Thursday, January 3, 2013

What IS That!?

Watch for our new feature What IS That!?

We love to look for old and new sewing/quilting-related items and share them here, many of which you will recognize, some that might have you scratching your head. Some items will be sewing machines, some will be attachments, some will be tools, some will be supplies. Ya never know!

Today's post is about my current favorite sewing machine 'Martha' and why I prefer that 60 yr old very heavy metal beauty over any other.

Many 'old' metal machines still exist today as any collector will tell you (and happily show you their herd). It just so happens that my Martha is a Singer 201-2.

There were as many companies making them as there were brands of cars.

It's very sad that so many of these wonderful old machines are only being used for tables and stands, or worse yet, thrown away.

My much loved and often used Singer 201-2, 'born' in the late 1940's, is a workhorse of a sewing machine. (Please don't tell her she's considered to be an antique - she thinks she's still a young chick!) To me, she's worth her weight in gold. She has a horizontal bobbin that just drops into the built-in bobbin case, and sews forward and reverse. That's it, nothing fancy. ;D

But that doesn't mean that this machine only does a straight stitch - oh no, it does much, much more.

Singer and other companies made sure that the home seamstresses had all the help they needed to make their machines do everything they wanted:  darning, embroidery, hems, join seams, lace edging, tucks, bindings, zigzags, ruffles, gathers, decorative cords and braids, buttonholes, zippers, even quilting. Yes, these babies were - and still are - very versatile. The good news is that the attachments needed to do all this are still available.

These machines were meant to last a lifetime, and many have lasted several lifetimes. How many generations might have used a machine made in the late 1800's?

'Martha' sews a perfect seam and has enough power to sew through practically anything you can get under the presser foot. I've sewn as many as eight layers of denim before she bogged down and groaned. Try that with one of the new plastic machines! Can't do it! But she also has a light touch when needed to sew those delicate fabrics. She can sew practically anything and do a great job at it.

Like most other old metal sewing machines, this one is very basic and easy to maintain. Give her a good cleaning (mostly just removing lint with a small paint brush), add a few drops of oil and she is ready to start humming away again. In the 15 plus years I've been using this Singer 201-2, she has never had to go to the shop for anything. I've had to replace the light bulb once ($6.95) and the bobbin winder tire ($.30) once, both of which were very easy to do. That's it!

Check with your Mom or Grandma to see if they still have and might be willing to part with their old machines. You just might strike gold! But please don't thrown them away! If you are desperate to get rid of one, there are tons of collectors that will take them off your hands!

Happy Stitching!


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