Which Machines to keep and which to release?

I am downsizing….sounds like something retired people do but I am no where near retirement! I do find it necessary to simplify my life and that includes getting rid of some things. Confession time: I do not even know how many sewing machines I own. I have a collection of old Singers including several Featherweights that I love. I have a couple Berninas, a Singer embroidery machine, several old Singer 128s, 201s, 15s, 301s, 99s, an 1870 something Singer New Family, a Singer 115 with the coolest gold angel wing decals, an assortment of toy sewing machines and a bazillion attachments and gadgets with the Singer name on them. 

I didn’t grow up wanting to collect sewing machines, it just sort of happened. An outgrowth of quilting it seems. I have always loved old things and have a mechanical bent. When I bought my first 1955 Singer Model 99 at an estate sale, I lugged it home  with a grin that would make you think I had won the lottery! She was beautiful and it was love at first sight. I cleaned, oiled, polished and read the manual cover to cover. She sewed like a charm, Much better than the Singer I bought at Sams Club in the early 90s. That was what started this obsession with old machines. It becomes an addiction! A happy one, a fun one, and at least it kept me out of…..well, you know. The concept that they were made to last and did last for 50-100 years and more with only the most basic attention is incredible.

I still love them. The machine I use most of all is a 1950 something Singer 201. It was the Cadillac of the Singer line back then. I paid all of $25 for it. She has some scars but will sew through anything and is never fussy about the threads I use…..my Bernina 155, not so much. I like Berninas, I have owned three but there is nothing like the  old metal gear driven Singers.

But seriously, how many do I really need? A collection takes time to maintain and it is fun to do so  but I want the space and time to make art. So I am back to what to keep and what to sell? Tough question.

To bring this back to quilting, here is a miniature quilt made from vintage fabrics and made on a vintage machine:

tumbler

This one was made with vintage fabrics from the 30s-40s. It is machine pieced and quilted. Back to cleaning and sorting and selling. Hello e-Bay…….Until next time.

About katyquilts

I am a wife, mom of four amazing kids, and a librarian. I have been making traditional quilts for ages but have ventured into art qulting in the last several years. I also love to knit socks and mittens and dye my own fabric. I am thankful to God my Father and Creator for the gift of creativity!
This entry was posted in For Sale, Miniature, Traditional, Vintage Fabrics. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Which Machines to keep and which to release?

  1. katyquilts says:

    I believe you are right Lisa. I think there are some new things on the horizon!

  2. Kim Hambric says:

    Katie, I was always under the impression the old models were difficult to deal with. I remember my mother having to take her machine to the shop the have the tension adjusted. Perhaps the problem was with my mother rather than with the machine? I live in central Pennsylvania — an area seemingly lacking in sewing machine retail. I’m not looking for fancy stitching, but do need a bit more than just a straight stitch. My “new” machine does not do freehand well & I definitely need that. Any info. would be very much appreciated.

  3. Lisa Call says:

    I think you will find energy for some wonderful new things when you release some of these machines back in to the wild.

  4. katyquilts says:

    Hi Kim! Thanks for stopping by. “Simple” and “New” do not seem to go together these days. I guess that is why I love the old ones so much. You might consdier looking for an old one. you will likely spend less and be happier than with a new one. If all you need is a straight stitch, the old Singers can’t be beat. I especially like the model 15-91, 301, and 201. And of course the featherweights are wondeful though I really prefer using my 201. Where are you located? I am on several old sewing machine e-mail lists and could likely put you in touch with someone that could help you out if you are interested. Take care, Katy

  5. Kim Hambric says:

    Wow, I wish I could have the relationship with my machine that you have with yours. My machine and I seem to tolerate each other. I really want to get along better with my machine. Perhaps there is some sort of counseling we can take together.

    What I would really like is a simple, new machine. I’m not sure where to start looking.

    I have never been to your blog before, but I love your graphic style.

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