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And the collection begins May 9, 2010

Posted by Judy in Sewing projects.

Noone told me that buying vintage machines was like eating Pringles . . . you can’t just one!  About a month ago I bought a Singer 201-2 and I am totally loving it.  DH thinks it’s quite cool, as well  . . .something about it being built like a tank and simple.  Anyway, it’s a straight-stitch only machine, which means if I wanted to do any monogramming, I’d have to do it free motion, which requires LOTS of practice!  Like I have time for that!  So off I went to the vintage Singers yahoo group to find info on machines that could monogram.

“But wait!” you say.  “Why don’t you just get an embroidery machine to do the monogramming?”  Two reasons:

  1. the embroidery machines are VERY expensive, like $3000+ expensive!
  2. the embroidery machines have very few cool points when sitting next to a vintage machine!

So back to my “research”.  I discovered that Singer made a monogramming attachment, but it wouldn’t work on my 201-2 as the 201 is a low shank machine and the monogrammers were made for slant shank machines.  Singer made a bunch of this type of machine.  Anything in the 300, 400, 500, 600 and 700 series would qualify.  Armed with this info, I started trolling local Ebay listings and Craigslist.  I found two promising leads on CL:  a 750 Touch and Sew that came WITH a monogrammer, and a 503A Slant-o-matic, which didn’t appear to come with anything.

Last Friday found the babes and I sitting in a very nice lady’s basement checking out the 750.  I was rather unimpressed . . I guess I was spoiled by my super cool looking 1940’s 201-2.  Plus, the timing was off on the 750, so the needle would hit the bobbin shuttle.  (I know, sounds like a foreign language, right?  Basically, this was NOT a good thing.)  I didn’t buy it as I wanted to consult my new friends over on the Yahoo group to see whether or not this would be an easy fix.  Turns out, it wasn’t, so on to plan B . . .looking at the 503A.

Last Sunday found me heading out to look at the 503A after work.  Man, it was quite the trek, but it was SOOOO worth it!  I wasn’t really sure what to expect, since the two pics in the CL listing were, lacking, shall we say.  The machine looked decent enough, so I sat down to test it out, and it seemed to sew just fine.  (Always a good sign.)  I did notice that there weren’t any cams, which meant that I wouldn’t be able to do any zigzag stitching.  I’d either have to buy the cams, or I’d end up with two straight stitch only machines.  I had previously asked the seller if there was anything else that came with the machine (manual, attachments, etc.)  She was going to check but hadn’t done so when I arrived.  I asked again and she came downstairs with a giant box, which contained the manual AND a box of attachments.  The manual was no biggie since I could download it from the internet.  The box of attachments, on the other hand, was a great boon.  Not only did it have a bunch of presser feet, it also had 8 cams, a walking foot and a buttonholer.  I already had a buttonholer, but it was the regular version, not the professional version which is purported to be better since it has more options and it does bound buttonholes!!  (Haven’t had a chance to try out either one, but I’m guessing I’ll be keeping the professional one and reselling the regular one on Ebay.)

Once the box of attachments was discovered, it was a foregone conclusion that I would be buying the machine.  But wait, it gets better.  Remember how I said she brought down a gigantic box?  Well, it was FULL off all sorts of sewing notions and other crafting items.  Basically, I came away with bags and bags of free stuff, things that either came with the sewing machine (it was given to her by an elderly neighbor), or that she wasn’t planning on using.  It was hundreds of dollars worth of stuff!  Many of the items were clearly purchased MANY years ago as the prices were low ($0.50 for a spool of thread!)  So in “MANY years ago dollars”, I got about $300 worth of stuff.  If I were to buy all of the items today, easily it would add up to about $700-800!!!!  I couldn’t believe how much was there and I didn’t even realize it till I got home.  I mean, I knew she was giving things (“hey, do you use this?”), but I wasn’t paying super close attention since I was testing out the machine.

Anyway, a list of the “loot” as I am affectionately calling it!

  • about 50 spools of thread
  • 15-20 patterns
  • 4-5 skeins of yarn
  • a bunch of special use needles
  • oodles of binding and blanket binding
  • oodles of elastic
  • about 30 craft rings
  • 3-4 embroidery hoops
  • a sling (like the kind you use with a sprained arm) – random, I know!
  • a bunch of bobbins
  • a bunch of pins plus a pin magnet
  • random other stuff that I can’t remember right now

Crazy, isn’t it!  I feel so lucky to have found the machine, and to have met the very nice lady and her family.  You never know who is selling stuff on CL, so it was nice to meet such a lovely person=)

Oh, wait, I’m forgetting one important thing . . . . the sewing cabinet!  I’ll be doing a separate post on the cabinet itself, but suffice it to say that it is such a nice little cabinet, with a treadle.  Not that I’ll ever use the treadle, it’s just cool!

Are you wondering what the new machine and table look like?  Wonder no more!

So why am I calling this a collection, when it’s only two?  Because I can already see it growing.  In fact, I’m on the prowl for a Singer Featherweight.  Do I NEED one?  Of course not!  But needs and wants are two very different things=)


1. Lita - May 14, 2010

your posting for 5-9 was hard to read, maybe you need to change the color.

2. R - June 17, 2010

Old thread looks great in a sewing-room display (try dumping a bunch of similar colors in an old fishbowl to set on shelf), but it will break, break, break when you try to use it…sadly 😦 But I love the posts on the machines and cabinets…it sounds like a fabulous sewing area is shaping up! yay!

Judy - June 17, 2010

I have discovered the break, break break . . . .but it will be good for NOR to use for practice on his little machine!

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