Saturday, February 2, 2013

Strolling Down Vintage Lane...

Been wanting to post a page with some of my vintage machines for awhile now to share, kept thinking I would get them all set-up in the new quilting studio and take pics we all know, the studio has taken much longer than originally anticipated so thought I'd post these for the time being and update as things progress.  For now, here are a few of my vintage SINGERS®.  To start off, here's one of my very favorites:

SINGER® 15-91

The traditional story behind the SINGER® 15-91 is that it was typically given by a farmer as a wedding gift to his new bride.  The 15-91 was/is a real workhorse and as such, utilized by the farming community to sew and mend farmer's work apparel, among many other farming necessities.  

This particular machine apparently didn't enjoy such a hard-working life.  The son-in-law I purchased it from, (it was his MIL's machine), warned me that his dear Mother-in-Law could never get it to sew properly and finally gave up and put it in storage - apparently she really didn't enjoy sewing but preferred to cook, because to his knowledge  this was the ONLY machine she ever had and never took the opportunity to replace or upgrade it.  ALL sewing and mending was farmed out to a local seamstress and according to same SIL, his dear MIL was an excellent cook!  

Thus, the machine languished for years in a closet with the ill-gotten reputation of 'not being able to make a good stitch', and because of that bad rap, no one in the family wanted it.  He was hoping I was purchasing it as a collector so he wouldn't be blamed if it wouldn't sew properly and want to return it.  I assured him, once in my possession, it would remain for as long as I was breathing, it was so gorgeous and I was fairly confident I could get it to sew.  

When I finally got him home, I discovered a bobbin case FULL/compacted with thread and lint and a little bit of rust.  After a couple of hours of cleaning and de-linting and plenty of oiling, I threaded it up and took it for a sewing spin - PERFECT stitches every time.  Just beautiful and in mint condition to boot for the years and years of lack of sewing...Lucky Me! 

Next in the vintage sewing machine line-up, my grandmother's SINGER® 201-2:

This SINGER® 201-2 has been completely restored and sews like a dream!

I recently made my youngest daughter a queen-sized quilt w/matching pillow cases, 'Butterflies Are Free', and pieced/sewed EVERYTHING with this machine right after getting her back from restoration - she purred like a kitten and never gave me a bit of trouble.  What a pleasure to sew with, Thank YOU Grandma Ginny ;-).

                                                                             SINGER® 201-2 Scroll face plate

The next vintage singer was purchased mainly because I've been wanting a SINGER® 99 for awhile now AND it's birth year is the same as mine:

                                   SINGER® 99

I haven't had a real chance to sew on this one yet other than some practice pieces, but it also sewed like a dream during it's maiden voyage with me.  It too, came w/original case and accessories, and was one of the best bargains on a vintage machine I've gotten to date!

And of course I had to add a SINGER® Featherweight to the stable:

SINGER® 221-1 Featherweight

I looked for a very long time prior to stumbling across this little beauty.  Other than a little nick in the extension table where it touches the machine when it's folded up and stored in its carriage case, (and the reason it was discounted to such a great price!), it's absolutely perfect aesthetically with stitches to match!  It came complete w/storage case, SINGER® oil and manual, and original accessories - Love sewing on this one.

Here's a little surprise for you and one I bet not too many of you have had the pleasure of seeing - a stretched SINGER® 201-2:

                     Stretched SINGER® 201-2

Originally destined for my Betty Boop quilting frame, here's a link to one of the 'Pepto Bismol®' quilts I panto quilted with it, then relocated to table top quilting when I came across my HQ16 aka Betty Boop - my current longarm quilting machine.  This stretched SINGER® machine is a blast to sew/quilt with and makes a beautiful stitch.  I still need to get her painted Lipstick Red - it's on the quilting studio 'To Do List'.  I'll take another updated photo when she's all fixed up, complete w/authentic SINGER® decals.

And here are three of them all lined up:

Left to Right                               : 
SINGER® Featherweight, SINGER® 201-2, Stretched SINGER® 201-2

And now for one of my SINGER® workhorses that gets used quite frequently - love her especially for paper piecing and sewing HSTs on Orca Bay, my SINGER® 301A:

Beige SINGER® 301A in original cabinet - Mint!

Another bargain based on a 'bad reputation' of not being able to sew.  When I got this beige-y pink beauty, someone had obviously tried to work on her and ultimately messed up the timing.  This was one of the first machines I ever timed.  As soon as the timing was set, she sewed amazing and hasn't skipped a stitch since.  This machine even has a matching beige power plug and cord.  I'd never seen one prior to this one and was pleasantly surprised when I opened her shipping box and made that discovery!  She came complete w/original accessories, bobbins and thread in pristine condition.  Another lucky find!

In the final line-up (for now ;-), my pride and joy - a SINGER® 66 Lotus Petal:

         SINGER® 66 Lotus Petal treadle from France

This one came from France and has French writing on the back side and English on the front, purchased through a friend of the family who no longer had a place or need for her for the whopping price of $25.00!  (I actually got a two-for, the auctioneer let me have BOTH SINGER® treadles he was auctioning off that day for the one price!).  She is in her original treadle cabinet and does work.  I have not had her officially restored however, she does hold a very prominent place in our home:

SINGER® 66 treadle proudly displayed in our TV room

That's it for now - I still need to take pics of my SINGER®  Red Eye, (she's a beaut!), and my SINGER® 66 black crinkle finish, but they're both still in storage along w/a Dressmaker, a really pretty Pink Atlas, and a few surprises ;-).

Hope you enjoyed our stroll down Vintage Lane...


NOTE:  the SINGER® name was/is a registered Trade Marked name of the SINGER® Manufacturing Company.


  1. OH, WOW!! I love those machines. What a lucky girl you are... My DH shakes his head at my machines, but he doesn't realize what I have is minimal. My Featherweight sews like a dream, but has the 'smell'.... The storage box is in bad shape and the paint on the base has started to peel - all from being stored on the ground in shed. I'm wanting to strip it down and repaint it and then it will be put into a different storage box....
    Looking forward to more show & tell...

  2. Hey Miss Katie,
    My hubs stopped shaking his head a few years back - I just remind him of his 3 semis and one CDL ;-) I've been VERY fortunate in all of my purchases, some have even been given to me, and I am shocked to discover what some of these machines are now bringing. We'll keep that between you and I, wouldn't want the family to find out or there could be an auction in my future, LOL!

    I've had most of these machines for some time and just now getting them out of storage and those that need it,restored. Most I've done myself, one, my grandmother's 201, I had done because it needed some replacement parts that I couldn't get. I found a wonderful girl on the west coast who does a beautiful job of restoration, primarily on Singers.

    As you can probably tell, I'm extremely proud of ALL my vintage machines, but especially my Singers - I learned how to sew on my other grandmother's Singer treadle, a true Blessing that has been for me!

    Can hardly wait to see your restoration of your Featherweight - let me know when you need your new storage box, cause I may have one just for you if you want it ;-)

    Don't forget to have FUN!

  3. Your vintage machines are great, Deb. I have a 221 Featherweight that my son found at a barn sale in MD, it had it cleaned and refurbished and she just purrs. Also have a 1957 model beige cast iron workhorse in its maple table cabinet...never thought of it as vintage