My Vintage Machines

What better way to document what you have than lumping them all into one blog post.  I see Shannon cringe every time I mention one, but she gets the joy of disposing of them all when I die.  I do hope she’ll offer my sexy sister Jill to take whichever she’s like first.

My oldest would be a late 1800’s Household coffin top treadle with a beautiful fiddle base machine in it.  This one I plan to gift my sister when they move to their new house.   She needs some oil but all her parts are there including the shuttle and she seems to run fine.  I bought her from the original owners family along with the 1948 Singer featherweight I gifted Jill.  This way she has the 2 that belonged to the same family.   This picture was before I cleaned her up.

8 household treadle

Number 2 in line is a beautiful Singer 128 that my friend Sue in Michigan gifted me this year.   She’s a 1923 in simply stunning condition and she sews like butter.  I need to learn the shuttle bobbins before I use up all her thread but I plan to start sewing with her. She is sitting on my Martha Washington sewing cabinet.   This one opens on the sides rather than the top like most.


Number 3 in line is only a cabinet now.    It’s a 3/4 size early 1900’s treadle by National.  Unfortunately I dropped the machine out of the cabinet while moving it and it was damaged beyond repair.  I now have her covered with a piece of glass and use it as a table for my featherweight.  To the right is my 1920’s thread cabinet on a small table.

10 childs treadle


Meet number 4 in age.  Again I could only confirm a date range 1908 to early 1920’s.  She is one of the German made Singer 66 treadle models.  They were never made to sell outside Germany so the serial numbers were never added to the Singer database.   Unfortunately in tracking the serial number, Singer list just a range and a note the factory in Germany was raided during WWII by Russia and all the records destroyed.  Apparently this belonged to a tailor that left when the German army started forcing everyone to sew uniforms.  She runs like a dream and I was blessed to get her from a friend of my cousins – free.

9 german treadle


I am sure number 5 will become my favorite.  It is a 1930’s Jones No. 35 hand crank.  It’s being repainted so I’ll repost it then but here she is original.  I can’t really date her other than she was built in the 30’s for only 2 years and from what I’ve found, there weren’t a lot built.   They went on to fanicer models with more decorative decals.  Most of the machine companies never kept records to be able to date machines.   She was the one Jones model that didn’t come with all the decorative, fancy decals.   Pretty much just the Jones No 35 brand which was her model.  I bought her from a machine repairmen so of course she is smooth running.  Can’t wait till she comes home painted.  I really wanted red but decided on her original black.  She had terrible pin rash and her paint had pitted so I didn’t mind repainting her.   I buy them to enjoy not to save for the value.

2 jones.jpg


Numbers 6 and 7.  Next up are my Singer 221’s, commonly called Featherweights.  My sister Jill has the original 1947 I bought and Robert has the 1949.  Just this year I happened to run across 2 more that needed a good home so now I own those.  The first one is a 1948 I purchased from a fellow church member.  Beautiful condition and I love how pristine she looks.

The second I just happened across by chance.  I didn’t need it but the seller was asking half what they sell for as she was listed as decoration only, doesn’t run.  Turns out she just needed some love and was all knotted up in the bobbin.  I have to say I could barely find any wear on her and imagine my shock to open her up and find a badged centennial edition.   Not just badged centennial but actually built in the anniversary year. She came with tons of accessories as well as a baby Singer oil can.  She is my new take to class machine.


Meet number 8.  I just got her and she is stunning.   I haven’t looked up her serial number but she’s a 1950’s Singer 99.  Completely serviced and running like new.  Her paint and decals are in amazing condition.  I think I am going to use her to teach my quilt friend Diane how to do free motion quilting.

3 singer 99

Number 9 in age hasn’t come to live with me yet but I bought her today.  Like everyone but Singer, again no records to date her age.  She is one of the Japanese built machines from the 1950’s.   Badged Atlas but from what I can find she was built by Bel Air.   I’m told they only sold one run of these and were advised cease and desist by the Atlas Sewing Machine Company.  The only 2 others I have seen are badged Bel Air but are identical machines.  I know Belair also badged red machines as Arrow and Reliable so that may have been for marketing.  I still plan to one day find one of those red ones for sale but this one is super cool.

