7/25/2011

Vintage Sewing Machines

My grandmother's treadle sewing machine.

I've done lots of sewing over the years. In high school, in particular, I sewed the majority of my own clothes. That included everything from lingerie to blue jeans to a wool coat and down parka. If I could have sewn shoes I probably would have made those too! When my children were small I did quite a bit of sewing for them, especially my daughter since it was so much fun making little dresses and cute outfits. With two boys there was always mending to be done or a Halloween costume. I wonder how many knees I've patched over the years! Of course I've also done my share of sewing for the home, from pillows and placemats to curtains and quilts.

I have an admission to make. I currently have five...yes, five...sewing machines in my house. I know. It sounds like I have a problem.
1. There's the first machine I ever owned, a Singer, that was a graduation gift from my parents. It was state-of-the-art for it's time, with stretch stitches no less! I used that machine for a long, long time. 
2.  I replaced that machine with a much nicer Bernina. It's a good quality built basic machine that has everything I need and nothing I don't. It's now about fifteen years old and is still my main machine.
3. I also inherited my paternal grandmother's treadle sewing machine. At some point my grandfather electrified it for her, removing the treadle and hooking it up to a motor. After I got it it I converted it back to a treadle. I've never done any real sewing on it. Mostly it's just been to play with and the kids always got a kick out of working the treadle. My older son has called dibs on it. I don't know why. He doesn't sew. I guess it's just the nostalgic memories or something. For years it's been used as a nightstand in our bedroom and we just recently moved it to another room. I'd really love to get it out of the house if Son #1 would just settle down and get his own house already!
4. Machine number four is actually my daughter's "learn to sew" machine. We gave it to her for Christmas a few years ago. It was inexpensive and, as it turns out, not even worth the little we paid for it. It didn't work correctly right out of the box. So I took that one back and got a replacement. That one wasn't much better. She recently upgraded to a much better machine. As a theater major in college she spent many hours in the costume shop and has picked up some nice sewing skills so was ready to move on to a better machine. Her old machine came home with us so that's #4.                                  
5. And last, but certainly not least, is my favorite machine. It's one of my best thrift finds ever, a 1950's Viking-Husqvarna machine. It's built like a tank, all metal construction. It doesn't hurt that it has fantastic lines and is a really beautiful green color, appealing to my design aesthetics. It sews like a dream too! I paid $50, not even knowing if it would work, and was pleasantly surprised that it works like a charm after just some tweaking and oiling. 
1950's era Viking-Husqvarna CL 21A

To be entirely accurate I suppose I could add my serger which would make it six!

I used to laugh at the fact that my mother-in-law had several sewing machines in her house. Never could understand why anyone would need more than one. I guess it's not about the need is it? At any rate, my son and his girlfriend became engaged this past week. Now I'm going to become a mother-in-law, so I guess things have come full circle. By the way, my future daughter-in-law took machine number one off my hands! I now have hope that with one child setting up more permanent housekeeping that the boxes of books and sentimental stuff he has stored here will eventually find another home! Gain a daughter-in-law, and a closet?!!

1 comment:

  1. What a fabulous collection! I've just picked up a Viking 21A at a garage sale for $10, so I was looking for some information on it. It's good to know that you like yours!

    Let's see, that brings it up to 6 machines that I own that need varying degrees of TLC to make them usable (and one good one that I actually use). I just can't resist the cute little things when I find them for cheap, so now I'm learning to fix them :)

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