosity killed.... I don't worry about sanity. One of my six sisters independently started doing the same thing in another state. She has an industrial..... But, I don't really like to sew on machines. I much prefer hand work. LOL. Thanks for your great blog!!

  7. I'm close, but not quite. I have around 70 machines. I really need to find new homes for several of them (mainly electrics). I'd like to keep the older ones.

  8. Just to let you know, it could be worse. All my treadles are jammed together in one room, so I couldn't sew on them this weekend. That left me with the four electrics. I don't use the 401a any more and it will likely be rehomed. I sewed a bit on the 99k and the Necchi. I was sewing on my Viking, heard a pop and then smoke. When it wouldn't shut off, even with my foot off the pedal, I pulled the plug. There's something that looks like a capacitor on top of the motor that split in half. Think I'll replace that, then rehome that machine. I think it's the only one I can't treadle.

  9. I'm actually looking for a Singer Treadle in good condition - able to piece and quilt with semi-regular use. I was thinking a 15-88? Would you be able to help me? I'm in NC too so not too far away. Send me an email at

  10. Also in NC. I have 48, all vintage (mainly Singers and Kenmores) with the exception of a portable blind hammer, an older coverstitch machine, and an older but very usable Bernina serger. My wife and family think i am a bit crazy but tolerate my obsession. I plan on putting together an Excel spreadsheet as i did with my collectible hunting guns. It will have values and comments on notable characteristics.

    John Thomas in NC

  11. I found a pin on pintrest about steel spring coil treadle belt. When i go to the link, there is another of your entries. Ive read several of your posts from several sections and you have a great blog! Ive enjoyed, but i cant find spring as treadle belt post, or a search function. Your pin mentioned mcmaster carr. Ive called them and they claim not to have 6 ft length of spring. How do i contact you? Im in Burlington nc. I would like the item number from your order please.
    Any help you can offer will be appreciated.

  12. I have a question about those reproduction hand cranks. I was going to put one on the White at the bottom of this post:

    Someone put a crank on it but there are no gears. I was told it probably works as well as the other cranks. I was going to get rid of it but I sort of like the idea of a hillbilly hand crank. And I'm considering painting it as the paint is badly chipped in several areas. Any thoughts? I think it will need a kerosene bath to get the rest of the grime off.

  13. Hi All. You can’t have too many sewing machines. My wife and I have a collection of 83 machines, but she wants everyone to know that most of them are mine. We have a small Mom & Pop sewing shop in rural farm country. I’m the collector, and prefer the older machines that were the workhorses in homes and shops during the 20th century. I prefer treadle or hand crank machines, and have 10 treadles in our home, 9 of them set up and ready to sew on anytime. I mend denim jeans and other work clothing for the public using a 1950s Singer 319W1 treadle, a 1970s Brother Riviera 1681-M treadle (freearm), a 1917 Singer 16-41 jumpfoot treadle, and a pair of 1940s Singer 29K70 treadles for most of my sewing. I love treadle and handcrank conversions! CD in Oklahoma


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