1 atlas


Here is number 10.  Again Husqvarna Viking never kept records to be able to date their machines but I’m told they are around 1962 – 1965.   I have read that these green machines are seriously sought after and 2 machine experts I read, claim this 19e Special is likely one of the best sewing machines ever built.   Can’t wait to get past the holidays and start using her.   I wish I had been able to find her extension table but the search is still on.

11 viking

So those are my vintage babies.  For now lol.  I’ll post the Jones once she is refinished and when I take pictures I’ll post my newer machines.    I think I need a 70’s and 1980’s model to round them out.



Ever Wonder How Your Brain Thinks Of Things?

I often get crazy ideas and I have learned to live with that but some are just left field.  LOL.  I can not make a quilt without a pattern or wasting tons of fabric trying to figure it out.  That being said, I don’t know why, but I entered a quilt challenge to design a quilt.  I know, I’m nuts.

The theme of the challenge was playing cards.  Each person (at the shuffle of the deck) was assigned a playing card.   Your quilt didn’t need to look like a playing card.  It didn’t have to pertain to that card in any way except your idea or thoughts about the card.  The only stipulation was, it had to include a 4 patch posey, octagon or hexagon block in the quilt.   The main challenge said “think outside the box”.  I think I went so far outside the box that I gave the box away.

My card was the queen of clubs.  My brain immediately thought – a queen or princess playing golf.  No too easy.  Then I thought a fabric with clubs on it and applique a queen figure on it.  Nah.    So as I sat looking at  the card on the computer my brain said, queen?  Hmmm drag queen.  And so was born Frankie.

After all.  Who was the original drag queen? Who was the most infamous drag queen?  Ru Paul?  Julie Numeyer?  No, we all know Franknfurter on Rocky Horror Picture Show is the original, the epitome of drag queens.

So how would this work?  Most quilters are older so would they recognize who he was?  Could I find the perfect Rocky fabric? Well the search was on.  Something that had just Franknfurter on it, not the other cast members.  Something that even if you didn’t know who he was, you knew he was a drag queen.   Something more like a tribute than a joke that wouldn’t offend the LGBT community.  Yes I really don’t like offending people in general.

After weeks of searching, my daughter found the perfect black t-shirt.  Not only does it show just him in his drag costume but it had a gay pride flag.  That would help with people that never saw the movie.  But we ordered and the shirt never came.  3 weeks and back to search for another shirt because this was my only game plan.   After a bit of looking, she stumbled across the same shirt offered in white.  Ok it will do although I would prefer the black.  The day after it arrived, you guessed it.  The black one showed up.  This changed my whole idea for the design.  Now I had 2 options.  Well, if you have 2, use 2.

That resulted in a way to use Franknfurter and the gay pride flag without making this into a gay pride design.  So was born my design.  I left a small part of each flag because like I said, there may actually be people that haven’t seen the movie and would get the drag queen idea and I used both t-shirts.  I placed them back to back and added a border so it resembled a playing card.  Originally I was just going to do a black border by my daughter said use stripes or checks,.  Well what do they wave at a “drag” race?  You got it, a checkered flag.  The outer border adds in my card suit with yellow clubs and the red is my required 4 patch posey blocks.   So, here it is in all it’s glory my Queen of Clubs.

I’ve agreed to sell the quilt and I hope the person getting it appreciates the design.  I just kind of made it as a fluke but the more I look at it the more I appreciate the overall thought.

4 rocky

For My Sister

I can’t wait to teach her how to make this pattern.  I know she will love it.  No measuring but she’ll miss making half square triangles.   This is for my amazing sister for Christmas.  Like me, she doesn’t decorate much because she has crazy dogs.

They may claim the quilt but at least they won’t eat it.


Helping Each Other – Like The Old Days

Remember how people used to help each other?  It seems like you don’t see a lot of that anymore.  We say hope you feel better.  We casually throw out call if you need anything but do we really mean it?  I challenge anyone who reads this.  Next time you hear of a sick friend.  A struggling mom or dad.  Someone that could use a helping hand.  Don’t just say call if you need me.   Just lend a hand without waiting for that call.

I especially gravitate toward single friends when I hear they are ill.  Many times we don’t stop and think about the fact that they live alone.  No matter how sick you are or how hurt you are, when you live alone you still have to do laundry, pick up the house, cook so you can eat, take care of pets, etc.  Being single I often wonder what I’d do if I was really sick or recovering from a hospital stay. How would I feed and take my dogs out?  The house still needs to be cleaned, the laundry done.

I’ve decided I’m not waiting for people to voice a need anymore.  I’m just going to volunteer and offer to do it.  This weekend I was able to make a sick friend several days of meals and only used up half my day.  Can’t you give up half a day to help a friend?

Oh maybe an extra hour to wash dishes lol.


What A Wickedly Awesome Birthday Gift

I love my sister Jill and I love hand made gifts so much over something you grabbed off a shelf.   Last week was my birthday and she made me these awesome pin cushions.   I can wear them on my wrist or strap them to my machines.   I just love them.

I love even more the fact that she notices little things about people that most of us, especially me, overlook.  She saw I had issues where to put my pins as I used my longarm and took it upon herself to find a solution and a handmade one.

Thank you sexy sister.  I love them and have already installed them.

Two More Off My To Do List

It sure feels great to get these tops off my to do list.  I prefer someone get to use them rather than they just lay there unfinished.    With 4 more to quilt and 3 more to baste, here are the latest.  I’ll launder both of these this weekend then Shannon can deliver them.  They will be gifted to her co-workers.

The blue and white one is a checkerboard dresden plate pattern using a floral jellyroll and a tone on tone white.  I’m not to crazy about florals but I think it came out pretty.

The other is a combination of my love of stripes and dots,.   There is no pattern.  Just a polka dot jelly roll, some anthology strip fabric and a triangle ruler.   I loved adding the zebra print binding left over from another quilt.

I included pics of the backs in case my sister reads this. She loves knowing what backing was used.   I buy all mine from Quilt Unique on ebay.  Amazing lady, great fabrics and really good prices.

Oh These Vintage Machines

I purged my collection a few years back but I just can’t leave them alone forever so started looking again.  Well ok, I didn’t start looking again.  It was more like someone offered me an older Singer 221 then a few months later someone gifted me an older German made Singer treadle.  Ahhhh that addiction raised it’s ugly head.

So of course when I saw a Singer 221 that looked nice for $180 I brought it home to live.  She’s the one I mentioned in a prior post.  All I knew was the seller said it would run. but not sew.  What a surprise.  Someone else picked it up for me so all I had till then were pictures.  I opened that little black case and there she was.  Shiny as the day she was born.  She doesn’t have a scratch in sight.  Her decals looks like new and she had such amazing accessories included.  A tube of original Singer motor grease, her original bobbin box, manual, some feet and an adorable little can of Singer oil.

So the question is, why won’t she sew.  After about 20 minutes she was purring like a kitten.  Her bobbin had been installed wrong and the whole area was knotted up.  So maybe as soon as I get caught up she will get a good oiling but she now has her place on display.  She will likely be the one I take back and forth to class.


Ahh The Hand Crank I Have Always Wanted – Well Kinda

For years I have coveted (yes I know we are not to covet, but I have) a Jones hand crank sewing machine.  At $300 and up, and knowing I’d not often use a hand crank, they were simply out of the budget.   Well, until now.  I called the vintage repairman to confirm we were set for Thursday to pick up that Singer 99 and he says, well if you’re coming over have any interest in this?  What does he sent me?  A Jones hand crank sewing machine.

Ok it’s not pretty.  But heck it’s a Jones .  No 35 he says. So that left me to discover what exactly is a Jones No. 35?  Before I could even begin researching he says it’s rare and yes it’s a bit run down but sews perfectly and he’d like $35.  What?  Did I hear right?  $35.  Of course that requires me to reach out to Sue Balch (guru of all machines non-electric).  Of course she said yes on the $35.

So I will be picking it up Thursday as well, which gave me some time to look into the No 35.  The No 35 was introduced in Britain just before WWII but production was short.  Only 20,000 of the No 35 was ever made.   They may call it short lived but 20,000 sounds like a lot to me.  No where could I find why they ceased making the No 35 or what exactly took it’s place.  I know Singer sewing machine factories closed during the war and made guns and ammunition.  Maybe that happened in Britain as well.

In 1936 these machines starting coming with a manual that told you how to add a motor if you wanted to which if you ask me, is pretty damn handy.  What I found says the later ones in April 1936 came with the manual and “electrifying”  instructions in the envelopes that had Jones CS marked out and No 35 stamped over it.  Makes you wonder if they had started production of the new machines and were using the manuals to get rid of the last of the No 35 models.

Funny. What info I could find was on British sites.  The few US sites I found that list all the Jones models seem to skip right over the No 35.  Maybe it is as uncommon as he claims.  Either way let’s hope she cleans up some cause she is kinda ugly.   I had debated using her condition as an excuse to have her painted red.  I would love a red vintage machine but can’t make myself strip a nice, well cared for machine.   This one would fit the bill but if they are that uncommon, I think I’ll leave it unpainted – for now.    I’ll give you more pics after I pick her up this week.   Ahhh that vibrating shuttle bobbin again.

Funny  the machines before and after these were very decorative but this old girl didn’t get all those fancy gold decals.  Here’s a link to a bit of Jones history if you’re interested.




Soon To Come Home

This past week I contacted a local vintage repairman to ask about info on that German treadle.  Although he had none, he did unfortunately have a machine he wanted to sell.  An absolutely stunning 1950 Singer 99.  These machines were a workhorse.    This model started back in 1911 because people wanted lighter, more portable machines.    Can you imagine buying this beauty for likely around $10-15.  They sold in 1911 for around $6 because people wanted more options of having a machine that didn’t need to be in a table to use.

They are called 3/4 machines because they are 3/4 the size of the original Singers.  Many still used the shuttle bobbins but luckily the one he offered was a 1950 model.  While it still had the nice wooden base, it also uses regular bobbins.    I still have to learn to wind, load and use those shuttle types of bobbins.

Once Singer stopped making the Brentwood wooden lids they changed to a mock croc finish that looked more like the modern day covers.  That cover came with the 1950’s.  Eventually they changed to plastic bases and plastic lids.  Obviously those will never last as long as the older ones.   I hate the look of plastic machine bases.   Just looks so cheap.

I added another picture here of the 1923 Singer model 128 Sue gave me so you can see the difference in decals.  I know there are so many different models but both the 123 and the 99 were classified as 3/4 size machines.   I will have to see which others are classified as 3/4 machines.  It amazed me how nice the 1950 looked but even more so how well that 1923 was preserved.  Both are just stunning machines.   And they are mine.  Well, soon as I pick up that 99.  Then it will be on the shelf right under the 128.


I’ve Rekindled My Love of Vintage Machines

A few years ago I gifted or sold most of my vintage machines.  They were pretty t look at but none really worked properly and I didn’t know how to repair them.   Recently I have really gone back to enjoying these old beauties and learning about their history.  I still have my 1800 Household treadle that I will gift to my sister once she moves, but I have now added a few.

A few months ago one of the members of our monthly craft group approached me about helping her sell a Singer 221.  Well, since I’d given one of mine to my son in law and one to my sister, I thought I will grab this one for myself.  Taking it home, oiling it up, polishing it etc, it just reminds me how much there is to appreciate about this machines.  69 years later they sew like butter.   Can you imagine what it felt like 69 years ago to sit in front of that brand new, shiny machine and start stitching?  The Singer 221’s have and will always, as long as taken care of, purr like new born kittens.

Ever read the history or Issac Merritt Singer?  The man was amazing.  His net worth when he died was 18 million dollars or what now equals over $200 million dollars.   Installment payments or financing was virtually invented by him.  He realized women could afford sewing machines easier if they could make payments.  You could buy a machine and the sales rep would come around monthly and collect your payments. Genius.

I read an article that claimed they started the 221 (commonly known as a featherweight) because women would sew more (or buy more) if they could meet with friends.  So along came the 221 portable weighing in at 11 pounds.  Crazy thing is they then put it in a 14 pound wood box.  I envy the women that got these from family members.  Imagine being able to ask, how did it feel getting that brand new, tiny little black machine.

My collection now includes a 1947 I got from a church member fondly named Ms. Dixie (the lady I bought her from) and a 1950 I picked up for about half the usual price just this week.  The latest one came with not only all the additional feet but the original bobbin case, needles, motor lubricant and a tiny little Singer oil can.  I am not sure what she will be called yet.  The seller said she was non-working but looks like it’s just a few minor repairs.   We shall see.    Ms. Dixie is the one with red thread.   I never even had to polish her.

I’ve even started a shelf to display them.  The one on the second shelf is the 1923 Singer I posted about prior, that Sue gave me on my visit to Michigan.  I’ll let you know how the new 221 works in a later post once I get her running and polished.